Here's the Thing

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:

Americans shift to smaller, more fuel-efficient cars

(July 2010) A report by Automotive News reveals that a major shift in American automobile purchases to smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles has taken place since 2007, the last of the boom years and starting with a spike in fuel prices early in 2008.

According to the trade publication, compared with consumers in the first half of 2007, Americans now are buying: more cars, fewer trucks and smaller vehicles in general; smaller and less expensive cars within segments; ordinary rides that replace bigger or more luxurious vehicles.

GM's push for IPO may be premature

By Bill Visnic
Senior Editor, Edmunds.com

(July 2010) General Motors Co. CEO Ed Whitacre has been fond of saying the "new" GM's mission is one thing and one thing only — designing, building and selling the best cars and trucks in the world.

It hasn't taken GM long to stray from the cause, however. Barely a year out of bankruptcy, the company seems so concerned about making the case for its craved initial public offering that one wonders if, as with the GM of the past, the "building and selling world's best cars and trucks" thing isn't already losing its charm.

Tesla's Musk sees most new cars going electric by 2030

(July 2010) The never-shy Elon Musk, co-founder of Tesla Motors, is the subject of this week's "10 Questions for..." feature in Time magazine and the article starts off with a doozy.

A reader asks if Musk believes the electric car can ever replace the combustion engine and Musk responds not with a simple "someday' but with the bold prediction that "within 20 years, the majority of new cars manufactured will be pure electric."

North American sales forecasted to improve

(July 2010) In its latest forecast, J.D. Power and Associates projects that North American new-vehicle sales will advance this year by 12% from 2009, with increases in the United States, Mexico and Canada markets.

U.S. total sales (retail and fleet) are expected to reach 11.8 million units—up 13% from 2009, based on Power Information Network (PIN) retail transaction data and analysis from J.D. Power Automotive Forecasting.