Mercedes-Benz Taking Orders for New EQC Electric Crossover

First Up 05/10/19

Trump Sees 'No Need to Rush' China Talks as Trade War Escalates
President Donald Trump boosted tariffs Friday on $200 billion in goods from China and threatened to impose more in his most dramatic steps yet to extract trade concessions, saying there’s “no need to rush” a deal even though the uncertainty is roiling markets and clouding the global economy. Bloomberg reports that China said it will be forced to retaliate, though the government didn’t immediately specify how. The moves came after discussions between President Xi Jinping’s top trade envoy and his U.S. counterparts were to resume in Washington after making little progress Thursday, according to people familiar with the talks. The fresh wave of U.S. tariffs marked a sharp reversal from just last week, when U.S. officials expressed optimism that a pact was within reach. The escalation with China also signaled Trump’s willingness to risk more economic and political damage on his apparent belief that trade wars ultimately are winnable. In one of his tweets on Friday, Trump also said “the process has begun” to impose 25 percent tariffs on a further $325 billion in goods from China. That raises the prospect of all of China’s goods exports to the U.S. – worth about $540 billion last year – being subject to new import duties. Read more here. 

Subaru Earnings Tumble on Quality Woes, Incentives, and Sliding Scales
Operating profit at Subaru plunged by almost half in the latest fiscal year amid a fusillade of falling wholesale volume, higher incentives, and surging warranty outlays. Automotive News reports that Subaru's operating profit tumbled 49 percent to 195.53 billion yen ($1.76 billion) in the full fiscal year ended March 31, the automaker said on Friday in its earnings report. Net income dropped 33 percent to 147.81 billion yen ($1.33 billion) in the 12 months. Revenue declined 2.2 percent to 3.16 trillion yen ($28.51 billion) in the just-ended fiscal year, as worldwide wholesale volume slid 6.3 percent to 1.0 million units. Subaru's results were undercut by a rash of quality problems, mostly confined to Japan, that forced costly recalls and a temporary production shutdown. In January, Subaru lost almost 10 days of output as it halted output at its sole assembly plant in Japan. Lines were stopped to address a problem with electric power-steering units in the Forester and Crosstrek crossovers as well as the Impreza small car. That shutdown affected all models made in Japan, and Subaru suffered some 30,000 units of lost output. Read more here.

America's Best Car Insurance Companies
Clearsurance ranked insurance companies based on the consumer’s overall rating of the company, the insurer’s customer service, as well as each policyholder’s likelihood to renew and recommend the company to a friend. According to USA Today, what makes an insurer the best car insurance company isn’t simply one, or even two or three metrics. Having a fair price or having strong customer service alone isn’t enough. It’s a combination of many factors that result in a well-rounded and trustworthy car insurance company – one that will be there when you need them after a claim and one that provides strong customer service paired with fair rates. The second annual Clearsurance-24/7 Wall St. Car Insurance Survey rankings list uses the same proprietary algorithm used last year. The rating of each company is based on the consumer’s overall rating of the company, the insurer’s customer service, as well as each policyholder’s likelihood to renew and recommend the company to a friend. Read more here. 

Toyota Rolls Out Bigger Compensation Plan for Top Executives
Toyota Motor Corp. plans to make its top executives pay closer attention to the company’s stock price. Currently, executives at Japan’s largest car maker are paid almost entirely in cash. Now, reports The Wall Street Journal, Chief Executive Akio Toyoda hopes to encourage longer-term thinking by using restricted stock for a portion of executive pay. Toyota plans to ask shareholders to approve a proposal that would increase the total cap on board members’ aggregate compensation to ¥7 billion ($63 million), up from the current ¥4 billion. Of that ¥7 billion, up to ¥3 billion can be paid in cash and ¥4 billion in share allotments. Chief Financial Officer Koji Kobayashi said the aim was to keep everyone’s total compensation amounts essentially the same. The shift to more stock compensation will encourage “longer-term strategic thinking,” he said. A Toyota spokesman said the total cap was rising to give the company the flexibility to attract talent. Read more here. 

Mercedes-Benz Taking Orders for New EQC Electric Crossover
Mercedes-Benz is taking orders for its new EQC electric crossover vehicle, reports The Detroit Bureau. Mercedes-Benz has begun taking orders for its new electric vehicle, the EQC, which the German luxury-car maker describes as the “Mercedes-Benz of EVs.” The EQC has a range 445–471 kilometers, or about 270 miles, making it suitable for everyday use, she added. However, it’s following in the footsteps of Volkswwagen AG, which just put its new electric hatchback, the ID3 on sale May 8. It’s expected to start at around 30,000 euros, or $33,530 at current exchange rates, with deliveries  expected to begin early autumn. The new EV is classified as a crossover, but it bears a striking resemblance to many of the German brand’s new coupe-like sport-utility vehicles that have become popular. The look is enhanced with the lower waistline and the slope of the roof at the back. Read more here. 

Webinar: Let Go and Let Google 
Join Google's Senior Automotive Retail Strategist, Kelly McNearney, on Tuesday, May 21st at 2:00pm EDT as she demonstrates how to drive more dealership visits using Google machine learning. Kelly will discuss how dealers need to "let go" of traditional marketing and "let Google" use advanced algorithms, machine learning and data to bring their business into the digital age. To register, click here

Around the Web

This is What a "Luxury Car" Looked Like 50 Years Ago [MSN Autos]

Ferrari to Stop Supplying Maserati with Its Engines [Autoblog]

Mazda is Working on a Very Different Car Engine [Fox News]

VW's New Electric Car Passes 10K Orders in Just 24 Hours [CNBC]