While America Slept. Sunday, November 30, 2008
Deutschland’s dealers found guilty of low car sales: J.D.Power, who’s fighting an uphill battle for the attention of Germany’s auto makers, may just have found the elusive key to their hearts and budgets: “Lack of attention from the salesperson is the most frequently cited non-price-related reason for customer rejection of European premium and volume automotive brands,” Power’s 2008 Germany Automotive Shopper Study says. We see all of Germany’s auto makers write the big checks for the study, and invite J.D.Power to conduct proprietary studies to further prove what auto makers deep in their dark hearts had suspected all along: The downturn is all the dealers’ fault. All dealers need to get fired.
Buick or bust: From the U.K., the Financial Times weighs in on the Detroit debate about D.C. dollar donations: “Congressmen mulling this request might want to visit their local Buick dealership. They should have no trouble finding one, with 2,751 nationwide the last time the National Automobile Dealers Association counted, more than double those selling Toyotas. As a result, only 88 Buicks a year are sold per dealer versus 1,821 for Toyota. Barring Chapter 11, multiple brands and excess dealerships can only be remedied with billions in dealer buy-outs due to state protection, as seen with Oldsmobile.”
Recession? Never heard of it: Honda announced that their production in Japan did set an all-time record for the month of October, The Autochannel reports. Even better, October worldwide production at Honda did set an all-time record for any month. What will they do with all those cars?
Geeky gadget gets green light: While other makers tinker with ancient start/stop schemes, Audi is busy working on a system that pretty much guarantees you a green light – most of the time. The London Daily Mail test-drove a prototype of Audi’s “Travolution” (honest, that’s the name.) All it requires are traffic lights that talk to your car, wirelessly. A test in Audi’s hometown Ingolstadt, where 46 of the town’s 140 traffic lights can communicate with Travolution, showed a 21 per cent reduction in lost time sitting at traffic lights, an eight per cent overall reduction in traveling time and a 17 per cent reduction in the number of stops cars have had to make at lights. Saving the planet, one traffic light at a time.
Now we know why Porsche wants VW: Porsche wants to lower its development costs to below 10 percent of sales by sharing research with takeover target Volkswagen. That’s what Porsche board member Wolfgang Duerheimer told auto motor und sport. The article will be printed next week, and Reuters got a glimpse. Porsche’s Panamera drove R&D to 15 percent, and the Swabian slot-car makers want the number down below their historical 10 percent average. Any bets there are other reasons also for a VW takeover?
Chinese get in on the ground floor in Detroit: For the first time in recorded history, two Chinese auto makers (Brilliance and BYD) will be on the main floor of the 2009 Detroit Auto Show, Autonews China (sub) reports. The space was vacated by Mitsubishi.
Detroit‘s loss is Europe’s gain: US unit sales fell 31.9 percent last month, but Europe’s 17 brands were down just 17.9 percent on average compared with October 2007. Meaning? Icreased market share for the Euros. The Europeans now have 9.2 percent of the US market, up from 7.6 percent in October of last year, Automotive New Europe (sub) says. BMW group’s Mini and VW’s Audi even posted – gasp – increased sales in the US.
Turkey car sales a turkey in 2009: After a dramatic rise since a 2001 financial crisis, the Turkish auto business is in for a 20 percent fall next year, Reuters reports via Automotive New Europe (sub.)
Big bucks for Benitos: An Italian right-wing party is offering $1,930 to parents who name their babies after wartime fascist dictator Benito Mussolini or his wife Rachele. The party says these names are at the brink of extinction, reports Reuters. Would that be a worthwhile idea for Detroit? The plight of Richard Wagoner may trigger similar trends. Dollars for Dicks?
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- Inside Looking Out "And safety was enhanced generally via new reversing lamps and turn signals fitted as standard equipment."Did not get it, turn signals were optional in 1954?
- Lorenzo As long as Grenadier is just a name, and it doesn't actually grenade like Chrysler UltraDrive transmissions. Still, how big is the market for grossly overpriced vehicles? A name like INEOS doesn't have the snobbobile cachet yet. The bulk of the auto market is people who need a reliable, economical car to get to work, and they're not going to pay these prices.
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- Luke42 I'm only buying EVs from here on out (when I have the option), so whoever backs off on their EV plans loses a shot at my business.