Author Archives: Chris Viegas

DECEMBER 2014 U.S. AUTO SALES BY THE NUMBERS

 

DECEMBER 2014 U.S. AUTO SALES BY THE NUMBERS

 

Automaker

Dec. 2014

Dec. 2013

Pct. chng.

12 month
2014

12 month
2013

Pct. chng.

BMW division

41,526

37,389

11%

339,738

309,280

10%

Mini

6,615

6,592

0%

56,112

66,502

–16%

Rolls-Royce

75

72

4%

900

854

5%

  BMW Group

48,216

44,053

9%

396,750

376,636

5%

Maybach

–%

6

–100%

Mercedes-Benz

37,297

35,837

4%

356,136

334,344

7%

Smart USA

973

855

14%

10,453

9,264

13%

  Daimler AG

38,270

36,692

4%

366,589

343,614

7%

Alfa Romeo

67

–%

91

–%

Chrysler Division

30,930

20,270

53%

308,785

302,492

2%

Dodge

46,578

47,689

–2%

574,155

596,343

–4%

Fiat

3,784

3,745

1%

46,121

43,236

7%

Jeep

63,274

53,275

19%

692,348

490,454

41%

Ram

48,628

36,028

35%

469,139

367,843

28%

  FCA U.S.

193,261

161,007

20%

2,090,639

1,800,368

16%

Ferrari

175

172

2%

2,100

2,053

2%

Maserati

1,412

1,053

34%

12,943

4,768

172%

  Fiat Group

1,587

1,225

30%

15,043

6,821

121%

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles†

194,848

162,232

20%

2,105,682

1,807,189

17%

Ford division

209,679

208,608

1%

2,376,841

2,403,542

–1%

Lincoln

9,690

7,984

21%

94,474

81,694

16%

  Ford Motor Co.

219,369

216,592

1%

2,471,315

2,485,236

–1%

Buick

20,357

15,379

32%

228,963

205,509

11%

Cadillac

16,150

18,165

–11%

170,750

182,543

–6%

Chevrolet

184,938

153,493

20%

2,033,442

1,947,125

4%

GMC

53,038

43,120

23%

501,853

450,901

11%

  General Motors

274,483

230,157

19%

2,935,008

2,786,078

5%

Acura

17,809

15,751

13%

167,843

165,436

2%

Honda Division

119,472

119,504

0%

1,373,029

1,359,876

1%

  Honda (American)

137,281

135,255

2%

1,540,872

1,525,312

1%

Hyundai division

64,507

63,005

2%

725,718

720,783

1%

Kia

45,587

33,631

36%

580,234

535,179

8%

  Hyundai Group

110,094

96,636

14%

1,305,952

1,255,962

4%

Jaguar

1,683

1,544

9%

15,773

16,952

–7%

Land Rover

5,754

5,764

0%

51,465

50,010

3%

  Jaguar Land Rover

7,437

7,308

2%

67,238

66,962

0%

  Mazda

24,808

22,964

8%

305,801

283,946

8%

  Mitsubishi

6,545

6,423

2%

77,643

62,227

25%

Infiniti

12,007

13,232

–9%

117,330

116,455

1%

Nissan Division

105,311

96,526

9%

1,269,565

1,131,965

12%

  Nissan

117,318

109,758

7%

1,386,895

1,248,420

11%

  Subaru

49,923

40,172

24%

513,693

424,683

21%

  Suzuki*

–%

5,946

–100%

  Tesla*

2,200

760

190%

26,400

21,090

25%

Lexus

39,879

34,757

15%

311,389

273,847

14%

Scion

3,817

4,323

–12%

58,009

68,321

–15%

Toyota Division

171,361

151,763

13%

2,004,373

1,893,874

6%

Toyota/Scion

175,178

156,086

12%

2,062,382

1,962,195

5%

  Toyota

215,057

190,843

13%

2,373,771

2,236,042

6%

Audi

19,238

17,013

13%

182,011

158,061

15%

Bentley

412

442

–7%

3,003

2,964

1%

Lamborghini*

59

58

2%

708

690

3%

Porsche

3,275

3,246

1%

47,007

42,323

11%

VW division

34,058

34,015

0%

366,970

407,704

–10%

  Volkswagen

57,042

54,774

4%

599,699

611,742

–-2%

  Volvo Cars NA

4,920

4,888

1%

56,366

61,233

–8%

Other**

117

114

3%

1,396

1,360

3%

TOTAL

1,507,928

1,359,621

11%

16,531,070

15,603,678

6%

 

 

Led by double-digit sales increases at Fiat Chrysler, General Motors, Hyundai-Kia, Toyota Motor Corp. and Subaru, the U.S. auto industry closed out a stellar 2014 with a blockbuster December as U.S. consumers took advantage of year-end deals, lower fuel prices and an improving economy.

Light-vehicle sales rose 11 percent in December — slightly above forecasts — and 6 percent to 16.53 million for the year. The annualized pace of sales hit 16.92 million units, the third-fastest sales rate of the year.

It is the fifth consecutive year U.S. deliveries have increased after hitting a 27-year low of 10.4 million in 2009 during the Great Recession.

Thirteen brands — Honda, Nissan, Subaru, Porsche, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Maserati, Land Rover, Hyundai, BMW, Audi, Jeep and Ram — established U.S. sales records in 2014.

“Everything you need to have a great month was in place,” said Kurt McNeil, head of U.S. sales operations for GM. “Consumers felt good about the direction of the economy, interest rates and fuel prices were low, and our dealers did a great job introducing customers to our … new and redesigned vehicles.”

Among major automakers, Daimler AG, FCA, Nissan Motor and Toyota gained U.S. market share in 2014 while the BMW Group, Ford, GM, Honda, Hyundai-Kia and Volkswagen Group lost ground. Subaru and Mazda also captured additional share.

BMW retakes luxury title

The BMW brand reclaimed the luxury-sales crown from Mercedes-Benz in 2014 by a 9,347-vehicle margin: 339,738 vs. 330,391. No. 3 Lexus, which was the luxury leader from 2000 to 2010, is quickly closing the gap on its top two rivals, passing 300,000 in annual sales for the first time since 2007.

Meanwhile, Audi (182,011) outsold Cadillac (170,750) for the first time, jumping to the No. 4 luxury brand.

Sales at FCA, formerly the Chrysler Group, rose 20 percent in December, capping a year that saw overall volume advance 16 percent. The company posted the biggest gain in U.S. market share among major automakers on robust demand for Ram pickups and Jeeps.

Deliveries at GM, helped by heavy promotions, rose 19 percent, with retail volume increasing 23 percent and fleet shipments advancing 6 percent. Sales rose 21 percent at Chevrolet, 23 percent at GMC and 32 percent at Buick, while Cadillac dropped 11 percent.

For all of 2014, GM’s sales advanced 5 percent.

At Toyota, sales of Lexus, Toyota and Scion models totaled 215,057 last month, a 13 percent increase. The company’s 2014 volume advanced 6 percent. Toyota brand deliveries rose 13 percent and Lexus volume hit a December record of 39,879, up 15 percent.

The Camry, with sales of 428,606, ranked as the top-selling car in the U.S. for the 13th straight year.

“The industry finished last year on a high note thanks to a strong economic tailwind,” said Bill Fay, general manager of the Toyota division. “That momentum should continue in 2015 and combined with continued strong replacement demand, boost sales further.”

Caution

Still, some executives and analysts caution that growth will slow in 2015 after five years of rapid recovery.

“U.S. auto sales are dancing to a very different, and we believe unsustainable, beat,” Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas warned in a report Monday.

Jonas suggested demand for new light vehicles has outpaced U.S. economic, wage and housing growth rates, thanks largely to easy credit access and extended loan terms that are keeping monthly payments manageable for many consumers.

Toyota executives said they conservatively expect 2015 sales of 16.7 million vehicles, while others, including LMC Automotive, expect deliveries to hit 17 million.

“Any way you slice it, whether it’s 16.7 [million vehicles] or slightly below or above, it’s still a very healthy industry,” Jeff Bracken, head of Toyota Motor Corp.’s Lexus brand in the U.S., said of the coming year.

For some automakers, December and 2014 was a time to celebrate.

At FCA, sales last month rose 19 percent at Jeep, 35 percent at Ram, 53 percent at the Chrysler brand and 1 percent at Fiat. Volume slipped 2 percent at Dodge. The company’s U.S. deliveries have now increased 57 consecutive months.

For the year, FCA’s sales hit nearly 2.1 million on a 28 percent surge in light-truck deliveries.

FCA is particularly well positioned as America rekindles its fondness for SUVs and pickups. For the year, Jeep volume surged 41 percent to 692,348. Ram pickup deliveries surged 24 percent in 2014 to 439,789.

Through November, FCA’s U.S. market share stood at 12.7 percent, up from 11.5 percent through November 2013. Jeep’s U.S. market share climbed 1.1 percentage points to 4.2 percent through November.

Ford dinged

Ford Motor Co. sales rose 1 percent in December and slipped nearly 1 percent for the year, reflecting lower F-150 volume as the company transitions to the redesigned 2015 model. Deliveries last month rose 0.5 percent at the Ford brand and 21 percent at Lincoln

Honda Motor Co.’s sales edged up 1.5 percent. Despite a slight drop in volume at the Honda brand in December, U.S. sales at the division set an annual record of 1,373,029. Acura volume rose 13 percent last month and 1.5 percent for the year.

Honda — describing the truck market as “fast-paced” — said it set December and full-year records for crossovers and other light trucks. Deliveries of the CR-V crossover rose 13 percent in December to a record 32,369 units, and 10 percent for the year to a record of 335,019.

Sales of the Honda Pilot, helped by incentives, surged 28 percent to 11,479 in December.

“Despite the price of gasoline dropping well below $3 a gallon in many markets, Honda’s strong, balanced lineup of cars and trucks helped us achieve record sales in 2014,” said Jeff Conrad, general manager of the Honda division. “We will build on this momentum with some great new products coming in 2015.”

Core models drive Nissan

Deliveries at the Nissan brand rose 9 percent while volume slipped 9 percent at Infiniti last month. For the year, U.S. sales rose 12 percent to a record 1,269,565 at the Nissan division and 1 percent at Infiniti.

Fred Diaz, Nissan’s senior vice president for U.S. sales, marketing and operations, credited the company’s core models — Altima, Sentra, Versa and Rogue, as well as the Leaf — for the results.

Even with gasoline prices falling in recent months, U.S. deliveries of the Leaf topped 30,000 in 2014 — the first time any plug-in vehicle has reached that milestone in a single year, the company said.

Overall, Nissan’s car sales rose 12 percent while truck volume slipped 1 percent last month. For the year, the company’s car volume rose 13 percent, outpacing the 9 percent increase in truck demand.

“We expect low gas prices and high consumer confidence to be the magic formula that continues to bring more buyers into dealer showrooms,” Diaz said.

Subaru shattered the 500,000 annual sales mark in the U.S. for the first time on a 24 percent gain in December deliveries.

Mazda reported December volume of 24,808, a gain of 8 percent, and the company’s annual sales topped 300,000 units for the first time since 1994. The company said it retailed 278,880 units last year, the highest total since 1994 as part of a plan to reduce reliance on fleet deliveries.

Volkswagen sold 34,058 vehicles last month, essentially flat compared with Dec. 2013, while the brand’s full-year sales fell 10 percent to 366,970.

Positive factors

Numerous factors are playing out to support robust auto sales heading into 2015. Favorable financing terms, improving household finances, employment gains, new or redesigned models and the plunge in gasoline prices are all combining to attract buyers to U.S. showrooms.

“The momentum the economy carried through 2014 accelerated in the fourth quarter,” said Mustafa Mohatarem, chief economist for GM. “Car-buying fundamentals remain strong and we expect higher industry sales in 2015.”

A steady wave of recalls — the industry set a record in 2014 — also hasn’t deterred shoppers.

“December sums up what we’ve seen all year for automakers, and it’s a fitting finish to a comeback year for the industry,” said John Krafcik, president of TrueCar. “Sales volume growth and the popularity of highly profitable vehicle segments — pickups, utilities and luxury vehicles — has been immensely beneficial to automakers’ revenue and we expect more good news in 2015.”

To end the year on a high note, there were plenty of deals promoted throughout the month and many dealers extended showroom hours between Christmas and the New Year holiday weekend to handle additional volume.

Analysts at Edmunds.com estimate about 33 percent of the month’s sales happened in the last week of December. 

 

With gasoline prices falling below $2 a gallon in large swaths of the country, automakers and dealers sweetened discounts on hybrids. Tom Wood Lexus near Indianapolis dangled a $299 a month lease for 27 months and $1,099 due at signing on the 2015 CT 200h. The dealership also threw in a $250 Amazon.com gift card for customers who bought or leased any new vehicle through Jan. 3.

Other deals:

• BMW offered up to $3,500 off select 2015 models nationwide.

• Buick and GMC extended a deal started in November that provided buyers cash back equal to 20 percent of MSRP on older 2014 and 2015 inventory. Chevrolet ran a similar deal on select cars.

• Chrysler pitched a $239 a month lease for 39 months on the Chrysler 200 midsize sedan with zero down, no first payment and zero security deposit for buyers with top-notch credit.

Honda offered several lease deals with no down payment or security deposit on popular or older models. The first lease payment was also waived:

• $320 monthly lease on the 2015 Pilot LX with two-wheel drive for 36 months.

• $270 monthly lease on the Accord LX sedan for 36 months.

• $230 monthly lease on the 2015 Civic LX sedan for 36 months.

Trucks, prices shift higher

Kelley Blue Book said light-vehicle transaction prices rose nearly 3 percent year-over-year to $34,367 in December — making it the highest month on record for average transaction prices.

Pricing was strong across most of the industry with the exception of hybrids and electric vehicles, KBB said.

It was also the year of the light truck for most automakers. Buyers purchased more pickups, minivans, crossovers and SUVs than cars every month in 2014. That’s something automakers haven’t enjoyed since 2004 when a barrel of oil sold for less than $40.

50th Anniversary Shelby Cobra 427 – Only 50 will be made

 

50th Anniversary Shelby Cobra 427  – Only 50 will be made

50th-anniversary-shelby-cobra-427_100494919_l

 

The Shelby Cobra has already had a 50th anniversary or two, depending on the model being celebrated. This time, the half-century mark comes for the 427, and it bears some special equipment to mark the occasion—and the car’s legendary performance

Just 50 examples of the 50th Anniversary Shelby Cobra 427 will be sold, all bearing gold 50th anniversary badges and logos, plus a range of unique features. All examples will feature either aluminum or fiberglass bodies, offered in either Polished Aluminum or Guardsman Blue/Wimbledon White stripe exteriors (fiberglass cars are offered only in the blue/white combo).

50th-anniversary-shelby-cobra-427_100494920_l

As with previous 50th anniversary examples, cars in this run will bear the special CSX serial number prefix, in this case running from CSX4550-CSX4599. Each car will also bear its place in the total run of 50 cars on a special badge (numbered “1 of 50”, “2 of 50”, etc.)

Each of the 50th anniversary 427s also features elements authentic to the original, but reinterpreted to modern standards and materials, including high-end leather, upgraded modern brake components, and stiffer frames. Dual A-arm suspension with coil-over shocks complement the stiffer frame and modern brakes.

 

50th-anniversary-shelby-cobra-427_100494923_l50th-anniversary-shelby-cobra-427_100494924_l

50th-anniversary-shelby-cobra-427_100494925_l

Fiberglass models start from $119,995, while aluminum-bodied examples start at $179,995—though you’ll have to add your own engine and transmission to each. Orders open Tuesday, January 13 at 10 am PST.

 

50th-anniversary-shelby-cobra-427_100494921_l50th-anniversary-shelby-cobra-427_100494922_l50th-anniversary-shelby-cobra-427_100494926_l50th-anniversary-shelby-cobra-427_100494927_l

2016 Cadillac CTS-V – 640 Horsepower: 0-60 MPH In 3.7 Seconds

2016 Cadillac CTS-V  – 640 Horsepower: 0-60 MPH In 3.7 Seconds

cadillac-cts-v_100494793_h

When the current, second-generation CTS-V first hit the scene back in 2008, the car’s 556 horsepower pretty much blew most of the competition out of the water. However, the next dedicated performance model from Cadillac, the ATS-V unveiled at the recent Los Angeles Auto Show, is outmatched in the power stakes by its rivals from Lexus and Mercedes-Benz. This has left some fans concerned that the new third-generation CTS-V may not eclipse the outputs of its rivals.

cadillac-cts-v_100494796_h
Well, Cadillac has put those concerns to rest with confirmation that the new CTS-V, which makes its debut at the upcoming 2015 Detroit Auto Show, as a 2016 model, will come packing a supercharged 6.2-liter LT4 V-8 good for 640 horsepower and 630 pound-feet of torque (the same mill found in the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06). Yes, that makes the new sledgehammer of a sedan more powerful than supercars like the Ferrari 458 Speciale and Lamborghini Huracán, but more importantly it outmatches all off its rivals by a considerable margin. By comparison, the BMW M5 and Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG deliver 575 and 577 hp respectively in their most potent trim.

We also know that the engine comes with direct fuel injection and cylinder deactivation, and, of course, delivers some incredible performance numbers. Cadillac says the luxurious five-seat sedan it powers should sprint to 60 mph from rest in just 3.7 seconds and keep accelerating until it maxes out at 200 mph. Drive is to the rear wheels only, via General Motors Company’s [NYSE:GM] brilliant 8L90 eight-speed automatic transmission. The paddle-shifted unit features a launch control system and specific shift programing for the 2016 CTS-V.

cadillac-cts-v_100494791_h

Track-honed design, chassis and suspension elements complement the supercharged engine and further elevate the car’s capability, performance and driver control over the regular CTS. Additional upgrades include a carbon fiber hood, beefy Brembo brakes, third-generation Magnetic Ride Control suspension (damping response is now 40 percent faster), structural enhancements (stiffness is up 25 percent), a wider track, and track-tuned traction and stability control systems. Buyers of the 2016 CTS-V can also opt to have a hood vent, front splitter, rear spoiler and rear diffuser fitted—with all the components made from carbon fiber.

Nineteen-inch wheels wrapped with specially developed Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires give the CTS-V its footprint and enable nearly 1 g in lateral acceleration. The lightweight, forged aluminum wheels—measuring 9.5 inches wide in the front and 10 inches wide in the rear—are constructed of a low-mass forging that helps reduce unsprung weight for greater agility and a more direct feel to steering inputs.

The suspension and electronic power steering system have also been tuned for quicker response and work together with an electronic limited-slip differential to further aid handling. The standard Brembo brakes include two-piece 15.3-inch steel discs up front with six-piston calipers and 14.3-inch discs at the rear with four-piston calipers.

Moving inside, CTS-V buyers will be treated with a performance-oriented design featuring sueded microfiber accents and matte-finish carbon fiber trim. Sporty Recaro front seats are available and come with adjustable bolsters that help hold occupants in place during high-load cornering. The standard front seats are 20-way adjustable with heating and ventilation.

Advanced safety and parking technologies include a front curb-view camera system that provides a visual cue of curbs to protect the front splitter; automatic parking assist to find and steer into parallel or perpendicular parking spots; side blind zone alert, forward collision alert, lane keep assist and rear cross traffic alert. Additionally, the car comes with unique menus, the CUE infotainment system, GM’s Performance Data Recorder, and most of the standard goodies from the regular CTS.

The 2015 Detroit Auto Show gets underway January 12.  In the meantime, additional coverage of the event can be accessed via our dedicated hub.

Source: Motor Authority

No Ford Raptor yet? Hennessey VelociRaptor 600hp Supercharged is here

No Ford Raptor yet?  Hennessey VelociRaptor 600hp Supercharged is here

2015-hennessey-velociraptor-600-supercharged-based-on-the-2015-ford-f-150_100494587_l

 

Can’t wait for Ford to launch its own high-performance Raptor version of the latest F-150 pickup truck? Well, perhaps you should give vehicle tuner Hennessey Performance a call.

The Texan tuner has come out with one of its popular VelociRaptor packages for the aluminum-bodied F-150, and at this early stage the package is already offering in excess of 600 horsepower.

The package’s full name is VelociRaptor 600 Supercharged, and as that name suggests Hennessey engineers have installed a supercharging kit for the Ford Motor Company [NYSE:F] workhorse.  The supercharger features a Roots-type design and fits on the F-150’s available 5.0-liter V-8.

2015-hennessey-velociraptor-600-supercharged-based-on-the-2015-ford-f-150_100494588_l

In standard form this engine is tuned to deliver just 385 horsepower, but with the VelociRaptor 600 Supercharged package installed output extends to more than 600 horses. This is with about 8 psi of boost, and no doubt more powerful setups are already in the works. Other upgrades include high-flow intake and exhaust systems, upgraded fuel injectors, and Hennessey’s proprietary engine management calibration. Also standard are 33-inch BFGoodrich tires on custom 17-inch wheels.

Just 500 examples of the VelociRaptor 600 Supercharged package will be offered for 2015. Pricing starts at $73,500, which includes a base 2015 Ford F-150 FX4 Super Crew equipped with a V-8. Some of the options being offered include custom off-road coilover suspension, upgraded front and rear bumpers, a front winch, LED light bars, Brembo brakes and more.

Anyone interested can order one of the vehicles direct from Hennessey or through Ford’s dealer network. A VelociRaptor package for F-150s equipped with a V-6 EcoBoost engine is currently in the works, and perhaps we’ll also see one of Hennessey’s SUV conversions offered for the latest F-150 pickup truck at some point.

Source: Motor Authority

Koenigsegg One:1 is finally Bound for the USA – More Models To Follow

Koenigsegg One:1 is finally Bound for the USA  – More Models To Follow

Koenigsegg-Agera-One

Right now, Koenigsegg’s only model available in the U.S. is the 1,140-horsepower Agera R, sold exclusively at Manhattan Motorcars in New York. However, the Swedish supercar brand has much more ambitious plans for the world’s biggest market for performance cars, with more dealers and additional models in the pipeline.

Koenigsegg-One-1-back

After a recent visit to the company’s headquarters in Ängelholm, Car and Driverdiscovered that one of the six One:1 supercars destined for production will end up in the U.S., with Manhattan Motorcars given the rights to sell the car. However, since the 1,341-hp One:1 lacks federal homologation, the car is to be brought in under Show and Display rules.
That won’t be the case for Koenigsegg’s future models as the brand, despite building only 22-24 cars per year, plans to ensure all of its cars fully comply with U.S. regulations, which includes the fitment of smart airbags—an extremely costly requirement that held back Pagani for years and is still holding back Lotus from selling some of its cars here. Koenigsegg will also add three more dealerships in North America to serve the U.S. market as well as Canada.

Koenigsegg is keen to boost production and is already readying a new model to join its Agera range and One:1. More details on this new model will be released next year. Previously, we heard that Koenigsegg was looking at launching a more affordable model, one costing roughly half the $1.65 million that the Agera R commands, and it’s possible this is the model we’ll be hearing about next year.

Source: Motor Authority

2014-Koenigsegg-Agera-One-1-Wallpaper

Volvo To Sell Cars Online

 

Volvo To Sell Cars Online  –

2016-Volvo-XC90-222-626x382

Volvo is about to make a dramatic shift in the way it markets its cars. In an effort to direct advertising dollars where they are most effective, at least according to Volvo’s marketing department, the Swedish automaker will stop turning up to most auto shows around the globe and instead build up its presence online.

Volvo is boosting its marketing budget but will spend more on developing new online marketing channels, as well as sprucing up its global network of dealers to turn them into ‘brand centers’ to emphasize its Scandinavian roots, something that will become vital as the automaker builds more cars in China, a country whose government owns a 37 percent stake in Volvo (the rest is mostly owned by Chinese automaker Geely). 

The new strategy is called the Volvo Way to Market, and it will see Volvo focus in four key areas: marketing tools, online presence, dealers and service. Unfortunately for fans, it means a drastic reduction in the number of auto show appearances. Volvo has confirmed it will attend just three shows per year: the Detroit Auto Show, the Geneva Motor Show and the alternating Shanghai and Beijing events. In addition to three shows, Volvo says it will host its own event to showcase its products brand, similar to what’s done in the tech industry.

As for its online presence, Volvo says it will start to sell online gradually across the globe. The U.S. may be one of the later markets to fully embrace online sales of Volvo vehicles because of the dealership model here, but progress can be made in this area as demonstrated by Tesla and its own online sales model. Dealers will still be there for the delivery and servicing of vehicles as well as organizing test drives and real world inspections that you can’t replicate on the web. A first step in digital commerce was taken with the online-only sale of 1,927 special launch edition XC90s.

For the dealers, Volvo will attempt to have most of them styled in a similar way, to further project the brand. Inside, customers will be able to have a drink in Sweden-produced glasses and there will be Swedish cuisine also on offer along with some Swedish-themed sight and sound elements.

The final leg of the Volvo Way to Market is a new level of service, which will include the assignment of a personal technician for each customer. When first picking up a vehicle, the customer will be introduced to the technician who will take care of them and the car throughout the ownership. Volvo says a number of dealers have already started the service on a trial basis and customer satisfaction has improved. By 2018, Volvo expects its of its dealers to be offering this service as standard.

 

Source: Motor Authority

2015 Corvette Stingray PDR Camera Captures Valet Hitting 50 MPH and More!

2015 Corvette Stingray PDR Camera Captures Valet Hitting 50 MPH and More!

corvette-pdr-captures-valet-doing-50-mph-in-parking-garage-image-via-corvette-forum_100494469_m

The Valet Mode of the Stingray’s Performance Data Recorder system is a cool feature—even if it has drawn some heat for its potential illegal recording of audio. But you don’t need audio to see what’s wrong with this valet’s treatment of a new 2015 Corvette.

As Corvette Forum notes, the parking garage joyride took place at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, California—not exactly a wild and wooly night club where you might expect such extracurricular vehicular behavior.

Milan, Italy paying residents not to drive “Park Your Car and Go Public!”

Milan, Italy paying residents not to drive “Park Your Car and Go Public!”

Milan Italy paying residents not to drive

Some European struggle to accommodate their current traffic volumes. Often narrow, bumpy streets are downright ancient, and not exactly laid out with efficiency in mind. We’ve seen cities across the Old World take different approaches to addressing this issue – London instituted congestion charging, while Hamburg is actively working to ban cars by the mid 2030s. Milan, meanwhile, is taking an all-together different approach.

Rather than charging car owners every time they drive into the city, the Milanese government is teaming up with the public transport department, insurance agency Unipol and Octo Telematics, a manufacturer of “black boxes” and onboard telematics systems for a new campaign called “Park Your Car and Go Public!” With the telematics systems installed in the cars of Unipol customers, city officials know how often a car is left at home and will reward customers if the car remains parked from 7:30 AM to 7:30 PM.

It’s not a huge reward – only 1.50 euros per day or $1.84 – but it covers the cost of a ticket on public transport and is easily delivered via text message. The new campaign, according to Octo Telematics, proves the appeal of connected car systems.

“Previously, the connected car has been all about navigation, infotainment and insurance,” Jonathan Hewett, chief marketing officer at Octo Telematics, told The Financial Times. “What we’re seeing with this project is organizations from public and private spheres can get together and make life better for Europe’s citizens.”

What do you think? Would you agree to let your insurance company monitor the use of your car? Would a daily rail pass in exchange for not using your car be enough, or would you need a bigger incentive? Have your say in Comments.

 

Source: Financial Times via Autoblog.com

Mansory Mercedes-Benz S-Class 1,000-HP

Mansory Mercedes-Benz S-Class 1,000-HP

mansory-mercedes-benz-s-class_100494227_l

I have little to no love for any products that automotive customizer Mansory has put out over its history. The styling is typically far too in-your-face in the worst way, turning exotic, luxury, or high-performance machines into rolling bits of poorly planned pop art. The saying “It’s not my cup of tea” is too kind for some of the past Mansory builds.

Lately, however, the minds at Mansory must have stepped away from the carbon-fiber infused drug table that no doubt adorns their central conference room. The styles being presented are more subtle, more stylish, and far more appealing. Take, for example, the Lamborghini Aventador Carbonado they created last year.

Now the team have stepped back to the table, but this time they’re taking the good drugs. This is clear because they’ve just released their version of the Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG. It’s packing nearly 1,000 horsepower, 1,032 pound-feet of torque, and has an electronically limited top speed of 186 miles per hour. It also looks rather sinister with its all black paint scheme.

Are there things we’d change? Sure, but they’re minor quibbles. The wheels may be better served in a flat finish instead of the gloss look, and the white interior won’t mesh will with our fancy hipster selvedge denim.  Both of those are easily updated to better suit our own personal needs. The more important bit is the engine tuning though, and that’s where Mansory changed out many of the engine internals for stronger bits.

The 0-60 miles per hour run happens in 3.2 seconds. In an S-Class. With room for you and your equally well-heeled friends.

Ladies and gentlemen, put your hands together… Mansory gets a well-deserved golfclap here.

Source: Motor Authority