Friday, June 26, 2009
It was time to step out on his own. With almost 30 years experience in
the auto business, Paul Waitson wanted to create a niche in the market with a new approach to car sales. In April, he opened the doors of Waitson Wheels, a small independent used car and truck dealership offering straightforward advice, value and service.
As the sole proprietor, his business plan is simple -- keep it simple: Specialize in quality, fuel-efficient vehicles * Maintain a low overhead at a smaller dealership in order to pass the savings on to customers with reasonably priced, used cars and trucks * Scour the markets of the eastern Ontario region in a more efficient and easier process for finding quality used vehicles to sell.
It's a no nonsense climate that puts the customer in the driver's seat. Waitson explains. "Our market is the $5,000 to $12,000 price range. Through auction and contact with local dealerships and American brokers, we are able to offer customers exciting, high quality, value-oriented vehicles. Each one is hand picked, cleaned and scrutinized both mechanically and cosmetically, with a warranty provided. All vehicles are lien free and a vehicle history will be provided where available."
The website inventory makes it so easy to shop. If you can't find exactly what you are looking for, don't despair. Waitson will work with you to try and find the right vehicle at the right price. And his credentials let you buy with confidence. He is a member of the Used Car Dealer Association (UCDA) and a registered dealer with the Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council (OMVIC).
Volkswagen is now offering a three month full satellite radio package in every certified pre-owned vehicle. The main reason I love this move is because car manufacturers usually follow each other. When one comes up with a marketing scheme the others will follow in an effort to stay competitive.
Right now the certified used car landscape is the place to be. Sales of these types of vehicles have increased almost 50% in the last 8 years; mainly because genuine factory certified cars carry a bumper to bumper / power train warranty that usually extends to 100k miles.
With this news from VW it will not be long before the other major manufacturers like GM, Toyota (TM), Ford (F) etc. follow suit. By creating an already active subscription in used cars, it will significantly increase subscriber numbers by retaining the percentage of people continuing with the subscription; similar to the retention percentage in the new car market. The current estimate of factory certified pre-owned vehicles is approximately 1.6 million per year.
This is a solid step for Sirius to move beyond the shackles of the new car environment and turn on those inactive radios. What would also be a good idea is for Sirius to roll out a campaign and give current used car owners with inactive satellite radios the same three month trial. In 2008, approximately 30% of new cars came with satellite radios. In 2009 that figure has jumped to 50%. It won’t be long before these cars become part of the used car market and give Sirius the opportunity to recycle the radio subscriptions to another owner. Go Green indeed.
It is very encouraging to see that Sirius is taking measures to step beyond the “same old same old” and look for creative avenues to increase customer retention and revenue. Alright, maybe this used car idea isn’t exactly a major epiphany. It’s more like a “duh huh” why didn’t they do this sooner? But hey no one can say an effort is not being made. In the pipe dream hopes of avoiding a reverse stock split, I truly hope that Sirius continues to boost their exposure as much as they can. Hey, it’s my delusion, don’t step on it.
Mainly young people and limited wage earner face difficulty in buying a new car for the reason sky rocketing prices of new cars. So they do not want to use their whole savings to buy just one high priced car. At such circumstances used car loan is best option for purchasing a used car. Because now a days used cars are as attractive as the new ones and so you can get used car loans at very competitive rates as the cars seized from defaulters are as good as new. There are many such used cars to be found that are just a year or two old. These cars possess more or less the same features as a new car. The various types of used car loan which can be found in the market are mentioned below.
Generally there are two types of used car loans one is secured and another is unsecured. In asecured used car loans you can get competitive interest rates. And any type of asset or bank paper containing certain value can be used as collateral for the used vehicle loan amounts. You can use the vehicle itself as collateral for a used vehicle financing. In secured car finance you can borrow up to the amount of equity in collateral.
Another is an unsecured used vehicle loan which is generally targeted for all those who are not willing to place collateral. An unsecured used vehicle loans carry’s no risk to assets since assets are not involved. The factors like your credit score, credit history, financial situation, employment proofs and income proof are taken into consideration when determining the interest rate of a unsecured used vehicle loan. Many lenders offer low interest used car loans. Regardless of your credit history, you can get approved for a low interest automobile loan as the financing based on your qualifications. As the online lenders have thousands of lenders in their network, so that gives you an opportunity to compare lenders deals which will helps you to find the best rates. Thus you can also select terms that give you the most favorable loan financing.
It’s a well known fact, that person with a good credit score is always offered with a great offer and competitive rates. But now a days lender also offer bad credit auto loans with the best rates on used car to individuals with poor credit. Unlike dealerships that offer excessive rates, the online lenders have a reputation for approving loans with fair rates. The objective is not to make profit out off someone’s misfortune, rather to help people to buy their dream car. Pre approved used car loan is one of the best options to get you the best deal on a used car loan by getting your finance deal done before you buy a car. Pre-approved loans gives you the most options on deciding how much you want to borrow and what rates to accept. Thus it gives you an edge when buying a car.
Another concept which is more popular among the auto loans field is refinancing. People end up getting high interest rate when they have bad credit but when their credit gets improved, they still end up paying high rates. At times refinancing used car loans can get car credit at low rate. Refinancing used car loans can immediately put an end to your monetary troubles that come with high interest car loans. Through used car loan refinancing you would able to obtain a new loan, including a lower rate of interest, in place of your current high interest rate loan.
Used car loans are very easy to get online by comparing various car loan quotes. Comparing online car loans facilitate in obtaining the best auto loan in the market. So, don’t wait and go get yourself a used vehicle loan to get you the car of your dreams.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Guangxi Yuchai Machinery Company Limited, a subsidiary of China Yuchai International has developed two diesel hybrid engines. The first hybrid engine uses natural gas and diesel while the second engine is a more traditional hybrid combining electricity and diesel.
Guangxi Yuchai Machinery Company Limited (GYMCL) just announced the two hybrid engines both of which deviate from typical hybrids. Hybrid cars made by Toyota, Honda, and Ford use electric/gasoline engines. Nor do any car companies have a hybrid that combines natural gas with gasoline or diesel.
The natural gas/diesel engine, unlike the GYMCL engine shown above, can be run using either the combo fuels or, with the flick of a switch, diesel only. The combination natural gas/diesel setting gives increased fuel efficiency and cleaner emissions.
This hybrid engine was developed for use in buses and trucks and is expected to be used in areas where natural gas is plentiful. The first units have been delivered to the Zhengzhou Yutong Bus Co., Ltd for use in its nine meter buses.
The other hybrid is an ISG electric/diesel engine that uses an integrated starter/generator (ISG) to turn the engine off when the car is stopped and to turn it back on when the accelerator is pressed.
This second engine functions more like an electric/gasoline engine since it is electronically controlled. The engine has both diesel and electric propulsion systems that are controlled by the ISG. This hybrid engine is expected to deliver 20 percent better performance over straight diesel engines. The company has not said whether this engine is intended only for large vehicles like the natural gas/diesel engine or if it will be suitable for smaller vehicles, as well.
Natural gas is currently used in cars and buses but usually as the only fuel source with specially modified systems. The Metropolitan Atlanta Transit Association (Marta) has several natural gas buses as do many other municipalities. The Honda Clarity FCX sedan has a natural gas engine and a modified trunk to hold the gas canister.
Although diesel is fairly easy to find worldwide, natural gas refill stations are much harder to find although they do exist. Presumably, China will be installing the infrastructure needed to provide natural gas for these large vehicles.
Whether this technology will expand outside of China is unknown as is the demand for such technology. Until the first vehicles housing these two new hybrid engines actually hit the road, no one knows if the engines will indeed perform to expectations or deliver only unkept promises.
Nackawic is doing some spring cleaning and getting rid of some old, outdated equipment.
On Monday evening , town council approved the sale of three pieces of town surplus – a 1985 GMC pumper fire truck, 1992 Ford one-ton pickup and a utility trailer.
Acting chief administration officer Kathryn Clark said the town received three bids on the old fire truck, two for the pickup and one on the trailer.
After looking over the bids, council members awarded the fire truck for $2,666.66 and the trailer for $566.66 to Brent St. Michael. The pickup truck was awarded to Ed Christie who had the winning bid of $587.
Clark added all sales are final and the buyers are required to remove the equipment from town property by June 30.
Items can be picked up at the public works garage at 44 Pinder Road.
Supporting summer of music Council has renewed its commitment to support the 2009 summer concert series.
In his letter to council, recreation co-ordinator Randy Wilson requested the town sponsor a night of entertainment, preferably a local group on July 8.
He said he plans to host an evening event every Wednesday night throughout the summer from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The event has been a success in the past, Wilson said, and this year is filling up fast. Since the town sponsored an evening last year, he said, he hoped it could do it again this summer.
“Last year, you sponsored a full night at $300,” Wilson said. “I would like to see the town sponsor local band called the Soggy Mountain Boys on July the 8.”
Mayor Rowena Simpson said last year’s event was great success, and she suggested council renew its commitment to the concert series, especially for a local group.
Council agreed to again sponsor a full night for $300.
Scholarship Awards Two lucky students at Nackawic High School were awarded scholarships from the town.
At Monday’s regular meeting, acting CAO Clark announced the finalists for the Sam Bates Citizen Award and the Forestry Capital of Canada.
The scholarships are presented to Grade 12 students, she said, who are furthering their education after graduation, and the candidates are selected by council from pool of applicants.
This year’s winners were Spencer Grant for the Sam Bates Citizen Award and Jacob Lamey for the Forestry Capital of Canada.
The two students received their awards duringThursday’s NHS graduation ceremonies at Nackawic Arena.
Smith Electric Vehicles US Corporation, part of the Tanfield Group, has teamed up with Altec Industries Inc to introduce America's first all-electric utility truck with an aerial platform. The truck will be unveiled today (June 22) at the Electric Utility Fleet Managers Conference in Williamsburg, Virginia.
The truck is a battery; all-electric Smith Newton produced by SEV US and SEV UK with the boom and an aerial platform designed and integrated by Altec. The first unit is going to PG&E (Pacific Gas and Electric Company) and will be used to conduct routine and emergency overhead line work in PG&E's northern and central California service area.
PG&E will provide test data to SEV U.S. and Altec for the creation of a production model. Bryan Hansel, chief executive officer of SEV US said, "We are excited to be working with PG&E and Altec on this effort to help the utility industry accelerate the reduction of fuel emissions with the introduction of electric-drive fleet vehicles.The production of this truck is just the latest example of PG&E's outstanding leadership role in sustainability-related initiatives."
Dave Meisel, director of transportation services for PG&E said, "PG&E is committed to reducing the environmental impact of our operations and helping to improve air quality in the communities we serve. We hope our involvement will lead to the accelerated development and mainstream acceptance of electric vehicles in our industry."
The Smith Newton is the world's largest battery-electric-powered truck. It is fuel emissions-free, runs without noise or vibration, and actually stores energy during stopping through a process called regenerative braking, and then reuses it for acceleration. The Smith Newton has a top speed of up to 50 mph, a range on one battery charge in excess of 100 miles and a payload of up to 7400 kg (16280 lbs).
The Altec component, an AT37-G aerial boom, is a telescopic articulating device used for electric utility line maintenance and installation. The platform has a maximum height of 11.5 m (37.8 ft) and a 8.6 m (28.3 ft).
Mr Hansel of PG&E said, "Having this truck in service in PG&E's fleet is part of much larger developmental programme to evaluate all-electric fleet vehicle applications for the utility industry. Utilities have a huge role to play in helping lead the electrification of vehicles in the U.S."
SEV US is initially focusing its production on battery-electric-powered vehicles for depot-based predictable-route delivery and service fleets. The trucks will be assembled at the company's 80000 sq ft plant in Kansas City.
SEV US reports a strong expression of interest from fleet operators and as a result, the company is building a scalable assembly operation and supply chain to serve the emerging market. SEV US will begin production using chassis from multiple vehicle manufacturers.
In collaboration with the Ford Motor Company, SEV U.S. has agreed to up-fit Ford chassis to deliver Ford's first electrified vehicle for the North American market.
Using proprietary technologies transferred from the Tanfield Group Plc, SEV US will assemble and manufacture the Transit Connect as a battery electric vehicle light-duty van scheduled for production in 2010.
NORTH LIMA - “It’s a labor of love.”
That encapsulated John Stephens’ attitude regarding the 11 years he invested in building his 1967 Ford F-100 Step-side truck.
Stephens, of Ravenna, used to own an auto accessories shop in Florida and was used to performing custom work and window tinting on his customers’ vehicles. Eventually, though, the time came when he wanted to do such work for himself.
The finished product was out for all to see during Sunday’s fifth annual Father’s Day car show at South Range High School, sponsored by the Beaver Township Ruritan Club.
“I resurrected it from the ground up,” Stephens said, adding that he spent between $25,000 and $30,000.
Next to Stephens’ eye-catching vehicle was a rebuilt gray 1955 Chevrolet owned by his father-in-law, Bob Smith of Poland.
It took Smith about eight years and $60,000 to give an all-modern look to his vehicle, which he completed in 2005. That included a new engine, four-speed transmission and disc brakes.
“I did it all myself, except for the paint work,” he added. “The car was in a million pieces before I built it.”
The show was truly a family affair for the two men. On hand were Stephens’ wife, Shelly, and their 13-month-old daughter, Kalli, as well as Smith’s wife, Shirl. (all names ok. Sb)
Perfect weather greeted attendees, who leisurely strolled the grounds and extolled the virtues of numerous vintage cars, trucks and motorcycles. A sample included a bright blue 1956 Ford convertible, a cream-colored 1955 Chevrolet truck, a 1967 Firebird with a 285-horsepower engine, a green 1964 Volkswagen Buggie with raised headlights and a 1957 Cushman Eagle trike.
Jeff Burns of North Lima didn’t have a car on display, but brought daughters Savannah, 9, and Tiffany, 13, as well as sons Christian, 4, and Tyler, 7. The family lives across the street from the school and seeing the cars was largely responsible for enticing them to spend part of Father’s Day at the event, Tiffany said.
Burns listed a nearby blue 1973 Dodge Challenger as his favorite “because it’s a Dodge,” he added with a chuckle.
Also keeping with the Father’s Day theme was Don Swope, a Ruritan member who came with his 43-year-old son, Jeff. The elder Swope also served as one of the judges.
Swope, who owns Swope’s Barber Shop on Market Street in Boardman, noted that car owners could earn up to a total of 100 points, with 10 in each of 10 categories. Those included overall appearance, trim, tires, paint, interior and glass.
About 120 participants registered, with more than 120 vehicles in the show, said Swope, who owns a 1979 Pontiac Grand Prix he hopes to convert to a factory stock vehicle.
The Father’s Day car show also featured a 50/50 raffle, Chinese auction, trivia, prizes and a disc jockey playing oldies music. Dash plaques were to be given to the first 100 cars.
If you look around most dealerships few SUV's and trucks remain on the lot. Dealers say auto makers are just not making as much of them anymore, and have no idea when production will pick up.
There's an SUV shortage at Bob Utter ford in Sherman, and most other dealerships across the nation. Utter says a year ago when gas prices climbed around $4 no one thought the market for SUV's would recover.
"It was the biggest aberration of my 30 year career because all of a sudden we were right in the middle of the summer selling season, and we couldn't sell trucks in Sherman, Texas and this is a big truck market."
But the market has recovered, and dealers can't keep up with demand.
Utter says, "People are calling us and we can't always get them one so it's an odd situation to be in."
When gas wen up Utter says Ford closed a truck plant and began assembling smaller cars. Now, he has plenty of those in stock, but what he can't hold on to are Navigators, Expeditions and premium F-series trucks.
"It's one of those things that kept Ford out of the situation where they have to get government bailout money. It's that we recognized that the market was shrinking and we started shrinking before General Motors or Chrysler. It's a frustrating time and hopefully at the end of the day we'll all be standing when it's over. I know I will because I have to be."
So what does this mean for those in the market for an SUV, you may have to wait a bit longer to drive it home, or opt for a smaller more fuel efficient vehicle which Utter believes will become more popular.
Autotrader.co.uk is set to re-launch its consumer website after a £5 million pound revamp. motoring.co.uk’s compatriot website for the ‘used car’ market has responded to consumer demand for better search tools, by re-vamping its ‘used car’ search functionality. Now offering more reviews, news and video content, the site still retains the traditional Autotrader classified format.
There is also more emphasis on technical data and usability, and many used cars feature fuel economy figures and standard specifications. The search is postcode based, so it is easy to find cars in your area, and the cars are listed in price order. There is also a keyword search for finding individual features you may be looking for.
The ‘blog’ style news hub is a definite improvement, with lots of celebrity cars, video and road tests to choose from. But the site has a long way to go to compete with the likes of Fifth Gear, What Car and Top Gear in terms of lifestyle and video content. That said, this is understandable given the BBC and Channel Five spend millions paying high-profile personalities, such as Jeremy Clarkson to test-drive and promote newly released cars.
The Autotrader concept was originally launched in 1977 as Thames Valley Trader, a consumer magazine. After growing under the stewardship of GMG and Hurst Publishing as a joint venture, the portfolio grew to include vans, motorbikes and even boats. In 2007 APAX partners bought a minority stake of 49.9% in the group for £760 million.
The site remains the most visited ‘used car’ portal in the UK, while motoring.co.uk remains the number one choice for main dealer new cars.
It was among a number of carmakers who delayed implementing the scheme which went live yesterday because, it said, it could not sign off the contracts with dealers in time.
The final details of the scheme were delivered by BERR to carmakers on Friday.
Under the terms of the deal, consumers get £2,000 for scrapping their 10 year plus car and buying a new one, £1,000 comes from the government and £1,000 from the car industry. A total of 38 carmakers are taking part in the scheme.
According to the SMMT there had been a last minute hiatus because of confusion as to how VAT would be applied to the scheme.
And some carmakers had believed that they could offset some of the £1,000 cost to dealers, a move ruled out by BERR which said this had been made clear from the outset.
"We were only told on Friday by BERR that the £1,000 (manufacturer contribution) can not be partly funded by a dealer contribution. We need to look at how we will afford the scheme," said Mark Cameron, Mazda's sales and marketing director.
Ford said it was committed to the scheme and contracts would be signed off today or tomorrow at the latest. "We continue to take orders, we just needed more time," a spokesman said.
In its statement Ford said: "Ford is putting its full weight behind the UK vehicle scrappage scheme announced in last month's Budget.
"As a significant employer and investor in the UK, Ford expects the scheme to stimulate sales within the sector and help protect jobs.
"Ford has already taken in excess of 3,000 orders in connection with the scheme and it will commence delivery of the first vehicles to customers by May 20."
Glass's Guide and Elite Incident Management have launched a new system based on Glass's eSalvage online auction application, allowing dealers to invite online bids for scrappage vehicles from salvage traders.
Elite Incident Management adapted the Glass's eSalvage web-based application, which is used by insurers to sell total loss vehicles to the salvage industry.
Dealers using eSalvage will get access to these salvage agents ready and can access eSalvage through the website, http://www.gvss.co.uk. .
"The eSalvage platform lends itself particularly well to the new scrappage scheme, offering a one-stop-shop which handles all vehicles - irrespective of type or condition," said Richard Gandy, commercial manager of bodyshop and insurance at Glass's.
"Dealers have more opportunities to achieve the best prices from genuine buyers for their vehicle lots.
"The alternative is for them to use a local scrap dealer or the salvage agencies suggested by the manufacturers, inevitably limiting the potential to secure a higher sale price."
Elite Incident Management chief executive officer Philip DaSilva said: "Not only will this new solution help dealers maximise income from the increasing volumes of older part-exchanges, it also means greater volumes of usable parts will now be salvaged."
All vehicles with an estimated private sale value of around £1,000 or more will be entered on to eSalvage, certified as ‘Category B' write-offs.
Once a bid has been accepted by the franchised dealer, Elite will arrange for collection of the vehicle within three working days.
At the time of collection the salvage dealer will pay the agreed bid price in full and issue a Certificate of Destruction (V860), enabling the dealer to complete a claims submission to the manufacturer.
Carmakers may limit supplies of small cars to the
Glass's Guide managing editor Adrian Rushmore said some small cars, already in demand before the introduction of the scrappage scheme, were in short supply.
"It is possible that certain models simply won't be available within the scheme's stipulated 16-week timeframe for delivery.
"This situation will be aggravated if manufacturers limit supply to the
Rushmore said the scrappage scheme is having a ‘halo effect' that benefits much of the used car market."
Glass's said some buyers will sell in-demand small cars bought on the scrappage scheme for a profit.
"Superminis such as the new Ford Fiesta, Fiat 500 and Citroen C1, a profit of up to £1,100 could be available if the consumer had received the full scrappage trade-in discount and then sold their new car privately after taking delivery.
"The potential profit is greatest for those cars where the nearly-new value is currently high in relation to the list prices, notably small, affordable cars with low running costs," said Rushmore.
"Extended new-car delivery times are supporting these windfall profits, because prospective buyers not eligible for the scheme are more likely to gravitate towards second-hand examples - indirectly boosting residual values - rather than suffering the wait for a new model.
"We expect that some franchised dealers will be pleased to secure unused examples of these popular, newly-registered cars, despite the inflated prices, because their demonstrator stocks have been depleted over recent months. It is likely they would find a buyer quickly and still clear an acceptable profit."
New car registrations were limited to 11,500 units, compared to 24,600 in May 2008. Dacia remained in the forefront, but with a 40% fall year on year. It was followed by Renault and Volkswagen.
Meanwhile, some 17,700 used cars were registered in May this year, as compared to 10,700 a year ago, with Volkswagen first (up 80%), followed by Opel and Ford.
While only 84 new BMW cars were registered in May, 1,300 used BMW cars were registered. Audi fared similarly, with 1,100 used cars and 151 new cars.
When the latest J.D. Power and Associates quality survey came out Monday, the big news was Hyundai's trouncing of quality stalwarts Honda and Toyota.
The Korea-based automaker was the highest-ranked non-premium nameplate in the study, beating such notables as Mercedes-Benz, Ford Motor ( F - news - people ), Honda (HMC - news - people ) and Toyota ( TM - news - people ). It received the fourth-highest rank overall behind Lexus,Porsche ( PSEPF.PK - news - people ) and Cadillac.
Surprised? John Krafcik isn't. The president and chief executive of the South Korea-based automaker's U.S. unit, he says Hyundai's top rank simply reflects what he's known for the past few years. "Our cars research really well ... and when you finally get in the car and drive it, it stands up to that research."
With the American auto industry in shambles, Hyundai has stood out as one of the few automakers (Audi and Subaru would join it) to remain stable as of late. Arch-rivals Toyota and Honda report faltering sales for the year so far (down 39% and 34%, respectively), but Hyundai sales are down just 7.9% year-to-date. Its market share has increased too, reaching 4.2% in the first five months of this year, up from 2.9% during the same period in 2008, according to Autodata, a New Jersey-based market research firm.
Hyundai executives have said they aim to boost U.S. market share to 5% by the end of the year. Japan's Big Three--Toyota, Honda and Nissan ( NSANY - news - people )--stand to lose the most if they make good on that goal. Lexus, down 47% for the year to date, is another big target. "They've extended their portfolio, done clever marketing, added fillers, gone up-market, gone down-market, gone left-market and gone right-market," says Lincoln Merrihew, senior vice president at research firm TNS.
And they've made better cars. Hyundai was one of the big movers on the survey, up from its 13th-place rank last year. Its score of 95 PP100 means Hyundai owners reported 95 problems per 100 vehicles, down from 114 last year. The survey covers problems reported in the first 90 days of ownership for more than 80,000 new-vehicle purchases nationwide.
Hyundai--the fifth-largest selling automaker in the world--is still pushing to offer affordable and reliable vehicles to Americans concerned about potential job loss and volatile gas prices. Lately it has also emerged as a contender that offers an alternative to drivers opposed to paying a premium for a luxury nameplate.
The success of the new upscale Hyundai Genesis mid-size sedan is key. It helped engage an entirely new kind of driver--one who wants all the trappings of a Lexus, say, but feels slightly guilty about its insignia.
"We started noticing a reluctance to buy a badge," Krafcik says. "Consumers are questioning the brand premium."
Hyundai executives took a risk in launching the $33,000 sedan on the cusp of a bona fide recession, but sales numbers have been strong. Last month, it sold 2,079 units nationwide (several hundred more than competitors like the Lexus GS and Lincoln MKS), spurred on, no doubt, by its distinction as North American Car of the Year and by Hyundai's novel "Assurance" program, which allows customers to return their new Hyundai vehicles if they lose their job after the purchase.
"If you say Hyundai, people used to say crappy cheap car, but now they go, 'Oh these are the guys that are willing to buy back the car if I'm out of work. These are my buddies. They understand my life,'" says Robert Passikoff, the president of Brand Keys, a market research firm in New York.
The majority of the Genesis sedans Hyundai sells are loaded with upgrades that push the price well above $40,000 according to the company. And the coupe version of the Genesis, a $22,750 306-horsepower rear-wheel drive sports car meant to compete with the likes of the Ford Mustang and Infiniti G37, has achieved critical praise.
It all bodes well for the Equus, the larger, plush sedan Hyundai showed at the New York International Auto Show and plans to bring to the U.S. market in the next two years.
The next step, Krafcik says, is to create a second brand under the Hyundai banner in which to sell luxury vehicles, much like Toyota did with Lexus and Honda did with Acura. With the way things are going, it may not be much of a reach.
In less than a fortnight two historical situations were registered in the Colombian market of the most luxurious car brands: German Porsche inaugurated in Bogotá its “most modern” centre in the region, and the Italian brands Maserati and Ferrari opened their first branch in the Colombian capital.
Some years ago this was not even close of happening in Colombia and it seemed that only the most developed capitals in the world had these brands within reach. But now clients can find a 600.000 USD Ferrari on sale. This shows that the sector of the most exclusive cars has set its eyes on Colombia.
Figures reveal that important things are happing in this area. Last year, 4,688 luxury vehicles were sold in Colombia. Even though this only represents 2 per cent of the market of new cars in the country, it shows an important trend. Between 2006 and 2007 there was a 73 per cent increase in the sales of top of the range cars. Last year, when the whole industry fell 13 per cent, the sales of the main luxurious cars grew 10 per cent. Stats are eloquent. In 2008 Audi sold 61.9 per cent more than the previous year. BMW grew 35 per cent and Porsche 55 per cent, according to the stats provided by the company Econometría.
“The market is waking up”, says Marco Pastrana, manager of Audi in Colombia. He explains that many people who did not consider buying one of these cars, are now making up their minds.
There are many factors which explain this trend. To start with, the four myths of the market of top of the range cars are collapsing. The first one is the most obvious one: Colombia is unsafe and that is why buying an expensive car does not make any sense and could even be dangerous. According to Thomas Stärtzel, president and managing director of Porsche Latin America and who was in Bogotá for the inauguration of the Porsche Centre, this has changed radically in the last few years. “It is clear that the safety conditions in the country have improved a lot, thanks to president Alvaro Uribe’s policies”, he stated. Precisely, these better conditions were a key factor for the German company extending its presence in Colombia.
The truth is that until a few years ago, many did not consider the possibility of buying these types of vehicles because of risks regarding kidnapping and extortion. Today, that perception of insecurity is being left behind and the doors seem open for a multimillion dollar market.
The second myth is that there are few people who can buy expensive cars and who are capable are also under suspicion because of the origin of that money. Obviously, the price of these cars is astronomical for most Colombians, but explaining the sales rise of luxury cars with the argument that it is because of illicit businesses is like saying that illegal activities are the only ones which can provide people with a good amount of money. That is not true. Although one cannot hide the dangers of drug trafficking, it must also be said that this is a country which has transformed itself. There are currently more people with purchasing power who are capable to buy expensive vehicles and who get their money from legal activities. “I have got a Porsche and as soon as I found out that Maserati was coming to Colombia I became interested in buying one”, a well-known businessman told SEMANA while he was looking at the models at the Maserati stand.
It is positive that big brands commit themselves with businesses in Colombia. This helps the market to stop being a “top secret” subject and becoming a traditional commercial transaction. In fact, those businesses have showcases where anyone can see the products.
The profile of the people who buy these cars is much more normal than what is sometimes thought. “They are businessmen who have been successful and have dreamt of having one of these cars in Colombia. Surprisingly, there are many housewives who also think our new model for the whole family, the Porsche Cayenne, is attractive”, said Christian G. Pfeil-Schneider, manager of Autoelite, which represents Porsche in Colombia. Marco Pastrana, of Audi, thinks in a similar way: “There are young, successful people with a stable family, a profession and a good job”, he indicated.
The third myth is that the top of the range market is rigid, only available for the same people. This is different now and the commercial strategy of the companies has changed. They want to conquer new markets and they use methods which have proven to be successful by other car makers. Porsche and Audi have recently launched models to enter into different segments. That is why they are offering vans for the whole family, which has attracted new clients. BMW has used an aggressive commercial strategy making the most of the low dollar prices, which has caused this German company to be one of the most sold brands in the local market.
This business, in other words, behaves like any other. For example, it reacts quickly when the values fluctuate. The recent revaluation trend has caused the prices to fall dramatically. At the beginning of last year, a 100,000 dollar vehicle cost the equivalent of 260 million pesos. Today, that same vehicle costs 200 million pesos. It helps the client to save 60 million pesos just by taking the revaluation into account.
The high costs of the spare parts, the appropriate maintenance and the insurances for these vehicles are no longer a burden for possible buyers. These companies are well-known for their good service. Apart from that, if someone has paid a big amount for buying one of these cars, that same person will also pay a big amount to repair it or insure it.
Finally, the fourth myth that has been changed is that the top of the range cars are fragile and will not withstand transiting on Colombia’s badly damaged roads. As far as this aspect is concerned, Frank Kanayet, shareholder of GPC group which commercializes Maserati and Ferrari, says this is not a problem and gives his own example: “It is a lie that an expensive car is weak. I have been to the Colombian plains, to the coffee growing region, to Medellín and it is wonderful climbing the mountains with this car”.
The truth is that who are betting on the segment of luxurious cars are also confident that Colombia’ economy will soon return to its growing trend. If all goes well and the sector continues to grow, without doubt better cars will be seen more and more on the battered Colombian roads
Aiding sales is the Japanese government’s eco-incentive tax breaks for the promotion of eco-friendly technology. Customers who showed previous interest in hybrid models but could not afford them are currently starting to purchase them as motivated by the tax break.
SMYRNA, Tenn. — A $1.6 billion federal loan for Nissan North America Inc. to build a zero-emissions electric car and battery packs to power them could eventually create more than 1,000 new jobs at the automaker's assembly complex in Tennessee.
The vice president of manufacturing for Nissan's assembly plant at Smyrna and powertrain plant at Decherd, Susan Brennan, said Tuesday that if existing sales volumes hold and depending on demand, there could eventually be up to 1,000 jobs added at a new plant that will make lithium-ion battery packs.
Construction of that battery plant in Smyrna is expected to start later this year.
Brennan said Nissan's assembly plant can already accommodate production of the electric car starting in 2012 and that could involve a few hundred additional jobs.
Below is a press release from Tennessee congressmen
Alexander, Corker, Gordon Say Nissan Announcement Puts Tennessee at the Forefront of America’s Automotive and Energy Future
Nissan anticipates increase of 1,300 jobs in Smyrna when full production is reached
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and U.S. Representative Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.6th) said today that Nissan’s award of a $1.6 billion Department of Energy loan to produce electric cars and battery packs at its manufacturing complex in Smyrna, Tennessee, is outstanding news both for the local economy and for Tennessee’s position as a leader in America’s automotive and energy future.
“This announcement puts Nissan and Tennessee at the center of building electric cars in America,” said Alexander. “We can electrify half our cars and trucks if we plug them in at night, without building one new power plant because of all the unused nighttime electricity we have. This is the single best way to reduce dependence on foreign oil, clean the air, and keep the cost of fuel low.”
“This announcement is really the nexus of what we’ve tried to create in Tennessee: good paying jobs that move our state and country ahead and help us become more energy secure. This means 1,300 jobs for the area, it secures Tennessee’s position as a leader in America’s energy future, and it continues to tell the world that Tennessee is THE place to do business, especially automotive business,” said Corker, a member of the Senate Energy Committee.
“This DOE loan is great news for Tennessee. After 26 years of producing cars in Smyrna, this loan will allow Nissan to refurbish and retool an existing factory and construct a new battery plant to build affordable all-electric vehicles,” said Gordon. “It will create 1,300 new jobs and position Tennessee to be a leader in establishing our nation's energy independence - the Smyrna-produced cars will use no gasoline. This loan will also provide new opportunities for Nissan and Oak Ridge National Laboratory to collaborate and ensure that our country is on the leading edge of global technological competitiveness.”
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announcement states:
“Nissan will receive $1.6 billion to produce electric cars and battery packs at its manufacturing complex in Smyrna, Tennessee. The loan will aid in the construction of a new battery plant and modifications to the existing assembly facility. These fully electric cars are an important milestone for vehicles produced in the United States by a major international automaker. These cars are energy efficient, using electricity at a gasoline-equivalent rate of more than 350 mpg. This new state of the art facility is a notable effort by a major automaker with well-established US operations to produce its most advanced vehicles and lithium-ion batteries. Nissan aims to manufacture a cost-competitive all-electric car, overcoming a major obstacle to widespread adoption of pure electric vehicles. Nissan will offer electric vehicles to fleet and retail customers, and plans to ramp up production capacity in Smyrna up to 150,000 vehicles annually. Nissan anticipates the project may result in an increase of up to 1,300 jobs in Smyrna when full production is reached.”
DOE also announced today that $5.9 billion will go to Ford Motor Company to transform factories across Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, and Ohio to produce 13 more fuel-efficient models and $465 million will go to Tesla Motors to manufacture electric drive trains and electric vehicles in California.
These are the first conditional loan commitments reached as part of DOE’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing program, also referred to as “Section 136” funding. Section 136, passed as part of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, provides loans to eligible auto manufacturers and component suppliers for reequipping, expanding, or establishing a manufacturing facility in the U.S. to produce advanced technology vehicles or parts for such vehicles.