Category: Industry

By on April 24, 2017

2017 Cadillac CT6 Plug-In Culver City - Image: Cadillac“Levels that were once seen as excessive are now sustainable.”
—Uwe Ellinghaus, Chief Marketing Officer, Cadillac

Cadillac expects to see auto sales in the United States in calendar year 2017 fall just below 2016’s best-ever results, which GM’s premium brand considers a positive sign for the U.S. auto industry and Cadillac.

While the decline reported America’s auto industry in March 2017 drew headlines because 2017’s first-quarter encompassed three consecutive months of year-over-year decline, Cadillac’s chief marketing officer, Uwe Ellinghaus, views the results through another lens.

“What they call a cooling off I say is the best thing that has ever happened,” Ellinghaus told Automotive News. “We don’t see that the party is over. It’s continuing.”

Cadillac? Party? Huh? Read More >

By on April 22, 2017

autonomous testing tesla

Poor Generation X. Isolated, ignored and cynical, they brought us great music in the early-to-mid 1990s, but their opinion on self-driving cars and autonomous safety features just isn’t important.

At least, that’s the feeling you get while reading the results of J.D. Power’s U.S. Tech Choice Study. The company polled 8,500 Americans who bought a vehicle during the past five years, asking them how they felt about the emerging technology.

Naturally, large generation gaps appeared, not the least of which was the elimination of Gen Xers in favor of the opinions of Boomers, Generation Y and Z. So, how does the opinions of the largest car-buying cohort compare to that of the newest? Read More >

By on April 21, 2017

Ford Fairlane Mall

The majority of today’s youth culture develops online but, for a number of years, it shared that space with the former cornerstone of American society — the mall. However, the once-great shopping center has fallen out of fashion along with wide-leg jeans and Jonathan Taylor Thomas. Since the late 1990s, most malls have gradually morphed into half-empty shanty towns or been abandoned entirely.

As part of Ford’s reoccurring requirement to appear forward thinking and socially conscious — as well as an immediate need for a location to house gobs of employees while it continues work on its Dearborn headquarters — the automaker had decided to make use of the partially abandoned Fairlane Mall. It may be the best implementation of its current focus on corporate citizenship and sustainability to date.   Read More >

By on April 21, 2017

2018 Lexus NX front – Image: Lexus

Pretty? No.

Popular? Most definitely. In fact, the Lexus NX is twice as popular as Lexus anticipated.

The Lexus NX, a crossover you must never confuse with the Nissan NX, is marketed in the United States both in NX200t and NX300h variants. At the New York International Auto Show three years ago, Lexus revealed the brand hoped to sell around 26,000 NXs per year; roughly 2,200 per month. At that point, in the lead-up to the NX’s 2014 Q4 launch, there were two schools of thought. One, the NX was so ghastly to behold Lexus surely wouldn’t sell 2,200 per month. Or, because Lexus is such a luxury crossover powerhouse, even the NX — with a face even a mother couldn’t love — will be more popular than Lexus anticipated.

Dealers believed Lexus’ forecast was on the low side.

But could anyone have expected the Lexus NX would be more than twice as popular as originally forecasted; that the Lexus NX would be America’s fifth-best-selling luxury utility vehicle; that the NX would account for one-in-five Lexus sales in America? Read More >

By on April 20, 2017

2015_Toyota_Prius_c_007

Automakers, both domestic and come-from-away, all want you to do the next best thing if your meager funds aren’t enough to get you into a showroom: borrow a car.

Ride-sharing services provide mainly urban dwellers with the car they so desperately crave, without the years of payments or need to find permanent parking. And, if an automaker partners up with a service provider — or creates its own — there’s still money flowing back to the offices of Big Auto. Win-win, no?

The growing trend is hard to ignore, and it means that automakers — already new to the game — face ever greater competition, even from unlikely sources. The latest company to offer a ride-sharing service isn’t a manufacturer at all. It’s the American Automobile Association. Read More >

By on April 20, 2017

2017 Ford Taurus - Image: Ford

The Ford Taurus’s North American demise is not unanticipated. Full-size car sales are flagging. The Taurus nameplate’s positive brand recognition is based on the success it enjoyed in another era. And Ford already revealed a new China-specific Taurus, based on the same CD4 platform as the Fusion and Lincoln Continental, with no announcement regarding the import of that vehicle to North America.

It also seems Ford, riding high on a wave of crossover and SUV sales on this side of the Pacific, won’t be bringing that Taurus to America anytime soon. Read More >

By on April 19, 2017

volvo emblem logo grille

With the stately S90 sedan and V90 wagon out of the way, Volvo’s main focus falls on the upcoming S40 and XC40 compact sedan and crossover. In the middle ground, the Swedish automaker has already unveiled the handsomely redesigned 2018 XC60.

Will it stop there? Not according to Volvo Car USA’s president and CEO.  Read More >

By on April 18, 2017

[Image: Mitsibishi Motor Sales of Canada]

Maybe it’s not the product, but the dealerships? It might not be the solution to all of the problems facing an increasingly less troubled Mitsubishi north of the border, but it can’t hurt.

Under a new five-year plan, the automaker plans to revamp and modernize all of its 90 Canadian dealers. Bright, glassy and inviting, the redesigned dealerships are worth the expense if it helps draw more buyers into a customer base that hasn’t grown much in years. Read More >

By on April 17, 2017

2016 Toyota Prius - Image: Toyota

Newfound hybrid competition from the likes of the Hyundai Ioniq has forced Toyota into a mid-year strategy shift. Starting imminently, the automaker plans to offer a less expensive base model of the Prius while bulking up the model’s content with no-charge added safety features.

According to automotive research and car-shopping website CarsDirect, the entry price of a Prius should drop by $1,210, bringing its base MSRP (including destination) to $24,360. That helps close the gap between it and the Ioniq, which has strategically positioned itself as the segment’s value pick. Read More >

By on April 17, 2017

2017 Shelby GT350, Image: Ford

Blue Oval fans who didn’t make the cut for GT ownership can settle for the Shelby GT350 Mustang for another year.

Ford Motor Company announced today — National Mustang Day, if you weren’t aware — that the hottest version of its perennial pony car, including the R version, will soldier on into 2018 essentially unchanged. Unless Ford has a monster Shelby variant on the way, its domestic competitors can point to their own output numbers and throw shade.

For now, anyway. Read More >

By on April 13, 2017

lansing assemblyl

General Motors will be idling multiple North American plants for 10 weeks this year to allow for the factory retooling necessary to build upcoming models. It also provides a buffer for the overabundance of product it currently has. At the moment, GM has a 97-day supply of vehicles. That’s well above industry average and substantially higher than its domestic peers. As of April 1st, Ford Motor Co. had 80 day’s worth of product and FCA had 82.

“Our inventory is high because we’re going to take 10 weeks out in the back end of the year as we’re modifying our plants, particularly with pickup trucks,” Alan Batey, GM’s head of North America, explained to reporters after GM unveiled a redesigned Buick Enclave. Read More >

By on April 13, 2017

dealership

 

Every industry analyst is beginning to sing the same tune. Despite things looking good now, the worm is about to turn. Global sales look poised to remain strong this year but the market has peaked and sales should persist on a graph as a flat line. Next year could be a different story, however, and there’s much apprehension surrounding lengthening loan terms and the upsurge of subprime lessees.

Rising incentives are also causing alarm; J.D. Power and Associates expects the average incentive per new unit to top $4,000 in 2017. While that tactic may get people into dealerships now, it might also harm long-term profitability as the automotive industry swings toward leaner times.   Read More >

By on April 13, 2017

2017 Subaru Ascent Concept - Image: Subaru

Still nearly eight months away from being revealed in final production form, it’s already assumed inside Subaru HQ that the 2018 Subaru Ascent will generate the bulk of its conquests from inside the Subaru family.

Subaru expects to sell approximately 60,000 Ascents on an annual basis in the United States. But according to statements made about the long-awaited three-row Tribeca replacement by Subaru CEO Yasuyuki Yoshinaga at last month’s Geneva Motor Show, the Ascent won’t be stealing many sales of the Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, Ford Explorer, Chevrolet Traverse, and Nissan Pathfinder.

Hey, Outback and Forester: Subaru’s looking at you for donations to the Ascent’s cause. Read More >

By on April 12, 2017

2017 Honda Civic hatchback - Image: Honda

Canadian passenger car sales are falling, not unpredictably, as SUVs and crossovers continue to earn an increasingly large chunk of market share.

And yet at the top of the passenger car leaderboard, Canada’s two best-selling cars are selling at a record pace, with no small amount of help from new hatchback body styles.

Bucking the Canadian, North American, and global anti-car trend most distinctly is the Honda Civic, Canada’s best-selling car in each of the last 19 years.

Indeed, so strong have Civic sales been through the first-quarter of 2017, we’re ready to make a projection. Make it a confirmation. We’ll say it with certainty. Honda Canada’s Civic streak will reach a full two decades, twenty years, as the Civic becomes Canada’s best-selling car in 2017.

The Civic’s lead is already insurmountable. Read More >

By on April 12, 2017

2018 Hyundai Sonata range – Image: Hyundai

Whether you loved it or hated it, the sixth-generation Hyundai Sonata that debuted at 2009’s Los Angeles auto show captured your attention.

In fact, that 2010-2014 Hyundai Sonata changed the way many automakers approached the midsize sedan segment, and it changed the way many buyers perceived the midsize sedan segment.

The 2015 Hyundai Sonata did not capture your attention. Sure, Hyundai built a better car with the seventh-generation Sonata, but Hyundai played it safe.

Now, at the 2017 New York International Auto Show, Hyundai reveals a refreshed seventh-generation Sonata. On a mission to capture the attention of midsize car buyers before they flee sedans in search of more flexible Tucsons and Santa Fe Sports, the 2018 Hyundai Sonata adopts the conservatively handsome Hyundai Elantra’s face. Read More >

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