Big Three report solid sales gains for June

Ford, Chrysler an GM all had solid sales gains in June. Here are some highlights:

– The just-redesigned Ford Escape set a record with sales up 28% while the Ford Fusion sedan, which is about to get replaced by a newer version, also set a record. In addition, Ford Explorer sales were up 35% from last year.

– Combined sales of all seven Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac crossovers were up 30% versus a year ago. That’s great news for GM, since they are generally higher profit vehicles than cars.

– The Fiat had its fifth consecutive month of record sales. More Fiat 500 vehicles were sold during the first six months of this year than during all of 2011.

Let’s hope the good news continues.

  

Nissan JUKE unveiled in New York

nissan_juke_09

Last night at Rockefeller Center in New York City I was able to attend the unveiling of the Nissan JUKE, a stylish new compact crossover that hits Nissan dealer showrooms in the United States in the fall of 2010 as a 2011 model. The bright red model showcased at the event certainly grabs your attention, and it’s apparent that this model is aimed at the youth market. The styling exudes a fun and carefree feeling while offering many of the practical characteristics of a crossover vehicle.

While this is a compact crossover, you still get one of the best crossover qualities with a roomy interior. Consumers are flocking to crossovers as the general design provides so much more interior room when compared to traditional models. While the back seat isn’t particularly roomy, the driver and the front passenger will have plenty of room to enjoy the ride. This is not your father’s cramped hatchback.

Given the target market, it’s no surprise that Nissan was aggressive with the styling, which was based on the Nissan Qazana Concept. The bold design inside and out draws on a number of active lifestyle influences including motorcycles and rally cars. The center console in particular evokes a gas tank from a motorcycle. The JUKE features a powerful front end treatment with the turn signals integrated into the front fenders. Other exterior details include body-colored outside mirrors and front door handles, “hidden” rear door handles and integrated roof spoiler. The result is a striking look that many customers will love, while others might not be as thrilled. The turn signals in particular set this vehicle apart.

nissan_juke_12

“JUKE is about to carve out a unique space in the rapidly growing compact crossover/hatchback segment with its combination of striking design, agile handling and driving pleasure and user friendly technology,” said Brian Carolin, senior vice president, Sales and Marketing, NNA. “Add in the convenience, versatility and high seating positioning of a traditional compact SUV and you’ve got a vehicle unlike any other in its class.”

As for performance, the JUKE sports a standard 1.6-liter Direct Injection Gasoline (DIG) turbo engine and an advanced torque vectoring all-wheel drive (AWD) system with performance technology usually reserved for premium vehicles.

The Nissan JUKE will be on display at the New York International Auto Show at Jacob Javits Center April 2nd through 11th. I suspect this vehicle will generate a considerable amount of buzz and will be a hit with the target market.

nissan_juke_10


Disclaimer: Nissan provided my airfare, hotel stay and drinks to come check out the new Juke. Special thanks to Nissan!

  

More production increases coming from GM

2010 Chevy Equinox

We have more good news from GM. The news on the Chevy Equinox in particular isn’t surprising. It’s a sharp-looking vehicle with a very reasonable price, so it’s perfect for the current climate.

General Motors is examining ways to ramp up production of four newer models that are selling well above its expectations, a GM spokesman said on Wednesday.

All four models are greatly revamped from previous versions and one, the Chevrolet Camaro, was resurrected five months ago after being out of production for seven years.

The four models are the Chevrolet Equinox, a crossover utility vehicle; Buick LaCrosse, a sedan; Cadillac SRX, also a crossover; and the Camaro, a sports car.

The potential increase in production at GM could prompt more workers to be recalled from layoff, a rare bright spot for the world’s No. 2 automaker just two months after it emerged from bankruptcy protection.

GM spokesman Tom Wilkinson said GM knew it would have to increase production of some of its models after a summer when inventory levels were at unsustainably low levels, but that these four models in particular had outstripped expectations.

GM said it will also look for a second production plant for the Equinox, which is now assembled at the CAMI Automotive plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, which GM owns with Suzuki Motor (7269.T). The Terrain is also built there.

Sales for the 2010 model Equinox were about 9,900 through September 15. The redesigned Equinox was launched in June.

September will be a critical month. It’s important that sales don’t fall off too much following the end of the cash for clunkers program.

  

Ford announces new V-6 EcoBoost engine

ford-flex-1

Ford’s EcoBoost engine will now include a V-6 option.

Ford’s EcoBoosted future has long been known to include a four cylinder option, and now the automaker has finally made some details official during a global product presentation today in Detroit.

Set to hit the market sometime in 2010, the 2.0-liter block will be the first engine in Ford’s EcoBoost lineup to employ a twin-independent variable cam timing system (Ti-VCT). Ford says the engine will deliver 10 to 20 percent better fuel economy than larger displacement V-6s, all while delivering similar power numbers.

The new engine will be produced in Northeast Ohio, and that’s welcome news to a region struggling with the loss of manufacturing jobs, which has only gotten worse with the economic crisis.

After two years of idling, Ford Motor Co.’s Engine Plant No. 1 re-opened Tuesday with the new leaner, cleaner EcoBoost engine.

The cutting edge 3.5-liter engine — which will equip 90 percent of Ford vehicles — is the first V-6 direct-injection, twin-turbocharged engine produced in North America and will be produced exclusively at the Brook Park site.

It’s a welcome sight at a facility that has struggled in recent times.

“This is the engine of the future. We’re really proud that the finest engine makers in the world are right here in Brook Park and the finest engines in the world are right here in Brook Park. With the new designs, there’s a lot of reasons to want to buy a Ford product. It’s a breath of fresh air and in this economy, we need to hear as much good news as possible,” said Mayor Mark Elliott.

Ford is hoping that this will give consumers more options, such as customers who are leaving large, V-8-powered SUVs but need towing capacity, who can now consider the top-level version of the Flex crossover due to the new, more powerful engine.

  

Related Posts