Tag Archive | "Volkswagen"

KBB: Avg. Transaction Price in June Rises 3%

IRVINE, Calif. — Thanks to market demand quickly backing away from cars, average transaction prices in July rose 2.9% from a year ago, or $985, to $35,359, Kelley Blue Book reported this week.

Cars are expected to make up only 31% of July sales, down from 36% in the year-ago period. This decline is pushing transaction prices up as consumers opt for pricier SUVs and trucks, the firm said.

“Prices also are likely to strengthen as the average days in inventory has begun to recede for the first time this decade,” said Kelley Blue analyst Tim Fleming, “which is a sign automakers are managing production well in the post-peak demand era.”

Volkswagen Group’s average transaction price grew 4.1% in July, primarily on the strength of the Volkswagen brand. Volkswagen prices increased 5% due to the company’s Atlas and Tiguan SUVs, which have brought the brand’s sales mix of utility vehicles from 15% to nearly 40%. The redesigned Jetta also performed well, with its average transaction price rising 6%. Audi transaction prices were flat for the month, though the Q5 did show strong improvement with a 4% increase in its average transaction price.

Another great performer was Ford Motor Co., whose average transaction prices grew 4% in July 2018. Lincoln’s average transaction prices increased 10%, thanks to the meteoric rise of the new Navigator (up 33%). Ford also reported a big month. Its average transaction price rose 4%, thanks to the 5% increase in the average transaction price of its refreshed F-150. The new Expedition also was strong, with its average transaction price rising 14% — pushing it near the top of the full-size SUV segment.

Posted in Auto Industry NewsComments (0)

KBB: Average New-Car Prices Rise 2% in February

IRVINE, Calif. — Kelley Blue Book put February’s estimated average transaction price for light vehicles at $35,444. That’s up $722 from a year ago but down $96 from January.

Even with new-vehicle demand expected to continue to slow in 2018, average transactions prices have so far been unaffected this year — though incentives have risen similarly to offset part of the extra cost, the firm noted.

“It was another month of solid transaction prices in February 2018, with 2% growth year-over-year,” said Kelley Blue Book analyst Tim Fleming. “The numbers indicate that new-car buyers are still willing to pay top dollar for the latest models with the most current features and technology. Even the new Honda Accord and Toyota Camry are commanding large premiums over their predecessors, despite competing in a rapidly shrinking segment.”

American Honda’s transaction prices climbed 2% in February 2018 — with the Honda brand alone recording a 3% increase. The new Accord posted a 6% increase, while the Odyssey continues to top the minivan segment with a 13% year-over-year increase in its average transaction price.

Toyota Motor Co. posted a 3% increase in its average transaction price behind the strength of its redesigned Camry, which recorded a 9% increase in transaction prices. The Lexus brand posted a 1% increase in its average transaction price, although that should climb in the coming months with its redesigned LS sedan now reaching dealerships.

Another notable manufacturer includes Volkswagen Group, which posted a 7% increase in its average transaction price. The Volkswagen brand alone posted an 8% increase, buoyed by the new Atlas SUV. Porsche transaction prices climbed 8% thanks to the redesigned Panamera, which was up 19%. Audi transaction prices rose 4%, with the redesigned A5 and Q5 showing the most improvement.

Posted in Auto Industry NewsComments (0)

Dealer Group Files Class Action Lawsuit Against Volkswagen

CHICAGO — On Wednesday, Ed Napleton, president of the Napleton Auto Group, filed a class action lawsuit against Volkswagen in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on behalf of three of his Volkswagen dealerships. The lawsuit stated that the manufacturer intentionally defrauded dealers by installing “defeat devices” in its diesel cars.

In addition, the lawsuit further claims that Volkswagen separately carried out a systematic, illegal pricing and allocation scheme that favored some dealers over others and illegally channeled financing business to one of its affiliates, Volkswagen Credit Inc., according to Hagens Berman, a consumer-rights law firm.

“What is really discouraging and led me to file this lawsuit is that Volkswagen has wholly failed to respond to dealer concerns in a substantive manner. It has talked for months about multiple plans, but done nothing and left us dealers in the red, and in limbo,” Napleton said.

The suit also accuses Volkswagen of engaging in a criminal racketeering enterprise, violating federal law designed to protect car dealers from unfair practices by vehicle manufacturers, breaching state franchisee protection laws, and breaching its franchise dealer agreements.

The manufacturer’s deception, the suit charged, has resulted in a drop in the value of the Volkswagen brand. The damage the scandal has caused to the brand, as well as the cease of diesel-vehicle sales, has both negatively hurt dealer profits and the value of their franchises, the suit alleges.

“Plaintiffs and the Franchise Dealer Class have invested millions, collectively hundreds of millions of dollars in the Volkswagen brand,” the suit states. “But now the brand value has plummeted, sales of VW diesels have completely halted, and sales of all VW cars have plummeted.”

Additionally, the complaint states that Volkswagen “purposely and fraudulently induced its dealers to continue to invest in their dealership facilities and to otherwise benefit VW.” It also told dealers that it would replace stair-step programs it had abandoned with new programs with equal or greater financial benefit to dealers.

This move, the suit claims, “was calculated to quell poor publicity as well as dealer outrage at VGoA’s (Volkswagen Group of America) conduct and was otherwise calculated to fraudulently induce its dealers and prospective dealers to continue to invest in the Volkswagen brand.”

As a result, according to the complaint, franchised dealers built new showrooms and purchased new facilities and also heavily stocked their lots with CleanDiesel vehicles, based on the manufacturer’s false marketing.

“Franchise owners are now left with lots full of CleanDiesel vehicles they are unable to sell, and these cars have suffered tremendous loss of value and take up inventory space and carrying costs,” Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman added. “VW dealerships large and small have been at the mercy of an unethical corporation, much like the hundreds of thousands of owners across the country, and we believe it’s time to take a stand for their rights.

“In a sickening display of VW’s disregard for its dealer franchisees, Napleton Automotive of Urbana was purchased after VW admitted its fraud to regulators, just three days before the Dieselgate scandal made headlines. Yet Volkswagen withheld the truth and pushed the sale through, knowing well that Ed Napleton was purchasing a dealership that would almost immediately plummet in value,” Berman said.

According to the suit, Volkswagen’s U.S. affiliate in charge of its dealer network was aware of the emissions-cheating software since as early as 2014 but withheld information from current and prospective dealers. Volkswagen has admitted that during that time, it installed emissions cheating software in more than 550,000 U.S. diesel vehicles.

“For VW dealers  — many of which are small, family-owned franchises  — Dieselgate amounts to a classic ‘pump and dump’ operation, in which VW exploited the CleanDiesel eco-friendly market that it helped create, boosting the price of entry and continuation in the market for VW franchises,” Berman said. “All the while, VW withheld information about the impending Dieselgate fiasco, and left dealers to fend for themselves as the scandal unfolded.”

Napleton and his family have been in the automotive dealership business in the Chicago area for three generations. Today, the Napleton family operates more than 50 dealerships in five states.

Posted in Auto Industry NewsComments (0)

NADA Statement on Departure of VW of America CEO Michael Horn

TYSONS, Va. – This week’s departure of Volkswagen of America’s President and CEO Michael Horn is a significant blow to the VW dealer network, which has been operating in crisis mode for more than six months. What’s most regrettable about Mr. Horn’s departure is that it leaves more questions than answers for the 652 Volkswagen dealers across the U.S.

The impact of the diesel defeat-device scandal has not only negatively impacted dealership profitability due to a limitation of product available to sell, but, more significantly, has severely damaged the reputation of the brand in the eyes of consumers – damage we all know could take many years to overcome.

A critical step in this recovery will be for VW to honor the future product plan that Mr. Horn and VW dealers fought vigorously for in Wolfsburg. Volkswagen’s U.S. dealers have made significant investments in buildings, technology, and people over the past several years based these product commitments that we hope are not in jeopardy.

NADA calls on Volkswagen AG CEO Matthias Mueller, and brand chief Herbert Diess to meet personally with their dealers at the upcoming Volkswagen franchise meeting during the NADA Convention in Las Vegas. VW dealers deserve to hear first-hand from the company about its vision for the future of Volkswagen in the United States.

Posted in Auto Industry NewsComments (0)

VW Credit Teams With Safe-Guard on New Line of F&I Products

HERNDON, Va. — VW Credit Inc. — doing business as Volkswagen Credit, Audi Financial Services and Ducati Financial Services — has announced a new line of Volkswagen, Audi and Ducati branded lines of automobile and motorcycle protection products for the U.S. market.

The captive said this week it reached an agreement with Safe-Guard Products International LLC to bring the branded products to market. Together, the parties will develop, market, and distribute the newly enhanced suite of products, with program introduction to the Volkswagen, Audi, and Ducati dealer networks beginning on Jan. 1, 2017.

“Our decision to take a direct role in underwriting most vehicle protection products, while also enhancing the offering with other products specifically developed for our brands, is part of a multipronged strategy that aims to increase overall customer satisfaction and to build loyalty by which our customers return to the dealer network for any future service needs,” said Richard Howse, vice president of marketing and business development for VCI.

The company said it will offer dealer support for all of its new products, including a dedicated 28-person national sales and training team, a completely branded marketing offering, and new technology, such as a branded mobile claims application.

Posted in P&A NewsComments (0)

Volkswagen Fix Rejected by California Board as Setbacks Grow

Volkswagen AG’s work to overcome the emissions-cheating scandal was set back after the California Air Resources Board rejected its proposed engine fix as “incomplete,” just a day before Chief Executive Officer Matthias Mueller meets regulators to discuss ways out of the crisis.

“Volkswagen made a decision to cheat on emissions tests and then tried to cover it up,” Mary Nichols, chairwoman of the state board, said Tuesday in an e-mailed statement. “They need to make it right”

The rejection closely followed a bumble by Mueller, who in a Sunday interview appeared to dismiss the crisis by saying Europe’s largest automaker “didn’t lie” to regulators about what amounts to a “technical problem.” The timing couldn’t be worse: VW also is in the midst of complex technical talks with the California board counterparts at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency about possible fixes for about 480,000 diesel cars with 2-liter engines.

On its website, the California board said it “determined that there was no easy and expeditious fix for the affected vehicles.” The EPA seconded the idea on Tuesday, saying it agreed with the state regulator that VW’s plan can’t be approved.

The German automaker reiterated Tuesday that it’s committed to cooperating with regulators in California and elsewhere and said it will present a reworked proposal to the EPA tomorrow at the meeting in Washington. California’s rejection related to initial plans submitted last month, VW said. At that time it asked for an extension to submit additional information and data about the diesel engines and turbocharged-direct injection, or TDI.

“Since then, Volkswagen has had constructive discussions with CARB, including last week when we discussed a framework to remediate the TDI emissions issue,” VW said in an e-mailed statement Tuesday.

CARB said it and the EPA will continue to evaluate VW’s technical proposals.

Mueller’s Flub

CEO Mueller had apologized Sunday in a speech on the eve of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. “We know we deeply disappointed our customers, the responsible government bodies and the general public here in the U.S.,” Mueller said. “I apologize for what went wrong at Volkswagen.”

That was the same night he made the controversial comments in an interview with National Public Radio appearing to downplay the company’s role in actively deceiving regulators. On Monday morning, the company asked NPR for a do-over, where Mueller blamed a noisy atmosphere for his earlier comments and apologized again.

Mueller is scheduled to meet with EPA chief Gina McCarthy and members of Congress Wednesday morning in Washington. On Monday evening, Mueller had dinner with Republican Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee. VW has a manufacturing plant in Chattanooga, which is undergoing a major expansion. Corker said VW views the meeting with EPA as “very important.”

U.S. Meetings

“They understand fully the order of magnitude of mistakes that have been made and my sense is they are very committed to resolving this in an appropriate way,” Corker said in an interview Tuesday, before ARB announced it had rejected VW’s recall plan.

The CEO’s appearance in Detroit and in the nation’s capital mark his first trip to the U.S. in his new role as CEO. Mueller, the former head of VW’s Porsche sports-car unit, was named CEO in September after Martin Winterkorn was forced out as the “dieselgate” scandal erupted.

Beyond developing an effective fix for each of the three types of non-compliant 4-cylinder engines, VW must document any adverse impacts on vehicles and consumers. And since the emissions scandal centers on Volkswagen’s use of a sophisticated “defeat device” to skirt regulations, any proposed remedy — whether that’s retrofitting cars with new parts or revising software codes — will need to be tested by California technicians before the plan is rolled out to consumers.

Rebecca Lindland, a senior analyst at Kelley Blue Book, said Tuesday that the rejection was not a surprise.

“Volkswagen has been working on an additional potential fix involving the catalytic converter. Those details have not been worked out. The reasons for the rejection involve needing more details and specifications,” she said in a statement.

“Today’s actions do not preclude a recall, but allow for a broader array of potential remedies,” the board said in the statement.

Posted in Auto Industry NewsComments (0)

Page 1 of 1312345...10...Last »