TTAC News Round-up: Investors Latest Headache for Volkswagen, New E-Class From $50K, and Dealers Surprised That You're Surprised

Aaron Cole
by Aaron Cole

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 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.

Aaron Cole
Aaron Cole

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  • MBella MBella on Jan 19, 2016

    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.

  • Joeaverage Joeaverage on Aug 08, 2017

    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.

  • JK I grew up with Dodge trucks in the US, and now live in Turin, Italy, the home of Fiat. I don't think Italians view this as an Italian company either. There are constant news articles and protests about how stalantis is moving operations out of Italy. Jeep is strangely popular here though. I think last time I looked at stelantis's numbers, Jeep was the only thing saving them from big big problems.
  • Bd2 Oh yeah, funny how Trumpers (much less the Orange Con, himself) are perfectly willing to throw away the Constitution...
  • Bd2 Geeze, Anal sure likes to spread his drivelA huge problem was Fisher and his wife - who overspent when they were flush with cash and repeatedly did things ad hoc and didn't listen to their employees (who had more experience when it came to auto manufacturing, engineering, etc).
  • Tassos My Colleague Mike B bought one of these (the 300 SEL, same champagne color) new around June 1990. I thought he paid $50k originally but recently he told me it was $62k. At that time my Accord 1990 Coupe LX cost new, all included, $15k. So today the same car means $150k for the S class and $35k-40k for the Accord. So those %0 or 62k , these were NOT worthless, Idiot Joe Biden devalued dollars, so he paid AN ARM AND A LEG. And he babied the car, he really loved it, despite its very weak I6 engine with a mere 177 HP and 188 LBFT, and kept it forever. By the time he asked me to drive it (to take him to the dealer because his worthless POS Buick Rainier "SUV" needed expensive repairs (yes, it was a cheap Buick but he had to shell out thousands), the car needed a lot of suspension work, it drove like an awful clunker. He ended up donating it after 30 years or so. THIS POS is no different, and much older. Its CHEAPSKATE owner should ALSO donate it to charity instead of trying to make a few measly bucks off its CARCASS. Pathetic!
  • RHD The re-paint looks like it was done with a four-inch paintbrush. As far as VWs go, it's a rebadged Seat... which is still kind of a VW, made in Mexico from a Complete Knock-Down kit. 28 years in Mexico being driven like a flogged mule while wearing that ridiculous rear spoiler is a tough life, but it has actually survived... It's unique (to us), weird, funky (very funky), and certainly not worth over five grand plus the headaches of trying to get it across the border and registered at the local DMV.
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