Toyota Ranks No. 1, But VW Makes Biggest Gain in Car Brand Value

First Up 06/11/19

Toyota Ranks No. 1, But VW Makes Biggest Gain in Car Brand Value
Toyota kept its title as the world's most valuable car brand in a year in which only three automakers finished in the top 100 global brand list, down from five in 2018 and six in 2017, reports Automotive News. After Toyota, only Mercedes-Benz and BMW were ranked in the BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands 2019 study by market researcher Kantar Millward Brown. Ford and Honda dropped out after making the top 100 in 2018. Toyota has been No. 1 in 12 of the 14 years the study has been carried out. In the years it wasn’t No. 1, 2010 and 2012, it finished in second place. “Global reach is such a big part of Toyota’s position. In each area it’s got a good representative model mix,” Graham Staplehurst, Global BrandZ Strategy Director, told Automotive News Europe. “Toyota is also seen as pioneer for alternative energy." Read more here. 

Exterior Airbag Could Be the Next Big Thing in Auto Safety
If you ever wanted to protect your car with bubble-wrap, German supplier ZF has the feature you’ve been waiting for, reports The Detroit Free Press. A new airbag that deploys from the side of a vehicle before a collision can reduce the severity of occupant injuries 40%, according to ZF, which is bidding to become a major force in safety engineering in addition to its longstanding expertise in steering and transmissions. The system could be on a production vehicle in four years, but ZF hasn’t signed a customer yet. The airbag, which looks like a pontoon strapped to the car’s side, is packed inside the sill plates, below the vehicle’s doors. The system uses cameras, radar, and lidar to determine when a collision is unavoidable, igniting the air bag milliseconds before the oncoming vehicle strikes. The sensors will also communicate with safety systems inside the vehicle, for instance adjusting the seat belts for side impact. Read more here.

Nissan, Renault Split Deepens After Failed Fiat Renault Merger Talks
A public feud between Renault SA and Nissan Motor Co. escalated Monday despite French government efforts to stabilize the companies’ nearly two-decade-old alliance, reports The Wall Street Journal. Nissan Chief Executive Hiroto Saikawa leveled an unusually pointed critique at Renault, admonishing the French car maker for its recent threat to withhold support for proposed governance changes at Nissan. Mr. Saikawa confirmed reports over the weekend that Renault had sent him a letter indicating it would abstain from a vote on the governance revisions slated for the Japanese auto maker’s shareholder meeting later this month. The proposed governance changes at Nissan were triggered by the ouster of Carlos Ghosn, who was arrested last year in Japan and accused of financial wrongdoing while at the auto maker, charges he denies and is fighting in court. Mr. Ghosn forged the Renault-Nissan alliance and was chairman of both companies before his ouster. Read more here. 

Fiat Chrysler Teams Up with Amazon-Backed Driverless Car Start-Up Aurora
Fiat Chrysler is joining forces with Silicon Valley-based technology upstart Aurora to build driverless cars. According to CNBC, the two companies said Monday they had signed an agreement that lays the groundwork for a “powerful partnership in self-driving commercial vehicles.” The deal will enable Aurora to expand the scope of its self-driving software, the firm said, “allowing us to offer a variety of solutions to strategic customers in logistics, transit, and other use cases.” The news comes just under a week after the Italian-American automaker dropped its merger offer for French rival Renault. Aurora is already partnered with household names in the industry like Volkswagen and Hyundai. The firm boasts talent from founders who all previously worked at tech giants including Alphabet, Tesla, and Uber. Read more here. 

As New-Car Retailing Slows, Dealership Buy/Sell Action Rises in Q1
New-vehicle sales might be softening so far this year, but franchised dealerships themselves are turning at a significant pace, reports Auto Remarketing. Kerrigan Advisors reported that this year’s dealership buy/sell market rocketed to a strong start in Q1 with 54 completed transactions, representing a 38.5% increase year-over-year. Analysts said in the First Quarter 2019 Blue Sky Report that the first-quarter pace indicates that 2019 is on track to be the sixth consecutive year of 200 transactions or more. In spite of a 3.2% new-vehicle sales decline, Kerrigan Advisors founder and managing director Erin Kerrigan noted that continued profit stability and an increase in sellers coming to market is contributing to the robust outlook for the buy/sell market. “As Kerrigan Advisors predicted, 2019 is shaping up to be another solid year for buy/sells and valuations,” Kerrigan said in a news release. “In the face of a decline in new-vehicle sales, the diversity of the dealership business model continues to demonstrate its value through its ability to sustain profits. Read more here. 


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