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    Cadillac Heads To The Drawing Board To Solve CTS Sales


    • How To Fix The Slumping Sales Of The CTS

    Despite rave reviews, the Cadillac CTS has been slipping in sales. Sales in July slipped 29 percent, while August saw another 35 percent drop. This is a the opposite of what is happening in the luxury marketplace as sales are currently up six percent. A possible cause to this is the base price of the CTS has climbed $6,000 from the previous model.

    “While it may have been a terrific car, it may not have been perceived as having earned its stripes for that kind of pricing against the Germans. Cadillac has just not earned its way to charge the kind of premium that the Germans can get,” said Michelle Krebs, senior analyst with Autotrader.com.

    Uwe Ellinghaus, Cadillac's chief marketing officer said in a recent interview that the brand may have been too ambitious” in raising prices on the CTS. To fix this, Ellinghaus considering adding more standard features or offering some features like heated seats as stand-alone options.

    "These are things that we can do relatively quickly," Ellinghaus said.

    Also being changed is Cadillac's ad campaign. Ellinghaus explained that company will move away from the current messaging of comparing Cadillac to Germans, and instead focus on on its American roots.

    “We definitely cannot build a brand on being as good as,” “We are not German -- and that’s a good thing. We are American. We need to build this brand on what differentiates Cadillac from our German competitors,” said Ellinghaus.

    Source: Bloomberg

    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

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    The price is an issue but this car lacks the look and appeal of the last model.  People can argue that the front is great and the lights are very dramatic and they might be correct.  I'm on the fence myself regarding the front.  The rear however is another story it has the look and appeal of a tired full size Asian sedan.  The first time I saw the rear of the new CTS with my wife she and I both thought it looked like a car her grandfather would drive and it made us glad we had our 2010 CTS vs. this design.  The last CTS had a design that people wanted to have, including my wife and this one is just flat.  The engineer side of me thinks the work done to create a world class car is awesome but you need a cutting edge design to go along with all that engineering work.  The current CTS misses the mark and it makes me sick to my stomach because I wanted Caddy to do well on this one.

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    Problem #1 is the Wreath and Crest (now just the Crest) was neglected and dragged through the mud for too many years.  Current buyers probably don't even remember the Cimarron or Allante, but I do think a lot of people have the image of Devilles/DTS that grandpa drives and that is how they see Cadillac.  Cadillac has a weaker brand image than Lexus or the 3 Germans.

     

    Problem #2 is marketing.  Ellinghaus makes a good point that they need to focus on Cadillac's roots and what makes Cadillac Cadillac, and not just compare them to the Germans as they have the past couple years.  Other brands are guilty of this too, they run ads like "more standard horsepower than a C300" but who cares their car isn't better than a C300.  Notice Mercedes or BMW never talk about other brands in their commercials, they talk about themselves and their brand.

     

    Problem #3 is lack of focus.  Ellinghaus says they need to focus on roots and being American, but Cadillac admitted to basically tearing apart a 3-series and reverse engineering from that to make the ATS and they copied almost every measurement and dimension.  Ellinghaus also says Cadillac's future is RWD, but you have a front wheel drive XTS and SRX, the next gen SRX is confirmed front drive already.  So which is it?   I don't think Cadillac has a vision of what they want to be, they see the Lexus RX sell well, they think let's copy it, they 3-series and E-class sell well, they think let's copy it. 

     

    Problem #4 is the CTS itself.  They are priced $6,000 below the E-class and you get $3,000 more cash back right now, so price isn't the problem.  Styling is subjective, I don't love the front end, but some people might like it, the rear of the CTS looks dull as dirt.  Equipment levels need work too, if you get the standard trim, it lacks content, you need the luxury package and then so much of what is on are driver nannies like blind spot monitoring and lane keep assist.  Heated/ventilated seats leather seats, rearview camera and HID lights, ambient lighting should be standard even if that means another $1,000 or so added to base price.  All the driver nannies go into one package, this is supposed to be a driver's car after all, half the buyers might not care less about radar cruise control and lane keep assist.  Performance upgrades like magnetic ride control, bigger brakes, etc go into a package, multimedia or technology upgrades can be a package.   There can be a premium package also that has basically what the current premium trim level has, for those that want all the bells and whistles.   Makes is easier for the buyer to get what they want.

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    the styling is an issue from some angles, the original CTS had a sports sedan look.  It even lacked the upright rear lights that Caddy keeps foisting on the world.  It looked lean and purposeful.

     

    The 08 CTS got porky looking but still had some sleekness to it.

     

    Now Caddy tried to copy the long hood / short greenhouse windhshield too far back / 'hey i'm a rear drive car' look this go round and then mated a very disconnected looking grille to the front.  It has no sportiness compared to the original CTS and it looks like its meant for older people than the last CTS.

     

    I think Caddy either needs to completely change the character line on the side of the car, or make the front fonder flares more distinct, articulated, whatever....the car lacks shoulders.......

     

    The overall 3 box proportions of this latest CTS don't match the last two, you can't make a visual connection between them.  The new CTS maybe should have been called STS.........

     

    Most of the interior is pretty good on the new CTS, i think they can get it tweaked where it needs to be.

     

    The pricing and option packaging is a problem.  Heated seats should be standard on a CTS.  Heated / cooled as an option, rear heated seats option.

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    Hello! Price is the main issue here. Sorry to say, as good as the CTS is, the 3 series is still different people/mindset. It's going to take a while to change that mindset...

     

    Go back to your roots. Drop the price, be the best bang for buck.

     

     

    It really is that simple.....

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    ^ CTS doesn't compete with the 3-series.

     

    2014 BMW 528i : MSRP : 49500, average paid : 44997, diff: 4503

    2014 CTS base : MSRP : 45100, average paid : 42616, diff: 2484

     

    The CTS IS the best bang for the buck, even with less off sticker.

     

    YTD 5-series U.S. sales : 37761

    YTD CTS U.S. sales : 20639

     

    Perfect. We need to break the mindset that used to say 'Cadillac is part of GM, therefore it should outsell every one of it's competitors'. Neither necessary nor desirable.
    I would like to see the CTS coupe & wagon continue on the current 3rd gen, tho, regardless of the sales volume. Especially the coupe!

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    Cadillac ran an average incentive of $7700 last month and their sedan sales are still down. I don't think lower prices are the answer, they are already low. Better product and more importantly better marketing is needed.

    The thing is Lexus, BMW and Mercedes buyers are loyal, so to get people that spend $60k on a car they need to make something so amazing that those people switch loyalties, or get trade ups form Infiniti, Acura, Lincoln etc. And I suspect the type of people that buy an Acura or Lincoln are never trading up to something expensive.

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    The thing is Lexus, BMW and Mercedes buyers are loyal.

    You are incorrect. BMW & MB repeat ownership figures are between 30-35%, that's way less than, for example, Ford (which I believe is close to 50%). Terrible numbers, actually.

     

    And as I posted above, CTS transaction prices are CLOSER to MSRP than the 5-series, so MB & BMW are pulling some sort of slippery money 'laundering' in that their ATPs are much farther off of MSRP, regardless what the 'official' numbers they report.

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    According to CNBC Ford is #1 in customer loyalty at 64% and number 2 is Mercedes at 57.8%.  Toyota was in 3rd, BMW and Lexus are in the top 10.  Chevy is the only GM brand in the top 10, my guess is the Silverado drives that, just like the F150 drives Ford's number.

     

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/101800143/page/10

     

     

    This year Lexus, BMW, Audi and Mercedes all have 9-16% growth (Lexus leading the way), and Cadillac is down.  And even worse is the ATS and CTS which are their new products are down the most.  The current strategy isn't working, this is like the CTS-STS-DTS trio of 2006 that wasn't working, so they scrapped 2 of those and put the CTS in a different class.  They have the same results with ATS-CTS-XTS.  Cadillac marketing is I think worse now than it was 10 years ago, and I don't think they have the money to really go toe to toe with the Germans or Lexus, even though most Lexus product isn't that good considering how much money Toyota spends.

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    I was thinking of Germany retail buyers for mercedes, my bad.

    Growth aspirations are fine for toyota, Chevy, nissan…. and mercedes. Mercedes has been unable to create a viable 2nd brand, hence the FWD appliance down marketing.
    Cadillac is NOT about volume because it does not HAVE to be, a huge boon to luxury/exclusivity. 

     

    Chevy is the only GM brand in the top 10

    Ya; according to that link it's 56.4%, or the same as mercedes. In the case here vs. mercedes, clearly it's product that talks louder at Chevy, whereas it's reputation instead that gets mercedes repeat customers. Unless you think Chevy's rep is comparable to mercedes'.

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    ^ CTS doesn't compete with the 3-series.

     

    2014 BMW 528i : MSRP : 49500, average paid : 44997, diff: 4503

    2014 CTS base : MSRP : 45100, average paid : 42616, diff: 2484

     

    The CTS IS the best bang for the buck, even with less off sticker.

     

    YTD 5-series U.S. sales : 37761

    YTD CTS U.S. sales : 20639

     

    Perfect. We need to break the mindset that used to say 'Cadillac is part of GM, therefore it should outsell every one of it's competitors'. Neither necessary nor desirable.

    I would like to see the CTS coupe & wagon continue on the current 3rd gen, tho, regardless of the sales volume. Especially the coupe!

     

     

    Only if you compare it with the 5 series. At some point, it did compete with the 3 series. Problem is that it has got "fatter" and "stale" by going upmarket with it.  It would have been better if they left the CTS where it was (and known), and maybe out the ATS name (or some new name) to compete higher.

     

    The Current CTS is boring to me.....

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    Everything gets fatter over time. 5-series used to be the size of the current 3-series- it's the way of the industry… because marketing must give you 'more'.  
    Reminds me of Raisin Bran; it's been getting "more" raisins since 1960. However, at least with the ATS & CTS, they have kept relatively svelte.

    Few new vehicles catch (& hold) my eye out in the world, but the current CTS front end is dynamite. I have no problem with the rear; could be more expressive but I don't have a problem with it.

     

    But Cadillac is like the only OEM who has figured out what to do with LEDs, whereas everyone else is merely pasting mail-order LED strips in nonsensical outlines in the headlamp lens.

    Look at everyone else; this is plain awful, zero thought, 4 hard angles in an otherwise completely amorphous, bland shape:

    mercedes-benz-e63-am-10_600x0w.jpg

     

    This is so unique, echoes the long-running vertical tails :

    2014-cadillac-cts-headlight.jpg

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    CTS should have been the STS.  The looks of the car is mature and not youthful.  CTS did very well as the entry level Cadillac.  As the CTS grew in size in the latest generation and bumped up in price, there is sticker shock.  ATS is too tight.  The stretched version of the ATS should have been the CTS.

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    I don't know why so many people have a problem with the rear of the CTS.  It looks fine.. and is certainly more distinctive than the others. I see a lot of vintage Eldorado and Deville in that trunk.

     

    I agree with Balth that Cadillac is the only brand to get LED light-pipes right.  They inspire a heritage look that goes back decades and remind you of the vertical blades from years ago.  What do the light-pipes on any of the Germans remind you of?  Nothing, because they don't have that kind of visual heritage.

     

    As far as pricing, Cadillac should hold firm on the current pricing but be more aggressive and targeted with the incentives. People turning in a lease or trade in of a competing luxury brand should be given a bonus, or they should do something like the Experience Buick leases that are being offered.  Cheap, 2 year, low mileage leases that include everything.

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    Part of this could be the naming... ATS should have been named CTS and the current CTS should have been named STS as I think there's sticker shock factor going on here; people got used to CTS being the least expensive Cadillac.

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    I think many folks are getting tired of the current trends of rubber band tires, undersized hard to see out of windows, plain look alike side styling, LED lights sprinkled about, cramped interiors with reduced legroom, hard harsh rides over bumpy streets, uncomfortable seats, hard to get in and out of interiors, gimmicky dashes and worse hard to use touch screens and last but not not least higher and higher prices with resulting higher insurance costs. Where does it end? When a mid size car is being priced into the 70 grand territory you have for sure lost many an average consumer. The higher end snobs are all buying Bimmers and Mercedes and Lexus because in there minds those are more prestigious brands. The former sedans buyers that used to buy Cadillacs and Lincolns are now buying larger and more comfortable SUV/CUV's.

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    Guest CTS owner

    Posted

    So I know that my thoughts on the appearance of the new CTS are an opinion and therefore there will be many others that have all kinds of different views.  regfootball - noted in a much more complete statement what is wrong with the appearance.  There are a number of others who noted that they liked the look because it reminded them of certain older Caddy's.  Those cars were fine for that time but that is exactly why I dislike like the car now.  This is a market of sportly luxury cars... The new CTS may act the part of both but it does not look sportly from the side or the rear, it looks OLD.  When it is sitting parked it should make mothers want to grab their children and pull close them for safety because it looks like it could attack something sitting still.  That is what makes people want to by a car, the last CTS-V had that look.

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    ^ CTS doesn't compete with the 3-series.

     

    2014 BMW 528i : MSRP : 49500, average paid : 44997, diff: 4503

    2014 CTS base : MSRP : 45100, average paid : 42616, diff: 2484

     

    The CTS IS the best bang for the buck, even with less off sticker.

     

    YTD 5-series U.S. sales : 37761

    YTD CTS U.S. sales : 20639

     

    Perfect. We need to break the mindset that used to say 'Cadillac is part of GM, therefore it should outsell every one of it's competitors'. Neither necessary nor desirable.

    I would like to see the CTS coupe & wagon continue on the current 3rd gen, tho, regardless of the sales volume. Especially the coupe!

     

     

    The CTS pricing is actually not bad for the car, just bad for the name OUT THE GATE. If Cadillac solidifies the stance that the CTS is now the MID-CAR by popularizing the ATS in it's position of "entry" then CTS sales will do fine. A Coupe is necessary to push sales up as the last CTS did have the coupe that did account for a documented 30% of total sales. HAving that extra 30% would have put CTS sales up about 800 units to 3400.
     
    Interesting tidbit is that the higher priced CTS is still #3 behind the 5series and EClass, but ahead of the A6, GS, XF, Q70, and RLX
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    Part of this could be the naming... ATS should have been named CTS and the current CTS should have been named STS as I think there's sticker shock factor going on here; people got used to CTS being the least expensive Cadillac.

     

     

    ^^^ This. But Cadillac has to figure out how to get people to see that the ATS is that "least expensive" vehicle. 

     

    Again I have to ask what the gauge is for CTS sales? 

     

    EClass  6,481      (has sedan, coupe, wagon, convertible, diesel, hybrid, and AMG)

     

    5 Series   4468 + 6 Series 468 =   4,936

     

    XTS     2,972 + CTS     2,592 =  5,564

     

     

    GS       2,537

    A6        1927

    Q70      174

     

    The only thing I see that GM screwed up was having the XTS avail as well and not understanding that the XTS, priced almost EXACTLY the same as the CTS. No one will call the XTS a true "large car" thus it is a tweener and taking some of the CTS sales. Furthermore when will Cadillac/GM wise the eff up and realize that the Germans sell in big numbers for the simple reason that they cater to all desires of the segment? Just like my ATS argument a few weeks back... if I want a coupe, wagon, convertible, diesel, hybrid, or Hi-PO model.. I have to go to Benz or BMW. Sales reflect that too. Look at the other competitors sales numbers compared to BMW and BEnz and U will see that variants help push numbers up. 

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    I think many folks are getting tired of the current trends of rubber band tires, undersized hard to see out of windows, plain look alike side styling, LED lights sprinkled about, cramped interiors with reduced legroom, hard harsh rides over bumpy streets, uncomfortable seats, hard to get in and out of interiors, gimmicky dashes and worse hard to use touch screens and last but not not least higher and higher prices with resulting higher insurance costs. Where does it end? When a mid size car is being priced into the 70 grand territory you have for sure lost many an average consumer. The higher end snobs are all buying Bimmers and Mercedes and Lexus because in there minds those are more prestigious brands. The former sedans buyers that used to buy Cadillacs and Lincolns are now buying larger and more comfortable SUV/CUV's.

    so much of that is spot on.

     

    One reason I think Mercedes is flourishing is it is using lots of deeply sculptured features on their bodies and they are bold and interesting.  That is why a POS like the CLA seems exotic.  

     

    Fast forward to Cadillac, the sedans are basic wedges now and just the run of the mill falling to the front character line.  Its hardly bold and its been done over and over now.

     

    Even BMW's flame surfacing crap is getting tired and old.

     

    Post crash, people who could actually get a new car were flocking to the new cheap subcompacts with big mpg.  We are almost a full trade cycle beyond that now and so many people who forced into smaller cars due to budget or the oppressive arm of the feds shoving tiny displacement and 23 speed trannies down our throat may be moving towards going back to bigger and not giving too much of a $h! about mpg, at least deciding that room and space may be more important than fuel economy again.

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    So I know that my thoughts on the appearance of the new CTS are an opinion and therefore there will be many others that have all kinds of different views.  regfootball - noted in a much more complete statement what is wrong with the appearance.  There are a number of others who noted that they liked the look because it reminded them of certain older Caddy's.  Those cars were fine for that time but that is exactly why I dislike like the car now.  This is a market of sportly luxury cars... The new CTS may act the part of both but it does not look sportly from the side or the rear, it looks OLD.  When it is sitting parked it should make mothers want to grab their children and pull close them for safety because it looks like it could attack something sitting still.  That is what makes people want to by a car, the last CTS-V had that look.

    Yeah, i myself could give a $h! if I see any of the old Caddy trunk lids in the current CTS trunk lids.  Although the hood of the new CTS has some really good lines that harken to old Cadillacs but are not so contrived as on the rear.

     

    Think of the last CTS coupe.  There really are no references to old Caddies on there at all.

     

    Think of the original CTS.  I liked that it didn't have cliched old Caddy references, and that the taillights were a modern interpretation instead of reverting to the easy tall thin Caddy taillight look.  The fricken turn signals on the CTS were Orange and it was cool!

     

    2nd CTS had 'fins' a little, but it was tastefully done.

     

    The picture at the beginning of this thread actually is one of the most revealing new CTS photos; you can see some of the most appealing tie ups of the car and it has really interesting surfacing, proportions, solids and voids, and features.  But almost no one sees the top of the car in normal everyday life! (note, the CTS coupe is also extremely interesting in top view).  So why are the sides and rear of this new CTS so bland?  Aside from the front fender bulges, there is not much dramatic about the basic 3 box or the greenhouse on the CTS............

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    Interesting tidbit is that the higher priced CTS is still #3 behind the 5series and EClass, but ahead of the A6, GS, XF, Q70, and RLX.

    And this sort of factual nonsense is continually brushed aside as if insignificant.

    I will state it again, Cadillac is NOT here to push volume, but still people -clinging to Old World Think- believe Cadillac needs to outsell every competitor or it's 'floundering/failing'… yet no such talk about the A6 or GS, for example. Wonder why the standards are so different for some people??

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    Ponchoman is pretty spot on.  I agree with what he says.

     

    As far as the sales advantage the Germans have with multiple body styles and engines, why isn't Cadillac doing that?  It isn't like this is some new strategy they just thought up, there have been 3-series and E-class sedan, coupe, convertible, wagon since the 1980s or early 90s.  They have been doing it for 25 years.  Lexus has been doing hybrids for 10 years or so, the Germans have been pushing diesels big time for the past 5 years.   Cadillac only has to blame themselves for not offering more body styles or engines.

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    Interesting tidbit is that the higher priced CTS is still #3 behind the 5series and EClass, but ahead of the A6, GS, XF, Q70, and RLX.

    And this sort of factual nonsense is continually brushed aside as if insignificant.

    I will state it again, Cadillac is NOT here to push volume, but still people -clinging to Old World Think- believe Cadillac needs to outsell every competitor or it's 'floundering/failing'… yet no such talk about the A6 or GS, for example. Wonder why the standards are so different for some people??

     

    I think it is because in the case of Audi they have had growing sales, up about 10% per year for what seems like 5 years in a row now.  Only 30% of Audi sales are A6 and higher, so 70% of their sales come from A3, A4/A5 and Q5.  They are selling well on the bottom end, which if those are younger buyers that trade up could mean Audi has a bright future.  If they can't get people to move to A6 and higher then the future isn't so bright, I don't think they'd be in trouble, but they'd always be seen a bit as a 2nd tier brand if they can only sell in that $30-45k range.

     

    Lexus GS and LS sales are crap, but they sell so many RX and ES, the overall brand numbers look good.  But Lexus has sold a lot of those 2 cars for years, and they haven't been able to get people to trade up to a GS or an LS, in fact LS sales are probably worse now than they were 10 years ago.  The IS has been a bright spot for them, sales of that really picked up this year.   If the RX and ES sales dropped 20% and the brand got in trouble, people would be saying the GS isn't carrying its weight and make a deal out of it.

     

    The problem for Cadillac is they don't have an 8 or 9 vehicle lineup, and the ATS and CTS are 2 of their newest products and both are down.  Cadillac needs the ATS and CTS to survive, Lexus could sell zero GS350's and it wouldn't really matter.

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    • By William Maley
      Volkswagen dropped the pricing information for the 2018 Atlas crossover arriving at dealers next month and it is right on the nose of the automaker's promise of starting somewhere around $30,000.
      The entry-level Atlas S kicks off at $30,500 and comes with a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder producing 235 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Standard equipment includes 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights with LED daytime running lights, rearview camera, 6.5-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and a six-speaker audio system. A 3.6L VR6 with 276 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque adds $1,400 to the price. If you want AWD, be prepared to pony up $33,700 as it is only available with the V6.
      Here is how the rest of the Atlas lineup is comprised,
      Atlas S Launch: $33,500 for VR6 FWD, $35,300 for VR6 AWD - Available for a limited time, the S Launch adds a panoramic sunroof, Homelink garage opener, 8-inch infotainment system, and a three-month trial of SiriusXM Satellite Radio. Atlas SE: $33,590 for 2.0T FWD, $34,990 for VR6 FWD, $36,790 for VR6 AWD - Adds automatic headlights, rain-sensing windshield wipers, Blind spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert, push-button start, leatherette upholstery, 10-way power driver's seat, and eight-speaker audio system. Atlas SE with Technology: $35,690 for 2.0T FWD, $37,090 for VR6 FWD, $38,890 for VR6 AWD - Adds adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, forward collision warning with automatic braking, three-zone climate control, power liftgate, and remote start. Atlas SEL: $39,160 for 2.0T FWD, $40,890 for VR6 FWD, $42,690 for VR6 AWD - Adds Easy Open liftgate; 8-way power passenger seat, memory function for driver's seat, Park Distance Control, and an 115V power outlet for second-row passengers. Atlas SEL Premium: $48,490 for VR6 AWD - Adds 20-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, LED taillights, power folding mirrors, 12.3-inch Volkswagen Digital Cockpit system, navigation, Fender Premium audio system, 360-degree camera system, leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, and heated rear seats. Source: Volkswagen
      Press Release is on Page 2


      VOLKSWAGEN ANNOUNCES PRICING OF CHATTANOOGA-BUILT 2018 ATLAS, STARTING AT $30,500
      The thoughtfully-designed Atlas packs a great value, offering generous space, sophisticated driving dynamics and a host of available driver assistance and technology features Pricing starts at $30,500 for the four-cylinder turbocharged 2.0L TSI® S FWD model (late availability) Five trim levels, priced for the heart of the competitive SUV market Two engine options: four-cylinder TSI® turbo or the available powerful VR6®, both with eight-speed automatic transmissions Optional 4Motion® all-wheel-drive system on V6 models Comfortable seating for up to seven adults, with innovative access system for the third row Available interior features include innovative Volkswagen Digital Cockpit instrumentation Only vehicle in its class to offer Automatic Post-Collision Braking System HERNDON, VA (April 3, 2017) — Volkswagen of America, Inc., today announced pricing of the all-new, seven-passenger 2018 Atlas. With a starting Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $30,500 for the four-cylinder turbo 2.0L TSI® S FWD model (late availability), and $31,900 for the 3.6-liter V6 S FWD model, the Chattanooga-built SUV is loaded with standard equipment and available technology features. For maximum utility and comfort, the Atlas offers a spacious interior, with innovative access to the third row.
      Based on the award-winning Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB) architecture, the Atlas is also fun-to-drive, a signature of Volkswagen vehicles. Atlas models will be available with two engine options, both with an eight-speed automatic transmission: the four-cylinder turbocharged and direct-injection 2.0-liter TSI engine, which produces 235 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque (achieved using premium fuel), and the 3.6-liter VR6® engine, which makes 276-horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque. An optional 4Motion® all-wheel-drive system is available on VR6 models.
      The 2018 Atlas is scheduled to arrive in dealerships in May, and will be available in five trim levels to meet the diverse needs and tastes of U.S. customers.
      MODEL LINE UP
      Atlas S (Late availability)
      The Atlas TSI S starts at $30,500 and features a standard four-cylinder turbocharged 2.0L TSI engine. Standard exterior features include 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels; stainless-steel roof rails; LED headlights with LED Daytime Running Lights (DRL); and a rearview camera. Inside, standard equipment includes a 6.5-inch Composition Color touchscreen infotainment system with Bluetooth® connectivity for compatible devices, USB port, Car-Net® App-Connect for compatible devices, enabling seamless integration with the three major smartphone platforms—Apple CarPlay™, Android Auto™ and MirrorLink®; 6 speakers; cruise control; and privacy glass. A 3.6-liter V6 S FWD model is available for $31,900. A 3.6-liter V6 S AWD model is available for $33,700.
      Atlas S Launch (Limited availability)
      Available at launch, and only with the 3.6-liter VR6 engine, the Atlas S Launch model is available as a frontwheel-drive model for $33,500, and with all-wheel drive for $35,300. This model adds the following features to the S trim offerings: panoramic sunroof; Homelink® garage door opener; footwell lighting; 8.0-inch Composition Media touchscreen infotainment system; and SiriusXM® Satellite Radio with a three-month trial subscription.
      Atlas SE
      Starting at $33,590, the Atlas SE builds off of the S trim. Features include heated door mirrors; automatic headlights; rain-sensing windshield wipers; Blind Spot Monitor w/Rear Traffic Alert; foglights; KESSY® keyless access w/push-button start; multi-function leather-wrapped steering wheel; V-Tex leatherette seating surface; heated front seats; rear sunshades; and 10-way power driver seats. The SE trim also features the 8.0-inch Composition Media touchscreen infotainment system with SiriusXM® Satellite Radio; 8 speakers; and 3 additional USB ports. A 3.6-liter V6 SE FWD model is available for $34,990. A 3.6-liter V6 S AWD model is available for $36,790.
      Atlas SE with Technology
      The Atlas SE with Technology model starts at $35,690, and includes a slate of modern convenience and advanced connectivity and driver assistance features, including: Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC); Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Monitoring (Front Assist); Lane Departure Warning (Lane Assist), which actively helps the driver steer the car back into its lane if the driver takes his or her hands off the wheel for a defined period of time, or the vehicle crosses a lane marking without use of a turn signal; power liftgate; remote start; Climatronic® 3-zone automatic air conditioning; and an autodimming rearview mirror. A 3.6-liter V6 SE with Technology FWD model is available for $37,090. A 3.6-liter V6 SE with Technology AWD model is available for $38,890.
      Atlas SEL
      The Atlas SEL builds on the specifications of the SE with Technology model. For a starting price of $39,160, customers can enjoy even more upscale features: a panoramic sunroof; Easy Open liftgate; 8-way power passenger seat; memory function for driver’s seat and exterior mirrors; front and rear Park Distance Control and a convenient 115v power outlet in the second row (rear of the center console). VR6 models are equipped with a factory-installed tow hitch. A 3.6-liter V6 SEL FWD model is available for $40,890. A 3.6-liter V6 SEL AWD model is available for $42,690.
      Atlas SEL Premium
      Available only with 4Motion AWD system and 3.6-liter VR6 engine, the Atlas SEL Premium starts at $48,490. This top-of-the-line model increases the luxury quotient with: the sophisticated 12.3-inch Volkswagen Digital Cockpit, allowing drivers to reconfigure how they view vehicle information; 20-inch aluminum-alloy wheels; navigation; LED taillights; power-folding door mirrors; door mirrors with puddle lights; leather seating surfaces; ventilated front seats; heated rear seats; heated steering wheel; automatic High Beam Control (Light Assist); and ambient lighting. The Atlas SEL Premium also adds the following driver assistance and infotainment features: Parking Steering Assistant (Park Assist); Area View camera; and the Fender® Premium Audio System, with a 12-channel, 480-watt amplifier and 12 speakers.
      Option Packages
      Captain’s Chairs. Replacing a second-row bench seat, for a total seating capacity of six, Captain’s Chairs will be available in the SE, SE w/ Technology, SEL and SEL Premium models for $625. (Late availability)
      R-Line. A performance-inspired R-Line package will be available on Atlas SE and SEL trims for $1,960, and augments the SUV with exterior and interior design elements that give it an even sportier appearance. (Late availability)
      Black Wheels. Black 20-inch aluminum-alloy wheels are available on the SEL model for $995 and on the SEL Premium model for $235.

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      Volkswagen dropped the pricing information for the 2018 Atlas crossover arriving at dealers next month and it is right on the nose of the automaker's promise of starting somewhere around $30,000.
      The entry-level Atlas S kicks off at $30,500 and comes with a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder producing 235 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Standard equipment includes 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights with LED daytime running lights, rearview camera, 6.5-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and a six-speaker audio system. A 3.6L VR6 with 276 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque adds $1,400 to the price. If you want AWD, be prepared to pony up $33,700 as it is only available with the V6.
      Here is how the rest of the Atlas lineup is comprised,
      Atlas S Launch: $33,500 for VR6 FWD, $35,300 for VR6 AWD - Available for a limited time, the S Launch adds a panoramic sunroof, Homelink garage opener, 8-inch infotainment system, and a three-month trial of SiriusXM Satellite Radio. Atlas SE: $33,590 for 2.0T FWD, $34,990 for VR6 FWD, $36,790 for VR6 AWD - Adds automatic headlights, rain-sensing windshield wipers, Blind spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert, push-button start, leatherette upholstery, 10-way power driver's seat, and eight-speaker audio system. Atlas SE with Technology: $35,690 for 2.0T FWD, $37,090 for VR6 FWD, $38,890 for VR6 AWD - Adds adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, forward collision warning with automatic braking, three-zone climate control, power liftgate, and remote start. Atlas SEL: $39,160 for 2.0T FWD, $40,890 for VR6 FWD, $42,690 for VR6 AWD - Adds Easy Open liftgate; 8-way power passenger seat, memory function for driver's seat, Park Distance Control, and an 115V power outlet for second-row passengers. Atlas SEL Premium: $48,490 for VR6 AWD - Adds 20-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, LED taillights, power folding mirrors, 12.3-inch Volkswagen Digital Cockpit system, navigation, Fender Premium audio system, 360-degree camera system, leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, and heated rear seats. Source: Volkswagen
      Press Release is on Page 2


      VOLKSWAGEN ANNOUNCES PRICING OF CHATTANOOGA-BUILT 2018 ATLAS, STARTING AT $30,500
      The thoughtfully-designed Atlas packs a great value, offering generous space, sophisticated driving dynamics and a host of available driver assistance and technology features Pricing starts at $30,500 for the four-cylinder turbocharged 2.0L TSI® S FWD model (late availability) Five trim levels, priced for the heart of the competitive SUV market Two engine options: four-cylinder TSI® turbo or the available powerful VR6®, both with eight-speed automatic transmissions Optional 4Motion® all-wheel-drive system on V6 models Comfortable seating for up to seven adults, with innovative access system for the third row Available interior features include innovative Volkswagen Digital Cockpit instrumentation Only vehicle in its class to offer Automatic Post-Collision Braking System HERNDON, VA (April 3, 2017) — Volkswagen of America, Inc., today announced pricing of the all-new, seven-passenger 2018 Atlas. With a starting Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $30,500 for the four-cylinder turbo 2.0L TSI® S FWD model (late availability), and $31,900 for the 3.6-liter V6 S FWD model, the Chattanooga-built SUV is loaded with standard equipment and available technology features. For maximum utility and comfort, the Atlas offers a spacious interior, with innovative access to the third row.
      Based on the award-winning Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB) architecture, the Atlas is also fun-to-drive, a signature of Volkswagen vehicles. Atlas models will be available with two engine options, both with an eight-speed automatic transmission: the four-cylinder turbocharged and direct-injection 2.0-liter TSI engine, which produces 235 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque (achieved using premium fuel), and the 3.6-liter VR6® engine, which makes 276-horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque. An optional 4Motion® all-wheel-drive system is available on VR6 models.
      The 2018 Atlas is scheduled to arrive in dealerships in May, and will be available in five trim levels to meet the diverse needs and tastes of U.S. customers.
      MODEL LINE UP
      Atlas S (Late availability)
      The Atlas TSI S starts at $30,500 and features a standard four-cylinder turbocharged 2.0L TSI engine. Standard exterior features include 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels; stainless-steel roof rails; LED headlights with LED Daytime Running Lights (DRL); and a rearview camera. Inside, standard equipment includes a 6.5-inch Composition Color touchscreen infotainment system with Bluetooth® connectivity for compatible devices, USB port, Car-Net® App-Connect for compatible devices, enabling seamless integration with the three major smartphone platforms—Apple CarPlay™, Android Auto™ and MirrorLink®; 6 speakers; cruise control; and privacy glass. A 3.6-liter V6 S FWD model is available for $31,900. A 3.6-liter V6 S AWD model is available for $33,700.
      Atlas S Launch (Limited availability)
      Available at launch, and only with the 3.6-liter VR6 engine, the Atlas S Launch model is available as a frontwheel-drive model for $33,500, and with all-wheel drive for $35,300. This model adds the following features to the S trim offerings: panoramic sunroof; Homelink® garage door opener; footwell lighting; 8.0-inch Composition Media touchscreen infotainment system; and SiriusXM® Satellite Radio with a three-month trial subscription.
      Atlas SE
      Starting at $33,590, the Atlas SE builds off of the S trim. Features include heated door mirrors; automatic headlights; rain-sensing windshield wipers; Blind Spot Monitor w/Rear Traffic Alert; foglights; KESSY® keyless access w/push-button start; multi-function leather-wrapped steering wheel; V-Tex leatherette seating surface; heated front seats; rear sunshades; and 10-way power driver seats. The SE trim also features the 8.0-inch Composition Media touchscreen infotainment system with SiriusXM® Satellite Radio; 8 speakers; and 3 additional USB ports. A 3.6-liter V6 SE FWD model is available for $34,990. A 3.6-liter V6 S AWD model is available for $36,790.
      Atlas SE with Technology
      The Atlas SE with Technology model starts at $35,690, and includes a slate of modern convenience and advanced connectivity and driver assistance features, including: Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC); Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Monitoring (Front Assist); Lane Departure Warning (Lane Assist), which actively helps the driver steer the car back into its lane if the driver takes his or her hands off the wheel for a defined period of time, or the vehicle crosses a lane marking without use of a turn signal; power liftgate; remote start; Climatronic® 3-zone automatic air conditioning; and an autodimming rearview mirror. A 3.6-liter V6 SE with Technology FWD model is available for $37,090. A 3.6-liter V6 SE with Technology AWD model is available for $38,890.
      Atlas SEL
      The Atlas SEL builds on the specifications of the SE with Technology model. For a starting price of $39,160, customers can enjoy even more upscale features: a panoramic sunroof; Easy Open liftgate; 8-way power passenger seat; memory function for driver’s seat and exterior mirrors; front and rear Park Distance Control and a convenient 115v power outlet in the second row (rear of the center console). VR6 models are equipped with a factory-installed tow hitch. A 3.6-liter V6 SEL FWD model is available for $40,890. A 3.6-liter V6 SEL AWD model is available for $42,690.
      Atlas SEL Premium
      Available only with 4Motion AWD system and 3.6-liter VR6 engine, the Atlas SEL Premium starts at $48,490. This top-of-the-line model increases the luxury quotient with: the sophisticated 12.3-inch Volkswagen Digital Cockpit, allowing drivers to reconfigure how they view vehicle information; 20-inch aluminum-alloy wheels; navigation; LED taillights; power-folding door mirrors; door mirrors with puddle lights; leather seating surfaces; ventilated front seats; heated rear seats; heated steering wheel; automatic High Beam Control (Light Assist); and ambient lighting. The Atlas SEL Premium also adds the following driver assistance and infotainment features: Parking Steering Assistant (Park Assist); Area View camera; and the Fender® Premium Audio System, with a 12-channel, 480-watt amplifier and 12 speakers.
      Option Packages
      Captain’s Chairs. Replacing a second-row bench seat, for a total seating capacity of six, Captain’s Chairs will be available in the SE, SE w/ Technology, SEL and SEL Premium models for $625. (Late availability)
      R-Line. A performance-inspired R-Line package will be available on Atlas SE and SEL trims for $1,960, and augments the SUV with exterior and interior design elements that give it an even sportier appearance. (Late availability)
      Black Wheels. Black 20-inch aluminum-alloy wheels are available on the SEL model for $995 and on the SEL Premium model for $235.
    • By William Maley
      GM Was the Fastest Growing Automaker in March, Driven by Chevrolet and Buick
      Strong Retail Share Gain for the First Quarter DETROIT — General Motors (NYSE: GM), which grew its retail sales faster than any other full-line automaker in 2016, outpaced the industry once again in March. The company also gained retail share in the first quarter of 2017.
      “The economy is strong and we see more growth ahead for our brands,” said Kurt McNeil, U.S. vice president of sales operations. “More people are working, consumer confidence is at a 16-year high, fuel prices are low and Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac have a wave of new crossovers to compete in the industry’s biggest and hottest segments.”
      At Buick, crossovers are expected to account for more than 75 percent of retail deliveries in 2017, up from 66 percent in 2016, driven by the Encore, Envision and Enclave. GMC, which has the highest average transaction prices (ATPs) of any non-luxury brand, will launch the all-new 2018 Terrain in late summer, complementing the redesigned Acadia that went on sale in late summer 2016. Cadillac will benefit from a full year of production of the new XT5 crossover, which is now the second best-selling vehicle in its segment. Chevrolet, which grew retail market share in 2015 and was the industry’s fastest-growing brand in 2016, is particularly well positioned. Chevrolet had its best March and first quarter retail sales since 2007.
      “Chevrolet will have the industry’s broadest and freshest lineup of utility vehicles led by the all-new 2018 Equinox and Traverse, plus we have a unique three-truck pickup strategy and a dominant position in large SUVs,” McNeil said. “We also have a first-mover advantage in many segments. It will be years before key competitors are able to launch rivals to the Chevrolet Bolt EV, Colorado and Trax.”
      Highlights (vs. 2016)
      First Quarter Overview
      GM’s retail sales were 546,838 units, up 1.9 percent, and retail market share was up 0.2 percentage points to an estimated 16.8 percent. The gains were primarily driven by crossovers, which were up 21 percent. Truck deliveries were up half a percentage point. Chevrolet increased its first quarter retail share by an estimated 0.1 percentage point, as did GMC. Commercial deliveries were up 4 percent, and daily rental deliveries were down 8 percent, or about 6,000 units. Total fleet sales were down 3 percent. Total sales were 689,521 units, up 1 percent, and market share was up an estimated 0.3 percentage points to an estimated 16.7 percent. Average transaction prices were approximately $34,000, in line with last year’s first quarter. March Overview
      Retail sales were 203,113 units, up 5 percent, and market share was up 0.6 percentage points to an estimated 16.1 percent. Chevrolet’s estimated retail market share increased 0.4 percentage points and Buick was up 0.3 percentage points. Total sales were 256,224 units, up 2 percent, and market share was up an estimated 0.4 percentage points to 15.9 percent. Commercial deliveries were up 3 percent driven by a 67 percent increase in Malibu deliveries and strong pickup and large van sales. Daily rental sales down 18 percent, or more than 5,100 units. Fleet sales were down 9 percent. Brand Highlights (vs. 2016)
      Chevrolet Crossovers
      On a retail basis in March, the Trax was up 51 percent, the Equinox was up 26 percent and the Traverse was up 24 percent. For the quarter, Trax retail sales were up 54 percent, the Equinox was up 16 percent and the Traverse was up 7 percent.  Bolt EV sales in the quarter were 3,092 units, with limited availability. The days to turn is exceptionally low at 14 days. Chevrolet Trucks
      Chevrolet had its best first quarter truck sales since 2008, up 6 percent. Key drivers were the Suburban, up 26 percent; the Tahoe, up 11 percent; and strong full-size van sales to small business customers and fleets. Silverado sales were essentially equal to a year ago. Chevrolet retail truck sales in the first quarter were up 2 percent, with the Tahoe up 9 percent, the Colorado up 7 percent and the Suburban up 5 percent. Silverado sales were essentially equal to a year ago. The Tahoe and Suburban had their best March total sales since 2008, and their best first quarter total and retail sales since 2008. The Colorado had its best first quarter retail sales since 2005.   Chevrolet Cars
      Retail deliveries were very strong in March, up 9 percent. The drivers were the Cruze, up 63 percent; the Sonic, up 14 percent; the Spark, up 50 percent; the Volt, up 15 percent; and the Camaro, up 2 percent.  During the quarter, retail car deliveries were down 11 percent, reflecting industry-wide changes in customer demand. However, Cruze retail sales were up 22 percent during the quarter; the Spark was up 37 percent; and the Volt was up 39 percent. The Volt had its best first quarter total and retail sales ever.  Buick Sales
      Buick had its best March retail sales since 2005, with sales up 22 percent. The LaCrosse was up 60 percent on a retail basis in March, the Encore was up 17 percent and Regal was up 7 percent. On a total sales basis, it was Buick’s best March since 2006, with deliveries up 15 percent. First quarter retail deliveries were the highest since 2004, driven by a 29 percent increase in crossover sales. The Encore has posted seven consecutive months of year-over-year sales gains, and it had its best-ever March and first quarter sales. The Envision had its best month since launch. GMC Sales
      Total GMC sales were up 12 percent in March, driven by a 47 percent increase in crossover deliveries. The Acadia, which was redesigned last year, was up 84 percent and the Terrain was up 14 percent. The Yukon XL was up 17 percent. March was the highest-ever month for Denali models, at 29 percent of GMC retail sales. Total GMC sales for the first quarter were the best since 2000, with deliveries up 10 percent. First quarter retail deliveries were up 4 percent, with the Acadia up 30 percent and Sierra HD models up 22 percent. Cadillac Sales
      Cadillac XT5 retail sales in March were 22 percent higher than the outgoing SRX, and ATPs were about 9 percent higher. Cadillac’s ATPs continue to be in the upper echelon of luxury brands at more than $54,000. Full-year Guidance
      We believe strong car-buying fundamentals are reflected in the retail component of the light vehicle SAAR (seasonally-adjusted annual rate), which was 14 million in March, up 0.3 million versus a year ago. The retail SAAR for the first quarter was 14.3 million, up 0.1 million. Ten all-new or recently redesigned crossovers are expected to drive GM’s sales and share higher in 2017. GM’s deliveries to daily rental companies are expected to decline for the third year in a row. The company expects inventory in the second quarter to be lower than the first quarter, in a range around 90 days’ supply. The decline reflects strong sales, lower car production and strategic, launch-related growth in truck and crossover stocks. The company expects to end 2017 at essentially the same inventory levels as 2016 on a days’ supply basis, but with fewer cars and more trucks and crossovers in stock. As expected, incentives were down sharply from February 2017, according to J.D Power PIN estimates. Spending as a percentage of average transaction price (ATP) declined from approximately 14.9 percent to about 13.5 percent. The launches of new crossovers and adjustments to passenger car inventories will help moderate incentive spending going forward.
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