Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Mercedes Bringing Array of New Models to Paris Show

New B-Class will be accompanied by GLE ute, all-electric EQC and hot-hatch A35.

by on Sep.24, 2018

While a number of major automakers will skip Paris this year, Mercedes has four big announcements.

This is expected to be a relatively quiet year at the biennial Paris Motor Show, an array of manufacturers including BMW, Fiat Chrysler, Ford, Infiniti, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Opel, Subaru, Volkswagen and Volvo sitting it out.

But you likely wouldn’t notice if you wandered into the Mercedes-Benz exhibit. The German maker intends to take advantage of that industry shake-out by unveiling an array of its own new products including the completely redesigned B-Class the next-generation GLE, an all-new battery-electric EQC and the hot-hatch version of its smallest product line, the A35.

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We’ve gotten a first look at a few of these new models, notably the first truly long-range Mercedes, the EQC, but all will be making their public debuts in the City of Lights early next month. Here’s a bit more on all four of the major debuts the German marque will bring to Paris: (more…)

Jackson Stepping Down as AutoNation CEO

Former Mercedes-Benz USA president remains executive chair until 2021.

by on Sep.20, 2018

AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson is stepping down from the post next spring.

The auto industry is going to be a little less colorful in the near future as AutoNation’s Mike Jackson is stepping down as Chief Executive Officer next year; however, he will remain executive chairman until 2021.

“AutoNation is the retail automotive industry leader,” Jackson said in a statement. “The company is ready for its next chapter with a strong foundation, a coast to coast brand, a comprehensive Brand Extension strategy, and a transformational digital consumer car buying experience.”

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Jackson is one of the industry’s most outspoken figures, often a go-to executive for reporters looking for an expert perspective on almost any industry topic. He took over as AutoNation CEO in 1999, hired by founder H. Wayne Huizenga from Mercedes-Benz USA where was president. (more…)

Fade of Zero-Percent Financing Makes Leasing More Appealing

Rising interest rates pushing buyers toward leases.

by on Sep.14, 2018

Zero-percent financing deals are increasingly difficult to find these days, pushing some into leasing.

Car shoppers are always looking for a deal, and often they’re excited by the prospect of zero percent financing; however, those deals are getting tougher and tougher to find.

The percentage of sales with zero percent finance deals has been cut in half in the last two years — dropping from 14.6% of transactions in August of 2016, to 10.4% last August to just 7.4% this August, according to Edmunds.

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This drop during the last three Augusts sparks interest because zero percent financing deals usually abound in August and September.

“August truly represents the month that we would have expected to see a turnaround in this trend if one was imminent,” said Jeremy Acevedo, Edmunds’ manager of industry analysis. “Moving forward, shoppers will likely need to do a bit more digging to find other ways to save on a new vehicle because it looks like zero percent finance deals are going the way of the dodo.”

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Bye-Bye Beetle

Volkswagen unveils Beetle Final Edition, with "no immediate plans" for a replacement.

by on Sep.13, 2018

The last of the VW Beetles come in two "final edition" colors and styles, including convertible models.

The end is near – for the Volkswagen Beetle, that is, the automaker all but confirming rumors that 2019 will mark the last time the once wildly popular little car will roll off an assembly line.

Also known in various places as the Bug, and even the Kafer, it has had an incredible run, with only a brief stretch out of production, the Beetle has been a fixture on the road since 1938, when it was unveiled as part of Adolph Hitler’s plan to create a “people’s car,” or “volkswagen,” that was cheap and easy to produce. With nearly 22 million build since then, it is the longest-running model ever, though Toyota’s Corolla claims to beat it as the best-selling nameplate in automotive history.

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“The loss of the Beetle after three generations, over nearly seven decades, will evoke a host of emotions from the Beetle’s many devoted fans,” said Hinrich J. Woebcken, president and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America Inc. (more…)

Mercedes-Benz Debuting New GLE Ute at Paris Motor Show

German automaker skipping Detroit show.

by on Sep.12, 2018

Mercedes-Benz plans to debut the new 2019 GLE at the Paris Motor Show next month instead of in Detroit in January.

Mercedes-Benz plans to show the new 2019 GLE at the Paris Auto Show, marking a bit of a change in its marketing strategy.

In the past, the GLE, which is built at the big Mercedes-Benz assembly plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, would probably been shown at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January since the vehicle will go on sale in the U.S. in 2019.

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The GLE will also be exported to China, though sales of the GLA have been crimped in the Chinese market by new tariffs. Mercedes, however, has elected to skip the 2019 NAIAS but is eager to show of the new GLE, which will reach the market with loads of new technology. (more…)

Musk Lights Up – But Tesla Shareholders Are Turned Off

Increasingly erratic behavior raises concerns about Musk's leadership.

by on Sep.07, 2018

Tesla CEO Elon Musk continues to court controversy, smoking a joint on comedian Joe Rogan's podcast.

Elon Musk has always generated plenty of buzz, but he may have taken it to new highs this week, sipping whiskey and lighting up a joint during an appearance on California comedian Joe Rogan’s widely followed podcast.

Unfortunately, Tesla shareholders seem to be having something of a bad trip, the 2-1/2 hour interview just the latest in what some see as increasingly erratic behavior by the carmaker’s chief executive. And investors aren’t alone.There has been an escalating exodus of talent from Tesla in recent months, including the July departure of its chief engineer.

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On Friday morning, two more top executives, including its human resources director and its chief accountant revealed they are joining an escalating exodus of top Tesla talent. (more…)

Mercedes-Benz Opens New Sprinter Plant

Amazon now largest buyer of Sprinter vans.

by on Sep.05, 2018

Mercedes-Benz Vans kicked off production of its third-generation Sprinter van at its plant in South Carolina.

Mercedes-Benz Vans is kicking off production of its new 2018 Sprinter van in its new plant in North Charleston, South Carolina, with more than 900 new employees putting together the next-gen model.

The new van is getting a big sales boost from Amazon, which is purchasing 20,000 of the new vans to help deliver packages across the U.S. The Amazon-branded vehicles will help improve delivery capabilities for small businesses.

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Amazon’s new Delivery Service Partner program helps small business owners, who will work with third-party fleet management companies, procure customized vans and get special leases that keep startup costs low. (more…)

Woodward Dream Cruisers Out Early and Often

Fans and cruisers get an early start on the event.

by on Aug.18, 2018

Classic car fans and owners began trekking up and down Woodward Avenue Friday in advance of the Dream Cruise.

The roar of powerful engines and the smell of exhaust began filling the air as the classic car fanatics began their annual trek to Woodward Avenue, north of Detroit, for the Woodward Dream Cruise.

The event begins today, but there is plenty of “pregaming” on the days leading up to the main event. On Friday afternoon, cruisers were out in force as car aficionados had already set up shop to enjoy the cars of their youth.

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“I like the classic muscle cars,” said Charles Kinsley of Ann Arbor, Michigan. “I don’t care for the cars they remake.” Despite not being a big fan of the retro-based efforts of the Big Three automakers. Kinsley has attended almost every Dream Cruise since its inception in 1995. (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…)

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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