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Toyota Teases New 2020 Corolla

Critical debut comes as Japanese automaker considers paring back passenger car line-up.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Nov.12, 2018

Toyota will pull the wraps off the new Corolla during a webcast at 7 PM PST Thursday.

Earlier this month, Toyota’s top U.S. executive confirmed that the automaker is considering ways to pare back its passenger car line-up as the market continues shifting to SUVs – but you won’t see the long-popular Corolla going away any time soon, as this new teaser image suggests.

Toyota isn’t saying much beyond promising that, “The world’s most popular car is about to get greater than ever,” with the Japanese automaker set to reveal the 12th-generation sedan version of the Corolla during a livestream webcast on Thursday, Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. Pacific time.

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Toyota clearly needs to rebuild the buzz for the compact Corolla which has been around in sedan form since 2014. Sales fell 11.6% during the calendar-year-to-date, and 14.2% in October alone – and that’s despite supplementing the familiar sedan version with a hatchback model this past year.

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Volvo’s Care Subscription Program Key to Growth Plans

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

by Paul A. Eisenstein 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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FCA, Honda and VW Lead October Auto Sales

Ford, Toyota and Nissan struggle in first month of new quarter.

by Joseph Szczesny on Nov.01, 2018

The Jeep Wrangler led Fiat Chrysler to a 16% sales jump in October. The vehicle is setting new sales records.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V., Honda and Volkswagen of America set the mark for industry sales in October, reporting sales increases, while rivals such as Ford Motor Co, Toyota and Nissan struggled as sales of new vehicles slowed in October.

FCA’s 15% jump in sales was paced by Jeep, particularly the new Jeep Wrangler, which is setting sales records, and the Ram brand.

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Honda, meanwhile, said its sales increase by 6.4% thanks not only to strong sales of its trucks and sport-utility vehicles, but also of its electrified vehicles, which set a record for the second consecutive month, according to the company’s sales release.  (more…)

Fiat Chrysler Outsells Ford in September

Makers struggle to overcome Hurricane Harvey-led sales from last year.

by Joseph Szczesny on Oct.02, 2018

Fiat Chrysler outsold rival Ford Motor Co. in September, led by strong sales of its Ram pickup truck.

In a dramatic reversal of fortune, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles outsold Ford Motor Co. during the month of September and moved with striking distance of Toyota, the leading Japanese automaker.

FCA US reported U.S. sales of 199,819 vehicles, a 15% increase compared with sales in September 2017 of 174,266 vehicles.

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Meanwhile, Ford Motor’s September U.S. sales declined 11.2% on total sales of 197,404 units. Sales by Toyota Motor North America declined by more 10% with on sales of 203,095 Toyota and Lexus units. (more…)

New Vehicle Sales Expected to Hit 17M-Unit Pace in September

Despite brisk pace, total will fall short over August numbers.

by Joseph Szczesny on Sep.27, 2018

Despite a strong daily sales rate, U.S. new vehicle sales in September will fall short of August's results.

The total number of vehicles sold in September is likely to drop, according estimates from Edmunds and Cox Automotive.

Total sales volume in September, even though running ahead of August’s pace, is forecast to decline nearly 60,000 units from last month and nearly 100,000 units compared to September 2017, Cox said.

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“Year-over-year comparisons are challenging this September, as the industry saw record sales levels last year,” noted Charlie Chesbrough, senior economist at Cox Automotive. (more…)

Aston Martin Sketches Out its Future With Supercar Design Tease, IPO Plans

British marque hopes to repeat Ferrari’s success.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Sep.21, 2018

Aston has released a preliminary sketch of its third hypercar, the 003, which it hopes to have in production in 2021.

Aston Martin, the carmaker best known for its relationship with cinema spy 007, has laid out key details of its upcoming IPO while also releasing a preliminary sketch of the hypercar it’s calling 003 that it hopes will drive some of its future success.

Spun off by Ford Motor Co. in 2007, Aston struggled to avoid an eighth bankruptcy during the depths of the Great Recession, but its fortunes have skyrocketed over the last few years, a period coinciding with the arrival of CEO Andy Palmer and the subsequent commitment of hundreds of millions of dollars in new capital from its key investors.

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The IPO will go off next month on the London Stock Exchange, Palmer announced, declaring that it “will provide investors with a fitting opportunity to participate in our future success.”

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Subaru Ascending Toward Another Annual Sales Record

New three-row ute pushing company toward another benchmark.

by Joseph Szczesny on Sep.21, 2018

Subaru is set to set a seventh consecutive annual sales record due to the new Ascent.

Subaru is confident it can lock in its seventh consecutive year of sales gains thanks to promising launch of the Ascent, a three-row sport-utility vehicle that has emerged as the Japanese automaker’s flagship since its debut earlier this summer.

Dominic Infante, Subaru’s director of communication, noted during a presentation in North Carolina for the first drive of the 2019 Subaru Forester, which is due in showrooms that through August, Subaru has posted 81 consecutive months of sales gains.

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The Ascent has been a great success out of the gate, Infante noted. Subaru hasn’t been able to build them fast enough to satisfy demand. The Ascent is built at the Subaru assembly plant in Indiana and Infante said that Subaru has only 12 days of Ascent inventory in the hands of dealers. (more…)

Trucks, Sport-Utes Continue to Gain Market Share

Crossovers and utes remain atop customers' wishlists.

by Joseph Szczesny on Sep.05, 2018

The Hyundai Kona is just one of the many utility vehicles gaining sales traction in the U.S. these days.

Trucks and utility vehicles continue to take an ever-increasing share of the new vehicles sales in the United States once again during August.

The changes rolled right across the industry changing the balance of sales by brands ranging from Mercedes-Benz to Hyundai. Mercedes, which made its reputation selling luxury sedans, doesn’t even have a pickup truck in its model line but utility vehicles now account for 50% of its sales in the U.S.

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Over the years, Hyundai has built its sales on selling efficient, competitively priced passenger cars. However, this year’s, Hyundai, which doesn’t sell any kind to truck in the U.S., has seen its sales of utility vehicles grow to account for 49% of its total sales in the U.S., according to Mike O’Brien, Hyundai vice president of product, corporate and digital planning. (more…)

August Auto Sales Turn in Better-Than-Expected Results

Positive economic news overwhelms sales deterrents.

by Joseph Szczesny on Sep.04, 2018

Fiat Chrysler sales rose in August, including a 10% jump in Wranglers, and Ram set a new record.

Despite talk of sales slowing, Fiat Chrysler N.V., Nissan, Volkswagen and Audi all reported sales increases for August.

FCA reported sales of 193,718 vehicles, a 10% increase compared with sales in August 2017 of 176,033 units. Overall, FCA US retail sales rose 17% to 164,727 vehicles. Fleet sales, which the company is trying to cut down, accounted for 15% of total sales.

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Sales were led by both the Jeep and Ram brands. Ram posted two new records for the month. (more…)

New Vehicle Sales Expected to Rise Slightly in August

The rest of the year is expected to be tougher.

by Joseph Szczesny on Aug.29, 2018

August new car sales are expected to increase slightly compared with year-ago figures.

New-vehicle sales in August are expected to increase slightly, according to a sales forecast from Cox Automotive.

Cox estimated the seasonally adjusted annual rate of 16.8 million units forecast for August is up incrementally from last month’s 16.7 million and up from the sales rate of 16.5 million in August 2017.

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“The market remains strong and all the talk of higher interest rates and trade tariffs is not chasing away buyers,” noted Charlie Chesbrough, senior economist at Cox Automotive. (more…)