By on January 18, 2016

Investors say Volkswagen should have told the world they were cheating earlier because then they could have bought more Apple stock.

That, Mercedes-Benz prices new E-Class in Europe, BMW’s bigger i3 battery and Jeep soars in Europe … after the break!


Investors lining up to sue Volkswagen in Germany

Large shareholders of Volkswagen are considering a lawsuit against the automaker for failing to disclose earlier its notorious “defeat device” and losing billions for investors in the following months, Reuters reported.

The lawsuit was largely a foregone conclusion once Volkswagen’s stock tumbled by nearly a third; many analysts predicted that investors would sue the automaker since it admitted in September that it fooled emissions tests worldwide.

According to the report, the lawsuit may be filed in Germany, where there is no legal class-action status, but a similar measure that would award damages to similar defendants in separate cases.

The lawsuit, which could be filed as early as this week, may represent thousands of Volkswagen investors who’ve lost money over the last year.


BMW boosts i3’s battery range by 50 percent

BMW said it will bump up its small i3’s range by about 50 percent later this year thanks to battery improvements — and probably because of the Chevrolet Bolt that can go much farther and cost less.

The automaker said it would release more details about the refreshed i3 later this year, Automotive News reported.

Current models, which have an 80-mile battery range, can be equipped with an optional range extender that doesn’t mechanically drive the i3’s wheels, but can effectively double its charge.

The i3 starts at more than $43,000. Chevy’s Bolt, which goes on sale next year and is about the same size, will start around $37,500.

Mercedes-Benz E-Klasse Limousine (W 213) 2016Mercedes-Benz E-Cl

Mercedes E-Class priced from $49,366 in Europe

The new Mercedes-Benz E-Class will start from about $50,000 in Europe when the car goes on sale this spring. The automaker announced pricing Monday for Europe, but hasn’t yet announced pricing for North America.

The new mid-size sedan, which was unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit earlier this month, will initially be available in Europe with three engines: a 2-liter turbo four, 2-liter turbodiesel four and 3-liter turbodiesel six.

Mercedes-Benz announced Monday that the E-Class could be equipped with semi-autonomous driving features from the S-Class for $2,463. The remote parking pilot, which can maneuver the car in and out of a parking space, will cost $2,787 in Europe, according to the automaker.


Dealers on FCA lawsuit: ‘Everyone does it’

According to some dealers, investors shouldn’t be shocked by allegations that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is pressing on its dealers to report quasi-legit sales figures — because everyone else is too:

“Everyone has been doing it for years,” said one dealership executive. “If you’re going to go after FCA, then you’ve got to go after every (automaker), because everyone does it to some extent.”

Which, again, that’s pretty shocking.

Larry Vellequette’s fine, fine reporting over at Automotive News found analysts who seem to think that FCA isn’t alone:

“In our opinion, the emergence of these allegations point to a possible weakness in sales quality,” said David Lim, senior analyst with Wells Fargo Securities. “We would not be surprised if other OEMs followed a similar tactic to varying degrees.”

And that the claims against FCA have some level of believability:

“To be clear, we have no reason to believe that FCA has breached any law in the U.S.,” Arndt Ellinghorst, analyst at Evercore ISI, wrote. “What we can say though is that FCA carries among the highest dealer inventory level in the industry with passenger car stock of 109 days of supply. In a U.S. market where customer preference is materially shifting towards SUVs and light trucks, (FCA) carries a worryingly high level of dealer stock.”

The party can never end.


Jeep sales soar in Europe, because of you-know-who’s favorite Renegade

Jeep posted a 118-percent sales gain in Western Europe thanks to its Renegade, the Detroit News reported.

Jeep sales in the region rose to more than 80,000 cars last year, according to the report, and Ford and General Motors sales increased thanks to Volkswagen’s sharp decline this year.

According to the report, Jeep’s Renegade (which Mark absolutely adored — Aaron) and small SUVs from Ford and Opel-Vauxhall set the pace for the automakers.

“With their SUV background in the U.S. these manufacturers should be able to exploit the booming trend in Europe. Yes, they’d need to be smaller but if you use an existing product and put a new hat on it, you could quickly bring it to market, gain profitability and market share. That’s the advice I would give them,” AID analyst Peter Schmidt told the Detroit News.

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29 Comments on “TTAC News Round-up: Investors Latest Headache for Volkswagen, New E-Class From $50K, and Dealers Surprised That You’re Surprised...”

  • avatar

    The Mercedes E-class now offers an interior superior to the W221 at half the price of the W222. This car is going to change the world.

    The E-class continues to be the number 1 selling Luxury 4-door. No one else is going to be able to compete with it.

    • 0 avatar

      I haven’t seen the new E in person, but from the pictures, it is gorgeous and unique. Really in another league from the 5-series and GS.

      They reduced the base price by more than $2K, presumably because the standard engine is now a 4-cylinder.

    • 0 avatar

      With a much cheaper looking front end, less visibility, and 61 less horsepower than the outgoing model to boot. If you’re right, they will just keep stupifying the model until people wake up and realize “whoa, what the heck am I buying here?”

    • 0 avatar

      $50k for a car with a four-banger? Psht.

      • 0 avatar

        You mean like the $55,000 2016 CTS 2.0-L I took my mother to price yesterday?

        • 0 avatar

          Yes but the 4 cylinder in the Mercedes isn’t shared with a Chevy Cruze. Mercedes will be sharing it’s engines with Infiniti however.
          BTW. The new E Class is quite nice.

        • 0 avatar

          Or the 55K 528? The difference being that no one pays list for the CTS and lots of people do for the 528.

          My point is that singling out the CTS for its turbo four ignores the fact that most A6s and 5-series go out the door with a similar motor.

          • 0 avatar

            528i at list price? Not in my neck of the woods (western suburbs of Chicago). Same holds true for the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and the Audi A6. My local high line German car dealerships are located on the same street within three blocks of each other and are all owned by AutoNation.

            A 2016 528i with a MSRP of $56K is discounted over $4,000. Their 2016 528i inventory with higher MSRPs are discounted even more. They have a couple of 2015 528s left and are discounting them over $7,700 from MSRP. 4-cylinder 2016 Audi A6s are showing a discount of over $5,100 from MSRP and 2016 MB E350s (there are no 4-cylinder gasoline E-Class cars currently imported to the US) are discounted over $7,600 from MSRP. They have one new 2015 E350 left and they’re discounted it over $9,200 from MSRP. And those numbers are from the website. I’m sure customers are able to get at least another couple hundred off of those advertised “AutoNation Prices” with minimal effort in their negotiations. I know I did.

            I’m sure when the 2017 E-Class hits the dealership they’ll get list or close to it for a short period of time. When the first batch of GLC300s arrived in late November, my local MB dealership advertised them for list. Now 7 weeks later, their AutoNation website shows a $2,700 discount on a just under $50K GLC300 4MATIC.

      • 0 avatar

        That’s how these brands roll now. But that’s just base. You’ll never roll out of a Mercedes dealer in a $50k E class. More like $60k with a couple options packages

    • 0 avatar

      Agree that the new E is a knockout, but it still suffers a bit in a couple of details: the plasticky grille star, justified for adaptive speed control sensors (MB should be able to figure out a better way to do this) and the half-black glass on the side windows is just sad. It’s supposed to be an upscale sedan, not mom’s minivan or SUV.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I’m very impressed with the new E-Class, especially the interior. Of course, the new G25 5-Series should hit the market later this year…so Mercedes-Benz will have that to contend with.

    As for the i3, if the range is that improved, it may make the version with the range-extending auxiliary gas engine less-alluring. I know that, for me, if an electric car can do a guaranteed 120 miles round trip, even with highway use, it’d serve me just fine most of the time.

    I *don’t* like the Renegade, but I’m pleased that other people do. It and the new HR-V are both new models that have contributed significantly to the subcompact CUV segment in terms of sales.

    Too bad about Volkswagen. I’m rooting for them because I have a love/hate relationship (but mostly love, since I keep buying them) with their products. But they deserve whatever they get.

    Meanwhile, you guys need to retire that stock image of the couple in the showroom :)

  • avatar

    “According to some dealers, investors shouldn’t be shocked by allegations that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is pressing on its dealers to report quasi-legit sales figures — because everyone else is too:”

    Duh. I can’t really tell you for sure if this has been a decades long practice but I can tell you the fraud will continue until morale improves. Fake economy, fake sales figures, fake growth, fake products and “progress”.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Yeah. Unlike Volkswagen’s diesel cheat, fraud at the distribution and sales-reporting level seems to be a common industry practice, and I guarantee that if it were investigated, FCA wouldn’t be the sole perpetrator.

      Now if they want to sell me a Grand Cherokee Overland Summit or a Hellcat anything for pennies on the dollar so they can report an extra sale this month, I will totally take them up on that offer…

  • avatar

    Maybe I’m paranoid, but that doesn’t mean the VW bankruptcy isn’t inevitable and the maneuvering for slices of the breakup pie aren’t in process. Not sure what the standing of a shareholder lawsuit would be in a EU bankruptcy, but I’m guessing anything to keep the Euro’s in the EU will be given more weight than it deserves.

  • avatar

    Shareholders lawsuit against V W kinda like G M shareholders doing the same because Rick Wagoner lied saying that G M is not in financial trouble.

  • avatar

    I never get tired of the cheezy stock photos of people at car dealers. Don’t stop!

  • avatar

    Wasn’t the whole “marking cars sold that weren’t actually sold” one of the things that TTAC’s own Steve Lynch wrote about in Accords and Arrogance?

    • 0 avatar
      Steve Lynch

      Yes I did. Back in the 70s/80s/early 90s it was done to earn more hot-selling Hondas and literally every dealer did it. Now you have the additional incentive of trunk money to “burn” registration cards.

      May I add, the few dealers who have stepped up and complained publicly, or in this case sued, are always poor operators who blame all their problems on the factory and other dealers, while ignoring the needs of their own customers and employees.

  • avatar

    I’m shocked, shocked I tell you, at these allegations of dishonest car dealers.

  • avatar

    “in our opinion, the emergence of these allegations point to a possible weakness in sales quality”, says David Lim. Really? Well we all have to worry about sales quality, now don’t we? What euphemism is this joker with the English language using, because it’s not clear to me.

    Let me rack my tortured cortex, filled with 40 years of business drone and doublespeak, then take a wild guess. – Maybe the financial “quality” of flogging a car to a fake customer on the 31st of each month, and then buying it back as a second-hand car the next day? That I could understand, but why not say so? Don’t bother telling me, I know why.

    But FCA seems to be able to sell the same car over and over again as new at the end of evry month – that bit o’ magic we all need to understand for our personal lives. Could come in useful, maybe, somehow.

  • avatar

    Anybody know when the CLS is going to get the new E’s interior? The CLS would be on my if-I’m-acquired dream list, but the current gauge cluster looks like it got ripped out of a Dodge Intrepid. With the new interior the CLS would be back on the map…

  • avatar

    Euro car pricing.

    You can drive a Mercedes E-Class for under $50,000!

    Steering wheel, tires, windshield, driver seat, outside door pulls, and rear view mirror are optional. See your participating Mercedes dealer for details, price as pictured $83,485.32

  • avatar

    Does anyone else think the back of the new E class is a bit cramped? Sitting in it at the auto show, it just didn’t feel as big as the previous three generations.

  • avatar

    I rode in a BMW i3 this afternoon, Seriously fast little car. Owner said he was told it was the fastest of the BMW stable.

    Nice little car, affordable on the used market.

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