Category Archive:

Stuck to the Dealer's Floor – Inventory Numbers Tell the Story

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Which cars and trucks are planted to the dealer’s floor? In other words, which vehicles take the longest to sell? Who cars? Why does it matter, anyway?
Well, while it may not seem that important to you, it’s critically important to the industry s a whole… from the manufacturese, component suppliers, dealers and quite a few financial institutions. First, if you know the time it takes to sell a vehicle, you know how much it is dragging on the dealer’s floorplanning costs. Floorplanning is the term for the amount it costs the dealer to finance the a vehicle in inventory waiting to be sold. If a vehicle has been hanging around for weeks, he’ll be more likely to deal aggressively to get rid of it. Also, vehicles that have high days supply may be less popular. From that perspective, they may be the ones you want to stay away from.


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Chevrolet Avalanche 2500 4×4 – Wins Motorist's Choice Full-Size Pickup 4×4 3/4 Ton

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AutoPacific Take on the Win by the Chevrolet Avalanche 2500 4×4 – The transformer of pickup trucks, the Chevrolet Avalanche, scoops up a Motorist’s Choice award in the 3/4 Ton 4X4 segment. Owners rate the tough truck at the top of its class. Its Vortec® engines and versatility keep this full size pickup at the front of the pack.
IntelliChoice Analysis – IntelliChoice rates the Avalanche 2500 4X4 Cost of Ownership at just $48,906 over 5 years. Owners of the four-wheel-drive multi-tool keep factoring in the benefits, which more than outweigh the costs.


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2007 Escalade Romps Along the Coast

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Cadillac is hoping the 2007 Escalade is act two in the sales success the first Escalade enjoyed. We had a chance to take a brand-spanking-new GM Bling-Box up the coast and back down again to see how close to hitting the mark they might be.

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At first glance, the new Escalade is indeed an improvement upon the previous iteration. The interior is gorgeous and the exterior stance is powerful, masculine, and very street-hip. There is no way to avoid noticing this SUV, on the road, in a parking space, wherever. It is a moving personality statement – and whereas the H2 is about brawn, the Cadillac seems to add “class” to the equation.


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American Wretched Excess in England – Costco and Cadillac CTS

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Had to visit the Costco in Derby just to see if it was different from the Costco stores in the USA. NO! While the merchandise is slightly different (not as much Kirkland private label merchandise), the layout is very much the same. Much larger liquor department with an emphasis on champagne and cases of wine. Still at a substantial value.
Years ago, I read an interview with a Costco exec working on the planning for Costco stores in the UK. He was rubbing his hands with glee thinking about how their strategy of merchandising could transform British retailing. The uniquely American approach to the mass market is something dramatically different than traditional British retailing.

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The parking lot was the surprise. Arriving at 10:45 AM (store opened at 10AM) the parking lot was only about a third full and many of the vehicles in the lot were saloon cars (sedans with trunks) rather than the Chelsea tractors (SUVs) that are found in the USA… at least in Orange County.
Note the parking spaces are relatively generous. Not the sub-compact spaces found in most other car parks in England.
Still, felt like a touch of home.


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Cadillac CTS – English Country Houses – Phase II

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The Cadillac CTS continues to perform flawlessly through Derbyshire (pronounced “Darby-shir”) in the East Midlands of England. A couple of Motorway blasts followed by lumping around on B-Roads shows that the CTS is very flexible in the English driving environment. Still getting a fair amount of lookieloos in the city centres. Even saw a Stratsmore dealership that carries Cadillac and several other high end brands in Derby (prounced “Darby”).

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Cadillac CTS at Kedleston Hall

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Cadillac CTS at Hardwick Hall


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Cadillac CTS – Speedometer Challenges

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OK, from a product planner’s perspective, VehicleVocie can figure out how this happened with the Cadillac CTS speedo in Britain, but it’s hard to believe for a car that has a claimed top speed of 145MPH from its 3.6L 257HP V6.

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Didn’t feel like the V6 would go 260 MPH!
What are your thoughts?


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Cadillac CTS in England – Not the Ugly American

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For the past few days, I have been driving a Cadillac CTS around England. This evaluation is special because the CTS is the winner of AutoPacific’s 2006 Vehicle Satisfaction Award for Entry Luxury Cars in the USA.
The evaluation started at Heathrow Airport, driving to the outskirts of London and then North to the East Midlands. This drive isn’t as unique as that of former-colleague Rex Parker’s when his father shipped the family 1964 Lincoln Continental convertible to the UK for an extensive driving vacation in the ’60s, but the reaction to American iron is interesting and instructive.

Cadillac CTS at Newstead Abbey – Lord Byron’s Family Home


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Cadillac CTS at Calke Abbey – Stately Home in Decline

CTS – D-Segment Luxury Entry in Europe

The CTS is an Entry Luxury Car in the USA, but is relatively large for the English driving environment. It dwarfs smaller Renault Clios, Ford Focus C-Max, smarts, Vauxhall Tigras, Ford Kas and the myriad of B and C-Class transportation available in Europe but not in the USA.

The CTS sold in the UK is built in Belgium and has right hand drive. While the CTS may be a bit large for the local car park of B and C-Class cars, there are fair number of BMW 5-Series, Mercedes E-Class, Volvo S60, Audi A6, Peugeot 407, Renault Laguna and even the remaining Rover 75s and MG ZT saloons to compete with. With few CTS saloons sold in England, the car turns heads usually in the slow motion maneuvering through city centres. Young guys crane their heads to see what the Cadillac is.


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GM's New Trucks

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We Catch the Summer Reveal of All-New Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra
GM’s leader Rick Wagoner took some time from his work on the turnaround project and the ongoing Renault-Nissan tie-up evaluation to introduce new products critical to GM’s future profitability and success. VehicleVoice contributors Jim Hossack and Stephanie Brinley, from AutoPacific‘s Market Research and Industry Analysis offices, were on hand for a first look. Brinley helps with the overview, while long-time full-size truck owner Hossack tells us what’s missing.

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The current full-size Chevrolet Silverado (image here) and GMC Sierra, developed under GM’s GMT800 program and first introduced for 1999MY, launched to strong reviews and well-deserved praise. Sales increased throughout the lifecycle and combined they outsold their rivals. Even in 2005, GM outsold the Ford F-series by about 80,000 units, according to AutoPacific’s Sales Forecast Service.
The GMT900 pickups offer significant improvements to body, chassis, and powertrain. GM developed them with the eye to improving on every level an already successful truck. We saw them in pre-production form, but didn’t get the chance to drive them. Based on our first look, the trucks will arrive boasting a best-in-class standing. The 1500 series gets to showrooms in November 2006. Heavy-duty (2500 and 3500) models arrive during the first quarter of 2007. Unlike the previous generation, which rolled out over two years, all versions of the GMT900 trucks roll out in five months.
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The Good Stuff
On a bright, hot August morning, dozens of Silverado and Sierras drove up in front of us at the GM Milford, Michigan, proving grounds. Showing off their versatility and working natures, the display trucks towed boats and equipment, hauled hay and horse trailers. The message was clear: Choice and capability. Whatever you need these trucks to do, they can do it. Whatever form you need, they have it. Short beds, medium beds, long beds, crew cabs, regular cabs, extended cabs with a cool new 170-degree opening rear door, all are available from the GM trucks. It was a dizzying array, but all these options keep loyal buyers happy and to prove that GM is dedicated to full-size pickups.
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Cadillac SRX Sports a New Interior

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Though the SRX has not seen many changes since its introduction in 2003, for the 2007 model year it gets a new interior. The new interior is possible in part by using methods developed with the uplevel interiors of the STS and XLR V-Series models, which feature hand-sewn leather and sumptuous dashboards.

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Coverings for the instrument panel, center console, and door panels being cut, sewn, and wrapped by hand. One of the advantages of this means the elimination of the need for a door shape for the passenger-side airbag to pop out of, giving a cleaner look to the dashboard. Instead of the plastic door, perforations on the underside of the leather allow the airbag to deploy when needed. There are more storage cubbies, including one hidden on the passenger’s side of the instrument panel above the glovebox under the wood trim. Speaking of wood, that’s new, too, at least when you take the optional interior. Instead of a traditional wood, Cadillac uses an exotic wood from East Africa called Sapele (sa-pell-i) Pommele, traditionally used for fine home furniture and high-end acoustic guitars.
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The former optional stereo is now standard and there is a new theater package optional stereo system with Bose 5.1 Cabin Surround sound, DVD navigation, rear-seat DVD entertainment, and an auxiliary port for MP3 players. We haven’t seen it in the leather yet, but this could be a luxurious year to choose the SRX.
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The change does not affect engine offerings. SRX buyers continue to choose between a 3.6L V6 or 4.6L V8, though the V8 gets a six-speed automatic this year instead of five speeds.
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AutoPacific Vehicle Satisfaction Results – Japanese Brands On Top

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The AutoPacific 2006 Vehicle Satisfaction Awards honor products in nineteen categories or segments. Nine categories are cars and ten are trucks.
Overwhelming Win by Japanese Brands in Satisfaction by Vehicle Type
Overall, owners of Japanese brand vehicles rate their cars or trucks at the top of their category in ten of the nineteen categories. Owners of European brand vehicles rated their vehicle tops in two categories – Volkwagen Passat in the Premium Mid-Size Car Category and the MINI Cooper in the Image Compact Car class. The American Big Three had five wins… Lincoln Navigator won it all with the highest rating of any vehicle – car or truck; Cadillac CTS, Mercury Milan, Chevrolet Corvette, Chevrolet Silverado Heavy Duty. OK, that leaves two winners unaccounted for… those are from Hyundai.
The Hyundai Azera is the top rated car, even beating top class luxury cars like the Lexus LS430, jaguar XJ, BMW 7-Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class. The Hyundai Santa Fe is the top rated Mid-Size SUV for the fifth time in its six year history… this win comes just months before it is replaced by an all new Santa Fe to be produced in America.
So…
Japanese Brands – 10 with Suzuki having its first ever win
American Brands – 5 with Chrysler Group having zero wins
European Brands – 2
Korean Brands – 2
Check http:/.vehiclevoice.com for the complete listings.


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