NADA Headlines - 01/23/2014 (Plain Text Version)
By Brett Stevenson
Your opportunity to take a few days away from the dealership and sharpen your saw is coming at the end of January. Seems like every year we see something new and amazing that will alter the way dealerships do business . Whether in a seminar or on the exhibition floor, there is always something that will help you sell more cars, faster.
Toyota Motor Corp. kept its crown as the world's biggest automaker while falling just short of becoming the first carmaker to sell more than 10 million vehicles in a single year. Toyota predicted it would breach the 10-million milestone this year, with sales of 10.32 million in calendar year 2014. That forecast represents a 4 percent increase over the 9.98 million cars it sold in calendar year 2013, the company said today. Last year, Toyota's tally rose 2 percent to top the 9.71 million sold by General Motors. Volkswagen AG gave a rounded figure of 9.7 million units, but the German carmaker won't give detailed results until March 13. It presumably finished third in the 2013 sales race.
Fiat SpA Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne plans to propose to the carmaker's board that the New York Stock Exchange be the primary market for shares of the company created from a merger with Chrysler Group LLC, people familiar with the matter said. At a board meeting next week, Marchionne is due to recommend making Milan as the secondary listing, said the people who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private. The CEO of both Fiat and Chrysler also aims to have a fiscal domicile in the U.K. for tax purposes, while the headquarters could be located elsewhere, they said. Fiat, which gained full control of Chrysler earlier this week after buying the remaining 41.5 percent holding, intends to decide on details of a merger on Jan. 29.
Hyundai Motor Co. said its fourth-quarter profit increased 13 percent over a year earlier thanks to higher overseas sales. But its earnings for the whole of 2013 fell, underlining Hyundai's waning popularity among Korean consumers and labor strife. South Korea's largest automaker said Thursday its fourth-quarter profit reached 2.1 trillion won ($2 billion) compared with 1.9 trillion won a year earlier. Hyundai's 2013 profit dropped 1 percent to 9 trillion won. Hyundai blamed lower demand from domestic consumers and production disruptions caused by strikes. Automakers from Europe and the U.S. expanded their sales in South Korea by introducing cheaper models and benefiting from free trade deals that phased out tariffs.
The face that launched a thousand supertankers is getting a makeover. Ford Motor Co.'s Lincoln brand is giving a new face and some new features to its venerable Lincoln Navigator, the model that jump-started the fad for supersize, fuel-thirsty luxury sport-utility vehicles when it first made its debut in the late 1990s. General Motors Co. GM's rival Cadillac brand at first balked at following the Navigator, then countered with its own plus-size Escalade SUV, which later grew into a family of luxury versions of GM's largest SUV models. A four-wheel drive 1999 Navigator had an estimated fuel economy of 12 miles per gallon in city and highway driving. That later improved to 15 miles per gallon. The 2008 recession and a series of gasoline price spikes slashed sales of the Navigator and Escalade, and ultimately killed off GM's Hummer brand of big, high-price SUVs. But the Navigator and the Escalade survived and both are now getting makeovers.
Rise in female buyers stirs change, but eye candy still prevalent
Women now buy nearly half the new cars in the United States, a sharp increase compared with a generation ago, and the auto industry is trying to demonstrate that it's keeping up with the times when it showcases the latest rides to the public. Auto shows now offer cooking demonstrations, private tours and an increasing number of male models to appeal to female visitors. But that hardly means the industry has shelved a staple of nearly 100 years of auto shows: having female models preening beside the latest sports car or SUV.