Ford Focus EV Struggles to Find its Niche in Fledgling Electric Car Market

Ford Motor Co.’s latest iteration of its Focus compact car was launched in 2010 and has been a commercial success over the last few years.  The successful release of the third-generation Focus was followed-up with the introduction of the electric Focus EV and the performance Focus ST versions to round out its stable of models. Whereas the gasoline-powered offerings have found their way into hundreds of thousands of homes, however, the electric model has struggled to establish a presence in the marketplace. With competition tightening, jostling for position in the electric car market, questions linger regarding Ford’s strategy for the Focus Electric, going forward.

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The Release of the New Mazda3 Comes with Higher Expectations than Ever

  With last week’s unveiling of the new Mazda3 sedan, the small automaker from Hiroshima, Japan will soon begin its truest test of whether it can succeed in its efforts to be a mainstream player in the automotive landscape. The Mazda3, offered as a 4-door sedan or 5-door hatchback, as well as a turbocharged Mazdaspeed3 performance model, has been the brand’s highest-selling vehicle since replacing the Protegé in 2003. After 10 years and two model generations, the latest version of the brand’s most popular car comes with an all-new “Kodo: Soul in Motion” design language, “SKYACTIV®” techn ...

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Plug-in EVs: Retention Revisited

We recently released a report on plug in EVs entitled “Plug-in Electric Vehicles:  Market Analysis and Used Price Forecast”, and in the report we discussed how PEVs such as the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf have fared in the areas of new vehicles sales and used value depreciation and retention. Among other things, we explained how concerns over limited range and new technology and how the application of federal tax credits negatively affect used plug-in EV. Regarding tax credits, we stated: “Substantive tax credits can certainly help promote more new sales than would have been achieve ...

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Used Vehicle Depreciation Slows in June: Market Average Down 1.1%

After falling by 2.1% in May, depreciation for used units up to eight model years in age has slowed to just 1.1% over the first half of June.  This modest decline is substantially less than what has historically been recorded for the month, and as a result, NADA’s seasonally adjusted used vehicle price index jumped to 123.4 so far this month, which is a 1.2% improvement over May’s figure of 121.9. Across segments, losses month-to-date have been predominantly better than what was observed in May.  This is particularly true for compact and mid-size cars, where depreciation eased fro ...

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NHTSA’s Request for a Jeep Recall and its Potential Effects

Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has done much to turn around the fortunes of Chrysler Group LLC, from implementing a renewed focus on product quality to realizing the company’s newfound sales success. With Fiat S.p.A. facing financial difficulties stemming from the continued economic downturn in Europe, Chrysler has taken a key role as the breadwinner for the organization, leading to conjecture that Fiat will look to acquire the remaining percentage of the U.S. company that it does not own. If Chrysler is fully-absorbed, the unified entity would then be able to thoroughly optimize operat ...

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Incentives Help Boost May Sales: Customer Cash Surges Up 6.5% YTD

Incentive spending increased again in May making it the fourth consecutive month that we have seen a lift in both mainstream and luxury brand spending.  According to the latest data from Autodata, May average incentive spending grew to $2,667, which was a 4.9% increase relative to last year’s figure of $2,542.  While new sales improved by a healthy 8% in May, many manufacturers substantially increased incentive spending which undoubtedly helped final results. At a brand level, Hyundai and Buick increased spending more than most other mainstream manufacturers, as average spending r ...

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Kia’s Ride to Sales Success Has Been Music to its Ears

With the recent launch of the all-new Cadenza, Kia’s most concerted foray into premium territory, it is easy to forget just how far the South Korean automaker has come since its humble beginnings in the U.S. market only a couple decades ago. Following the critically-acclaimed Optima, the Cadenza continues the brand’s upward climb into uncharted territories and will serve as a bridge to the upcoming Quoris, the company’s future flagship luxury sedan.  While it may seem unusual to associate Kia with the likes of premium German and Japanese marques, given the Koreans’ track record and rapi ...

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All New Infiniti Q50 Sedan Hits the Streets in June

Right now you might be asking yourself why Infiniti decided to change the name of the G37 to Q50, and to be honest I’m not really sure either. It’s confusing as to why a brand would take all of its established nameplates and start from scratch, but this is exactly what Infiniti is doing for its entire lineup in 2014 under the new reign of Johan de Nysschen.   The Q50 will be the first vehicle introduced under the new Infiniti nomenclature, and while every vehicle will be receiving a new name to keep things simple, just know that all sedans and coupes will be called “Q” while Crossovers a ...

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Is Volkswagen’s North American-built Passat Losing Steam?

It is no secret that Volkswagen Group is on a quest to become the largest automaker in the world by 2018, and such ambitions require strategic planning, as well as investment in the brand and product. Although Volkswagen AG has successfully established excellent brand recognition and passion for its cars around the globe, the one market that has eluded VW thus far is the United States. Nevertheless, Volkswagen of America has been called upon to do its part, but with a new North American manufacturing plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the U.S. subsidiary has no time to waste, and no excuses, e ...

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Mid-Month Update: Used Vehicle Prices Are Down 1.5% in May, So Far…..

After falling by 1.7% in April, used vehicle prices for units up to eight model years in age have continued to soften a bit through the first few weeks in May having declined by an average of 1.5%. In terms of month-over-month declines, the steepest losses have been recorded in the compact car and mid-size car segments, which have slipped by averages of 2.7% and 2.6%, respectively.  The compact utility, luxury utility, and mid-size utility segments all dropped as well, with losses essentially equal to  the  1.5% total market  decline.  Luxury cars and mid-size vans ...

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