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  1. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles knows Jeep is one of the hottest selling brands in the U.S. and they have been thinking about ways to exploit that further. According to Automotive News, one possible way the company is thinking about is to allow dealers to open satellite centers for the Jeep brand. According to a source, this move mirrors an effort by FCA where they encourage dealers in truck-heavy marketplaces to open up satellite stores for their Ram Trucks brand. This allows dealers to create a storefront that can cater to truck buyers with a lot filled with a number of trims and configurations of trucks, and truck specialists to help buyers. By doing this for Jeep, it could help differentiate the brand from the other brands. This is a key point as Jeep is readying to launch a $100,000+ Grand Wagoneer in 2019 according to a source. Al Gardner, FCA's head of network development said in a intervicew that satellite centers for Jeep has been disscused and are under consideration. "Would I consider doing Jeep as a stand-alone, same structure, same business unit, same entity? Maybe. By the way, I think a whole bunch of dealers would consider it too," Gardner said. "But it doesn't mean that we're going to go out and do it, and it sure as hell doesn't mean that we're going to go out and add Jeep stores." Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  2. Volkswagen's dealers find themselves wondering what's next and if the diesel scandal would end. Dealers seemed hopeful when the initial fallout came as Volkswagen seemed to understand what could happen. The German automaker offered emergency aid to its dealers which earned Volkswagen of America's CEO Michael Horn a standing ovation at Volkswagen's national meeting. But three months on and a scandal that seems to go in a new direction every day, dealers are becoming worried and frustrated. "This thing isn't getting better with time. We don't have a fix. We don't have a timeline," said Alan Brown, chairman of VW's dealer council. The unknown, he added, is "what makes the anxiety of this even worse." Part of worrying feelings that dealers are the confusing signals coming out at Volkswagen. The internal probe hasn't revealed any details about who was involved or how it began. Not helping is the constant changes in Volkswagen's executives. Meanwhile in the U.S., Volkswagen is currently waiting on the EPA and CARB to approve their fix for the 2.0L TDI engine. Not helping is the uncertainty in the values of affected Volkswagen diesel models. Competing brands won't accept used TDIs on trade, and Volkswagen dealers feel pressure to take in TDI models at lower prices to reflect there more than 15 percent drop in price at auctions. Customers who are trying to trade in their TDIs are seeing offers that leave them discouraged. Volkswagen's offer to buy up used TDIs sitting on dealers lot turned out to be a one-time program that ended on October 22nd. Also giving Volkswagen dealers a bit of a headache is the low inventories of gas vehicles. Steve Kalafer, owner of a Volkswagen dealer in New Jersey says he has fewer than 50 saleable Volkswagens in stock, causing him to say his sales prospects in December are bleak. "We would be hopeful that Volkswagen would ship these cars on overtime," Kalafer said, but during the holiday season, "the auto business from the manufacturer side basically shuts down." There is also the question of incentives. One of the reasons for Volkswagen's 25 percent drop in sales in November was the decrease in incentives. In October, VW offered $2,000 for returning owners. In November, that amount was reduced to $1,000 to $1,500 dependent on the model. Brown says Horn should be demanding money from Volkswagen to offer the best new car deals in the industry to keep and attract customers. "We cannot be arrogant and higher priced," said Brown. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  3. Volkswagen is looking to limit the damage that has been caused by the diesel emission scandal. According to Automotive News, part of this comes from buying some used TDI model on U.S. dealer lots at pre-crisis prices. Speaking with dealers briefed on the plan, Volkswagen will guarantee the value of used models equipped with 2.0 TDI containing the illegal software sitting on dealer lots. If the vehicles aren't sold within 60 days, Volkswagen will buy them back. In a memo from Volkswagen of America COO Mark McNabb, the program will take three phases. The first phase will have Volkswagen making an inventory of the TDI models to help the company figure out which ones are eligible for the program. Volkswagen expects this phase to finish by the middle of November. Further details of the other two phases will take place later in the month. Volkswagen hopes this plan will stop the freefall prices in light of the scandal. According to Kelly Blue Book, the average price of a Volkswagen TDI model dropped 16 percent after the scandal was brought to light. The plan will also hopefully prevent a pileup of diesel vehicles sitting on dealer lots. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  4. Cadillac's boss Johan de Nysschen has a plan to rehabilitate Cadillac's image. Part of this plan deals with the dealers with tightening inventory and end the sell-at-any-cost mentality. But as Automotive News reports, there is a slight problem as Cadillac's dealer incentive programs promote the opposite. One incentive attaches $700 in dealer bonus money to every Cadillac vehicle they order from the factory, while another has cash payouts for growing sales. “The business model has been structured more for the bigger brands inside General Motors, rather than the small Cadillac brand,” said de Nysschen. “The luxury business is different.” de Nysschen instead wants to give incentives to dealers “in terms of the overall support to the brand.” This could mean meeting certain marks in customer satisfaction scores or new requirements to have an adequate recruiting process. At the moment, Cadillac is in talks with their national dealer council “to develop the next generation of what these programs should look like for Cadillac.” Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  5. What is the best way to sell a vehicle? Is it through a dealership or a factory store? For Karma Automotive - the reincarnation of Fisker - plans to do both. Automotive News reports that by the end of this year, 10 franchised dealerships in key markets around the U.S. and Canada will begin selling the Revero. The dealers picked already sell brands like Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Lamborghini, and Porsche. "These guys really understand this customer. They get that it's not moving metal and pushing volume like the mass-market guys have to," said Jim Taylor, Karma's chief marketing officer. Alongside the dealers, Karma will have a few brand experience centers" (aka factory stores) in states allow this type of retail experience. Taylor said the stores would allow Karma to control its brand message, and provide reassurance to the dealers that "it's living up to the same standards it expects of them." "When you control your own store, you live it every day, so you have to walk the walk, So I think in a good way it puts a lot of pressure on yourself to deliver the same level of performance," said Taylor. Karma plans on showing the Revero next month. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  6. How far would you go to be the best selling automaker in a given class? If you're BMW, you employ a tactic that involves loaner vehicles and dealers to retain your crown as being the best-selling luxury brand in the U.S. Bloomberg is reporting that BMW paid its dealers as much as $1,750 in December to buy BMW vehicles to be used in loaner fleets - vehicles that would be offered to customers who drop off their current vehicle for service. The program worked as BMW edged out Lexus by 1,400 vehicles. Now it should be noted that many automakers have programs like this. But according to folks who spoke with Bloomberg, BMW was very forceful with this program. “Auto companies do things like this all the time to set sales records or make claims that they are the best in show. BMW can beat their chest this year. But you can question whether they did it on the same terms as their competitors,” said Maryann Keller, an independent auto consultant in Stamford, Connecticut. BMW spokesman Kenn Sparks told Bloomberg in an email that the loaner program is "an important part of BMW’s customer-satisfaction and marketing plan,” and the company does periodically give dealers incentives to put new cars in their fleets. Sparks declined to say how much this program helped in terms of sales. But there is a danger with BMW trying to be number one in the luxury car segment. Eric Lyman, senior analyst with TrueCar says BMW's resale value has been slipping. According to TrueCar data, a three-year BMW vehicle retains 48.4 percent of its new car value. Other luxury brands retain 49.8 percent. “The luxury market is only so big.Do they think that if they have more BMWs out there that people will want to buy them even more? There are consequences for this,” said Keller. Source: Bloomberg
  7. Order guides are an interesting guide as they give us information on what's coming down the pipeline for a certain models. Such is the case for the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon that will be going on sale later this year. Truck Trend got their hands on the order guides for both models and found out some intriguing information. Extended Cab models of both trucks will come standard with the 2.5L direct-injected four-cylinder engine with 200 horsepower and 191 pound-feet of torque. That's up from the 193 horsepower and 184 pound-feet GM said earlier this year. A six-speed manual is standard across the range, with a six-speed automatic being optional. Max towing is rated at 3,500 lbs. Crew-Cab models get the 3.6L V6 as standard. Much like the 2.5L, the 3.6L specs are a bit different than what GM reported. The guide says the 3.6 produces 305 horsepower and 269 pound-feet, compared to the 302 horsepower and 270 pound-feet as reported earlier. A six-speed automatic is standard. Max towing is rated at 7,000 lbs. Other bits of information that can be gleamed from the order guides include all models getting a rearview camera, four-way power adjustable driver's seat, and 4.2-inch infotainment system as standard equipment. Source: Truck Trend 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.
  8. Anyone want to take a gander at how many Cadillac ELRs are sitting on dealers? 100? 200? 500? Try 1,688 ELRs. According to Autodata, Cadillac dealers at the end of April had 1,688 ELRs or a 719 day supply.To help reduce the stock, Cadillac is offering their dealers a bit of an incentive. The Wall Street Journal reports that Cadillac is offering dealers up to $5,000 for those who offer test drives of the ELR this and next month to consumers. To qualify, a ELR demo vehicle must have a minimum of 750 miles and be logged by a dealer. There's an added incentive of $2,000 for every ELR sold in July, and $1,000 in August. "For many drivers, electrification is still foreign to them. The program gives dealers the freedom to give customers that experience. This [a plug-in hybrid] is also a different idea around our brand and we need to take our time with this. We are still in the early days," said Cadillac spokesman David Caldwell. Consumers get a little of this incentive action on ELR as well. GM is offering $3,000 off the ELR's pricetag to spark demand. Source: Wall Street Journal (Subscription Required) 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.
  9. You could say the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is patient zero in the European Van invasion we are currently experiencing in the U.S. When it was introduced as the Dodge/Freightliner Sprinter back in the early 2000s, the vans became popular as they offered impressive space and fuel economy. Now with competitors such as the new Ram Promaster and upcoming Ford Transit featuring the recipe, Mercedes-Benz knows they have to be one step ahead. "The Sprinter is the benchmark and the norm of the Euro-style vans. There is a revolution happening in the segment and big changes coming that were caused by the Sprinter -- vans with a smaller footprint but big cargo volume," said Bernie Glaser, Mercedes-Benz USA vice president and managing director of the van unit for the U.S. To keep the Sprinter in the running with the new contenders, Mercedes-Benz has some plans in the works including a new four-wheel drive variant that will go on sale next year and the addition of 30 more dealers over the next five years. There is also talk of 12 passenger Sprinter model and the introduction of the new V-Class into the U.S. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  10. The return of Alfa Romeo to the U.S. saga looks to be coming to a close. The Detroit News reports that the first Alfa Romeo vehicle, the 4C will be arriving in the U.S. in late June. However, it will not be at many Fiat dealers as expected. The report says the 4C will be sold at Maserati dealers and "the best-performing Fiat dealers". “We’re also going to allow the best-performing Fiat dealers to participate. Those dealers know who they are. ... It’s really a question of efficacy in representing the Fiat brand. It’s simple dealer metrics," said Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne last month. However, Chrysler spokesman Rick Deneau tells the News that the Fiat dealers who are getting the chance to sell 4C haven't been told yet. The 4C will be the only Alfa Romeo on sale in the U.S. till next year. That is when the Giulia, Giulietta, and the Spider are expected. But then again, we've heard time and time again that these vehicles are coming in 2012, only to be pushed back. “It doesn’t matter how many they sell. What they need the 4C to do is attract attention. It needs to make a statement," said Stephanie Brinley of IHS Automotive. Brinley goes onto say that more Alfa models should quickly follow up to keep the momentum going. “The 2015 products really need to come in 2015. Otherwise, they will lose momentum.” Source: The Detroit News 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.
  11. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com November 13, 2013 Volvo has been seeing its sales double around the world except in one market; the U.S. The Swedish automaker has seen sales in the U.S. tumbling down during the past decade. In 2004, Volvo moved 139,000 vehicles. For this year, the automaker is projecting that they will only sell 60,000 vehicles. Volvo wants to change that and has announced a new plan that will hopefully reverse this trend. CEO Hakan Samuelsson told dealers the plan for the new Volvo will be an attractive “Scandinavian” design, leadership in safety and environmental issues, and state-of-the-art infotainment systems that feature "clever functionality.” "We are definitely not even thinking of reducing our presence in the U.S. Volvo would not be Volvo without the U.S," said Samuelsson. Nearly all aspects of Volvo's U.S. business will be seeing major changes. To start, Volvo is in the process of finding a new ad agency who will be tasked to create a new global campaign and use social media in creative ways. The company will also focus on lease promotions to help boost volume. At the moment, Volvo's lease volume stands at 35 percent. Down the line, Volvo is hard at work with a new powertrain lineup that will comprise of three and four-cylinder engines that will be naturally-aspirated and turbocharged. In addition, Volvo is creating hybrid powertrains that will use electric rear axles. Also coming soon will be a number of new models including the V60 wagon and XC90 crossover. When asked by reporters if Volvo has a set sales goal, executives wouldn't commit to anything higher than 100,000 vehicles in the next three years, Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) 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.
  12. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com October 31, 2013 More and more vehicles are coming equipped with elaborate infotainment systems that can do pretty much everything from giving directions to playing music off your phone. But these systems aren't always user friendly. A number of OEMs saw their ratings drop in Consumer Report's Auto Reliability survey because of their infotainment systems. General Motors wants to change that and is asking their 4,300 dealers about adding a customer Connection Center, a place where consumers can learn more and ask about in-vehicle technology and infotainment systems. GM spokesman Klaus-Peter Martin tells The Detroit News that the center give customers and the dealers’ certified technology experts a dedicated place to answer questions about technology. The center would also help improve customer loyalty and retention. A handout given to dealers says that 94 percent of customers believe there is a need for tech support, and 57 percent of customers would use it. “It’s another effort on our journey to provide this overall customer experience,” said Martin. This a voluntary move for all Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac dealers as GM readies a roll-out of embedded 4G LTE mobile Internet access in most of its 2015 vehicles that will be sold in the U.S. and Canada. Source: The Detroit News 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.
  13. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com October 22, 2013 Last week, General Motors announced they would be raising the prices on the new Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra by as much as $1,500. This week, dealers are giving the company a piece of their mind with this decision. They say sales of the two trucks are getting beaten up by discounts and rebates being offered by Ford and Ram to clear out their stock of 2013 models. "We all know that it's a great truck. But [GM's] position is that the vehicle stands on its own and it doesn't need a bigger rebate. That's not what the market is telling us," said W. Carroll Smith, president of Monument Chevrolet in Pasadena, Texas. Part of the problem for GM is that its trucks are arriving at the time when the current F-150's is reaching the end of its lifecycle, a fact that Ford has taken advantage of by offering massive discounts. Dealers want GM to fight back by offering more incentives. GM is sticking to its guns however. "You don't ever want to let the oldest trucks in the market dictate strategy for the newest and best truck in the market," said GM spokesman Jim Cain. Dealers and analysts do believe that the price disadvantage on GM's new trucks is only temporary and sales will climb back up when Ford and Ram's supply of 2013 models is depleted. However, some dealers believe this move could hurt sales in the long run. "It looked like we're finally going to get into the game. Then they raise the prices. It's like it kicks you in the head," said Rox Covert, dealer principal at two Chevrolet dealerships and two Buick-GMC stores in the Austin, Texas, area. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) 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.
  14. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com October 15, 2013 It has been a few weeks since we reported on the Jeep Cherokee and its transmission woes and the news hasn't gotten better. The Detroit News is reporting that Cherokees are still parked at the Toledo factory where they are built. There is some good news though. Chrysler appears to be in final stages of testing a new powertrain calibration that should help the transmission and get vehicles onto dealer lots. “Chrysler Group is in the final stages of validating the updated powertrain calibrations,” said Gualberto Ranieri, vice president of communications for Chrysler. “Once the latest powertrain calibration is validated, the company will be able to quickly update the powertrain software on Cherokees already built and ship vehicles to dealerships around the country in quantity.” This should be good news to buyers who have been waiting quite awhile to get their hands on their vehicles. Source: The Detroit News 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.
  15. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com October 8, 2013 Fiat dealers have been feeling the strain since the brand started selling vehicles in 2011 and it appears that it is only going to get worse. Automotive News reports that only 45 percent of the 2010 Fiat dealers in the U.S. are making a profit. Moreover, the majority of those dealers happen to be tied in with other Chrysler dealerships. This means other dealers are losing their shirts if they don't have any other storefronts. "I think most dealers have been disappointed in the performance of their Fiat dealerships," said Alan Haig, president of automotive services for Presidio Group. Making the matters even worse is the large 24 percent decline in sales Fiat saw in September sales. This means sales so far for the year stand around 33,000 units, the same number as last year. Most of decline can be attributed to 500. As for the 500L, it still is too early to tell as it went on sale back in the summer. "It's sad to say, but it's become a stepchild. Chrysler doesn't want to hear that, but that's the reality," said an unnamed Chrysler dealer. Many Fiat dealers were counting on Alfa Romeo to help bring more people in. But a recent report says that the Alfa Romeo 4C will will instead be sold in Maserati stores. Add in the fair number of delays for other Alfa Romeo models, and many dealers are left wondering if they'll ever see the brand. Now Fiat has said there is a new model that will help dealers "take the next step", but that will not happen till 2015. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) 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.
  16. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com September 23, 2013 Chrysler is taking the Ram 1500 Rumble Bee Concept out to dealer shows to gauge reception and find out from dealers if the concept should become a production model. "We will take it to some dealer shows and talk to dealers. We try to listen to the dealers. They know their marketplace," said Dave Sowers, Ram's head of marketing. "It is something that we could execute.” However if the Rumble Bee is given the green light, there will be a few items that will be left out. "Some of the things that we put on the truck weren't volume production possible for us. That flat yellow paint would be a little bit of a challenge in the plant and the actual bee in the shifter would be tough to execute," said Sowers. Source: Edmunds 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.
  17. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com August 19, 2013 Scion has billed itself as being the offbeat, youth oriented brand in the Toyota group. So it comes as a bit of surprise to find out that Scion currently has 1,100 dealers across the U.S. - 200 fewer than Toyota. Considering Scion's small lineup and declining sales over the past few years, this isn't good news. With all of these factors in play, it doesn't come as a surprise that Toyota's US group vice president, Bill Fay said to Wards Auto that Scion's dealer network "might actually go down a little bit." Then this week, a Texas dealer told Automotive News that Toyota will allow dealers to stop selling Scion with no repercussions. "If you don't want Scion, if it doesn't work for you, it's OK if you want to walk away," the dealer said. How did so many dealers end up with Scion? They wanted a piece of the massive sales success the brand was experiencing in the first few years. In 2006, Scion moved 173,034 units, well above the niche-level sales the brand was projecting at time. But since then, sales have been falling. Total sales in 2012 were 73,505 units. “Mini has about 115 (stores), Volvo has about 300, Lincoln wants about 325, Infiniti has about 200, so I would probably expect Scion to have between 350-500 but placed in more strategic locations,” said Dave Sullivan, analyst for AutoPacific. What lies ahead for Scion? Fay mentioned that Toyota is considering a few possibilities for the brand. One of those includes moving the brand to a premium level. Toyota also showed dealers a couple of products that are in the pipeline; the FR-S Cabriolet which is or is not dead and a subcompact crossover. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Wards Auto 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.
  18. By William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com May 13, 2013 Despite rising sales of Fiat 500 in the past few months, some Fiat dealers are finding it difficult to break even. "I'm struggling to break even. With the one car in a small (volume) segment, it's a tough go right now," said Gary Brown, owner of a Fiat dealer on Long Island and chairman of the Chrysler Dealer Council. Dealers are very antsy get to new products such as the new 500L later this year as it should help bring more people into Fiat dealers. "The four-door (500L) is really going to be a shot in the arm. It will put a franchise on more people's radar as they are shopping for a small car," Brown said. But the one product lineup Fiat dealers are still wondering about is Alfa Romeo. The 4C sports car is due in the U.S. later this year or early next year. After that, who really knows. Several Fiat dealers told Reuters that Fiat has postponed a meeting discussing new products twice and that a new date hasn't been set. When asked about the meetings, a Fiat spokesman declined to comment. Source: Reuters 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.
  19. By William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com April 29, 2013 Oh to be a fly on the wall during this meeting. Automotive News reports that at a at a national dealer meeting in Las Vegas last month, General Motors introduced the new ATS Coupe and 2015 Escalade. As we reported last week, Cadillac has begun to work on the ATS Coupe. Dealers who were at the meeting say coupe is expected to reach showrooms next spring. Dealers also said that executives hope the new coupe will help bring in a younger crowd. Cadillac is keeping quiet on the powertrain lineup, but Automotive News guesses that ATS Coupe will have the same powertrain lineup as the ATS Sedan. As for the 2015 Escalade, dealers say the exterior design is evolutionary Inside sees some dramatic changes as wood and aluminum trim are placed throughout and the third-row will be electronically controlled. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) 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.
  20. By William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com March 24, 2013 More MKZs are coming! That's what in essence Ford's president of the Americas, Joe Hinrichs said last Thursday after a supplier event at Ford's Dearborn campus. "We expect to have a rather large amount of vehicles in the delivery process … in the last 10 days of the month," Hinrichs said. Hinrichs explained that Lincoln MKZs aren't being shipped no longer being shipped from Ford's Hermosillo, Mexico plant, to another plant in Flat Rock for additional inspection and repairs. The reason for the additional inspection and repairs is due to Ford's recent track record of new vehicles not having a smooth introduction (see the Escape and Fusion as examples). When asked about problems Lincoln were addressing with the MKZ, Hinrichs didn't go into detail. "I don't want to blame the supply base. We've had our own internal issues as well." Even with the delay, Hinrichs said Lincoln has minimized the number of customers going to another brand by offering extended leases until MKZs reach dealers. We're not quite how many customers Lincoln has kept since sales in last two months have dropped by 25%, mostly in part of the small number of MKZs on dealer lots. Source: The Detroit News 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.
  21. By William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com March 22, 2013 Automotive News is reporting that Mazda is planning to launch the new Mazda3 compact later this fall. This information comes from three Mazda dealers who were informed by the company about this plan. The Mazda3, while getting up there in age, still remains a vital model for Mazda. Last year, the 3 captured 6% of the compact market, well above the 1.9% market share Mazda had last year. The next 3 will will adopt the Mazda's Kodo design language seen on the Mazda6 and CX-5. The 3 will also feature the full suite of SKYACTIV technologies, inlcuding a 2.0L SKYACTIV-G engine. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) 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.
  22. By William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com February 22, 2013 If you're wondering where you can pick up a new Alfa Romeo 4C when it arrives at the end of the year, you should find if your nearest Fiat dealer is one of the best selling in the nation. Automotive News is reporting that only a small number of the 202 Fiat dealers will be able to sell the 1,000 Alfa Romeo 4Cs coming to the states each year. How will Chrysler determine which Fiat dealers will be able to sell the 4C? By seeing which Fiat dealers that meet sales and customer service goals. "The 4C is the first vehicle that comes at the end of this calendar year, and it's going to go to the current Fiat dealers that are performing.So if you're selling and you're taking care of your customer, you'll be first up for Alfa Romeo," said Peter Grady, Chrysler Group vice president for network development and fleet. One stipulation that was originally planned for Fiat dealers who wanted Alfa Romeo was to have a mandatory inclusion of an attached service department. This has been pushed back to 2015 when more Alfa Romeo models arrive. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) 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.
  23. By William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com February 12, 2013 Right now isn't a good time to be Lincoln. Executives recently had to deal with frustrated dealers at National Automobile Dealers Association Convention and Expo in Orlando, FL. The frustrations stem from the lack of the new MKZ on dealer lots. Don Chalmers, a Ford and Lincoln dealer from New Mexico tells The Detroit News that with the lack of inventory, they're losing sales from customers who want to buy. Lincoln sales in January were to say in the least, abysmal. Total sales was around 4,191 vehicles, an 18% drop when compared to last year. MKZ sales suffered badly; Lincoln only sold 453 vehicles for the month, despite the MKZ having the biggest number of pre-orders in Lincoln history. The small number of sales is due to the numerous quality checks going on at Ford's Hermosillo, Mexico assembly plant to make sure each MKZ is just right. In fact, Ford is shipping some of the MKZs to a factory in Flat Rock, Michigan for a closer inspection. Analysts believe Ford is going to these measures to to avoid therecall issues that have plagued recent launches including the Escape and Fusion. Ford executives say Lincoln dealers won't have a full inventory of MKZs till April. Source: The Detroit News, 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.
  24. By William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com February 2, 2013 Read any review of the Chevrolet Malibu Eco and most, if not all will say the mild hybrid system used doesn’t provide enough improvement in the fuel economy to justify the price. Chevrolet dealers are saying the same thing with consumers skipping over the Eco model. "For most people, it's hard to justify the extra money based on the extra fuel economy of a combined 3 mpg more than the base model. You've got the base LS model sitting next to it that's just as nice and luxurious," said Jeff Tuckman, inventory manager at Castle Chevrolet in suburban Chicago. Another Chevrolet dealer in New Jersey puts it more bluntly. "The fuel economy difference from the other models isn't so great that buyers are saying, 'I'll choose a smaller trunk and pay more money.'" This isn’t good news for General Motors. The company is making a big bet with mild hybrids, known as eAssist. Last year, GM set an ambitious goal of selling 500,000 electrified vehicles by 2017; the vast majority being mild hybrids. GM says the take rate for the Malibu Eco is 8% of total Malibu sales, below the initial forecast of 10%. "Getting the consumer to embrace the incremental gains in fuel efficiency from the mild-hybrid system can be problematic given all the improvements that have been made" on regular gasoline engines. I think GM knows they've got to improve" eAssist's mpg numbers,” sid Alan Baum, a Detroit-area automotive analyst who tracks electrified vehicle sales. Source: Autoweek 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.
  25. By William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com January 23, 2013 Chevrolet appears to be taking some notes from SRT's playbook on how to sell the Corvette Stingray. According to Automotive News, General Motors told Chevrolet dealers that if they had sold four or more Corvettes in 2012, they would be able to sell the Stingray. This move will effect hundreds of Chevrolet dealers. "I don't anticipate getting the new Corvette this year, and many smaller dealers like me won't get it either," says Byron Hansen, a Chevrolet dealer in Brigham City, Utah. Dealers who did not hit the sales mark last year are very disappointed, since they used the Corvette as a way to bring people in. "Being a Chevy dealer and not being able to sell Corvette -- that makes me sad," says Jim Stutzman, owner of Jim Stutzman Chevrolet-Cadillac in Winchester, Va. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) 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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