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Sent to over 30,000 recipients every weekday morning, FirstUp conveys the day's auto-related news quickly, concisely, and accurately. Topics covered in FirstUp range from new vehicle releases, to the latest legislation concerning the auto industry. This is news designed with you in mind.
December 6, 2013
Honda Offers Dealers Incentives to Spur Sales
Honda Motor Co. is offering U.S. dealers significant cash incentives to pump up their new-car business in the final month of the year. According to The Wall Street Journal, Honda told dealers on Wednesday it would pay bonuses of $3,000 for every vehicle they sell above their December 2012 sales total, according to dealers briefed by the company. Retailers can use the extra money to drop prices on new vehicles or finance other incentives to persuade customers to buy. Automakers often offer similar bonuses to their dealers, but Honda's new program is noteworthy because the Japanese company typically offers much less in sales incentives than its competitors. "For a lot of dealers, this could add some punch to December and put some fire in their bellies," said Adam Silverleib, vice president of Silko Honda in Raynham, Mass. John Mendel, executive vice president of Honda's U.S. operations, said the point of the promotion is to exceed the company's December 2012 sales. Honda sold 116,740 vehicles in the U.S. that month. "There's still incremental business out there," he said. For more on Honda’s end-of-year sales strategy, click here.
More Than Half of New-Car Shoppers Would Consider CPO, Study Says
More than half of new-car shoppers are willing to consider buying a certified pre-owned vehicle, up from 43 percent a year ago, an AutoTrader.com study released yesterday says. Moreover, reportsAutomotive News, the 55 percent of new-car shoppers who would think about buying a certified pre-owned vehicle jumps to 69 percent once shoppers understand what certified pre-owned entails, the study found. Among used-car shoppers, 60 percent said they would consider certified pre-owned, and that figure rose to 66 percent once the definition of certified pre-owned was explained to them. “While it is good to see that consideration for CPO vehicles is strong, there is still a lot of confusion about what CPO actually means,” said Rick Wainschel, AutoTrader vice president of consumer insights, in a statement. “The more shoppers know about CPO, the more willing they are to consider the vehicles.” The AutoTrader study reported that certified pre-owned vehicles can be a conduit for dealers and automakers to build brand loyalty. Seventy percent of CPO vehicle owners are likely to return to the dealership for service, compared with 61 percent of drivers who have never had a CPO vehicle. For more on AutoTrader’s CPO study, click here.
Toyota Camry's U.S. Sales to Top 400,000 in 2013
Toyota is on track to sell more than 400,000 Camrys this year, the 12th straight year the Japanese automaker midsize sedan is the most popular car in the U.S. But the car is in the third year of its life-cycle and faces ever increasing competition, reports The Detroit Free Press. This year, the Japanese automaker expects its U.S. sales will top 2.25 million cars and trucks, up 8 percent from last year. “(Camry) will probably be the only car that sells over 400,000,” said Bill Fay, general manager of the Toyota division. “We are very comfortable and happy with our results for the year.” But to keep Camry No. 1, Toyota had to spend more on rebates, discounted financing, and other sales incentives. On average, Toyota’s incentives are below the industry average, but incentive costs for Camrys have crept upward. In November, the average incentive on a new Camry was $2,421, according to Edmunds.com. Fay said there are no major changes planned for Camry next year, but alluded to minor freshening of certain features. For more on Toyota’s plans for its Camry, click here.
2013 Cars That Get 35 MPG—Or More
Fuel economy is a growing concern for automakers and buyers alike. With federally mandated corporate average fuel-economy (CAFE) standards rising to 35.5 mpg by 2016 and 54.5 mpg by 2025, automakers have to continue developing more efficient vehicles. For the 2013 model year, buyers have a choice of 18 cars that get an Environmental Protection Agency rating of 35 mpg combined, compared with four such vehicles in 2008. MSN Autos’ search actually turned up more than 18 vehicles that achieve 35 mpg combined, but they aren't including electric cars or plug-in hybrids. If maximum fuel economy is important to you, click through to find cars that should be on your radar. The Volkswagen Passat diesel makes the cut. With an available 6-speed manual transmission, the midsize Passat diesel is the most fuel-efficient diesel-powered vehicle offered in the U.S. The 2.0-liter turbocharged engine makes 236 lb-ft of torque; team that with a roomy interior and capable driving dynamics, and the Passat diesel is an excellent family sedan. Also on the list is the new Acura ILX Hybrid, which is based on the Honda Civic. It is the most affordable model in the Acura lineup. Click here for more on the most fuel efficient cars of 2013.
Dealers Sell Services on Waiting-Room TV
A growing number of car dealers are concluding that the TV flickering in the service area waiting room should do more than keep customers up on sports scores and soap operas. According toAutomotive News, many dealerships, with help from the factory, are streaming price menus, sales promotions, F&I offerings, and used-vehicle inventory to Internet-connected TVs in their service waiting rooms. Fran Pomarico, executive manager at Poughkeepsie Nissan in Wappingers Falls, N.Y., says his store has sold dozens of extended warranty contracts through advertising on the flat-screen TV in his store's service-area waiting room. "That's the time when the warranty is on their mind, when they're in for a repair or maintenance," Pomarico says. "You have a captive audience. Why not show them visually what you have to offer?" The TV displays regular programming while messages of used-car inventories or F&I offerings appear every few minutes in the bottom one-third of the screen, shrinking the program without interrupting it. The content is streamed from an Internet-based device provided by AdVantageTec Inc. of San Rafael, Calif. For more on how dealers are leveraging waiting room TV to sell their services, click here.
Around the Web
Nelson Mandela Was 'a Real Fanatic' for Cars [USA Today]
Ferrari 458 Speciale, the King of Speed [Yahoo! Autos]
What's the Top Gear Car of 2013? [Top Gear]
Land Rover Defender Pickup Coming in 2017? [Autoblog]