Auto News for Apirl 10 – Toyota Invests Big Bucks In KY.

 Toyota announced this morning it will make a $1.3 billion investment in its Georgetown, Kentucky plant to produce cars featuring its New Global Architecture, in this case the Camry. “Toyota New Global Architecture is about exciting, ever-better vehicles for our customers as it will improve performance of all models, including increased fuel efficiency, more responsive handling, and a more stable, comfortable feel while driving,” said Jim Lenz, CEO of Toyota Motor North America. Toyota Kentucky is the automaker’s largest plant in the world.

 As companies such as Tesla and General Motors launch new electric vehicles designed to attract the masses, a new report from Edmunds shows that without generous tax incentives, it will be challenging for either company to meet sales goals for these vehicles.   

 “With gas prices at a relative low and the popularity of SUVs and trucks hitting all-time highs, the EV market is at a crossroads,” said Jessica Caldwell, executive director of industry analysis for Edmunds. “While the high-end EV market most likely has the ability to hold steady, our analysis shows that the average car shopper still needs a significant financial incentive to choose an electric vehicle over a traditional counterpart.” Edmunds cited a decline in electric vehicle demand when Georgia dropped its tax credit. And lease payment on EV’s jumped sharply.

 “It will take a significant rise in gas prices or stricter government mandates to drive sales of EVs at high volume,” Caldwell said.

 The latest report from AAA puts the national average gas price at $2.33 a gallon, or 27 cents over what we paid one year ago.

 Here are my predictions for World Car of the Year awards to be revealed on Wednesday at the New York Auto Show. The odds are that at least one of these predictions will come true.

 World Car of the Year: Jaguar F-Pace

 World Urban Car of the Year: Citroen C3

 World Luxury Car of the Year: Volvo S90/V90

 World Performance Car: This is a tough one with three great candidates – Audi R8 Spyder, McLaren 570S, and the Porsche 718 Boxster/Cayman. I think it will be the McLaren.

 The Chevrolet Bolt will be the Green Car of the Year award winner and the Mercedes S-Class will capture the World Car Design of the Year award.

 

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