Here's the Thing

Vehicle seats provide relatively low levels of customer satisfaction

(August 3, 2010) Although vehicle seats are the component area with which new-vehicle owners are least likely to indicate having experienced a problem, compared with other vehicle component areas, overall customer satisfaction with seats is particularly low, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2010 U.S. Seat Quality and Satisfaction Study.

EV-charging stations in California exempt from utility regulations

(August 2, 2010) The California Public Utilities Commission has ruled that companies that sell electric-vehicle charging services to the public will not be regulated as public utilities, Edmunds.com reports.

Companies such as Coulomb Technologies, Better Place and Ecotality can operate without being regulated as an investor-owned utility, the commission ruled Thursday during its regular meeting in San Francisco.

Edmunds.com — 2010 sales will be in low 11 million range

(July 29, 2010) Edmunds.com has analyzed the performance of the auto industry so far this year and determined that it seems increasingly likely that this year's sales will be in the low 11-million range.

"Analysis of the first half of 2010 shows the auto industry has had its winners and positive trends, but an upward sales trajectory now seems clearly stalled," reported Edmunds' AutoObserver.com Senior Editor Bill Visnic in his story "Buckle Up, Industry Recovery Going to Be Bumpy". "It just may be that the current sales level represents a new norm that takes years, rather than months, to substantially improve upon."

Chevrolet Volt 'pricing strategy is a bold one'

(July 27, 2010) General Motors has announced the pricing for the Chevy Volt, the extended-range electric vehicle which is expected to be released by year-end. It will be initially sold in California, Michigan, Washington, D.C. along with Austin, Texas, and New York City. The pricing of the vehicle was announced at $41,000, before a $7,500 tax credit.

Ford Explorer consideration has doubled

(July 2010) SANTA MONICA, Calif.  — Edmunds.com reports that consideration of the Ford Explorer has nearly doubled as consumers await the highly-anticipated new model that will arrive in showrooms this fall.

Car sales pace accelerates as deal-seekers come out

(July 21, 2010) Edmunds.com reports that new cars are selling at a rate close to 12 million SAAR (Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate) so far this month. However, industry observers should not misread this as a sign of recovery for the industry.

Widespread adoption of EVs in Russia, E. Europe not in near future

(July 2010) When California-based Coulomb Technologies deployed its first electric-vehicle charging station in Warsaw in May after its local distributor, 365 Energy, struck a deal with Polish energy company Polenergia, Green Car observers could be forgiven for being optimistic about the prospects for rapid alternative-powertrain vehicle growth in Poland, Russia and other Eastern Bloc countries.

Study shows auto brands have reached something close to parity

(July 2010) It is officially a truism — if such a thing is possible — that auto brands have reached something close to parity when it comes to short and long-term vehicle quality.

Studies from the likes of J.D. Power & Associates have shown that while automakers play musical chairs from year to year on who gets a trophy, it's a photo finish; the actual differences between competitive brands is basically razor-thin at this point.

Nissan made a good move hiring Jim Press

By Dave Guilford
Automtoive News
     
(July 2010) Chrysler dealers might want to reach for the Rolaids before reading this, but I think Renault/Nissan made a shrewd move in latching on to Jim Press.

Press is an adviser to the company, working with dealers. If nothing else, that means that he is officially no longer radioactive after his disastrous stint at Chrysler.

Audi, BMW and Mercedes carry strong brand influence with China consumers

(July 2010) Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz enjoy particularly high brand influence with consumers in China who intend to buy a passenger vehicle within the next 12 months, according to the J.D. Power Asia Pacific 2010 China New-Vehicle Intender Study. Among non-luxury brands, Buick and two Volkswagen joint-venture brands — FAW-Volkswagen and Shanghai Volkswagen — perform especially well in brand influence.

A few highlights are included from the second annual study, which measures brand influence, in addition to evaluating pre-purchase perceptions and considerations among a sample of 5,181 consumers in 50 cities in China who intend to purchase a new vehicle within the next 12 months: