Buyers Are Snapping Up New Cars, Even if They're the Wrong Color

First Up 03/31/21

Buyers Are Snapping Up New Cars, Even if They're the Wrong Color

Emboldened by signs the Covid-19 crisis may be waning and fearful of potential vehicle shortages, consumers snapped up new autos at pre-pandemic rates in the first quarter as the U.S. car market’s recovery likely gained momentum. Bloomberg reports that U.S. auto sales surged by more than 8% in the first three months of the year, according to analysts’ estimates. The projected gain was powered by higher demand in anticipation of a return to offices and everyday travel as vaccination rates exceeded one-quarter of the population. Greater confidence in the economy spurred purchases as did fear of lower supplies of cars due to chip shortages. That has left consumers scrambling for any steering wheel they can lay their hands on, accepting less-than-optimal colors, features and even swapping to a different model entirely if they must. Read more here (Source: Bloomberg).  

Volts, er, Volkswagen's April Fool's Day Prank a Jolt to the System

As quickly as it got here, VW took it away: Voltswagen is the company that never was. A lesson for wannabe pranksters: if you’re planning an April Fool’s Day joke, stick to April 1st. That lesson apparently got lost in translation over at Voltswagen, er, Volkswagen headquarters when the company intentionally leaked an “internal document” on March 29 indicating it was planning to change its name as a way to highlight a dramatic, mega-billion-dollar shift to battery-electric vehicles. But “There will be no renaming of Volkswagen of America,” the company now says. Indeed, the stunt was intended to highlight the launch of the Voltswagen, er, Volkswagen ID.4, the carmaker’s first long-range battery-electric vehicle targeting the U.S. market. It began rolling into American showrooms this month. “The alleged renaming was designed to be an announcement in the spirit of April Fool’s Day, highlighting the launch of the all-electric ID.4 SUV and signaling our commitment to bringing electric mobility to all,” said a statement from VW released the day after the rouse. Read more here (Source: The Detroit Bureau).  

Rising Retail Demand Expected to Bring Q1 Sales Close to Pre-Pandemic Levels

First-quarter U.S. light-vehicle sales are poised to rebound from depressed levels of a year earlier, despite persistent supply chain woes, reports Automotive News. The supply challenges — a global microchip shortage, U.S. port congestion, a massive container ship stuck in the Suez Canal, and more — plagued the industry as automakers continued to cope with tight stock levels because of the coronavirus pandemic. Despite the headwinds, analysts expect first-quarter light-vehicle sales to rise about 9 percent from a year ago. For March, Cox Automotive estimates the seasonally adjusted, annualized light-vehicle selling rate rose to 16.5 million, while J.D. Power and LMC Automotive are projecting a SAAR of 16.4 million. Most automakers are scheduled to report their first-quarter U.S. sales Thursday. Read more here (Source: Automotive News). 

Biden Kicks Off Effort to Reshape U.S. Economy with Infrastructure Package

President Joe Biden on Wednesday will call for a dramatic and more permanent shift in the direction of the U.S. economy with a roughly $2 trillion package to invest in traditional projects like roads and bridges alongside tackling climate change and boosting human services like elder care. According to Reuters, he also aims to put corporate America on the hook for the tab, which is expected to grow to a combined $4 trillion once he rolls out the second part of his economic plan in April. Coupled with his recently enacted $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, Biden’s infrastructure initiative would give the federal government a bigger role in the U.S. economy than it has had in generations, accounting for 20% or more of annual output. The effort, to be announced on Wednesday at an event in Pittsburgh, sets the stage for the next partisan clash in Congress where members largely agree that capital investments are needed but are divided on the total size and inclusion of programs traditionally seen as social services. Just how to pay for them will be a fractious issue in its own right. Read more here (Source: Reuters). 

Honda Recalls 761,000 Vehicles Worldwide to Replace Fuel Pumps

Honda Motor Co said on Tuesday it will recall about 761,000 vehicles worldwide to replace fuel pumps that could fail and lead to engine problems, reports Reuters. The recall includes 628,000 U.S. vehicles and covers various 2018-2020 model year Acura and Honda vehicles. Honda has received no reports of crashes or injuries related to the issue. The recall covers some Accord, Civic, CR-V, Fit, Pilot, Ridgeline, MDX, RDX, and TLX vehicles. Read more here (Source: Reuters). 

Around the Web

Fiat Made a 'Hey Google' Car [The Verge]

BMW Has Got Its Timing Right for Beefing Up EVs: CEO [Reuters]

Genesis X Concept is Beautiful, and Genesis Needs to Build It [Autoblog]

Jim Ellis Automotive Group Acquires Mercedes-Benz of Atlanta South [Automotive News]