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    • By William Maley
      Smart already finds itself in a small niche by selling small city cars in North America, but a new letter reveals that the brand will be entering an even smaller one.
      Automotive News obtained a letter from Dietmar Exler, CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA which says the brand will cease sales of gas-powered models by the end of this year, becoming an electric-only brand.
      “Developments within the micro-car segment present some challenges for the current Smart product portfolio. Therefore, with the launch of the fourth-generation Smart ForTwo electric drive this summer, the Smart lineup will consist exclusively of the zero-emissions Smart electric-drive coupe and cabrio in the U.S. and Canada,” Exler said in the letter. 
      Mercedes-Benz spokesman Rob Moran tells Automotive News the plan at the moment is to stop production of the gas model for North American in April and continue sales until all of the models are gone.
      Smart has never done well in the U.S. Their best year was in 2014 with 10,453 models sold. Since then, sales have been steadily declining thanks to low gas prices and consumers going towards crossovers. In 2016, Smart only sold 6,211 models.
      Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      Smart already finds itself in a small niche by selling small city cars in North America, but a new letter reveals that the brand will be entering an even smaller one.
      Automotive News obtained a letter from Dietmar Exler, CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA which says the brand will cease sales of gas-powered models by the end of this year, becoming an electric-only brand.
      “Developments within the micro-car segment present some challenges for the current Smart product portfolio. Therefore, with the launch of the fourth-generation Smart ForTwo electric drive this summer, the Smart lineup will consist exclusively of the zero-emissions Smart electric-drive coupe and cabrio in the U.S. and Canada,” Exler said in the letter. 
      Mercedes-Benz spokesman Rob Moran tells Automotive News the plan at the moment is to stop production of the gas model for North American in April and continue sales until all of the models are gone.
      Smart has never done well in the U.S. Their best year was in 2014 with 10,453 models sold. Since then, sales have been steadily declining thanks to low gas prices and consumers going towards crossovers. In 2016, Smart only sold 6,211 models.
      Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
    • By dfelt
      G. David Felt - Staff Writer Alternative Energy - www.cheersandgears.com
      NHTSA Probes Ford Explorer for Carbon Monoxide Exposure.

      From 2011 to 2017 over 450 official complaints have been filed with the NHTSA about carbon monoxide gas entering the cab of the Ford Explorer. Ford is stated to have settled lawsuits in Florida over this issue. In 2012 Ford issued a technical bulletin stating to use sealer and undercoating on explorers as they come in for service to address this issue. In 2014 this was combined with a software flash upgrade. Ford says there is no concern or safety risk, customers are encouraged to bring in their explorers for review by the dealership.
      NHTSA's investigation document is showing that owners are reporting little or no improvement after both service bulletins are applied. According to a CBS story, owners are also stating a strong sulfur or rotten egg smell continually comes into the cab.
      USA Today Story
    • By William Maley
      Hatchbacks have never sold well in the U.S., but that could be changing thanks to new entrants and hotted-up models. According to a forecast done by IHS Markit, sales of hatchbacks are projected climb 19 percent this year. By 2020, the firm projects sales of 567,000 hatchbacks. What has changed?
      Some of this comes down to hatchbacks finding a niche market. Michelle Malcho, spokeswoman for Chevy cars and crossovers tells The Detroit News that active, urban buyers who are wanting a bit more functionality with their vehicle are turning to hatchbacks.
      “I think the U.S. likes the functional thought. The hatch for some people offers that without stepping up to that next level ... It really does fit what you need to do on a daily basis,” said Malcho.
      Helping out are new models and hotted-up versions. The Chevrolet Cruze hatchback made up 10 percent of the model's total sales in January. Over at Ford, the sales of hotted-up versions of the Fiesta and Focus grew 21 percent last year.
      But Stephanie Brinley, senior analyst with IHS Automotive cautions this will only cause a slight spur some growth in the compact class.
      “Hatchback sales have not traditionally been good in the U.S. It’s a relatively small opportunity ... they should help stem the losses in the (small car) segment,” said Brinley.
      “The cars are just so much better than they were, and it’s no longer a penalty (to drive a hatchback). It’s taking a while, but people are starting to understand.”
      Source: The Detroit News

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      Hatchbacks have never sold well in the U.S., but that could be changing thanks to new entrants and hotted-up models. According to a forecast done by IHS Markit, sales of hatchbacks are projected climb 19 percent this year. By 2020, the firm projects sales of 567,000 hatchbacks. What has changed?
      Some of this comes down to hatchbacks finding a niche market. Michelle Malcho, spokeswoman for Chevy cars and crossovers tells The Detroit News that active, urban buyers who are wanting a bit more functionality with their vehicle are turning to hatchbacks.
      “I think the U.S. likes the functional thought. The hatch for some people offers that without stepping up to that next level ... It really does fit what you need to do on a daily basis,” said Malcho.
      Helping out are new models and hotted-up versions. The Chevrolet Cruze hatchback made up 10 percent of the model's total sales in January. Over at Ford, the sales of hotted-up versions of the Fiesta and Focus grew 21 percent last year.
      But Stephanie Brinley, senior analyst with IHS Automotive cautions this will only cause a slight spur some growth in the compact class.
      “Hatchback sales have not traditionally been good in the U.S. It’s a relatively small opportunity ... they should help stem the losses in the (small car) segment,” said Brinley.
      “The cars are just so much better than they were, and it’s no longer a penalty (to drive a hatchback). It’s taking a while, but people are starting to understand.”
      Source: The Detroit News
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