Twenty-two vehicles on the front line and not a single one of them a Volkswagen.
This wouldn’t be surprising if this were a used car lot or a new car store that sold a different brand, but this is Jim Ellis VW — the most successful Volkswagen dealership in the entire metro-Atlanta area.
How successful? They have two locations and sold Volkswagens every day for well over 44 years. This dealership was founded on day one with Volkswagens exclusively in their blood. No competitor in the southeast can come close to that level of enduring success.
So what does it mean when one of your most loyal dealers in the entire nation won’t even put your vehicles on their front line?
Amid slumping sales and a snowballing diesel-emissions crisis, Volkswagen announced Monday a plan to offer more money to dealers for cars that they can sell.
Over the weekend, Volkswagen issued a stop-sale for cars equipped with their 2-liter diesel engine after admitting the those cars cheated to pass emissions test. According to Automotive News, a Sept. 21 letter from Volkswagen to its dealers offered $300 bonus cash for every new car sold and $600 for every Passat sold. (The Passat is the already second-best deal in America right now, according to Kelley Blue Book.)
In addition to the bonus cash, dealers will also receive a bonus totaling 1 percent of sticker from each new vehicle sold in the third and fourth quarters.
“In light of recent events, we are committed to taking actions which will stabilize your profitability in the near-term,” Volkswagen U.S. chief Michael Horn said in the memo, according to Automotive News. “We understand the pressure these recent events have put your business under and we are committed to providing you support.”
At an upcoming dealer meeting in Las Vegas next month, Toyota will ask its dealers to stop advertising cars below invoice in an attempt to help keep residual values higher and keep dealers from competing in a “race to the bottom,” Automotive News is reporting.
If accepted, Toyota would join Honda in penalizing dealers who advertise cars below invoice. According to the report, after three reported violations in one year, Honda could withhold marketing money from a dealer — which could be $400 per vehicle. It’s unclear how Toyota may penalize its dealers who don’t comply with the proposed new rule.
Two stories paint an interesting present reality for hybrid and electric vehicles in America. Interest in hybrid vehicles has stayed consistent for the last two years among people in the U.S., AutoGuide is reporting. But apparently dealers and buyers can’t keep their hands off of those cars in Connecticut, where that state recently offered up to $3,000 on the hoods of those cars, Automotive News is reporting.
According to a Harris Poll, 48 percent of polled Americans say they would consider a hybrid vehicle next time they’re in the market for a car, which is roughly the same number of people who said so in 2013. Interest in electric and plug-in hybrid cars was up slightly to 21 and 29 percent of respondents, respectively.
Getting people to pull the trigger on that purchase, it seems, is still a matter of dangling a tangible benefit — fuel economy and environmental benefit may still not be enough.
The automotive journalism industry is infinitely weird. I’m much more likely to be recognized by someone in a foreign land than I am in my own city. Just recently, during Halifax’s Pride Parade, a man I didn’t know walked up to me and asked, “Are you Mark Stevenson?” It’s the first time that’s ever happened to me in Halifax. Maybe I have the local LGBT demographic on lock, or at least the “G” part of the initialism.
Regardless of my popularity with the sharply dressed set, I can walk into virtually any local dealer and nobody will know who I am — which is absolutely perfect when you run into a salesman who states: “Let me be honest with you: I make $100,000 a year at this place and it’s made me not care about cars anymore.”
Of course, this was at a Dodge dealer that lacked any kind of automotive enthusiasm on its lot.
According to Cadillac CEO Johan de Nysschen, it probably could.
According to Automotive News, de Nysschen told analysts that Cadillac would have a “a far higher degree of autonomy and self sufficiency” within two years, and the company could report its own profits and losses, separate from GM.
Already, Cadillac contributes “a very sizeable contribution to the overall profit at General Motors” de Nysschen said, so let’s cut the dead weight already and keep the ugly sorority sisters in the basement?
Automakers could sell more than 17 million new cars and trucks in the U.S. this year, approaching the sales record set in 2000 of 17.4 million, Automotive News is reporting.
Analysts raised their forecasts after a strong July for automakers and new cars that will be reaching showrooms in high-selling segments by the end of the year. Last month was the 18th consecutive month for increasing sales.
Our own Timothy Cain thinks that regardless of the final number, 2015 will be a very, very, very good year for automakers.
Chinese luxury car dealer Yongda and giant online retailer Alibaba are offering the next logical step in online car buying for luxury car buyers: point-and-click car buying.
The South China Morning Post is reporting that Yongda, which has more than 200 high-end car dealerships in China, will make available its cars on the shopping site for browsers to point, click, pay and drive away from a dealership.
Seems like a good idea for ultra-luxury cars.
Automakers have collectively spent tens of billions of dollars trying to concoct
schemes sales campaigns that make consumers perpetual debtors instead of long-terms owners.
$129 a month. 0-percent financing. Move the decimal point here and the first payment there. Sprinkle a healthy amount of small print, toss in some advertising that pushes the right buttons, and keep driving down credit standards to the point where you maximize your long-term profits.
It takes the right financial recipe — and an awful lot of money — to keep any automaker in the black. The mathematical truth of the auto industry is that automakers can’t do anyone any favors, anywhere, if they don’t successfully cater to a healthy audience that embraces debt as a long-term financial proposition.
So with that said, how should automakers cater to the keepers among us? Those new car shoppers who buy once, and then try to keep their cars until they are often times worth more dead than alive?
Several times in the last few weeks I have had a friend come up to me and tell me that they bought a used car, there is some problem with it, and now they want to sue the dealer. And if not a lawsuit, then at least they want some sort of compensation, like a free replacement car.
I generally listen intently to their problem, and confirm that I’m understanding it, and make eye contact to show that I care, and then tell them something along the lines of the fact that this is the single stupidest thing I’ve ever heard in my entire life.
Here’s a newsflash for everyone out there who bought a used car with a problem: You bought your vehicle in as-is condition. This means you must accept it “as it is,” even if how it “is” is fitted with brake pads that are actually USB sticks. Even if its mirrors are sun visor mirrors taped on the mirror housings. Even if it is a Pontiac G6. You now own this car and you signed the papers saying so. The dealership held up its part of the obligation in selling you the car. Now you must hold up your part of the obligation in getting the thing the hell off the dealer’s lot.