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Woodward Dream Cruisers Out Early and Often

Fans and cruisers get an early start on the event.

by on Aug.18, 2018

Classic car fans and owners began trekking up and down Woodward Avenue Friday in advance of the Dream Cruise.

The roar of powerful engines and the smell of exhaust began filling the air as the classic car fanatics began their annual trek to Woodward Avenue, north of Detroit, for the Woodward Dream Cruise.

The event begins today, but there is plenty of “pregaming” on the days leading up to the main event. On Friday afternoon, cruisers were out in force as car aficionados had already set up shop to enjoy the cars of their youth.

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“I like the classic muscle cars,” said Charles Kinsley of Ann Arbor, Michigan. “I don’t care for the cars they remake.” Despite not being a big fan of the retro-based efforts of the Big Three automakers. Kinsley has attended almost every Dream Cruise since its inception in 1995. (more…)

Buyers Sit Out July Due to Higher Interest Rates, Fewer Incentives

Transaction prices were up $925 in July.

by on Aug.01, 2018

AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson called July a "clunker" when it came to the sales results, adding that every sales year has one.

Analysts and industry executives have been pointing to the second half of this year, expecting sales to decline so July’s results weren’t a complete surprise.

However, with a second quarter GDP at 4.1% and promises by President Donald Trump that the good times are going to continue to roll, at least economically, what caused the slump in car sales to occur as the negative nellies said it would”

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It’s multiple factors, starting with vehicle loan interest rates. The annual percentage rate (APR) on new financed vehicles averaged 5.74% in July 2018 compared to 4.77% in July 2017, according to Edmunds.com. (more…)

Despite Sales Slump, Genesis on Target, Says U.S. Chief

Upturn linked to new products, standalone dealers, says Raphael.

by on Jul.11, 2018

Genesis steps things up by taking a shot at the vaunted BMW 3-Series with the new G70.

It’s not often that a senior brand executive is pleased to see his sales slide by more than 50 percent, but Erwin Raphael says the sharp year-over-year decline Genesis reported last month is pretty much right on target.

Two years after it was spun off by Hyundai as a standalone luxury brand, Genesis is in the midst of some major changes that will determine its long-term success. That starts with the upcoming launch of the 2019 G70, which targets the likes of the vaunted BMW 3-Series, as well as the first Genesis SUV expected to join the line-up next year.

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The Korean marque is also getting ready to launch its own standalone dealer network in the coming months, one that will see the number of Genesis outlets in the U.S. drop by more than 85 percent. But, as with sales, bigger numbers aren’t always better when you’re launching one of the first new luxury brands in decade, insists Raphael, the executive director of Genesis Motor America.

(more…)

Auto Industry in the Crosshairs as First Shots Fired in China Trade War

Ford, BMW, Volvo and GM could be particularly hard-hit.

by on Jul.06, 2018

President Donald Trump ordered $50 billion in new tariffs on Chinese goods.

Words, rather than gunshots, rang out overnight as the Trump administration officially enacted an estimated $50 billion in new trade tariffs on China, leading the massive Asian giant to strike back with new duties worth about $34 billion.

The U.S., Chinese officials declared, has launched “the biggest trade war in economic history.” The government, borrowing a page from the Trump playbook, called the U.S. administration “a gang of hoodlums.” The White House, meanwhile, said it was in for the long-term, if need be, and could levy billions of dollars in additional tariffs against one of America’s biggest trade partners.

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The battle, which few analysts expect to be resolved quickly, will impact a broad spectrum of industrial sectors, everything from entertainment to agriculture, though automotive manufacturers could be particularly hard-hit. (more…)

Ram Selling Something Old, Something New

Brand offering old truck with new name: Classic.

by on Jun.26, 2018

Ram will sell the new and previous body styles concurrently this year. The new model goes on sale soon.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles confirmed it will sell both an older body-style version of its popular Ram Truck alongside the new version during the upcoming model year.

The company had signaled its intention to keep both trucks in production during the transition. Moreover, FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne acknowledged during the earnings call back in April that the launch of the new Ram was going slower than anticipated.

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With two concurrently selling body styles of its 2019 model year pickup, have given the “legacy” or older edition its own name: Classic. (more…)

Harley-Davidson Shifting Some Production outside U.S., as Trump Trade War Begins to Have Casualties

EU retaliates against steel, aluminum tariffs.

by on Jun.25, 2018

Harley-Davidson is shifting production overseas to avoid new EU tariffs on motorcycles.

Perhaps the most of American of all companies, Harley-Davidson Inc., is being forced to shift some production of its motorcycles out of the U.S. as President Donald Trump’s trade policies are beginning to hit home.

The Milwaukee-based motorcycle maker said in a regulatory filing that the European Union’s response to Trump’s new tariffs on steel and aluminum from the EU, is adding $2,200 to the cost of each motorcycle it exports from the U.S. to Europe.

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The EU raised the tariffs from 6% to 31$ on June 22. The production shift comes as Harley said it would take a $90 million to $100 million hit annually rather than pass the cost on to customers. The company didn’t say where it would shift production to, just that it would be outside of the U.S. (more…)

Back-to-Roots Ford Mustang Raises Money for Charity

The Eagle Squadron Mustang debuts at Goodwood Festival of Speed.

by on Jun.15, 2018

The Eagle Squadron Mustang GT draws inspiration from American fighter pilots who served with the Royal Air Force in World War II.

The Ford Mustang was a hit when it was introduced in 1964. The pony car, as it became known, was emblazoned with a horse on the grille and other parts of the logo. However, Lee Iaccoca’s best-known contribution to Ford wasn’t named after a wild horse at all.

The name for company’s best-selling sports car ever was derived from the P-51 Mustang, a fighter plane from World War II … or at least that how some of the legend goes.

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However, at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, attendees will get see to a Mustang truly inspired by fighter planes and pilots: the one-off Eagle Squadron Mustang GT. (more…)

Paris Motor Show Exodus Accelerates

Key FCA brands follow BMW, Ford, Nissan and VW out the door.

by on Jun.04, 2018

This scene is not going to play out this fall at the Paris Motor Show.

It’s looking likely to be rather lonely at the Paris Motor Show this year with a rapidly growing list of major manufacturers announcing they will be no-shows next autumn at an event that has traditionally been a must for the industry.

Auto shows, in general, are coming under scrutiny as manufacturers begin weighing their costs and benefits, and start comparing them to marketing alternatives such as the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, and even the annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

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Fiat, Alfa Romeo and Jeep will be holdouts at the 2018 Mondial de l’Automobile, which was set to begin on Oct. 2 with two days of press debuts, and then remain open to the public through Oct. 14. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will still show off its Maserati brand, as well as Ferrari. (more…)

As Predicted, Ford Resumes F-150 Production in Michigan

Production at two other plants restarts on Monday.

by on May.18, 2018

The first Ford F-150 truck rolls off the line this morning at Dearborn Truck Plant, restarted after a fire at a supplier halted production.

As Ford Motor Co. officials said earlier this week it would, the company’s workers at its Dearborn, Michigan truck plant began sending F-150s down and off the line to would-be customers at 6 a.m. this morning.

The plant, along with a sister facility in Kansas City, Missouri, have been idle for the past week in the wake of a fire at Meridian Magnesium Products on May 2. Since that morning, the company scrambled to resume production of parts at the facility. Ford expects to make up the lost production and the supply to consumers was never impacted, officials noted.

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The fire, which occurred in the early morning hours, halted production at the two Ford sites as well as at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Alabama, General Motors’s full-size van plant near St. Louis and Fiat Chrysler adjusted the run rate of its minivan plant in Windsor, Ontario. (more…)

VW Brand Bailing Out on Paris Motor Show

Latest in a growing series of auto show cutbacks by global carmakers.

by on May.17, 2018

Volkswagen introduced its I.D. concept in Paris in 2016, now it's skipping the 2018 show.

The auto industry exodus from major car shows is rapidly accelerating, with Volkswagen the latest to announce plans that will see its flagship VW brand drop out of the upcoming Paris Auto Show, normally Europe’s biggest industry event of the year.

An assortment of major brands, including Volkswagen’s Audi marque, have said they will be no-shows next year at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the biggest industry gathering in the U.S. And BMW plans to slash its presence at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show, and possibly other auto shows.

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“The Volkswagen brand is continually reviewing its participation in international motor shows,” the VW division said on Thursday. It may not completely skip out on Paris, however. While it won’t have a display at the city’s convention center, it may stage concurrent “communications activities,” it added. (more…)