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November U.S. Sales, Up By 17%

The United States trucks and cars sales rose by 17% in November, raising high hopes that the automotive market will end on a very high note, creating a solid momentum for 2011. Last month, the number of light vehicle sales went up to 873,407 cars, which is the 11th market advance in the past 12 months. The car sales until November, reached 10.45 million units, topping the 2009 sales figures that totaled 10.43 million.

The United States sales, for the second consecutive month achieved an annual selling rate of 12.26 million units, according to the information revealed by AutoData Corporation. In 2009, the light vehicles delivered reached an annual rate of only 10.86 million vehicles. According to Edmunds.com, larger vehicles, crossovers and pickup trucks are more popular among buyers. The redesigned or new models coming from Hyundai, Nissan, VW as well as other car manufacturers, helped raise the sales figures.

Ford sold 20% more trucks and cars in comparison to 2009. GM’s sales also went up by 12% and its four remaining brands grew by 21%. According to the Chrysler Group, the November request for new cars rose by 17%.

Today, the General Motors officials predicted that a gradual economic recovery will most likely continue to strengthen the request for new vehicles. Jim Bunnell, who is the general manager of U.S. sales for General Motors, stated that “the economy is continuing to gain traction. We believe we will see meaningful job creation in the coming months.”

Moving on, the Hyundai Group (and Kia), sold this November 41% more cars. The demand for Honda cars in the United States grew by 21%. Porsche also is doing well, benefiting from 49% more sales. Jaguar Land Rover sales climbed by 22%. Nissan is also benefiting from an increased number of sales, the deliveries for their vehicles rose by 27%.

On the contrary, Toyota sales, including Scion and Lexus, went down by 3% in November, totaling 129,137 cars, although the company spent more on incentives in comparison to 2009. The situation clearly illustrates the problems the Japanese automaker is having in winning back the trust of the United States customers, after more than a year since the automaker started recalling millions of cars that shattered Toyota’s good image for manufacturing high quality cars that are very safe on the road. Toyota and Mazda were the only two manufacturers that did not post double-digit sales gains in November; Mazda’s sales went up by only 7%.

Almost all of the General Motors cars shipped were 2011 models, which allowed the company to increase the average transaction prices, according to Don Johnson, who is GM’s vice president of United States sales operations. Through last month, the average price of a GM car went up by $1,300 in comparison to the similar period of 2009. Johnson added that the incentives averaged 10.4% of GM’s transaction prices, which is just about the same as the rest of the industry.

Volkswagen AG sold 24.2% more cars last month, the Jetta Sedan being the most successful model as sales grew by a healthy 49%. Analysts affirm that the sales made in the final weekend of the month went up due to the Thanksgiving holiday deals that were sponsored by individual manufacturers and dealers, including Nissan and Toyota.

Automaker Nov. 2010 Nov. 2009 Pct. chng. 11 month
2010
11 month
2009
Pct. chng.
BMW Group* 22,909 18,030 27% 238,443 218,138 9%
Chrysler Group LLC 74,152 63,560 17% 984,509 844,879 17%
Daimler AG** 19,259 17,462 10% 208,946 184,294 13%
Ford Motor Co.*** 146,956 122,846 20% 1,773,868 1,493,533 19%
General Motors**** 168,670 150,676 12% 1,987,552 1,864,211 7%
Honda (American)† 89,617 74,003 21% 1,100,864 1,043,641 6%
Hyundai Group†† 67,324 46,002 46% 819,250 680,282 20%
Isuzu - - -% - 165 -100%
Jaguar Land Rover 4,039 3,319 22% 40,329 33,420 21%
Maserati 166 100 66% 1,717 1,158 48%
Mazda 15,304 14,255 7% 208,087 189,512 10%
Mitsubishi 4,306 2,925 47% 50,809 49,631 2%
Nissan††† 71,366 56,288 27% 814,840 696,699 17%
Porsche 2,416 1,626 49% 22,753 17,578 29%
Saab Cars North America‡ 397 - -% 3,763 - -%
Subaru 20,792 16,988 22% 237,126 193,578 23%
Suzuki 2,332 1,540 51% 21,347 36,811 -42%
Toyota‡‡ 129,317 133,700 -3% 1,586,107 1,582,287 0%
Volkswagen‡‡‡ 29,713 23,191 28% 325,279 267,955 21%
Volvo Cars North America‡‡‡‡ 4,078 - -% 16,667 - -%
Other (estimate) 294 308 -5% 3,234 3,372 -4%
TOTAL 873,407 746,819 17% 10,445,490 9,401,144 11%

Numbers in this table are calculated by Automotive News based on actual monthly sales reported by the manufacturers and may differ from numbers reported elsewhere.

Source: Automotive News Data Center

Note: Other includes estimates for Aston Martin, Ferrari, Lamborghini and Lotus

*Includes Mini and Rolls-Royce
**Includes Maybach, Mercedes-Benz and Smart
***Includes Volvo through July 2010
****Includes Saab through February 2010
†Includes Acura
††Includes Kia
†††Includes Infiniti
‡The sale of Saab was final on February 23, 2010
‡‡Includes Lexus and Scion
‡‡‡Includes Audi and Bentley
‡‡‡‡The sale of Volvo to Zhejiang Geely Holding Group was final on Aug. 2, 2010

Source: AutoNews.com

VW Posts Positive October Sales Figures

2011 Volkswagen Passat

According to the officials at Volkswagen AG, the company sales grew twice as fast in comparison with the worldwide auto market in October 2010. This sales rise is mostly because of the increased orders for the VW and Audi cars in China and the United States. In the future, VW is hoping to surpass Toyota as the largest automobile manufacturer in the world.

In comparison to 2009, deliveries went up by 9.8% for the VW Group cars which include Seat, Lamborghini, Bentley and Skoda. VW Group sold 612,200 cars, light commercial vehicles and SUVs last month, surpassing the industry’s 4.5%, according to a statement made on Friday by the officials over at Volkswagen.

Adding approximately 70 models plus updated configurations of the current lineup of automobiles, VW is hoping for a consecutive second year of record sales. VW’s sales chief Christian Klinger stated on September 30th that the company is able to achieve the 10 million cars per year, before the 2018 target date. From January – October, VW sales grew by 12% to 5.98 million cars sold worldwide. Klinger said that VW will most likely increase its global share in the upcoming months.

2011 Volkswagen Passat

VW’s preferred shares grew by 1.2% (1.35 euros), to 111.95 euros and traded at 111.90 euros two weeks ago. The 71% stock increase allowed VW to reach a value of $66 billion (48.4 billion euros).

Volkswagen’s targets for expansion are based in China, where the company will be opening two new factories in order to double its annual production in its largest car market to 3 million units in the next 4 years. VW Group will be investing in the near future $8.2 billion (6 billion euros) for developing new models and construction. In China, VW’s sales went up by 38%, reaching 1.65 million units.

Regarding United States, the VW sales went up by 21% in the first ten months of the year, reaching 295,900 cars. The company will resume production in USA in the future by opening a unit in Chattanooga, Tennesse.

VW sold 12% more cars and SUVs this year, reaching 3.78 million units. Seat was able to sell 285,200 cars while Skoda reached a sales figure of 69,200, a 5.5% increase in comparison to the similar period of last year. Audi also increased its sales by 16%, reaching 916,900 units. VW’s commercial-van sales increased 17%, up to 349,000 units, especially because of the growth in the South American market.

BMW & Mercedes – Will Shorten Christmas Breaks Due To Increasing Demand

Mercedes E Classe

It looks like the employees over at BMW and Mercedes will have less time away from work, because the demands for new models is increasing, which means that the company will have to maintain the manufacturing numbers in order to keep up with this growing demand.

The BMW factories in Leipzig and Dingolfing will be rolling out cars over the holidays, in comparison to the three week break that they took in 2009 when sales were very bad. The Dingolfing factory unit is the place where the new generation of the 5-series sedan is produced. At the Leipzig, BMW is making the X1 crossover, which is a hit in terms of sales, ever since it was introduced in 2009.

Also working on the holidays is the Mercedes factory in Hamburg, where the supply various parts for the E-Class and S-Class sedans.

The request for luxury cars is recuperating after the financial and economical crisis, especially in the United States and in China where the economy is booming. Both Mercedes and BMW are aiming towards a 10% increase in sales this year. Audi, who is the luxury unit of Volkswagen AG, is planning on adding extra shifts in December in order to keep up with the increasing number of orders.

According to Juergen Pieper, who is an analyst with Bankhaus Metzler, “this is the first strong signal that the boom over the last few months can continue into next year”. Himanshu Patel, who is an analyst at JP Morgan Securities LLC, based in New York, recently told Monday in a report about Johnson Controls Inc. that this shortened holiday for the employees over at BMW and Mercedes means that the German luxury carmakers are gaining back the share they have lost in the last 2-3 years. Patel wrote in the report that JCI generates approximately 50% of its auto-parts revenue in Europe, where the automobile production in the last quarter of 2010 will be even higher than what analysts predicted.

This increasing demand for luxury vehicles allows the investment banks to reward workers with various promotions as they recover from the last 2-3 years of economical and financial halt. Goldman Sachs Group, which is the most profitable securities company in all Wall Street history, promoted many employees to managing director, increasing their salary and status. The world’s largest luxury-car market is in the United States.

BMW 7-Series

BMW, besides its own cars, is manufacturing Rolls Royce and Mini models; and increased its sells throughout the entire world by 13%, reaching 1.19 million until October. Mercedes and Smart sales went up by 12%, reaching 1.04 million in the same period.

BMW is manufacturing the 5, 6 and 7-Series at the Dingolfing factory which is the company’s largest unit. In Leipzig, BMW is producing the X1 model which was introduced last year, as well as the 1-Series compact.

According to Michael Rebstock, who is a spokesman at BMW, “production capacity is the limiting factor at the moment. We are producing as much as we can and are happy for every additional shift we can get.”

Rebstock also said that some of the BMW production plants will stop production around Christmas and New Year’s holidays in order to carry out the necessary maintenance and to restock the supplies. They are hoping to keep the breaks as short as possible, in comparison to last year when they prolonged the breaks.

According to Nicole Kicherer, who is a spokeswoman for Daimler in Stuttgart, Germany; the Hamburg plant will remain in operation through the holidays. The plant is manufacturing steering columns, axles and exhaust systems. Nicole said that most of the automobile factories will stop the production between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day, which in comparison to last year, would be one to two weeks shorter.

Porsche AG has no such plants of shortening the Christmas break. The Audi plants in Neckarsulm and Ingolstadt will be closed between December 23rd and January 7th for performing the end-of-year maintenance routines, according to Audi’s spokesman for the works council, Ralf Matters. He also said that although the Christmas break will not be shortened, Audi will add shifts on Saturday and overnight from Sundays to Mondays in December in order “to cope with record orders”. At the Brussels plant where Audi makes the A1 compact, production will be resumed on January 3rd.

Porsche’s spokesman Heiner von der Laden recently said that the plant in Zuffenhausen will be closed from December 24th to 31st. The Leipzig assembly plant where the Panamera sedan and the Cayenne sport utility vehicles are assembled will be closed from December 24th to January 9th. Porsche has no plans of adding shifts to increase production.

Audi Says A7 Will Bring New Clients

2011 Audi A7

With the new A7 coupe-styled four-door car, Audi hopes that it will attract more customers. The Germans are planning to sell approximately 200,000 of the first A7 generation. The car went on sale this September in Europe and it will be available for the rest of the world next year, including the United States market in which it will be available next spring.

Peter Schwarzenbaeur, who is the sales chief over at Audi, recently stated that “We expect about two-thirds of buyers worldwide to be new customers.” He also affirmed that the new A7 model is the “next step-up from the Audi A6 segment, where we are registering high growth sales worldwide.”

A premiere for Audi is the installation of a head-up display on the A7 model that projects the automobile’s most crucial data right onto the windshield. This new car can also be equipped with various features that were previously available on the A8 limousine, like the night vision assistant in a form of a heat-image that is capable of looking up ahead up to 984 feet (300 meters). All the safety systems and features of the A8 can be implemented into the A7, like the active lane assistance for example. What this system does is when the car leaves the lane; it will intervene in the A7’s power steering and will return the car to the lane on its own.

2011 Audi A7

The A7 sports a WiFi hotspot which will allow the passengers of the car to connect up to 8 devices from an iPad to a notebook to the Internet simultaneously.

The standard price for the Audi A7 in Germany is about $71,000 (51,650 euros). This new model is a part of the program revealed by Audi to increase their lineup to 42 vehicles in the next five years, from a total of 34 cars as of 2009. A new-entry to the lineup is the Audi A1 subcompact which was launched this summer.

Audi is also planning on dethroning BMW as the world’s largest luxury car automaker by 2015 and plans on selling 1.08 million automobiles in 2010.

Volkswagen looking to buy Alfa Romeo, Fiat doesn’t want to sell


A few weeks ago rumors were floating on the web concerning Volkswagen and its latest acquisition target, Italian carmaker Alfa Romeo, currently owned by Fiat.

At that time, the parties involved declined to comment, but things have seemingly changed now.

According to a report from Automotive News Europe, two unnamed Volkswagen executives have said that Alfa Romeo would make a great purchase, given its history and the versatile platforms it currently uses. Meanwhile, another unnamed exec from Fiat said that VW should go looking elsewhere, as the Italian group has big plans for Alfa Romeo, looking to increase global sales by extending to North America.

Without a doubt Alfa Romeo would make a great brand to have in any carmaker’s portfolio, but it’s quite clear that Fiat wants to keep it for itself at least in the next few years. Knowing Volkswagen’s appetite for growth though, sooner or later we might see an official move.

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Volkswagen officially owns 90.1% of Italdesign Giugiaro

Volkswagen officially owns 90.1% of Italdesign Giugiaro

Even though the announcement was made a few months ago, Volkswagen has now officially bought a majority stake in Italian design company Italdesign Giugiaro.

The German company now holds, through Lamborghini, a subsidiary of Audi, a 90.1 percent stake in the Italian company, with the remaining shares being held by the Giugiaro family.

Giorgetto Giugiaro, the founder of the Italian design and development house will remain as chairman, while his son, Fabrizio, will continue to act as vice president.

IDG has had a long time partnership with Volkswagen, with the company being responsible for the first generation Golf as well as models like the Passat Scirocco. As of yet though, it is unclear if the new ownership will allow the company to work with other automakers.

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2011 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen won’t use 2011 Jetta sedan platform


A few weeks ago, the 2011 Volkswagen Jetta sedan was revealed, boasting an upgraded design, increased size, an all-new platform and the promise to take on other mid-size models on the tough US market.

Now, as a blow to those who want a bit more practicality, Volkswagen has revealed that the 2011 Jetta SportWagen version won’t use the new platform. Instead, it will continue to sport the Golf mk V underpinnings, meaning it will keep its exterior dimensions largely the same.

Volkswagen admitted that it will make some interior changes, as well as bring in a few styling cues from the 2011 Jetta sedan. Except that though, don’t expect any other changes in terms of engines or other such things.

The Jetta SportWagen will continue to be made in Germany, while the 2011 Jetta sedan will be brought in from VW’s Mexico plant.

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Volkswagen once again looking to purchase Malaysia’s Proton?


Volkswagen is seemingly bent on purchasing almost every other small carmaker it can find, only to boost its ever-expanding portfolio.

After the recently announced partnership with Suzuki, the German carmaker is once again the target of new rumors, pointing to a possible acquisition of Malaysia’s Proton.

For those not familiar, the company is one of Malaysia’s biggest carmakers and owns British sportscar manufacturer Lotus. There were rumors between 2004 and 2007 about a possible collaboration between the two groups, but nothing really came out of those talks.

Now, it seems that VW and Proton might learn to play nice together, so that the German company can sell even more cars in the Asian territory and Proton may increase its exports and sales figures.

Do you think this partnership, if it will be made official, will prove successful for Volkswagen and Proton? Share your thoughts below.

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Volkswagen officially acquires 90% of Italdesign Giugiaro

Volkswagen officially acquires 90% of Italdesign Giugiaro

A short time ago, rumors were flying around concerning Volkswagen next major takeover, targeted at Italian design bureau Italdesign Giugiaro.

Now, the deal has officially gone through. Volkswagen now owns 90% of the Giugiaro design house while the remaining 10% is kept inside the Giugiaro family, currently represented by Giorgetto Giugiaro and his son, Fabrizio.

Italdesign, for those who don’t know, was one of the biggest privately-owned design and engineering houses in the world, with over 800 workers. That team will be solidified by other key members from Volkswagen’s own design department and future projects for the company include the Volkswagen Up! lineup.

Is this partnership for the best? Don’t be shy and make your voice heard in the comment section below.

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Volkswagen unveils two new versions of the Golf GTI: one hardcore, one sporty


Audi isn’t the only company set to bring multiple variants of its new models at the upcoming Worthersee Tour, held in Austria, as Volkswagen has also announced two special models, based on its popular Golf GTI.

The first is the result of a partnership between the company and German apparel giant Adidas. The Golf GTI Adidas (pictured above) boasts just cosmetic improvements like 18-inch alloy wheels, LED rear lights, sports seats and, of course, Adidas-inspired trim. Only 4410 such models will be made available in Germany and a few other European coutries.

For those with a hunger for a more hardcore GTI, but not interested in the Golf R, the German carmaker prepared the Golf GTI Excessive concept. While power levels are the same, a more aggressive body kit, 19-inch wheels, a revised suspension plus upgraded brakes and exhaust systems were added.

Sadly the GTI Excessive is just a show car, for now. In the future the company might offer the parts used on the Excessive as options for the Golf GTI, but it’s not written in stone, as of yet.

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Volkswagen admits it is interested in WRC

Volkswagen admits it is interested in WRC

After many years of seeing only a handful of manufacturers enter cars in its competition, the WRC (World Rally Championship), is now experiencing quite a boom of popularity, with rumors indicating that carmakers like Mini are preparing to get involved.

Another company has also admitted interest, with Volkswagen‘s motorsport boss, Kris Nissen, revealing that he has an interest in the rally competition, but there is a lot of work to be done if the company will go ahead and enter it. This confirms older rumors about the German company entering a Scirocco model into the WRC, but Nissen was quick to point out that other models, like the Golf or the Polo, also have rally potential.

“If we decided to go with the WRC, my view is that we would need at least a year and a half to prepare,” said Nissen. “So we would be looking at coming in for 2012 and in order to do that then we have to decide by March. We’ve spoken to the FIA and the existing manufacturers and we have a clear idea of the costs. The World Rally Championship appeals to Volkswagen on many levels but it could still be better. We would like to see more manufacturers and a maximum of 12 events, with a return to how it used to be, with the high-profile rallies like Monte Carlo. I think that what we want is what the existing manufacturers want as well. But it is a question of making it happen – and that is down to the FIA and promoters.”

So if Volkswagen will indeed join the WRC, it wants to bring a revolution with it. Although it is host to a fierce competition between Ford and Citroen, I believe that the rally championship needs new cars to provide some added thrills and attract new viewers. What do you believe? Should WRC change to embrace new manufacturers or should it just stay the same?

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Volkswagen promises to refrain from world domination, won’t acquire any other companies

Volkswagen promises to refrain from world domination, won't acquire any other companies

Volkswagen has been slowly getting bigger and bigger in the past few years, and has even achieved to dethrone Toyota as the world’s biggest carmaker. This is largely due to its big portfolio of brands, from accessible ones like Skoda or Seat to luxury like Audi or Bentley.

In the last few months of 2009, the company announced two big purchases, 49.9% of Porsche, which will soon grow next year so that the two companies can merge, and 19.9% of Suzuki, heralding the entry of VW onto the Japanese market’s small car segment.

But don’t worry, VW won’t slowly take over the world, as its CEO, Martin Winterkorn, has just revealed that the company will refrain from making any other purchases anytime soon, and that it will focus on building the brands it currently has under its wing.

“There are some who knock on our door,” he said. “Some really want to come under our roof as they see we’re on a good path strategically. But we are satisfied with the current line-up. I don’t see any need [to make more acquisitions].”

The VW executive also revealed that only time will tell if its share stake in Suzuki will rise. Until then though, the German corporation has some big plans which will be revealed in the near future.

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Volkswagen and Suzuki to begin collaboration in January, low-cost small car to be first project


We reported a few weeks ago that Volkswagen and Suzuki have officially agreed to partner up, with the German company buying up 19.9% of Suzuki stock, and the Japanese company using a part of that money to buy stock in the German company.

During a recent event, the Japanese CEO Osama Suzuki has revealed that collaboration between the two carmakers will start as soon as January, after the first plans are drafted. Rumors are already flying around, many revealing that the first joint project will be a low-cost small car, presumably for developing markets, which will cost around $4,700.

After the plans are drafted, with key insight from Suzuki’s small car department which has been quite successful, the manufacturing will be sourced to one of the company’s Indian plants, in order to further decrease the price.

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Volkswagen Amarok to be official vehicle for the 2010 Dakar Rally


Great news for all you pick-up fans, as Volkswagen has just announced that its upcoming Amarok model will be the official support vehicle for the 2010 Dakar Rally, which will start on the first of January, next year, and span over 9,000 km (5,592 miles) through Argentina and Chile.

“We are pleased to be able to use the Volkswagen Amarok as our Support Vehicle,” said Kris Nissen, Volkswagen Motorsport Director, “because the Dakar Rally demands the highest levels of technical perfection, reliability and endurance – from our Race Touareg as much as from the support vehicles. The Amarok is exactly the right vehicle for our team.”

Part of the agreement between VW and the Dakar officials include the availability of 35 Amarok trucks, with 20 being used by organizers between rally stages and the rest to transport press members. Seeing as how the rally is one of the most prestigious endurance races in the world, I’m sure VW is quite pleased with itself.

For those of you who don’t know, the Amarok will begin officially enter production at the beginning of 2010, at the company’s Argentina plant, and will be launched at the beginning in South America, with Europe, South Africa and Australia to follow. No word yet on the possibility of it reaching North American shores.

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Volkswagen launches New Beetle Black Orange special edition, goes for a little Porsche look


While popular with retro fans, the Volkswagen New Beetle wasn’t really the hit the German company wanted. Who knows, maybe the next generation will be different, but until then, VW has announced a new special edition of the small city car, dubbed the Black Orange.

While we’ve seen a few other special New Beetle editions, this one is quite interesting, as the exterior will be offered in a choice of either black, with white stripes on the side or orange with black stripes, managing to pull off a classic Porsche look.

The special edition will be available for both the hatch and the convertible verison of the New Beetle, and will also arrive with a set of 17-inch five-spoke alloy wheels on the outside and for the interior, a three-spoke, leather-wrapped steering wheel, aluminum pedals and sport seats, all featuring orange stitching.

Starting at a hefty €22,550 (around $33,800) for the hatch model with the 1.6-liter petrol engine developing 102 HP, the New Beetle Black Orange will also feature standard equipment like A/C, an upgraded audio system, armrest and electric windows.

Does this funky new edition spark your interest or is the Beetle a lost cause in your view? Don’t be shy and leave a comment below.

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