Used Vehicle Prices Rising, Pushing Buyers to Look at Leasing

Rising interest rates hastening trend.

by on Nov.09, 2018

Used car shoppers are finding higher prices than ever for vehicles.

New vehicle prices have reached all-time highs this year and now used vehicles, the haven for car buyers looking for a deal, have now joined new cars, setting a new pricing benchmark.

The average price of a used vehicle is now $20,084, the highest since 2005 and a 3.5% increase year over year, Edmunds notes, adding that increase is rising as it jumped to 5% in Q3. American preferences for expensive new trucks and utility vehicles pushed new vehicle prices over the $36,000 mark, according to Cox Automotive.

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In short, buyers are paying more for a vehicle and with interest rates rising, the options for cutting down that monthly payment are getting tougher. Read the rest of this entry »

Volvo’s Care Subscription Program Key to Growth Plans

VCNA chief acknowledges reliability concerns but says problems, warranty costs, are tumbling.

by on Nov.08, 2018

Volvo Cars North America CEO Anders Gustafsson with images of some of the first workers at the automaker's new Charleston plant.

U.S. new vehicle sales are on course to post their second consecutive decline as 2018 draws to a close, but you’d have a hard time telling that if you were just looking at Volvo’s numbers.

The Swedish automaker has posted a 27% jump in demand through the end of October and, with more products ready to land in U.S. showrooms, Volvo Cars USA CEO Anders Gustafsson said Thursday he is optimistic the company can keep its momentum growing.

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Several factors could give meaning to his forecast, including not just the launch of the new Volvo S60, but the start of production at the Chinese-owned automaker’s first U.S. assembly plant in Charleston, South Carolina. Then there’s Care by Volvo, the subscription program the carmaker launched late last year.

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Hyundai Set to Debut New Large Ute – Palisade – at LA Auto Show

New seven-passenger ute coming to U.S. next year.

by on Nov.08, 2018

Can you guess the name of Hyundai's newest member of its SUV line-up? Yup. Palisade.

Hyundai continues to expand its SUV portfolio, looking to turn around sluggish sales after missing the utility craze by a few years. The new three-row sport utility vehicle is named Palisade and hits dealer showrooms next year.

Mike O’Brien, Hyundai vice president of product, corporate and digital planning, said the new name carries with it connotations of luxury strength and safety.

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“The Palisade is place and a fortress,” he said, recounting that a Palisade can mean either a place with towering cliffs topped either by a castle or expensive homes. A palisade also means a fortification, he said. Read the rest of this entry »

Nissan Profits Fall 8% in First Half of Fiscal Year

Sales hit in North American while China grows.

by on Nov.08, 2018

Nissan CFO Hiroshi Karube reported the company's profits fell 8% overall due to falling sales in North America and Europe.

Nissan Motor Co. reported an 8% drop in quarterly profits due to declining sales in its biggest markets, North America and Europe, as well as hits on raw material costs.

The Japanese automaker reported quarterly profits of 130.4 billion yen, or $1.1 billion, on Thursday, down from 141.6 billion yen the same period a year earlier. The automaker noted that quarterly sales fell nearly 3% to 2.82 trillion yen, or $24.8 billion.

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However, this dip in profits wasn’t enough for Nissan to revise its forecast for the fiscal year through March for a 500 billion yen, or $4.4 billion, profit on 12 trillion yen, or $106 billion, sales. Read the rest of this entry »

Former Auto Designer Elected to Michigan Senate

"Build that wall" chant by middle schoolers pushed her into politics.

by on Nov.08, 2018

Former auto designer Mallory McMorrow is now Michigan state senator-elect Mallory McMorrow.

In a first, a car designer is going to the Michigan State Senate in Michigan come January.

“Everybody thinks I’m a lawyer,” said Mallory McMorrow, but her experience as an automotive designer proved useful in striking up conversation as she campaigned across her state Senate District that includes a large portion of suburban Oakland County, just north of Detroit, against a seemingly entrenched incumbent whose father had also served in Congress for 16 years.

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McMorrow studied industrial and car design at Notre Dame University, and in 2007 she won a design contest that led to a six-month internship while working on high profile projects such as a concept Mazda3. However, she admits, somewhat wistfully, her stint at Mazda was cut short by the Great Recession.   Read the rest of this entry »

Ford Gets into the eScooter Business With Spin Acquisition

Plans call for growing into 100 cities.

by on Nov.08, 2018

Ford Smart Mobility, LLC acquired Spin, a San Francisco-based electric scooter-sharing company .

Ford is putting a new spin on its push into mobility services – quite literally, with the acquisition of the San Francisco electric scooter start-up Spin.

The move comes as the auto industry attempts to cope with the explosive growth of alternative transportation businesses, ranging from ride-sharing services Lyft and Uber to the growing availability of bicycle and e-scooter rentals in major cities in the U.S. and abroad.

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“Everywhere you look around the U.S., people’s mobility choices are changing,” Sundeep Madra, head of Ford X, the company’s mobility incubator, wrote in a post about the acquisition. “In crowded and congested cities, especially, many are reconsidering their transportation options. From ride-hailing to dedicated bicycle lanes, people and cities are considering alternatives to personal vehicles, but some are also taking more novel approaches — including scooter sharing.” Read the rest of this entry »

Denholm Replaces Musk as Tesla Chairman

Appointment could be temporary, as Musk can regain post after three years.

by on Nov.08, 2018

Australian Robyn Denholm will succeed Elon Musk as Tesla's chairman, though he remains CEO.

Australian Robyn Denholm is Tesla’s new chairman, replacing Elon Musk as head of the board of directors following a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission that forced the South African-born exec to relinquish his role.

Musk, who will remain chief executive officer of the battery-carmaker, can attempt to regain the chairman’s post, as well, after a three-year hiatus mandated by the SEC settlement. The agreement was reached after the government accused the 47-year-old of lying to investors when, last August, he declared that he had arranged funding to take Tesla private.

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The move will position Denholm as one of the highest-ranking female executives in the auto industry, with General Motors’ Mary Barra the only other woman serving as chairman of a major car manufacturer. Denholm had already been serving as an independent director on the Tesla board since 2014. There is one other woman on the board. Read the rest of this entry »

More UAW, FCA Officials Sentenced in Bribery Scandal

Borman declared no leniency for defendants.

by on Nov.07, 2018

The UAW long tried to maintain a squeaky clean reputation, but the scandal has sorely tarnished its image.

Two former Fiat Chrysler Automobile N.V. officials and one former leader of the United Auto Workers have been sentenced to prison terms, ranging from 12 months to 15 months, for their part in a conspiracy to violate federal labor law.

The sentences imposed on FCA’s Michael Brown and Jerome Durden as well as the UAW’s Keith Mickens come more than two years after the federal government announced indictments triggered by a scheme in which FCA officials used subterfuge to bribe union officials in a bid to secure labor peace.

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Former FCA Vice President Alphons Iacobelli, a central figure in the case, was sentenced to five and a half years in a federal prison, while Monica Morgan, the widow of former UAW VP General Holiefield, one of the central figures in the scheme, was sentenced to 18 months prison earlier this year after pleading guilty to federal tax charges.

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GM Adds Silverado ZH2 to Military-Ready Line-up

Company continues its work with the U.S. Army.

by on Nov.07, 2018

GM's defense team is developing a Silverado version of the ZH2 in concert with the U.S. Army.

General Motors defense group continues to develop new urban warfare vehicles for the U.S. military to consider. The latest under development is the new Chevrolet Silverado ZH2.

The military-grade version of the Silverado is mirrored off the Colorado ZH2 the company produced in 2016. Developed in concert with the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research Development and Engineering Center, the Silverado ZH2 is powered by a next-gen hydrogen fuel cell and advanced battery systems.

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It features a heavy-duty strength design, a “race proven multimatic dynamic suspension” and a range of more than 400 miles, according to Autoblog.com. Read the rest of this entry »

Midsize Truck War May Heat Up Fast

Once seemingly dead, market is going to get crowded fast.

by on Nov.07, 2018

The new Ford Ranger is likely to be just the first of a wave of new midsize trucks.

Once written off for dead – or at least dying – the midsize pickup market is coming back with a bang, but not only are sales on the rise, but also is the number of players entering, or returning, to the segment.

The question facing the industry is whether the list of brands might be growing too fast and too large, something that could make it hard for anyone to turn a profit.

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Among the latest to target the U.S. midsize market are Ford and Jeep, both returning after lengthy absences. But Volkswagen could be eyeing its opportunities, as well as Mahindra & Mahindra, the Indian automaker that recently begun building off-road vehicles at a small plant in the Detroit suburbs. And Hyundai is moving forward with the development of a car-based compact pickup based on the Santa Cruz concept of a few years back. Read the rest of this entry »

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