Mercedes Applies for Tax Relief for Projects at Two U.S. Plants

First Up 09/26/23

This month’s Testimonial Tuesday is from Jim Hudson, AIADA Board member and founder & principal of Jim Hudson Automotive Group for NetJets. “Superior quality, exceptional customer service and reliability, that’s why I’ll be flying NetJets for another ten plus years!” Click here to learn more about NetJets.

‘Be Afraid, Very Afraid,’ Car Dealers Told

The federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which oversees lending institutions, officially wields no direct control over car dealers. But the agency is stepping up working with other regulators, such as the Federal Trade Commission and individual state attorneys general, to target dealers for alleged unfair, deceptive, and abusive auto lending practices, reports Wards. So says attorney Terry O’Loughlin, compliance director at automotive information technology services provider Reynolds & Reynolds. Speaking at an Association of Dealership Compliance Officers webinar, he says CFPB Director Robert Chapra has a “hit list” targeting what the bureau considers undue fees and markups on indirect auto loans that dealers arrange between their customers and banks. In doing the middleman work for indirect auto loans, dealers typically get a so-called “reserve” cut. That’s an extra percentage point or two added to the lenders’ wholesale rates. It’s a traditional practice, but the CFPB is no fan of it. “Dealer markups are not expressly prohibited, but the CFPB has sought to render enforcement against industries it has no direct control over,” O’Loughlin says. Click here for the full story.

Mercedes Applies for Tax Relief for Projects at Two U.S. Plants

German automaker Mercedes-Benz has applied for tax breaks for potential projects at two of its U.S. plants under the Inflation Reduction Act, a company spokesperson said on Monday. "We have decided to participate in the application process for production-related tax relief" under the IRA for the plants in Alabama and South Carolina, according to the spokesperson. German daily Handelsblatt, citing several sources, reported that Mercedes is looking to expand its Alabama plant to produce the all-electric GLC from 2026 and wants to build fully electric delivery vans and medium-sized luxury transporters on the new VAN.EA electric platform at its plant in South Carolina. According to Automotive News, a final decision is expected later this year or early next year. Mercedes did not want to comment on the production plan for the electric GLS. The IRA is the U.S. government's key incentive and investment program to transition the economy to climate-friendly production, including by encouraging carmakers to manufacture electric vehicles in the United States. Click here for the full story.

Autonomous Vehicles to Spend Another Decade on the Back Burner

Data analytics firm S&P Global Mobility estimates it will take another decade for autonomous vehicles to proliferate as adoption rates continue to underwhelm automotive industry forecasters. Rather than seeing widespread use, autonomous vehicles will remain niche products in the coming years, primarily used for ridesharing, due to technological limitations. According to CBT News, although driver assistance features are improving and becoming commonplace, full self-driving is still far off. A system able to “go anywhere and do everything a human driver can,” classified by the National Highway as Level 5 Autonomy, will take at least 12 years to appear, according to S&P Global Mobility associate director for the autonomy practice Jeremy Carlson. Currently, most computer-assisted driving platforms, such as Tesla’s FSD and autopilot systems, are classified as Level 2. The only consumer vehicles to qualify for Level 3 self-driving (in the U.S.) are the upcoming 2024 Mercedes-Benz EQS sedan and S-Class, certified earlier this year. Despite its slow progress, Carlson expects the technology to reach Level 4 capabilities “on a much shorter timeline” than Level 5. Click here for the full story.

Porsche Broadens Cayenne Lineup with Third PHEV Variant

Porsche will switch its flagship model — the Cayenne crossover — to battery power in 2027. Meanwhile, the sports car maker is broadening the nameplate's lineup with plug-in hybrid offerings. According to Automotive News, the 2024 Cayenne S E-Hybrid, available in coupe and crossover body styles, will be the third electrified Cayenne model when it arrives in the U.S. in spring. The midsize crossover will start at $100,750, while the coupe launches at $105,650. Both prices include shipping. The third-generation Cayenne is likely the final internal combustion engine version. Production is expected to end in early 2029, according to AutoForecast Solutions. The Cayenne is Porsche's second bestseller after the Macan compact crossover, accounting for 8,911 U.S. sales in the first half of this year. The new Cayenne variant, which slots between the E-Hybrid and the performance Turbo E-Hybrid PHEV models, delivers on the attribute that Porsche buyers crave — power, said Ryan Kirchner, new-vehicle sales manager at Porsche Main Line near Philadelphia. The S E-Hybrid "fills the power gap," Kirchner said. "Porsche wants its customers to be able to build their dream car, so that means having several variants to fit individual preferences." Click here for the full story.


Around the Web


VW ID.7 Has ErgoActive Seats to Stretch Your Pelvis and Spine [Carscoops]

2024 Toyota Grand Highlander Hybrid First Test: Giving the People What They Wan [Motortrend]

How Honda Overcame the WWII Stigma to Live the American Dream [Carbuzz]

The Rising Costs of Owning a Car [The New York Times]