Kia to Launch First Dedicated EV Next Year

First Up 09/16/20

Kia to Launch First Dedicated EV Next Year

Kia Motors will launch its first dedicated electric vehicle next year as part of a new seven-model EV-only lineup it will roll out across several segments through 2027, reports Automotive News. The new EV strategy, outlined Wednesday by Kia CEO Ho Sung Song at the automaker's Hwasung plant, is part of a push to derive 25 percent of its global sales from EVs by 2029. The plan comes just a month after sibling brand Hyundai Motor announced plans to introduce a global battery-electric brand under the Ioniq name. It is all part of the Hyundai Motor Group's effort to sell 1 million electric vehicles worldwide by 2025. In that period, the Korean auto juggernaut wants to be a market leader with a 10 percent global share in the EV segment. The dedicated EV will be code-named CV and be delivered worldwide starting next year, Kia said in a release. Unlike Kia's Soul EV, which was an electrified version of an existing gasoline-powered nameplate, the new entry will be electric-only. It will be built on a new Electric-Global Modular Platform, or E-GMP, which Kia said will have the best-in-class interior space. Read more here (Source: Automotive News). 

Retail Spending Has Continued to Rebound, But Pace Likely Slowed in August

Consumers likely boosted U.S. retail spending in August for the fourth month in a row, but at a slower pace than earlier in the summer as the country continued to struggle with the coronavirus pandemic, reports The Wall Street Journal. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal forecast that retail sales increased a seasonally adjusted 1.1% in August from a month earlier. That would mark a slight cooling from the 1.2% increase recorded in July. Sales at auto dealerships make up about 20% of total retail sales, and economists expect spending on motor vehicles picked up strongly last month. That is in part due to higher vehicle prices, thanks to a combination of limited inventory, cheap financing and low fuel prices that have consumers gravitating to bigger, more expensive trucks and SUVs. Read more here (Source: The Wall Street Journal). 

Porsche Taps Top Marketing Exec to Head North America

Porsche has tapped its top global marketing executive to lead its U.S. business, reports Automotive News. Kjell Gruner, 53, will take over as CEO of Porsche Cars North America effective Nov. 1. Gruner is Porsche's chief marketing officer and global vice president of marketing. Gruner replaces Klaus Zellmer, 53, who is being elevated to chief sales officer at Volkswagen. Gruner joined Porsche in 1999 from Boston Consulting Group. In 2004, he joined Daimler, where he most recently was director of strategy for Mercedes-Benz Cars. He returned to Porsche in 2010 as chief marketing officer. "With Kjell Gruner's planned appointment, Porsche Cars North America could not be in better hands," Porsche AG sales chief Detlev von Platen said in a statement. "He has for years made a notable contribution to shaping the global development of the Porsche brand, most recently with the exceptional launch of the Porsche Taycan." Zellmer is moving up to replace Jürgen Stackmann, 59, who joined VW as head of sales in 2015 after holding board-level positions at VW Group subsidiaries Skoda and Seat. Read more here (Source: Automotive News). 

Electric Truck Maker Nikola's Shares Fall as SEC, DOJ Reportedly Examine Short Seller's Fraud Claims

Shares of electric truck maker Nikola tumbled Tuesday amid reports the Securities and Exchange Commission and Department of Justice are inquiring into short seller claims that the company misled investors, according to CNBC. Bloomberg news Monday night first reported that the SEC was looking into whether Nikola may have violated securities laws. The Financial Times followed Tuesday afternoon, reporting that the DOJ has called people to discuss the company and the report’s allegations in recent days. There’s no guarantee that either agency will launch a full investigation, but the reports were enough to send Nikola shares on Tuesday down 8.3% to $32.83. The stock continued to fall during extended-hours trading.  Short seller Hindenburg accused Nikola founder Trevor Milton of making false statements about its technology in order to grow the company and partner with auto companies. Read more here (Source: CNBC). 

Highway Death Rate Surged 20% During First Half of 2020 

The U.S. highway death rate surged by 20% during the first half of this year, even as Americans sharply reduced travel due to the coronavirus pandemic, reports The Detroit Bureau. If the preliminary federal data holds, it would mark one of the sharpest rises in motor vehicle deaths on a miles-driven basis that the U.S. has seen in decades. And, if June is any indication, the situation could get substantially worse as more Americans return to their stores, offices, and factories or simply start driving again, warned the National Safety Council. There are two ways in which safety regulators and experts track highway deaths: the total number of people killed in various crashes, and the number of those killed for every 100 million miles driven. The NSC notes that the death rate per 100 million miles is up despite overall traffic levels are down 17 percent. Read more here (Source: The Detroit Bureau). 

Webinar: Maintaining Your Sales Momentum

The last few months have seen some respectable new and used car sales results. Join former dealer and Google Automotive Team Member Lane Fortinberry on Tuesday, September 29 at 2:00pm ET for some modern online tips on maintaining the sales momentum:

  • Driving Digital sales through effective Online Retailing practices

  • A look at other "brick and mortar" industries that have leaned in to eCommerce, what can we learn?

  • New and cutting edge digital opportunities to increase sales

To register, click here.

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$200M Treasure Map Shows Last Location of Famous Missing Cars [Fox News

5 Cars We Wish Were Still Being Made [MarketWatch]

GMC Pushes Forward with Hummer on Success of Current Portfolio [The Detroit News]