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11 Apr 2014

March 2014: Better Weather Is On The Horizon Edition

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By The Numbers March 2014

After the Polar Vortex-saddled January and February months of 2014, something tells us a break in the weather is exactly what car shoppers have been waiting for. Perhaps it’s all the lovely green we see in the chart below that has us in an upbeat mood, but there’s no denying most automakers doing business in these United States saw big sales improvements this month, led by the seemingly unlikely duo of Maserati and Mitsubishi.

Wait… is this the same Mitsubishi that has been struggling mightily over the last several years, with some analysts questioning how long the Japanese automaker will continue to do business in the States? Yep, that one. Mitsubishi posted a strong 70-percent improvement in March compared to the same time a year ago. And, although it’s a relatively small number of vehicles on the grand scheme of things, it’s hard to overlook the success of Maserati, which saw its sales improve by an astounding 342 percent on the strength of new models.

Other big winners in March include Jeep, Lincoln and Jaguar, all of which have been going gangbusters for the year that has been 2014 (so far). The biggest loser was Mini, as it has been all year, with a guest appearance from Chrysler, which lost 55 percent of its 200 sedan sales. We’d expect Chrysler’s sales figures to recover over the next few months as the redesigned 2015 200 hits dealership lots. The only major automotive company that didn’t post an improved March was Honda, and even that loss was pretty minor at two percent. Overall, not a bad sales month for the industry.

Check out all of the month’s sales figures below, and feel free to compare them with past months in our By the Numbers archive.

March 2014: Better Weather Is On The Horizon Edition originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 01 Apr 2014 16:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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11 Apr 2014

Despite shuttering local assembly, Holden gunning for top spot in Oz by 2020

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Holden Struggles As Hundreds Accept Redundancies

Little more than a month after leaving the top slot at Volkswagen of India to become managing director of Holden, Australian outlets are reporting that Gerry Dorizas said he wants Holden to be number one in Oz market share by 2020. Dorizas says he believes it can be done with better and more youth-focused product, a better dealership experience and “a lot of work.”

Even with all of that, it’s an ambitious timeline. Holden has seen its once colossal 25-percent market share drop to 9.9 percent last year, only about half of Toyota’s 19 percent and just a few hot breaths ahead of Mazda at 9.1 percent (the Corolla was the best selling car in Oz last year, dethroning the Mazda3 after three years by just 1,500 units). In fact, it’s still in the danger zone presented by Hyundai at 8.6 percent. More worrying still, Holden’s 2013 market share is a decline from its 12.8-percent share in 2011 and 10.4-percent share in 2012.

That 2020 target would also give it just three years after the cessation of Australian assembly operations for the rebound, and no one really knows how potential Holden intenders are going to react when the local manufacturing show is really over. And by now, we all know how motivated Toyota will be not to cede its crown. Dorizas is confident when he says, “[We] will come back,” but he’s paid to be. How he manages to make that happen, or not, will be a show worth watching.

Despite shuttering local assembly, Holden gunning for top spot in Oz by 2020 originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 08 Apr 2014 09:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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11 Apr 2014

2015 Hyundai Genesis priced from $38,000*

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2015 Hyundai Genesis sedan, front three-quarter view

Today’s rear-wheel-drive 2014 Hyundai Genesis sedan with the model’s base 3.8-liter V6 starts at $35,200. Come the new 2015 model, Hyundai has announced that price of entry will climb to $38,000. And if you’re so inclined, the Korean automaker will include its new HTRAC all-wheel drive setup for $2,500, for a bottom line of $40,500. The extra $2,500 for AWD rewards you with more than improved foul-weather handling, as the HTRAC model prepared for cold climes with standard heated steering wheel and rear seats, as well as headlight washers.

If that’s not enough power, stepping up to the company’s well-liked Tau 5.0-liter V8 requires $51,500, a marked $4,100 bump over the price for its 2014 model equivalent, but then again, there’s more standard equipment. And that’s pretty much the top of the line, because the big eight-cylinder can’t be had with all-wheel drive. (Note: *All prices are subject to a $950 destination fee).

Having successfully kept the Genesis’ starting price below $40,000 even after handling and destination, Hyundai has thrown new equipment into the base car beyond its exterior and interior redesign. Gewgaws like paddle shifters, rain-sensing wipers, power folding outside mirrors, power height and lumber-adjustable passenger seat and one-touch power windows in the rear compartment are luxury touches that add more than their raw weight in upscale perception.

The 2014 car currently offers a Premium Package for $4,400, after which you can add the Technology Package for $4,300. The 2015 option structure comprises three packages that also can be stacked: Signature, a $4,000 grouping, includes items like a panoramic roof, power tilt and telescoping wheel and blind spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert; Technology relieves buyers of $3,500 for lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control and a seven-inch TFT dash cluster; and Ultimate asks $3,500, but plants the flag with matte finish wood and aluminum trim, a 9.2-inch navigation screen and dual-mode climate control with the drowsiness-fighting CO2 sensor.

The departing 2014 Genesis V8 doesn’t offer any extra packages, but for the new 2015 model, that changes with the $3,250 Ultimate Package – and it already adds the Technology Package from the 3.8-liter as standard. Ultimate buyers receive continuous damping control suspension and a head-up display, among other goodies.

Counting everything, you won’t have a hard time getting rather spendy with the 2015 Genesis sedan, but Hyundai appears to have made it possible to get into its much sharper presentation for a good price. The press release below has all the details.

Continue reading 2015 Hyundai Genesis priced from $38,000*

2015 Hyundai Genesis priced from $38,000* originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 01 Apr 2014 15:46:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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11 Apr 2014

2011 BMW 1 Series M Coupe now more expensive than when new

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2011 BMW 1 Series M Coupe

At the end of the day, your friendly Autoblog editors are car guys, just like you. So, while we might have more of an opportunity to test some of the most interesting vehicles on the new car scene than does your average gear head, we can still be found whiling away those long afternoon hours looking at used cars and thinking about what could be.

Just the other day, we had a vivid reminder about one of our dream cars from the very recent past, the 2011 BMW 1 Series M Coupe. If you didn’t catch it, Michael Harley had a great time testing and reviewing the new Dinan S3-R version of the car, which throws an impressively engineered turbo and suspension tune on a BMW that was damn near perfect out of the box.

In the Comments section of that review, a few savvy Autoblog readers pointed out that our estimated price for a used donor car, set at $50,000, was low. Odd, we thought, as the car retailed for less than $50k ($46,135) when it was new in 2011. So we started checking around.

With only 740 units sold in the US to begin with, finding data on 1MC sales is a bit dicey, but here’s what we know. We tracked down about 20 cars currently on sale, by way of major used auto sales websites, and found an average asking price of a whopping $61,670 with an average mileage of about 11,600 on the clock. That’s more than $15,500 over the MSRP when new, or an appreciation of around $5k per year.

The best deal we could locate was a 14k-miler for $55,500; the most expensive being $65,991 with just 8,800 miles. Those numbers are just about right on based on the industry standard Black Book, too, which calls the retail value in California, for instance, at an even $60,000 for an “Extra Clean” car. Talk about an investment we can get behind…

2011 BMW 1 Series M Coupe now more expensive than when new originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 06 Apr 2014 15:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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11 Apr 2014

Chevy ramping Silverado incentives after Ram beats it in March

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2014 Chevrolet Silverado

General Motors isn’t losing the pickup war without a fight. With the Silverado narrowly falling to third place in the truck segment in March, Chevrolet has announced that it is going to continue its Truck Month pricing through the end of April. In addition to those incentives, some Chevy pickups are going to see even deeper discounts, according to Automotive News.

General Motors Sales Reporting spokesperson Jim Cain says the reason for extending the sale is simple. “It worked,” he said. The Silverado’s sales were up 6.8 percent for March, which is a big win for a truck with sales down 7.6 percent for the year so far. “Last month we handily beat expectations,” he said. Cain attributed the success to having “a simple, straightforward message.” He also claimed that the pickup was also able to see growth with lower incentives than competitors. With the weather warming and the economy improving, he thinks the Silverado has the momentum to improve further.

The Truck Month incentives knock as much as $7,541 off some Silverado models, and Chevy is planning even more incentives on top of that in April. “Okay – time to take the gloves off and go back and take back what rightfully belongs to every one of you … Silverado truck sales,” said an email sent to dealers from GM’s district manager in the Northeast, received by Automotive News, announcing lower lease rates.

GM certainly isn’t taking this drop to third place lightly, but what about Ram? “Our plan is to keep building the best trucks we can,” said Nick Cappa, head of Ram Communications. One thing is certain, if you are were in the market for a pickup, these incentives are making it a great time to buy.

Chevy ramping Silverado incentives after Ram beats it in March originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 05 Apr 2014 19:05:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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11 Apr 2014

McLaren prices new 650S from $265,500

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McLaren 650S Spider

Just whisper the name “McLaren” and you know you’re talking about something expensive. Just how expensive depends on which model you’re talking about. McLaren sold all 375 examples of the P1 at $1.15 million. The 12C coupe starts just under $240k and the 12C Spider at $265k. The upcoming P13 should come in around $160k, and the P15 around $500k. But how much will the new 650S set you back?

With the 650S set to make its US debut at the New York Auto Show next week, McLaren Automotive has released official pricing and performance figures for our market. The 650S coupe will set you back $265,500, while the 650S Spider starts at $280,225. That makes the new model about $15k more expensive than the less powerful 12C on which it’s based. Or to put it another way, it falls right in the middle of the Ferrari 458 range: the Italia starts at $233k, the Spider at $257k and the Speciale (the version with which you could really compare the 650S most directly) approaches $300k.

Along with the pricing info, McLaren (having quoted the 0-62 time at three seconds flat) has also revealed the official 0-60 time at 2.9 seconds. Couple that with a quarter-mile time of 10.5 seconds and a 207-mph top speed (for the coupe) and you’re looking at an eminently capable supercar. Scope out all the details (including Canadian pricing for those bent on driving their McLaren in the snow) in the press release below.

Continue reading McLaren prices new 650S from $265,500

McLaren prices new 650S from $265,500 originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 04 Apr 2014 17:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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11 Apr 2014

Ex-Hyundai CEO Krafcik joins TrueCar board amidst IPO plans

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CEO Interview Hyundai

Former Hyundai Motor America CEO John Krafcik has had a tumultuous year. Last June, he won the Automotive Executive of the Year from DNV Business Assurance. Then in December, he suddenly announced he was stepping down from his leadership role at the Korean automaker on January 1, with some suggesting it was because the company’s sales growth was too far below forecasts. Now, it looks like the exec has landed a new role on the board of directors of online car shopping website TrueCar.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Krafcik’s role will be to build relationships with automakers and dealers, but the job at TrueCar won’t be full time. Since leaving Hyundai, Krafcik has also been doing consulting work in Silicon Valley. “It’s helped me understand what I might want to do, full, full time. I am just taking things at the appropriate pace,” he said to the Journal.

Krafcik, who is widely considered one of the industry’s top executives, took the helm at Hyundai America in 2008 and led it to an increase in sales and market share. He was with the company when it won North American Car of the Year awards in 2009 and 2012 for the Genesis and Elantra, respectively.

TrueCar is working to change the way cars are sold by interfacing with buyers and dealers to arrive at no-haggle pricing on cars. A new report by Automotive News suggests that the company is on the verge of an Initial Public Offering. TrueCar has filed its intentions with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, with the IPO to be managed by Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan. Back in November, values for TrueCar as high as $1.5 billion were floated, but for its IPO, it’s seeking $125 million.

Ex-Hyundai CEO Krafcik joins TrueCar board amidst IPO plans originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 04 Apr 2014 14:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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11 Apr 2014

BMW X4 order guide sneaks onto the web

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BMW X4 Ordering GuideMuch like we gave you an early look at the ordering guide for the BMW M3 and M4 (you can now configure those two, as well), yet another list of BMW options has leaked out. This time, the upcoming X4 is the target. We told you last month that prices for the X3-sized, X6-shaped vehicle started at $45,625, and now, we can confirm everything else for the newest Bimmer.

Only two trim lines will be available when the X4 arrives – M Sport and xLine. The former starts at $2,300 for the xDrive28i model and $1,900 for the xDrive35i, and includes as standard, 19-inch wheels (or optional 20s for $950), sport seats, an M steering wheel, a more aggressive body kit, a black headliner and the option of brushed aluminum interior trim. The xLine is $1,500 for the 28i and $1,000 for the 35i, and is made up exclusively of 19-inch Y-spoke wheels and dark copper interior trim.

Metallic colors dominate the pallet, with just a pair of gloss options available alongside the $550 metal-flake colors. BMW offers a pair of SensaTec leatherette options, along side a wide variety of $1,450 leather trims.

As has become BMW’s forte, there are a six sets of option packages, with prices ranging from $700 for the Driver Assistance Package to $3,150 for the Technology Package. Standalone extras include adaptive dampers for $1,000, adaptive cruise control for $1,900 and a non-packaged navigation system for $2,150. BMW will also tack on a $925 destination charge.

We’ve wrapped up the entire pricing sheet in a handy gallery of images, available below. Have a look, and let us know what you think of the pricing and optional goodies for the new X4.

BMW X4 order guide sneaks onto the web originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 03 Apr 2014 18:43:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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11 Apr 2014

2015 Subaru WRX and WRX STI configurator comes online

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Subaru WRX Configurator

Subaru fans, get your clicking fingers ready – the configurator for both the 2015 WRX and the WRX STI are live on the company’s consumer website.

With three trims of the standard WRX and two of the WRX STI available, customers can price out their ideal rally rocket. Aside from choosing a trim level, there’s not a whole lot for dreamers to do here. A single interior trim (black) can be paired with a decent spectrum of colors. Each trim level only comes with one optional package, which ranges from $2,000 to $2,500 and includes some combination of navigation, a Harmon/Kardon stereo or push-button start. There are also a number of dealer-installed accessories available, as well.

Hop on over to Subaru’s US consumer page, and start building your perfect road-legal rally car.

2015 Subaru WRX and WRX STI configurator comes online originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 03 Apr 2014 16:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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11 Apr 2014

Honda Accord Hybrid sales capacity constrained

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2014 Honda Accord Hybrid

Honda might be selling more hybrids if it could just get them to dealers. While the second-generation Insight never lived up to sales expectations and production is ending, the Japanese automaker is seeing strong demand for the Accord Hybrid here and abroad. However, there is so much global consumer desire that it can’t keep them in US showrooms.

The problem limiting the sales of the Accord Hybrid is its battery pack and its popularity in Japan. “There’s a waiting list for the product,” said Jeff Conrad, Honda general manager, to Ward’s Auto about the sedan’s US popularity. While the American Accord is built in Marysville, OH, the batteries are imported from Japan, where the model is quite popular. According to Ward’s data, the automaker sold 2,414 examples of the hybrid version from October 2013 to February 2014 in the US, but it shifted 6,000 units in Japan in its first three months on sale. Conrad also admitted that the constrained supply is limiting the amount of marketing the automaker can do for the hybrid.

Honda spokesperson Chris Martin told Autoblog the company is working on a solution to increase production for the near future. “We are going to resolve the battery issue,” he said.

Honda has had a rocky road in launching its hybrids. Conrad admits that the Insight never got much of a marketing push after its launch. The CR-Z faces an uncertain future as well. Sales of it are ending in Europe for the 2015 model year, and Ward’s data indicates that Honda only sold 4,550 of them in the US last year.

Honda Accord Hybrid sales capacity constrained originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 10 Apr 2014 10:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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