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Archive for the ‘Trends’ Category

Used Car Sales Tracking at Record Pace as New Car Sales Fade

Higher prices on new vehicles, large number of off-lease cars spur move.

by on Mar.22, 2019

Used vehicle sales are on the rise and appear likely to set a new record again in 2019.

New car sales are on a very slow decline in the U.S., part of that decline is the appeal of used vehicles which are expected to hit a record of more than 41 million units in 2019, after setting a new record last year of 40.2 million.

What’s driving trend? Increased prices on new cars is making them less appealing, plus the interest rate hikes are pushing folks out of the new car market. However, they can certainly afford a used vehicle that comes with a much lower price tag that offsets the higher interest rates charged for used over new cars.

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On top of all that, according to Edmunds.com analysts, the industry is expecting a record number of lease returns this year will give shoppers more options than ever in the used market. (more…)

GM Investing $300M in Detroit-Area Plant for New EVs

Barra declines to reveal contents of Trump phone call.

by on Mar.22, 2019

GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra discusses the addition of 400 new jobs at the plant in Orion, Michigan.

General Motors continues its push toward an electric future by investing $300 million in a metro Detroit assembly plant to build a new Chevrolet battery-electric vehicle. The new investment also means 400 new jobs at the site.

The project is part of a broader, $1.8 billion U.S. investment program, CEO Mary Barra revealed Friday morning. The announcement comes just two days after President Donald Trump fired the latest in a series of broadsides at the automaker over its plan to close four U.S plants, including two assembly lines.

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“We are excited to bring these jobs and this investment to the U.S.,” Barra said in prepared remarks. (more…)

Porsche’s New Cayenne Coupe is Pretty – and Pretty Powerful

Newest SUV makes 541 hp and hits 60 in 3.7 seconds.

by on Mar.22, 2019

Porsche is letting the Cayenne lead a new product segment once again with the 2020 Cayenne Coupe.

There were plenty of skeptics when Porsche announced plans to build a sport-utility vehicle barely two decades back. No one’s laughing now, as SUVs now make up the biggest selling – and most profitable part of the Porsche line-up.

So, there should be no surprise that the Schwabian marque is looking to expand that line-up. It recently announced plans for an all-electric crossover, but the next ute in the line-up will be a coupe version of the original Porsche Cayenne.

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Like other recent German “coupes,” this one doesn’t require you to sacrifice convenience. Think of more as a “coupe-like” version of the Cayenne, with a steeply raked roof and four doors. Whatever you call it, the appearance is striking and, arguably, less awkward than some of the other recent “coupe” SUVs. (more…)

First Drive: 2019 BMW X7

Bavaria’s big boy offers Euro alternative to Escalade, Navigator – as well as 7-Series.

by on Mar.21, 2019

The 2019 BMW X7 shown here in Euro trim heading off into the sunset.

Laissez les bon temps rouler…let the good times roll. And since I’m heading to New Orleans, it’s nice to be rolling that way in the new 2019 BMW X7.

The German automaker was one of the first to get serious about building luxury SUVs with the 1999 launch of the original X5. And as the global market has steadily shifted from sedans and coupes to SUVs and CUVs, it has steadily expanded the range of what the Bavarian marque prefers to call “Sport Activity Vehicles.” The X7 is the latest and most lavish entry, essentially a two-box alternative to the brand’s familiar flagship, the 7-Series.

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To see if it’s really up to the challenge I headed down to Tallahassee to pick up one of the Bavarian brutes, beginning a day-long drive across the Florida Panhandle, through Alabama and Mississippi and wrapping up in the Cajun State, just in time for the start of the annual Mardi Gras.

(more…)

Ford Investing $900M in Second EV Plant, AV Facility in Michigan

New operation set to open in 2023, add 900 workers.

by on Mar.20, 2019

Ford is planning to use its underutilized plant in Flat Rock, Michigan, to build electric vehicles starting in 2023.

Ford Motor Co. will invest $900 million in two Detroit-area facilities meant to focus on the cars of the future.

The bulk of the investment, about $850 million, will go to Ford’s now under-utilized Flat Rock facility that will become the automaker’s second source for pure battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs, in the process creating 900 new jobs. The rest will fund what the automaker is describing as an “Autonomous Vehicle center,” where conventional vehicles will be modified to operate hands-free and even entirely without a driver.

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Ford was one of the earliest of the automakers to focus on battery-based powertrain technology, though it won’t bring out its first long-range all-electric model until next year, a “Mustang-inspired” SUV expected to take aim at the new Tesla Model Y. It will be produced at Ford’s first battery-electric vehicle plant in Cuautitlan, Mexico. (more…)

Suppliers, Dealers Express Concerns About Stability of Industry

New studies show trade uncertainty of trade policies worry groups.

by on Mar.20, 2019

Auto dealers and suppliers are concerned about the state of the industry despite winter sales coming in as expected.

Even though sales of new vehicles have met expectations for much of the winter, a sense of unease is creeping through the auto industry, according to new surveys of suppliers and dealers.

The OESA Automotive Supplier Barometer from the Original Equipment Suppliers Association, which is a numeric measure of suppliers’ outlook on the automotive industry, continues to reflect a negative sentiment, the group reported this week.

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“There is no question that it’s going to be an interesting year. As dealers look ahead, they have a less-than-positive view of growth in the future,” said Cox Automotive Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke. (more…)

Ford Increasing Large Sport-Utility Production

Automaker adding 550 jobs to handle increased output.

by on Mar.20, 2019

Ford is increasing the production output at its two sport-utility plants in Kentucky to meet demand for the Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator.

Ford Motor Co. is planning to increase production of the Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator as both vehicles continue see sales rise in the large SUV segment.

Boosting the production of the Expedition and Navigator after the annual summer shutdown in July will raise the output at Ford’s Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville, Kentucky. as much as 20% as it puts more pressure on archrival General Motors, which has dominated the full-size SUV segment for nearly 15 years.

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Raising production requires more people to build the two popular vehicles so Ford is adding 550 jobs at the Kentucky Truck Plant and moving approximately that same number of employees from the Louisville Assembly Plant, Ford’s other assembly plant in the state of Kentucky where it builds the new Ford Escape and Lincoln Aviator. (more…)

Mercedes-Benz Provides Early Look at New GLC Coupe

Automaker to debut new model at New York Auto Show.

by on Mar.20, 2019

The new 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe makes its world's premiere at the NY Auto Show next month.

Mercedes-Benz continues to reshape the definition of a coupe with the introduction of the new 2020 GLC coupe that is almost more sport-utility than it is car. The car will make its world premiere to the public at the New York International Auto Show next month.

The 2020 GLC borrows from its predecessor in its exterior appearance. The pronounced front end screams Mercedes while the rest of the vehicle is clearly becoming the German automaker’s hallmark design for the coupe going forward. Not the typically low-slung, athletic-looking two-door, instead the four-door GLC is a mix of performance and capability.

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Highlights at the front end include the powerfully contoured diamond-block grille with an integrated star and single louvre typical of a coupe, complemented by the distinctive air intakes and the new contours of the standard LED headlamps, the automaker notes. (more…)

Fiat Chrysler Without Fiat?

Brand’s future in U.S. market increasingly uncertain.

by on Mar.19, 2019

Could FCA be ready to pull the Fiat brand out of the U.S.? There are indications it could happen.

When the Fiat brand made its return to the U.S. market after a quarter-century absence it seemed a no-brainer; after all, a weak economy and soaring oil prices had Americans trading in their big sedans and SUVs for small, fuel-efficient products like the Fiat 500.

After some initial launch problems that led to the complete shake-up of the brand’s management team, Fiat started to gain traction, sales jumping to nearly 44,000 in 2012 and growing another 5% by 2014, just as the brand began to roll out additional product. But that bubble quickly burst and, last year, Fiat brand sales fell to barely a third of their peak just four years earlier, raising questions about whether it has any staying power in a market that is largely snubbing it.

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“Fiat has certainly struggled,” said Stephanie Brinley, principal analyst at IHS Markit. “Their current products are not in line with what people want. They have to do something.” (more…)

Mercedes-Maybach is Coming Back

Super-luxurious crossover being built in Alabama.

by on Mar.18, 2019

Mercedes-Benz plans to build the new Mercedes-Maybach GLS at its plant in Alabama for global distribution.

The Mercedes-Benz plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, is already churning out the GLS and a few other models, but the German automaker is adding one more to the line: The Mercedes-Maybach GLS.

Introduced in China last year as an EV concept, the Mercedes-Maybach GLS will join the next-generation sport-ute getting ready to hit dealerships later this year, according to Autonews. The plant will build the new Maybach for global distribution, the automaker noted.

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Ultra-luxurious crossover is obviously playing up the theme from the original Maybach, which had its admirers, but didn’t sell in large enough numbers to build as a regular model in the 1990s and early 2000s. (more…)