General Motors has no interest in continuing a production presence in the Motherland, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t see the Russian market as ripe for new product.
As sales fall in the tricky market, the automaker believes the new Cadillac Escalade, joined by a trio of crossovers, is just the thing to reclaim lost ground.
After rising steadily for almost three decades, China’s end of the economic seesaw seemed to hit its maximum elevation early last year, thus kicking off a swift plunge. For foreign automakers hoping to cash in on a burgeoning middle class hungry for cars, lofty dreams were pared back.
New vehicle sales in the world’s most populous country fell for the first time in 28 years in 2018, and the first two months of 2019 show no change in the market’s downward trajectory.
A vehicle most American enthusiasts would want — or at least claim to want — has undergone an emergency operation. Debuting at the Geneva Motor Show, the revamped Subaru Levorg will no longer thrill buyers in entry-level form.
Counterintuitive? Definitely not, says Subaru. Apparently, the Levorg, which can best be described as a WRX wagon offered in two power flavors, scared buyers away. What else could Subaru do except lower its standard horsepower?
There’s a reason for the use of upper-case letters — the Volkswagen Jetta is still a car model sold in China, and a quite popular one at that, while JETTA is a new brand aimed at entry-level consumers in that mega market.
VW is an incredibly big deal in the world’s most car-hungry country, eating up a considerable share of China’s mainstream vehicle segments. The brand sold 3.11 million vehicles in China last year. However, its presence at the bottom end of the market isn’t quite as strong, and there remains many millions of Chinese who haven’t adopted the new way of life and picked up a car. That’s what JETTA’s for.
Foreign markets are no stranger to selling cars that have long gone out of production here in the States. The VW Beetle was produced for sale in Mexico well after the calendar flipped into Y2K, while the Nissan Tsuru — essentially a Sentra from the mid-90s which remained in production until 2017 — bit the dust after crash tests showed it to be the structural equivalent of a wet cardboard box. The Peugeot 405 stuck around as a new car in Iran longer than just about anywhere else on the planet.
GM has a plant in Uzbekistan employing 8,000 people, with the capacity to make about 250,000 cars a year. Some nameplates you’ll recognize, like the Chevy Tracker. A few are renamed versions of machines long-gone from the American market. And others are familiar names dressed up in strange sheet metal.
The Ford Mustang grabbed its passport and went overseas in 2015, crossing border after border as its parent company followed through on a plan to plunder (and grow) the right-hand-drive sports car market. Customers in Europe and China finally got a taste of pony car action as Mustang sales expanded to over 140 countries.
At home, the Mustang remains a strong seller, but the market’s growing distaste for passenger cars means even rear-drive coupes and convertibles with a storied heritage aren’t immune to volume loss. After reaching a post-recession U.S. sales high of 122,349 cars in 2015, Mustang sales fell to 81,866 units last year. Volume over the first two months of 2018 is down 21.1 percent over the same period last year.
Not to worry — the Mustang’s European popularity is keeping executives in Dearborn happy, right? Well, European customers help, but they’re far from the model’s savior. Especially if they stop buying.
On the surface, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Jeep brand is everything a modern-day brand should be. SUVs and crossovers, a looming pickup truck, and no cars. This is what the world wants.
On the opposite side of the coin, Chrysler is the brand seemingly no one, save for North American minivan buyers and a shrinking pool of traditional luxury sedan devotees, wants. Year-to-date, sales of the brand’s two-model U.S. lineup is down nearly 10 percent.
Overseas reports claiming FCA has ended production of right-hand-drive models at its Ontario, Canada assembly plants paint an even grimmer picture, even though the core RHD Chrysler model — the rear-drive 300 — is not, apparently, extinct.
We all remember former Chrysler Corporation chairman Lee Iacocca railing against the Japanese for their uber-expensive land and not-so-open borders. Well, Jeep sales are slowly picking up in that Detroit Three-averse country, but one storied American brand isn’t doing so hot.
Chrysler. Sure, the brand isn’t doing all that great in its home country, either, what with only two models to show for itself. Still, Japanese buyers seem particularly unimpressed with the sole model Chrysler has to offer it.
Still, even with nearly nonexistent sales, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles isn’t about to throw in the towel just yet.
After over two decades of uninterrupted production, Nissan’s Mexican division is finally killing off one of the oldest cars currently on the global market — the Tsuru compact sedan. Virtually unchanged since 1992, Mexico manufactured it for 24 years, selling a grand total of 1,849,289 units in that time.
However the re-badged B13 Sentra’s rich history of reliable transportation and status as Mexico’s favorite taxi won’t save it from the axe. This popular little deathtrap has overstayed its welcome. Here’s why the blade needs to fall.
Ford doesn’t just want European SUV buyers to flock to its Edge, it wants luxury buyers, too.
The automaker is busy rolling out a refined version of its midsize CUV on the Continent, but an even plusher version is on the way, Automotive News Europe reports. With no Lincolns to sell, Ford figures it can turn one of its own into an Audi-fighter.
The hints keep piling up that the Škoda brand could one day arrive on our shores.
Volkswagen Group’s Czech subsidiary keeps dropping clues that it wants to enter the U.S. market, but the surging automaker’s CEO recently added his own voice to the rumor mill, according to Autocar. Company head Bernhard Maier said if the automaker does head to America, it already has the vehicle U.S. buyers want.
Mazda is closing the door on its relationship with Ford and opting to partner with Isuzu for its next-generation pickup trucks.
The automaker announced a new agreement today that will see Isuzu build its next pickup model, bound for everywhere but North America. The two companies previously collaborated on a pickup solely for the Japanese market.
China’s thirst for American executive sedans knows no bounds, so Lincoln is rubbing its palms together and giving the red-hot luxury market exactly what it wants: piles and piles of prestige.
The Continental nameplate is already soaked in presidential history, but for the Chinese market, the company’s flagship model needed something a little more…obvious. These images from China’s Autohome (via Carscoops) reveals Lincoln’s elegant solution — the addition of a “Presidential” badge to the sedan’s rear.
After partnering with the Russian company Sollers for the past five years and investing more than $1 billion into car and engine factories, Ford Motor Company is betting on a Russian rebound and still sees the beleaguered country as a long-term play.
Amid GM’s retreat from Russia, Ford stuck to its game plan by spending cash on new models and plants in that country, presumably to avoid a catch-up situation similar to the one it faced in China. According to Automotive News, the commitment paid off in the first quarter of 2016, sending sales up by 93 percent in a market that saw a 17 percent decline over the same period.
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