Archive for the ‘Sales’ Category

China Suspends Punitive Tariffs on US During Negotiations

Tariff halt is for three months.

by on Dec.14, 2018

Chinese fans of American cars can rejoice – if only for three months – as the extra 25% tariff on autos has been suspended.

Shortly after the U.S. and China declared a truce, China put forth a goodwill gesture, announcing it will temporarily suspend additional 25% tariff on U.S.-made vehicles and auto parts starting Jan. 1, 2019.

The 25% tariff came oddly enough just after China reduced the levy to 15% earlier this year, but when President Donald Trump decided to increase tariffs on China, the country immediately pushed it back up to 40%.

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The Ministry of Finance, in a statement on its website, the two sides can expedite talks to remove all additional tariffs on each other’s goods. For now, the suspension will last for three months. The impact in some places was immediate. (more…)

NADA Predicts New Car Sales to Decline Slightly in 2019

Rising interest rates, falling incentives will push some buyers out.

by on Dec.14, 2018

The National Auto Dealers Association Chairman Wes Lutz predicts that auto sales will fall slightly in 2019 to 16.8 million units.

The National Automobile Dealers Association, the trade association for new-car dealerships across the U.S., expects another strong year for new car sales in 2019 despite rising interest rates and an economy that shows signs of slowing.

“We’re forecasting sales of 16.8 million new cars and light trucks in 2019,” said Patrick Manzi, NADA senior economist, at an industry briefing. “This would represent a falloff in sales of about 1.1% compared to 2018.”

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Based on a strong November, new-vehicle sales are expected to reach 17 million units in 2018, which would mark the fourth straight year of U.S. auto sales above 17 million units.  (more…)

First Drive: 2019 Toyota Prius AWD

Less quirkiness, more practicality.

by on Dec.13, 2018

The 2019 Toyota Prius comes in an all-wheel drive model that should stimulate sales in cold-weather environs.

When the original Toyota Prius first rolled into U.S. showrooms nearly 20 years ago it promised to transform the auto industry, delivering the sort of fuel economy numbers that seemed all but impossible at the time. Never mind the hatchback’s quirky styling – or perhaps because of it – the Prius quickly developed a broad and loyal following, at its peak becoming the best-selling nameplate in the huge California market.

Sales have been in a slump for several years, however, and a variety of factors, including cheap gas and some odd design choices on the fourth-generation Prius deserve much of the blame, along with the fact that the Toyota hybrid now has lots more competition.

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Yet, even as some of its key competitors are walking away from the passenger car market, Toyota is doubling down and betting it can breathe new life back into Prius. The 2019 model-year brings some modest, if much-needed design tweaks, as well as the introduction of a new electric all-wheel-drive system that, the automaker expects will account for about a quarter of the nameplate’s sales going forward by enhancing the hatchback’s appeal in Snowbelt climes. (more…)

Could a Pickup Truck be Tesla’s Next Vehicle?

Musk wants to make truck "so bad."

by on Dec.12, 2018

A rendering shows the Tesla pickup bears a striking resemblance to the Tesla Semi.

Tesla’s next vehicle will be the second-generation roadster, right? Oh wait! It’s supposed to be a small sport-utility! Maybe neither of them.

Co-founder Elon Musk has often mentioned his desire to bring out a pickup, but he’s never put a firm date to when it might show up: until now.

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In response to a tweet, Musk yesterday suggested the prototype will be unveiled sometime next year with production plans to follow shortly thereafter. (more…)

Sales Sliding, Toyota Rethinking Plans for Prius

As sales slip, “We need to find a new direction,” says senior Prius exec.

by on Dec.12, 2018

For 2019, Toyota is launching the first AWD version of the familiar Prius hatchback.

Say the word, “hybrid,” and one name is almost certainly going to pop into your mind: Toyota Prius. First launched in Japan in 1997 and brought to the U.S. three years later, it has been the world’s best-selling hybrid-electric vehicle, or HEV, ever since. For several years, earlier this decade, it was the best-selling vehicle in the huge California market and number one in Japan, as well.

But, as the cliché goes, times have changed. Whether due to increased competition, cheap gasoline, or other issues, sales of the original Prius hatchback have been tumbling. Though still the best-selling hybrid in the U.S., the first 11 months of this year saw demand dip 23.2%. And, at just 3,180 vehicles in November, sales are now running barely a quarter of their peak pace earlier in the decade.

Beyond the Headlines!

Toyota is trying to address some of the issues that came up with the launch of the fourth-generation Prius hatchback for the 2016 model-year, among other things tweaking its design and introducing a new electric all-wheel-drive system that could enhance the car’s appeal in Snowbelt regions. But during a series of interviews at a media drive of the 2019 Prius, Toyota officials acknowledged they are looking at even more radical options for the fifth-generation hybrid hatchback due out early in the coming decade.

(more…)

Daimler Investing More Than $20B in Battery Cells

Company furthers commitment to EVs.

by on Dec.12, 2018

Daimler AG's Dieter Zetsche announced the company's commitment to buy more than $22 billion in battery cells.

Daimler AG is prepared to put up $22 billion to purchase battery cells over the next dozen years.

Dieter Zetsche, chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, said the commitment is expected to help insure that the batteries are available to move ahead with the development of electric vehicles.

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“Our electric offensive continues to gain momentum. After investing billions of euros in the development of the electric fleet and the expansion of our global battery network, we are now taking the next step,” Zetsche said. (more…)

First Drive: 2019 BMW 3-Series

Rediscovering the art of “the ultimate driving machine.”

by on Dec.11, 2018

BMW's taking the covers off the next-gen 3-Series. The 330i is certainly a step above its predecessors.

There are advantages to being the best in breed – but there are some disadvantages, as well, as BMW is well aware. Since the very first version rolled out in May 1975, the BMW 3-Series has been the benchmark of the compact sports sedan market, delivering a mix of performance, handling and luxury that other brands have struggled to match.

Now, however, as the seventh-generation 3-Series gets ready to roll into showrooms, the Bavarian automaker faces a level of competition never seen before. Traditional rivals like Mercedes-Benz and Audi have been zeroing in on the BMW formula, as have new competitors such as Genesis, which recently won high-profile kudos like the Motor Trend Car of the Year.

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And Tesla is aiming to redefine the rules with its all-electric Model 3. BMW is even competing with itself. In an SUV-crazed world, more and more traditional 3-Series buyers have been migrating to the brand’s own X3 crossover. (more…)

White House Tells Automakers China Tariffs Coming Down

Automotive levies coming down to 15%.

by on Dec.11, 2018

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer appears to be making progress in talks with the Chinese.

After the first few days of talks, White House officials once again believe China is ready to cut tariffs on U.S. cars, trucks and utility vehicles from 40% to 15%.

Trump administration officials told automakers following a U.S.-China trade call they believe China will cut tariffs on U.S. autos to 15% from the current 40%, an auto executive told Reuters after being briefed on the call.

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Before excitement begins to bubble, this has been heard before. President Donald Trump tweeted a few weeks ago that China was cutting the levies, only to have to backtrack on those assertions. Additinally, there is no actual documentation to support the idea. (more…)

China’s Auto Sales Sliding Downward

EVs and hybrids the only bright spot currently.

by on Dec.11, 2018

Electric vehicle sales are booming in China courtesy of subsidies and mandates by the government.

The world’s largest automotive market continues to face headwinds as auto sales in China dropped for the fifth consecutive month.

The Chinese economy was already experiencing a long-term slowdown, including auto sales, when the tariff fight between the U.S. and China began.

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Sales of SUVs, sedans and minivans in China fell 16% from a year ago to just under 2.2 million units, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, reported Tuesday. Through November, sales were down 2.8% from a year earlier at 21.5 million, putting 2018 sales on track to shrink for the first time in three decades. (more…)

GM Presses to Extend EV Tax Credits

But automaker’s planned plant closings make it a hard sell.

by on Dec.11, 2018

General Motors is lobbying politicians to extend EV tax credits just a week after CEO Mary Barra was flogged for plans to close five plants and layoff thousands.

General Motors lobbyists are making a push on Capitol Hill to extend the tax credits the automaker’s customers can receive after purchasing one of its battery-electric vehicles, such as the Chevrolet Bolt EV.

The automaker is rapidly approaching the sales threshold set by Congress – 200,000 battery models – after which the incentives would be phased out. That would make vehicles like the Bolt as much as $7,500 more expensive and potentially short-circuit demand.

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GM is by no means alone. Tesla has already crossed the sales threshold and will begin to have its tax credits phase out, starting January 1. They will be eliminated entirely at the end of 2019. Nissan and Ford aren’t far behind. Newer entries into the electric car field, such as Volkswagen and Hyundai, would effectively gain an edge by continuing to offer the credits. (more…)

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