Category: The Car Biz

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The all new VW Tiguan gives Volkswagen a much needed competitor in the hot compact crossover SUV market. Competing with the likes of the Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue, Toyota RAV4 and Ford Escape, Tiguan has to be outstanding to win in the consideration set including those vehicles. Is it good enough?

As published on Forbes.com

Daimler’s Sprinter commercial van has been a pioneer in the North American market, introducing commercial customers here to the tall and slab-sided European-style van format all the way back in 2001. Today, this format’s U.S. sales surpass that of the traditional American-style van as the latest full-size commercial vans from Ford and FIAT Chrysler Automobiles have followed Sprinter’s lead.

AutoPacific, an automotive specialist research and product planning consultancy, forecasts that trucks, including XSUVs will be about 60% of the market for the foreseeable future. In fact, reading the crystal ball for the next five years, this percentage of the mix may be low.
Fun to drive can be defined an infinite number of ways. The sports car driver will say power and acceleration, braking and handling are the main contributors to fun to drive. There is also the element of sexy head-turning styling ringing the sports car driver's bell. The sport utility driver will add functionality to that equation. A smart fortwo driver may think its quirky styling, minuscule size (even with its funky transmission) add to the fun to drive experience. The most fun to drive vehicles in AutoPacific's New Vehicle Satisfaction Research - those with 85 % or more of their drivers totally satisfied with its fun to drive characteristics include:
Brilliant Ad - Controversy Worth its Weight In Gold Cadillac, once the Standard of the World, has aired an outstanding ad for the Cadillac brand and the Cadillac ELR electric coupe. It was first shown on the American broadcast for the Sochi Winter Olympics and more recently for the Oscars that aired on Sunday, March 2. And what a controversy has ensued. Cadillac's agency Rogue created the Cadillac Poolside ad to espouse unbridled American confidence and showcase what Cadillac stands for. In the process, the spot has left leaners and right leaners sniping against each other on numerous websites. On Thursday, March 6, arch-conservative pundit Rush Limbaugh (click on the link to be taken to the transcript of the Limbaugh show about the Cadillac ad) devoted the top of his second hour to the controversy the ad has created. The Poolside ad pushed a button that allowed Limbaugh to rant for about a half hour.

Who will win?  Front-wheel drive? Rear-wheel drive?  All-wheel drive?  Some don’t care who wins!  And we have the enthusiasts, who begrudge anything with front-wheel drive and performance in the same sentence.

Let’s fast forward five years…

North American International Auto Show Logo
An annual pilgrimage for the auto industry is to attend the press days at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit each January. Unfortunately, this year I cannot attend because my physicians caution that I should not be heaving carry-ons into and out of overhead bins and baggage carousels. So, I'm jealous.
Using data from its 2011 Replacement Tire Retailer Dynamics and Satisfaction Study, AutoPacific calculated the overall winner and the top rated Tire Retailer in each category. The top satisfying Tire Retailer, nationally, is Goodyear Auto Service Center, a large national chain. Closely following Goodyear nationally are Firestone Complete Auto Care, Les Schwab Tire Centers and Sam’s Club.

Last summer during a discussion with senior Hyundai management in Seoul, I asked “When can we expect to see a third plant for Hyundai and or Kia in the United States?” The response was “A third plant will be necessary when Hyundai and Kia sell 900,000 per year in the USA.”

In 2010, Hyundai sold 538,228 cars and light trucks in the USA and Kia sold 356,496 cars and light trucks. That is a total of 874,496 cars and light trucks for these two fast-growing brands. That number is also close enough for us to hypothesize that an announcement for a third Hyundai or Kia plant in the USA should be forthcoming.

Two USA Plants Already at or Above Capacity: Clearly, Hyundai is pushing the capacity of their Montgomery, Alabama plant. With the Sonata [...]

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