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Auto Loans, Payments Reach Record Highs

New benchmarks set for new and used vehicles.

by on Jun.07, 2019

People are taking out bigger loans for their vehicles, and that means bigger payments: Both have reached record highs.

Despite the fact that automakers are selling fewer vehicles, they continue to make more money per sale because buyers are borrowing more and, as a result, paying more each month for those new vehicles.

The average amount borrowed to buy a new vehicle hit a record $32,187 during the first quarter, according to Experian, which tracks millions of auto loans each month. The trend has spilled over to used vehicles where the average loan also hit a record, $20,137.

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“We have not seen a slowdown in loan demand. In fact, volume for new and used loans is up from previous years,” said Melinda Zabritski, senior director of automotive financial solutions for Experian. (more…)

Electrify America Puts in 120 EV Chargers at Walmarts

Goal is get in 180 units by year's end.

by on Jun.06, 2019

Electrify America is installed 120 charging stations at Walmarts across the country.

Seems like you can get just about everything at Walmart these days, and if you own an electric vehicle, you can even get your vehicle charged up while you’re there … well, at some of them anyway.

The world’s largest retailer is home to 120 new chargers from Volkswagen AG unit Electrify America in 34 states with plans, according to Reuters, to add 180 more by the end of the year. The move is part of Electrify America’s goal having 2,000 charging stations at 484 sites in 17 large metro areas.

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Partnering with Walmart gives the company an easily identifiable place for EV owners to go to get their vehicles charged. There multiple benefits to the Walmart partnership as it allows users to shop at the store or head over to other locations, such as restaurants, that are often near a Walmart. (more…)

Volkswagen’s New Ad Campaign Brings Automaker into the Light

New commercial jump starts automaker's EV sales campaign.

by on Jun.06, 2019

Volkswagen kicked off its new Drive Bigger campaign with a new commercial, "Hello Light," during the NBA Finals.

Volkswagen has paid billions of dollars as part of the company’s punishment for cheating on diesel emissions testing on vehicles in the U.S. and around the world in 2015. Since then, the company has been working to move away from diesels and develop a new family of EVs to replace them.

During the past two years, the German automaker has unveiled a slew of new battery-electrics that will show up in dealerships starting this fall. Now, the automaker is looking to convince American buyers that it has learned from its mistakes and to trust them again.

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The new ad campaign, Drive Bigger, began with a commercial titled “Hello Light” during Game Three of the NBA Finals. The ad shows a designer listening to a mashup of the reports about the scandal as he sketches out a new vehicle. The rest of the commercial follows the evolution of that vehicle from idea to finished product.  (more…)

FCA Scuttles Deal With Renault, Blames French Government

Automaker rescinds offer "with immediate effect."

by on Jun.05, 2019

Fiat Chrysler rescinded its merger offer to Renault after the French government's demands became too much.

The deal is off.

Fiat Chrysler’s board of directors held a meeting this evening to put the final touches on a deal with Renault, including a press release announcing the two sides had reached an agreement for a merger that would create the third-largest automaker in the world.

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However, in a span of about three hours, the deal unraveled under demands from the French government, sources close to the deal told  (more…)

Renault Board Puts Brakes on Merger Talks with Fiat Chrysler

French government applying pressure for board to meet demands.

by on Jun.05, 2019

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said the government wants certain assurances met before it will sign off on any Renault-FCA merger.

After initially appearing to be excited by the prospect of a merger with Fiat Chrysler, Renault is now slow-playing its hand as its board delays a decision about merger talks.

Renault’s board said Tuesday after meeting at its headquarters near Paris that it will meet again Wednesday to “continue to study with interest” Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ merger offer, the Associated Press reported.

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The delay may come from concerns about the deal from the French government – Renault’s largest shareholder – as well as several unions. (more…)

Tesla Cutting Prices on China-Built Model 3 Sedans

Shanghai factory expected to start production by end of year.

by on May.31, 2019

Tesla CEO Musk shows a rendering of the future assenbly plant in Shanghai that will be crucial to the automaker's future.

With Tesla plowing ahead on construction of its new factory to build Model 3s in China, the EV maker is looking to ensure that the market will be solid enough to keep the vehicles in demand once they start spitting them out of the plant.

Well, it is an American car company and how do American automakers draw the attention of buyers in a soft market? They make their vehicles cheaper. So, CEO Elon Musk is slashing prices in China!

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Perhaps “slashing” is too harsh a word, but the company is cutting 13% off the standard Model 3, which means it comes in at about $47,000. The carmaker has been building a factory in China since January where it its initial output will be Model 3 cars. Pre-orders for the vehicles will also start on Friday, the company said on its website.  (more…)

Cadillac Expands V-Series Line-Up with CT5-V, CT4-V

Luxury brand commits to a future with high performance.

by on May.31, 2019

The 2020 Cadillac CT5-V is one of two new V-Series entries for the luxury automaker.

When introduced more than a decade ago, Cadillac’s V-Series cars were supposed to hasten the move of the brand’s image from that of a maker of stuffy sedans for senior citizens to the manufacturer of leading-edge performance luxury machines ready to compete on the world stage.

Though the brand overall may have had some stumbles in terms of changing its image, the V-Series cars have been the one consistent draw for younger buyers looking for the right combination of performance and luxury.

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As the company continues its current metamorphosis, the V-Series remains an important part of the plan as evidenced by the company’s two new race-inspired beasts, the CT5-V and the all-new CT4-V. Both are 2020 models. (more…)

Musk Cheers as Tesla Closes in on Production Record

CEO encourages employees via email.

by on May.30, 2019

Tesla CEO Elon Musk send employees an email telling them they were tracking to beat the company's previous quarterly production record.

Tesla Inc. has a chance to beat its previous quarterly production record, and CEO Elon Musk is trying to punch up morale with employees hoping to make it happen.

Musk sent out an email to the Fremont, California plant’s employees letting them know they’re on the precipice of breaking another quarterly production record — last fall’s 90,700 units.

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The EV maker measures its production by deliveries, not just how many vehicles are made, and it’s getting the vehicles to their new owners, i.e. the last step, that is giving the company problems these days. It’s been an issue for most the past year. (more…)

VW Tennessee Workers Get Another Chance for Unionization

Plant's new vote comes in mid-June.

by on May.30, 2019

The UAW's third election in five years at VW's Chattanooga plant will take place in mid-June.

The UAW is getting its another kick at the can when Volkswagen of America hourly workers in Tennessee will vote yet again to decide if they want to be represented by the Detroit-based union.

Workers at the Chattanooga, Tennessee assembly plant will vote June 12, 13 and 14 to unionize. 

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The UAW petitioned the National Labor Relations Board last month to set the dates for the election to represent about 1,700 trade and production workers at the plant that builds cars and sport-utility vehicles. The new dates come after the automaker’s lawyers won a temporary delay. (more…)

Renault Reveals Fiat Chrysler Offer to Nissan

Japanese automaker to look over proposal.

by on May.29, 2019

Renault Chairman Jean Dominique Senard revealed the details of the merger offer from Fiat Chrysler to Nissan officials during a board meeting in Tokyo.

The move to merge Fiat Chrysler and Renault, creating the world’s third-largest automaker just got a little more complicated today: Renault revealed the offer to its current partner, Nissan Motors.

Nissan got its first briefing on the potential blockbuster deal when Renault chairman Jean-Dominique Senard was in Tokyo for a board meeting of the three-way alliance among Renault, Nissan and smaller Japanese automaker Mitsubishi Motors Corp.

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“There was an open and transparent discussion on FCA’s recent proposal to Groupe Renault. The meeting also discussed and positively concluded several current operational alliance matters,” the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance said in a statement. (more…)