New Crossovers Drive Hyundai to Gain

First Up 09/04/19

New Crossovers Drive Hyundai to Gain
New and redesigned crossovers, along with strong retail growth, drove Hyundai to another U.S. sales gain in August, with volume rising 12 percent for the second consecutive month, reports Automotive News. It is the brand’s 13th straight month of year-over-year gains. Retail volume increased 11 percent in August, Hyundai said, marking the sixth time in the last seven months that the brand achieved year-over-year retail sales growth. Hyundai, along with Kia, were also among the few automakers to reduce incentive spending in August, according to ALG data. Retail deliveries of Hyundai crossovers totaled 34,844, a monthly record, with sales of the subcompact Kona rising 34 percent. Hyundai said August sales of the new three-row Palisade crossover topped 5,000, exceeding company targets. "Given this response we are working hard to increase dealer inventory to satisfy the tremendous demand” for Palisade, Randy Parker, vice president of national sales for Hyundai, said in a statement. Read more here. 

Dorian Pivots North, Spooking Dealers
Most Florida dealerships either remained closed or operated on bare-bones staff Tuesday as Hurricane Dorian pivoted north, while dealers in the Carolinas and Georgia scrambled to prepare for the storm. According to Automotive News, the eye of the storm wasn't expected to pass over the Sunshine State, though warnings of major storm surges along the coast were issued. On Wednesday morning, the storm stood about 90 miles east of Daytona Beach, Fla., with maximum sustained winds of 105 mph. Dorian was moving 8 mph on a north, northwest path. AutoNation Inc.'s emergency management team said in a message to employees that it was closely monitoring Dorian and was reopening some of its Florida locations, including all of its Palm Beach and Delray stores. Stores in Jacksonville, meanwhile, remained closed. "Please be assured that all associates will continue to be paid if their store is closed due to the hurricane. Any other store closures are unlikely at this time," the message read. Read more here. 

Fiat to Pull the 500 From North American Market
Americans' love for bigger vehicles is sending away another minicar — this time, the Fiat 500. According to The Detroit News, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV is ending production in North America of the subcompact car that led the reintroduction of the Fiat brand into the United States less than a decade ago and its 500e electrified version, spokesman Bryan Zvibleman said in a statement Tuesday. U.S. sales of the Fiat 500 were down 25% year-over-year through June, the most recent data the automaker has reported. It also was the Fiat brand's top seller so far this year, though the Fiat 124 Spider roadster sold more vehicles in June. The roadster along with the Fiat 500X all-wheel-drive compact crossover and the five-passenger Fiat 500L utility vehicle still will be available in North America. Read more here.

Auto Union Workers Overwhelmingly Vote to Authorize Strikes at GM, Ford, Fiat Chrysler
United Auto Workers members overwhelmingly granted union leaders authorization to strike during contract negotiations this year with General Motors, Ford Motor, and Fiat Chrysler, if needed. According to CNBC, the union on Tuesday announced about 96% of members at each of the automakers supported the action. That’s slightly down from negotiations four years ago, when workers at GM and Fiat Chrysler supported a strike by 97% and Ford at 98%. GM will lead the negotiations, which are expected to be the most contentious in at least a decade amid a slowdown in auto sales, a volatile trade environment and a widening federal probe into union corruption that led to UAW President Gary Jones’ home being searched last week by federal officials. Read more here. 

Mercedes SUVs Are Piling Up at German Airport
Daimler AG is storing thousands of cars at a former military airport in northern Germany, as the Mercedes-Benz maker faces supplier issues that are delaying deliveries of its revamped GLE sport utility vehicle to customers. Bloomberg reports that GLE SUVs and other models were lined up in blocks, some of which were 15 cars abreast and seven deep, stretching down the tarmac at the former Ahlhorn airport near the city of Bremen. The SUVs, which start at about $56,000, were made in the U.S. for European customers. The company has issued four profit warnings in little more than a year, most recently in July, when the company included a “slower model ramp-up” as one of the reasons for cutting its full-year guidance. At that time, Chief Executive Officer Ola Kallenius highlighted issues with the company’s SUVs on a quarterly earnings call. Problems with a supplier in the U.S. caused production bottlenecks, Kallenius said at the time. A Daimler spokeswoman detailed supplier problems after the simultaneous launch of the revamped GLE in several markets and a jump in output at the plant, leading to delays in getting the cars to customers. Read more here. 

CNA National Dealers Receive $18 Million Mid-Year Distributions from Participation Programs
CNA National returned $18.1 million to automobile dealers across the U.S. through its various participation programs so far in 2019, bringing its inception-to-date total to over half a billion dollars. “With more than $519 million distributed to our dealers over the years, these industry-leading retro and reinsurance options continue to offer an effective way to generate income,” said Joe Becker, president and CEO. Dealers can choose the structure that best meets their business and individual financial goals. CNA National reinsures vehicle service contracts, warranties, GAP and tire-and-wheel protection. The company has earned multiple awards as “Best Reinsurance Provider” in the Dealers’ Choice Awards, including first-place honors in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2017. To learn how CNA National can help you maximize your income potential and long-term success, call (800) 345-0191 x450.

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