Mercedes Partners with Dealers for Subscription Pilot in Nashville, Philadelphia

First Up 04/12/18

April 12, 2018

Mercedes Partners with Dealers for Subscription Pilot in Nashville, Philadelphia
Mercedes-Benz USA will launch its vehicle subscription program in Nashville and Philadelphia, setting up a head-to-head fight with BMW as the luxury rivals try out a new type of relationship with their customers. The pilot, which starts in June, will be operated in partnership with Mercedes-Benz dealers in the two cities. Automotive News reports that BMW is also using Nashville as the test market for a subscription plan. It will start making deliveries there next month. The Mercedes-Benz pilot, called the Mercedes-Benz Collection, is being jointly launched by the brand and its financial arm. It will offer multiple subscription tiers in each location and allow customers to frequently switch vehicles depending on needs or preference. The company isn't yet disclosing the number of tiers being offered or pricing, but it said the monthly fee will include insurance, roadside assistance and vehicle maintenance. For more on each tier, and what role dealers will play, click here.

Auto Industry Complexities Defy Easy Trump Fix
President Donald Trump started his term as the Detroit auto industry’s best friend in at least a generation. His policies since then suggest reality can be more complex. According to the Detroit News, the Trump administration’s proposals on fuel economy and trade — with Canada and Mexico, with China, and maybe with special barriers to foreign-made vehicles imported into the United States — threaten to upend delicate balances the industry has spent years refining, analysts and ranking officials say. “One always has to be aware of the unintended consequences,” said U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich). Speaking about the president’s relationship with automakers, she said, “I know how complicated the issues are, and I know how complicated the man is.” An example: Non-tariff barriers ostensibly designed to ensure compliance with U.S. emissions standards theoretically could target Buicks built in China, South Korea and Germany. They also could target small trucks and SUVs made by Ford Motor Co. in Spain and India — all sold in U.S. showrooms to American consumers who likely would face higher prices. For the full story, click here.

2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback Can See Pedestrians In Low Light, But Bikers Only In The Day
The 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback is the first North American car to get the company's second-generation Toyota Safety Sense (TSS) safety suite. Among other updates, the good news is that it can now detect pedestrians in low light. But if that same person is on a bicycle, TSS 2.0 needs daylight to identify the shape. The problem, apparently, is that bikes come in more shapes and sizes than people do. For now, TSS 2.0 will continue to have this limitation. Forbes reports that an update, if it were to come, would have to wait until a next-generation version of TSS, not as an over-the-air or dealer-installed update to what's on the cars now. Little by little, Toyota is introducing the next steps towards autonomous driving technology to its cars. Click here to see the Corolla. Business Insider reports that the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback also will have two all-new transmission options, a standard six-speed iMT manual, and a Dynamic-Shift continuously variable unit. For complete coverage, click here.

Mitsubishi’s Most-Viewed Ad Strings Viewers Along
In the most-viewed spot for the week of April 2-8, a violin player is shown vigorously playing over action shots of the ’18 Eclipse Cross, which customers can lease for $189 a month. Click here to watch. It’s not every day that a violin features prominently in a car commercial, so Mitsubishi’s appearance atop’s ranking of the most-viewed automotive ads – those that have racked up the highest number of impressions across national broadcast and cable TV airings – is unique and unexpected. According to Wards, second place goes to Chevrolet and its spot featuring first-time Chevy owners that has been on the chart for weeks. This ad has the best iSpot Attention Index (122) in the ranking, getting 22 percent fewer interruptions than the average auto ad (interruptions include changing the channel, pulling up the guide, fast-forwarding or turning off the TV). At No.3 is Honda with a new ad for the ’18 Accord Hybrid that’s all about what pushes people further. Click here for the full story, and other top ranked commercials.

VW's Warring Stakeholders to Hash Out a New Strategy
Volkswagen AG's directors will meet on Thursday to discuss a far-reaching shake-up of the company's structure and leadership, in a test of unity for the automaker's often divided management, labor chiefs and other stakeholders. CEO Matthias Mueller is expected to be replaced by VW brand boss Herbert Diess after failing to refocus the group's portfolio of car brands, ranging from Skoda to Lamborghini. That was a key pillar of "Strategy 2025" which promised extensive cost savings to fund investments to help transform the company into a leader in cleaner cars and new mobility services after the diesel emissions scandal of 2015. According to Automotive News, VW's efforts to reform have often been stifled by powerful labor unions who command half of the seats on the board of directors, and the German state of Lower Saxony, which controls a 20 percent voting stake. For the full story on the key players and issues facing Volkswagen, click here.

Webinar: Where Have All the Good Used Cars Gone?
Just back from the NADA Convention, award winning speaker Doug Hadden, Executive Director Dealer Sales and Services at ADESA, will join AutoTalk to investigate where you can find those profitable $8,000 - $12,000 trade-ins. These highly sought after cars have been in short supply for quite some time. Doug shares some great tips on how to locate and purchase these in-demand units.

Doug will address the following opportunities:

  • Digitally offered fresh trades 

  • First offered open sales other brands

  • Upstream closed online sales

Happening Tuesday, April 17, 2018, with sessions held at 10:00 a.m. EDT and 4:00 p.m. EDT. To register for one or both sessions, click here.


Around the Web

The Toyota Land Cruiser Utility Is The Basic Stripped-Out Diesel Manual SUV Of Your Dreams [Jalopnik]

'Booth Babes' are Vanishing from Auto Shows [CNN]

LeBron James’ Car Collection: 10 Vehicles He Bought and Forgot [Cheat Sheet]

Better Car Seats Are Just the Start: Road Safety Lessons From Sweden [NY Times]