Monthly Archives: February 2020

More Recalls

Kia announced another recall for SUVs and Vans; an electrical problem: Moisture could get inside ABS control computer causing a short, and possible fire. 229,000 Sedona minivans, 2006-2010; Sorento SUVs, 2007-2009. The recall will start April 10, owners will be notified. They will install a relay in the main electrical junction. In the meantime, Kia advises owner to park the vehicle outside, not in a garage or next to another vehicle.

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U.S. Dealership Count Drops

U.S. Dealership count drops for the first time in six years. According to Urban Science Magazine, the number of U.S. new-vehicle dealerships fell from 18,294 in 2018 to 18,195 making it the first decline since 2013. According to the annual Automotive Franchise Activity Report, the average number of new-vehicle sales per dealership also fell to 940 in 2019, a decrease of 8 units from 2018, reports Urban Science. California had the biggest decrease in dealerships, down 28 to 1,478, followed by Illinois with nine fewer dealerships. Ohio and Missouri, lost 7 each. Texas experienced the most growth with 11 new dealerships; North Caroline, 4 and Pennsylvania and Tennessee, 3 each.

Adios Manual Tranny

Always a kick reading Consumer Guide’s Tom Appel who recently blogged another automotive reality of 2020: The ‘stick’ car or manual transmission ride is fading into the sunset. Sorry for those who enjoy driving stick, and sorry for the younger generation who may never know the thrill.

According to Green Car Reports, 2019 was the first year electric vehicles outsold cars with manual transmissions. J.D. Power noted that electric cars accounted for 1.6 percent of the U.S. market vehicle sales; manual transmission cars/trucks, a mere 1.1 percent. To illustrate how quickly they are falling in sales, in 2018 only 1.5 percent of all vehicles sold in the U.S. were with a manual transmission. A one year plunge from around 275,000 stick-shift cars to just 190,000; a 30 percent fall in 12 months.

There are currently five vehicles left on the market with a manual trans. As Tom noted, young drivers are unaware of manual transmissions.

(Susan Frissell, Editor)

Kelly Blue Book Best Sedans

Subcompact Sedans: 2020 Hyundai Accent, 2020 Kia Rio, 2020 Toyota Yaris

Compact Sedans: 2020 Honda Civic, 2020 Toyota Corolla; 2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid

Midsize Sedans: 2020 honda Accord,2020 Honda Accord Hybrid, 2020 Mercedes-Benz E-Class

Full-Size Sedans: 2020 Nissan Maxima, 2020 Dodge Charger, 2020 Chevrolet Impala

Luxury Compact Sedans: 2020 Lexus IS, 2020 Acura ILX, 2019 Audi RS 5, 2020 Mercedes-Benz E-Class; 2020 Infiniti Q50, 2020 Lexus GS

Luxury Full Sedan: 2019 Genesis G80,2019 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid, 2019 Acura RLX

Luxury Sports Car Sedan: 2020 Lexus GS, 2019 Audi RS 5, 2019 Audi S5

Sports Car Sedan: 2020 Honda Civic, 2020 Lexus GS, 2020 Subaru WRX

Exotic Sedans: 2019 Rolls-Royce Ghost, 2019 Rolls-Royce Phantom, 2018 Maserati Quattroporte

(Susan Frissell, Editor)

*In late 2019, the top 5 most frequently stolen vehicles of the 2016-18 model years included Dodge Charger HEMI, Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat, Infiniti QX50 4-door, Infiniti QX80, and QX80 4WD, GMC Sierra 1500 crew-cab. Others on the most stolen list were Nissan Maxima, Chevrolet Silverado 1500 crew-cab, and 4WD model, Mercedes-Benz S-Class 4-door long-wheelbase 4WD, Dodge Charger 4WD, Dodge Durango 4WD, Land Rover Range Rover, Dodge Charger, Nissan Titan crew-cab short bed, Audi A7 4WD.

*GM to layoff 1,500 workers after sale of Thailand plant.

Looking Forward

For those interested in what’s coming down the Pike in Autoland, we’re sharing some news:

*2022-Toyota RAV4 facelift; all new 2022 Sequoia; all-new Tundra (Dec. 2021), on the TNGA-F platform (a.k.a. F1); 2022 Lexus LC-F with the twin turbo V-8 engine; Toyota GR 86 in 2022, Toyota GT 86, 2022; Toyota 86 Sports car with boxer engine, 2022, introduced in 2021, in collaboration with Subaru.

*2024: all-new Toyota Fortuner; all new 2024 Tacoma and 2024 Hilux.

*Nissan launches subscription service: Starting at $699. A new alternate ownership for certain models. Two-tier service in Houston, TX, called “Nissan Switch”, includes all-electric Nissan Leaf Plus, Titan pickup, GT-R Sports car. Nissan Switch has two tiers: $699/month. The “Select Plan” includes Altima, Rogue, Pathfinder, Frontier and for $899/month, the Premium” plan which includes Leaf Plus, Maxima, Murano, Armada, Titan, 370Z coupe. The GT-R sports car will be available to either Select or Premium customers, but includes an additional $100 a day fee, and can only be taken out for a maximum of 7 days.

When signing up for the Subscription service, customers will have to pay a 495 “membership activation fee.” In addition to the first month’s subscription cost for whichever plan they choose. For that they get unlimited vehicle switches (as often as a new vehicle each day), as well as delivery, cleaning, insurance, roadside assistance, and regular maintenance.

All dealers are not on board, as to be expected. Some see the new subscription service as undercutting their business model. Other automakers trialing subscriptions include Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Porsche, Audi,Volvo, Cadillac, Jaguar and even Hertz and Enterprise.

What’s Hot, What’s Not

*In late 2019, the top 5 most frequently stolen vehicles of the 2016-18 model years included Dodge Charger HEMI, Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat, Infiniti QX50 4-door, Infiniti QX80, and QX80 4WD, GMC Sierra 1500 crew-cab. Others on the most stolen list were Nissan Maxima, Chevrolet Silverado 1500 crew-cab, and 4WD model, Mercedes-Benz S-Class 4-door long-wheelbase 4WD, Dodge Charger 4WD, Dodge Durango 4WD, Land Rover Range Rover, Dodge Charger, Nissan Titan crew-cab.

The top 5 least frequently stolen vehicles of the 2016-18 model years included BMW 3-Series four-door, and 3-series 4WD, Tesla Model S-four-wheel-drive, Tesla Model X four-wheel-drive, Chevy Equinox four-wheel-drive, Buick Encore Four-wheel-drive. The other least stolen included Subaru Legacy with Eyesight, GMC Acadia, Subaru Forester with Eyesight, VW New Beetle, Subaru Outback with Eyesight, Subaru Crosstrek, BMW X5, Chevrolet Traverse, Subaru Crosstrek with Eyesight, Lexus RX 450h 4WD, Mazda MX-5 Miata, Honda Odyssey, Cadillac XT5ab short bed, Audi A7 4WD.