The Truth About Cars » Sales http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Mon, 03 Aug 2015 22:00:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 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 » Sales http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Volkswagen Surpasses Toyota in Global Auto Sales http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/volkswagen-surpasses-toyota-global-auto-sales/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/volkswagen-surpasses-toyota-global-auto-sales/#comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 18:00:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1126585 Despite slowdowns in China, Russia and Asia, Volkswagen surpassed Toyota in global auto sales by delivery in the first half of 2015, Automotive News Europe is reporting. Volkswagen sold 5.04 million cars in the first six months of 2015, compared to 5.02 million for Toyota, according to the report. Sales were down 1.5 percent and […]

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Volkswagen Wolfsburg

Despite slowdowns in China, Russia and Asia, Volkswagen surpassed Toyota in global auto sales by delivery in the first half of 2015, Automotive News Europe is reporting.

Volkswagen sold 5.04 million cars in the first six months of 2015, compared to 5.02 million for Toyota, according to the report. Sales were down 1.5 percent and 0.5 percent for Toyota and VW respectively.

GM was the third-largest automaker with 4.86 million vehicles.

Volkswagen capitalized on a growing European market to help offset softening Chinese sales. Passenger-vehicle sales fell for the first time in two years in China as that country’s economy responds to market volatility.

Sales slumped in South America, some Southeast Asia markets and sales in Russia have dramatically declined, the story points out.

Deliveries in North America increased by only 4.4 percent, the smallest margin since the economic recovery began in 2009.

The report is the latest in the saga of “Who Wants To Be The World’s Largest Automaker?” with VW on pace to take the crown three years before their executives forecasted. In May, it looked as if VW would take silver thanks to its ongoing leadership shuffle, but a resurgent European market may help. Meanwhile, Toyota may make up ground after a 10-percent gain in China in the first half, according to the report.

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Ford Posts $1.9B Second Quarter Profit, Largest Since 2000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/ford-posts-1-9b-second-quarter-profit-largest-since-2000/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/ford-posts-1-9b-second-quarter-profit-largest-since-2000/#comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 17:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1126521 Ford announced that it made a $1.9 billion net-adjusted profit in the second quarter of 2015, marking the largest gain for the automaker since 2000, according to Automotive News. The profit represents a 44-percent gain over last year despite dipping global sales and a stronger U.S. dollar hampering exports. Ford said it was selling cars for […]

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2015 Ford F-150

Ford announced that it made a $1.9 billion net-adjusted profit in the second quarter of 2015, marking the largest gain for the automaker since 2000, according to Automotive News.

The profit represents a 44-percent gain over last year despite dipping global sales and a stronger U.S. dollar hampering exports. Ford said it was selling cars for more money and offering fewer incentives, despite recent reports of F-150 incentives topping nearly $11,000 in some places.

Ford said revenues in North America surged 10 percent, which helped the company beat Wall Street’s expectations.

The 10-percent gain in revenue in North America is despite Ford’s slower-than-average sales compared to the overall industry average. Automotive News reported that the automaker achieved a 1.7-percent increase in sales for the second quarter compared to the industry average of 3.3 percent.

A slowdown in production of the F-150 is partially to blame for the sales shortfall. Building the redesigned F-150 at both of Ford’s plants has gone slower than normal, the automaker said, and inventory levels should return to normal in September.

The automaker said it increased its global market share one-tenth of a percent to 7.6 percent. Twelve of its 16 planned global launches have happened already this year, and Ford said the rest were on track. The company said it was still on track for an end-of-year, pre-tax profit of between $8.5 billion and $9.5 billion.

Ford posted a net loss in South American, European, Middle Eastern and African markets, but posted a $33 million gain in the Asia Pacific region, a 20-percent improvement over last year.

Ford Credit posed a $506 million pre-tax profit for the second quarter, a 17-percent gain.

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EU Gains Not Enough to Stave Opel Production Reductions http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/eu-gains-not-enough-to-stave-opel-production-reductions/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/eu-gains-not-enough-to-stave-opel-production-reductions/#comments Sat, 18 Jul 2015 17:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1119321 Recent sales growth in the EU hasn’t been kind to Opel as the group is forced to reduce hours at two German plants. According to Automotive News, Opel will cut production of the Adam and Corsa at Eisenach and Insignia and Zafira Tourer at Ruesselsheim. The move is due to Opel’s exit from the Russian […]

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Opel Bochum - Picture courtesy wa.de

Recent sales growth in the EU hasn’t been kind to Opel as the group is forced to reduce hours at two German plants.

According to Automotive News, Opel will cut production of the Adam and Corsa at Eisenach and Insignia and Zafira Tourer at Ruesselsheim. The move is due to Opel’s exit from the Russian market and what the automaker calls “moderate” gains in the rest of Europe.

However, within the EU, overall sales for all automakers are up 8.2 percent in the first six month of this year and 14.6 percent in June, according to ACEA.

Opel and Honda are the only two automakers to see sales decline within the EU versus the same six month period last year. Opel experienced a 0.7-percent drop in overall group sales in the EU. Honda took an even harder hit with an 7.9-percent decline.

On the other end of the graph, Mitsubishi has posted 57.0-percent growth in the EU, though that percentage is based on relatively low volume compared to others. Nissan is the runner up at 21.6-percent growth while Jaguar-Land Rover (16.9 percent), Daimler (15.0 percent), FCA (12.9 percent) and BMW (12.0 percent) all saw double-digit percentage growth, beating the overall six-month average.

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Ford: Our Incentives Are Still Lower than Overall Segment http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/ford-incentives-still-lower-overall-segment/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/ford-incentives-still-lower-overall-segment/#comments Fri, 17 Jul 2015 20:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1118913 A Ford spokesman said Friday that despite the automaker offering nearly $11,000 on particular F-150 models, their incentives are still under the segment average. “It’s not like every F-150 customer walking into a Ford dealer today — whether they’re in L.A. or New York — is going to get $10,000 off of every single model,” Truck […]

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2015 Ford F-150

A Ford spokesman said Friday that despite the automaker offering nearly $11,000 on particular F-150 models, their incentives are still under the segment average.

“It’s not like every F-150 customer walking into a Ford dealer today — whether they’re in L.A. or New York — is going to get $10,000 off of every single model,” Truck Communications Manager Mike Levine said.

“On average, we’re lower than the segment.”

Levine said the $10,819 we reported on yesterday was a specific truck in a specific area. Those numbers, such as $7,050 off, that Ford publicizes on its website aren’t indicative of every incentive available.

F-150 incentives

“That’s a very specific set of incentives that are all stacked together that gets you to $10,000,” he said.

According to Ford, those incentives include: $3,769 average dealer discount; $500 customer cash; $1,000 XLT customer cash; $300 2.7-liter V6 EcoBoost bonus cash; $2,000 302A XLT Luxury Chrome or Sport packages.; $2,500 bonus cash; and $750 Ford Credit Bonus Cash, which requires Ford Credit financing.

Levine said the average incentive offered on a F-150 is $3,354, which is $800 lower than the segment average and lower than the automaker had offered one year ago.

Dealer inventories are down, Levine said, and Ford needs to stay competitive.

“For this particular truck, we’re helping customers get into a better truck. It’s something that we do from time-to-time, and it’s in line with what our competitors do,” he said.

Representatives from Ram and General Motors didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

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Ford Putting Nearly $11,000 on Hoods of Some F-150s http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/ford-putting-nearly-11000-hoods-f-150s/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/ford-putting-nearly-11000-hoods-f-150s/#comments Thu, 16 Jul 2015 17:00:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1117793 Ford is looking to boost sales of its full-size F-150 by offering more than $10,000 in incentives for some higher-trim models in some parts of the United States, Automotive News is reporting. Production issues have plagued the aluminum 2015 F-150 since its launch late last year. According to Ford, only half of the F-150’s normal inventory […]

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Ford F-150 grey, side

Ford is looking to boost sales of its full-size F-150 by offering more than $10,000 in incentives for some higher-trim models in some parts of the United States, Automotive News is reporting.

Production issues have plagued the aluminum 2015 F-150 since its launch late last year. According to Ford, only half of the F-150’s normal inventory has been available since June, which as hampered sales. The automaker says dealer stocks will be full by the end of September.

The company’s website offers nearly $11,000 off of 2015 Ford F-150 XLT SuperCrew with Chrome or Sport packages in some parts of the country.

Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 9.09.07 AMWe found this offer available in the middle of Michigan, near Clare, on Ford’s website. Other parts of the country may receive up to $7,050 off similar models.

“The truck hasn’t sold up to expectations for the most part,” Akshay Anand, an analyst at Kelley Blue Book, told Automotive News. “This may be a hint that in certain parts of the country, the issue might just be more than supply.”

Truck sales have been up for the first half of this year, but the F-150’s sales pace has been modest. F-Series volumes have dipped in each of the last five months, and second-quarter sales have dropped 6.5 percent.

 

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Ford C-Max Sales Have Perpetually Declined In America http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/ford-c-max-sales-perpetually-declined-america/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/ford-c-max-sales-perpetually-declined-america/#comments Thu, 16 Jul 2015 12:00:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1113177 Following Ford’s announcement that production of the Focus and C-Max would leave Wayne, Michigan in the next few years, sales personnel at Ford dealers across America were heard asking their managers, “We still sell the C-Max?” No, that’s not entirely true. Ford is moving Focus and C-Max production out of Wayne by 2018, but we weren’t privy […]

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Ford C-Max sales chart TTAC

Following Ford’s announcement that production of the Focus and C-Max would leave Wayne, Michigan in the next few years, sales personnel at Ford dealers across America were heard asking their managers, “We still sell the C-Max?”

No, that’s not entirely true. Ford is moving Focus and C-Max production out of Wayne by 2018, but we weren’t privy to the conversations inside Ford showrooms. That question may or may not have been asked.

Through the first-half of this year, Ford’s U.S. dealers only sold an average of four C-Max Hybrids and C-Max Energis per dealer per month. 

The C-Max did get to off to a hot start back at the end of 2012. There was plenty of talk about the C-Max’s ability to outsell the Toyota Prius. No, not the Prius you know best, but rather the Prius V, which isn’t nearly as popular as the regular Prius.

During the final quarter of the year, Ford sold 12,340 copies of the C-Max in the United States; twice topping the 4K mark. (Ford hasn’t topped 3800 since, didn’t top 3,501 in 2014, and hasn’t managed 2,700 monthly sales in 2015’s first six months.)

2013 Ford C-MAX Hybrid, Picture Coutesy of Ford Motor CompanyBut by the end of its first year, the C-Max was already struggling to find more than 3,000 buyers per month. Other than the September 2013 improvement, when the year-over-year comparison took into account the C-Max’s launch month of September 2012, and two other occasions last summer, C-Max sales have always declined on a year-over-year basis.

Thus, while never truly popular, the C-Max has become increasingly unpopular in America. The reasons? It’s difficult to challenge a segment owner like the Prius. The second-generation Honda Insight can attest to that fact. Ford also flubbed the fuel efficiency marketing hype and later paid the price. Even before its efficiency downgrade, the C-Max wasn’t alleged to be quite as economical as its Toyota rivals.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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Report: TrueCar Drew Hard Line with AutoNation Over Data http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/report-truecar-drew-hard-line-autonation-data/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/report-truecar-drew-hard-line-autonation-data/#comments Mon, 13 Jul 2015 18:00:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1114737 Automotive News has interesting insight into the tenuous, and now soon-to-end, relationship between TrueCar and car dealer-giant AutoNation. The report details a May lunch between TrueCar CEO Scott Painter, President John Krafcik and Senior Vice President of Dealer Development Mike Timmons, and AutoNation COO Bill Berman and Chief Marketing Officer Marc Cannon. At the lunch, TrueCar executives reportedly […]

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AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson

Automotive News has interesting insight into the tenuous, and now soon-to-end, relationship between TrueCar and car dealer-giant AutoNation.

The report details a May lunch between TrueCar CEO Scott Painter, President John Krafcik and Senior Vice President of Dealer Development Mike Timmons, and AutoNation COO Bill Berman and Chief Marketing Officer Marc Cannon. At the lunch, TrueCar executives reportedly said they would require data from all AutoNation sales — regardless if they were generated by TrueCar — for the two companies to continue doing business.

“Over my dead body,” AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson said later, according to Automotive News.

Last week, when Jackson announced the split between AutoNation and TrueCar he laid most of the blame at TrueCar’s “unconscionable and unprecedented” demand for more than 40 data points for each car sold at AutoNation. AutoNation sells more than 550,000 annually at its 240 dealerships across the United States.

The dealer said roughly 3 percent of its sales can be attributed to TrueCar leads, which it charges $299 and $399 per new- and used-car purchase. AutoNation said it pays TrueCar around $550 per sale, for which TrueCar unjustifiably takes credit. TrueCar said internal auditing revealed that they were responsible for nearly 7 percent of AutoNation’s sales.

“We know exactly the degree to which AutoNation underreported,” Painter said. “It’s massive.”

“Customers go many places before and after a TrueCar visit, and just because they were momentarily on the TrueCar site doesn’t mean I should have to pay them $300. So there’s a big disagreement there,” Jackson said.

In a May 23 letter to Berman and Cannon, TrueCar specifically outlined the customer data it was seeking and said it was already “firing” dealers who failed to comply.

“In the trailing 12 months, TrueCar suspended over 300 dealers who did not meet marketplace or customer requirements. We are prepared to take similar action here should AutoNation elect not to follow our marketplace requirements,” the letter states.

TrueCar’s request for data included customer’s names, addresses, phone numbers and e-mail addresses in addition to data on the newly purchased car.

Dealers have said turning over such extensive data could lead to privacy concerns and enable TrueCar to steal customers in the future.

AutoNation said it would start up its own portal for customers similar to TrueCar, and would back away from third-party vendors in the future.

 

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Nissan Can’t Build Rogues Fast Enough in Tennessee, Apparently http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/nissan-cant-build-rogues-fast-enough-tennessee-apparently/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/nissan-cant-build-rogues-fast-enough-tennessee-apparently/#comments Thu, 09 Jul 2015 19:00:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1112241 Nissan announced today they’ll expand production of the current-generation Nissan Rogue to its Japanese plant and import those cars into the U.S. Nissan’s Kyushu plant produces a version of the Rogue already on sale in the U.S., called Rogue Select. It’s unclear if the current-generation Rogue and last-generation Rogue will be produced side-by-side or if […]

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2014-nissan-rogue-14

Nissan announced today they’ll expand production of the current-generation Nissan Rogue to its Japanese plant and import those cars into the U.S.

Nissan’s Kyushu plant produces a version of the Rogue already on sale in the U.S., called Rogue Select. It’s unclear if the current-generation Rogue and last-generation Rogue will be produced side-by-side or if Nissan will discontinue selling the Rogue Select.

U.S.-sold Rogues are sourced from Nissan’s Symrna, Tennessee plant and Busan, Korea.

In April, the Rogue became America’s second-favorite compact crossover behind the Honda CR-V, and helped fuel a sales surge for the automaker.

Year-over-year sales jumped 41 percent in March, and Nissan reported January to June sales of the CUV were up 36 percent from the same period last year.

Selling two generations of a car made in three different countries may not be enough. June sales for the Rogue were up 54.3 percent over last year, the automaker reported.

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Subaru’s 2015 Sales Already Surpass All of 2011 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/subarus-2015-sales-already-surpass-2011/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/subarus-2015-sales-already-surpass-2011/#comments Wed, 08 Jul 2015 20:00:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1109321 Subaru has already sold as many cars in 2015 as they did in all of 2011, according to the company. Last month, Subaru recorded its 16th-consecutive month of increasing sales, selling more than 44,000 cars in the U.S. The Forester and Outback were Subaru’s best-selling models. In 2011, Subaru sold 266,989 cars according to the automaker. […]

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2015 Subaru Outback

Subaru has already sold as many cars in 2015 as they did in all of 2011, according to the company.

Last month, Subaru recorded its 16th-consecutive month of increasing sales, selling more than 44,000 cars in the U.S. The Forester and Outback were Subaru’s best-selling models.

In 2011, Subaru sold 266,989 cars according to the automaker. At the end of June 2015, they had already sold 272,418.

Emerging out of the recession, Subaru’s growing pace could easily be described as meteoric. The small Japanese company outsold Volkswagen in the U.S. last year, and so far the company is on pace to sell more than 500,000 cars in the states this year.

According to Michael McHale, director of communications for Subaru, the company is targeting 545,000 U.S. sales this year, which is partially limited due to production capacity.

Subaru’s portfolio in the U.S. is relatively small compared their sales. The Impreza-based XV Crosstrek, WRX, Forester and Impreza are imported from Japan and Subaru builds the Legacy and Outback in Indiana. Subaru will build the Impreza in Indiana next year. The BRZ is jointly produced with Toyota.

The company is widely expected to announce a three-row crossover soon, and Subaru recently announced it would sell the Levorg in Australia because we can’t have nice things.

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In Mother Russia, Electric Cars Charge You (Lots of Money to Own One) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/back-mother-russia-electric-cars-charge-potential-buyers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/back-mother-russia-electric-cars-charge-potential-buyers/#comments Wed, 08 Jul 2015 19:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1110553 Wealthy Russians are clamoring for Teslas that aren’t even available in their country, Bloomberg News is reporting. Buyers are paying up to double for the electric vehicles, the story reports, which include freight and import fees of more than $60,000 for the cars. “It doesn’t pollute nature and it’s super cheap and easy to use,” Herman Gref […]

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tesladeal

Wealthy Russians are clamoring for Teslas that aren’t even available in their country, Bloomberg News is reporting.

Buyers are paying up to double for the electric vehicles, the story reports, which include freight and import fees of more than $60,000 for the cars.

“It doesn’t pollute nature and it’s super cheap and easy to use,” Herman Gref told Bloomberg News in an e-mail.

Super cheap is relative term — even in Russian we hope.

The “iPhone on wheels,” according to one Russian buyer, has a small but devoted following, apparently.

There are only 300 registered electric cars in Russia, not including Teslas, for more than 144 million people. By contrast, there are 1,200 registered electric cars in Estonia, with a population 100 times smaller than Russia’s. So far, more than 35,000 battery-powered electric vehicles (excluding Volt) have been purchased in the U.S. this year.

According to the story, Tesla has no future plans to enter the Russian market — which is the world’s second-largest producer of oil. Electric cars in Russia are exceptionally expensive, infrastructure is severely lacking and the Russian government doesn’t offer any incentives to make the switch to electric cars. 

But Russian automaker (with an unfortunate name) Revolta Motors say they’ll introduce a Chinese-built electric car in Russia this year.

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Can Maserati Replace Ferrari? (Or at Least Ferrari’s Profits) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/can-maserati-replace-ferrari-least-ferraris-profits/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/can-maserati-replace-ferrari-least-ferraris-profits/#comments Wed, 08 Jul 2015 18:00:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1110425 With the imminent spin-off of Ferrari, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles boss Sergio Marchionne may be looking for a cash cow to help keep lagging brands at FCA afloat. A story by Automotive News on Wednesday wonders aloud if Maserati will replace Ferrari as FCA’s marquee brand with double-digit profit margins. Behind Marchionne’s plan to sell the world on […]

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With the imminent spin-off of Ferrari, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles boss Sergio Marchionne may be looking for a cash cow to help keep lagging brands at FCA afloat.

A story by Automotive News on Wednesday wonders aloud if Maserati will replace Ferrari as FCA’s marquee brand with double-digit profit margins. Behind Marchionne’s plan to sell the world on Jeep and Alfa Romeo, he would need to sell the world on the idea that Maserati is an exclusive, luxury brand, the article says.

Of course, that may be tough to do considering Maserati has always had a reputation for being Ferrari’s nerdy suburban cousin.

At issue isn’t the Trident brand’s identity, but rather its bottom line. When Ferrari leaves the FCA family later this year, it’ll likely be taking some debt but also a lot of cash. Ferrari turns a profit each year, upwards of $500 million, for parent-company FCA. Money like that is hard to replace.

Maserati comes close, according to the story. Despite starting at $69,800 for an entry Ghibli, Maserati manages 10 percent margin on its cars compared to Ferrari’s 13 percent. Maserati’s volume production is also roughly 6 times that of Ferrari’s, but refining Maserati’s image from famously fussy to drop-dead desirable could be a tall task.

According to Autodata Corp., sales of the Ghibli have slid considerably since its introduction in 2013 and dealers have offered more than $9,500 in incentives for the mid-sized luxury car.

Still, Maserati is boosting its dealership presence in the U.S. by around 20 percent this year to 125 dealers and their luxury Levante SUV should be unveiled at Detroit’s North American International Auto Show.

“They’ve got a hell of a lot to build on,” Joe Phillippi, president of AutoTrends Inc., a consulting firm in Andover, N.J., told Automotive News. “But it’s incredibly expensive to play the game. Marchionne can’t afford to stumble. With the volume numbers he’s trying to generate, he’d better not miss.”

Maserati has grown considerably in the U.S. thanks to a larger portfolio and growing dealership network.

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FCA, Peugeot Could Be Most Impacted by Flagging Greek Economy http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/fca-peugeot-impacted-flagging-greek-economy/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/fca-peugeot-impacted-flagging-greek-economy/#comments Tue, 07 Jul 2015 19:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1109161 Automakers PSA (Peugeot and Citröen) and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles are most at risk if Greece’s economy fails and the country backs out of the Euro, according to a report by Automotive News. Analysts say the two automakers have the largest share of southern European markets — including Italy, Spain and Portugal — where the economic impact of […]

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1024px-Peugeot_308_CC_e-HDi_FAP_110_STOP_&_START_Active_(Facelift)_–_Frontansicht,_10._September_2011,_Düsseldorf

Automakers PSA (Peugeot and Citröen) and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles are most at risk if Greece’s economy fails and the country backs out of the Euro, according to a report by Automotive News.

Analysts say the two automakers have the largest share of southern European markets — including Italy, Spain and Portugal — where the economic impact of a Greek failure could hit the hardest.

Although the automakers have a large share of those markets, its a relatively small portion of their overall sales, the report states.

Analysts say that economic turmoil in Greece has yet to impact automakers, but many are taking a wait-and-see approach. The larger impact may be in neighboring economies, such as Germany, if those countries are expected to shoulder bailouts from any other failing economies.

“We recognize this as a potential catalyst that could cause European consumers to postpone their purchase of new cars, but we don’t take that as a base case scenario,” Edoardo Spina of Exane BNP Paribas told Automotive News. “The only risk stems from contagion, which will depend on how the European institutions and the media handle the next few days and weeks, but it’s a relatively small risk.”

The report says that PSA and FCA’s sales in the southern European markets (Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece combines) comprises about 12 percent of their overall business. In comparison, Volkswagen’s sales there are only about 5 percent.

By many accounts, Greece’s economy is a mess. But considering the relatively low rate of new-vehicle purchases there — in May only 9,070 new vehicles were registered in Greece, compared to 256,385 in Germany, according to ACEA — most automakers could withstand a Greek collapse. The greatest damage would be collateral.

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Record Sales Pace Partially Fueled by Record Incentives http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/record-sales-pace-partially-fueled-record-incentives/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/record-sales-pace-partially-fueled-record-incentives/#comments Thu, 02 Jul 2015 19:00:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1106289 The Detroit Bureau is reporting that even though June was a record sales month for many automakers, many of those sales were partly fueled with record incentives from the manufacturer. Buyers could get up to $8,000 knocked of the price of a Kia K900 or up to $7,000 off of Ford hybrids or electric cars — […]

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Insane People at the Stock Photo Dealership

The Detroit Bureau is reporting that even though June was a record sales month for many automakers, many of those sales were partly fueled with record incentives from the manufacturer.

Buyers could get up to $8,000 knocked of the price of a Kia K900 or up to $7,000 off of Ford hybrids or electric cars — even $8,000 for the 2015 Ford C-Max Energi.

Despite the higher-than-normal incentives, the Detroit Bureau reported that the Average Transaction Price for a new car in June was $31,848, up around 1 percent over last year.

Two automakers increased spending on their incentives by more than 30 percent over the same time last year — Nissan and Hyundai. As a percentage of incentives offered to ATP, Kia (11.7 percent), Hyundai (10.5 percent), Nissan (10.3 percent), GM (10.2 percent) and FCA (10.2 percent) were the biggest spenders last month.

As expected, many of the heavily incentivized cars were slow-moving models or cars with narrow appeal, which automakers could immediately offset by selling massive amounts of huge crossovers with equally huge margins.

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Sales of EVs, Hybrids Slumping After Gas Prices Dip http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/sales-evs-hybrids-slumping-gas-prices-dip/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/sales-evs-hybrids-slumping-gas-prices-dip/#comments Thu, 02 Jul 2015 16:00:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1105913 Sales figures from automakers this week show slumping sales of electric vehicles and hybrids nationwide as gas prices drop and tax incentives dry up. According to the Detroit News, sales from EV makers such as Nissan and Chevrolet have slowed down significantly — more than 30 percent for the Volt and 12 percent for the Leaf […]

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Atlanta Police Nissan Leaf

Sales figures from automakers this week show slumping sales of electric vehicles and hybrids nationwide as gas prices drop and tax incentives dry up.

According to the Detroit News, sales from EV makers such as Nissan and Chevrolet have slowed down significantly — more than 30 percent for the Volt and 12 percent for the Leaf — last month, and both models may end up down significantly for the sales year.

Hybrid carmakers such as Ford and Honda are also reporting slow sales for their cars. Ford reported that its hybrid sales were down 29 percent over the last five months, and Honda reported a 15-percent drop in June.

Industry analysts say the slowdown could be a result of the lowest gas prices in five years, and a adjustment of states’ EV incentives. Recently, the California Air Resources Board unveiled a tiered incentive program that would adjust rebates based on income. A study showed that more than one in four EV buyers in California earned more than $200,000 a year, but still received the full benefit during the second quarter of 2015. More than three-quarters of EV buyers made more than $99,000. Georgia will end its incentives.

None of this has slowed down automakers’ production of EVs, however.

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Used Tesla Values Could Be a Bubble Waiting to Burst http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/used-tesla-values-could-be-a-bubble-waiting-to-burst/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/used-tesla-values-could-be-a-bubble-waiting-to-burst/#comments Wed, 01 Jul 2015 17:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1104801 The National Automobile Dealers Association new electric vehicle retention list released last week has a tasty little tidbit in its roundup of value retention rates. Tesla’s Model S, which topped the 3-year value retention rate list for EVs in the new list, also sported a better value rate for most cars on a similar list released last year for all […]

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Tesla Model S Center Stage

The National Automobile Dealers Association new electric vehicle retention list released last week has a tasty little tidbit in its roundup of value retention rates.

Tesla’s Model S, which topped the 3-year value retention rate list for EVs in the new list, also sported a better value rate for most cars on a similar list released last year for all segments, including mid-size luxury cars. That includes BMW.

But the news may not be all good, all the time.

According to the most recent NADA study, Tesla’s Model S retains 57.2 percent of its original value after three years based on dealer trade-in values. That figure is tops among mid-size luxury sedans, including BMW’s 5-series, in a study conducted last year.

Also noted in the 2015 study, there is a significant cliff after three years when most EV manufacturers’ powertrain warranties expire, meaning there’s good chance that the Model S’s value plummets after that.

The 2014 study by NADA (which examined all segments – including EVs) was comprised of only the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf — the only two cars that had been on the market for three years by the time the study was conducted. The Volt and Leaf retained 41.6 percent and 38.2 percent of their values respectively, due partly to price drops from their manufacturers and increasing competition in the segment. The 2015 study had worse news for Volts and Leafs on trade-in: those values dropped to 31.3 and 25.3 percent respectively.

As Tesla prepares to release their Model X, there’s no doubt quite a few Model S owners will be looking to replace their sedans. This could trigger a market saturated with Model S’s (or is it “Models S”?) at or nearing the end of their warranty lives — and it’ll likely have legitimate competition in the near future as well, further driving down retained values.

Tesla Model X Teaser

It’s no secret that Tesla has no significant cash flow, hasn’t turned a profit for more than one fiscal quarter in five years, and probably won’t have a cash-positive year until 2020.

That all could mean the bottom falling out for Tesla Model S values soon. Or not.

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Study: Nine Out Of 10 Millennials Consider Car Ownership Important http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/study-nine-out-of-10-millennials-consider-car-ownership-important/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/study-nine-out-of-10-millennials-consider-car-ownership-important/#comments Mon, 29 Jun 2015 18:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1102257 Allegedly, Millennials care only about the latest iPhone, and not the i8. Nine out of 10 Millennials would disagree, and consider car ownership important. The statistic comes from a study by rental car company Enterprise Holdings, The Detroit Bureau says, with the indication Millennials are renting cars they might want to buy later, per fleet […]

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Fashion Bloggers Look Over Mercedes AMG GT S At NYFW AW15

Allegedly, Millennials care only about the latest iPhone, and not the i8. Nine out of 10 Millennials would disagree, and consider car ownership important.

The statistic comes from a study by rental car company Enterprise Holdings, The Detroit Bureau says, with the indication Millennials are renting cars they might want to buy later, per fleet operations boss Kurt Kohler:

When we provide our customers with a great rental experience, it doesn’t just keep them coming back to us – it clearly sends many of them into their local dealer showrooms, as well.

Though studies like Enterprise’s are seen more as marketing tools benefiting the company than the consumer, other studies and reports point to the same conclusion: young adults want to drive, and want to own what they drive. One analysis by J.D. Power found Millennials account for 27 percent of all U.S. new car sales at present, with the cohort overtaking Baby Boomers on the sales floor by the 2020s.

Returning to Enterprise’s study, the company found 92 percent of Boomers and Millennials believe owning a car is important, compared to 73 percent in 2013. The spike is likely the result of improving fortunes among the younger cohort alongside the economy following the end of the Great Recession.

Regarding rental-to-showroom sales, 32 percent of Millennials said a positive renting experience led them down the road to their new vehicle, while 30 percent of Gen-Xers and 23 percent of Boomers though the same. Additionally, 45 percent of those surveyed said renting a car prepared them for the technologies they would find in their own vehicle.

The study is more good news for automakers as they seek to bring in more potential customers. Rather than build fleet-ready models for the sake of keeping the lights on, automakers could use the opportunity to claim those sales as marketing for the real thing, especially if they decide to add more technology to a base model to show off what they can do when it comes time to turn the renter into a buyer.

(Photo credit: Mercedes-Benz USA/Facebook)

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QOTD: Why Do Automakers Care So Much About Sales? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/qotd-why-do-automakers-care-so-much-about-sales/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/qotd-why-do-automakers-care-so-much-about-sales/#comments Fri, 26 Jun 2015 11:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1100425 I always get a little dismayed whenever I hear a car company talking about sales volume targets. Yes, sure, reasonable sales targets are OK. Acceptable sales targets. If Toyota wants to say they’re going to sell one billion Camry units this year because they sold 997 million last year, that’s fine with me. If Honda […]

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I always get a little dismayed whenever I hear a car company talking about sales volume targets.

Yes, sure, reasonable sales targets are OK. Acceptable sales targets. If Toyota wants to say they’re going to sell one billion Camry units this year because they sold 997 million last year, that’s fine with me. If Honda wants to say they’re going to sell 950 million Accords this year because they’re contractually obligated by a higher power to slightly undersell the Camry, that’s fine too. And if Dodge wants to say they’ll sell 100,000 Grand Caravans this year, of which 99,000 are going to Enterprise, and the remaining 1,000 are going to people who don’t know any better, I guess I can accept that.

But I’ve never really understood why automakers set insane volume targets that keep them desperately reaching for sales for the next few decades.

Probably the best example of this is Volkswagen, who announced several years ago that it would sell 800,000 vehicles in the United States by 2018 from its Volkswagen brand alone. This seemed like a totally reasonable goal at the time, because they had just introduced the new Passat, and they would soon be coming out with an SUV, and they were finally starting to understand the US market, and sales were really taking off. Well, last year, they managed 367,000 units, down from 407,000 last year and 438,000 the year before. In other words: 800,000 ain’t gonna happen.

So now Volkswagen is backing off its sales goals, and it looks like an animal retreating from a fight with its tail between its legs. But why did they have to make the goal in the first place? This, I’ll never understand.

I noticed this a lot when I worked in the car world. Automakers were so hell-belt on sales targets and volume goals that they were doing everything they possibly could just to meet these numbers. Fifty fleet sales? A hundred fleet sales? A thousand fleet sales? Turning over employee lease cars more often? Discounted leases? Zero-percent financing? Punching cars as sold the moment they came off the boat? Fortunately, my company never even considered doing most of those – but some automakers weren’t above even that final strategy during the very last weeks of the year.

Here’s what I’ve never understood: it isn’t sales numbers that prove your business is successful. It’s profit. So why the hell are so many automakers targeting sales, and not profit?

The truth is, anyone can sell anything. Pull a random person off the street, put them in a car dealer, and they can sell the entire lot empty in two days if you let them offer their vehicles with a complete disregard for profit. But then the business’s lights won’t stay on, the stock will plummet, the employees will get laid off, etc. etc. etc. It goes on.

From what I understand, Honda seems to be doing it right. My entire life in the business, I’ve been told that the Honda Accord could easily outsell the Toyota Camry, except that Honda refuses to give in to the pressure of profitless, or low-profit, high-volume fleet sales. And this seems to be true: consider every airport rent-a-car station you’ve ever been to, every Enterprise lot, every Budget kiosk. There’s never Honda there. You’re never given a Honda, you never see a Honda in the lot next to you, or the space down the row, or pulling out of the rental car gate. But you do see Toyotas. Honda seems to know these fleet sales are only a way to burnish sales figures, not actually make money. And they’d rather sell those cars to actual consumers at actual dealers who will bring them actual profits.

So I’ve always been curious about this, and now I’m asking you: why the hell does the auto industry focus so severely on sales numbers? Most other industries talk profit: year over year growth, net profits, gross profits, operating income. But in the car industry, we talk sales: overall sales, monthly sales, total sales, with no apparent care in the world whether those sales are making $10,000 per car or $20 per vehicle on a 30-car transaction with Enterprise. Me, I’d rather hear about profits. No, Volkswagen isn’t going to hit its 800,000-car figure. But are its profits increasing? Is it a stable, healthy company? Are they making money? Only then will I be impressed.

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China’s SUV Boom Fueled By Road Rage Concerns, Other Factors http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/chinas-suv-boom-fueled-by-road-rage-concerns-other-factors/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/chinas-suv-boom-fueled-by-road-rage-concerns-other-factors/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 18:00:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1076922 A handful of factors are fueling China’s current SUV boom, with road-rage protection at the top of the list. SUV registrations rose 48 percent during Q1 2015 while accounting for 27 percent of all registrations during the period compared to three years ago, Bloomberg reports. Sanford C. Bernstein senior analyst Robin Zhu says the boom […]

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Great_Wall_Haval_H6_01_China_2012-06-02

A handful of factors are fueling China’s current SUV boom, with road-rage protection at the top of the list.

SUV registrations rose 48 percent during Q1 2015 while accounting for 27 percent of all registrations during the period compared to three years ago, Bloomberg reports. Sanford C. Bernstein senior analyst Robin Zhu says the boom is in part due to increasing incidences of road rage, prompting “sane” motorists to buy SUVs “for self defense” against “the angry ones” on the road.

Other contributors to the boom include rough roads (of the literal sort) outside the nation’s cities, lower fuel prices, and the introduction of low-cost SUVs and crossovers with prices beginning at ¥130,000 ($21,000 USD); 49 such models were or will be introduced by domestic automakers during 2014 and 2015.

[Source: Navigator84/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0]

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Hyundai Group Riding High Amid Russian Economic Maelstrom http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/hyundai-group-riding-high-amid-russian-economic-maelstrom/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/hyundai-group-riding-high-amid-russian-economic-maelstrom/#comments Thu, 14 May 2015 17:00:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1068554 As Russia continues to struggle with its economic health, Hyundai Group is doing its part to keep the nation’s auto sales afloat. According to a representative, “Russia is one of the major and important markets for Hyundai (Group),” Ward’s Auto reports. The group’s Hyundai and Kia brands hold a combined 19.9 percent of the nation’s […]

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2016 Rio  SX

As Russia continues to struggle with its economic health, Hyundai Group is doing its part to keep the nation’s auto sales afloat.

According to a representative, “Russia is one of the major and important markets for Hyundai (Group),” Ward’s Auto reports. The group’s Hyundai and Kia brands hold a combined 19.9 percent of the nation’s automotive market in Q1 2015, with Hyundai holding 10.4 percent and Kia 9.5 percent.

Despite the maelstrom sweeping through the market, Hyundai Group has managed to fare well against the economic storm compared to other automakers. Analysts and industry-watchers suggest this is due to factors such as proper product placement, a beneficial global strategy, and its ability to play the game driving Russia’s auto industry.

The group also took home the gold in deliveries over the recent quarter, moving a combined 75,871 vehicles out of the showroom. Local automaker AvtoVAZ pulled up in second with 68,554 in the same period, while Renault-Nissan took bronze with 65,657 combined deliveries. Meanwhile, BMW is reconsidering plans to build a factory in Russia, and General Motors is shutting down local production and withdrawing its Chevrolet and Opel brands from the market.

Within the group, the Kia Rio has done wonders for the bottom line, especially for the Kia brand. Produced locally at the Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Russia facility in St. Petersburg, the Rio accounted for 44 percent of overall production — 104,700 units — and 48 percent of all the brand’s sales in the market during 2014.

Though the country’s economic woes are expected to worsen in 2015, a Kia representative says market share for the brand is likely to continue trending upward, having gone from 7.1 percent in 2013 to 7.9 percent last year; current projections through February 2015 point to a 9.8-percent share by the end of the year. Hyundai remains mum on yearly forecasts, but believes it will continue to fare well, also, thanks in part to government incentives for both consumers and the industry as a whole.

[Photo credit: Kia]

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Volkswagen Won’t Cut Prices to Chase Market Share in U.S. http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/volkswagen-wont-cut-prices-chase-market-share-us/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/volkswagen-wont-cut-prices-chase-market-share-us/#comments Sat, 02 May 2015 15:37:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1059338 Even with a depressed euro and sales falling 2.7 percent in April, Volkswagen is staying the course. According to Automotive News, Volkswagen has no plans to change its current pricing strategy to chase market share. The brand has seen steady declines in the U.S. even as the market overall has been growing. “We believe it’s […]

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Even with a depressed euro and sales falling 2.7 percent in April, Volkswagen is staying the course.

According to Automotive News, Volkswagen has no plans to change its current pricing strategy to chase market share. The brand has seen steady declines in the U.S. even as the market overall has been growing.

“We believe it’s the right strategy over the long term,” Christian Klingler told AN.

He stated Volkswagen has a long-term approach to protecting profits and won’t try to chase volume at its expense. Similar problems are being experienced in other markets like Brazil. Also, even with the euro down versus the American dollar, most U.S. sales volume comes from North American-built vehicles, negating any possible positive currency impact.

Much of Volkswagen’s sales slump can be attributed to their current model mix. The brand does not offer a competitive crossover between the long-in-the-tooth Tiguan and much more expensive Touareg, a segment currently experiencing significant growth.

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IHS: PHEVs To Overtake EVs In Europe Within Two Years http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/ihs-phevs-overtake-evs-europe-within-two-years/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/ihs-phevs-overtake-evs-europe-within-two-years/#comments Mon, 13 Apr 2015 14:00:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1043242 Electric vehicles are doing well in Europe, but their dominance over PHEVs may soon draw to a close. Automotive News Europe reports sales of EVs in Europe jumped 73 percent to 58,244 units in 2014, while sales of PHEVs climbed 29 percent in the same period to 39,547, according to industry group ACEA. The best-selling […]

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Electric vehicles are doing well in Europe, but their dominance over PHEVs may soon draw to a close.

Automotive News Europe reports sales of EVs in Europe jumped 73 percent to 58,244 units in 2014, while sales of PHEVs climbed 29 percent in the same period to 39,547, according to industry group ACEA. The best-selling EV and PHEV in 2014 were the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (15,134 units vs. 19,855), while the largest markets were Norway for EVs (18,090 units), Netherlands for PHEVs (9,938).

According to IHS Automotive senior analyst Ben Scott, PHEVs will overtake EVs this year or in 2016 as far as production goes, forecasting 1.35 million units by 2020, and 2.7 million by 2025. Meanwhile, EV sales will be under 1 million by 2020, as consumers are likely to choose PHEVs for their flexibility in range and use over electric-only vehicles.

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Review: 2015 Volkswagen e-Golf (With Video) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/review-2015-volkswagen-e-golf-video/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/review-2015-volkswagen-e-golf-video/#comments Sat, 11 Apr 2015 19:24:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1037841 Because I live in California, it seemed only fitting that my first taste of the new Golf arrived in electric form: the 2015 VW e-Golf. (Why e-Golf? Because “Golfe” just sounded silly.) The Golf isn’t just the first Volkswagen EV in the US, it’s also the first VW built on the new MQB platform which […]

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2015 Volkswagen eGolf Exterior-001

Because I live in California, it seemed only fitting that my first taste of the new Golf arrived in electric form: the 2015 VW e-Golf. (Why e-Golf? Because “Golfe” just sounded silly.) The Golf isn’t just the first Volkswagen EV in the US, it’s also the first VW built on the new MQB platform which promises reduced weight and lower development costs. While MQB isn’t a dedicated EV platform like Nissan’s LEAF, it was designed to support electrification from the start rather than being converted like the Fiat 500e. While that may sound like a quibble, the difference is noticeable as the e-Golf feels like a regular VW that happens to be electric. The e-Golf also demonstrates just how rapidly EVs have evolved since the LEAF launched in 2010.

Exterior

Volkswagen has always been a company that prefers restrained elegance when it comes to design and the new Golf is no different. While some described the look as boring, I generally appreciate design evolution more than design revolution because the latter leads to products like the Aztek. The downside to VW’s design evolution is that the Golf doesn’t look all that different from the last Golf, but VW owners tell me that’s how they like it. Park it next to the last VW hatch and you will notice a difference. The 2015 model is longer, wider and lower than its predecessor with a longer hood and a shorter front overhang. The result is a more grown-up hatch than ever before that also schleps more stuff than ever before.

For EV duty, VW swaps in their first US-bound LED headlamps, and (according to a product announcement released when we had the e-Golf) will swap them back out if you opt for the new starting trim of the e-Golf which is coming soon. We also get a revised DRL strip of LEDs curving around the front bumper that gives the electric version a distinctive look in your rear-view mirror. Finishing off the transformation are blue accents here and there, EV specific wheels and unique badging. From a functional standpoint, the electrically heated windshield (ala Volvo and Land Rover) helps reduce energy consumption by heating the glass directly instead of heating the air and blowing it on the glass.

2015 Volkswagen eGolf Interior.CR2

Interior

Changes to the new interior are as subtle as the exterior. It was only after sitting in a 2012 Golf that I realized that parts sharing appears to be somewhere near zero. Although the shapes are similar, everything has been tweaked to look more cohesive and more up-scale. The console flows better from the climate controls, infotainment screen and knick-knack storage all the way to the armrest. The dashboard design is smoother and more Audiesque and the door panels have improved fit and finish with slightly nicer plastics. Keeping in mind that the Golf competes with the Hyundai Elantra GT, Ford Focus, Mazda3, Chevy Sonic, and Fiat 500L, this is easily the best interior in this class.

When it comes to the e-Golf things get murky. Since most auto companies have just one EV model, the electric Golf competes with a more varied competitive set spanning from the Spark EV and 500e to the BMW i3 and Mercedes B-Class Electric. In this competitive set, the VW still shines with an interior that isn’t that far off the B-Class or the i3 in real terms. The only oddity here is that the e-Golf does not offer leather in any configuration. The new base model gets cloth seats which are comfortable and attractive but the top end trim we tested uses leatherette which is attractive but doesn’t breathe as well as leather or cloth. Breathability is a problem the Spark’s leatherette seats also suffer from and is especially important in an EV where you frequently limit AC usage to improve range. Kia’s Soul EV is a stand-out in this area by offering real leather and ventilated seats which consume less power than running the AC.

2015 Volkswagen eGolf Interior-0031

Infotainment

The redesign of the Golf includes a refresh of VW’s infotainment lineup. Sadly however, this is the one area where revolution would have been preferable to evolution. The VW infotainment software, even in our up-level unit with nav, still lags behind the competition. The unit features expanded voice commands, finger gestures (like scrolling), snappier navigation software and a proximity sensor to clean up the interface when your digits aren’t near the screen. Most of the system’s graphics have been improved and the media interface is more attractive than before. Sadly however the system still lacks the ability to voice command your media library and the screen is notably smaller than the huge 8-inch screen in the Kia Soul.

2015 Volkswagen eGolf Interior Gauges

Instead of giving EV models a funky disco-dash like most EVs, VW keeps the four-dial analog cluster  and monochromatic multi-information display with a few changes. Instead of a tachometer we get a sensible power meter showing how much oomph you are commanding. Instead of an engine temperature gauge VW drops in an “available power” gauge that tells you how much power you can draw from the battery pack. In cold weather, or when the battery is too hot or too cold the discharge rate will slow.

I appreciate the simplistic gauge cluster, it’s classier than disco-dash in the LEAF while displaying essentially the same information. On the downside, the rest of the e-Golf’s systems lack the EV-specific features we have come to expect in EVs and hybrids. The extent of the EV information in the infotainment system is a single screen that shows your range. Most of the competition provides insight into how much energy your vehicle’s systems are consuming, how much additional range you’d get by turning your AC off or how long your battery would take to charge on various power sources. In fact the only way you’d know how long the e-Golf would take to charge is by plugging it in and reading the display that flashes the time to charge briefly. For more information VW directs you to their smartphone app, but those looking for a more integrated solution should look elsewhere.

2015 Volkswagen eGolf Motor-001

Drivetrain

Powering the e-Golf is a 115 HP synchronous AC motor capable of delivering 199 lb-ft of torque at low RPMs. That’s 55 fewer ponies, but the same amount of torque as the regular Golf’s 1.8L turbo engine. Logically the performance is lazy when compared to the turbo Golf thanks as much to the single-speed transmission as to the added weight of the e-Golf’s battery pack. 60MPH happens in a Prius-like 10.03 seconds, about 2-seconds slower than the TSI. Because the MQB platform was designed with EVs and hybrids in mind, the large 24.2 kWh (estimated 21.1 kWh usable) battery fits entirely under the vehicle with no intrusion in the passenger compartment and little overall compromise in terms of cargo capacity.

Early reports indicated that VW was going to liquid cool the battery pack like GM does in their EVs but the production e-Golf uses a passive battery cooling system instead. VW engineers tell us that the lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide (NMC) cells from Panasonic lend themselves well to packs of this nature and it ultimately helps them reduce weight and complexity. Like most manufacturers VW will warrant the pack for 8 years and 100,000 miles against capacity drop larger than 30%. This means that your EPA range starts at 83 miles and would have to drop to around 53 miles in that window to get it repaired or replaced.

Charging is always a concern with EV shoppers so VW dropped in one of the faster chargers available (7.2kW) which can charge the battery in three hours if you have an appropriate 240V EVSE. Should you have access to one of the new SAE DC Fast Charge stations (also known as CCS), you can zip from 0-80% in under 30 minutes. On the downside, finding a CCS station proved a little tricky in the SF Bay Area where the older competing CHAdeMO standard is more common by at least 5:1. On the up-side if you can find a station it’s unlikely to be occupied since there are few vehicles on the road that support the new connector.

2015 Volkswagen eGolf Interior Gauges-001Drive

According to VW, our e-Golf tips the scales at a svelte 3,391 lbs with 701 of that coming from the battery pack. For those that are counting, that’s only 300lbs heavier than the carbon fiber and aluminum BMW i3 REx which is significantly more expensive and actually has a smaller battery and 359lbs heavier than the Golf TSI. I should also mention that the Golf also scores better in crash tests than BMW’s light weight EV. In addition to being light for an EV, the weight is more evenly distributed than in the gasoline Golf. VW has not released exact details, but the pre-production Golf EV had a perfect 50:50 weight balance and that’s likely true for the 2015 e-Golf as well.

Although VW puts 205-width low rolling resistance tires on the e-Golf, it actually handles better than the base Golf TSI. Some of that is because the TSI gets 195s in base form, but the lower center of gravity and the improved weight balance play a large role as well. This means that unlike other EV conversions, the electric Golf isn’t the least fun trim, it actually ends up middle of the pack between the base Golf and top end TSI and TDI trims. The improved balance is obvious in neutral handling where the EV plows less than the base Golf. The added weight has a positive impact on the ride which seemed a hair more refined than the TSI a dealer lent for comparison. Steering is typical modern VW: moderately firm and accurate but lacking any real feedback.

2015 Volkswagen eGolf Charging Connector

Pricing on the e-Golf initially started and ended at $35,445 due to VW’s one-trim strategy. If you qualify for the highest tax incentives available (state and local) the price drops to an effective $25,445. That’s only a hair more than a comparable gasoline model (the e-Golf SEL Premium’s feature set slots between the TSI S and TSI SE model) but higher than many of the recent mass market EVs. To solve this VW announced the arrival of the “Limited Edition” which cuts $1,995 from the price tag by de-contenting. Cloth seats replace the leatherette (I actually think that’s an upgrade), the LED headlamps are dropped and steel wheels replace the 16-inch alloys. None of those changes are a deal-breaker for me, unfortunately however the last thing on the chopping block is the heat pump. Heat pumps are much more efficient than resistive heating elements so this will mean reduced range in colder climates.

The e-Golf is less of a compromise than the 4-seat Spark and a better deal than the 4-seat i3. Nissan’s LEAF provides a little more passenger and cargo room for less, but the trade-offs include lackluster handling, fewer features and a much slower charger. When cross-shopping Fiat’s 500e you realize just how large the Golf has grown over the years. As you’d expect in a segment that is evolving this rapidly, the toughest competition is found in the other new model: the 2015 Kia Soul EV. Priced from $33,700-35,700 (before incentives) the Soul is slightly more expensive than the VW but you get considerably more for your money. The delta is most pronounced in the Soul EV + which gets real leather, cooled seats, a heated steering wheel, power folding mirrors, an 8-inch touchscreen, and about 20% more battery capacity for $225. Highlighting Kia’s deft hand at cutting the right corners, you will notice that the Soul forgoes LED headlamps, the heated windscreen and has a slightly slower charger. As impressive as the e-Golf’s curb weight is, the Soul EV manages to be a hair lighter at 3,289lbs despite the bigger battery, this weight reduction and deeper gearing allow the Soul EV to scoot to 60 one second faster. This leaves me with a split decision, the e-Golf is the better car but the Soul is the better EV with a longer range, EV focused infotainment software and niceties like the cooled seats and heated steering wheel that extend range by reducing your HVAC consumption. If VW adds a third model sporting cooled seats, real leather and drops back in the gas-Golf’s power seats, they’d have a solid alternative to the Soul EV and even the Mercedes B-Class. Just be sure to check with your tax professional before depending on those EV credits and rebates.

Volkswagen provided the vehicle, insurance and a charged battery for this review.

Specifications as tested:

0-30: 3.44 Seconds

0-60: 10.03 Seconds

1/4 Mile: 17.2 Seconds @ 82 MPH

Average Economy: 4.3 Mi/kWh

2015 Volkswagen eGolf Cargo Area.CR2 2015 Volkswagen eGolf Cargo Area 2015 Volkswagen eGolf Cargo Area1 2015 Volkswagen eGolf Charging Connector SAE CCS DC Fast Charge 2015 Volkswagen eGolf Charging Connector 2015 Volkswagen eGolf Exterior.CR2-001 2015 Volkswagen eGolf Exterior.CR2-002 2015 Volkswagen eGolf Exterior.CR2-003 2015 Volkswagen eGolf Exterior 2015 Volkswagen eGolf Exterior-001 2015 Volkswagen eGolf Exterior1 2015 Volkswagen eGolf Exterior-002 2015 Volkswagen eGolf Exterior-003 2015 Volkswagen eGolf Exterior-004 2015 Volkswagen eGolf Exterior-005 2015 Volkswagen eGolf Exterior-0011 2015 Volkswagen eGolf Exterior-0021 2015 Volkswagen eGolf Exterior-0031 2015 Volkswagen eGolf Exterior-0041 2015 Volkswagen eGolf Exterior-0051 2015 Volkswagen eGolf Interior Gauges 2015 Volkswagen eGolf Interior Gauges-001 2015 Volkswagen eGolf Interior.CR2 2015 Volkswagen eGolf Interior.CR2-001 2015 Volkswagen eGolf Interior 2015 Volkswagen eGolf Interior-001 2015 Volkswagen eGolf Interior1 2015 Volkswagen eGolf Interior-002 2015 Volkswagen eGolf Interior-003 2015 Volkswagen eGolf Interior-004 2015 Volkswagen eGolf Interior-005 2015 Volkswagen eGolf Interior-006 2015 Volkswagen eGolf Interior-007 2015 Volkswagen eGolf Interior-008 2015 Volkswagen eGolf Interior-009 2015 Volkswagen eGolf Interior-010 2015 Volkswagen eGolf Interior-0031 2015 Volkswagen eGolf Interior-0041 2015 Volkswagen eGolf Motor 2015 Volkswagen eGolf Motor-001 2015 Volkswagen eGolf Wheel.CR2

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Tesla Remedying Sales, Range Anxiety Woes In China http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/tesla-remedying-sales-range-anxiety-woes-china/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/tesla-remedying-sales-range-anxiety-woes-china/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 12:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1032577 Tesla hasn’t had the best time in China as of late, a situation the automaker is looking to remedy as quickly as possible. Bloomberg reports Tesla’s Q4 2014 sales were “unexpectedly weak,” according to CEO Elon Musk. Musk went on to place the blame on the Chinese market sales force, who he deemed not only […]

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tesla-china-charger-620x350

Tesla hasn’t had the best time in China as of late, a situation the automaker is looking to remedy as quickly as possible.

Bloomberg reports Tesla’s Q4 2014 sales were “unexpectedly weak,” according to CEO Elon Musk. Musk went on to place the blame on the Chinese market sales force, who he deemed not only inept, but discouraged would-be owners by warning of the difficulties of charging electric vehicles in China. Speculators who ordered — but never purchased — vehicles, range anxiety among consumers, and Tesla’s misreading of the market also contributed to the automaker’s woes in the market.

Since then, Tesla has made some strides into rectifying the situation. In one example, new “executive rear seats” — a $2,000 option wrapped in leather and equipped with two zone heaters — were made available as a result of learning that rich Chinese customers prefer to be chauffeured over taking the wheel themselves. The option arrived as quick as it had due to the automaker’s direct-sales model, according to China sales training chief Dan Hsu.

Other actions meant to bolster Tesla’s standing in the market include: lobbying cities to order vehicles, then adding them to programs meant to bring consumers into EVs and PHEVs, side-stepping the lottery/auction process prevalent in China; providing and installing home-charging systems in consumer’s homes for free; introducing more “destination chargers” alongside its Supercharger network — over 1,000 are online so far; and mobile charging connectors for the times when an owner needs to charge no matter where they are.

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Compact SUVs Gain Popularity At Expense Of Midsize, Compact Cars http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/compact-suvs-gain-popularity-expense-midsize-compact-cars/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/compact-suvs-gain-popularity-expense-midsize-compact-cars/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 14:00:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1030297 While compact SUVs are doing well in the showroom, their success comes at the expense of midsize and compact car sales. In a report from Edmunds, 63 percent of compact SUV owners traded a midsize SUV, compact car or midsize sedan for a compact SUV like the Honda CR-V, Ford Escape and Nissan Rogue. Fourteen […]

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2015 Honda CR-V Exterior.CR2

While compact SUVs are doing well in the showroom, their success comes at the expense of midsize and compact car sales.

In a report from Edmunds, 63 percent of compact SUV owners traded a midsize SUV, compact car or midsize sedan for a compact SUV like the Honda CR-V, Ford Escape and Nissan Rogue. Fourteen percent, meanwhile, traded like for like.

Either way, both groups have their reasons for choosing models from this segment:

Compact SUV popularity is truly a product story. They are a desirable size, but concede very little in efficiency and are comparably priced with models in other popular segments. They combine aspects of the market’s best-selling and pragmatic segments — establishing a new middle.

The report says that transaction prices for compact SUVs are on par with midsize sedans, averaging $26,420 compared to the latter’s $25,887 average. It adds that the popular segment is having an effect on dealer inventories as well, as midsize and compact cars take the longest to leave the lot; the aforementioned Rogue has 36 days-to-turn, while the Sentra takes 85 days to do the same.

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Chart Of The Day: 8 Years A Slave, Redux http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/chart-day-8-years-slave-redux/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/chart-day-8-years-slave-redux/#comments Fri, 13 Mar 2015 14:04:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1021193 Faced with less disposable income, higher taxes and more expensive vehicles (in most cases), loan terms in the Canadian market has gradually shifted to one where bi-weekly and even weekly payments have become the advertised norm, with 72, 84 and 96 month loans appearing as a fixture of the new and used vehicle marketplace. And […]

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72months

Faced with less disposable income, higher taxes and more expensive vehicles (in most cases), loan terms in the Canadian market has gradually shifted to one where bi-weekly and even weekly payments have become the advertised norm, with 72, 84 and 96 month loans appearing as a fixture of the new and used vehicle marketplace. And with household debt levels reaching record heights in Canada, the chart above should be deeply concerning.

While the trend of long term loans has been brewing for some time in Canada, February marked a milestone. Nearly 70 percent of consumers  opted for loan terms of 72 months or longer. Consumers will, in all likelihood be paying thousands of dollars on interest alone on what would normally be a modestly priced vehicle.

One scenario, outlined by a friend, saw him go into a new car dealer to purchase a truck for both his primary vehicle and a work vehicle. The truck was a modestly equipped domestic full-size truck, already deeply discounted to $35,000 CAD (plus 13 percent sales tax). The loan terms offered were 96 months for 3.99%. That would have added up to $6,000 in interest payments over the loan term.

While Canadians are apt to buy smaller, cheaper passenger cars, full-size trucks still reign at the top of the sales charts, and transaction prices of these vehicles are going nowhere but up.

Chart courtesy J.D. Power via The Globe and Mail

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