How Hyundai's Genesis Plans to Grow – Quickly

First Up 01/14/20

German Prosecutors File Charges Against 6 VW Employees Over Emissions Scandal
German prosecutors on Tuesday filed charges against six Volkswagen employees for their role in the automaker's emissions-cheating scandal, reports Automotive News. Prosecutors in Brunswick, Germany, accused the unnamed employees of fraud and false advertising as well as tax evasion, since VW cars equipped with illegal emissions-cheating software should not have received road worthiness certification and tax breaks. The employees worked at the automaker between 2006 and 2015 and were below management board level, prosecutor Klaus Ziehe said, adding it was unclear whether they are still employed at the automaker. The accused were responsible for the fact that authorities and customers in Europe and the U.S. were deliberately misled with the aid of unauthorized software fitted in the VW Group vehicles, the prosecutors office said in a statement. Three of the employees are accused of acting as perpetrators, the other three accused of aiding and abetting the cheating, the statement said. Read more here.

How Hyundai's Genesis Plans to Grow – Quickly 
South Korean premium contender Genesis has sleek design, cutting-edge technology and accolades galore from auto buffs. What it lacks is a full lineup, brand recognition and, crucially, customers. But, reports Automotive News, new global brand boss William Lee says that is about to change in a big way. The hard-charging Lee is rapidly rolling out a "3+2+1" strategy that will build a lineup of three sedans, two crossovers and one electric vehicle by the end of next year and, it is hoped, trigger a torrent of sales. Lee, a veteran of several overseas posts who just returned to Hyundai Motor Group's headquarters in Seoul after a stint with the carmaker in the U.S., isn't mincing words about what he has in store. "We call it a 'quantum jump,' " Lee, 60, told Automotive News here last month in his first interview since taking the helm of the Genesis division Nov. 1. "There is no reason we cannot grow significantly. In two years, we will have a very strong six-vehicle portfolio." Read more here. 

Millennials Could End Up Being a Boon to the U.S. Auto Market 
It turns out millennials don’t hate driving, after all. As the generation born between 1981 and 1996 begin to reach their family formation years, they are getting licensed to drive at the highest rate in 40 years, an analyst at Benchmark Co. said in a report Monday. The Detroit News reports that licensed drivers in the U.S. reached a record 227.5 million in 2018, and the portion of the population that’s driving has risen every year since 2014, the report said. That’s good news for automakers that have fretted over young Americans spurning the right-of-passage of getting a driver’s license at age 16. Millennials have simply delayed that step, but are now beginning to get them in numbers equal to or higher than their car-loving baby boomer parents. At 84 million strong, they now outnumber boomers, with about 20% more births per year. Read more here. 

Lamborghini's 2019 Sales Jump 43%, Driven by its Urus SUV 
Lamborghini reported a scorching 43% jump in sales in 2019, driven by its new Urus SUV. Lamborghini is the latest high-end car company to report record sales in 2019, boosted by their hulking, powerful SUV’s than traditional sports cars. According to CNBC, Lamborghini said it sold 8,205 vehicles worldwide in 2019, up from 5,750 in 2018. With the 2017 launch of the Urus – a 641-horsepower SUV that starts at $210,000 and can do zero to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds – Lamborghini has doubled its sales over two years. Of its 8,205 total, just under 5,000 were from the Urus. The question now is whether the company, owned by Volkswagen’s Audi brand, can continue to grow sales while maintaining its reputation as a hyper-exclusive maker of super-cars like the Huracan and Aventador. Read more here. 

Cheaper Batteries, More Chargers for Electric Car Buyers in 2020 
Bloomberg reports that the rush to electrify transportation will shift to Europe from China in 2020 as carmakers and governments work to cut carbon emissions that lead to global warming, according to a forecast from BloombergNEF, Bloomberg LP’s primary research service on energy transition. In the report, “EVs and New Mobility: Trends to Watch in 2020,” BNEF analysts estimate that global car companies will sell about 2.5 million electric passenger vehicles this year, 20% more than in 2019. While China will continue to dominate the global electric car market, the country’s decision to reduce subsidies will help shift growth momentum to Europe. New models from companies such as Volkswagen AG will help Europe sell 800,000 electric cars by the end of the year, up 60% from 2019, according to BNEF. Read more here.

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Around the Web

FCA Mechanic is Quietly Transforming Muscle Cars in Unmarked Garage [USA Today]

Subaru's New Forester is Lost in Translation [The Detroit Bureau]

China's Auto Market Stumbles After 30-Year Boom [WSJ]

European Supercars to Pack Downtown Detroit [Detroit Free Press]