Volkswagen Won't Quit the U.S. Consumer, Because Love is Stronger Than Diesel
They’re on a little break right now, but Volkswagen plans to saunter back to America’s door, flowers and chocolates in hand.
As the diesel emissions scandal plods along to its buyback conclusion, the automaker plans to woo U.S. buyers with desirable products and a less confusing brand strategy, Automotive News reports.
Volkswagen brand chief Herbert Diess told reporters in Germany last week that the U.S. was still a target market primed for growth, but first the company must convince those buyers that it has changed its ways, and that it’s ready for commitment.
Mini Boss Doesn't Want to Sully the Brand With an Icky Sedan
Mini needs a fifth core model that stays true to the brand’s heritage while drawing in more customers, but the man in charge of the brand doesn’t like sedans.
Unless a previously unknown model crawls out of Mini’s history, one side of the dilemma will have to give up ground.
Ralph Mahler, Mini’s vice-president of product development, sparked sedan rumors earlier this month when he said a conventional four-door makes good business sense, especially in the U.S. and Asia. His boss doesn’t disagree, but hates the idea.
Ford's in the Money: Automaker Posts Record Profits Because You Love Trucks
News from Dearborn this morning will please recent purchasers of F-150s, Transits, and Fiestas — Ford Motor Company is absolutely on fire financially, earning $2.5 billion in a very large first quarter.
Ford’s pre-tax profit of $3.8 billion was a record for the company.
Hoping for a Jaguar Wagon? Dream On, Says Ian Callum
Jaguar’s design chief just broke the hearts of that tiny, tiny group of enthusiasts who were holding out for a new Jaguar wagon.
Ian Callum threw an ice cold pot of tea onto speculation that the British automaker would offer a wagon version of one of its new sedans, telling a group of auto journos in London that they were done with estate cars, Automotive News Europe has reported.
The reason for this has a lot to do with why Callum and the journalists were in the same room. The event concerned the 2017 Jaguar F-Pace, the automaker’s first crossover SUV.
The Untapped Potential of Wrangler
Jeep is a pillar of financial strength for FCA. The brand is poised to deliver its sixth consecutive year of growth. Even if you despise the Compass and Patriot, it would be difficult to argue that Jeep CEO Mike Manley has been anything but a good steward of the brand.
But how is Jeep going to keep its 6,500 UAW members in Toledo working after 2017 when the Cherokee departs and there’s a gaping 240,000 unit hole to fill? Uncertainty over how this gap will be filled, in conjunction with the failure of union negotiators to eliminate the two-tier wage system, were the primary factors in a strong no vote from UAW members in Toledo last week. Nonetheless, FCA has a unique opportunity to address their workforces’ legitimate concern over job security, give consumers what they want, and find new homes for Jeep products across the globe.
Ur-Turn: The Truth About Oil, Part Two – The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly
In the 1966 Spaghetti Western classic The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, the three principal characters come together in what is considered the most iconic standoff in cinematic history. Three parties hostile to each other and the first one to shoot is the most likely loser.
Can GM Walk Its Talk On Incentive Spending?
[Editor’s note: the following block-quoted passages were sent to us by an enterprising anonymous tipster (italicized passages were quoted in the original from linked sources). I’ve decided to let the argument speak for itself, and simply interject a few thoughts (non-block-quoted) towards the end.]
On their Q2 earnings call, GM gave this presentation [PDF] and made the following claims:
“On Slide 12, we provide what we view as key performance indicators for GM North America. The 2 lines on the top of the slide represents GM’s U.S. total and retail share. The bars on the slide represent GM’s average U.S. retail incentives on a per unit basis. Now U.S. retail incentives as a percentage of average transaction price and compared to the industry average is noted at the bottom of the slide.
“For the second quarter of 2011, our U.S. retail share was 17.6%, up 1.3 percentage points versus the prior year and down 0.6 percentage points versus the prior quarter due to the absence of the first quarter sales programs. Our incentive levels on an absolute basis have declined significantly from the prior year as well as sequentially. On a percentage of ATP basis, our incentives were 8.9%, down 2 percentage points versus the prior year. This puts us at approximately 103% of industry average levels for the second quarter of 2011, flat versus the prior year.
“In terms of incentive levels, our plan continues for us to be at approximately the industry average for the year on a percentage of ATP basis. These results for share and incentive demonstrate the impact of our plan to produce great vehicles the customers are willing to pay for.”
I did not try to verify the first part of the highlighted claim (that incentives have declined compared to previous year totals), but the second part of the claim (that incentives have declined sequentially) is demonstrably false.
Hammer Time: Aberrations
Last night I sold a car. Not just any other vehicle but the ‘family’ vehicle. A 2003 Honda Civic Hybrid that I purchased three years ago for $6500. For 50,300 miles it proved to be a perfect fit for a family of four. My wife loved it. But with used car prices outperforming in a three year period what the Dow couldn’t attain in ten I decided to cash it in. The price three years and 50k later? $6450.
I wasn’t smart when I got that price last night. I was lucky.