Nissan Upgrades Versa, Hopes to Keep Sales Title

First Up 08/06/19

Subaru Retailers Get Some Love in Latest Commercial

Subaru of America is hooked on a feeling. That feeling is love, an emotion that has been a recurring theme in the Japanese automaker's U.S. marketing since 2008, evolving and growing, just like the once-niche brand. According to Automotive News, in its latest TV commercial, Subaru is shifting the love theme from its products to the philanthropic efforts of its retailers. Named "We Call It Our Love Promise," the 30-second clip shows various scenes of Subaru retailers working in their communities, whether fundraising or volunteering for causes. Subaru of America CEO Tom Doll is also shown at a Camden school event, where the automaker donated books to children. Click here to watch.  The commercial ends with "Love. It's what makes Subaru, Subaru," a subtle change to the automaker's tag line of "Love. It's what makes a Subaru, a Subaru," the phrase introduced in a 2008 commercial that launched a new marketing era. For more on the ad, including why it doesn’t feature a single vehicle, click here.

Beltway Talk Podcast: Dealer Sentiment & D.C.

AIADA is sharing its latest episode of the Beltway Talk Podcast today, featuring  Charles Chesbrough, Senior Economist and Senior Director of Industry Insights for Cox Automotive. Charles, who has studied the American auto industry for more than 25 year as a quantitative analyst and researcher, has developed a unique perspective on what the future holds for dealers, and what issues are giving them the most heartburn in August 2019. In this episode, Charles shares with Beltway Talk listeners the results of Cox’s latest dealer sentiment study and how Washington, D.C., can drive sentiment through policy making. He covers July auto sales, the impact of tariffs, and what’s happening in the used market. Click here to listen. Then, read more from Cox on dealer sentiment here.

Nissan Upgrades Versa, Hopes to Keep Sales Title

Despite the slide in subcompact sales this year, Nissan is predicting holding the line on, if not increasing, deliveries of its Versa model. According to Wards,  the redesigned Versa subcompact sedan, which went on sale in the U.S. Aug. 2, has the usual updates given to most redesigned vehicles, but perhaps most importantly has the kind of infotainment and safety tech many car buyers are said to be clamoring for today. Click here to see it.  “We’ve got…a lot of safety features, a lot of technology that’s in this car that you wouldn’t expect in this segment,” said Rob Warren, director-chief marketing manager’s office for Nissan North America. Among tech-related creature comforts, buyers of all grades get push-button start and three USB ports, two for charging and one that charges and connects a device to the car’s head unit. Also standard across all grades is Bluetooth, Siri Eyes Free, Google Assistant and a 7-in. (18-cm) touchscreen. Despite the market shift toward light trucks, Nissan has said a survey it commissioned shows high consideration and satisfaction rates for cars, giving it hope the B-car segment will remain relatively strong. For more on the Versa, click here.

Minivan Sales Keep Falling, But Experts Say They’ll Live On

They were the suburban vehicle of choice in the 1990s and early 2000s, but ever since, minivans appeared to be riding the slow lane to extinction. Many automakers have stopped selling them. In fact, according to the Detroit News, Chrysler sold more minivans by itself in their heyday than the entire industry does today. But don’t turn in the van keys just yet. For the automakers that still make them — Fiat Chrysler, Honda, Toyota and Kia — the minivan business is still good because the competition has bailed, giving them a bigger piece of a shrinking pie. And they’re hoping that as more millennials, now ages 23-38, raise families, they’ll see the value of sliding doors, fold-flat seats, ample storage and easy access to the third row. “There is nothing else that can compete with a minivan,” says Tim Kuniskis, head of passenger vehicles for Fiat Chrysler, which leads all automakers in sales with two minivans in the U.S. market. “From a carrying people and stuff perspective, nothing touches it.” For more on the potential for minivans, and why they carry such impressive profit margins, click here.

Opinion: Are Car Dealerships Passé? Not the Good Ones

We see it almost every day. Brick-and-mortar stores are closing and moving exclusively online. Is this the future of automotive sales? Are dealerships passé? No, says Wards contributor Richard Libin, especially not the good ones. In March, Tesla announced it planned to close its stores and move to 100 percent online sales. Only 10 days later, the company changed its position, stating it will evaluate each site and keep some higher-producing stores open. While not the exact model of a traditional dealership, this change underscores the need for consumers to learn firsthand about a vehicle and take it for a test drive before making what for most is a large financial obligation, regardless of the brand. For dealerships, it means sticking to the basics. Don Hall, CEO of the Virginia Automotive Dealers Assn., echoed that feeling in a news article: “Though the franchise system is literally over 100 years old now, it has worked for a reason, not because we’re dinosaurs holding onto dinosaur practices. But more because a car is a huge purchase in one's life.” For more on why, and how, dealerships will endure, click here.

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