The Truth About Cars » Marketing http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Wed, 26 Nov 2014 20:21:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Marketing http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/marketing/ McKenna: MINI Coupe, Roadster Dead By 2015 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/mckenna-mini-coupe-roadster-dead-2015/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/mckenna-mini-coupe-roadster-dead-2015/#comments Tue, 25 Nov 2014 13:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=950897 The backwards-cap-wearing MINI Coupe and its Roadster brother are being taken out behind the shed, both going out of production next year. AutoGuide reports MINI USA product chief Patrick McKenna made the announcement during last week’s LA Auto Show, proclaiming both had “run their life cycle.” The duo also were redundant compared with the hardtop […]

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The backwards-cap-wearing MINI Coupe and its Roadster brother are being taken out behind the shed, both going out of production next year.

AutoGuide reports MINI USA product chief Patrick McKenna made the announcement during last week’s LA Auto Show, proclaiming both had “run their life cycle.” The duo also were redundant compared with the hardtop and convertible already in the portfolio, and differences in styling and price didn’t attract many customers.

In their place, McKenna says higher-volume models over niche product will be the order of the day going forward, beginning with the launch of a four-door MINI for those who feel claustrophobic inside the main two-door unit.

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Aldred: Jeep Wrangler-Style GMC Model A Possibility http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/aldred-jeep-wrangler-style-gmc-model-possibility/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/aldred-jeep-wrangler-style-gmc-model-possibility/#comments Thu, 13 Nov 2014 11:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=944665 Would you like a “professional grade” Jeep Wrangler? Should Buick-GMC vice president Duncan Aldred get his way, that’s exactly what will happen as part of Aldred’s vow to “change the face” of GMC. Edmunds reports Aldred is looking at where to take GMC to boost sales, including what segments will and will not be key […]

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Would you like a “professional grade” Jeep Wrangler? Should Buick-GMC vice president Duncan Aldred get his way, that’s exactly what will happen as part of Aldred’s vow to “change the face” of GMC.

Edmunds reports Aldred is looking at where to take GMC to boost sales, including what segments will and will not be key to success. While only in the brainstorming phase with no plans at present to expand the lineup, he said there was “room throughout the range” if one were to segment it, with “plenty of room everywhere in the hierarchy” to spare.

Thus, Aldred’s team could bring aboard an “active all-road, Wrangler-esque type of vehicle” to the lineup, as well as a flagship SUV above the Yukon, and an Encore-sized subcompact crossover. Aldred added that the brand could play around in “more big segments” if so desired.

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Mercedes Unveils New Nomenclature Scheme, Maybach Addition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/mercedes-unveils-new-nomenclature-scheme-maybach-addition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/mercedes-unveils-new-nomenclature-scheme-maybach-addition/#comments Wed, 12 Nov 2014 12:00:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=944465 Mercedes-Benz is shaking things up as far as its long-standing nomenclature system is concerned, as well as introducing a new name to the portfolio: Mercedes-Maybach. The first Mercedes-Maybach, the Mercedes-Maybach S600, will make its way down the ramp during next week’s 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show. On the boot lid, the new sub-brand will follow […]

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Mercedes-Benz is shaking things up as far as its long-standing nomenclature system is concerned, as well as introducing a new name to the portfolio: Mercedes-Maybach.

The first Mercedes-Maybach, the Mercedes-Maybach S600, will make its way down the ramp during next week’s 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show. On the boot lid, the new sub-brand will follow Mercedes-AMG’s display pattern: Maybach on the left, Mercedes star in the center, model designation on the right. The ultra upscale sedan is expected to set the pace for Mercedes-Maybach as a sub-brand “that sets a benchmark for exclusivity and meets even the most discerning of requirements in terms of its appointments.”

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As for the parent brand overall, with 30 vehicles set to be in showrooms by 2020 — including 11 all-new models — Mercedes decided it was time to do some housekeeping, with most of the attention going toward its SUV range. Thus, the following:

  • GLA: GL A-Class
  • GLC: GL C-Class; was the GLK
  • GLE: GL E-Class; was the M-Class, or ML
  • GLE Coupe: GL E-Class Coupe
  • GLS: GL S-Class; was the GL
  • G: No change due to lineage

The L serves as a linking letter between the main class and the five core classes, the latter remaining unchanged. Roadsters will be redesignated as SL beginning in 2016, following the same pattern as established with the G-Class. Engine designations also receive a reboot, and will be displayed in lower-case on the boot lid. Mercedes’ AWD system, 4MATIC, remains unchanged.

New nomenclature Mercedes-Benz model series

New nomenclature Mercedes-Benz drive systems

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Lexus Europe Boss: Teutonic Trinity “Impossible” To Beat http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/uyttenhoven-teutonic-trinity-impossible-beat/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/uyttenhoven-teutonic-trinity-impossible-beat/#comments Tue, 11 Nov 2014 15:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=944057 While American premium brands Cadillac and Lincoln look to the Germans for inspiration — and their places on the podium — Lexus Europe chief Alain Uyttenhoven proclaimed that the Teutonic Trinity — BMW, Mercedes and Audi — were “impossible” to beat on a global scale, settling for fourth if possible. According to Just-Auto, Uyttenhoven says […]

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2014 Lexus CT200

While American premium brands Cadillac and Lincoln look to the Germans for inspiration — and their places on the podium — Lexus Europe chief Alain Uyttenhoven proclaimed that the Teutonic Trinity — BMW, Mercedes and Audi — were “impossible” to beat on a global scale, settling for fourth if possible.

According to Just-Auto, Uyttenhoven says the parent company is “out of its adolescence,” a turbulent time that included taking a one-two combo from the Great Recession and the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. Global sales prior to the occurrences topped out at 518,000 in 2007, with 2013 sales hitting a new peak of 523,000 units sold. That figure is just a quarter of what Audi aims to sell by 2020.

He adds that after establishing a reputation for high quality, customer service and environmental responsibility, Lexus will now focus on “emotion.” Thus, more high-performance vehicles with better driving dynamics, and likely more Predator grills. Diesels in Europe, on the other hand, will need more work:

The next big discussion will be about particulates. CO2 is not behind us, but we have to go to 99g/km by 2020. So, diesel has been growing because that CO2 average is easier to achieve with diesel. But the cost of purifying a diesel car is going to rise, so in the future, these engines are going to cost a lot more… For us, [petrol] hybrid is the answer.

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Study: Most Drivers Addicted To Texting While Driving http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/study-drivers-addicted-texting-driving/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/study-drivers-addicted-texting-driving/#comments Tue, 11 Nov 2014 14:00:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=944025 Add one more reason for Greg to have missed that stop sign: He was likely addicted to texting while driving, per a study commissioned by AT&T. Edmunds reports the study, conducted by Dr. David Greenfield of the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, noted that three out of four individuals surveyed — from a sample […]

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Add one more reason for Greg to have missed that stop sign: He was likely addicted to texting while driving, per a study commissioned by AT&T.

Edmunds reports the study, conducted by Dr. David Greenfield of the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, noted that three out of four individuals surveyed — from a sample size of 1,004 between the ages of 16 and 65 — simply couldn’t put the phone down to change lanes safely, look out for that semi-trailer et al.

The reason: Dopamine. According to Greenfield, those who check their cell phones every time an update blinks into existence — Facebook, Instagram, texting, etc. — receive a lift in mood thanks to the neurochemical. This could then lead into a feedback loop that could get in the way of driving to the detriment of all on the road.

Further, 90 percent of those surveyed knew it was wrong to do so, but kept texting away through the power of rationalization, with 30 percent placing said power in the belief that they can multitask like their laptops and tablets at home.

As this is a study commissioned by AT&T, the telecom giant is in the midst of a campaign promoting safe driving by putting away the phone (of which the study plays a part). The campaign, It Can Wait, includes an app available to Android and iOS users — sorry BlackBerry and Windows Mobile users — named DriveMode, which can silence text alerts once it senses speeds greater than 15 mph, shutting down once the driver comes to a stop. Over 1.8 million users have downloaded the app thus far.

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Acura May Unleash New Integra As Early As 2017 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/acura-may-unleash-new-integra-early-2017/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/acura-may-unleash-new-integra-early-2017/#comments Mon, 10 Nov 2014 13:00:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=943465 The last time one could buy an Acura Integra/RSX new off the showroom floor was in the mid-2000s. That time could come again soon to help the upcoming NSX, and the brand overall. Car & Driver reports Acura’s chief designer, Dave Marek, said a performance brand such as his employer “needs a flagship and… an […]

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Honda Integra Type R DC2

The last time one could buy an Acura Integra/RSX new off the showroom floor was in the mid-2000s. That time could come again soon to help the upcoming NSX, and the brand overall.

Car & Driver reports Acura’s chief designer, Dave Marek, said a performance brand such as his employer “needs a flagship and… an accessible sport car. Not a sports car, but a sport car.” While the flagship — the NSX — is set to leave Ohio beginning next year, the reincarnated Integra/RSX would likely begin its return to the showroom floor in 2017 at the earliest.

Though Marek couldn’t be more specific regarding the supporting actor, he did acknowledge that Honda went the wrong way in making Acura too upscale, not at all helped by the Great Recession that turned what would have been the next NSX into a non-homologated Super GT combatant.

Meanwhile, Acura will debut a refreshed ILX next week at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show, which he says is a harbinger of things to come:

There are changes coming, and then there are more changes coming. It’s not what our direction is going to be, but it’s a step in that direction. There are lots of resources and activity going into making Acura back into what it was.

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Farley, Odell Exchange Roles In Ford Exec Shuffle http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/farley-odell-exchange-roles-ford-exec-shuffle/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/farley-odell-exchange-roles-ford-exec-shuffle/#comments Mon, 10 Nov 2014 11:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=943409 Two Ford execs are about to have their passports stamped, as marketing chief Jim Farley and Ford of Europe general Stephen Odell are switching roles and addresses, effective on New Year’s Day 2015. Both execs will continue to report to Ford CEO Mark Fields, who had this to say on this exchanging of executives: We […]

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Jim Farley, Ford Executive Vice President of Global Marketing, Sa

Two Ford execs are about to have their passports stamped, as marketing chief Jim Farley and Ford of Europe general Stephen Odell are switching roles and addresses, effective on New Year’s Day 2015.

Both execs will continue to report to Ford CEO Mark Fields, who had this to say on this exchanging of executives:

We are excited to see Jim and Stephen take on these new roles as they bring unique skills, experience and fresh perspectives to these critical positions. These moves also underscore our commitment to develop our senior leaders through deep experience within both our business units and our global skill teams.

Farley has been in his current role since 2007, having come over to the Blue Oval after a decade of leading Toyota’s marketing efforts. Come January, he’ll be tasked with executing the One Ford plan in Europe “to achieve profitable growth through an unprecedented focus on new products, a strong brand and increased cost efficiency.”

Odell held down the fort since 2010, and was Volvo’s CEO and president from 2008 to 2010. He’s also been with the company for 34 years, and will work on building Ford’s and Lincoln’s global presence “through innovative new digital communications and transforming the retail experience for customers.”

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Man U’s Finest Ignore Chevy’s Offering For Their Own Rides http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/man-us-finest-ignore-chevys-offering-rides/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/man-us-finest-ignore-chevys-offering-rides/#comments Wed, 05 Nov 2014 11:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=940913 Chevrolet may be sponsoring football club Manchester United (while also pulling out of the European market), but it doesn’t mean the footballers are interested in what their sponsors are selling. The Daily Mail (yes, I know – CA) reports the 15 Chevrolets delivered to the club back in April — including Camaros and Corvette Stingrays […]

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Chevrolet may be sponsoring football club Manchester United (while also pulling out of the European market), but it doesn’t mean the footballers are interested in what their sponsors are selling.

The Daily Mail (yes, I know – CA) reports the 15 Chevrolets delivered to the club back in April — including Camaros and Corvette Stingrays — haven’t been driven in anger or on the high street by any of the players on the team. A source stated the cars, when not sleeping in the Carrington Training Centre’s parking lot, were only driven by the training ground staff.

Instead, the team roll up in more European fare: Man U captain Wayne Rooney waves the Union Jack proudly in his “Overfinch” Range Rover, midfielder Marouane Fellani opts for the Teutonic precision of his Mercedes SUV, and striker Robin van Persie pulls up for practice in a Porsche 911. Only team manager Louis van Gaal drives a Chevy — a Captiva, to be exact — but that belongs to him.

Though a Chevrolet representative stated the players were under no obligation to drive any of the 15 vehicles delivered — the rep called the provision a “voluntary drive programme” — the move isn’t likely sitting well with the brand, who paid £350 million ($560 million USD) in 2012 to sponsor the team over seven years.

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Mercedes-AMG Buys Stake, Enters Partnership With MV Agusta http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/mercedes-amg-buys-stake-enters-partnership-mv-agusta/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/mercedes-amg-buys-stake-enters-partnership-mv-agusta/#comments Mon, 03 Nov 2014 13:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=939681 Daimler AG’s Mercedes-AMG high-performance luxury brand has decided that two wheels aren’t so bad after all, putting down an undisclosed sum for 25 percent of Italian motorcycle manufacturer MV Agusta S.p.A. In addition to the stake, Mercedes-AMG and MV Agusta will enter into a long-term partnership with a focus on sales and marketing toward consumers […]

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Mercedes-AMG + MV Agusta

Daimler AG’s Mercedes-AMG high-performance luxury brand has decided that two wheels aren’t so bad after all, putting down an undisclosed sum for 25 percent of Italian motorcycle manufacturer MV Agusta S.p.A.

In addition to the stake, Mercedes-AMG and MV Agusta will enter into a long-term partnership with a focus on sales and marketing toward consumers of both high-end cars and motorcycles. No word was given, however, on whether any manufacturing and design DNA will enter into the mix down the road as a result of the new partnership.

MV Agusta President/CEO Giovanni Castiglioni expressed his pleasure with the partnership, stating Mercedes-AMG’s investment would allow his company “to further expand globally,” as well as accelerate said growth. In turn, MV Agusta would “further enhance” his partner’s leadership in the high-performance game. Mercedes-AMG CEO Tobias Moers agreed, adding that the partnership would give his company access “into a world of additional high-performance enthusiasts.”

MV Agusta has sought a dance partner for some time, ever since the Harley-Davidson partnership made in 2008 dissolved completely just two years after. Earlier this year, rumors pointed to Fiat to be the one to take the company’s hand; the rumors did not pan out.

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Ethanol Advocates Conduct Pre-Election Ad Campaign Blitz http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/ethanol-advocates-conduct-pre-election-ad-campaign-blitz/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/ethanol-advocates-conduct-pre-election-ad-campaign-blitz/#comments Tue, 28 Oct 2014 14:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=936970 In less than a week, the B&B will head out to the polls to decide the direction the United States will take for the next two years. Big Ethanol, too, is interested in the direction taken. AutoblogGreen reports Fuels America, an advocate for the fuel source, is conducting a major advertising campaign to persuade the […]

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Ethanol Pump

In less than a week, the B&B will head out to the polls to decide the direction the United States will take for the next two years.

Big Ethanol, too, is interested in the direction taken.

AutoblogGreen reports Fuels America, an advocate for the fuel source, is conducting a major advertising campaign to persuade the Obama administration and the Environmental Protection Agency not to make cuts into the Renewable Fuels Standard, the mandate that makes E85, E10 and every other blend possible.

The blitz — which kicked-off last week — is being carried through Beltway media such as Politico, RollCall and WTOP-FM, and will continue until November 5.

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Edmunds Retracts Haggling Parody Amid Dealer Outcry http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/edmunds-retracts-haggling-parody-amid-dealer-outcry/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/edmunds-retracts-haggling-parody-amid-dealer-outcry/#comments Tue, 28 Oct 2014 11:00:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=936874 As you all know, the TTAC Zaibatsu prides itself on not having to worry about things like upsetting brands for telling it like it is for a given product. Of course, this does sometimes mean we get blackballed by said brands for not drinking the Kool-Aid, but we have our ways around those roadblocks. Alas, […]

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Two Bros Talking To A Sales Bro About A Car

As you all know, the TTAC Zaibatsu prides itself on not having to worry about things like upsetting brands for telling it like it is for a given product. Of course, this does sometimes mean we get blackballed by said brands for not drinking the Kool-Aid, but we have our ways around those roadblocks.

Alas, Edmunds doesn’t have those ways, resulting in a series of ads retracted after a number of dealers took issue with the content.

According to AdAge, the automotive research site created a series of ads parodying outdated sales techniques that made car-buying a headache for quite a few; the headache hasn’t gone away, with 83 percent of consumers surveyed in 2014 by Edmunds would like to do away with negotiations altogether.

The parodies focused on a supermarket cashier using said techniques to persuade shoppers to haggle for their purchases. The results were filmed via hidden camera, then posted on YouTube.

Alas, it was not to last: A number of its partners found little humor in the adverts, feeling they undermined their relationship with Edmunds. A few showrooms went as far as to unsubscribe from the site’s portfolio of services.

Though it had no intention to take the series down at first, Edmunds relented. President Seth Berkowitz said the series “missed the mark,” and that the company would go back to improving the car-buying process with its dealer partners “for car shoppers around the country.”

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Lincoln To Undergo $5B Five-Year Extensive Revamp http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/lincoln-undergo-5b-five-year-extensive-revamp/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/lincoln-undergo-5b-five-year-extensive-revamp/#comments Mon, 27 Oct 2014 13:00:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=936098 Over the next five years, every Lincoln in the showroom presently will either be redesigned or replaced as part of an overall effort by Ford CEO Mark Fields to return to the premium brand to glory. Reuters reports the plan comes with a significant investment: over $5 billion during the next five years. The money […]

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Over the next five years, every Lincoln in the showroom presently will either be redesigned or replaced as part of an overall effort by Ford CEO Mark Fields to return to the premium brand to glory.

Reuters reports the plan comes with a significant investment: over $5 billion during the next five years. The money will be spent to not only revamp the product portfolio, but to help position the portfolio against those of BMW and Mercedes-Benz at home and in China. $2 billion has already been spent in the previous two years, split between preparing the brand for the Chinese market, and refreshing and expanding the lineup before the plan kicks into gear.

The centerpiece of the restoration plan is the D6 platform, which will provide a base for front-, rear- and all-wheel drive sedans and crossovers as early as 2019. Though the platform will be shared with Ford, D6’s purpose is to help set Lincoln apart from the Blue Oval portfolio, and to make the brand more competitive with a stronger base to build upon.

The first models to be built upon the modular architecture include a mid-size sedan and a seven-passenger crossover that could take up with both the MKZ and MKT could leave off. Before then, however, a few redesigns and replacements are set to come, beginning with the redesign of the MKX and replacement of the MKS between the springs of 2015 and 2016. Following up in 2017, the Navigator would gain a new platform from the upcoming 2015 Ford F-150, with aluminum panels to match, while the MKC would get a redesign in 2018.

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September 2014 Sales: $85K Viper Sells Like It’s March 2008 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/september-2014-sales-85k-viper-sells-like-march-2008/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/september-2014-sales-85k-viper-sells-like-march-2008/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 12:15:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=934234 This is what you read two months ago on TTAC: “FCA won’t build this car forever if it remains unwanted. Long live the Alfa Romeo 4C?” The mission for the Viper team then became, how do we make it desirable? Better yet, how do we make it desirable tomorrow? Over the span of a few […]

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2015 Dodge Viper SRTThis is what you read two months ago on TTAC: “FCA won’t build this car forever if it remains unwanted. Long live the Alfa Romeo 4C?”

The mission for the Viper team then became, how do we make it desirable? Better yet, how do we make it desirable tomorrow?

Over the span of a few days or weeks, the Chrysler Group wasn’t going to inject a barrel full of cash into R&D for a new Viper, perform stress tests, crash tests, performance tests, complete styling mock-ups, consult the Viper-owning faithful, and begin delivering cars to dealers.

But they could drop the price by $15,000, creating a base MSRP of $84,995. Suddenly for September, the Viper was priced like it was two decades ago, adjusted for inflation.

Suddenly, U.S. sales rose to the highest level the Viper has seen since January 2009, when 127 were sold, a follow-up to the Viper’s 152-unit December 2008 performance.

The Viper topped 100 units on six occasions in calendar year 2008: in March, April, May, August, and December.

One month does not offer enough evidence for a thorough sales analysis, but the turnaround is still too distinct to ignore. August sales had fallen to the second-lowest total since the latest Viper arrived early last year. The summer season generated just 158 sales between June and August, a 21% year-over-year drop from the 200 sold during the same season one year earlier.

Can the now $85K Viper maintain this heady level of output? Assuming Dodge/SRT sell another 324 more in the fourth-quarter of 2014, the Viper will have enjoyed its best sales year since 2008, although the total in that assumed case (870 units) would be down 26% from ‘08 levels, when 1172 were sold.

Keep in mind, 2008, when sales jumped 169% year-over-year, was not an especially good time for the Viper. 1511 Vipers were sold in 2002, 2103 in 2003, 1782 in 2004, 1652 in 2005, and 1455 in 2006.

Nevertheless, the year-over-year growth achieved by the Viper in September 2014 is notable. Volume shot up 140%, a gain of 63 units. Automotive News reports that Dodge will begin building Vipers again in mid-November after the price cut began moving substantial portions of dealer inventory. By that time, Viper production will have been idled for more than one-third of 2014.

With Viper numbers ascending, we can’t ignore the upward movement from two other sports cars. Nissan GT-R sales more than doubled to a Viper-besting 159 units, a gain of 83 sales compared with September 2013. GM, meanwhile, sold 2467 Corvettes in September alone, a 197% year-over-year increase, equal to 1636 units.

Only four other passenger cars produced greater year-over-year gains than the Viper in September. Audi’s A3 (up 33,329%) wasn’t really on sale a year ago. The Mitsubishi Mirage (up 6600%) did not put a full month under its belt last September. Mercedes-Benz’s scarcely available B-Class EV was up 3150%. And the Mercedes-Benz S-Class (up 393%), with 1909 September sales, continued to teach every automaker a lesson in how to sell $94,400-$222,000 cars.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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Cadillac Dealers Prepare To Step Up, Or Leave, Sales Game Under De Nysschen http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/cadillac-dealers-prepare-step-leave-sales-game-de-nysschen/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/cadillac-dealers-prepare-step-leave-sales-game-de-nysschen/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 14:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=934202 Facebook commenters and the automotive press aren’t the only ones feeling the lash from Cadillac boss Johan de Nysschen, as dealers themselves are feeling the pressure to step up their game. Automotive News reports that while some Cadillac dealerships have nothing to worry about, and are, in fact, completely on-board with de Nysschen’s alphanumeric global […]

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cadillac-dealer-inside

Facebook commenters and the automotive press aren’t the only ones feeling the lash from Cadillac boss Johan de Nysschen, as dealers themselves are feeling the pressure to step up their game.

Automotive News reports that while some Cadillac dealerships have nothing to worry about, and are, in fact, completely on-board with de Nysschen’s alphanumeric global vision, those on the low end of the totem pole fear they may be selling something else if they can’t compete on the level their new boss expects of them.

Specifically, de Nysschen may want to consolidate the brand’s network of 924 dealerships into a more BMW/Mercedes-esque number — hovering in the 330 – 370 range — with a similar focus on urban markets. Though neither he nor anyone representing Cadillac have stated such plans were on the table, dealers like Claude Burns and an unnamed dealer in the Midwest are going on the offensive to maintain their spots: a new expanded floorplan for the former, lawyering-up with an attorney who represented dealers during General Motors’ bankruptcy for the latter.

As for the boss himself, de Nysschen had this to say about the future of his dealerships after his meeting with them last month in Las Vegas, where he outlined his vision for the brand and their role in it:

It’s very clear to me that many, many dealers already have risen to the challenge. On the other hand, when those customers engage us in our dealerships, we cannot afford that the experience is anything other than confirming that this is a first-class brand. And not all of our dealers are there.

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Los Angeles 2014: Honda HR-V, Acura ILX To Bow On The Red Carpet http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/los-angeles-2014-honda-hr-v-acura-ilx-bow-red-carpet/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/los-angeles-2014-honda-hr-v-acura-ilx-bow-red-carpet/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 12:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=934146 Coming soon to an automotive red carpet near you: Honda’s new HR-V and Acura’s 2016 ILX. The former, seen only in photos when announced in New York earlier this year, will be making its North American debut at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show. The Fit-based crossover is expected to serve “as the entry point […]

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Coming soon to an automotive red carpet near you: Honda’s new HR-V and Acura’s 2016 ILX.

The former, seen only in photos when announced in New York earlier this year, will be making its North American debut at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show. The Fit-based crossover is expected to serve “as the entry point to the Honda light truck lineup,” consisting of the Ridgeline, Pilot and CR-V. The HR-V will take the stage sometime after 12:30 p.m. Pacific November 19.

Over at Acura, the Civic-based ILX will be debuting its new look for 2016, with the aim of firming up its appeal with customers in the entry-level premium market. The updates include a “more forceful, sporty exterior,” an unknown-yet-powerful powertrain, and new interior design. The sedan will roll up to the world’s stage at 9:30 a.m. Pacific November 20.

2016_ILX_to_Debut_at_LAAS 16HR_V_Teaser_Final

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Los Angeles 2014: Mercedes Maybach Set To Debut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/los-angeles-2014-mercedes-maybach-set-debut/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/los-angeles-2014-mercedes-maybach-set-debut/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 12:00:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=933770 Once a name best known for providing a platform for Kanye West’s and Jay Z’s Mad Maxian fantasies, Maybach is set to return from the grave under the bright lights of the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show as a Mercedes model. Car & Driver reports the Maybach will be around 18 feet in length, slotting […]

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Maybach-badge

Once a name best known for providing a platform for Kanye West’s and Jay Z’s Mad Maxian fantasies, Maybach is set to return from the grave under the bright lights of the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show as a Mercedes model.

Car & Driver reports the Maybach will be around 18 feet in length, slotting between the S550 and the deceased Maybach 57, according to head of global design, Gordon Wagener.

Other features include a turbocharged V12, rear-wheel drive, Mercedes’ Magic Body Control suspension, luxurious materials, and a badge here and there to let the proletariat know a god and/or goddess is being chauffeured, not some Silicon Valley dirtbag.

The Mercedes Maybach will be going up against Bentley and Rolls-Royce in the Grey Poupon delivery game, with the Maybach name becoming a sub-brand like AMG. That move could, in turn, allow for more models down the road, such as an SUV based on the GL-Class, as well as a coupe and/or convertible derived from the S-Class.

As for price of admission, all that has been said is that it will be lower than the Maybach models from just a few years ago.

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Koesters: Ford May Build PHEV For Europe Should Demand Rise http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/koesters-ford-may-build-phev-europe-demand-rise/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/koesters-ford-may-build-phev-europe-demand-rise/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 11:00:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=933746 While U.S. consumers can opt for a PHEV version of the Fusion or C-Max, European customers have had to look elsewhere. This could change soon, however. Automotive News reports Ford is “actively considering” bringing over a PHEV to go up against offerings from Volkswagen, Mitsubishi, Toyota and Volvo, according to vehicle line director for large […]

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2015 Ford C-Max Energi

While U.S. consumers can opt for a PHEV version of the Fusion or C-Max, European customers have had to look elsewhere.

This could change soon, however.

Automotive News reports Ford is “actively considering” bringing over a PHEV to go up against offerings from Volkswagen, Mitsubishi, Toyota and Volvo, according to vehicle line director for large cars in Europe, Uli Koesters.

The reason the Blue Oval hadn’t planned on playing the game? Low demand in Europe for PHEVs overall. Koesters could immediately bring a PHEV to market, such as one based upon the Fusion’s European cousin, the Mondeo, but only if the interest is there:

I believe the plug-in take-up in Europe is not quite as ready as some people would like to think, but it is clearly a technology that can do a lot better at significantly reducing fuel consumption and that is why we are actively looking at it.

At the moment, the most popular PHEV is the Mitsubishi Outlander, with 8,953 units sold in H1 2014. Volvo, meanwhile, sold the fewest PHEVs in the same period, moving only 3,233 V60s.

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Tesla’s First Battery Swap Station Opening Soon http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/teslas-first-battery-swap-station-opening-soon/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/teslas-first-battery-swap-station-opening-soon/#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 13:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=932362 While Tesla owners — and owners of all EVs, for that matter — may be waiting a couple of years before titanium oxide anodes bring battery charging levels down to the 3- to 5-minute fueling times found at a given gas station, CEO Elon Musk has another option for them to consider: Battery-pack swapping. SlashGear […]

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Tesla Supercharger

While Tesla owners — and owners of all EVs, for that matter — may be waiting a couple of years before titanium oxide anodes bring battery charging levels down to the 3- to 5-minute fueling times found at a given gas station, CEO Elon Musk has another option for them to consider: Battery-pack swapping.

SlashGear reports the first swapping station will come online within the next few months, offering S and X owners the option of allowing robots to swap a drained pack for a fully charged unit from underneath the car within 90 seconds. Not only is this method faster than refueling at the local ARCO, but it blows away the Supercharger’s 30-minute charging time, as well.

The pack swap would also enable owners to retrieve their original packs later on, or, should retrieval become inconvenient, pay the difference for the new pack. Critics note this could lead to supply problems, where some stations have batteries waiting for their owners to return, while others run short of new packs.

The first station will open somewhere between Los Angeles and San Francisco, though further details were scant.

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Dwindling Cabriolet Market Affecting Automakers, Suppliers Alike http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/dwindling-cabriolet-market-affecting-automakers-suppliers-alike/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/dwindling-cabriolet-market-affecting-automakers-suppliers-alike/#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 10:00:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=932282 If you’re a fan of convertibles, then you may find your selection dwindling as more consumers go for a different image, affecting automakers and suppliers alike. Automotive News Europe reports manufacturers like Volkswagen and Peugeot are cutting down the number of cabriolets in their portfolios as a result of the following: Popularity: In the two […]

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Opel Cascada

If you’re a fan of convertibles, then you may find your selection dwindling as more consumers go for a different image, affecting automakers and suppliers alike.

Automotive News Europe reports manufacturers like Volkswagen and Peugeot are cutting down the number of cabriolets in their portfolios as a result of the following:

  • Popularity: In the two biggest markets for such vehicles — North America and Europe — the convertible experienced sales of 827,000 unit in 2007, but only 444,000 in 2013. The drop is likely the result of consumers moving toward crossovers and SUVs, along with other image-making vehicles like the Toyota Prius and Tesla Model S.
  • Limited market: Even when popularity was at its peak, not everyone wanted the wind in their hair. Convertibles were most popular in places like England, Sweden, California and Florida — the latter two were the result of transplants from colder, wetter regions who now wanted to soak up the sun — while few were sold in places like Dubai, China and Singapore.
  • Other options: Consumers shopping for new vehicles can have theirs with a panoramic roof, delivering blue skies to all without needing to apply a ton of Aqua Net or toupee glue before heading out. Further, SUVs and cabriolets are image vehicles that can replace each other, though such a swap hurts the latter more than the former in the new-vehicle market. Finally, convertibles have a higher residual value, and tend to do better in the used-vehicle market than when first purchased.

Thus, as automakers trim their open-top offerings, suppliers like Valmet and Magna CTS fear their time may soon come to call it a day. CEO for the largest supplier of roof systems, Webasto’s Holger Engelmann, says the market won’t be able to sustain three major players in the supply game. Both Webasto and Valmet — the third largest; Magna CTS is No. 2 — have shuttered facilities over the years amid the shrinking market, with Valmet closing its German operations by 2017.

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Big Steel Steps Up Marketing Game Under Aluminum Shadow http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/big-steel-steps-marketing-game-aluminum-shadow/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/big-steel-steps-marketing-game-aluminum-shadow/#comments Thu, 16 Oct 2014 14:00:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=932026 Ford’s move to make the upcoming F-150 out of aluminum, along with GM’s plans to do the same with its trucks down the road, isn’t sitting well with the steel industry, to say the least. PickupTrucks.com reports the Steel Market Development Institute — the marketing arm of eight United States-based steel producers — recently became […]

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Ford’s move to make the upcoming F-150 out of aluminum, along with GM’s plans to do the same with its trucks down the road, isn’t sitting well with the steel industry, to say the least.

PickupTrucks.com reports the Steel Market Development Institute — the marketing arm of eight United States-based steel producers — recently became the title sponsor of the Texas Auto Writers Association’s 2014 Truck Rodeo — where the Aluminum King of Truck Mountain took home the Truck of Texas title and four other awards — in part to promote steel. Outgoing SDMI vice president Ronald Krupitzer explains:

Texans know and love their trucks. When they need a vehicle to keep up with the workload and lifestyle, advanced high-strength steel offers the perfect balance between weight and performance… we look forward to partnering with the Texas Auto Writers Association and sharing their insight on why time-tested materials, like advanced steel, will help ensure the durability, strength and safety of future vehicles.

As emphasized by SMDI president Larry Kavanaugh, the F-150 may have an aluminum body, but the truck’s frame “uses more high-strength steel than any other pickup.” The group also proclaimed said steel would remain the choice of automakers through 2025 and beyond, while aluminum will go the way of the hula hoop, Tamagotchi and the Harlem Shake after a few years of experimentation.

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De Nysschen: Cadillac Moved To NYC, Alphanumerics To Be Global Player http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/de-nysschen-cadillac-moved-nyc-alphanumerics-global-player/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/de-nysschen-cadillac-moved-nyc-alphanumerics-global-player/#comments Thu, 16 Oct 2014 11:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=931954 Cadillac boss Johan de Nysschen has taken a lot of flak as of late for the brand’s moves to New York City, and to (albeit standardized) alphanumeric naming conventions. The first time, he took to Facebook to address his critics. This time? De Nysschen took it to the source. In response to Automotive News editor-in-chief […]

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Cadillac ATS New York Plate

Cadillac boss Johan de Nysschen has taken a lot of flak as of late for the brand’s moves to New York City, and to (albeit standardized) alphanumeric naming conventions. The first time, he took to Facebook to address his critics.

This time? De Nysschen took it to the source.

In response to Automotive News editor-in-chief Keith Crain’s letter lamenting both issues in the name of Detroit, de Nysschen penned a letter to the editor addressing Crain’s concerns.

Regarding the CT/XT nomenclature chosen in lieu of proper names — including Eldorado, Seville and Fleetwood — the president said such emotional attachment to those names “should be balanced against the fact that those names resonate more with baby boomers and are U.S.-centric,” and are not relevant to Cadillac’s intended global audience “where the reality is that alphanumeric nomenclature is a deeply entrenched industrywide practice.”

As far as the notion of Cadillac abandoning Detroit for SoHo, de Nysschen says the move was not due to any personal preference, stating that “no corporation would tolerate such indulgences by its leadership.” Instead, it was done to help reinforce “the psychological and physical separation in business philosophy” between the premium brand and the rest of General Motors. He adds that the net loss of 50 jobs in Detroit would likely be filled by GM, and pale in comparison against the 1,600 new manufacturing jobs secured by the automaker’s decision to green-light the CT6 earlier this month.

Finally, he does acknowledge Crain’s concern over business efficiency disadvantages as a result of the move, noting that said disadvantages were anticipated beforehand, “and will be overcome by making changes to current corporate processes.” De Nysschen concludes that all business decisions will be made by the brand’s leadership every step of the way, answering only to GM’s top brass and the automaker’s shareholders.

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Datsun Dealing With Low Sales In Emerging Markets http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/datsun-dealing-low-sales-emerging-markets/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/datsun-dealing-low-sales-emerging-markets/#comments Wed, 15 Oct 2014 10:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=931346 Last year, Renault-Nissan resurrected Datsun, positioning the brand for emerging markets — like India, Russia and Indonesia — with a portfolio of models that would attract new, young consumers whose wallets were a bit thin. It’s not quite working out thus far. Bloomberg reports deliveries of the Go hatchback in India have fallen in three […]

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Datsun mi-Do 01

Last year, Renault-Nissan resurrected Datsun, positioning the brand for emerging markets — like India, Russia and Indonesia — with a portfolio of models that would attract new, young consumers whose wallets were a bit thin.

It’s not quite working out thus far.

Bloomberg reports deliveries of the Go hatchback in India have fallen in three of the previous four months through this August, with only 607 units leaving the lot in July, briefly dipping below the sales rate of the Tata Nano in the same month. Further, from its debut in March through August, a total of 9,557 of the ₹312,270 ($5,100 USD) Gos found their way into Indian garages.

Meanwhile, Russian sales will take a hit thanks to the ongoing geopolitical Cold War retro revival delivering a two-pronged attack upon the market, with sanctions by Western states on one side, the spectre of recession along the other. According to IHS Automotive, sales may fall to a decade-low of 9 percent by the time 2015 rolls around.

Finally, Datsun has moved 6,400 Go+ Pancas thus far in FY 2014, with the goal set for 40,000 units sold by the end of March 2015. The brand recently began accepting orders for the Go hatch, while Nissan believes it can hit the mark within the year.

India may prove to be the toughest market for the upstart brand, as those interested in a new car would rather pay more than be seen in something considered “cheap.” That said, sales could pick up during the country’s festival season, which began last month and is set to end in November. Additionally, Datsun corporate vice president Vincent Cobee acknowledged that it would take a while for a new-car buyer to consider a new brand over an established one, even if they are paying $10,000 or less for the vehicle.

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Acura May Follow Subaru With AWD-Only Product Plan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/acura-may-follow-subaru-awd-product-plan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/acura-may-follow-subaru-awd-product-plan/#comments Tue, 14 Oct 2014 14:00:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=930906 Looking for a way to revitalize itself, Acura is considering taking a cue from Subaru by going all in on all-wheel drive. Automotive News reports the plan is one of several backed by the brand’s Acura Business Planning Office — formed earlier this year to rethink and revitalize the brand in the United States — […]

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2012-acura-TL-SH-AWD-badge-2

Looking for a way to revitalize itself, Acura is considering taking a cue from Subaru by going all in on all-wheel drive.

Automotive News reports the plan is one of several backed by the brand’s Acura Business Planning Office — formed earlier this year to rethink and revitalize the brand in the United States — though nothing is set in stone thus far.

Acura boss Koichi Fukuo believes that AWD is the way to go, citing the brand’s need to offer “something different” compared to the competition. That said, premium brands like BMW and Audi already offer AWD, with 58 percent of BMWs and 90 percent of Audis so equipped.

As for taking influence from Subaru’s success with the platform, Fukuo wants to do for what he calls “Acurists” — the loyal customer base he aims to cultivate through the AWD plan — what the Pleiadian automaker has done for its “Subarists”:

Looking at Subaru, I felt that we have to have a strong, clear direction as a brand. What’s important is to have the technology, styling and performance to evolve all together. Otherwise, I don’t think we can increase the number of loyal customers, so-called Acurists.

At present, the TLX and the upcoming hybrid RLX will have the brand’s next-gen Super Handling All-Wheel-Drive system, the latter receiving the Sport Hybrid variant that will also move the second-gen NSX when the sports car leaves Ohio in 2015. The rest of the lineup will follow over the years as each model comes up for renewal and/or refreshing. Power for all will come more powerful engines, none of which will be V8s or V10s due to weight issues interfering with the performance of a given vehicle.

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Hyundai/Kia Reconsidering US Diesel Market Stance http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/hyundaikia-reconsidering-us-diesel-market-stance/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/hyundaikia-reconsidering-us-diesel-market-stance/#comments Tue, 14 Oct 2014 13:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=930882 With their portfolio of hybrids and EVs in place in the United States, Hyundai/Kia are now reconsidering their stance on bringing diesel power over to the market. According to Ward’s Auto, Hyundai/Kia America Technical Center powertrain director John Juriga says his employer sees “some value with diesels,” stating the South Korean duo had planned to […]

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Kia-Rio-Diesel

With their portfolio of hybrids and EVs in place in the United States, Hyundai/Kia are now reconsidering their stance on bringing diesel power over to the market.

According to Ward’s Auto, Hyundai/Kia America Technical Center powertrain director John Juriga says his employer sees “some value with diesels,” stating the South Korean duo had planned to bring them over as far back as 2009, only to back out due to then-upcoming regulations for cleaner diesels, the costs in creating them, and the higher price of diesel compared to gasoline. He says that while those issues “haven’t necessarily been eliminated, they’ve been understood better,” leading to a “more direct path” toward a U.S. diesel lineup.

Additionally, CAFE targets — especially the 2025 fleet target of 54.5 mpg — could necessitate Hyundai/Kia to add diesel to its green weapons arsenal. Juriga stated Hyundai may bring cylinder deactivation, PHEVs and EGR between 2016 and 2021, while nine- and 10-speed automatics could further its fuel efficiency game between 2021 and 2025.

That said, the duo’s diesel efforts would need to find the right fit in the U.S. in order to achieve success. Juriga explained that the Chevrolet Cruze Diesel made up just 3 percent of overall Cruze sales, and that the vehicle chosen by Hyundai/Kia would also have to go against Volkswagen strong diesel lineup. Though he didn’t offer what vehicle the duo had in mind, he believes the automakers’ customer base would be “more accepting of the technology and willing to pay a premium for the engine type in the correct product.”

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Cadillac Boss Unveils Portfolio Revitalization Plan For 2020 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/cadillac-boss-unveils-portfolio-revitalization-plan-2020/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/cadillac-boss-unveils-portfolio-revitalization-plan-2020/#comments Fri, 10 Oct 2014 15:00:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=928642 First, there was the move. Then, there was the CT6. Now? Cadillac boss Johan de Nysschen unveils a blitzkrieg bop of a product roadmap, all set to be fulfilled by 2020. In an exclusive with Reuters, de Nysschen’s overall plan to revive Cadillac is anchored by a roadmap that will expand the portfolio from five […]

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2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe

First, there was the move. Then, there was the CT6. Now? Cadillac boss Johan de Nysschen unveils a blitzkrieg bop of a product roadmap, all set to be fulfilled by 2020.

In an exclusive with Reuters, de Nysschen’s overall plan to revive Cadillac is anchored by a roadmap that will expand the portfolio from five models at present, to 10 models by 2020.

Aside from the upcoming CT6 — which will come with a PHEV variant when the flagship debuts in showrooms late next year — he says he just received the green light to bring a range-topping vehicle into the fold, likely to be called either the CT8 or CT9. The vehicle would do battle with long-wheelbase variants of the Mercedes S-Class and BMW 7 Series when it enters showrooms at the end of this decade.

On the greener side of the fence, de Nysschen has designs for an EV, and a potential successor to the ELR that may or may not have two extra doors.

Further down the alpha-numeric trail, two new crossovers — which will wear the XT moniker — will sandwich the SRX, including a seven-passenger model set to arrive by 2018 at the latest; the SRX will be redesigned and renamed in 2016.

Meanwhile, a smaller vehicle positioned under the current ATS, along with the smaller crossover, will share its platform with the next-generation Chevrolet Cruze, and go up against the BMW 1 Series and Mercedes CLA-Class. Both will be in showrooms between 2017 and 2018.

Other parts of the plan include building the CT6 and the successor to the SRX in China, where Cadillac is aiming to move 75,000 units by the end of the year, while Europe will remain in the distance until after 2020.

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