Edmunds.com’s Krebs: July sales could be best since 2006

BY GERRY MILES

In keeping with their mid-month take on industry sales that retail sales and leasing deals combined with a lack of fleet sales have made for a good month, Sr. Analyst Michelle Krebs thinks that when automakers chime in with their reports tomorrow the figures could show the best July sales data since 2006.

“July car sales suggest that shoppers are willing to make their car purchases a priority over other goods. That’s because low interest rates and a wider availability of leasing deals are making new cars much more attractive to the average buyer. In fact, Edmunds.com forecasts that the retail market could drive new car sales to their highest July levels since 2006.  Fleet sales, meanwhile, are down significantly and incentives remain in check — up about 10 percent from July 2012, but down about 2 percent from June. Add all of these elements together, and it’s easy to see why it’s been a great summer for the automotive business.”

In the meantime, the number-crunchers at Edmunds.com have an array of their own  True Cost of Incentives (TCI) data for all of the major automakers:

Manufacturer Jul-13 Jun-13 Jul-12 Jul 2013 vs Jun 2013 Jul 2013 vs Jul 2012
Chrysler $3,044 $2,805 $2,777 8.5% 9.6%
Ford $2,947 $2,984 $2,763 -1.2% 6.7%
GM $3,446 $3,447 $3,194 0.0% 7.9%
Honda $1,092 $1,354 $1,224 -19.4% -10.8%
Nissan $2,748 $2,692 $2,869 2.1% -4.2%
Toyota $1,945 $1,883 $1,623 3.3% 19.8%
Industry $2,463 $2,509 $2,237 -1.8% 10.1%

Audi’s 2014 RS 7 priced at $104,900

2014 Audi RS 7

2014 Audi RS 7

• Audi RS 7, 5-door coupe, most powerful RS model ever offered in the U.S.

• RS 7 launches from 0-60 mph in just 3.7 seconds

BY GERRY MILES

If you want the newest, sleekest or most powerful one usually has to pay for it. And if you can, and don’t have to ask, you’re all set.

For those wanting, and able, to get the 2014 Audi RS 7 – which Audi bills as the most powerful RS model EVER sold in the US – you’ll need at least $104,900 greenbacks to get in the game.

Power comes from a twin-turbo, 4.0 TFSI, 560 hp, V-8 engine that generates 516 lb-ft of torque. All that grunt will shoot you from 0-to-60 mph in but 3.7 seconds. It carries a top track speed of 174 mph.

In another new trend that’s catching on, at medium speeds (hard to imagine what that might be in a car like this) the RS 7 shuts off four of its cylinders via actuators to boost fuel economy by some 15 percent.

Mated to an 8-speed Tiptronic® automatic transmission, the RS 7 of course comes with its vaunted Audi quattro® all-wheel drive system with sport differential for greater grip.

Braking is accomplished through internally vented and perforated discs that save weight: front discs are 15.4 inches while the backside measure 14 inches. The brake calipers are painted black and are also available in red.

Available in standard, matte aluminum or carbon styling, the RS 7 features distinctive bumpers, Audi Singleframe® grille in aluminum matte or high-gloss black, honeycomb grille inserts and heated, auto-dimming and power-folding exterior mirrors. The adaptive rear spoiler, lower rear diffuser and two large elliptical exhaust tailpipes only hint at the power the car can provide.

Instrument Panel of Audi RS 7

Instrument Panel of Audi RS 7

Inside, the RS 7 exudes sportiness with a 3-spoke sport steering wheel with contrast stitching and RS 7 emblem, sport seats in Valcona leather, RS-specific shift knob and interior door handles.

Front seat and IP of Audi RS 7

Front seat and IP of Audi RS 7

The RS 7 also features carbon fiber inlays; optional Layered Aluminum/Black wood decorative inlays; black-faced instrument gauges, white scales and red needles; aluminum pedals and footrest; and a Black Alcantara® headliner (optional).

Technology and driver assistance 
The Audi RS 7 starts with the Prestige equipment level, which offers a multitude of technologies including the groundbreaking Audi MMI® touch with handwriting recognition. With hard and soft keys, dedicated buttons for commonly-used controls and a revolutionary touchpad that interprets hand-written inputs, you can perform a number of functions, like write the digits of telephone number and the letters of the navigation destination with a finger, or scroll over maps, all without taking your eyes off the road.

The optional Night Vision Assistant can detect pedestrians approximately 300 ft. ahead of the vehicle, highliting the person in yellow. Should the pedestrian move into the path of the vehicle the silhouette turns red and a warning sounds.

2014 Audi RS 7

2014 Audi RS 7

A cornerview camera is part of the Driver Assistance plus package. Adaptive cruise control is optional.

Watch a video on the 2014 Audi RS 7 here:http://youtu.be/1kf_c-ELXwE

Audi RS 7 Dimensions

Audi RS 7 Dimensions

Nissan Leaf 25,000 unit US sales mark falls

Leaf_25k_1000px
BY GERRY MILES
Another month, another auto maker crosses the finish line of another sales goal.
Nissan’s all-electric Leaf had its best sales month in March, and recorded a 423.5% increase year-over-year last April wile crossing the 25,000 unit sales threshold. The result, Nissan sayeth, it is the world’s best-selling electric vehicle.

“From the beginning our goal with LEAF has been to bring affordable, zero-emission transportation to the mass market in a practical, fun-to-drive package,” said Erik Gottfried, Nissan director of electric vehicle (EV) marketing and sales strategy. “With more than 25,000 LEAFs in the U.S. and 62,000 around the world, we’re seeing the adoption curve for EVs accelerate, and there is tremendous interest not only on the West Coast but in a number of new strongholds like Atlanta, Raleigh, Denver, Dallas, Chicago, St. Louis and many more.”

Nissan says LEAF sales have risen steadily since its launch with sales jumping several-fold in high-performing markets such as San Francisco—where LEAF was the top-selling vehicle for the Nissan brand in April—Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland and San Diego.

“Pioneering the EV trail with LEAF, we’ve had the opportunity to evaluate the purchase process of EV buyers. We have maintained an ongoing dialogue with our customers, and through that we’ve learned just how different the process is for buying a LEAF versus a traditional gas-powered car,” said Gottfried. “We’ve found that customers interested in LEAF come to the showroom exceptionally well educated about the product. Then post-purchase, they stay engaged with us, connect with the LEAF owner community and share their experience broadly, which drives greater interest in LEAF.”

“We’ve also learned how infrastructure plays a role in a consumer’s decision to go all-electric,” added Brendan Jones, Nissan’s director of EV infrastructure strategy and deployment. “We already knew that areas with a higher concentration of EVs would require more charging stations, but trends show that the reverse is also true—a more robust charging infrastructure generates greater interest in EVs and stimulates more EV driving among EV owners.”

Nissan continues to make progress with its commitment to enhance the charging infrastructure in the United States and since announcing plans earlier this year to triple the number of quick chargers from 200 to 600, Nissan and its charging partners already have installed about 50 additional units where interest in LEAF and EVs is highest.

“Nissan is taking a three-prong approach to bolster infrastructure by working with commercial charging partners to bring a variety of charging options to our customers, collaborating with businesses to encourage workplace charging on their campuses and engaging in pilots with our dealers to determine how to optimize the role they can play in EV infrastructure,” said Jones. “This enhanced infrastructure—particularly with more businesses offering workplace charging as an employee benefit—builds range confidence and gives EV drivers better end-to-end charging ability, meaning they can leave home fully charged, plug in at work and be charged when they leave.”

Nissan, which now assembles LEAF, its battery and its electric motor all in Tennessee, introduced the 2013 LEAF with more customer-focused features and an expanded range of trim levels to include a more attainable version and models with more premium amenities such as leather seats and BOSE energy-efficient audio.

U.S. pricing for the 2013 LEAF starts at $28,800 and depending on location, some consumers may get the vehicle for as low as $18,800 by qualifying for federal and state tax credits, making LEAF competitive with gas-powered vehicles of its size. Nissan LEAF currently may be leased for $199 per month with $1,999 down for 36 months. Learn more at www.NissanUSA.com/LEAF.

Happy Birthday (150th) Henry Ford

The Henry Ford 150th SealsGERRY MILES

Today is an historic day in Dearborn, marking the 150th anniversary of Henry Ford’s birthday whose ideas of mass industrialization and work-force pay changed the way business was done previously and going forward.

of Henry Ford, whose innovative ideas revolutionized transportation and brought mobility to the masses. Henry Ford’s enduring impact is being recognized through events and declarations across the United States and around the world.

Today was also declared “Henry Ford Day” in Michigan.
The anniversary of his birth is being commemorated in countries around the world throughout 2013. Some of the events include:
  • Dealers in 21 Asia Pacific markets have launched Ford Heritage month, transforming showrooms into exhibitions on Ford’s rich history
  • Ford of Germany marked the occasion with a series of five road rallies that celebrated Ford’s numerous automotive breakthroughs over the last 110 years
  • More than 4,000 people attended community events held by Ford in Romania
  • In Great Britain, celebrations were capped by the reveal of a restored statue of Henry Ford at the company’s UK Tech Centre
In coming months, celebrations will continue with additional events across the United States, Europe and South America.
Contributions to a better world
Henry Ford’s introduction of the automobile into the mass market transformed agricultural economies in the United States and around the world into prosperous industrial and urban markets. Many historians credit him with creating a middle class in America.
Jan. 5, 1914: To reduce high turnover rates among workers, Henry Ford more than doubled their pay from .34 for a nine-hour day to .00 for an eight-hour day. The next day, thousands swamped the Highland Park Ford Plant to apply for jobs.

Jan. 5, 1914: To reduce high turnover rates among workers, Henry Ford more than doubled their pay from .34 for a nine-hour day to .00 for an eight-hour day. The next day, thousands swamped the Highland Park Ford Plant to apply for jobs.  (Ford Motor photo)

His high minimum wage – revolutionary at the time – set a precedent for fair distribution of company wealth that influenced later management practices.

Along with his minimum wage, his Model T debuted and put mass transport in the realm of possibility for millions, selling more than 15 million copies – as long as you wanted them in black.
Other forms of success included:

1913: At the Highland Park Plant in 1913, Henry Ford introduced the first moving assembly line for cars. Within 18 months it took only 1.5 man-hours to build a Model T. The modern auto industry was born. (7/24/13)

  • 1913: At the Highland Park Plant in 1913, Henry Ford introduced the first moving assembly line for cars. Within 18 months it took only 1.5 man-hours to build a Model T. The modern auto industry was born. (7/24/13)Moving assembly line: In 1913 Henry Ford introduced the first moving assembly line for cars. Within 18 months, the amount of time needed to build a Model T was reduced from 12 ½ man-hours to 1 ½ man-hours, ushering in the modern auto industry
  • $5 work day: To reduce high turnover rates among workers, Henry Ford more than doubled their pay in 1914, from $2.34 for a nine-hour day to $5 for an eight-hour day
  • Vertical integration: To improve quality, Ford sought to own, operate and coordinate all the resources needed to produce complete automobiles. This principle, known as vertical integration, was realized in 1927 with the Model A
June 4, 1896: With the help of friends, Henry Ford assembles his first car. In June he drives the Quadricycle through the streets of Detroit.

June 4, 1896: With the help of friends, Henry Ford assembles his first car. In June he drives the Quadricycle through the streets of Detroit.

“What my great-grandfather established, especially his legacy of innovation, continues to inspire our commitment to a strong business, great products and a better world,” said Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford. “We are putting unexpected levels of technology within reach of millions of people, accelerating the development of new products that customers want and value, and driving growth by creating jobs and bringing the freedom of mobility to the world.”

Spirit of innovation guides Ford today
Henry Ford’s spirit of innovation continues to guide Ford Motor Company today, reflected in a lineup of vehicles as diverse as the F-150 pickup, Mustang sports car and Fusion Hybrid sedan. It lives on in technologies such as Ford SYNC, the company’s in-vehicle infotainment system, and fuel-efficient EcoBoost engines. And it echoes through employees serving customers across six continents.
Henry Ford died on April 7, 1947, at 83. More than 50 years after his death, in 1999, Forbes magazine named him “Businessman of the Century,” and in 2012 a History Channel documentary highlighted him as one of “The Men Who Built America.”
“My great-grandfather’s vision was to improve people’s lives by making cars affordable for the average family,” said Bill Ford. “His vision to build cars that are reasonably priced, reliable and efficient still resonates and defines our vision today.”
Ford family members, Elena Ford, Bill Ford and Henry Ford III, along wiith Ford employees from around Dearborn celebrated the 150th Anniversary of Henry Ford's birthday. Over 500 employees crowded the Ford World Headquarters building lobby to celebrate Henry Ford's commitment to innovation. Bill Ford shared little-known stories about his grandfather. Employees viewed special displays, participated in a special Q&A session from Ford Historian Bob Kreipke, and got a taste from a 580 cupcake display of the Ford Oval. Photo: Sam VarnHagen /Ford Motor Co.

Ford family members, Elena Ford, Bill Ford and Henry Ford III, along with Ford employees from around Dearborn celebrated the 150th Anniversary of Henry Ford’s birthday. Bill Ford shared little-known stories about his grandfather. Employees viewed special displays, participated in a special Q&A session from Ford Historian Bob Kreipke, and got a taste from a 580 cupcake display of the Ford Oval.                                                                   Photo: Sam VarnHagen /Ford Motor Co.

Dr. Aziz Inan celebrates Henry Ford’s birthday by the numbers

Happy 150th Birthday, Henry Ford!DEARBORN, Mich., July 30, 2013 – The life and achievements of Henry Ford continue to inspire people 150 years after his birth. Dr. Aziz Inan, professor of electrical engineering at the University of Portland, assembled several numeric oddities and coincidences based on the life of the founder of Ford Motor Company.
Dr. Inan consecutively assigned every letter of the alphabet a number, beginning with A equaling one, to show that the numbers corresponding to the letters of Ford Motor Company add up to 211; 43 (Ford) plus 81 (Motor) plus 87 (Company) equals 211. Henry Ford was born on July 30th which was the 211th day of 1863. What a coincidence!
Click here to read all the fascinating Henry Ford discoveries by Dr. Inan as the world celebrates the 150th anniversary of the birth of Henry Ford on Tuesday, July 30.
Some examples of Dr. Inan’s sequences:
Happy 150th Birthday, Henry Ford!
  • Henry Ford’s 174th birthday in 2037 will be very special. Why? Its full date will be 7302037, a seven-digit palindrome day.
  • Note that this year, 2013, constitutes the 150th anniversary of Ford’s birth as well as the 66th anniversary of his death. However, there is more to it. How? If Ford’s death date 471947 is split again as 47, 19 and 47, 19 plus 47 yields 66, Ford’s death anniversary number this year. Furthermore, multiplying the other 47 with 66 yields 3,102, the reverse of which is this year’s number, 2013.
  • Henry Ford’s 13th birthday in 1876 can be expressed as 7301876 equals 2 times 2 times 37 times 103 times 479, where three times the sum of its four prime factors yields his birth year, 1863.
Dr. Inan’s fascination with number puzzles began a little over five years ago.
“It started with my interest in math puzzles,” said Dr. Inan. “I used to go to the bookstore and buy old math puzzle books for me to solve. After a while, I started constructing my own puzzles myself.”
Since his first number game, Dr. Inan’s work with numbers has led him to make several findings involving significant calendar dates. One example is the “perfect square dates” – dates that when combined into a single number make up a perfect square and a number that is made when you multiply a number by itself.  He also has developed other significant date coincidences including those related to Palindrome Day, Franklin’s birthday, Chopin’s birthday, Dr. Martin Luther King Day and Bill Gates’ birthday.
Happy 150th birthday, Henry Ford!

Chrysler reports 2Q net income up 16% to $507M

Modified Operating Profit for the Quarter was $808 million, from $755 Million a Year Ago

• Chrysler Group LLC net income for the second quarter of 2013 was $507 million, an increase of 16 percent from $436 million a year ago 
• Net revenue for the quarter was $18.0 billion, up 7 percent from a year ago
• Modified Operating Profit(b) increased 7 percent to $808 million in the second quarter, from $755 million a year earlier
• Free Cash Flow(e) for the second quarter totaled $91 million; Cash(d) as of June 30, 2013, was $11.9 billion, comparable with March 31, 2013, and slightly lower than $12.1 billion a year ago 
• Net Industrial Debt(f) was $656 million at June 30, 2013, up slightly from $619 million at March 31, 2013, and $432 million a year ago
• Worldwide vehicle shipments were 660,000 for the quarter, up 5 percent from 630,000 a year ago
• Strong worldwide vehicle sales for the second quarter of 643,000, up 10 percent from a year ago, were driven primarily by a 17 percent increase in U.S. retail sales
• U.S. market share was 11.4 percent for the second quarter, compared with 11.2 percent a year ago; Chrysler Group market share was 15.1 percent in Canada, up from 14.5 percent a year ago
• Full-year 2013 Modified Operating Profit and net income guidance revised
July 30, 2013 , Auburn Hills, Mich. – Chrysler Group LLC today reported its preliminary second-quarter 2013 results, including net income of $507 million, an increase of 16 percent from $436 million in the same quarter a year earlier. The second quarter marks the Company’s eighth consecutive quarter of positive net income.

Net revenue was $18.0 billion for the second quarter of 2013, an increase of 7 percent from $16.8 billion for the same period last year, primarily driven by an increase in vehicle shipments, including the new Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram pickup trucks. Net revenue totaled $33.4 billion for the first half of 2013.

“Chrysler Group is poised for a very strong performance in the second half of the year, with the new Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500 pickup earning best-in-class recognition, and the all-new Jeep Cherokee now rolling off the line,” Chrysler Group LLC Chairman and CEO Sergio Marchionne said. “The timing of product launches and capacity increases causes this year’s performance to be biased to the second half, and a continued aggressive drive for excellence and flawless execution will be essential to attain the targets we’ve set for ourselves.”

Modified Operating Profit was $808 million, or 4.5 percent of revenue, in the second quarter, versus $755 million reported in the prior year. The 7 percent increase was primarily due to higher shipment volumes and positive pricing, partially offset by higher industrial and launch-related costs, as well as a $151 million charge related to the voluntary safety recall for the 1993-1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee and the 2002-2007 Jeep Liberty, and the customer satisfaction action for the 1999-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Modified Operating Profit was $1.2 billion for the first half of the year.

BMW i3 quick facts

BMW i3

BMW i3

BMW i3 is first purpose-built electric vehicle made primarily of carbon fiber

The BMW i3 represents the first purpose-built electric vehicle to be made primarily of carbon fiber.

The BMW i3, previously known as the “megacity vehicle,” is compact for congested city driving. Features include:

  • “Coach” style doors allowing for easy entry and exit to rear seats.
  • No transmission tunnel and low console allowing passengers a Slide Through Experience and giving them the ability to exit from either side.
  • Made with sustainable, renewable materials, the dashboard wood trim is crafted from responsibly-forested eucalyptus.

Due to its light weight, carbon fiber technology is expected to fundamentally change the car industry, allowing automakers to create lighter, more efficient and sustainable vehicles with reduced fuel consumption and lower emissions.

In 2025, 8 billion people will live on the planet; 4.5 billion will live in cities. There will be 1.8 billion cars on the roads.  In order to address the personal mobility needs of people living within the world’s most densely populated urban city centers, BMW created BMW i – the sustainable new sub-brand whose mission is to develop visionary vehicles and mobility services.