Laurence Dixon's Articles

Electric Vehicle News: EV Roadmap 8 Conference

A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to participate on a panel at the 8th annual Electric Vehicle Roadmap conference in Portland, Oregon. Founded by Portland General Electric and Portland State University, the conference provides a forum for manufacturers, suppliers, government officials, and other key stakeholders to discuss (and debate) the current and future state of EV affairs. Conference attendees were extremely well-informed and passionate about the opportunities EV technology presents. While their opinions on root-cause were varied, participants were quick to acknowledge the challenges faced by EVs as well.

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General Motor’s Gamble on Mid-Size Pickups is Paying Off

General Motor’s reentry into the mid-size pickup segment, which materialized in the form of the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, was greeted with a modicum of skepticism. The eyebrow-raising wasn’t without merit, as the once thriving small pickup market that had routinely toyed with 1 million sales per year had been gutted by the shift toward crossover utilities (mid-size pickup sales were roughly 250,000 in 2014). 

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While Summer Heats Up, Vehicle Depreciation Cools Off

Used vehicle depreciation improved considerably over the first half of June compared to the substantial rate recorded in May. Used vehicle prices through the first two weeks of the month have fallen by 2.3% compared to all of May, which is nearly a percentage-point better than last month’s 3.2% decline. While May’s fall was the fourth worst showing for the month since 1995, June’s month-to-date drop is fairly typical for the period.

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Resuscitated: 2016 Nissan Maxima

After a one-year hiatus, and a near-death experience, Nissan is set to launch an all-new version of its longest running U.S. nameplate, the Maxima. 

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May Mid-Month Used Price Update

Depreciation over the first half of May has been more or less consistent with the trends we’ve observed over the first four months of the year.

To date, prices this month of vehicles up to eight years in age have dropped by 2.7% relative to April. That figure equals NADA’s forecast for the entire month. While it’s certainly possible for prices to move even lower in the coming weeks, the fact depreciation slowed from well above 3% in the first week of the month to its current rate suggests May will close with prices near current levels.

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New Vehicle Spiffs Rise Noticeably In April

According to Autodata, automakers elected to hold the line on incentives over the first three months of the year following a two year period of steady increases. But the year’s short-lived streak was broken last month, as manufacturers increased incentive spending by 3.2% compared to last April to an average of $2,671 per unit. The month’s moderate rise placed spending year-to-date 1% higher than it was over the period last year.

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Credit Update: Times Are Good Now, But What About Tomorrow?

Credit availability and new and used vehicle sales are basically joined at the hip. After all, automaker captive finance companies were created with the mission to provide credit to consumers so more new vehicles could be bought and produced. Among many things, the Great Recession and the years since reaffirmed the lesson that as credit availability goes, so go new and used sales. Prices are also affected by access to lender cash. The incredible interest rate wave the market has been riding for the past few years combined with ever-increasing loan terms have allowed consumers to buy more richly contented vehicles with only nominal changes in monthly payments.

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From Temporary to Permanent, Car Rentals Educate on Future Purchases

From business trips to vacation or holiday travel, renting a car or truck always coincides with some sort of unique occasion, and these events offer drivers the opportunity to log valuable seat time in models that may find their way on to, or off of, auto

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Cheaper Gas Should Mark a Return to Gas Guzzlers, Right?

In almost serendipitous fashion, gasoline prices have plunged to their lowest level since 2010 just as the budget-stretching holiday season is upon us. According to AAA, the national average of a gallon of regular grade gasoline currently stands at $2.67, down nearly 30 cents from a month ago and almost a $1 from where prices were at this time last year. The tumble in price is due to a few factors (the Wall Street Journal has a nice summary). Substantial increases in Canadian and U.S. production of crude oil over the past few years and additional output from Libya and Iraq have raised t ...

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Summer Weather to See Economy Bounce Back

The U.S. economy was battered even more than first suspected by the harsh winter, actually shrinking from January through March. The result marked the first retreat in three years, but economists are confident the downturn was temporary. According to the Commerce Department, gross domestic product contracted at an annual rate of 1% in the first quarter. That was worse than the government's initial estimate last month that GDP during the period grew by a slight 0.1%. The economy last posted a decline in the first three months of 2011 when it dropped 1.3%. The  ...

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