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    • By William Maley
      The redesigned Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator have been moving quite rapidly off dealer lots. In January, sales of the Expedition rose 59 percent while the Navigator saw a jaw-dropping 132 percent increase. But this is proving to be a problem for Ford as their dealers can't get enough of either model to satisfy consumer demand. A source told Automotive News that CEO Jim Hackett has banned Ford employees from ordering Expeditions and Navigators to help get more out into the world. The source said restricting employees from ordering a mainstream vehicle is very rare. 
      "We could have sold a lot more in January if we had them," said Mark LaNeve, Ford's vice president for U.S. marketing, sales and service during Ford's monthly sales call earlier this month.
      Ford will be addressing this issue with a $25 million investment into their Kentucky Truck Plant today. The investment will allow the plant to produce 25 percent more Expedition and Navigator models.
      "It's important for this plant to produce more vehicles. In this segment, people will pay for a great product. The dealer feedback has been even stronger than we've hoped for," said Joe Hinrichs, Ford's president of global markets.
      Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Ford
      Press Release is on Page 2


      FORD INCREASING PRODUCTION OF ALL-NEW LINCOLN NAVIGATOR, FORD EXPEDITION TO MEET GREATER-THAN-ANTICIPATED CUSTOMER DEMAND
      Ford is increasing production of two entirely new SUVs – the Lincoln Navigator and Ford Expedition – to meet surging customer demand A new $25 million investment brings Ford’s total investment at Kentucky Truck Plant to $925 million and allows the company to increase manufacturing line speed; company has boosted production targets for full-size SUVs approximately 25 percent since fall This additional investment and advanced manufacturing upgrades all help the company improve its operational fitness. Upgrades include 400 new robots, enhanced data analytics to help the plant operate more efficiently and a new 3D printer that enables workers to make parts and tools more quickly and cheaper LOUISVILLE, Ky., Feb. 12, 2018 – Ford is increasing production of two popular full-size SUVs to meet surging demand for both all-new models.
      The company is using advanced manufacturing technologies and an upskilled workforce to increase line speed at its Kentucky Truck Plant to build even more Lincoln Navigator and Ford Expedition SUVs, boosting production targets approximately 25 percent since last fall when the SUVs hit the market.
      “The response from customers regarding our new full-size SUVs has been exceptional,” said Joe Hinrichs, president, Global Operations. “Using a combination of Ford’s advanced manufacturing and American hard work and ingenuity, we’ll deliver more high-quality Lincoln Navigators and Ford Expeditions to customers than originally planned.”
      A new $25 million investment for additional manufacturing enhancements brings Ford’s total investment at Kentucky Truck Plant to $925 million and allows the company to increase manufacturing line speed.
      This investment and advanced manufacturing upgrades are examples of the company’s quest to improve its operational fitness. Upgrades include 400 new robots, a new 3D printer that enables workers to make parts and tools more quickly and cheaper as well as enhanced data analytics to keep the assembly line moving as efficiently as possible.
      Surging customer demand
      Lincoln dealers simply can’t keep the entirely new Navigator on dealer lots; the luxury SUVs are spending an average of just seven days at the dealership before they are sold.
      Customers are trading in Land Rover and Mercedes vehicles in exchange for a Navigator, and nearly 85 percent of all Navigator buyers are choosing high-end Black Label and Reserve models.
      Customer demand for the highly-equipped Black Label and Reserve series contributed to an average transaction price increase of more than $21,000 in January versus a year ago. Navigator retail sales were up triple digits in every region of the country last month. Navigator sales more than doubled last month, thanks to growth in key markets including Florida, Texas and California, a competitive conquest rate of 40 percent and new interest from younger consumers.
      Expedition also is off to a strong start, with the top-of-the-line Platinum trim models representing 29 percent of sales – pushing transaction price increases up $7,800 in January. Expedition retail sales were up nearly 57 percent last month and vehicles are spending just seven days on dealer lots.
      To ensure customers can get vehicles as quickly as possible, Kentucky Truck Plant assembly line workers are working overtime and voluntary weekend shifts.

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      The redesigned Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator have been moving quite rapidly off dealer lots. In January, sales of the Expedition rose 59 percent while the Navigator saw a jaw-dropping 132 percent increase. But this is proving to be a problem for Ford as their dealers can't get enough of either model to satisfy consumer demand. A source told Automotive News that CEO Jim Hackett has banned Ford employees from ordering Expeditions and Navigators to help get more out into the world. The source said restricting employees from ordering a mainstream vehicle is very rare. 
      "We could have sold a lot more in January if we had them," said Mark LaNeve, Ford's vice president for U.S. marketing, sales and service during Ford's monthly sales call earlier this month.
      Ford will be addressing this issue with a $25 million investment into their Kentucky Truck Plant today. The investment will allow the plant to produce 25 percent more Expedition and Navigator models.
      "It's important for this plant to produce more vehicles. In this segment, people will pay for a great product. The dealer feedback has been even stronger than we've hoped for," said Joe Hinrichs, Ford's president of global markets.
      Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Ford
      Press Release is on Page 2


      FORD INCREASING PRODUCTION OF ALL-NEW LINCOLN NAVIGATOR, FORD EXPEDITION TO MEET GREATER-THAN-ANTICIPATED CUSTOMER DEMAND
      Ford is increasing production of two entirely new SUVs – the Lincoln Navigator and Ford Expedition – to meet surging customer demand A new $25 million investment brings Ford’s total investment at Kentucky Truck Plant to $925 million and allows the company to increase manufacturing line speed; company has boosted production targets for full-size SUVs approximately 25 percent since fall This additional investment and advanced manufacturing upgrades all help the company improve its operational fitness. Upgrades include 400 new robots, enhanced data analytics to help the plant operate more efficiently and a new 3D printer that enables workers to make parts and tools more quickly and cheaper LOUISVILLE, Ky., Feb. 12, 2018 – Ford is increasing production of two popular full-size SUVs to meet surging demand for both all-new models.
      The company is using advanced manufacturing technologies and an upskilled workforce to increase line speed at its Kentucky Truck Plant to build even more Lincoln Navigator and Ford Expedition SUVs, boosting production targets approximately 25 percent since last fall when the SUVs hit the market.
      “The response from customers regarding our new full-size SUVs has been exceptional,” said Joe Hinrichs, president, Global Operations. “Using a combination of Ford’s advanced manufacturing and American hard work and ingenuity, we’ll deliver more high-quality Lincoln Navigators and Ford Expeditions to customers than originally planned.”
      A new $25 million investment for additional manufacturing enhancements brings Ford’s total investment at Kentucky Truck Plant to $925 million and allows the company to increase manufacturing line speed.
      This investment and advanced manufacturing upgrades are examples of the company’s quest to improve its operational fitness. Upgrades include 400 new robots, a new 3D printer that enables workers to make parts and tools more quickly and cheaper as well as enhanced data analytics to keep the assembly line moving as efficiently as possible.
      Surging customer demand
      Lincoln dealers simply can’t keep the entirely new Navigator on dealer lots; the luxury SUVs are spending an average of just seven days at the dealership before they are sold.
      Customers are trading in Land Rover and Mercedes vehicles in exchange for a Navigator, and nearly 85 percent of all Navigator buyers are choosing high-end Black Label and Reserve models.
      Customer demand for the highly-equipped Black Label and Reserve series contributed to an average transaction price increase of more than $21,000 in January versus a year ago. Navigator retail sales were up triple digits in every region of the country last month. Navigator sales more than doubled last month, thanks to growth in key markets including Florida, Texas and California, a competitive conquest rate of 40 percent and new interest from younger consumers.
      Expedition also is off to a strong start, with the top-of-the-line Platinum trim models representing 29 percent of sales – pushing transaction price increases up $7,800 in January. Expedition retail sales were up nearly 57 percent last month and vehicles are spending just seven days on dealer lots.
      To ensure customers can get vehicles as quickly as possible, Kentucky Truck Plant assembly line workers are working overtime and voluntary weekend shifts.
    • By William Maley
      FCA US Reports 2018 January Sales
      FCA January retail sales rise 2 percent to second highest level in 17 years Fleet sales reduced 50 percent year-over-year  Total sales decline 13 percent year-over-year February 1, 2018 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - FCA US LLC today reported sales of 132,803 vehicles, a 13 percent decrease compared with sales in January 2017 of 152,218.
       
      Retail sales rose 2 percent to 111,577, making it the second highest level since 2001. FCA maintained its strategy of reducing fleet sales, which decreased by 50 percent compared with January 2017. Fleet accounted for 16 percent of total January sales.
       
      Jeep® Brand
      Jeep brand total sales increased 2 percent in January to 59,703. Retail sales increased 11 percent to 57,017, setting a record for January. The Jeep Compass generated total sales of 10,192 – also a record for January. Jeep Cherokee total sales for January rose 16 percent to 14,621. Dealerships began receiving deliveries of the all-new 2018 Jeep Wrangler in January, which is being produced in Toledo, Ohio.   
       
      Chrysler Brand
      Chrysler brand total sales declined 21 percent in January to 10,584 compared with the same month a year ago. The Chrysler Pacifica minivan posted a 20 percent sales increase to 8,011 marking its best January ever. The 2018 Pacifica was also named “Family Car of the Year” by Cars.com in January.
      Dodge Brand
      Dodge brand total sales declined 31 percent to 27,600. The Dodge Durango full-size SUV continued generating strong results by posting a 9 percent increase in sales compared with the same month a year earlier. The Dodge Challenger received an Automotive Loyalty Award from IHS Markit in January. It had the highest model loyalty in the non-luxury mid-size sport segment.   
      Ram Truck Brand
      Ram Truck brand sales were down 16 percent to 32,039 compared with the previous year. Ram unveiled the new 2019 1500 pickup truck at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January. The truck is slated to start production by the end of the first quarter in Sterling Heights, Michigan.
       
      FIAT Brand
      Sales of Fiat brand declined 43 percent to 1,229 vehicles.  
       
      Alfa Romeo Brand
      Alfa Romeo brand sales of 1,648 vehicles were up significantly compared with the same month a year ago. Giulia led the brand with 948 sales, followed by Stelvio at 688.  
      Method of Determining FCA US LLC’s Monthly Sales. FCA US’s reported vehicle sales represent unit sales of vehicles to retail customers, deliveries of vehicles to fleet customers and to others such as FCA US’s employees and retirees as well as vehicles used for marketing. Most of these reported sales reflect retail sales made by dealers out of their own inventory of vehicles previously purchased by them from FCA US. Reported vehicle units sales do not correspond to FCA US’s reported revenues, which are based on FCA US’s sale and delivery of vehicles, and typically recognized upon shipment to the dealer or end customer. As announced on July 26, 2016, FCA US has modified its methodology for monthly sales reporting as follows:
      Sales to retail customers by dealers in the U.S. are derived from the New Vehicle Delivery Report (“NVDR”) system and are determined as the sum of (A) all sales recorded by dealers during the month net of all unwound transactions recorded to the end of that month (whether the original sale was recorded in the current month or any prior month); plus (B) all sales of vehicles during that month attributable to past unwinds that had previously been reversed in determining monthly sales (in the current or prior months). Fleet sales are recorded upon the shipment of the vehicle by FCA US to the customer or end user. Other retail sales are recorded either (A) when the sale is recorded in the NVDR system (for sales by dealers in Puerto Rico and limited sales made through distributors that submit NVDRs in the same manner as for sales by U.S. dealers) or (B) upon receipt of a similar delivery notification (for vehicles for which NVDRs are not entered such as vehicles for FCA employees). FCA US LLC Sales Summary January 2018
                      Month Sales
      Vol %
      CYTD Sales
      Vol %
      Model
      Curr Yr
      Pr Yr
      Change
      Curr Yr
      Pr Yr
      Change
      Compass
      10,192
      3,164
      222%
      10,192
      3,164
      222%
      Patriot
      148
      4,700
      -97%
      148
      4,700
      -97%
      Wrangler
      11,739
      11,334
      4%
      11,739
      11,334
      4%
      Cherokee
      14,621
      12,551
      16%
      14,621
      12,551
      16%
      Grand Cherokee
      16,364
      17,301
      -5%
      16,364
      17,301
      -5%
      Renegade
      6,639
      9,365
      -29%
      6,639
      9,365
      -29%
      JEEP BRAND
      59,703
      58,415
      2%
      59,703
      58,415
      2%
      200
      251
      1,861
      -87%
      251
      1,861
      -87%
      300
      2,320
      4,708
      -51%
      2,320
      4,708
      -51%
      Town & Country
      2
      138
      -99%
      2
      138
      -99%
      Pacifica
      8,011
      6,670
      20%
      8,011
      6,670
      20%
      CHRYSLER BRAND
      10,584
      13,377
      -21%
      10,584
      13,377
      -21%
      Dart
      83
      1,397
      -94%
      83
      1,397
      -94%
      Avenger
      1
      0
      100%
      1
      0
        Charger
      5,193
      7,153
      -27%
      5,193
      7,153
      -27%
      Challenger
      3,405
      3,393
      0%
      3,405
      3,393
      0%
      Viper
      2
      53
      -96%
      2
      53
      -96%
      Journey
      3,362
      12,636
      -73%
      3,362
      12,636
      -73%
      Caravan
      10,409
      10,770
      -3%
      10,409
      10,770
      -3%
      Durango
      5,145
      4,707
      9%
      5,145
      4,707
      9%
      DODGE  BRAND
      27,600
      40,109
      -31%
      27,600
      40,109
      -31%
      Ram P/U
      29,358
      33,769
      -13%
      29,358
      33,769
      -13%
      Cargo Van
      0
      0
      0%
      0
      0
        ProMaster Van
      1,771
      3,351
      -47%
      1,771
      3,351
      -47%
      ProMaster City
      910
      925
      -2%
      910
      925
      -2%
      RAM BRAND
      32,039
      38,045
      -16%
      32,039
      38,045
      -16%
      500
      454
      1,218
      -63%
      454
      1,218
      -63%
      500L
      104
      106
      -2%
      104
      106
      -2%
      500X
      488
      600
      -19%
      488
      600
      -19%
      Spider
      183
      240
      -24%
      183
      240
      -24%
      FIAT BRAND
      1,229
      2,164
      -43%
      1,229
      2,164
      -43%
      Giulia
      948
      70
      1254%
      948
      70
      1254%
      Alfa 4C 
      12
      38
      -68%
      12
      38
      -68%
      Stelvio
      688
      0
      New
      688
      0
      New
      ALFA ROMEO
      1,648
      108
      1426%
      1,648
      108
      1426%
      FCA US LLC
      132,803
      152,218
      -13%
      132,803
      152,218
      -13%
    • By William Maley
      For the past few years, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne holds a conference with journalists and analysts at the Detroit Auto Show, taking various questions. According to Motor Trend, Marchionne revealed that more crossovers are on the way for Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, and Ferrari.
      Alfa's Three-Row Crossover: Sergio Marchionne confirmed that Alfa Romeo is working on a larger SUV to sit above the Stelvio. He says this model is very important for the brand. As we reported towards the end of December, the model would use a stretched version of the Stelvio's platform and possibly feature a mild-hybrid powertrain.
      Chrysler's Pacifica-based crossover: It seems the platform that underpins the Pacifica will be used for a long-promised crossover. The model was in the previous five-year plan for FCA, but was pushed back. The model will be in the next five-year plan (expected to be shown sometime later this year) and could go into production within the next 18 months.
      Ferrari SUV: Progress on Ferrari's upcoming SUV is moving quite quickly as Marchionne said it would be ready by the end of 2019 or early 2020. At the moment, the Italian automaker has mock-up bodies of the SUV, but nothing driveable.
      “I have seen the car when I was in Europe. It’s not finished. It’s going to be Ferrari. It will drive like a Ferrari or I’ll be taken to the shed. But it looks good,” said Marchionne.
      Other bits from Marchionne:
      When asked about a performance electric vehicle, Marchionne said, “Ferrari has looked at this forever, and if there is an electric supercar to be built, Ferrari will do it,” FCA hasn't "found an economic way to get this done” when asked if there was the chance of a midsize Ram pickup. Wrangler Pickup is expected to debut towards the end of 2019 Marchionne is planning to retire as FCA CEO next year The most pressing question asked during the session? Where does he buy his sweaters? Answer: Online. Source: Motor Trend

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      For the past few years, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne holds a conference with journalists and analysts at the Detroit Auto Show, taking various questions. According to Motor Trend, Marchionne revealed that more crossovers are on the way for Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, and Ferrari.
      Alfa's Three-Row Crossover: Sergio Marchionne confirmed that Alfa Romeo is working on a larger SUV to sit above the Stelvio. He says this model is very important for the brand. As we reported towards the end of December, the model would use a stretched version of the Stelvio's platform and possibly feature a mild-hybrid powertrain.
      Chrysler's Pacifica-based crossover: It seems the platform that underpins the Pacifica will be used for a long-promised crossover. The model was in the previous five-year plan for FCA, but was pushed back. The model will be in the next five-year plan (expected to be shown sometime later this year) and could go into production within the next 18 months.
      Ferrari SUV: Progress on Ferrari's upcoming SUV is moving quite quickly as Marchionne said it would be ready by the end of 2019 or early 2020. At the moment, the Italian automaker has mock-up bodies of the SUV, but nothing driveable.
      “I have seen the car when I was in Europe. It’s not finished. It’s going to be Ferrari. It will drive like a Ferrari or I’ll be taken to the shed. But it looks good,” said Marchionne.
      Other bits from Marchionne:
      When asked about a performance electric vehicle, Marchionne said, “Ferrari has looked at this forever, and if there is an electric supercar to be built, Ferrari will do it,” FCA hasn't "found an economic way to get this done” when asked if there was the chance of a midsize Ram pickup. Wrangler Pickup is expected to debut towards the end of 2019 Marchionne is planning to retire as FCA CEO next year The most pressing question asked during the session? Where does he buy his sweaters? Answer: Online. Source: Motor Trend
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