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    • By William Maley
      As we have been reporting since this summer, Skoda is putting serious consideration into entering the U.S. market. Currently, a decision is expected sometime next year. But ask their parent company, Volkswagen what they think of the idea of Skoda entering the U.S. and they would likely say something to the effect of this,
      “We may be crazy, but we’re not mad. Entering this huge market with an unknown brand, a model range focused on Europe, and a non-existent dealer network is pure suicide. Furthermore, the last thing Volkswagen of America needs now is in-house cannibalization,” said an unnamed Volkswagen board member to Automobile Magazine.
      Without having any support from the parent company, Skoda's plan of entering the U.S. seems dead in the water. Whether this happens or not remains to be seen.
      There is one other interesting tidbit from Automobile Magazine. Reportedly, Volkswagen was considering replacing certain models in U.S. with slightly restyled Skoda vehicles badged as VWs. This idea was scrapped however which is a shame since we could see the likes of the Superb being an excellent replacement for the current Passat as an example.
      Source: Automobile Magazine

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    • By William Maley
      As we have been reporting since this summer, Skoda is putting serious consideration into entering the U.S. market. Currently, a decision is expected sometime next year. But ask their parent company, Volkswagen what they think of the idea of Skoda entering the U.S. and they would likely say something to the effect of this,
      “We may be crazy, but we’re not mad. Entering this huge market with an unknown brand, a model range focused on Europe, and a non-existent dealer network is pure suicide. Furthermore, the last thing Volkswagen of America needs now is in-house cannibalization,” said an unnamed Volkswagen board member to Automobile Magazine.
      Without having any support from the parent company, Skoda's plan of entering the U.S. seems dead in the water. Whether this happens or not remains to be seen.
      There is one other interesting tidbit from Automobile Magazine. Reportedly, Volkswagen was considering replacing certain models in U.S. with slightly restyled Skoda vehicles badged as VWs. This idea was scrapped however which is a shame since we could see the likes of the Superb being an excellent replacement for the current Passat as an example.
      Source: Automobile Magazine
    • By William Maley
      As more consumers head over to crossovers and SUVs, automakers find themselves making changes to their lineup. Case in point is Ford which is considering dropping some of their nameplates because of the change in demand.
      “Over time, there should be some pruning of the portfolio to support growth in other areas. Clearly we’re going to invest in growing the SUV portfolio. We certainly intend to have a strong car base as well; we don’t know where the market’s going to go. But there will be some pruning over time as there should be in a nameplate and portfolio,” said Joe Hinrichs, Ford president of the Americas.
      Ford's car sales are down 14 percent through November with sedans being the big losers.
      Fiesta: Down 26 percent year-to-date Focus: Down 17 percent YTD Taurus: Down 11 percent YTD Fusion: Down 10 percent YTD Hinrichs didn't say which nameplates could be cut, but mentioned that former popular vehicles such as the Ranger were dropped after demand fell.
      “If you look at our past, there’s been some nameplates that have dropped off and other nameplates have been added. Given where the market is going, the demands for capital investment and the regulatory changes coming at us, we’ll continue to always look at the total portfolio and see where’s segmentation going and where should we be phasing out,” said Hinrichs.
      We think the Taurus is one of the vehicles on the chopping block since sales of it have been falling for the past couple of years.
      Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      As more consumers head over to crossovers and SUVs, automakers find themselves making changes to their lineup. Case in point is Ford which is considering dropping some of their nameplates because of the change in demand.
      “Over time, there should be some pruning of the portfolio to support growth in other areas. Clearly we’re going to invest in growing the SUV portfolio. We certainly intend to have a strong car base as well; we don’t know where the market’s going to go. But there will be some pruning over time as there should be in a nameplate and portfolio,” said Joe Hinrichs, Ford president of the Americas.
      Ford's car sales are down 14 percent through November with sedans being the big losers.
      Fiesta: Down 26 percent year-to-date Focus: Down 17 percent YTD Taurus: Down 11 percent YTD Fusion: Down 10 percent YTD Hinrichs didn't say which nameplates could be cut, but mentioned that former popular vehicles such as the Ranger were dropped after demand fell.
      “If you look at our past, there’s been some nameplates that have dropped off and other nameplates have been added. Given where the market is going, the demands for capital investment and the regulatory changes coming at us, we’ll continue to always look at the total portfolio and see where’s segmentation going and where should we be phasing out,” said Hinrichs.
      We think the Taurus is one of the vehicles on the chopping block since sales of it have been falling for the past couple of years.
      Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
    • By William Maley
      American criminal lawyers are in demand at Volkswagen. Bloomberg has learned from sources that various executives at the company are hiring lawyers as the Department of Justice begins sending out officials to Germany for meetings to gather evidence for possible criminal charges.
      Volkswagen has already agreed to a $16 billion settlement over the diesel emission scandal. But the Department of Justice is continuing their investigation into whether various Volkswagen executives knew about the cheating software installed on over 10 million diesel vehicles around the world. As we reported back in September, a Volkswagen engineer has pled guilty for being involved in the scandal. 
      Volkswagen has long maintained that none of its executives knew about the software and that it was a rogue group of engineers that went forward with this decision. But as we have been reporting for the past year, various documents and emails that have been leaked out put serious doubts into this claim.
      It is unknown if this investigation involves former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn who stepped down shortly after the scandal broke. 
      If the Department of Justice was to bring Volkswagen executives to court, they could be facing some roadblocks. Germany's constitution doesn’t allow citizens to be extradited outside the European Union. A source tells Bloomberg the Department of Justice is looking into possible ways to bring them to the U.S.
      Source: Bloomberg

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