March 21, 2012
Hyundai Motor CEO Says New Sonata Planned in 2014
Hyundai Motor plans to launch a revamped version of its flagship Sonata sedan in 2014, its first upgrade in more than four years, its chief executive said on Wednesday, as the company grapples with increasing foreign competition in its home market. According to Reuters, Hyundai, the world's fifth-largest auto group along with its affiliate Kia Motors, has only one new model planned for a global launch this year. It started taking pre-orders on Wednesday for the new Santa Fe sports utility vehicle, which will be unveiled in April. The latest version of the Sonata was launched in September 2009 in South Korea and early 2010 in the United States. The model, which competes with Toyota Motor Corp's Camry, is Hyundai's top-selling model in the United States and helped the South Korean automaker achieve record sales and market share there last year. It was Hyundai's third-best selling model in South Korea last year. Hyundai chief executive Kim Choong-ho also told Reuters on the sidelines of an industry meeting that the revamped version of the large-sized Genesis would be introduced in late 2013. For more on Hyundai’s plans for its top-selling Hyundai Sonata sedan, click here.
It's Back! Nissan to Revive the Datsun
After a three-decade absence, Nissan has confirmed it is bringing back the once-familiar Datsun nameplate. The old name will be used to target some of the newest emerging markets, revealed Nissan Motor Co. CEO Carlos Ghosn. The maker plans to put a particular premium on using the Datsun name in Indonesia, noted Ghosn during a Tuesday news conference, where it plans to invest $400 million, triple its retail outlets and double its overall employment. But the Datsun name – once familiar in mainstream markets such as the U.S. – will be used in other emerging countries, including India and Russia, according to Ghosn, who said the reborn brand should reappear on the market in 2014. MSNBC reports that at the beginning of last fiscal year, Ghosn laid out an aggressive growth strategy which calls for the maker to boost its global market share from 5.8 percent to 8 percent, while he also outlined a plan to deliver an 8 percent annual profit margin. While Nissan didn’t show off any product planned for the Datsun nameplate Ghosn hinted the first offering will be “a green car, affordable car, small displacement, high local content . . . It’s going to be a generous car.” For coverage of Nissan’s plans to revive its Datsun brand, click here.
Internationals Lead Pack in Latest Residual Rankings
When it comes to value retention, the brand expected to command the strongest residuals three years down the road is Mini, according to the latest Industry Report from ALG. Looking at the 2012 model-year residual outlook in the March/April edition of ALG’s analysis, Mini’s 36-month residual value was projected at 52.5 percent. ALG pointed out that the expected residual values for four of the five vehicles in Mini’s lineup are more than 50 percent, with the Countryman topping the list at 55 percent. Auto Remarketing reports that Mini was followed by Subaru, whose models are expected to maintain 51.9 percent of their value during the next three years. Honda was third on the list, as its vehicles will likely retain 50.5 percent of their value. “Both Japanese marques have strong quality images and make minimal use of sales strategies that can have a negative impact on their brands, such as cash incentives and sales to rental fleets,” ALG explained. Rounding out the top five were Scion (49.6 percent) and Hyundai (49.4 percent). On the opposite end of the spectrum, ALG projects Suzuki will have the lowest retention at 42.2 percent. For more on ALG’s residual rankings, click here.
For Web-Savvy Buyers, It's All About the Videos
Dealer Shaun Del Grande is tapping the power of YouTube to reach web-savvy auto shoppers in Silicon Valley. According to Automotive News, more than 1,000 videos shot and edited in-house are posted on his Del Grande Dealer Group's YouTube pages. Since the group began posting on YouTube in late 2009, the videos have received more than 926,000 views. The group's 11 dealerships are in the heart of Silicon Valley, about a half-hour drive from the headquarters of tech giants Google and Facebook. Each dealership has its own YouTube channel, or a page on YouTube for a specific user, such as an auto dealership. The videos provide interesting content for shoppers – and drive traffic to dealership web sites. High YouTube activity gives a web site a higher score with Google and can ensure a dealership appears on the critical first page of Google search results. The goal of the videos is to introduce the group and its employees to customers before those customers visit the showroom, said Sean Williams, a videographer with Del Grande. Along with the new stores, Del Grande credits the e-commerce department as a major driver of sales growth. Read more about the dealer group’s YouTube strategy here.
The Most Expensive Fill-Ups
Just about everybody is feeling the pain at the gas pump these days, with the average price of regular unleaded fuel now at $3.85 per gallon and climbing. But at least most of us have options. If we don’t need to tow a boat or transport a gaggle of kids, there are plenty of fuel-efficient, small, and mid-sized cars to choose from that look great and come loaded with premium features. Full-size vans and pickup trucks get the worst gas mileage of any light vehicles on the road, yet they’re crucial tools for many small businesses and other organizations. Forbes reports that obviously, it’s not just the price of fuel that affects the cost of filling up; your car’s EPA estimated fuel economy, the size of the fuel tank, and the fuel grade also matter. The good news is that automakers are scrambling to introduce more fuel-efficient powertrains, even in their largest vehicles. In the meantime, Forbes consulted Edmunds.com’s monthly fuel cost database to find out which cars cost the most each month to keep fueled. Click here to see the list. To read more from Forbes about the vehicles that guarantee the most pain at the gas pump, click here.
Securing the Future: Register Today for AIADA’s International Auto Industry Summit
Join fellow international nameplate dealers who are Securing the Future of their businesses May 23-24 at the Mayflower Renaissance Hotel in Washington, D.C. for AIADA's 6th Annual International Auto Industry Summit. The two-day event will bring together auto industry leaders and Washington insiders to equip dealers with the tools they need to successfully advocate on behalf of their businesses, brands, and employees. Some of Washington’s top insiders, an industry executive Q&A panel moderated by Automotive News editor Jason Stein, and the chance to visit with your Congressional members and their staff are just a few of the items on this year’s Summit agenda. Dealer involvement is crucial to securing the future of the international auto retail industry, especially in this election year. Don’t wait. Register today by clicking here or by calling 1-800-GO-AIADA.
Around the Web
The Most Amazing Lotus Exige in the World [Jalopnik]
Chinese Team Sets World Record for Largest Vehicle Loop-the-Loop [Motoramic]
Sweden's Coolest Volvo is Up for Sale [CarScoop]
2014 BMW i3 Spy Video [MotorAuthority]