Black Friday Gives Car Sales a Big Boost

Apparently, if people were not rioting over two dollar waffle irons at Wal-Mart, they were buying cars on our nation’s most treasured holiday, Black Friday. The result of the strong sales last weekend caused November of this year to post sales at a 13.4% seasonally adjusted rate, 2% higher than the same period in 2010. In fact, this is the highest seasonal rate increase since “Cash for Clunkers” was operating in 2009. There are more factors contributing to November’s sales success than just Black Friday though.

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Strong Yen Makes Toyota Rethink Production in Japan

In a press conference by Toyota Motor Corp.’s president Akio Toyoda today, Toyoda announced that the strength of the Japanese yen may cause Toyota to shift production of compact cars to other countries. Toyota is not the first Japanese car company to come out against the yen. Nissan has also pleaded to the government to weaken the yen, or they would pull out of domestic production as well.

The yen has been incredibly strong against the U.S. dollar as of late, causing profit margins to erode for many of the domestic Japanese automotive manufacturers. Coupled with lagging demand in the U.S., and supply chain disruptions due to the earthquake, Japanese brands have had a difficult set of circumstances as they struggle for sales in a tough year.

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Fiat Sales Soft in October

Fiat recently released October sales for the U.S. market, and the results are disappointing. Fiat sales of the 500 and 500C dropped to 1965, a 71% drop in sales from September. Also, this happened in a month that saw sales increase for many automakers, including Chrysler. There are various reasons for the decline including the 500 losing its “new car” appeal and the dealer network being small, but I only want to point to one source: Jenny from the Block.

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Delphi Selects TeleNav for Its Next Gen Navigation Systems

Turn-by-turn navigation for cars has been a boon for those among us who can barely find our way around the block, but as competition between in-dash units and smaller, portable units heat up, many automaker suppliers are revolutionizing their navigation offerings to keep a leg up on the competition, and help get consumers where they want to go, faster and easier. Delphi, for instance, has teamed up with TeleNav to provide navigation solutions that will work with cars’ newer infotainment systems.

The traditional problem with in-dash navigation systems is that they don’t age well. You buy a car and the navigation is perfect, but as time marches on, other systems get more features, better layouts, and, most importantly, more accurate route information. So by the time your car is five years old, the navigation system becomes a hinderance rather than a help. TeleNav looks to change that.

Telenav’ s new system will bring new features and usability to your car that will work seamlessly and easily. Some new features include:

Global Maps and Places: Search, localized maps, and POIs for more than 60 countries around the world.

Live Traffic: Save time with live traffic updates that automatically reroute you around traffic jams or road congestion.

Local Weather: Get real-time weather and forecasts for your current location

3D Landmarks: 3D buildings and historic landmarks make it easier to navigate

Voice Control: Stay safe and keep your hands on the wheel with voice-activated commands

Junction View: A navigation view that makes complex lane changes simple and easy

TeleNav and Delphi look to have these systems in OEM offerings by 2012. It won’t be too long then until the next generation of navigation technology.

  

New Ford Evos Concept

This is the new Ford Evos concept that they will be debuting at Frankfurt soon. It is powered by a hybrid powertrain and has four seats. Now that the boring details are out of the way, lets talk about the Evos’ real party piece: its looks.

Good God it is beautiful. A natural progression from their “kinetic” design language, this new look smashes the cliches that have abounded recent car design. For instance, the headlights are slim and svelte (not bulging monstrosities that look better on cartoons than cars), the grill is not obscene in size, and there are curves in the place of slashes and edges. Luckily, we don’t have to wait long to see its influence. The first model to receive these styling clues will be revealed in four months.

But seriously Ford, if you want to win hearts, shrink the car up, keep it rear wheel drive, and give it an Ecoboost four cylinder. Mustang who?

Look for the debut in Frankfurt for this stunner soon

  

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