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China Posts Meager Auto Sales Gain in 2017

Sport-ute led the way to small 1.4% increase last year.

by on Jan.12, 2018

Auto sales in China increased marginally for 2017, but they were led by sport-utilites.

China’s auto sales stalled in December and ended 2017 up a meager 1.4% compared with a year ago results as the popularity of SUVs helped to offset falling demand for sedans, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said.

With global car makers such as General Motors, BMW, Volkswagen AG, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota and Nissan all reporting solid, but not spectacular, gains during 2017, smaller local brands common to almost every province and international brands such Ford and Hyundai, appeared to suffer the most for the slowdown, which was due in part to the end of special tax credits.

Global Auto News!

The growth rate was barely one-tenth the previous year’s 15% rate, which was boosted by a temporary tax cut. (more…)

Mercedes-Benz Tops in Global Luxury Vehicle Sales for 2017

BMW, Audi finish second and third, respectively.

by on Jan.09, 2018

Mercedes-Benz once again captured the top spot in global sales among luxury brands.

Mercedes-Benz is once again laying claim to the title of the best-selling premium automotive brand in the world.

In 2017, the German luxury car manufacturer posted its most successful year of sales in its long history, increasing its unit sales by 9.9% to 2,289,344 vehicles.

Breaking News!

“Last year, Mercedes-Benz Cars delivered more than 2.4 million Mercedes-Benz and smart to customers all over the world,” said Dieter Zetsche, chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. (more…)

Buh-Bye Camry; Pickups, SUVs Now Own Top Sales Spots

Toyota's mainstay sedan didn't even crack the Top 5.

by on Jan.05, 2018

Despite giving the Camry a stylish makeover the sedan continued to lose momentum last year.

If anyone still questions the way light trucks have come to dominate the U.S. automotive market you only need look at the 2017 sales charts to see how passenger cars are on virtual life support these days.

Perhaps the most significant development finds that the Toyota RAV4 last year outsold the Camry for the first time ever. And so did the Nissan Rogue.

The Last Word!

The overall numbers for 2017 weren’t good, the U.S. market posting its first decline since the end of the Great Recession. And demand likely would have dipped more than the modest 5% if it weren’t for the strong, late-year surge as motorists in Florida and Texas raced to replace vehicles destroyed during the summer’s devastating hurricanes.

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Ford Hopes Alibaba’s Online Sales Plan is Purrfect

Vending machine approach expected to increase online sales.

by on Dec.19, 2017

Ford is looking to expand its online sales in China through its partnership with Alibaba and its cat-shaped vending machines for cars.

Ford Motor Co.’s new three-year deal with Alibaba, considered China’s version of Amazon, offers the automaker a new outlet for selling its vehicles in the country.

The idea of buying a new car on the internet isn’t exactly novel, but Alibaba offers Dearborn, Michigan-based Ford more options than simply “click to proceed to checkout” on its Tmall online store.

Global Auto News!

Ford, which has seen its sales in China stagnate this year, and when signed it deal last month with Alibaba, the automaker was looking to expand its capability of selling vehicles online. The company’s year-to-date sales in China total more than 1,056,000 units, a 6% decrease year over year. (more…)

Alcantara Gaining Ground on Inside of Autos

Luxury material making gains on leather in vehicle interiors.

by on Dec.19, 2017

Inside the new Panamera is covered in Alcantara, one of many high-end vehicle's using the material.

Alcantara, the Italian maker of material finding its way into more and more luxury vehicles, has tripled its sales since the recession and is adding more capacity at its home base in Italy, according to the company’s chairman and chief executive Andrea Boragno.

Boragno said Alcantara’s Italian manufacturing base is a vital part of its character and its broad appeal to a growing list of carmakers such as Alfa Romeo, Lexus, Lincoln, Nissan and Volkswagen.

Product News!

“The growing appeal of Alcantara is one of the reasons why we have announced a five-year investment program totaling 300 Euros million in order to double the company’s overall production capacity,” Boragno said. (more…)

BMW Launching All-New X2 and Updated i8 Coupe at NAIAS

Look for an array of coupes, concepts, crossovers and more.

by on Dec.18, 2017

Attendees at the Detroit Auto Show will get the first full look at BMW's new X2 M Sport model.

It’s hard to keep up with all the new stuff rolling out of the BMW product development center. Barely two months after filling the stage with an assortment of sedans, coupes, crossovers and concepts at the L.A. Auto Show, the Bavarian automaker says it will have some big news to come in Detroit, as well.

Look for two major announcements at the North American International Auto Show next month, starting with the global debut of the X2, BMW’s newest crossover. Also to debut: a mid-cycle update of the BMW i8 plug-in hybrid sports car.

Industry News!

“The BMW X2 represents an expression of modern and extrovert vehicle dynamics,” Adrian van Hooydonk, senior vice president, BMW Group Design, said in a statement, adding that the “standalone vehicle concept brings a new, fresh and exciting facet of the BMW to the compact segment.” (more…)

BMW Partnership Aimed at Developing Next-Gen EV Batteries

German maker teaming up with Colorado-based Solid Power.

by on Dec.18, 2017

BMW's Vision Next 100 concept is a battery-electric with autonomous capability. Those batteries could be solid state packs.

BMW is teaming up with a Colorado-based start-up in the search for the next generation of electric vehicle batteries.

Formed in 2012, Solid Power bills itself as “an industry-leading developer” of what are known as solid state batteries. The technology is expected to result in significant improvements over today’s advanced lithium-ion batteries, among other things packing in more power at a lower cost while also sharply reducing charging times.

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“Since the company’s inception, the Solid Power team has worked to develop and scale a competitive solid-state battery paying special attention to safety, performance, and cost” Doug Campbell, founder and CEO of Solid Power, said in statement. “Collaborating with BMW is further validation that solid-state battery innovations will continue to improve electric vehicles. We’re looking forward to working with BMW on pushing the limits on developments around xEV batteries.” (more…)