Amid slumping sales and an increased reliance on costly sales to dump inventory. Cadillac has revealed that it will inject newfound investment into the 2017 ATS in a bold move to improve its relevance amongst luxury buyers.
A key change is found under the hood with the ATS narrowing its engine options for the 2017 model year. The wheezy, underpowered, and unpopular 2.5 liter four cylinder engine has been pitched, and the 2.0 liter turbocharged four cylinder engine will now take its place. Cadillac product planning chief Hampden Tener revealed that the company plans to heavily promote the turbo engine in future advertising.
“We want to emphasize the car’s 2.0 liter turbocharged four cylinder engine and the car’s features while attacking the market on the product side rather than continuing to use costly incentives” stated Tener in a seperate statement.
In addition to the engine change, the rest of the ATS lineup will also see pricing tweaks with all packages having their prices reduced by $650 to $1,100 depending on the model selected. This was revealed in an interview with Automotive News with the company also claiming that each model will recieve upgrades to boost value and desirability.
Cadillac has not released a formal launch date for the 2017 models, but look for that particular information to be revealed closer to their formal launch.
In a world where lower than expected oil prices are forcing many automakers to rethink their long term sales strategies. Buick has become the latest name on this list with the brand potentially phasing out the Verano compact from the U.S. market.
This report from Automotive News follows on the heels of the brand unveiling an updated version of the Verano in China late last year in both sedan and hatchback form. At the time it was speculated that the redesigned version could make its way to the U.S. to compete with the CLA as well as the updated ILX sedan. It would’ve also had some lofty shoes to fill with the current generation Verano not only being responsible for jump starting the compact luxury car segment, but also giving Buick a strong seller that has consistently outsold its larger brand mate the Buick Regal.
However low oil prices have effectively eliminated the sales niche that the Verano had when they were on the upswing, and many customers were still hesitant to buy a CUV. The Verano also had the goods to take advantage of the situation thanks to an impressive suite of standard equipment that served to justify the higher price premium that existed between it and the Chevrolet Cruze. In addition to the slide in fuel prices, the Verano is also stuck sharing showroom space with the popular Encore CUV. As a result, the Verano’s value oriented pricing has actually become a liability with base Veranos sharing the same price as a lightly equipped Encore. This also translates into a virtually identical list of standard equipment with both models offering rear view cameras, a seven inch touchscreen with Intellilink as well as Bluetooth and other goodies.
Killing the Verano will certainly cost Buick a large share of sales in the entry level luxury car market, but it also shows the high confidence that it has in its lineup of CUVs and their ability to lure customers into Buick-GMC showrooms. AN’s sources were quick to point out that the current generation Verano would survive till at least 2017 before being phased out. Unlike other vehicles, the Buick Verano has always had a special place in the Autoinfoquest office with this author owning a 2013 Verano Turbo model (pictured) that is used for daily driving duties as well as traveling to and from major automotive events.
With Chevrolet preparing for perhaps one of its most important launches ever, the competition between the bow tie brand’s Bolt EV and Tesla’s Model 3 sedan is heating up. This was perhaps most noticeable during the Model 3’s highly anticipated unveiling in March which saw the Silicon Valley based car company garner hundreds of thousands of deposits during the first day. So how important will an edge in this heated battle be for Chevrolet?
Critically important, according to Kelly Blue Book analyst Karl Brauer who predicts that Chevrolet will sell between 30,000 and 80,000 Bolts during its first year on the market. These are ambitious figures for a pure electric vehicle, and the 30,000 unit low end that was forecasted by Brauer is nearly double the low end of other EV offerings currently on the market. The Bolt would also have an advantage in getting out to customers with the model expected to be released in late 2016 before being available nationwide in 2017. The Model 3 in contrast is slated to arrive in late 2017 with the vast majority of early adopters possibly not getting their hands on the car until 2018 and beyond. This late release would give the Bolt an early lead, and also prove to be enticing to fleet managers that want first dibs on a new vehicle for their commercial fleets.
In addition the Bolt could potentially be crowned the king of the EV’s and help score an impressive victory for Detroit while also dealing Tesla a key blow to both its image and prestige among EV buyers. In addition to this image boost, GM can benefit from the improved average fuel economy that the Bolt would provide. This improved figure would allow the firm to sell more of its profitable pickup trucks and SUVs.
It would be interesting to see what happens if Bolt sales lean towards the higher end of this spectrum especially in regards to the fierce competition between the Bolt and the Model 3. More importantly the battle could turn into a three way affair when Ford’s 200 mile range EV gets involved in the festivities in its own attempt to shake up the EV sales race in Ford’s favor.
It is no secret that the 2017 Ford GT is not only one of the most anticipated models that will go on sale later this year, but also one of the most talked about exotics ever made. It appears however that potential buyers will have to jump through some very elaborate hoops in order to have the chance of owning an example for themselves.
According to the folks at the Detroit News, there has been an enormous amount of interest in the model, and it has even culminated in several customers handing Ford executives a blank check in an attempt to try and secure their place on the ordering list. While this strategy may work with some of its foreign rivals, Ford will not be swayed, and has instead setup an online application process to help the firm vet potential buyers.
The application process in question is expected to kick off sometime next month, and potential buyers will be asked a series of questions, though the round of questions may resemble a process akin to setting up a new bank account or job versus owning an exotic car. Questions will include how active a buyer is on social media networks, how often they plan to drive the GT, as well as how many Ford vehicles they have previously owned. Look for the second question to play a very pivotal role in this process, with Ford claiming that it is designed to deliver the car to buyers that are loyal and actually intend to drive the car versus keeping it in storage and not taking it out on the road. This is great news for enthusiasts that prefer to take their cars out on the track, or buyers that prefer to slink about in city traffic for maximum visual impact.
Once a potential owner is selected, Ford requires them to sign a legally binding contract that forbids them from selling their GT for a certain amount of time. This particular provision is designed to not only weed out people that lie through the Q&A session, but also profiteers that want to buy the GT, and then sell it for a profit by upcharging buyers in the private market. While this process may seem a bit daunting, Ford’s Executive Vice President of Project Development Raj Nair explained that it will benefit both customers and Ford as well stating “We want to prioritize people who are going to care about the car, keep the car and drive the car.”
Ford’s bold stance on ensuring that the 2017 GT is purchased by serious buyers only certainly pleases us, and is an approach that should be mirrored by some of its competitors as part of a greater effort to ensure that exotic cars like the GT are used to their full potential, and don’t live out their lives tucked away in a storage building collecting dust and not realizing their purpose in the automotive world.
Amid signs that China’s economy is beginning to slow down, General Motors has revealed that its sales in that key auto market have slid even further possibly hinting at rough times for foreign automakers selling in China.
According to various reports, General Motors and its Chinese joint-venture partners sold a combined total of 252,000 vehicles in May. This new figure represents a 4.0 percent decline versus last year’s figures at roughly the same time frame. While many observers see this as a sign that China’s booming economy is beginning to slow down, General Motors claims that its recent declines are actually due to model changeovers for a few nameplates, as well as phase outs of several other models. Apparently at one point, GM tried a price-slashing campaign which took $8,680 off the MSRP price. Unfortunately this campaign appeared to do little to help reverse this trend, and wound up failing to save the month overall.
Buick (currently GM’s best selling brand in China) took a beating in May and recorded a noticeable 12.9 percent decrease though on a positive note sales of the Enclave, Encore and the recently launched Envision were up by a whopping 158 percent which is commendable considering Buick’s decreased sales numbers. Meanwhile Cadillac continues to be the lone glimmer of success with the brand recording growth during the month of May with shipments increasing by 11 percent. Deliveries of the ATS and its Chinese exclusive sibling the ATS-L stood out in particular with both models recording a noticeable jump in sales.
Despite the noticeable slow down in growth, GM China president Matt Tsien remains confident in GM’s fortunes stating “We expect about 6-8 percent annual growth, which is significant given the size of the world’s largest passenger vehicle market.” Tsien’s confidence appears to have some traction with the company still recording a 5.1 percent increase in sales despite the gloomy spring but with more signs pointing to a possible slowdown in the Chinese economic juggernaut, it will be interesting to see if GM can maintain its edge in new vehicle sales.