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Ford Wants a Premium for All-New Ranger Pickup

Base model to start at $4,000 over Chevrolet Colorado.

by on Aug.14, 2018

Ford will offer a wide range of Ranger body styles, beds and powertrain configurations.

After a lengthy absence, the Ford Ranger is about ready to return to the U.S. market and shoppers now can price and build their own version of the midsize pickup at a special micro-site the Detroit automaker has launched.

Set to reach showrooms early next year, Ford will be offering a wide array of body styles, bed and powertrain options, ranging from the base, 4×2 SuperCab XL with a six-foot box, up to the more lavishly equipped 4×4 SuperCrew Lariat with a five-foot cargo box.

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But the heavily updated version of the global Ranger launched earlier in the decade won’t come cheap. The 2019 pickup will carry a starting price of $24,300 $1,095 in delivery fees. That’s about $4,000 more than its cross-town competition, the base, extended cab version of the 2019 Chevrolet Colorado starting at $20,500. And for truck buyers on a tight budget, the aging Nissan Frontier starts at just $18,900.

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Toyota Motor Reports Increased Q1 Profits

Strong sales in U.S. and cost-cutting efforts pave way to profits.

by on Aug.03, 2018

Toyota's Masayoshi Shirayanagi noted that increased trade tensions and U.S. tariffs will eat into Toyota's bottom line.

Toyota Motor Corp. rode a wave of increased sales and decreased costs to a 7.2% increase in net income in its fiscal first quarter of 2018. Revenues also increased 4.5% during the quarter.

The company also announced it was ending its partnership with Isuzu Motor Ltd. The companies built diesel engines, but with oil burners falling out of favor, replaced by EVs and potentially fuel cells down the road, the two sides will split.

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Toyota owns a 5.89% stake in Isuzu. (more…)

European Automakers’ US Sales Fared Well in July

Mercedes-Benz still the luxury sales leader.

by on Aug.02, 2018

Mercedes-Benz saw sales fall more than 20% in July, but much of that was attributed to a computer problem during the company's busiest week.

With the threat of steep tariffs hanging over their heads, European carmakers enjoyed positive sales in July even though one of the leaders, Mercedes Benz, struggled a bit.

Mercedes-Benz USA reported July sales of 20,034, a decrease of 22.7% from July 2017 as archrival BMW sold more vehicles. Lexus appears to hold the lead in luxury segment with sales of 25,403 units, which dropped 12.1% on a volume basis.

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Meanwhile, Mercedes-Benz Vans reported July sales increased 5.9%. On a year-to-date basis, sales of Mercedes-Benz vehicles totaled 178,882, giving it the lead in luxury vehicle sales for 2018. (more…)

Tesla Q2 Losses Double, But Profits Promised in Q3

Investors happy to see capex spend drop, stock jumps nearly 5%.

by on Aug.01, 2018

Tesla CEO delivered enough positives in the second quarter to excite investors. The company's stock rose 5% in after hours trading.

Tesla Inc.’s mad dash efforts to meet its ever-shifting production quotas didn’t result in a narrowing of financial losses for Q2, not that CEO Elon Musk implied that. However, the end result was a doubling of losses on a year-over-year basis.

In the second quarter of 2018, Tesla’s automotive business saw revenue rise to $3.1 billion compared with $2 billion for the same period last year; however, losses jumped to $717.5 million, or $4.22 a share, from $336.4 million, or $2.04 a share.

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However, the letter produced to explain the quarterly results suggests that only good times are on the horizon despite the company missing analyst expectations for losses this quarter. Ultimately, shareholders were pleased with the results as the stock jumped nearly 5% after hours on the news.  (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…)

Automakers Watch July Sales Get Hammered

Fiat Chrysler, Volkswagen buck the trend, post positive results.

by on Aug.01, 2018

Jeep sales were up 15% in July, helping Fiat Chrysler to a sales increase for the month.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. and Volkswagen of America posted solid sales increases during July, but the rest of industry was feeling the downward pressure of slowing sales in the face of major headwinds such as rising interest rates.

FCA reported July 2018 sales increased 6% when compared to sales of the previous year. Jeep brand July sales rose 15% while Ram brand had its best July ever as sales increased 2%, the company reported.

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Volkswagen of America Inc. reported an increase of 12.7% over July 2017. With 203,418 units delivered year-to-date in 2018, the company is reporting an 8% increase in year-over-year sales. (more…)

US Auto Sales Predicted to be Flat in July

Possible price hikes pulling sales forward.

by on Jul.27, 2018

July new vehicle sales are expected to be basically flat compared to year-ago results.

As they have through the first half of the year, new vehicle sales are expected to remain level during July as the auto industry edges into the second half of the year with carmakers predicting a drop in profits during the last six months of 2018.

Cox Automotive said this week it expects U.S. new-vehicle sales in July to reach 1.41 million units, mostly unchanged when compared with year-ago levels thanks to what it described as pull-ahead buying by consumers concerned about future price hikes.

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However, with one less selling day this year, the seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) for July would be 17.1 million, an increase from the 16.7 million sales rate posted in July 2017. (more…)

Detroit Auto Show Moving to June in 2020, Adding Major New Features

Sponsors aim to revive what's been North America’s leading car show.

by on Jul.23, 2018

Toyota Pres. Akio Toyota is shown here revealing the 2019 Camry during this year's NAIAS.

The North American International Auto Show will move from January to June in 2020, a new timeslot that organizers are betting will help revive the flagging momentum of what had long been one of the industry’s most important annual events.

The Detroit Auto Dealers Association had signaled its intention of abandoning its traditional, mid-winter schedule, though a switch to October was also under study. But that would have conflicted with other shows in Europe and Asia, the dealer group’s Executive Director Rod Alberts told TheDetroitBureau.com in an exclusive interview.

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In a background briefing ahead of today’s official announcement, Alberts said one of the advantages of a summer event is the ability to add new functions that expand beyond the confines of Detroit’s sprawling Cobo Hall convention center. “We realized we have to change the show (and) showcase Detroit, too,” said Alberts, who has been running the DADA for the past 28 years.

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First Drive: Genesis G70

The Koreans finally deliver a real threat to Munich's vaunted sport compact.

by on Jul.16, 2018

Genesis tapped BMW's former M chief to help build some impressive dynamics into the G70.

Hard to believe but it’s been a full decade since Hyundai introduced what was then its most expensive and lavishly equipped model, the Genesis sedan going on to become the North American Car of the Year, among the many awards it collected. The four-door model also had a sort of Mini Me, the Genesis Coupe essentially being positioned as the Korean carmaker’s answer to the ever-popular BMW 3-Series.

Like so many other 3-Series wannabes, the Genesis Coupe wasn’t up to dethroning the king-of-the-sport-compact-hill, but it’s clear that Hyundai has kept that goal in mind and, a decade later, it’s come about as close to anyone to calling BMW’s bluff.

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The original Genesis siblings are gone. Indeed, the name itself has been repurposed for Hyundai’s new luxury brand. A couple months from now, the high-line division will get its third new entry since being spun off two years ago, and the 2019 Genesis G70 does a better job of justifying the Genesis brand’s existing than the two models that came before it, the midsize G80 and premium luxury G80. It also presents a surprisingly solid alternative to the 3-Series, as well as other compact European contenders like the Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

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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.

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