Auto News for April 22

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 In what was called a “tentative agreement” VW has agreed to buy back or repair about 480,000 2.0-liter diesel powered vehicles that have a device that allows them to skirt EPA pollution regulations. The agreement between VW, the government and private lawyers was announced by a federal judge in San Francisco. Kelley Blue Book estimates that it would cost VW $7.3 billion to repurchase all of the vehicles covered by the proposed settlement. Exactly how all this would work remains up in the air. Not covered were roughly 90,000 vehicles with the 3.0-liter diesel. A court hearing was scheduled for July 26 on final approval of the agreement following 30 days for public comment on the matter.

 In a two line statement following the court proceeding, VW said the “agreements in principle are an important step on the road to making things right.”

 Ford paid $199,950 to buy a Tesla Model X, or about $55,000 over the sticker price, according to the Detroit News. It noted that car makers often purchase competitors offerings to see what makes them tick. One analyst said GM and Toyota have also bought the Model X.

 More signs of a cooling car market. J.D. Power and LMC Automotive have reduced their retail light vehicle sales forecast for the year to 14.3 million units from 14.5 million. But that reduced number is still above the sales level rung up in 2015. “We fully expect 2016 auto sales to be another record year in the United States, but there is also no question that we will see a slower rate of growth than in the past few years of recovery. Some retail light-vehicle softening in the past couple of months is partially due to comparisons with robust sales last spring. That said, with volatility comes a shift in expectations to more downside risk than upside potential for this year and next,” said Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting at LMC. The two firms believe April sales will be flat compared to April of 2015.

 Only 27.5 percent of all hybrid and electric vehicles trade-ins in 2016 have been applied to the purchase of a similar vehicle, according to Edmunds.com. That is a drop of 38.5 percent from 2015. It said owners are returning to gasoline powered vehicles “in greater numbers than ever before,” because today’s low gas prices no longer makes it worth paying the price premium of hybrids and electrics.  

 Edmunds found that a hybrid or electric trade-in is more likely to go toward the purchase of a SUV (33.8 percent) than another hybrid or EV. The trend is even more apparent when looking only at EV trade-ins – 25.7 percent of EV trade-ins went toward the purchase of a SUV, compared to just 4.8 percent that went toward another EV.

 

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