April 19, 2012
Quick Solution Unlikely in Resin Shortage, Research Firm Says
According to Automotive News, automakers and suppliers are unlikely to find immediate alternatives to a shortage of resin used to make brake and fuel system components because of their pre-production vetting processes, according to researchers at IHS Automotive. "Given the component testing and approval processes employed by" automakers and suppliers, "it is unlikely to be the work of a moment to find or develop a substitutable alternative material," the Colorado-based researcher said today in a post on its web site. More than 200 executives from companies including General Motors Co., Volkswagen AG, Toyota Motor Corp., and Ford Motor Co. met Tuesday at a summit near Detroit to find other options for resin after a March 31 explosion at chemical maker Evonik Industries AG. The blast at Evonik's Marl, Germany, factory that made Cyclododecatriene, also called CDT, halved the global source of the resin called nylon 12. Officials formed six technical committees aimed at mitigating the effect that the nylon 12 shortage may have on production of parts and finished vehicles. Click here for the latest on a resin shortage that is impacting the auto industry.
Fuel Efficiency Records Raise Questions
The Obama administration focused on winning support of domestic automakers to double fuel-efficiency standards by 2025 before it sought approval of international automakers, new documents show. Emails obtained by The Detroit News also show federal regulators wanted to complete fuel-efficiency talks by June 30 – a month earlier than the actual deal – and that senior White House aide Ron Bloom directly conferred with Ford Motor Co. CEO Alan Mulally during last summer's talks. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has obtained thousands of pages of records from 13 major automakers, along with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Environmental Protection Agency, over the secret talks last summer to dramatically boost fuel-efficiency standards. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, says the talks were "unbalanced in favor of selected auto manufacturers." He went on to write, "The information received by the committee raises substantial questions about the extent to which the Obama administration has predetermined the outcome of its public rulemaking during the course of these private deliberations.” Read more about an investigation into the White House’s process for developing new fuel efficiency standards here.
Can Jazzier Full Size Cars Attract Younger Buyers?
According to USA Today, the auto industry is finally adding some sizzle to its full-size cars, a relatively small market segment. Yet unknown is whether a handful of dramatically restyled and upgraded big cars can attract enough younger buyers to shake the segment's geriatric image and grow sales. These are, after all, successors to the land yachts that ruled postwar America. "You won't see us get back to the heyday, but you will see some growth in the segment," predicts Gregg Benkendorfer, Toyota's national brand manager for passenger cars. Toyota introduced a redesign of its full-size Avalon in New York, and Chevrolet unveiled a sleeker new Impala. Hyundai just started selling a dramatically redone Azera, and Ford has tweaked its Taurus for 2013. Luring new buyers won't be easy. More than half of big-car shoppers also consider midsize models before buying. But only one in 10 midsize shoppers also looks at full-size models, Edmunds.com reports. Despite the discrepancy, dealers will be able to point to significant improvements in new models, including better gas mileage and sleeker looks, to rein in new buyers. Read more about changes to the large vehicle segment here.
For Tata Motors, Jaguar a Gold Mine
The world is still getting used to the fact that Jaguar is now an Indian brand. And, reports Forbes, thanks to the luxury car market, Tata Motors' shares are up over 70 percent year to date, making it one of the best performing large cap stocks in the world. Little did Tata Motors know that when it bought Jaguar in 2009 for a few billion dollars it would eventually help the India auto maker become one of the world’s hottest performing auto stocks. Tata Motors is by far the-best performing major auto maker stock this year. According to Forbes, it’s up 76 percent. Bloomberg newswires noted on Wednesday that the stock extended its gains after Jaguar and Land Rover, both acquired by Tata from their Anglo-American roots back in ’09, recorded their highest ever monthly sales in March. Tata has since introduced new Jag models including the new XJ sedan, the Land Rover Evoque compact SUV, and the Jaguar XF, and is beginning development of a new Jaguar sports car for later next year, the company said. Jaguar and Land Rover are worth $14 billion. For more on the success of the Tata’s Jaguar and Land Rover brands, click here.
10 Cars in Bad Need of a Design Overhaul
Auto design changes don't come along as quickly as mannequins on a runway, but they arrive and depart with some frequency. Buyers like what's hot and new, and more functional change is driven by engineering advances, government regulations, and customer requirements. Sometimes, what's new in a car design is simply a new look at something that used to be old. Ford introduced a retro-themed Mustang in 2005 and is now going to a more fashion-forward look in 2014 when the pony car gets an overhaul. Other times, change is more drastic. General Motors is saying goodbye to the Chevy Avalanche after the 2013 model year. With its four doors and adjustable pickup bed, the Avalanche resembles nothing so much as a crew-cab pickup – and customers have decided they would rather just have the pickup. CNN Money features its list of some other fashion changes that are coming due. Some are timely and some less so. Some range from a little sheet metal and chrome to a total rethink. And they're all coming to a driveway near you. Click here to check out which vehicles CNN Money has deemed in need of an overhaul.
Educate Your Customers on the Danger of Ignoring Auto Recalls
A new study from Carfax shows that choosing to ignore auto recalls threatens the safety of consumers. In 2011, over 2.7 million used cars were for sale online with safety recalls that were never fixed. California, Florida and Texas lead the nation with the most used cars for sale with open recalls, each having well over 100,000 last year. Auto manufacturers are working with Carfax to further alert consumers about cars under recall. A free public service for consumers to check for open recalls using the vehicle identification number is available at recall.carfax.com. Plus, open recall information reported to Carfax by auto manufacturers is also included on Carfax Vehicle History Reports. Your customers have better peace of mind knowing this. Make sure they understand that they can help improve public safety by actively checking for open recalls and having them fixed at your dealership. There’s no excuse, especially since recall repairs are free to consumers and finding cars with open recalls is easy. CARFAX subscribing dealers receive weekly notification when open recalls reported to Carfax appear on their inventory. If you are a Carfax-subscribing dealer, contact your Account Manager for more information. To become a CARFAX Dealer Subscriber, click here or call 1(800) 444-0145.
Around the Web
Lexus Craftsmanship Video [MotorAuthority]
Mercedes Concept Style Coupe [Motoramic]
Spy Shots: Mini Preparing JCW GP Version of Cooper Coupe [Autoblog]
Automakers Battle to Attract Younger Buyers [The Bottom Line]