One of the bigger stories of 2013 has so far managed to escape the news cycle. I’m not exactly sure why Nissan’s announcement of significant reductions on the MSRP of new cars hasn’t gotten more coverage, but I’m also not 100 percent sure of Nissan’s motives either.
One of the most popular cars in our TWAT talks is the Nissan Cube; the much maligned, slow-selling compact is looking like a shoo-in for our ignominious honor, but Nissan seems to think that a price hike is just the ticket.
For 2013, the Cube will start at $17,550, a $1,790 increase over the 2012 model. Of course, the Cube is built in Japan and the rising yen has a lot to do with the price hike. But it’s not going to help dealers move units any quicker.
Ferraris are expensive, Porsches (usually) less so. This is something that every kid on the street knows, right? Turns out that it is, as the song says, truer than true.
Yesterday, I learned a very valuable lesson in Journalism 101, having published erroneous information before having it confirmed.
Throughout the history of the automobile in America, one city has been synonymous with the industry and culture of cars. Booming with America’s great period of industrialization, Detroit became the Motor City, the hometown of an industry that created a blue-collar middle class and a culture based on personal mobility. But as America has entered the post-industrial age, as the focus of our economy has shifted from production to consumption, Detroit has been left behind. Long used to defining consumer tastes, Detroit was caught unawares by the changes wrought by globalization and the rise of information technology. And as America’s traditional auto industry struggles to redefine itself in the new economy, another Motor City is rising to meet the challenges of a new age.
Today seems to be “Pricing Thursday”, the anticipated forerunner to Good Friday, and the one we’ve been waiting for has finally
risen revealed pricing details. The Subaru BRZ, at $25,495, is only $1,295 more than the Scion FR-S and $100 less than the Subaru Impreza WRX.
The 2013 Cadillac XTS will start at $44,995 when it goes on sale later this spring. While three trim levels have been confirmed for the car, only the base price has been revealed. No word on how much the tech-laden Platinum edition will retail for. Cadillac’s CUE infotainment system will be standard, but all-wheel drive will be an option across the board.
Yes, prices are subject to change, but Ford’s configurator gives us a good idea of how much a 2013 Ford Escape will go for when it hits showrooms this spring.
Tesla released the finalized features and pricing for the Model S sedan this week, with deliveries of the most expensive variants to begin in “mid-2012,” the others to follow by the end of next year. More than a few people who thought they were going to be able to buy a “premium electric sedan” for $50,000 seem miffed by the final pricing. Yes, there will eventually be a $50,000 car (after a $7,500 tax credit). But it won’t have full motor power, leather, nav, or the ability to use fast-charging stations. Tick off all the boxes, and the Model S pushes double the hyped number. But, let’s face it, these guys have to turn a profit and must pay at least as much for parts as the big established car companies, on top of that big expensive battery pack. So does the announced pricing seem reasonable?
Did you think $27k was a steep ask for a non-premium-brand compact car? How does a $40k Focus grab you? That’s a good four grand over what Nissan wants for a Leaf (and about $2k more than a loaded Leaf), and about $12k more than the Mitsubishi i (all before available tax credits). On the other hand, we don’t yet know if Ford can claim an EPA-certified range advantage over the Leaf (both Ford and Nissan initially claimed 100 miles, but the EPA dropped the Leaf to 73 miles). In any case, if you want the most expensive Focus ever built, or the first Blue Oval-badged plug-in, Ford’s started taking reservations online… but like any good insanely-expensive-for-what-it-is product, you need more than money to bring home an Electric Focus. Specifically, a little patience and an address in one of the following communities:
Atlanta, Houston, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, New York City, Orlando, Florida,Phoenix, Tucson, Portland (OR), Raleigh-Durham, Richmond, Virginia, Seattle, or Washington, D.C.
But only California and New York will get a Focus EV this year… the rest will be waiting until Q2 of next year. And the remainder of the US market could be waiting even longer, as Ford has not yet announced a full rollout date. But then, a little exclusivity never hurts when you get above the $40k price point.
Whenever our man in Brazil, Marcello DeVasconcellos reports on new model introductions in his home country, TTAC’s American audience is consistently blown away by the prices commanded by new cars there. Once, when asked why a new VW Amarok costs the equivalent of about $66,000 US dollars in Brazil, Marcello replied
Besides the very high taxes, there are the very, very healthy margins car makers practice down here.
Perhaps too healthy.
Yes, the Model S can fit eight… just not legally. Meanwhile, those are some pretty small kids in the old-school, rear-facing jumpseats (they’re only approved for passengers under five feet tall). But hey, it’s Elon Musk’s party, and he’s free to say whatever he likes until the car is actually on sale.
Speaking of which, it seems that the multiple versions of the Model S will not only be differentiated by range (with 160,230 or 300 miles of range) but Autocar reports there will be a performance version of the 300-mile car as well, which will hit 60 MPH in 4.6 seconds instead of the standard 5.5 seconds. The 160-mile version is reported to cost around $50k, the 230-mile version about $60k, the standard 300-mile version around $70k and the performance version will hit $80k. For a taste of the Model S’s performance, hit the jump for a brief, chauffeured test ride video.
[Editor's note: the following block-quoted passages were sent to us by an enterprising anonymous tipster (italicized passages were quoted in the original from linked sources). I've decided to let the argument speak for itself, and simply interject a few thoughts (non-block-quoted) towards the end.]
“On Slide 12, we provide what we view as key performance indicators for GM North America. The 2 lines on the top of the slide represents GM’s U.S. total and retail share. The bars on the slide represent GM’s average U.S. retail incentives on a per unit basis. Now U.S. retail incentives as a percentage of average transaction price and compared to the industry average is noted at the bottom of the slide.
“For the second quarter of 2011, our U.S. retail share was 17.6%, up 1.3 percentage points versus the prior year and down 0.6 percentage points versus the prior quarter due to the absence of the first quarter sales programs. Our incentive levels on an absolute basis have declined significantly from the prior year as well as sequentially. On a percentage of ATP basis, our incentives were 8.9%, down 2 percentage points versus the prior year. This puts us at approximately 103% of industry average levels for the second quarter of 2011, flat versus the prior year.
“In terms of incentive levels, our plan continues for us to be at approximately the industry average for the year on a percentage of ATP basis. These results for share and incentive demonstrate the impact of our plan to produce great vehicles the customers are willing to pay for.”
I did not try to verify the first part of the highlighted claim (that incentives have declined compared to previous year totals), but the second part of the claim (that incentives have declined sequentially) is demonstrably false.
At the launch event for the 2012 Toyota Camry, the presenting executive noted price reductions of up to $2,000. Quite often such reductions are accomplished by deleting previously standard features. Case in point: the 2012 Volkswagen Passat, where we found that once you adjust for feature differences a $7,180 price drop shrunk to a much smaller, if still substantial, $2,400. So with the redesigned Camry I withheld commenting on the price reduction until I could run the car through TrueDelta’s car price comparison tool.