Though makers of all sorts of luxury goods had been flocking to China to take advantage of a growing affluent class there, last year the Communist Party started cracking down on what it called extravagant and conspicuous consumption. McLaren Automotive’s regional director for China said that the British maker of supercars hasn’t seen any recovery yet. “The visibility that used to be an asset — we used to be okay just a few years ago — now it’s not really a plus,” Mirko Bordiga, said at the recent Guangzhou auto show. “There are many issues that are in the market that doesn’t really let us hope that the market is growing that much.”
News of Mitsubishi’s rebadging of Renault-Samsung vehicles for the US market is being greeted with far less enthusiasm around these parts than one would expect the internet to greet news of any French vehicles coming to America. One angle that isn’t being explored much comes from commenter callisall, who writes
if anyone else was scratching your head (like I was) about how Mitsu makes money in the USA, Mitsu is the third largest seller of cars to subprime borrowers behind Chrysler and Dodge.
So by outsourcing its R&D and focusing on the subprime market (and perhaps parts for its cars), it looks like Mitsu can make its US operations worthwhile.
If you want to see the future of Holden in Australia, this is it. Yes, it’s the same car that Jack Baruth took to the woodshed in today’s edition of TTAC, but it’s also a harbinger of things to come for the iconic Australian marque, with the announcement that Holden’s Elizabeth, Australia plant will be tooling up to produce the first ever front-wheel drive Commodore. And even that looks doubtful.
Another day, another turnaround strategy from Sergio Marchionne. The plan, which won’t be revealed until April, reportedly includes a rear-wheel drive architecture as a key element, with enough flexibility to be used in everything from Alfa to Dodge vehicles.
Back in the 1950s, when Europe was still rebuilding after World War Two, Ford Motor Company and General Motors decided to show the world what a cost-no-object car was like in the American idiom. First Ford introduced the 1956 Continental Mark II, hand assembled down to the component level, that was said to lose $1,000 on each and every $10,000 Mark II sold. Adjusting for inflation, that loss is the equivalent about $8,600 in 2013 money. A year later, GM started selling the Motorama influenced Eldorado Brougham, at an even steeper $13,074. Motor City lore has it that not only was the Eldo Brougham thousands more expensive than the Mark II, its loses exceeded those of the Mark II by thousands of dollars as well. Now the Sanford C. Bernstein brokerage has looked at how much money various European automakers have lost on particular cars since 1997.
Chrysler has decided to delay production of the Jeep Cherokee again as the company seeks to iron out further quality issues with their crucial new product.
PSA, parent company of Peugeot and Citroen, is said to be exploring a partnership with China’s Dongfeng, as Peugeot looks for ways to strengthen itself amid weak sales and a perpetually sputtering European car market.
GM and Unifor (the union formerly known as the CAW) have reached a tentative agreement for the 2,500 workers at the CAMI plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, which builds the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain.
Mercedes-Benz E-Class sales shot up 44% in August 2013, a 2008-unit gain. This improvement followed up on July’s 10% year-over-year improvement, which put an end to four consecutive months of decline for the now-recently facelifted E-Class, Mercedes-Benz’s core midsize model.
Europe’s car market is still a good half-decade away from making a recovery, according to Ford’s top man in Europe. Reuters quotes Stephen Odell, Ford’s European CEO, as anticipating a $1.8 billion loss in Europe this year, stating
“There are indications that an end of the decline may come in the second half of this year. However, a recovery of the market, we estimate, will take at least five to six years.”
After closing multiple plants and cutting thousands of jobs in response to major overcapacity issues and declining demand, Odell stated that he anticipated no further restructuring moves on the continent.
For the fourth consecutive month, Canadian auto sales increased in July 2013. An extra 10,600 units translated to a 7% increase, the second-best improvement so far this year. Passenger car volume, which travelled in the wrong direction in the first half of 2013, jumped 11% in July.
Big trucks are really quite good at being many things to many people. Consequently, many people buy big trucks. Sales of full-size trucks in the United States are up 23% this year as the overall industry has grown at an 8% clip. Big trucks are relatively affordable, more fuel efficient than they were in the recent past, and much more liveable than they were even a decade ago.
0% financing for 60 months. Up to $2,000 in dealer rebates, most of which winds up going into customers’ pockets. Rental lines bulging with high-trim sedans as dealers desperately attempt to shovel away product and make room for truckloads of new arrivals. Savvy shoppers are shaving three, four, and even five grand off of MSRP as average transaction prices land in the basement for the class. Despite massive inflows of manufacturer cash, sales volume stagnates and declines as competitors grab more and more market share. All in merely the second model year of Toyota’s marquee product, a legendary nameplate with a (supposedly) loyal customer base and years of carefully-crafted reputation. What, pray tell, is going on here?
Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne may not be fond of changing up his outfits, but he certainly has no problem mixing up product plans. The latest news out of Auburn Hills suggests that Chrysler will be extending the lifespan of some key products for up to another 5 years.