March New Vehicle Sales to Rise 6.2% Over Last Year

First Up 03/24/23

March New Vehicle Sales to Rise 6.2% Over Last Year

A joint forecast issued by J.D. Power and LMC Automotive projects that new-vehicle sales for the month of March will reach 1,330,700 vehicles. The figure, which includes both retail and non-retail sales, represents a 6.2 percent increase over the same month last year. Further, combined retail and non-retail sales for all of the first quarter of this year will surpass 3.5 million vehicles, which represents a 7.3 percent year-over-year increase. Breaking out retail vs. non-retail sales, consumers are projected to purchase a total of 1,090,500 vehicles: a 1.9 percent increase over March 2022. Further, average transaction prices rose by 3.5 percent to a March record of $45,818. The Detroit Bureau reports, the rise in sales plus the record retail transaction prices means consumers will spend nearly $50 billion on new vehicles this month. This is the second-highest amount recorded for any March, and an increase of 5.5 percent over the same month last year. Click here for the full story.

U.S. Treasury to Release EV Battery Sourcing Rules Next Week

The U.S. Treasury Department said it will release guidance next week on sourcing requirements for electric vehicle battery tax subsidies under President Biden's climate change law, the first in a string of highly anticipated rules to determine how broadly the credits can be used. The auto, battery and clean energy industries have been awaiting guidance on complex questions governing eligibility for hundreds of billions of dollars of incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act, signed into law last year. After outlining battery sourcing rules, officials said, Treasury will follow in the next couple of months with guidance around bonus tax credits for clean energy projects sited in fossil fuel-dependent communities, those built with domestically produced equipment, and those paying workers prevailing wages and employing apprentices, reports Reuters. It will also issue guidance on selling tax credits and making them refundable, which allows entities without tax liability to use them. Treasury did not specify when the future guidance announcements would be made. Many of the rules are aimed at weaning the United States off dependence on China, which dominates the global supply chains of products like EV batteries and solar panels. Click here for the full story.

VW's Cupra Brand Weighs Entering U.S. Market with Larger EVs

Cupra, Volkswagen Group’s sporty EV-focused brand, is starting market testing for a possible expansion to the U.S., Seat and Cupra CEO Wayne Griffiths said. The potential move is part of a push to add new markets for Cupra, which was once a performance-oriented sub brand of VW’s Spanish brand Seat but now has its own distinct models. Cupra has started sales in Mexico and Australia, and it will soon add Colombia and Chile. Expansion to new markets will help Cupra reach its mid-term goal of selling 500,000 cars a year, reports Automotive News. "As far as our ambition of being truly global, we are currently analyzing a possible entry into the North American market," Griffiths said. "At the moment, we are testing our brand with potential clients; we think Americans would love Cupra’s design and great performance." The first results of those tests are very promising, he added. Griffiths did not say which models Cupra might sell on the U.S. market. The current lineup includes four compact models: The Leon hatchback, the Formentor crossover, the Ateca crossover and the Born, a full-electric hatchbacks. Click here for the full story.

Why Jaguar Is Asking Some Dealers to Give Up Their Franchises By 2025

A picture is starting to develop of what Jaguar's U.S. dealership network might look like in 2025 when an all-electric and far more expensive three-vehicle lineup replaces today's models. It will be smaller — perhaps dramatically so — and many sales could take place digitally as the storied brand looks to reinvent itself after a number of struggles dating back more than 50 years. Since 1968, Jaguar has had four corporate owners, reports Automotive News. Its current owner, Tata Motors, bought the brand and Land Rover from Ford Motor Co. in 2008. In addition, Jaguar has dealt with labor issues and battled quality problems as well as suffered through product droughts, outdated plants, executive turmoil, and other crises. Jaguar Land Rover has started the process of reducing Jaguar stores by offering dealers extra allocations of hot-selling Land Rover nameplates, such as the redesigned Range Rover, Range Rover Sport, and Defender, if they give up their Jaguar franchises. It's unclear how many dealers have already accepted the offer, and it could be as many as 40, said one dealer who has been following the situation but asked to not be identified. Click here for the full story.

E-Fuels Could Cost Consumers 50% More Than Fossil Fuels, Still Pollute

A fight is brewing in the European Parliament over the future of internal combustion engines. While some believe that e-fuels should be exempt from the coming ban on CO2 emitting vehicles, critics argue that their energy intensive production could make them more expensive and more detrimental than they are useful to the environment. A recent study by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) suggests that e-fuels could cost up to €2.80 per liter, or the equivalent of $11.52 USD per gallon at current exchange rates. That’s roughly 50 percent more expensive than the price of gasoline in Germany today, reports Carscoops. That would mean that it would cost consumers $228 to fill a 20-gallon tank, such as the one in a Porsche Cayenne. The example of the Cayenne is particularly salient here because it is high-end automakers, in particular Porsche and Ferrari, who are trying to have e-fuels enshrined in the European Union’s plans for the future. Critics argue that the enormous amount of energy that goes into producing e-fuels, as well as the need to import it from abroad, makes them prohibitively expensive for everyday drivers. Click here for the full story.


Around the Web

Aston Martin DB12 Coming to America as DB11 Successor [Carbuzz]

Next-Gen 2025 Toyota 4Runner Will Have Hybrid Powertrain [Motortrend]

2023 Mazda CX-50: A Crossover for the Future-Phobic [The Wall Street Journal]

Four Ways for Car Buyers to Survive the Interest-Rate Crunch [Reuters]