SUVs And CUVs Gaining Ground

SUVs And CUVs Gaining Ground The SUV is here to stay, like it or not.
SUVs are a staple of the American automotive landscape and have been elevated to gas guzzler status more or less as hybrid vehicles started being commercialized.
Today’s circumstances is has evolved and is very different. SUVs have now been declined in compact and/or crossover utility vehicles (CUV), often based on compact vehicles and offer better fuel consumption than many midsize vehicles did twenty years ago. And their popularity is undeniable.
Let’s take Ford Motor Company as an example in light of the news we published earlier this week in this area hybrids loosing ground sales-wise and Ford’s F-150 sales on the rise.
Ford utility vehicles, which range worldwide from the compact EcoSport to the eight-seat Expedition, accounted for 23 percent of the brand’s sales globally in 2013. This is up from 17 percent a year earlier.
By the end of the decade, Ford projects utility vehicles will account for 29 percent of its global sales. Ford clarifies this by stating more patrons choose the versatility and capability of an SUV.
SEE ALSO: Honda HR-V Set To Launch In Los Angeles
“The success of the One Ford plot is long-lasting to pay off,” said Jim Farley, Ford executive vice president, Global Marketing, Sales and Service. “As utility vehicle demand rises around the world, our global lineup of vehicles, like EcoSport, Escape/Kuga and Edge, is helping us grow our share. The global question for new utility vehicles is pouring expansion in developing markets like China and helping the Ford brand reach more customers.”
America is not the only area enamored with the SUV concept. Utility vehicle sales are expanding rapidly in many of the world’s fastest-growing markets – including Europe and China – according to a Ford analysis of data from IHS Automotive, which forecasts market information and competitive data on the automotive diligence.
According to these numbers, worldwide demand for utility vehicles is up 88 percent since 2008, making SUVs the fastest-growing segment. Utility vehicles now account for 19 percent of the global automotive market, with the segment expanding at more than three times the rate of the vehicle diligence overall.
In Europe, stated Ford, the utility vehicle segment grew from 9 percent market share in 2008 to 19 percent in 2013. Sales of the Ford Kuga, known as the Escape in North America, increased 33 percent for the full 2013 sales year in Euro 20 markets, and also reached record levels January through September 2014.
To capitalize on the utility segment’s strength in Europe, Ford introduced the EcoSport earlier this year, and an all-new 2015 Ford Edge goes on sale there in late 2015. Both the Edge and the EcoSport are new entries for Ford in Europe.
Ford’s tale is similar in China, where interest in utility vehicles drove the segment from 7 percent of diligence sales in 2008 to 17 percent in 2013. Ford’s overall sales progression in China – the leading market in the world – is said to be robust. The Canadian-built Ford Edge launched in China in January 2011, with three more utilities – Ford Explorer, Kuga and EcoSport – debuting there in 2013.
From January through September 2014, more than 100,000 Kugas and more than 60,000 EcoSports have been sold in China, with significant year-over-year increases, added Ford. Edge sales in China are up 70 percent over 2013, and sales of the Explorer increased approximately 200 percent over 2013.
In the United States, baby boomers and millennials – the two leading demographic groups – are choosing utility vehicles, according to Ford. Small utility vehicles, also known as CUV, are now the leading segment in the U.S. market. A record number of Ford Escapes were sold in 2013, with sales up in 2014 as well. Also, Ford Explorer and Expedition are selling at a pace not seen in nearly a decade.
Part of Ford’s success is linked to its turbocharged EcoBoost range of engines, which in theory allow fuel consumption reduction while also providing full power when needed.
The tale also applies to other manufacturers and clarifies why we are seeing so many new CUV being launched. Look at Honda with the Fit-based upcoming HR-V (also known as Vezel), or at Fiat, Chevrolet and Mercedes-Benz all offering or entering the market with new offerings in the segment.
This all begs the inquiry. When will we see a mainstream hybrid CUV in North America? Or a Prius CUV?

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2016 Volt Gets Improved Range And Efficiency

2016 Volt Gets Improved Range And Efficiency Today General Motors revealed the next-generation 2016 Chevrolet Volt will receive a substantially improved electric Voltec powertrain providing better efficiency and performance.
The system pioneered in the first-generation Volt introduced December 2010 has been entirely re-plotting, and updates have been made to improve battery chemistry, T-pack configuration, electric drive components and range-extending gas-powered generator.
A higher percentage of U.S. content is also being brought to bear. Read more

Next-Generation Volt To Have 1.5-Liter 4-cylinder Generator

Next-Generation Volt To Have 1.5-Liter 4-cylinder Generator By no means mind all those previous reports signifying or declaring unequivocally the next-generation Volt will get a three-cylinder 1.0-liter range-extending generator, because today General Motors told it will be a 1.5-liter four.
The new engine will have improved efficiency as part of an all-new family of 1.0-1.5-liter engines and will be built at GM’s Flint Engine Operations.
This will replace the present car’s 1.4-liter that runs on premium fuel. GM did not state the new engine will run on regular, but it’s said this is the case.
GM also said it will go production of the next-gen Volt’s electric drive unit from Mexico to its transmission plant in suburban Detroit.
On its Facebook page, Chevrolet is promising more “electrifying news” today but the company has said the Volt’s range will not be revealed. Read more

Mazda CX-3 SKYACTIV To Launch In Los Angeles

Mazda CX-3 SKYACTIV To Launch In Los Angeles Mazda will unveil its new small CUV, the CX-3, as a world premiere at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
The Los Angeles Auto Show will be open to the public between November 21 and 30.
Like many recently launched Mazda vehicles, the Mazda CX-3 will feature both the full range of SKYACTIV technology and its design philosophy, KODO – Soul of Motion.
Mazda stated in pursuing a design of beauty and sophistication, the essence of KODO – the expression of life within a vehicle – has been evolved to produce a sharper form with an enhanced sense of speed.
This new CX-3 is a new model for the brand and is most likely based on the recently remodeled Mazda3 compact sedan and hatchback.
SEE ALSO: Mazda Reveals New Less vital, Lighter 2016 MX-5
This new CX-3 is not the only new vehicle to be shown by Mazda in Los Angeles. The all-new Mazda MX-5 roadster will also make its North American motor show debut.
The engine line-up for this sporty convertible will be tailored to each market, with either a 1.5-liter or 2.0-liter SKYACTIV-G gas engine said to be tuned exclusively for the all-new Mazda MX-5 and mounted longitudinally for its rear-wheel drive configuration. North American-specification models will only be fitted with the SKYACTIV-G 2.0-liter gasoline engine.
Mazda also revealed it will unveil world premiere of updated Mazda6 and CX-5 models, but did not reveal more in this area the changes.

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Elon Musk Tweets Strong September Sales To Refute WSJ Report

Elon Musk Tweets Strong September Sales To Refute WSJ Report In advance of Tesla’s plotted third-quarter earnings report next month, CEO Elon Musk told global Model S sales in September were a record high, and North American sales are up 65 percent year over year.
The data was provided by the briefest of disclosures: a tweet, and it’s been a favorite form of communication before for the company head to occasionally share huge news with few details.
His tweet said it was a response to an article by the influential Wall Street Journal which cited Wards data stating Tesla sales are down 26 percent for the past nine months. The WSJ suggested this was part of why Tesla initiated a new lease program and 90-day return policy for Model S. Read more

Tesla Mulling Model 3 SUV and Wagon

Tesla Mulling Model 3 SUV and Wagon Tesla’s pending Gigafactory battery plant will be needed to enable production of nearly a quarter million electric cars later this decade, and while they’re at it, Model 3 may spin off an SUV and station wagon variant.
This word of the proposed $35,000 car came last week from Tesla’s vice president for engineering, Chris Porritt. Nothing is being ruled out, he told Auto Express, as the company seeks to morph from relative niche automaker to mass production manufacturer.
“We don’t know what type of customer we’re trying to appeal to yet, but we want to speak to more customers … Lots of them!” said the British-Born Tesla exec speaking to the UK publication. “We’ve got specific customers for Model S, we have an thought with Model X, but we need to appeal to more public with Model 3.
“We want this car to be £30,000 to £35,000 with derivatives which will appeal to all sorts of public. SUVs, estates [wagons] – who knows?”
Porritt said the Tesla is expected to be revealed 2016 for a 2017 launch. The Model 3 is presented as a BMW 3-Series fighter and alternately it’s been called “entry level,” but Auto Express termed it a compact executive car. This likely is a more appropriate description, even if it will be the lowest price point for Tesla at an estimated $35,000 plus.
SEE ALSO: Tesla Reiterates Future Plans For Quicker Roadster
And at the other end of the range, Tesla is thought in this area a sports car, but Porritt was described as “coy” when questioned in this area it.
“We may do a Roadster or a sports car again, but at the second we are on a curve to get more volume rather than focus on a specialist product,” he said.
What ever Tesla decides to do, clear is it wants to build many more vehicles. Its total volume production including Model 3, Model S and Model X is to be “well over 200,000 a year,” Poritt said, thus the need for the Gigafactory.
The goal is to budge economies of scale with the leading battery plant in the world in peacefulness to bring prices down, profits up, and not have to cut range and driver expectations from the next wave of Tesla cars – what ever kinds these may be.
Auto Express

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Hybrid Sales Hit By Fuel Price And Economic Growth

Hybrid Sales Hit By Fuel Price And Economic Growth TrueCar, Inc. reports a budge in consumer new vehicle preferences this year, away from hybrids and toward pickup trucks.
The negotiation-free car buying and selling platform reported demand for Toyota’s Prius is softening, as gas prices stabilize. Simultaneously, the company stated a sustained economic recovery is boosting demand for full-size pickup trucks.
This budge in consumer demand comes as Ford Motor Co. releases a fully revamped version of its benchmark F- Series.
Gas prices stabilized this September, averaging $3.41 per gallon, up 21.5 percent vs. the same period in 2007, the year that the main Prius hatchback model became highly well loved, with U.S. sales around 181,000.
Both in September and YTD, Prius sales are down more than 10 percent compared to a year ago. To prop up demand, hybrid incentives have finally surpassed those for gasoline vehicles. Over the last year, TrueCar found the average transaction price for hybrid vehicles has contracted by $113, while the average price for gasoline vehicles has risen by $770.
“If you were to turn back the clock seven years, Prius was at the height of its game” said John Krafcik, president of TrueCar. “Demand was high, inventory was limited, and incentives were practically non-existent. Quick-forward to this year: Hybrid popularity is declining, and the country’s like of the full-size pickup truck is remarkable.’’
Last month, incentives for the main Prius model, excluding other versions in the family, averaged $2,309 per vehicle. By comparison, in September 2007, the Prius sold with average incentives totaling only $91. The decline in U.S. gas prices in October suggests demand could weaken, added TrueCar.
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Elio Motors In Line For $185M Federal Loan

Elio Motors In Line For $185M Federal Loan Elio Motors Inc’s application for a U.S. Department of Energy Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing (ATVM) loan has passed the first of three phases of review, is now “substantially complete,” and in the “due diligence” phase.
The U.S.-based start-up is seeking $185 million in total to accelerate plans to start production of its enclosed, three-wheeled gas-saving vehicle in Shreveport, Louisiana, in 2015.
Pitched as a new age public’s car, the Elio car-trike has roused grass root hopes with intent to produce an 84-mpg non-hybrid for the low-low price of $6,800. Officially it’s being classified with a motorcycle, and this lets it escape stringent federal crash testing expenses, but the company promises a five-star safety rating (somehow) anyhow.
Where the feds come in is the DOE ATVM loan program chains the production of fuel-efficient, advanced technology vehicles and components in the United States. The program has invested billions of dollars in projects by major automakers such as Ford and Nissan as well as startups like Tesla Motors.
SEE ALSO: The Elio – High Hopes For This Unusual Underdog
The Congress made the ATVM program with $25 billion in loan authority in 2007; the program was revamped recently and resumed activity in April 2014 with more than $16 billion in remaining loan authority.
“While this is just one step and there is a long way to go, we are pleased that DOE has went expeditiously thus far on our loan application,” said Paul Elio, CEO of Elio Motors. “With a $6,800 sticker price that makes ultra-fuel efficient transportation affordable to the general public, we believe Elio is exactly the kind of American-made innovation that the loan program was designed to foster.”
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