Auto Industry Leaders Raise Concerns about Border Tax in White House Meeting

First Up 06/15/17

BMW 6-series GT on Sale in the U.S. In November
BMW yesterday unveiled its new 6-series Gran Turismo to replace the previous 5-series GT and said it will go on sale in November after making its first public appearance at the Frankfurt car show in September. Forbes reports that in the U.S., the car will be powered by a 3.0 liter 340 hp gasoline six cylinder engine , while in Europe it will be available with that gasoline engine plus a 258 hp 2.0 liter four cylinder motor and a 265 hp six-cylinder diesel. No word yet on price, but the U.S. version is likely to cost upwards of $80,000. BMW said the 6 Series Gran Turismo is longer and sleeker than the car it replaces and offers more headroom and trunk capacity despite reduced vehicle height. Click here to see it. You can opt for Remote Control Parking, a WiFi hotspot for up to 10 devices, and remote 3D view. You can have 4-wheel drive too. The GT range, blending the luxury of a sedan with what BMW calls coupé looks, was first launched in 2009. For more on the Gran Turismo, click here.

Auto Industry Leaders Raise Concerns about Border Tax in White House Meeting
The Capitol Hill newspaper The Hill today reports that representatives of the automobile industry raised concerns about House Republicans' border-adjustment tax proposal during a meeting Wednesday with White House National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn. “America’s international nameplate dealers fully support federal tax reform but remain deeply opposed to the [border-adjustment tax] provision, which would drive up the cost of every vehicle on their lots by an average of $2,000 per vehicle,” said Cody Lusk, president of the American International Automobile Dealers Association. “We were grateful to have an opportunity to share our perspective with the White House, and we are optimistic that a well-crafted tax reform bill, minus the BAT, can make its way through Congress and to the president’s desk for his signature.” Click here for AIADA’s full press release. During the meeting, Cohn said that the administration hasn't made any decisions yet on issues such as international tax rules and interest deductibility, and that the listening sessions help the White House better understand how proposals would impact specific industries, according to an administration official. For the full story, click here.

Jaguar Returns to U.S. Wagon Market
Jaguar is rejoining the premium wagon market with the XF Sportbrake that it says will offer practicality without sacrificing the dynamic design and agile handling of the XF sport sedan. Jaguar released pictures and details of the midsize wagon on Wednesday, touting its sports-car dynamics and sleek looks will build on the success of the XF sedan. Click here to see it. Automotive News reports that the Sportbrake will be the first XF wagon sold in the U.S. and is expected to deliver incremental volume for the brand. Jaguar said the XF Sportbrake will be priced from $71,445, including destination charge, when it hits U.S. dealerships next winter. While most brands abandoned wagons years ago, some, like Buick, are returning to try to pump new life into a weak car market and tap a small but passionate group of U.S. consumers. The XF Sportbrake will compete against cars such as the BMW 5-series Touring, Audi A6 Avant and Mercedes-Benz E-class wagon. In the U.S., XF sales fell 46 percent in the five months to 1,984, according to the Automotive News Data Center. But Jaguar's overall U.S. deliveries have advanced 115 percent this year. For more on Jaguar’s plans, click here.

Potential Lean Car Dealer Stocks Defy Customer Wants
In some automotive people’s wouldn’t-it-be-nice vision of the industry, car dealerships would stock much fewer vehicles, and, instead, customers would order them to their exacting standards, then wait for the finished product. But that’s far from the world of today. Some skeptical forecasters and dealers don’t see it happening any time soon. For all the talk of potentially lean dealer stocks in the future, current inventory levels are at inflated levels. The days’ supply for U.S. light vehicles was a hefty 68 in May, and that was the lowest of the year; the high-water mark for 2017 was January’s 85 days’ supply. Current national inventory is 600,000 units above the optimum level for current market conditions, according to WardsAuto estimates. Automakers may cut production or goose sales with incentives to reduce inventory levels in coming months, but to some extent consumers like to see lots of cars on dealer lots. They’re drawn to the wide selection. It is a big part of how vehicles are bought and sold in the U.S. For more on the made-to-order possibilities, and why they won’t be happening anytime soon, click here.

Honda Hopes Clever Seats That Slide Apart Will Sell New Odyssey Minivan
In an age when automakers pile on tech innovations, Honda is about to see whether it can attract buyers to its new minivan with a fresh take on a feature as basic as a seat. But, according to USA Today, these are no ordinary seats. With the pull of a lever, the second-row captain's chairs in the 2018 Honda Odyssey slide apart sideways, making them far more flexible than just being able to move forward or back. Parents can slide them apart in order to separate fighting youngsters or to make it easier to access the third row. Honda believes Magic Slide seats give it something special in the minivan segment. Click here for video. It's an innovation that's almost a counterpoint to an age when cars are dominated by technology. With its seat feature, Honda is going after parents who aren't interested in glitz. Rather, they just want to quell outbreaks among their quarreling children. "When kids are happy, parents are happy," said Susie Rossick, assistant vice president of marketing for American Honda, in a statement. For the full story, click here.

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