The Truth About Cars » United States market http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sun, 14 Sep 2014 15:36:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 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 is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » United States market http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Ford, Chevrolet Begin Labor Day Battle Weeks Early http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/ford-chevrolet-begin-labor-day-battle-weeks-early/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/ford-chevrolet-begin-labor-day-battle-weeks-early/#comments Tue, 19 Aug 2014 13:00:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=895386 Hold onto your wallets: Ford and Chevrolet are getting the jump on Labor Day sales weeks in advance of what most consider the end of the summer season. Automotive News reports the two brands are bringing their A games to the showroom, ranging from 0 percent financing for 72 months across most of their respective […]

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Ford Labor Day Sale 2014

Hold onto your wallets: Ford and Chevrolet are getting the jump on Labor Day sales weeks in advance of what most consider the end of the summer season.

Automotive News reports the two brands are bringing their A games to the showroom, ranging from 0 percent financing for 72 months across most of their respective lines, to Chevrolet offering deferred payments for the first 90 days for select models. Rather than wait until closer to Labor Day, however, Ford launched the first attack back in late July; Chevrolet kicked off its campaign last week.

The end game? Regain lost ground in sales from the first half of 2014. Ford lost 1 percent of its share of the market, dropping to 14.8 percent in comparison to 2013. Meanwhile, Chevrolet fell from 12.9 percent to 12.5 percent in the same period comparison.

Other combatants in the end-of-summer sales battle include Toyota offering 0 percent APR for 60 months on a handful of models, Nissan presenting 0 percent between 36 and 72 months depending on the model chosen, and Dodge giving buyers 90-day deferments on 2014 and 2015 models through Labor Day weekend.

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US-Spec Jaguar F-Type Project 7 Unveiled At Pebble Beach http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/us-spec-jaguar-f-type-project-7-unveiled-pebble-beach/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/us-spec-jaguar-f-type-project-7-unveiled-pebble-beach/#comments Mon, 18 Aug 2014 12:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=894002 Unveiled at this weekend’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, the U.S.-spec Jaguar F-Type Project 7 will make its home in a few garages beginning next spring. Autoblog reports the limited edition roadster — developed by Jaguar Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations — will leave showrooms in 2015 for a base price of $165,000. A tribute to […]

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Unveiled at this weekend’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, the U.S.-spec Jaguar F-Type Project 7 will make its home in a few garages beginning next spring.

Autoblog reports the limited edition roadster — developed by Jaguar Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations — will leave showrooms in 2015 for a base price of $165,000. A tribute to the D-Type, the Project 7 will have a 5-liter supercharged V8 delivering 575 horsepower to the back, pushing the cat to a limited peak of 186 mph with a nil-to-60 charge out of the gate in 3.8 seconds.

As for what color to paint your roadster, the Project 7 can be had in either Glacier White or Ultra Blue, with British Racing Green, Ultimate Black and Caldera Red as optional colors.

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Cadillac Aiming For RWD Flagship, New SRX In 2015 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/cadillac-aiming-rwd-flagship-new-srx-2015/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/cadillac-aiming-rwd-flagship-new-srx-2015/#comments Mon, 18 Aug 2014 10:00:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=893962 Trailing behind premium powerhouses BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Lexus in annual U.S. sales thus far in 2014, Cadillac is planning a two-pronged counterattack for 2015. Bloomberg reports chief engineer Dave Leone informed reporters at the 2014 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance that Cadillac will unveil a top-of-the-line RWD vehicle similar to the 2013 Elmiraj Concept, as well […]

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2013 Cadillac Elmiraj Concept

Trailing behind premium powerhouses BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Lexus in annual U.S. sales thus far in 2014, Cadillac is planning a two-pronged counterattack for 2015.

Bloomberg reports chief engineer Dave Leone informed reporters at the 2014 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance that Cadillac will unveil a top-of-the-line RWD vehicle similar to the 2013 Elmiraj Concept, as well as a redesigned SRX. An ATS-V is also in the works, according to Leone.

Speaking of the ATS, the compact vehicle has been leading the brand’s overall sales decline alongside the behemoth XTS, both falling down 20 percent through the end of July. Meanwhile, the SRX is doing well for itself, with sales climbing 16 percent in the same period for the premium crossover.

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Szakaly: CAFE Targets Will Curb US Auto Sales Beyond 2018 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/szakaly-cafe-targets-will-curb-us-auto-sales-beyond-2018/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/szakaly-cafe-targets-will-curb-us-auto-sales-beyond-2018/#comments Wed, 06 Aug 2014 11:00:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=883202 The federal fuel efficiency mandates now in place to guide automakers toward a fleet average of 54.5 mpg by 2025 may curb United States auto sales after 2018, according to a leading economist speaking during the 2014 Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, Mich. Automotive News reports National Automobile Dealers Association chief economist Steven Szakaly […]

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The federal fuel efficiency mandates now in place to guide automakers toward a fleet average of 54.5 mpg by 2025 may curb United States auto sales after 2018, according to a leading economist speaking during the 2014 Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, Mich.

Automotive News reports National Automobile Dealers Association chief economist Steven Szakaly warned that the challenges associated with the new CAFE targets were severely underestimated by the industry in comparison to previous CAFE targets.

He says that while automakers are currently experiencing a resurgence in sales with “good profits” on large vehicles, such as pickups and SUVs, future sales past 2018 will pale in comparison — with little hope for avoiding those losses — as automakers focus more upon the 2025 CAFE target:

Unless gasoline prices rise significantly, or we see consumers becoming irrational and everyone buying an electric car, it’s tough to think of consumers willing to pay $3,000 to $7,000 more for the exact same car, just because someone in Washington, D.C., or California says they need to buy it.

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Bubble Warnings Loom Large Over US Auto Sales Boom http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/bubble-warnings-loom-large-us-auto-sales-boom/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/bubble-warnings-loom-large-us-auto-sales-boom/#comments Tue, 05 Aug 2014 11:00:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=882066 Business is booming on the lot, with the industry on pace to move some 16 million vehicles out onto the highway by the end of 2014. However, some Wall Street insiders are growing bearish with this bull market, blaming easy credit for the surge in demand. Reuters reports the insiders believe the demand is artificial, […]

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Salesman With Customer

Business is booming on the lot, with the industry on pace to move some 16 million vehicles out onto the highway by the end of 2014. However, some Wall Street insiders are growing bearish with this bull market, blaming easy credit for the surge in demand.

Reuters reports the insiders believe the demand is artificial, and should begin to drop once the U.S. Federal Reserve raises interest rates next year. Morgan Stanley auto analyst Adam Jonas is among those insiders, and has gone as far as to proclaim the demand “peak auto”:

We have little doubt that we’re in bubble territory. We’ve blown through prior (sales) peaks in terms of value, the amount of money people are spending on automobiles. We’re in uncharted territory right now.

Jonas posits demand will actually hit its peak in 2017, when a record 18 million units are expected to leave the showroom floor, before dropping to just 14 million in 2019.

Easy credit is claimed to be fueling the current demand, which, in turn, is also fueling record transaction prices, the current average being more than $30,000 per vehicle. The U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency goes as far as to claim in a June report that “signs of risk in auto lending are beginning to emerge” as automakers and their financing partners go after subprime consumers with ever-lengthening long-term loans.

However, most industry insiders believe pent-up customer demand is driving the ongoing sales boom, with incentives remaining stable compared to the run-up to the Great Recession six years ago. Inventories, too, are at “a healthy and manageable level,” with production capacity at near-peak, according to Ernst & Young lead analyst Anil Valsan. He expects sales to cool off and plateau in the coming years, rather than the bust Jones is forecasting.

That said, some vehicles are being moved with a much larger carrot than others, like the Cadillac ELR’s $20,000 discount and Chevrolet’s and Ford’s $10,000 discounts on their respective full-size pickup offerings. Jonas believes it’s only a matter of time before the market visits the ER for credit poisoning, warning the next decade in the auto industry will be “more brutal” than the current decade “in almost every way.”

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Mercedes Debuts B-Class Electric Drive To US Market http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/mercedes-debuts-b-class-electric-drive-to-us-market/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/mercedes-debuts-b-class-electric-drive-to-us-market/#comments Tue, 22 Jul 2014 11:00:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=871330 If the upcoming Smart ForTwo isn’t quite to your liking, yet you do want something about as small with a tri-pointed star on its nose, Mercedes has brought over its B-Class Electric Drive. Autoblog Green reports the EV compact made its world showroom debut in the United States last week, appearing in 10 coastal states […]

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If the upcoming Smart ForTwo isn’t quite to your liking, yet you do want something about as small with a tri-pointed star on its nose, Mercedes has brought over its B-Class Electric Drive.

Autoblog Green reports the EV compact made its world showroom debut in the United States last week, appearing in 10 coastal states at first before heading inward toward the heartland down the road. Price of admission begins at $41,150, which will net the driver an 87-mile single-charge range and 84 MPGe, about the same as the Nissan Leaf and BMW i3.

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Clean-Diesel Sales Up 25 Percent In The US For 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/clean-diesel-sales-up-25-percent-in-the-us-for-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/clean-diesel-sales-up-25-percent-in-the-us-for-2014/#comments Mon, 21 Jul 2014 11:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=869994 Though hardly any of the offerings can be found in a brown wagon with a six-speed manual pushing power to the back, U.S. sales of clean-diesel vehicles have climbed up 25 percent this year. Autoblog Green reports clean-diesels are set to double their current 3 percent of total vehicles sold in the U.S. by 2018, […]

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Though hardly any of the offerings can be found in a brown wagon with a six-speed manual pushing power to the back, U.S. sales of clean-diesel vehicles have climbed up 25 percent this year.

Autoblog Green reports clean-diesels are set to double their current 3 percent of total vehicles sold in the U.S. by 2018, according to Diesel Technology Forum. The group also noted the 25 percent jump is besting overall sales thus far in 2014, having only seen a boost of 4.2 percent in comparison.

As for the cause of the leap into oil-burning, consumers seeking better fuel economy find a 30 percent gain when the engine quietly purrs, especially when 27 of the 46 available clean-diesel models for the U.S. market are cars and SUVs. Winners include Audi and Chevrolet, both moving 8,100 and 3,000 units through the first half of 2014. Meanwhile, Volkswagen, lost 8 percent in sales during the same period, though still lead the way with 42,000 vehicles leaving the lot.

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BMW 3, 4 Series To Get New Designations With New Engines http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/bmw-3-4-series-to-get-new-designations-with-new-engines/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/bmw-3-4-series-to-get-new-designations-with-new-engines/#comments Fri, 11 Jul 2014 13:00:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=863305 A handful of BMW 3 and 4 series models will receive new designations to go with their new engines when they arrive in U.S. showrooms beginning in 2016. An ongoing forum post on Bimmerpost reports the following for the F3x models: 4-cylinder B58 will have the 330i/430i designation, instead of 328i/428i 6-cylinder B58 will use […]

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A handful of BMW 3 and 4 series models will receive new designations to go with their new engines when they arrive in U.S. showrooms beginning in 2016.

An ongoing forum post on Bimmerpost reports the following for the F3x models:

  • 4-cylinder B58 will have the 330i/430i designation, instead of 328i/428i
  • 6-cylinder B58 will use the 340i/440i designation, instead of 335i/435i
  • F30 PHEV will be dubbed the 330e, instead of 328e

The list continues to update, and has info only on U.S.-bound models.

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AlixPartners: 2014 May Be The Peak Of U.S. Auto Sales http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/alixpartners-2014-may-be-the-peak-of-u-s-auto-sales/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/alixpartners-2014-may-be-the-peak-of-u-s-auto-sales/#comments Thu, 10 Jul 2014 10:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=862905 The good news? Automakers are enjoying a sales boom in the United States the likes of which haven’t been seen since the Great Recession brought the hammer down, with June 2014 sales alone surpassing those in July of 2006. Should the boom continue, 2014 will close as the industry’s best year in a long time, […]

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Toyota Sales Lot

The good news? Automakers are enjoying a sales boom in the United States the likes of which haven’t been seen since the Great Recession brought the hammer down, with June 2014 sales alone surpassing those in July of 2006. Should the boom continue, 2014 will close as the industry’s best year in a long time, with over 16 million vehicles sold when the calendar ticks over to 2015.

The bad news? This year may be the last year U.S. sales ever climb this high.

Autoblog reports a study by AlixPartners suggests sales will peak later this year, then head back down the mountain on the beaten path of rising interest rates — diminishing purchasing power in the process — then veer toward the long trail built upon the Millennials’ alleged preference of Uber and Car2Go over individual ownership.

In the near-term, director Dan Hearsch warns the lines of cheap credit today will dry up over the next two to three years:

The biggest factor would be this credit bubble, and without making an exact projection of when that will happen, that, to use is the window when you’ll see an impact on car sales. The other side of it is cyclical and predictable. … We’re a little more pessimistic because of these other factors.

Further up the path, rising fuel prices will temporarily give hybrids and EVs a boost in sales, but improvements in the ICE and the ongoing issues with EVs — range, higher upfront costs and production of battery packs — will mitigate whatever gains are made unless the technology comes into parity with the ICE.

Finally, AlixPartners expects 80 percent of all vehicles sold in North America by 2017 will be connected vehicles, and advises governments and OEMs to prepare for the day autonomous vehicles take their first outings beyond Google’s research facility, as such vehicles will be key to future sales.

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2015 Audi A3 Sedan Sales Outpacing Supply, Stealing From Honda, Toyota http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/2015-audi-a3-sedan-sales-outpacing-supply-stealing-from-honda-toyota/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/2015-audi-a3-sedan-sales-outpacing-supply-stealing-from-honda-toyota/#comments Mon, 07 Jul 2014 11:00:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=860769 The 2015 Audi A3 Sedan is doing quite well for itself in the United States since its arrival back in April of this year, even if the hipster parties during the sedan’s U.S. unveiling more than likely just amused the automaker’s traditional clientele instead of attracting younger buyers as the party plan intended. Autoblog reports […]

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Audi S3 Limousine

The 2015 Audi A3 Sedan is doing quite well for itself in the United States since its arrival back in April of this year, even if the hipster parties during the sedan’s U.S. unveiling more than likely just amused the automaker’s traditional clientele instead of attracting younger buyers as the party plan intended.

Autoblog reports Audi of America sold 2,452 A3 Sedans in June alone, with just over 25 percent of consumers under the age of 30. That particular group of young Audi drivers are new to the automaker, brand conquests over Honda and Toyota.

As for buying one right now, there may be a line ahead of you: Audi is still stocking its dealer network with the $30,795 sedan, with a wait as long as 30 days for those wanting specific features for their A3. The line may grow longer, however, when the automaker’s A3 E-tron arrives in Q2 2015, with every one of Audi’s U.S. dealerships being granted the opportunity to sell the PHEV.

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BMW Mexico Plant To Build 150,000 Annually http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/bmw-mexico-plant-to-build-150000-annually/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/bmw-mexico-plant-to-build-150000-annually/#comments Wed, 02 Jul 2014 13:00:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=857249 Though BMW may announce Thursday where in Mexico it will build its second North American plant, sources close to the matter said the plant will pump 150,000 units annually into auto trains bound for the United States. Automotive News Europe also reports a Mexican government official claimed the new plant would come with a €1 […]

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Though BMW may announce Thursday where in Mexico it will build its second North American plant, sources close to the matter said the plant will pump 150,000 units annually into auto trains bound for the United States.

Automotive News Europe also reports a Mexican government official claimed the new plant would come with a €1 billion ($1.36 billion USD) investment, and may either be located in the state of Hidalgo just north of Mexico City, or in San Luis Potosi in central Mexico.

The plant — following on the heels of a new Daimler-Nissan small-car factory to be built in Aguacalientes, as well as an Audi factory in San Jose Chiapa — will likely be used to build MINIs and the FWD 1 Series, with localized 3 Series assembly also speculated based on the automaker’s potential need to better compete against the U.S.-assembled Mercedes C-Class on price.

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GAC Hopes Transformers Appearance Means US Sales Next Year http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/gac-hopes-transformers-appearance-means-us-sales-next-year/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/gac-hopes-transformers-appearance-means-us-sales-next-year/#comments Mon, 30 Jun 2014 10:00:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=855657 Aside from seeing another Hasbro IP cameo transform into a weapon of mass destruction, viewers at the weekend opening of “Transformers: Age of Extinction” may have also glimpsed the first Chinese vehicle to arrive in the United States in the near future. Autoblog reports director Michael Bay chose Chinese brand Trumpchi to be involved in […]

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Aside from seeing another Hasbro IP cameo transform into a weapon of mass destruction, viewers at the weekend opening of “Transformers: Age of Extinction” may have also glimpsed the first Chinese vehicle to arrive in the United States in the near future.

Autoblog reports director Michael Bay chose Chinese brand Trumpchi to be involved in the latest film upon seeing its E-jet PHEV and asking if the PHEV could be used in said film. Parent automaker Guangzhou Automobile Group Co Ltd hopes the exposure will help them when (or if) they bring a few of its Trumpchis to the U.S. by 2015 at the earliest.

The first to be sent over via container ship is the GS5 SUV, which can be had in China for as low as ¥148,000 ($24,000 USD). Power comes from either a 2-liter four-pot providing 145 horses and 128 lb-ft of torque, or a 1.8-liter turbo-four delivering 174 horsepower and 175 lb-ft of torque. The SUV can either be had with FWD or AWD, and power can be processed through a five-speed manual or automatic.

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Daimler-Nissan JV To Build Next-Gen CLA, Unnamed A-Class At Mexican Plant http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/daimler-nissan-jv-to-build-next-gen-cla-unnamed-a-class-at-mexican-plant/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/daimler-nissan-jv-to-build-next-gen-cla-unnamed-a-class-at-mexican-plant/#comments Tue, 24 Jun 2014 11:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=850794 Aside from Infiniti sharing engines with Mercedes, the Daimler-Nissan joint venture will also lead to production of the next-gen CLA and an A-Class sedan at Nissan’s plant in Aguascalientes, Mexico. Automotive News Europe reports Daimler’s board will approve the decision within the next two weeks. Although the GLA crossover was supposed to go over to […]

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2014 Mercedes CLA

Aside from Infiniti sharing engines with Mercedes, the Daimler-Nissan joint venture will also lead to production of the next-gen CLA and an A-Class sedan at Nissan’s plant in Aguascalientes, Mexico.

Automotive News Europe reports Daimler’s board will approve the decision within the next two weeks. Although the GLA crossover was supposed to go over to Mexico originally, insiders claim that the CLA and the unnamed A-Class will take its place.

Production is set to begin in time for exportation to the United States in 2017, with an Infiniti compact — built upon Mercedes’ FWD bones — to join the CLA and A-Class. Annual output is expected to be around 100,000 to 150,000 units.

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2015 Acura ILX Hybrid Leaves US Market, Stays In Canada http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/2015-acura-ilx-hybrid-leaves-us-market-stays-in-canada/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/2015-acura-ilx-hybrid-leaves-us-market-stays-in-canada/#comments Wed, 18 Jun 2014 10:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=845801 Those considering a premium hybrid will have one fewer option in the United States when MY 2015 rolls around: Acura has discontinued sales of the entry-level ILX Hybrid in the land of the free. Autoblog reports the brand is responding to consumer demand — or lack thereof — in its decision to cut the hybrid […]

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Those considering a premium hybrid will have one fewer option in the United States when MY 2015 rolls around: Acura has discontinued sales of the entry-level ILX Hybrid in the land of the free.

Autoblog reports the brand is responding to consumer demand — or lack thereof — in its decision to cut the hybrid model from the rest of the ILX lineup, which now will consist of a 2-liter I4 paired with a five-speed automatic and a 2.4-liter I4 with a six-speed manual. Price of admission for 2015 will be between $27,050 and $29,350, depending on options.

The ILX Hybrid arrived in 2012 as a 2013 model, but only 2,660 copies had left U.S. showrooms between then and May 2014. However, the hybrid will still have a home in Canada, where parent company Honda has vowed to continue sales. The 2014 edition of the ILX Hybrid starts at $35,190 CDN, and is powered by a 1.5-liter I4 with an integrated electric motor, both of which are mated to a CVT.

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Kia Building First Mexican Plant To Alleviate Strained U.S. Production http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/kia-building-first-mexican-plant-to-alleviate-strained-u-s-production/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/kia-building-first-mexican-plant-to-alleviate-strained-u-s-production/#comments Mon, 09 Jun 2014 11:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=840426 In light of high demand in the United States for its offerings, Kia will build its first Mexican plant in Monterrey to help bring additional capacity to North America. Reuters reports the factory will open 21 months after groundbreaking, supplying a total of 300,000 vehicles annually to the United States. Production will focus on Kia’s […]

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In light of high demand in the United States for its offerings, Kia will build its first Mexican plant in Monterrey to help bring additional capacity to North America.

Reuters reports the factory will open 21 months after groundbreaking, supplying a total of 300,000 vehicles annually to the United States. Production will focus on Kia’s compacts — the Forte and Rio — at first before taking on work from the brand’s sole U.S. factory in Georgia, where the Optima, Sorento and Hyundai Santa Fe are assembled, and from Hyundai’s Alabama plant, where the Sonata and Elantra are built. No word was given on when the first shovels would break the earth.

Aside from supply-and-demand issues in the U.S., Kia is likely building the Monterrey plant — to go with Hyundai’s production expansion into Chongqing, China — in order to maintain its market share around the globe. The duo together hold fifth place in the global auto sales race, a position it could lose by 2016 if no more capacity is added, according to Korea Investment & Securities auto analyst Suh Sung-moon.

The capacity limit was unofficially put in place by Hyundai/Kia chair Chung Mong-koo over two years ago, fearing his two brands would end up like Toyota in the 2000s if they expanded as aggressively as had the Japanese automaker.

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Volkswagen Will Bring US Product Faster To Market Beginning 2017 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/volkswagen-will-bring-us-product-faster-to-market-beginning-2017/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/volkswagen-will-bring-us-product-faster-to-market-beginning-2017/#comments Mon, 02 Jun 2014 11:00:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=835569 In an effort to keep its U.S. customer base satisfied — and to potentially boost sales — Volkswagen is planning on delivering the goods to the market at a faster clip than current. Bloomberg reports VW U.S. CEO Michael Horn expects new models to arrive every five years with major refreshes after three years; currently, […]

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2015 VW Golf Main

In an effort to keep its U.S. customer base satisfied — and to potentially boost sales — Volkswagen is planning on delivering the goods to the market at a faster clip than current.

Bloomberg reports VW U.S. CEO Michael Horn expects new models to arrive every five years with major refreshes after three years; currently, new models arrive in showrooms every seven years, while major refreshes come in the fourth year:

Customers want quicker change. We’re working to shorten the life cycle of the products to bring more new features and design elements, in terms of face-lifts, to the market quicker. We believe we have a positive business case. It commercially makes sense that we move.

The new product cycle won’t begin until 2017 at the earliest, and must still meet management approval before implementation can commence, further diminishing hopes of moving 800,000 units out of U.S. showrooms annually by 2018; Horn recently stated VW’s U.S. operations would focus more on “realistic targets in the short-term.

The CEO also said he and a number of execs within the parent company had been meeting every other month since January to discuss how best to get a handle on the U.S. market, while 50 individuals from the automaker’s various departments attended a two-day summit to throw in their two cents on the matter. The summit focused on fleet fuel efficiency, product lineup and speed of product cycle.

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Minivans Making A Comeback, Minus The Name http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/minivans-making-a-comeback-minus-the-name/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/minivans-making-a-comeback-minus-the-name/#comments Wed, 28 May 2014 13:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=833506 Once the bane of soccer moms everywhere, the minivan segment is on the rebound in sales. However, the remaining stigma surrounding the name has some marketing reps doing their best to make sure “minivan” is verbotten down on Flower Shop Lane. The Detroit News reports the marketers are throwing around alternatives — such as “people […]

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Ford Transit Connect Wagon: The Unminivan

Once the bane of soccer moms everywhere, the minivan segment is on the rebound in sales. However, the remaining stigma surrounding the name has some marketing reps doing their best to make sure “minivan” is verbotten down on Flower Shop Lane.

The Detroit News reports the marketers are throwing around alternatives — such as “people mover,” “MPV” and “family truckster” — in an effort to make the segment cool for all. Edmunds analyst Jessica Caldwell, however, has reservations on such re-labeling:

Nobody wants to be categorized as a minivan, but at the same time, they have to let people know about how they can utilize these vehicles. The harder you try to convince people it’s not a minivan, the more they are going to think it’s a minivan. Just call a spade a spade.

While the marketers are trying too hard to “#unminivan” the segment, minivan sales climbed to over half a million in 2013 after a nadir of 434,000 in 2009 during the global economic superstorm’s early phase; sales peaked in 2000 at 1.3 million. Current offerings from the Minivan Three of Toyota, Honda and Chrysler dominate the market, though newer minivans such as Ford’s Transit Connect Wagon and Kia Sedona will add more choices in the coming years.

Though the segment had a homogeneous appearance for the past few decades, modern offerings seek to grab an ounce of individuality as far as what each minivan has to offer to families and young people. In particular, smaller minivans could bring new customers to a brand, leading to further sales down the road as situations change among those who enter the showroom for a “people carrier” over a hatchback.

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MG Motor Considering Roadster, US Market In Long-Term Plans http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/mg-motor-considering-roadster-us-market-in-long-term-plans/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/mg-motor-considering-roadster-us-market-in-long-term-plans/#comments Tue, 27 May 2014 13:00:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=832922 The last time MG sold roadsters in the United States, Jimmy Carter was President, ABSCAM (minus the efforts of Jennifer Lawrence, Christian Bale and Bradley Cooper) entered its final phase, and CNN had newsreaders instead of “news VJs.” Should the Sino-British brand be able to assemble a roadster worthy of those 1960s and 1970s classics, […]

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MG Icon

The last time MG sold roadsters in the United States, Jimmy Carter was President, ABSCAM (minus the efforts of Jennifer Lawrence, Christian Bale and Bradley Cooper) entered its final phase, and CNN had newsreaders instead of “news VJs.” Should the Sino-British brand be able to assemble a roadster worthy of those 1960s and 1970s classics, however, a new MGB might board a container ship bound for the U.S. in the future.

Edmunds reports exploratory design work for a sports car under the MG name has been placed on the 2014 schedule book in SAIC’s Shanghai design studio, with one of the possibly proposals being a roadster such as those in the brand’s history, as well as the spiritual successor found in the Mazda MX-5 Miata. The starting point for whatever is drawn up is the 2012 MG Icon concept.

In the meantime, MG Motor is looking to design and produce a wider mainstream collection, with design and engineering split between Shanghai and Birmingham, England. Eventually, this could lead to a return to the U.S. market, which is considered a long-term goal for the brand and its owner.

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Volkswagen Dials Back On 2018 Milestone http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/volkswagen-dials-back-on-2018-milestone/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/volkswagen-dials-back-on-2018-milestone/#comments Mon, 19 May 2014 12:00:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=826242 Though Volkswagen had plans to move 800,000 units annually out of U.S. showrooms by 2018, the automaker may now opt to dial back its ambitious plan in light of slow growth and falling sales. The Detroit Bureau reports VW’s U.S. chief Michael Horn said his goal with the company for now is to focus on […]

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Though Volkswagen had plans to move 800,000 units annually out of U.S. showrooms by 2018, the automaker may now opt to dial back its ambitious plan in light of slow growth and falling sales.

The Detroit Bureau reports VW’s U.S. chief Michael Horn said his goal with the company for now is to focus on “realistic targets,” especially as sales fell against the harsh winter weather earlier this year, and though the main goal is still there, it will be reached in the long-term.

According to industry insiders, the automaker wants to be sure it builds the kind of vehicles the U.S. market desires — such as the upcoming CrossBlue Concept-based full-size SUV — even if it means holding back on products until they are ready for production. Another diversion from the 800,000/year road is China: financing meant for the U.S. market was diverted across the Pacific in VW’s fight to dominate the emerging market, which it hopes will happen by decade’s end.

That said, VW will likely turn more of its focus back on the U.S. in order to shore up its stake in the fight to take the top podium in global sales, such as the impending announcement of where the aforementioned SUV will be built. There, the plants in Chattanooga, Tenn. and Puebla, Mexico are in the running, though the former may be out due to the fallout surrounding the February 2014 battle between the UAW and anti-union forces over organization of the plant.

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Ford: Manual-Only Plan For 2015 Focus 1-Liter “Sensible” For US Market http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/ford-manual-only-plan-for-2015-focus-1-liter-sensible-for-us-market/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/ford-manual-only-plan-for-2015-focus-1-liter-sensible-for-us-market/#comments Thu, 08 May 2014 13:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=817898 Despite a majority of U.S. consumers preferring automatic transmissions over manual offerings, Ford’s plan to offer the 1-liter EcoBoost with only a six-speed manual for the 2015 Focus is seen by the automaker as a sensible decision for the home market. Ward’s Auto reports U.S. Focus customers are more likely to choose a manual over […]

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Despite a majority of U.S. consumers preferring automatic transmissions over manual offerings, Ford’s plan to offer the 1-liter EcoBoost with only a six-speed manual for the 2015 Focus is seen by the automaker as a sensible decision for the home market.

Ward’s Auto reports U.S. Focus customers are more likely to choose a manual over an automatic — the lineup as a whole as a take rate of between 12 percent and 13 percent — if not the desire to learn how to shift, according to Focus marketing manager Seema Bardwaj:

We see younger customers who think it’s cool and think they are better engaged with the vehicle (with a manual). We see that in that customer that you may not see in other vehicle segments.

In addition, Ford believes U.S. consumers may not find the dual-clutch automatic offered with the engine elsewhere to their liking, citing customer reaction toward the technology — and complaints of abrupt shifting that was later fixed through software updates — behind its reasoning. Last year, TTAC reported that the 1.0L/Powershift combo in the Fiesta was axed, due to concerns over NVH. This may have been the case for the Focus as well.

However, the take rate for the pairing under the Focus may be lower than hoped, which may lead to an automatic behind the 1-liter down the line. In the meantime, Ford hopes the engine more than makes up for the lowered expectations, thanks in part due to its fuel economy; under the hood of the Fiesta with the same transmission, the B-segment car delivers a combined 37 mpg.

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Honda Pursues 70k Annual US Fit Sales http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/honda-pursues-70k-annual-us-fit-sales/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/honda-pursues-70k-annual-us-fit-sales/#comments Mon, 14 Apr 2014 13:30:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=797498 In 2008, Honda sold nearly 80,000 Fit subcompacts to the United States, and is preparing to move 70,000 annually from the lot to the driveways of America thanks to its new Celaya, Mexico plant. Ward’s Auto reports the automaker had a difficult time hitting the milestone set in 2008 due to production constraints at home […]

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In 2008, Honda sold nearly 80,000 Fit subcompacts to the United States, and is preparing to move 70,000 annually from the lot to the driveways of America thanks to its new Celaya, Mexico plant.

Ward’s Auto reports the automaker had a difficult time hitting the milestone set in 2008 due to production constraints at home and fervent demand abroad. With the new plant, however, Honda will be able to make 200,000 Fits annually, as well as the Fit-based crossover set to begin production later this year.

As for who Honda expects will buy the 70,000+ Fits aimed for the U.S. market — aside from lifestyle bloggers — product planner Hiroaki Hamaya says the subcompact is already “capturing the highest household income and percentage of college grads.” Data from J.D. Power bears this out: Fit buyers hold an average income of $75,000 while 64 percent of them have graduated college. However, median age and percentage of buyers under 35 currently lag behind competitors such as the Ford Fiesta and Chevrolet Sonic.

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Manley: Renegade Will Appeal To U.S. Customers Despite Italian Roots http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/manley-renegade-will-appeal-to-u-s-customers-despite-italian-roots/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/manley-renegade-will-appeal-to-u-s-customers-despite-italian-roots/#comments Fri, 07 Mar 2014 20:30:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=767217 According to Jeep boss Mike Manley, the Italian-built Renegade will appeal to the off-road brand’s United States customer base despite its Italian roots, especially in Trailhawk form. Automotive News Europe reports the main concern regarding the Renegade is its off-road capability, which Manley believes will be resolved once the trail-rated Trailhawk arrives in showrooms in […]

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2015 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk

According to Jeep boss Mike Manley, the Italian-built Renegade will appeal to the off-road brand’s United States customer base despite its Italian roots, especially in Trailhawk form.

Automotive News Europe reports the main concern regarding the Renegade is its off-road capability, which Manley believes will be resolved once the trail-rated Trailhawk arrives in showrooms in 2015 along with the rest of the Renegade family. He also noted the design language expressed by the entry-level Jeep, as well as its footprint, echo that of the CJ family:

The Renegade’s footprint is similar to one of the CJs. It’s much more Wrangler. We’re very pleased, and I think it will work well in the United States.

Though Manley remained silent on the subject of sales figures for the Renegade and platform sibling Fiat 500X, supplier sources expect a total of 280,000 units annually between the two, with Jeep moving 150,000 units and Fiat accounting for 130,000. Price of admission will be announced by Jeep in Q4 2014 for the U.S., Q2 2014 for the European market.

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