Category: Industry

By on July 28, 2016

ford logo

Ford Motor Company says its profits dropped 9 percent in the second quarter, and warns that leaner times are coming.

Net income, global market share, and earnings per share all fell, but the automaker’s financial news wasn’t all bad. Still, Ford plans to do some cost cutting as the red-hot new vehicle market cools off in North America. Read More >

By on July 28, 2016

2016 Buick Envision

General Motors today fêted Buick as the planet’s fastest-growing volume automaker. Ignored in GM’s press release was the Buick brand’s declining volume in Buick’s home market.

As if we needed more evidence that North America is an increasingly unimportant component of Buick’s future plans — Buick is discontinuing the Verano, its most popular car model in the U.S. and the most popular Buick overall in Canada — GM revealed that Buick added more Chinese sales between January and June than the whole U.S. Buick division managed in toto. Read More >

By on July 28, 2016

traffic

Drivers saw a tsunami of vehicle recalls in recent years, and many are choosing not to bother getting the fix.

J.D. Power and Associates tapped its SafetyIQ platform to analyze National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data from 2013 to 2015, and found more than 45 million drivers who didn’t get their recalled vehicles in for repair. The NHTSA can kiss its 100-percent recall completion goal goodbye. Read More >

By on July 27, 2016

2017 Chrysler Pacifica Exterior Front 3/4. Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

As recently as March 1, 2016 — on behalf of February 2016’s sales results — Fiat Chrysler US LLC touted a 71-month streak of year-over-year U.S. new vehicle sales improvements. Although FCA US stopped communicating the length of that streak by the beginning of the second-quarter, the company’s sales reports suggested that the streak through the end of June 2016 measured 75 months.

Figures released by FCA yesterday reveal that the streak of year-over-year improvements actually ended at 40 months in September 2013, when an originally reported 1-percent increase, it turns out, was actually a 3-percent decrease. On two other occasions during this 75-month span, FCA claimed sales had improved, year-over-year. August 2015’s 2-percent increase was actually a 1-percent decrease. Then, only two months ago, while FCA originally claimed a 1-percent increase, sales actually fell 7 percent.

The abbreviated streak, however, is only one side of the equation. (And it increasingly appears to be the least of FCA’s worries, as a grand jury has now been empaneled.) FCA’s sales reporting methods, highly questionable on both the retail and fleet side, frequently resulted in significant overstatements and, FCA claims, understatements, as well. Read More >

By on July 27, 2016

Ford Transit Courier, Image: Ford of Europe

Have you ever sat in a Ford Transit Connect and said to yourself, “Gosh, I like this, but it’s just so darn big!“? Well, if Ford’s latest trademark filings are any indication, the Blue Oval might soon have exactly what you’re looking for.

According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Ford filed trademark applications for two names — “Transit Courier” and “Courier” — on July 22, 2016, hinting at possible Fiesta-based, B-segment vans for North America.

Read More >

By on July 26, 2016

2016 Dodge Charger R/T, Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

In response to media reports, a lawsuit, and federal investigations into potential sales figure tampering, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is changing the way it records sales.

This means that the automaker’s much-touted 75-month sales streak is dead. FCA admits that under the new method, its year-over-year monthly sales gains ended in September 2013. Ad copy is likely being rewritten as you read this. Read More >

By on July 26, 2016

dealerrater

If sales and service reviews were gold, Cars.com will soon the the richest third-party shopping website in all the land.

Cars.com plans to buy DealerRater, making it the largest soundboard of criticism and praise for dealers, salespeople and servicing in the industry, Automotive News reports. Read More >

By on July 25, 2016

Tesla Supercharger With Model S At Tesla Dealership

His company’s product is under investigation by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, but Tesla CEO Elon Musk likes the favorable press the NHTSA gave to its Autopilot system.

Musk tweeted a link to a Wall Street Journal report that quotes NHTSA administrator Mark Rosekind praising the semi-autonomous driving system at a Detroit conference last week. The NHTSA is investigating what role Autopilot played in a fatal Florida crash on May 7. Read More >

By on July 25, 2016

Volkswagen Chattanooga CrossBlue

SUV sales are exploding in the United States. It doesn’t just seem as though the quality, origins, price, power, credibility, and style of a utility vehicle matter not one whit — it really doesn’t.

Critically panned and antiquated SUVs such as the Jeep Compass and Jeep Patriot are selling better than ever. The original Audi Q5, on sale since 2009, is on track for its seventh consecutive year of growth. Sports car builder Porsche now produces 60 percent of its U.S. sales with the Macan and Cayenne. The Buick Encore, a questionable Chevrolet Sonic-based subcompact crossover, is easily Buick’s best-selling model. Sales of the Ford Explorer are on track to rise to a 12-year high.

Easy peasy. Build it and they will come. Too small? No problem. Too big? Not an issue. Too ugly? More power to you. Impractical? Ignore the U in SUV; it won’t hold you back.

It’s therefore a great time for Volkswagen to finally release an SUV in the heart of the market.

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By on July 22, 2016

Isuzu D-Max

Update: Automotive News is reporting General Motors is now focusing “on the higher end of the market while the Japanese firm sticks to selling vehicles for everyday commercial purposes,” strongly hinting that GM is the one that broke off the collaboration. We’ve added detail below.

After announcing a new bromance with Mazda just over a week ago, Isuzu is calling it quits with its old beau General Motors.

(Or maybe GM caught Isuzu cheating behind its back. Who knows? The relationship dynamics at play between automakers are difficult to flesh out.)

Regardless, midsize trucks — badged as both Isuzus and Chevrolets — will be no more in the Land of Smiles. The duo, which has a truck plant each in Thailand, will decouple their R&D efforts as they move toward engineering new global midsize pickups.

Read More >

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