Category: New Cars

By on July 22, 2016

2016 Chevrolet Malibu

Driving off the dealer lot in a longed-for new vehicle is one of life’s richest pleasures, but there’s no joy if a buyer can’t find the chariot of their dreams.

Now, imagine that your dream ride is a gray Chevrolet Malibu — a 1LT model with two common options. Doesn’t that seem like an attainable goal? Shouldn’t be too hard to find, you’d think, right? Well, one would-be buyer says otherwise. Read More >

By on July 21, 2016

2016 Mazda 3 sedan red

Enthusiast praise for the Mazda3 began before the current-generation compact Mazda arrived in late 2013. Previous iterations benefited from hugely positive reviews. “We’re going to love the 3 once it arrives in America,” Automobile wrote in December 2003. Credit for dynamic excellence was the norm a generation later. “Steering is direct and the suspension is firm enough for spirited driving and equally competent at soaking up bumps,” said AutoGuide in early 2009. I haven’t hesitated to get in on the action, writing in my second review of the latest compact Mazda, “The Mazda3 is still the best compact car you can buy.”

It’s therefore not surprising to see that in a five-way compact car comparison for the magazine’s July edition, Car and Driver named the 2016 Mazda3 i Grand Touring the winner of the test. Car and Driver handed the Mazda 203 points, 44-percent more than the fifth-ranked 2016 Nissan Sentra SL achieved.

Industry observers also won’t be surprised to learn that Car and Driver’s fifth-ranked Nissan Sentra produced 139-percent more first-half sales than the Mazda, while the other three losers all roundly outsold the Mazda, as well. Read More >

By on July 19, 2016

2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland

“Your word is your bond,” Melania Trump famously said. Or was it Michelle Obama?

We are pretty sure the current and potentially future First Ladies were not speaking about the words found in Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ monthly U.S. sales reports. Yet questions have arisen — once again — regarding FCA’s sales practices and reporting methodologies. This time, rather than lawsuits from a Maserati dealer that operates stores in New York, New Jersey, and Florida, or an Illinois dealer of core FCA brands, the questions are being asked by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

In March, Napleton Automotive’s lawsuit (filed by the same lawyer hired by Recovery Racing to sue FCA-owned Maserati last year) accused FCA of “‘strong arm’ tactics to get dealers to falsify sales reports that benefit the auto maker by creating ‘the appearance that [Fiat Chrysler’s] performance is better than, in reality, it actually is,’” according to The Wall Street Journal.

On July 11, reports Automotive News, “Investigators from the FBI and the SEC visited FCA field staff in their homes and offices on July 11 as part of the probe.” In FCA’s own statement, the automaker said yesterday that, “In its annual and quarterly financial statements, FCA records revenues based on shipments to dealers and customers and not on reported vehicle unit sales to end customers,” and confirmed cooperation with both the SEC and the Justice Department.

But what are the actual claims? As automakers report model-specific U.S. auto sales figures at the beginning of every month, FCA typically delves into great detail regarding the prior month’s performance and the year-to-date results. Read More >

By on July 18, 2016

BMW 2-Series Coupe red

Forget last year’s record sales achievements in BMW USA’s showrooms. Through the first six months of 2016, sales at the BMW Group’s BMW brand are down 9 percent in the United States, a first-half pace which suggests BMW sales will fall to a three-year low even as the overall new vehicle market continues to grow.

Not only is BMW’s car division off last year’s pace by more than 20,000 sales, or 18 percent, the brand’s three most costly utility vehicles — X4, X5, X6 — are down 22 percent. Yes, the overall car market is fading, but BMW’s 22-percent car decline is far worse than the U.S. auto industry’s 8-percent drop in car sales. And the 24-percent decrease in, for instance, sales of the BMW X5 stands in stark contrast to the 8-percent increase in the overall SUV/crossover market.

There are nevertheless bright lights in the BMW lineup.

Among passenger cars, the one car that most clearly exemplifies BMW’s old Ultimate Driving Machine credo, the 2 Series, is the BMW car that’s growing fastest. By far.

Among crossovers, the BMW which most flies in the face of everything the BMW cognoscenti value about BMW, the X1, is the BMW SAV division’s fastest-growing vehicle. By far. Read More >

By on July 15, 2016

Nissan Versa

Through the first-half of 2016, passenger car sales volume is down 8 percent in the United States.

It’s not quite that bad in the subcompact car category, but sharp declines from the Chevrolet Sonic, Ford Fiesta, Honda Fit, Toyota Prius C, Toyota Yaris, plus the disappearance of the Mazda2 pushed subcompact car volume down 6 percent.

Yet U.S. sales of the Nissan Versa are on the rise.

Not only are Nissan Versa sales on the rise, the Versa is consistently America’s top-selling subcompact car.

Not only are Versa sales rising now, Versa sales have been on the rise for the last seven years. Read More >

By on July 15, 2016

2016 Mercedes-Benz C300 4Matic Coupe

While it’s true that TTAC’s managing editor spent last week in an $11,595 2016 Chevrolet Spark, auto writers living on the east coast of Canada are rather more accustomed to receiving highly optioned cars from the press fleet.

There was the 2016 Mazda CX-9 Platinum priced, in Mazda USA speak, at $45,215. A couple of weeks before, the new Honda Civic Coupe arrived in Touring trim — not Si, not Type R — at a U.S. market price of $26,960. Toyota Highlander? Make it a Limited Hybrid at $51,445.

So what a pleasure it was to see a 2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe pull into my driveway and see no AMG badges, the basic 2.0-liter turbo/all-wheel-drive combo, and only $7,540 in options. A mere scintilla of options. Scarcely a soupçon of selections from the lengthy list of Mercedes-Benz choices.

Thus, with shockwaves reverberating around GCBC Towers, a 2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe arrived as a successor to our 2016 Lexus RC tester, a direct C-Class Coupe competitor, with $6,000 of savings in hand.

Yes, as-tested, the Benz was $6,000 less than its Lexus rival. And yes, the Benz is the better car. Read More >

By on July 13, 2016

press03-model-x-front-three-quarter-with-doors-open

Just as it did recently with the Model S, Tesla just took its Model X SUV in for a battery and price haircut, resulting in a new base model.

The automaker’s website now shows the availability of a 60D version of the all-wheel-drive utility, meaning a 60 kilowatt battery and an EPA estimated 200 miles of range. The battery shrinkage makes the new model the shortest-ranged Tesla in the stable, but it also undercuts the price of the formerly base 75D by $9,000.  Read More >

By on July 13, 2016

2017 Honda Ridgeline

American Honda reported 2,472 sales of its all-new, second-generation Ridgeline pickup in June 2016, the truck’s first month of rather limited availability.

June was the Ridgeline’s first four-digit sales month since August 2014, the Ridgeline’s first month above the 2,000-unit mark since October 2008, and the best Ridgeline sales month since August 2008.

In fact, if American Honda simply maintained the June 2016 sales pace for the rest of the year, total 2016 calendar year Ridgeline sales would essentially match 2013’s total for an eight-year high in U.S. Ridgeline sales.

Indeed, on an annualized rate, based simply on the Ridgeline’s first month back from a long hiatus, Honda is already selling more Ridgelines than at any point since 2008. Read More >

By on July 12, 2016

2017 Cadillac XT5

Cadillac detailed the sources of its so-called global sales surge in June 2016 in a press release yesterday. In so doing, Cadillac called attention to its first-half global sales decline and the global rarity of the wreathless crest.

#Global

Cadillac has reason to pursue (and then tout the results of its) increased global strength (or diminished global weakness). In the United States, Cadillac isn’t doing enough. The three top-selling Cadillac rivals — BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Lexus — generate more U.S. sales than Cadillac does around the world. Globally. Everywhere.

Roughly 13,000 monthly sales in Cadillac’s historic North American market is a figure simply insufficient to secure a bright future for General Motors’ premium brand. Thus, Cadillac now intends to be a global luxury brand, and is in fact making inroads leading toward that goal.  Read More >

By on July 8, 2016

2016 Chevrolet Camaro

After TTAC delved into the details of the sixth-generation Chevrolet Camaro’s gradual decline last month, General Motors reported the worst sales month for the Camaro since November 2014.

June 2016 sales of the Chevrolet Camaro fell to a 19-month low. With only 4,969 sales — a huge number by the standards of most sporting cars but a 40-percent drop compared with the Camaro’s five-year June average — U.S. Camaro volume fell below 5,000 units for just the second time in the last 18 months.

Newly launched this past winter, the latest Camaro’s sales have fallen well below the totals achieved by the six-year-old fifth-gen Camaro in its final — and worst — year on the market. In the first-half of 2015, GM reported 42,593 U.S. sales of the Camaro, a 9-percent year-over-year drop. Yet one year later, the new Camaro is down 14 percent to 36,834 units, a drop of 5,759 sales. Read More >

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