Archive for the ‘SUVs’ Category

Pickups, SUVs Push GM Profit Well Above Expectations

Automaker betting numbers will look even better as truck production ramps up in 2019.

by on Feb.06, 2019

GM reported stronger than expected earnings as Chairman and CEO Mary Barra continues to reshape the company.

General Motors handily beat Wall Street’s earnings forecast for the fourth quarter and full year a strong performance that reflects both booming truck demand and the payoff of shedding the company’s long-struggling European operations.

For the final quarter of 2018, GM delivered earnings of $1.43 a share — $1.40 after excluding special items. The consensus, according to Zacks Investment Research, was $1.24. For the full year, earnings came to $6.54 a share, well ahead of the consensus forecast of $6.29. After special charges, the figure dropped to $5.58 per share.

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GM’s overall $8.1 billion profit for all of 2018 was more than double the $3.9 billion number from the year before, but the 2017 figure reflected a significant hit from the sell-off of the company’s long-troubled European Opel-Vauxhall subsidiary. It was acquired by PSA Group, parent of the Peugeot and Citroen brands. (more…)

Auto Dealers Get Nervous as Inventory Continues Rising

Sales expected to fall later in year.

by on Feb.06, 2019

Auto dealers are expressing concern about new vehicle inventory levels early in the year.

Car dealers and manufacturers keep a careful watch on inventories and a rising level of unsold vehicles in dealer hands is drawing attention and concern both for the health of the industry and of the overall economy.

The American International Automobile Dealers Association, or AIADA, is reporting that car dealers are beginning 2019 with a heavier inventory of unsold vehicles on their lots, a situation that some analysts say will put pressure on them to push for cuts in factory output as U.S. auto sales are expected to cool this year.

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Most forecasts call for vehicle sales to drop to between 16.8 million to 17 million units this year, which is a decline of between 200,000 to 400,000 units from 2018.  (more…)

Aston Martin Lagonda All-Terrain Concept Hints at Future

All-electric prototype hints of crossover set to mark the brand’s revival.

by on Feb.06, 2019

The Aston Martin Lagonda All-Terrain Concept will strongly influence a coming production model.

Automakers have a habit of reaching into the history books. We’ve seen a number of once forgotten nameplates rise from the dead lately, including the Chevrolet Blazer and Ford Bronco. And the upcoming Geneva Motor Show will mark the revival of two once-grand brands: Hispano-Suiza and Lagonda.

The return of the latter, a subsidiary of Aston Martin, has been in the works for several years, a show car called the Lagonda Vision making its debut in Switzerland a year ago. Next month, we’ll see the debut of a second prototype, the Lagonda All-Terrain Concept, and it seems a lot closer to the production model set to reach showrooms a couple years from now.

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“The Lagonda All-Terrain Concept offers explicit clues regarding what will be the first Lagonda model to enter production, and further demonstrates how Lagonda’s zero emission powertrain enables us to create spectacular cars that will radically redefine their sectors of the market,” says Aston CEO Andy Palmer.

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Nissan Tweaks Pathfinder with New Rock Creek Package

New offering adds to functionality, performance of SUV.

by on Feb.05, 2019

Nissan is looking to generate a little excitement with its new Rock Creek package for the Pathfinder.

Looking to generate a little excitement, Nissan is showing off its new Pathfinder Rock Creek Edition — a special package of exterior and interior add-ons designed to “emphasize” the ute’s rough-and-tumble heritage.

The new package, which goes on sale this spring for $995, can be had in seven different exterior colors on the SV and SL trim levels in two-wheel and all-wheel drive configurations, officials noted.

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“The Rock Creek Edition name was chosen to connect to Pathfinder’s family outdoor adventure-minded target customers,” said Scott Shirley, vice president, CMM & Marketing Operations, Nissan North America, Inc.  (more…)

Toyota Adding a Little Spark to Chicago Show with TRD Pro Tease

Automaker not revealing much with latest clue.

by on Feb.05, 2019

Toyota offered up a bit a teaser for its new TRD Pro offering. It didn't say what vehicle will be getting the package or if it was a separate vehicle entirely.

Toyota was already preparing to show off its updated 2020 Tacoma at this year’s Chicago Auto Show. However, the automaker also has a surprise up its sleeve for Windy City attendees this year.

The company released a teaser video and image today touting a new “TRD Pro off-road beast” that will make its debut in Chicago. This new vehicle will lead “the charge for a host of updates across the TRD Pro line-up,” the company said in a statement.

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Nothing further is offered leaving so many options open. Will the Tacoma be getting a new TRD treatment? Is Toyota creating a separate TRD Pro vehicle not currently in the line-up? The picture is of no real help. (more…)

First Drive: 2019 Chevrolet Blazer

Politics, rather than vehicle attribute, could prove the focus for some potential buyers.

by on Feb.04, 2019

The 2019 Chevrolet Blazer RS offers a choice of two engines, front drive or two AWD options.

Everything old is new again, it seems, with all sorts of once-forgotten nameplates rising from the dead. That includes the Chevrolet Blazer which will be rolling back into U.S. showrooms in the coming months.

For those who may remember the Blazer as a classically stocky, body-on-frame SUV, the arrival of the 2019 model could come as a big surprise, however. It’s now taking the form of a sleekly styled, car-based crossover that puts emphasis on the word “sport” and only marginally on the idea of off-roadability.

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A couple days of driving the 2019 Chevrolet Blazer through San Diego and the surrounding countryside proved it to be one of the better new entries for those who will never see anything rougher than a gravel road. But the new ute will have to clear a few obstacles, nonetheless, as it has become the cause célèbre for those upset by Chevy parent General Motors’ decision to close three North American assembly plants this year.

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Nissan Shifts SUV Production From England to Japan Due to Brexit

Maker cites "uncertainties" in marketplace.

by on Feb.04, 2019

Nissan is moving production of the X-Trail from its plant in Sunderland, England, to Japan due to Brexit issues.

Nissan has confirmed it is shifting production of the X-Trail sport-utility vehicle from its big plant in Sunderland, England, to Japan.

In a letter to workers, it said continued Brexit uncertainty is not helping firms to “plan for the future,” according to the BBC. In 2016, the then-Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn said the company would build the new model in the UK after “assurances” from the government, the BBC said.

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Unions described the news as “disappointing” and said they were “seriously concerned.” (more…)

Auto Sales Stabilize in January’s Polar Weather

Cold weather offset by strong incentives.

by on Feb.01, 2019

FCA's Reid Bigland said the automaker had a good "cadence" to sales in January, despite the frigid weather.

This story has been updated with new information.

Despite the government shutdown that neutralized sales in the U.S. Capitol and polar weather in the Midwest, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. and American Honda reported sales increases for the month of January, while Toyota and Nissan reported that sales dropped.

FCA said its January U.S. sales rose 2% to 136,082 vehicles compared with sales of 132,803 vehicles in January 2018. General Motors and Ford, FCA’s Detroit-based rivals, no longer report monthly sales totals, but on a quarterly basis.

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“In spite of some frigid January weather, we remain bullish on 2019 given the continued underlying strength of the U.S. economy,” said U.S. Head of Sales Reid Bigland. “We expect a good cadence of new product throughout the year led by our Ram heavy-duty pickup trucks and Jeep Gladiator midsize trucks in the first half of this year.” (more…)

Mitsubishi to Debut Engelberg Tourer Concept in Geneva

Automakers says show car hints at “next-generation technology and enhanced EV performance.”

by on Jan.29, 2019

Mitsubishi's awkwardly named plug-in, the Engelberg Tourer Concept debuts in March.

Okay, perhaps the odd name resonates in the cantons of Switzerland but there’s no question, you’re likely to get some strange looks when you tell somebody about the Mitsubishi Engelberg Tourer Concept set to debut at the Geneva Motor Show in a little more than a month.

It’s the latest in a series of show cars rolling out from the long-struggling Japanese automaker, most – if not all – putting the emphasis on plug-based drivetrain technologies. For its part, Mitsubishi seems determined to keep us waiting for most of the details but does offer some hints about the latest prototype which, it turns out, is named after a popular Swiss ski resort that has some links to European motor sports.

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The Engelberg Tourer, the company suggests, will “bring further developments in SUV styling and practicality, along with a focus on next-generation technology and enhanced EV performance.” (more…)

Zotye On Track to Sell Chinese-Made Cars By End of Year

Company has 19 dealers signed up with more to come.

by on Jan.28, 2019

Could this be Zotye's first entry in the U.S. market in later this year? An SUV will be first, the company said.

Zotye Automotive appears poised to win the race to be the first Chinese automaker to sell vehicles in the United States as its lined up 19 dealers to push the company’s first product: an SUV.

The automaker actually sells several types of SUVs in China so given vehicle preferences there and in the U.S. the selection of a sport-ute makes plenty of sense.

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Perhaps more importantly, Zotye plans to implement “no haggle” pricing for its vehicles. Those prices, according to officials, will be as much as 20% cheaper than other similar models from other brands. They’ll also be able buy the vehicles online. (more…)