Category Archives: Industry News

Subaru introduces 2014 Forester at Los Angeles Auto Show

Subaru of America, Inc. today introduced the all-new 2014 fourth-generation Forester, their popular all-wheel drive crossover SUV, at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The 2014 Forester is recognizable by its bolder exterior design and roomier interior, in addition to improved performance and higher fuel economy.

Arriving in dealerships spring of 2013, the five-passenger 2014 Subaru Forester is a total re-design of the Subaru crossover SUV that’s built a strong reputation for safety, performance, dependability and versatility. With virtually the same footprint as the outgoing model, the 2014 Forester offers expanded room, comfort and utility. A new 250-horsepower 2.0-liter direct-injection turbocharged BOXER engine leads the line, which will also include models powered by a 170-horsepower 2.5-liter naturally aspirated BOXER engine.

As with all previous Forester models, the 2014 version comes standard with Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, a distinction from competitive models that come with front-wheel drive as standard and offer all-wheel drive as an extra-cost option. The 2014 Forester will jump to the head of its segment in all-wheel drive fuel economy, with the 2.5i models with the CVT achieving manufacturer-estimated fuel economy ratings of 24 mpg city / 32 mpg highway / 27 mpg combined.

According to Subaru, the 2014 Forester combines evolutionary design themes with sharply defined new details in an all-new body. The 2.0XT models feature an exclusive aggressive looking sport design front bumper along with a one-piece mesh style grille and chrome-rimmed fog light bezels.

The 2014 Forester is built on a new platform featuring a 0.9-inch longer wheelbase (now 103.9 inches), with increased length (by 1.4-inch, and width by 0.6-in.) Because of Subaru’s mastery of efficient vehicle packaging, the 2014 Forester offers notable gains in roominess, particularly in the rear seat, where legroom is now 41.7 inches. Higher seat hip points, a lower center tunnel and shorter front console also provide greater legroom and comfort for the center rear seat passenger. Maximum rear cargo area room with the 60/40 split rear seatbacks lowered is now 74.7 cu. ft., which is among the best in class.

The 2014 Forester 2.5i model will be available in base, Premium, Limited and top-line Touring versions. The turbocharged Forester 2.0XT comes in Premium and Touring versions. The 2.5i models offer a choice between a new 6-speed manual transmission and the Subaru Lineartronic continuously variable transmission (CVT) that is also used in the Subaru Impreza®, Legacy® and Outback® models. A high-torque version of the CVT is standard in the Forester 2.0XT models, where it features 6-speed and 8-speed manual shift modes with steering wheel paddle switches.

High-line 2014 Forester models equipped with the CVT also feature new X-Mode control for the Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive and Hill Descent Control to provide extra control in certain driving conditions. New safety features for all 2014 Forester models include anti-whiplash front seats, a driver’s knee airbag, Brake Override and an impact-sensing fuel system cutoff.

A new Electric Power Assisted Steering (EPAS) system contributes to fuel efficiency, providing excellent feedback to the driver, on all 2014 Forester models. In addition to the turbo engine, the 2.0XT models deliver sharper handling responses from a sport-tuned suspension with 18-inch wheels, and the 2.0XT also features larger brakes than the 2.5i models, with ventilated front and rear rotors.

The Forester’s four-wheel independent suspension system delivers agile handling and a highly compliant ride quality. The 8.7 inches of ground clearance is higher than for many crossovers and SUVs. Yet, the Forester maintains a comfortably easy and low step-in, enhanced in the 2014 model by wider-opening rear doors and by side sills that are 2 inches lower than before.

The 2014 Forester features new amenities and conveniences, along with more upscale luxury features on high-line models. All but the base 2.5i model come with a standard rear vision camera and color multi-function display. New available features include a power rear liftgate with automatic close, Keyless Access and Start and the EyeSight driver assist system. Using a stereo camera system developed by Subaru, rather than radar, EyeSight integrates Adaptive Cruise Control, Pre-Collision Braking and Vehicle Lane Departure Warning.

The available touch-screen navigation system offers smartphone integration with Aha® smartphone integration features. The top-line Touring models come standard with the navigation system plus an eight-speaker, 440-watt harman/kardon®audio system.

  • The highlights:
  • All-new design with improved performance, economy, comfort and space
  • Up to 32 mpg estimated highway fuel economy
  • New 250-hp direct-injection turbocharged 2.0-liter BOXER engine available
  • New 6-speed manual transmission for 2.5i models
  • New Lineartronic® CVT, with 2.0XT also featuring 6-speed and 8-speed manual shift modes
  • Enhanced Active AWD system with X-Mode and Hill Descent Control
  • Available EyeSight® driver assist technology

Mazda planning debuts at Los Angeles Auto Show

IRVINE, Calif., Nov. 26, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Mazda North American Operations (MNAO) today confirmed the announcement of several North American vehicle debuts at the upcoming Los Angeles Auto Show.  The all-new 2014 Mazda6 mid-size sedan, updated 2014 CX-5 compact SUV and face-lifted 2013 CX-9 mid-size SUV will make their first continental appearances.  All vehicles are scheduled to be on sale this winter.  A global debut from Mazda Motorsports as well as official timing and vehicle application for the U.S.-destined SKYACTIV-D 2.2-liter clean diesel engine also will share the stage.

(Photo:  http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20121126/LA17836)

“It’s definitely an exciting time for the Zoom-Zoom brand,” said Jim O’Sullivan, president and CEO, MNAO.  “The long-awaited, redesigned 2014 Mazda6 will naturally receive much interest but let’s not take away from our strong SUV lineup in the CX-5 and CX-9, which are segment leaders in their own right.  Motorsports, an innate part of Mazda’s soul, will have important news to share and last but most certainly not least SKYACTIV-D will be here.  I have no doubt that consumers will look at Mazda’s upcoming lineup with wide eyes, stirred hearts and driving inspiration.”

Taking nearly identical design cues from the TAKERI Concept, the 2014 Mazda6 follows in the all-new footsteps and clean-sheet-of-paper approach of CX-5 to become the second production vehicle to feature the full breadth of the KODO “Soul of Motion” design language and also fully incorporate SKYACTIV®[1] TECHNOLOGY.  Mazda6 will feature a new SKYACTIV-G 2.5-liter gasoline engine as well as new-to-market technologies in the Smart City Brake Support (SCBS) system, an automated safety feature designed to mitigate front-end collisions at low speeds, and i-ELOOP, a Mazda-developed capacitor-based brake energy regeneration system for improved fuel economy.

The 2014 CX-5 also will receive the SCBS system, which will be available as part of an upgraded Technology Package for Touring and Grand Touring models.  At this time, CX-5 will not be equipped with i-ELOOP.

Both the 2014 CX-5 and 2014 Mazda6 will go on sale in January 2013.

Available at Mazda dealerships now, the 2013 CX-9 receives a mid-cycle facelift, immediately evident in its familial KODO design enhancements to the front and rear fascia.  The three-row, seven-passenger SUV stalwart also becomes even more tech savvy with Mazda’s next-generation audio and infotainment system that includes a 5.8-inch color multi-information touch screen display, updated Bluetooth® audio and phone connectivity, a TomTom technology-based in-dash navigation system, HD Radioâ„¢ Technology, Pandora® and Short Message Service (SMS) audio receipt and delivery.

Mazda Motorsports will unveil an all-new competition race car which will make its motorsports debut in January at the 2013 Rolex 24 at Daytona, the premier motorsports endurance race in the United States.  The vehicle will be equipped with a turbocharged SKYACTIV-D 2.2L, making it the first diesel-powered competitor in the 51-year history of the 24-hour race.  Upon build-completion, the diesel racing engine remained 63 percent OEM stock.  Mazda will be seeking its 24th motorsports class win.

More information on Mazda’s Los Angeles Auto Show vehicle debuts as well as updates on its global business plans will be announced during a press conference on Thursday, November 29.  The presentation will begin at 9:30 AM PST and will be held at the Mazda display booth located in the Los Angeles Convention Center’s South Hall.

Mazda North American Operations is headquartered in Irvine, Calif., and oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States and Mexico through nearly 700 dealers.  Operations in Mexico are managed by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City.  For more information on Mazda vehicles, including photography and B-roll, please visit the online Mazda media center at www.mazdausamedia.com.

[1] SKYACTIV is a registered trademark of Mazda Motor Corporation (MC).

Recent Toyota Vehicle Recall: 2.5 million

Toyota has chosen to recall 2.5-million vehicles in the U.S. following a probe by NHTSA into a problem with a faulty power window. Nearly 7.5-million vehicles may be affected globally. The driver’s side power window on affected vehicles may experience a sticky feel during operation. Depending on what grease has been applied to the switch to reduce the stickiness and how it was applied may affect the switch which could melt, smoke or start a fire. The faulty power switch is linked to several hundred reports of fires and smoke and at least nine injuries.

The effected vehicles include: 2008 Highlander Hybrid, 2009 Corolla and Matrix, 2007-08 Yaris, 2007-09 Camry, 2007-09 RAV4, 2007-09 Camry Hybrid, 2007-09 Tundra, 2008-09 Scion xD, 2008-09 Scion xA, 2008-09 Sequoia, 2008 Highlander. Letters will be sent to owners in October and repairs will take approximately 1 hour to make.

New: Latino Auto Club

The Latino Auto Club will launch the first annual Hispanic Automobile Summit Saturday, January 12, 2013 in Detroit, Mich. It will bring together Hispanic Auto Dealers, Suppliers. Media and Community Organizations to focus on:

  • Latino access to dealerships
  • Latino access to supplier contacts
  • Community service and Latino non-profits
  • Latino media access to advertising and marketing contracts.

For more information contact: the non-profit Millennium Community Builders at 813-599-6361.

Ford Makes Big Recall of Escape SUVs

According to Paul Eisenstein of the Detroit Bureau, Ford Motor Co. is advising owners of an estimated 11,500 2013 Escapes not to drive their shiney all-new SUVs until they can be repaired by dealers due to potential fuel line leaks that could cause fires.

This is the second recall involving Ford’s 2013 Escape crossover utility vehicle.  Previous Escape versions are also under investigation due to concerns about potentially sticky accelerator assemblies. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration just announced the beginning of an investigation covering 730,000 Ford Escape and Mazda Tribute SUVs from the 2001 through 2004 model years.  Those Escapes experiencing sticky accelerators may be affected due to the result of repairs made after an earlier recall. No decision has yet been made on whether to order a recall of those vehicles.

Specifically targeted in this latest 2013 Escape recall  are those models equipped with Ford’s 1.6-liter engine.  Owners of other versions, although not involved in the recall, are asked not to drive their vehicles until repairs can be made.  Dealers will provide a complementary loaner vehicle, as well as handling the transporting of the effected vehicles to service bays for repairs.

Unlike most recalls where automakers may take up to a month to notify owners and begin repairs, Ford is taking immediate action, according to Ray Nevi, the assistant director of the automaker’s safety operations. “Our intensive investigation and testing has identified the area of concern, and we are moving as quickly as possible to repair vehicles for our customers. In the meantime, it is extremely important that affected customers not ignore this recall and immediately contact their dealer.”

There have not been any injuries  reported thus far, but it is not known how many fires may have occurred as a result of the potential fuel line leak. However, Ford is urging owners to act quickly and not wait for the normal notification process.  Owners of the 11,500 2013 Escapes covered by the recall should contact Ford’s customer relations center at 1-866-436-7332 – or go online to www.fordowner.com for information on how to proceed.

Although the auto industry has seen an increase in the number of recalls in recent months, this week’s headlines could prove a setback as Ford seeks to convince motorists that it has resolved recent quality issues that have left it lagging behind the industry average in such well-tracked studies as the 2012 J.D. Power Initial Quality Survey.

 

Women-Drivers.com goes Mobile

Pittsburgh, PA – Car dealer review website Women-Drivers.com has announced that to assist car dealers in getting consumer reviews while the “iron is hot”, the company has added a mobile platform that allows women to write reviews directly in the showroom or service lane.

The launch of this location-based mobile technology is being accompanied by the “WE CARE. Scan-Review-Share” campaign. Dealers receive personalized table cards with QR codes that are given to salespeople, the F and I manager, the Service manager, and Cashier. They are also left in the service lounge area. Women with smart phones simply scan the QR code and are directed to their dealership’s review page.

With 4 in 10 customers projected to own smart phones by the end of this calendar year, it is important for all dealers to tap into this market now. The mobile site provides more freedom and flexibility for customers who have a few extra minutes when buying a car or having their car serviced. It’s an opportune situation for a dealer to maximize a positive experience by asking women to write a review about their purchase, service, or browsing experience.

“Having an in-store mobile option to get reviews from this powerful buying demographic helps us track our customer service in the form of real-time reviews,” explains Victor Olive, General Manager of Day Chevrolet in Murrysville, Pa.  “While customers have good intentions to write a review when they go home, many don’t always get around to it. Now, with a little extra time in our store, we welcome the opportunity for them to share their experience.”

Dealers use this site to build trust and transparency and to achieve the Certified Women-Drivers Friendlyâ„¢ status. These dealers receive a number of no-cost benefits including:

  • SEO Optimization
  • Facebook Integration of positive reviews to build social community
  • Facebook “Like” button added to dealer’s review page
  • Ability to respond, thank and engage each reviewer
  • Top placement in search engine
  • Certified logo for promotional use

To use the site visit: m.women-drivers.com.

Porsche Delivers the Anniversary Cayenne

Porsche delivers anniversary Cayenne to municipal fire department

Leipzig plant builds 500,000th vehicle

Atlanta. The 500,000th vehicle has rolled off the production line in the Porsche factory in Saxony. The anniversary sports car, a white Cayenne S was converted into a command vehicle for the Leipzig fire brigade with the assistance of Porsche apprentices. Matthias Müller, the President and CEO of Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG, handed the keys to the Lord Mayor of the City as a token of the relationship with Porsche’s Leipzig home. The first car to come off the Leipzig assembly line was a Cayenne in 2002.

“Half a million vehicles in only ten years is a remarkable result for a luxury car manufacturer like Porsche.

Industry News

*Some of you may recall the 2009 restructuring of General Motors’ dealerships, during the recession. Of the 2.064 dealerships GM sought to wind down, GM has gotten back to some of them: Good news and bad. For about 121 GM dealerships, it was sink or swim as they were required to create fresh business plans. The automaker agreed to reinstate about 700 dealerships that had filed for artitration; of those, 120 were required to submit a new business plan and to meet individual targets for 2011, ranging from sales volumes and customer-service scores to capitalization and profitability. Those dealerships unable to produce were faced with franchise termination.

Mercedes-Benz Announces First Class Protection

June 2012. Mercedes-Benz Financial Services USA presented to a group of MAMA members recently, sharing their news about some “first class protection” options available through MB. The first of the optional benefits introduced originally in 2006 and enhanced for 2012, is the First Class Wheel and Tire Protection Plus which covers all costs for replacement wheels/tires, and wheel repair for most scrapes, scratches. Available for up to 60 months, this protection plan can be financed as part of the retail or lease contract.

Donald Berry, U.S. Insurance Manager for Mercedes-Benz Financial Services manages the relationships with the major underwriters who provide administration and retain underwriting risk for the products.  In addition, Berry creates aftermarket retail insurance initiatives and vehicle protection plans for MB dealers.

Berry shared with the group that in 2011, Mercedes-Benz financed two out of every three vehicles therefore, offering protection products makes a lot of sense.  Making available several different protection plans, noted Berry, provides Mercedes-Benz customers not only peace of mind but incentive to stay with the brand.

Other first class protection plans offered to Mercedes-Benz customers include:

*First Class Paintless Dent Repair. Non-invasive repair of minor dents/dings with unlimited visits allowed at Mercedes dealer.

*First Class Lease Protection.  Coverage of dents, scratches considered beyond normal wear; waiving of up to $7500; coverage of up to $200 per missing items; single incident coverage up to $2,000; $0 deductible; 60-day free look period.

*First Class Guaranteed Auto Protection. Covers gap between insurance settlement/balance on finance contract; Eligible vehicle is $200,000; maximum benefit $100,000; protects from out-of-pocket expenses; provides up to $1,000 for reimbursement of insurance deductible.

*First Class Windshield Protection. All costs for replacement due to road debris covered; use of original MB replacement glass; maximum benefit of $5,000; no deductible; available on new/used vehicle.

*First Class Interior and Exterior Protection. Interior and exterior protection, including fabric and leather protector against stains, high temps, discoloration, cracking, aging; 5-year guarantee after application.

*Sprinter Guaranteed Auto Protection. Covers gap between insurance settlement, outstanding balance; maximum coverage of $100,000; protection from out-of-pocket expenses; provides up to $1,000 for reimbursement of insurance deductible; can be financed with MB Springer for small addition to monthly payment.

*First Class Insurance. Use of genuine MB parts, new vehicle replacement, stable 12-month premium, competitive rates up to 10 percent rate discount offered, additional discount for Mbrace customers and on homeowners and other vehicles, 24-hour roadside assistance, concierge services.

As with all policies, customers must read the fine print, but Mercedes is making strides to keep their lease and finance customers. During the 2008 dive in the economy, Mercedes did not pull out of the leasing market; rather they strengthened their business.

Hoping to build awareness of these high class protection plans, Mercedes-Benz Financial sells the plans to the dealers and trains their financial people. Dealers are responsible for setting the retail price of each protection plan; usually at a markup. While Mercedes still sells extended warranties-as do all dealers-there is no overlapping coverage with the protection plans.

Mercedes-Benz maintains 359 dealers, 128 Springer and 88 Smart car dealerships. There are 538,000 accounts in Mercedes-Benz Financial Services portfolio; 56 percent lease and 44 per

Porsche Posts Boost in Sales

*May 2012 sales for Porsche have experienced a 14.1 percent boost over 2011 May sales. Delivery of 13,331 new cars worldwide has increased the automakers growth, especially in the European market where sales of the 911, Boxster, Cayenne GTS sell the most. The US is responsible for the biggest 911 sales and its largest market for all iterations of the 911.