Auto News for Dec. 15 – Mercedes Luxury King & a new electric “Air”

   Worldwide, the best-selling luxury brand for the year is expected to be Mercedes by a comfortable margin over BMW, according to the Detroit News. Analysts told the newspaper that Mercedes should hang on to the sales lead through at least 2018 thanks to strong demand for its SUV’s, including the new GLC.

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 It carries a starting price of $39,150 with a standard turbo four rated at 240 horsepower with 273 lb-ft of torque. The upscale GLC43 sports an “AMG-enhanced 3.0-liter Biturbo V6” with 362 horsepower and 384 lb-ft of torque resulting in a 0-60 run, Mercedes claims, of 4.8 seconds. The price of that top of the line model starts at $54,900.

 The average new vehicle transaction price will hit an all-time high in 2016 at $34,077 per vehicle, a 2.7 percent increase from 2015 and a 12.6 percent increase from 2011, according to analysis from Edmunds.com. In 2017, Edmunds predicts that the average vehicle transaction price will further increase to $35,000. “Although automakers have ushered in a crop of smaller, lower-priced vehicles, strong market demand for SUVs and trucks have caused overall prices to rise,” said Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds executive director of industry analysis.  

 Look for GM to unveil redesigned GMC Terrain and Chevrolet Traverse models at the Detroit Auto Show next month. The two models are due for some work, since they were last touched up in 2009.

 Great vanity plate on a Corvette I spotted yesterday. “DNRT66” or down Route 66. Tod Stiles and Buz Murdock would be so pleased. (For younger readers, they were the two main characters in the Route 66 TV show that ran from October of 1960 to 1964. It was all about two guys traveling the country in their Corvette convertible.) And yes, they packed light.

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 An electric car with a 400 mile range, a 0-60 in 2.5 seconds, and a target market debut date of 2018. That is what Freemont California based Lucid Motors unveiled yesterday in its luxury model to be called “Air.” If all goes according to plan, production will begin next year at a new plant in Arizona. It will be propelled by two electric motors, one in front, one in back that should give the Air 1,000 horsepower, its backers claimed. Standard will be a 100 kWh battery pack with a 300 mile range and optional will be a 130 kWh battery pack good for 400 miles. Prices are expected to start at $100,000 will oodles of luxury touches.

 GM will invest $552 million in four plants – Tonawanda, Lockport and Rochester, New York and Parma, Ohio. This will involve future engine production, component and sub assembly processes. The investments will create 70 new jobs and retain more than 1,300.

  

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