Crossovers, Retail Demand Drive Hyundai to 6% Gain

First Up 12/03/19

Crossovers, Retail Demand Drive Hyundai to 6% Gain
An expanded crossover lineup and 19 percent increase in retail deliveries drove Hyundai to another U.S. sales gain in November with volume rising 6 percent to 60,601 units. The brand's sales have increased 15 out of the last 16 months, reports Automotive News. Hyundai said its retail gains last month were led by four core crossovers: Santa Fe (up 26 percent), Tucson (up 31 percent), and Kona (up 39 percent), and demand for the new three-row Palisade crossover, with more than 5,000 retail units, a 21 percent increase over October. The all-new, entry-level Venue crossover made its sales debut with 290 deliveries last month. Hyundai said fleet shipments fell 33 percent in November, representing 15 percent of total volume. Overall, industry sales are forecast to rise slightly in November, according to J.D. Power-LMC and ALG forecasts, helped by an extra sales day and weekend, heavy holiday promotions and rising incentives that reached record levels during the month. Other non-U.S. automakers will release November sales results later today. Read more here. 

Nissan CEO Plans Recovery Through U.S. Revival, Cost Control, and Fresh Product
Nissan's new CEO, Makoto Uchida, outlined a plan of attack for rebuilding the troubled automaker by reviving its U.S. business, cracking down on costs and increasing revenue through fresh product and next-generation technologies. Automotive News reports that as for relations with estranged partner Renault, Uchida said he would focus on short-term gains that benefit all members of the Renault, Nissan, Mitsubishi alliance while protecting Nissan’s autonomy. "The alliance is critical to reach our goals," Uchida said. "We need to look at what worked within the alliance, and what didn’t, and decide how to go forward." In his first comments as CEO, Uchida also said: "Nissan has enjoyed growth over the years thanks to the alliance. I intend to continue our alliance efforts while maintaining Nissan’s independence." Uchida said he is not focused on changing the companies’ cross-shareholdings for now. "Closer capital ties with Renault are not a focus in the short term," Uchida told reporters at a press briefing on Monday. Read more here. 

White House Opens New Fronts in Trade War, Targeting Brazil, Argentina, and France
President Trump revved up his global trade war on two fronts Monday, announcing tariffs on industrial metals from Brazil and Argentina while threatening even harsher penalties on dozens of popular French products. According to The Washington Post, the administration said the moves were necessary because U.S. trading partners were acting unfairly to disadvantage both the country’s traditional economic pillars as well as its best hopes for future prosperity. In a predawn tweet, Trump said he was ordering new tariffs on steel and aluminum from Brazil and Argentina to counter what he called a “massive devaluation of their currencies” at the expense of American farmers. The unexpected announcement upends the Latin American countries’ 2018 agreement with Trump to accept quotas on their shipments to the United States instead of the import taxes. Hours later, Robert E. Lighthizer, the president’s chief trade negotiator, released the results of a five-month investigation that concluded a French digital services tax discriminated against American Internet companies and should be met with tariffs of up to 100 percent on $2.4 billion in products such as cheese, yogurt, sparkling wine and makeup. Read more here. 

Nissan, Renault, Mitsubishi Motors Agree to Form New Venture for Advanced R&D 
The Nissan Motor Co, Renault SA, and Mitsubishi Motors Corp alliance has agreed to form a new company focused on research and development of advanced automotive technologies. According to The Detroit News, the three companies will announce a concrete plan in January, Kyodo reported on Sunday, citing people familiar with the matter. The new venture also aims to strengthen the alliance, in which relationships have frayed since the arrest and ouster of former CEO Carlos Ghosn, according to the report. Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi plan to appoint a general secretary to the helm of their partnership to boost cooperation and reboot joint operations. A new leadership team was installed at Nissan from Sunday, headed by 53-year-old Makoto Uchida, who ran the automaker's China business. Renault is also looking for a new chief executive, with the head of finance, Clotilde Delbos, in charge on an interim basis. Read more here.  

High-End Buyers Are Changing What They Want in a Vehicle
What premium-vehicle buyers want is changing, and that’s a big deal not just for luxury brands like Mercedes and Lexus, but Detroit 3 brands including Ford, Chevrolet, and Jeep, reports The Detroit Free Press. Premium vehicles — including models like the Ford F-150 Platinum, GMC Yukon Denali and Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland — account for just 13% of global sales, but 40% of automakers’ profits, according to a new study by consultant McKinsey & Co. That’s certainly true of the D3, which reap huge profits from the best-equipped versions of pickups and SUVs they also build in large numbers for business customers. Vehicles for which buyers pay extra for special features, like the Ford F-150 Raptor, are considered premium in a new study. Largely thanks to those high-end pickups and SUVs, the U.S. is the world’s largest market for premium vehicles, as McKinsey defines them. China’s catching up fast, though. McKinsey expects China and the U.S. will tie for No. 1 around 2023. Read more here.  

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