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Why Luxury Sales Could Thrive in 2013
Luxury car sales improved 12.3% during the first three months of 2013, outpacing the industry's 6.4% gain. Does that mean luxury cars are making a comeback? AutoPacific's Ed Kim comments on the probability of luxury car sales improving over time. "There will be a greater market share for those vehicles because it's people who can afford those vehicles who tend to be into buying new vehicles in general."
GM, Ford look to the past for Chinese concept cars
AutoPacific's Dave Sullivan shares his thoughts on the recently unveiled Buick Riviera and Ford Escort concepts at the Auto Shanghai 2013 show. For the Escort, Sullivan says it's highly unlikely the U.S. will see the Escort concept, but elements from the car could make their way to the states if they play well in China. The Riviera could provide an idea of the direction for some design cues for the brand.
U.S. taxpayers could wind up with Fisker assets
As struggling automaker Fisker Automotive laid off most of its workers, analysts said the move likely signals the death of the company. AutoPacific's Dave Sullivan commented, "The race is over for them now...Expect the assets to be sold for pennies on the dollar."
Jeep Takes Radical New Turn with Cherokee
The Jeep Cherokee is back! But will its new, more aerodynamic design keep buyers away? Jeep announced on Wednesday at the New York Auto Show the new 2014 Jeep Cherokee, replacing the Liberty. AutoPacific's Dave Sullivan thinks the drastic redesign will cost Jeep some loyalists. "This is not an edgy brand. It's all about the off-road design and capability."
Kia compact coupe, hatchback go turbo
Kia just revealed its hot Forte coupe at the New York auto show, following on the heels of the hatchback introduction at the Chicago show in February. AutoPacific research shows that small, turbocharged sporty cars are among those most favored by young car buyers. Could these new Forte versions be young consumer favorites?
Family car demand grows behind better deals, fuel economy
Nearly one in six new cars sold in 2012 came from "family cars," a large part due to six redesigns for 2012 or 2013: Toyota Camry, Chevrolet Malibu, Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima and Volkswagen Passat. According to AutoPacific's Ed Kim, "All things being equal, the American consumer will tend to go for the largest vehicle they can get into. So when a "family car" is getting highway fuel economy that's well into the 30s or high 30s, there's no reason to downsize.
GM puts engineers, cars on the fast track
Mark Reuss, General Motors' North America president, is seeding the automaker's racing operations with engineers who spend time helping Chevy and Cadillac racing teams, and then rotate back into product development. AutoPacific's Dave Sullivan agrees with this approach saying GM needs people who aren't wedded to traditional long-term product development cycles. "They need people who can address issues in more rapid fashion than they have in the past."
Do Recalls Affect Sales?
Recalls in 2012 were up 4.5% over 2011, yet new-car sales increased 13.4%, reaching the highest annual total since 2007. More than half of those recalls came from Toyota (5.3 million) and Honda (3.4 million), but sales at both automakers combined for a hefty 25.6% increase. AutoPacific's Ed Kim comments on the long-term image of reliability and quality that keeps Toyota and Honda customers coming back, despite the recalls.
Luxury cars buy into the downsizing trend
Luxury automakers such as Lincoln, BMW and Audi have, or are planning to bring vehicles into downsized segments. Mercedes-Benz will do the same later this year with the new CLA. AutoPacific President George Peterson says that despite a "bigger is better" mentality still existing in the US, the key will be for these downsized luxury cars to deliver the features consumers would traditionally expect on a bigger luxury vehicle "so they don't feel like they have to sacrifice" when buying a smaller luxury car.
Marchionne's Dart Letdown Shows Chrysler Still Lacks Cars
The new Dodge Dart is off to a slow start, being outsold in the last four months of 2012 almost 4-to-1 by the number 4 compact car, the Chevrolet Cruze. AutoPacific's Dave Sullivan shares his thoughts on the reason for sluggish sales. "The problem is not the car," says Sullivan, "the problem is launching a new nameplate in probably the most competitive segment."