July 2010

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.

Toyota building sales on loyal customers

(July 2010) Edmunds.com has determined that a larger percentage of Toyota's new car sales are now coming from buyers who trade in other Toyotas.

In 2009, 42 percent of Toyota's new car sales included a Toyota trade-in (not counting the Cash for Clunkers period, which created many anomalies in the marketplace). So far in 2010, 49 percent of Toyota's new car sales included a Toyota trade-in.

Trucks provide June sales with a surprise boost

(July 2010) Large pickups provided a small boost to U.S. light-vehicle sales in June, according to J.D. Power and Associates sales analysis. The sub-segment garnered an 11.66% share of industry sales in June, up more than 1 percentage point from 10.58% a year ago, and even slightly ahead of the 11.54% share of industry sales for the month of May, when overall industry sales were stronger.

Incentives flat as automakers struggle

(July 2010) Edmunds.com has estimated that the average automotive manufacturer incentive in the U.S. was $2,661 per vehicle sold in June 2010, down $36, or 1.3 percent, from May 2010, and down $196, or 6.9 percent, from June 2009.

Satisfaction with Class 8 trucks begins steep decline after nine months

(July 2010) WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. — Among Class 8 truck owners, satisfaction peaks in the first nine months the truck is in service, then decreases notably, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2010 U.S. Heavy-Duty Truck Customer Satisfaction Study released on Thursday.

The study examines trucks that are one-model-year old and finds that satisfaction levels peak during the first nine months of usage, averaging 768 on a 1,000-point scale. Between 10 and 14 months of usage, satisfaction tends to decline by an average of 20 points.

German automakers focus on diesels and EVs

(July 2010) Recent news reports have highlighted the agreement between Toyota Motor and Tesla to jointly develop electric vehicles (EVs) along with providing updates on the upcoming launches of new EV models such as the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf. What is happening with the development of other alternative powertrains — such as diesels — in the U.S. market? Mike Omotoso, senior manager, Global Powertrain at J.D. Power and Associates offers insight and answers:

GM bankruptcy: no used-car bargains either

(July 2010) A year ago as General Motors was sprinting through bankruptcy proc(eedings and its future appeared iffy, shoppers were scouring dealership lots for bargains. The conventional wisdom suggsted great deals were to be had from the automaker's new and used vehicle inventories.

Turns out, conventional wisdom was wrong: there were no great bargains in either used- or new- GM vehicles.

Controls and displays — what happened to simple?

By Christie Schweinsberg

(July 2010) Door locks on the center stack. Heated-seat controls near the floor. And the auxiliary jack? Nowhere in sight.

Welcome to today’s vehicle interiors, where the proliferation of features demand corresponding growth in the number of dials, knobs and buttons – all of which compete for the same space.