America's Most Fuel-Efficient Cars

First Up 10/05/12

October 5, 2012

Volkswagen Cuts European Sales Target by 140,000 Vehicles, Report Says
Volkswagen has cut its internal 2012 sales target for western Europe by up to 140,000 vehicles, reports Automotive News. "The VW group is tentatively selling more cars this year than last year. But it is correct that it will be somewhat less than what was originally planned," Bernd Osterloh told German publication Handelsblatt in a report published today. "We are talking however of a maximum of 140,000 cars," he added. Volkswagen said last month it did not expect a significant rebound in the European auto market over the next one to two years. Osterloh said the company would build more of the last generation of Golfs and would add additional shifts through the end of this year to continue pumping sixth-generation Golf compacts into the European market. "Because we are able to build the old Golfs up to the end of the year parallel to producing the new generation, we can therefore fight the price wars without putting the new Golf under pressure," Osterloh said. VW Group sales in in western Europe, excluding Germany, fell 5.8 percent to 1.25 million in the first eight months, the automaker said. In Germany, deliveries increased 4.1 percent to 792,300. Read about cuts to VW’s European sales targets here.

‘Detroit Three’ Are Losing Sales to Foreign Rivals — Again
September’s U.S. car and truck sales results are proof that whatever grace period Detroit’s automakers had from competition-as-usual in their home market is over, reports The Wall Street Journal. Numbers demonstrate that Americans are ditching their SUVs and buying small cars as gas prices are stuck near $4 per gallon. General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co., and Fiat S.p.A’s Chrysler Group LLC combined to sell 44 percent of the cars and light trucks delivered in September, down from 48 percent a year ago, according to figures compiled by Autodata. Where did those four percentage points of share go? To Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co., which together picked up 4.4 percentage points of market share in September, thanks to big jumps in sales for the Toyota Corolla (up 43 percent), the Honda Accord (up 57 percent), and the Toyota Prius (up 103 percent). Read more about how international nameplate brands fared in September in AIADA’s Market Watch sales report here. For more of The Wall Street Journal’s report on how Detroit automakers are losing ground to international rivals, click here.

Why the World's Automakers Love Brazil
Here’s what the world looks like to a car guy in Detroit right now: In the U.S. new regulations are cranking up costs while cautious car buyers creep back into showrooms. China’s once-hot sales are cooling fast. Europe is a total basket case, with too much production capacity and an allout price war. Carmakers from General Motors and Ford Motor to Volkswagen and Daimler warn of difficult times ahead. Market conditions, says VW Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn, have become “noticeably harder and tougher.” But, reports Forbes, bring up Brazil and you get a smile. The country is South America’s largest consumer market, a still-bustling economy – and a lot of potential customers. Forget that in the world’s fifth-largest country only 14 percent of the roads are paved. Incomes are rising, lifting almost 40 million more Brazilians into the middle class since 2003 – and putting a vehicle purchase within their reach for the first time. Anfavea, Brazil’s auto industry trade group, forecasts sales will increase 68 percent from 3.4 million units in 2011 to 5.7 million by 2016, despite a massive tax burden and high borrowing costs that drive up car prices. Read about Brazil’s booming auto market here.

America's Most Fuel-Efficient Cars
Back in the day, the guy with the most powerful car in the neighborhood possessed the greatest bragging rights. He was the fastest, coolest, hippest cat in town. Today, the geek whose car gets the highest mpg is the smartest, most with-it dude. Quite a change of fortunes, don't you think? Consequently, MSN Autos compiled a list of all the cars currently offering 40 mpg or better. Note the MPGe figure used for alternative-fuel vehicles is derived from the US Environmental Protection Agency's formula, which says that the energy potential in 33.7 kilowatt hours of electricity is equal to one gallon of gasoline. Click here to let the efficiency parade begin. It starts with the 2013 Honda Fit EV, which uses Honda’s Earth Dreams technology to generate the highest mpg equivalent on the road today. The Nissan Leaf also makes the cut, featuring an EPA-certified range of 73 miles. The Toyota Prius Hybrid is noted for its impressive standard equipment and access to better vehicle options. The VW Jetta Hybrid is real go-getter, with a tag team consisting of a turbocharged 1.4-liter 150-horsepower gasoline engine and a 27-horsepower electric assist motor. Click here to see the other vehicles on MSN Autos’ list of America’s most fuel efficient cars.

CPO Market Posts Best Quarterly Sales Total Ever
September’s certified pre-owned vehicle sales total helped to push the industry to the highest amount of units sold in a single quarter ever, according to Auto Remarketing. Autodata Corp. reported on Thursday that September CPO sales came in at 154,702 – a figure that was 9.1 percent higher than the same month last year. The September total represented a 3.4-percent softening from August’s sales figures. Autodata discovered that third-quarter CPO sales totaled 465,905 – the highest of any quarter the firm has ever charted. The figure also was 6.2 percent higher than the third quarter of last year, as well as 0.8 percent above the second quarter of this year. Through September, the industry has turned 1,382,817 CPO models, which Autodata said was 5.8 percent higher than what OEM certified programs produced through the first nine months of last year. As the Europeans' share ticked up by 1.1 percentage points to 17.4 percent, Autodata noted that the share held by Asian OEMs moved up to 52.4 percent, a 0.5 percentage point gain. Click here for more on September’s CPO market.

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