Report: Strong US auto sales in August on pace to top 15.5M in 2013

Filed under: Car Buying

ford dealership lot

August sales will be announced next week, but early numbers say that it has been an exceptionally good month for new-car sales so far with two days left to go – including the kickoff to Labor Day weekend. Automotive News is reporting that forecasters are expecting this month to be the strongest single month since 2006 with retail sales projected to be around 1.27 million units.

Factoring this into the known 9.13 million sales through July, many experts are saying that annual sales in 2013 could be in the mid-15-million unit range including one estimate pushing this year’s totals past 16 million units – a mark the US industry hasn’t seen since 2007. The article states that sales could be even higher if automakers like Hyundai, Ford and Subaru were able to keep supply up with the demand of some of their popular models. Stay tuned as we’ll know for sure when we put together our usual By The Numbers post next week.

Strong US auto sales in August on pace to top 15.5M in 2013 originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 29 Aug 2013 17:33:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: Mazda reports strong Skyactiv sales, plans to boost output 25%

Filed under: Budget, China, Japan, Plants/Manufacturing, Technology, Mazda

Skyactiv Technology logo

Mazda is set to expand production of its Skyactiv engines after critical and commercial acclaim for the fuel-sipping powerplants. The Japanese manufacturer has a number of plans in the works to bump up production, with the first being a 25-percent increase in output from its Hiroshima, Japan engine facility.

Besides adding a new line, Mazda will modify the line that built MZR engines, a family of mills that includes the 2.3-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder found in the Mazdaspeed3 and the 2.0-liter found in the MX-5 Miata. The bump in production is just part of Mazda’s goal of selling 1.7 million vehicles globally by 2016, with 80 percent of those vehicles expected to wear a Skyactiv badge.

Mazda also builds Skyactiv engines at a joint-venture facility with Ford, in Changan, China, while a Mexican facility will go online by March of 2014. Skyactiv engines currently power the Mazda3, Mazda6 and CX-5.

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Mazda reports strong Skyactiv sales, plans to boost output 25% originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 27 Aug 2013 17:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Study: Lack of new midsize pickup models driving strong resale values for older models

Filed under: Car Buying, Truck, Chevrolet, Nissan, Toyota

2012 Nissan Frontier

According to a new study by Black Book, the fact that there are fewer mid-sized pickup truck options on the market is driving up the retail cost of used models. During the month of June, used vehicles from model years 2007-2011 depreciated an average of 1.3 percent across the board, but midsize pickups of the same year saw their value decrease by just 0.7 percent on average. Look across the past year, and the market as a whole saw those cars depreciate by 13.7 percent while midsize pickups saw their value decline by a mere 5.1 percent.

Ricky Beggs, senior vice president and Managing Editor with Black Book, says midsize pickups are holding their value better than other products on the market due to the fact that there are so few brand-new options available. Currently, only Chevrolet, Nissan and Toyota offer midsize pickup trucks. Honda has a player in the game in the form of the Ridgeline, which is a sort of cross between a traditional pickup and a crossover, and the discontinued Ford Ranger falls into a smaller size class that no longer exists in the US.

What’s all this mean to you? If you happen to have a set of keys to midsize pickup in your pocket, you’ve made a good investment. Don’t expect to see the machine depreciate as quickly as other vehicles on the road. Conversely, if you’re in the market, expect to pay a bit more than you might have expected for a non-fullsize pickup truck. Scroll down for the press release from Black Book.

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Lack of new midsize pickup models driving strong resale values for older models originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 27 Jun 2013 08:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Geneva 2011: AC Schnitzer comes strong with sporty diesel BMW Z4, tuned 550i [w/videos]

Filed under: Aftermarket, Concept Cars, Convertible, Sedan, Performance, Geneva Motor Show, Europe, BMW, Specialty, Diesel

AC Schnitzer 99d

2011 AC Schnitzer 99d – Click above for high-res image gallery

AC Schnitzer has showed up at the Geneva Motor Show with not one, but two fresh-off-the-press upgrade packages for 2011.

Not wanting to look completely unfriendly to Mother Earth, AC Schnitzer has taken their expertise to the Z4 and BMW’s EfficientDynamics system, working over a 320d mill to go under the Z4’s hood. The 2011 AC Schnitzer 99d gets a 70-hp boost to 190, hits 60 in 6.9 seconds, releases a scant 99g of C02 per mile and returns a handsome 63 mpg in the European cycle. That, according to Schnitzer, is better than any BMW on the market. Unfortunately, the 99d is just a concept, and won’t be available to the public any time soon.

For the family minded executives attending the show, AC Schnitzer started with the 2011 BMW 550i, bumping the car from 407 to 540 horsepower. According to Schnitzer, the result is a 4.5-second 0-60 sprint and a whopping 198 mph top end. The engine exhales through a new set of the tuner’s own mufflers capped with chrome surrounds. The resulting executive express has been dubbed the ACS5 Sport S.

Hauling all that energy to a stop is a revised set of brakes sporting eight-piston calipers. Outside, Schnitzer went all-out to ensure that the car would be stable at its newfound velocity. The laundry list of exterior mods includes a front spoiler, carbon ducts for the brakes, new engine bay vents and, of course, your choice of 20 or 21-inch AC Schnitzer custom wheels.

Check out the official videos and press releases after the jump.

Gallery: AC Schnitzer 99d: Geneva 2011

Gallery: AC Schnitzer ACS5 Sport S: Geneva 2011

Photos copyright (C)2011 Drew Phillips / AOL

[Source: AC Schnitzer]

Continue reading Geneva 2011: AC Schnitzer comes strong with sporty diesel BMW Z4, tuned 550i [w/videos]

Geneva 2011: AC Schnitzer comes strong with sporty diesel BMW Z4, tuned 550i [w/videos] originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 03 Mar 2011 14:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Auto leasing making a strong comeback

Filed under: Car Buying

Back in 1999, about one in four new vehicles purchased were leases. That number dropped throughout the last decade until the Great Recession put leasing on the endangered species list. Automakers were losing money due to poorer-than-expected residual rates. At the same time, customers weren’t in the mood to spend money on a new car or truck. As a result, Chrysler stopped leasing altogether in 2008, and General Motors limited leasing to its most popular models.

Wards Automotive reports that while leasing has taken a considerable beating, the two- and three-year vehicle rental is now on the comeback trail. GM and Chrysler are back in the leasing business, and according to Wards, Volkswagen, Hyundai and Kia are pushing hard to increase lease transactions. Are automakers rolling the dice in an effort to move more metal? Maybe not.

With vehicle inventories in check, there’s less chance residuals will take a dive, and at the same time the certified used car programs get a shot in the arm with low-mile, warranty-equipped cars and trucks. We probably won’t see 25-percent lease rates anytime soon, but Automotive Lease Guide Inc sees the practice jumping to a 20-percent take rate by 2015.

[Source: Wards Automotive sub. req. | Image: Caitlin Regan / Flickr via CC BY 2.0 ]

Report: Auto leasing making a strong comeback originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 08 Jan 2011 18:43:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Buick dealers reportedly clamoring for more Regal models amidst strong early sales

Filed under: Car Buying, Sedan, Plants/Manufacturing, Buick, GM

2011 Buick Regal

2011 Buick Regal – Click above for high-res image gallery

The 2011 Regal is Buick’s latest attempt at reinventing its own brand image. Apparently, the plan is working even better than Buick thought it might – dealers are asking for more. In fact, in their monthly re-orders, dealers are asking for twice as many cars as General Motors can actually provide.

Currently, the Regal is built in GM’s Russelsheim, Germany plant and production has just begun on the 2.0-liter turbocharged model (read: not the higher-output GS that will arrive sometime next year). Production of North American Regals will soon be shifted to The General’s Oshawa, Ontario facility.

Buick has already sold nearly 4,000 Regals through August of 2010. The Chinese bought about 80,000 examples in 2009 and 150,000 Vauxhall/Opel versions have found homes in European driveways year-to-date in 2010. It’s clear that people around the world like this car, ourselves included, and the addition of the 2.0T should only further the car’s success. As for us, we’re eagerly anticipating the final addition to the Regal line, the GS.

Gallery: Third Drive: 2011 Buick Regal

Photos copyright (C)2010 Michael Harley / AOL

[Source: Ward’s Auto]

Buick dealers reportedly clamoring for more Regal models amidst strong early sales originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 04 Oct 2010 18:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2010 Hungarian Grand Prix will still be strong after the boys of summer have gone [SPOILERS]

Filed under: Motorsports, Europe

2010 Hungarian Grand Prix – Click above for high-res image gallery

There are races, and then there are races. And this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix, ladies and gents, was the latter.

Instead of the usual parade of high-tech machinery proceeding in procession, sapping the excitement out of the sport – or worse yet, lamentable team orders sullying the day – this latest round in the Formula One World Championship was packed with fate-altering, nail-biting action – and rivalries both old and new – from start to finish. A fitting way, then, to sign off before the season takes a nearly month-long summer break.

Care to see what we mean? Follow the jump to read on.

Gallery: 2010 Hungarian Grand Prix

Continue reading 2010 Hungarian Grand Prix will still be strong after the boys of summer have gone [SPOILERS]

2010 Hungarian Grand Prix will still be strong after the boys of summer have gone [SPOILERS] originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 01 Aug 2010 14:20:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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