Volkswagen Reveals Compact Pickup Concept That May Come to U.S.

First Up 04/15/19

Auto Tariff War Would Hurt More Than U.S.-China Fight: IMF Chief Economist
A new trade war sparked by U.S. automotive tariffs has the potential to do much more damage to global economic growth than the U.S.-China trade conflict has done, International Monetary Fund chief economist Gita Gopinath said on Thursday. Gopinath told Reuters in an interview that such a conflict would affect exports from many more countries and impose retaliatory duties on U.S. goods from numerous trading partners. “We are concerned about what auto tariffs would do to the global economy at a time when we are more in the recovery phase,” Gopinath said on the sidelines of the IMF and World Bank annual meetings in Washington. Should trade conflicts spill over into the automotive sector, it would also disrupt larger parts of global manufacturing supply chains, she said. The Commerce Department has submitted recommendations of its “Section 232” study into whether automotive imports constitute a threat to national security to the White House but has not revealed its contents. Under the Section 232 provision, Trump has until about May 17 to act on any automotive tariff recommendations contained in the report. Read more here. 

EU Agrees to Terms for Limited Trade Talks with U.S.
The European Union approved Monday its terms for negotiating a new trade deal with the United States, but set up a possible show-down with Washington by refusing to include agricultural products in the talks, reports The Washington Post. Making public the mandate for the EU’s executive commission to conduct negotiations on their behalf, the bloc’s member countries said that the new deal will focus exclusively on eliminating tariffs on industrial goods. The trade talks are the result of a preliminary deal reached last July by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and U.S. President Donald Trump as Brussels sought to head off a looming trans-Atlantic trade war after Trump slapped tariffs on imports of EU steel and aluminum. Trump has held out the threat of slapping auto tariffs on European cars should the trade talks fail to progress. Malmstrom has previously warned that the EU would break off any trade negotiations if he does. Read more here. 

Former VW CEO Winterkorn Charged with Fraud in Germany
According to Automotive News, prosecutors in the German city of Brunswick said on Monday they were pressing criminal charges against former Volkswagen Group CEO Martin Winterkorn in connection with the automaker's manipulation of diesel emissions testing. Four other executives are also being charged, the prosecutors' office said in a statement. The five are charged with fraud and violation of competition law. Winterkorn is accused of serious fraud because he failed to disclose the illegal manipulation of diesel engines to the responsible authorities in Europe and the U.S. and to customers. He also failed to prohibit the further installation of "defeat device" software after May 25, 2014, resulting in significantly higher fines, the statement said. The prosecutors allege that Winterkorn approved a software update in November 2014 at a cost of 23 million euros, which was "useless and was intended to further conceal the true reason for the increased pollutant levels in normal vehicle operation." Read more here. 

Consumers, Luxury Market Keep New York Auto Show Relevant
The show floor at New York International Auto Show should be packed this year despite the global trend that has automakers skipping traditional shows to tout new products, reports The Detroit News. The 950,000-square-foot floor space will display around 1,000 vehicles starting with the preview days Wednesday. Show organizers expect 1 million people to walk through the four levels of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center near the Hudson River. All but two major automakers are expected to attend, according to Chris Sams, the show's head of public relations. And most of the automakers that skipped Detroit's last winter show in 2019 will make an appearance in New York. The Detroit show plans to move to June in 2020 in a battle to stay relevant. New York has perks that places like Detroit don't. New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut make up one of the most robust new vehicle markets in the country — and there are a lot of luxury buyers. The New York show isn't immune to the pinch felt around the globe. Automakers are experimenting with ways to debut new vehicles. Some of them have decided they don't need to spend the money for floor space at every auto show. Read more here. 

Volkswagen Reveals Compact Pickup Concept That May Come to U.S.
Volkswagen is weighing the possibility of building a compact pickup for sale in the U.S. The German automaker plans to show a pickup concept called the Tarok at the New York Auto Show later this week, reports USA Today. The plans, revealed Monday morning, come after the Tarok made its debut at the Sao Paulo International Motor Show in Brazil in late 2018. Volkswagen revealed a larger pickup concept called the VW Atlas Tanoak at the New York show in 2018. The pivot toward the compact body style suggests that VW may be zeroing in on a real-life opportunity to jump into the intensely competitive market for U.S. pickup buyers. "Although there are no plans to produce the vehicle for the U.S. market, the Tarok concept is being shown to gauge market reaction for a truly versatile and compact entry-level pickup," VW said in a statement. The two-row Tarok concept is 193.5 inches long with a 73.2-inch bed that extends into the cab. It's 72 inches wide and 66 inches high. The wheelbase is 117.7 inches. It has a 1.4-liter, 147-horsepower, 4-cylinder turbocharged engine and all-wheel drive. Read more here. 

Smart Technology Sets the Pace for Accelerating Sales
Your service drive is rife with profitable opportunities to sell customers cars, as long as you know how to find them and communicate them in the right way. AIADA’s April AutoTalk features Kendall Billman, AutoAlert Senior VP. Listen on  Tuesday, April 16th at 2:00 p.m. EDT as Kendall discusses: 

  • Service drive sales and Smart Technology helps you predict, and even drive customer behavior 

  • Use the service drive to re-engage customers and convert new prospects 

  • Leverage geo-framing technology to deliver targeted ads at the right time

To register, click here.

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