Two all-electric vehicles, the Tesla Model S and the BMW i3 fell short of the top crash rating in tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The Model S earned good ratings in all IIHS crashworthiness evaluations except the small overlap front. The i3 rated only acceptable in head restraint and seat evaluation, which measures a vehicle’s ability to protect against neck injuries in a rear crash, in which it earned an acceptable rating.
Volkswagen has submitted to a court a settlement agreement covering about 75,000 owners of Audi, VW, and Porsche cars that have the larger 3.0 liter diesel engine. It would pay at least $1.2 billion in buyback and compensation to the owners, and that amount could increase to $4 billion if VW cannot bring the cars up to air quality standards. It is not clear when the court will rule on the matter. Earlier, VW got the green light to settle with those who own the smaller 2.0-liter diesel.
Ford said retail sales rose 6 percent last month but add in fleet sales and overall sales declined by one percent. Trucks were big at the Blue Oval, up 13 percent thanks to demand for the F-150 and its brawnier Super Duty model. It is the best calendar year start for the trucks since 2004.
Sales of cars, trucks and crossovers fell 3.8 percent at General Motors with retail sales off 4.9 percent. All was not bleak with sales of the Silverado pickup up 9 percent for the brand’s best January since 2005. “GM is optimistic about the year ahead because the economy is strong and the company’s four brands are dramatically expanding their product offerings in fast-growing crossover segments,” the company said.
There was a bigger sales tumble at Fiat Chrysler due, the company said, to its policy of reducing lower profit fleet sales. So overall sales were off 11 percent and retail sales were flat compared to a year earlier. And once again demand was strong for Ram trucks and more customers took home Jeep Renegades, Grand Cherokees, and Wranglers.
Nissan said total sales also rose 6 percent and finished at a January record level of 112,319 units. Like so many others, demand was hot for crossovers, trucks and SUV’s with the Rogue setting a January record at 28,760 sales.
It was pretty much the same tune, different maker over at Audi. It said January sales increased 11 percent thanks to the Q3, Q5, and SUV’s. But it also said the A4 and A6 made volume gains. Audi said this represents the 73rd straight month of record sales in this country.
Kelley Blue Book said new car transaction prices rose more than 3 percent last month to $34,968. New car prices have increased 3.3 percent from January 2016. “The changing mix of sales in favor of utility vehicles is the primary driver for the year-over-year strength, as average prices in SUV segments climbed modestly, while the prices of subcompact SUVs declined. Demand for subcompact SUVs, one of the hottest segments in 2016, appears to be slowing down, although new models from Ford, Nissan and Toyota could help spark interest in the segment.” KBB said.
Fourth quarter sales rose 4 percent globally at Volvo, but were down 3 percent for all of 2016.