Apparently European sales of the BMW X1 are going so well that nobody stateside is going to be seeing the model - until the X1 gets a 2013 restyling at least. The BWM X1 is on indefinite hold for the US car market due also to a weak euro-US dollar exchange rate. We’re not responsible for BMW business plans so perhaps it’s not our business anyway, but when you read stuff like this:
BMW isn’t worried about having American car shoppers waiting for their X1 since the automaker believes the X3 will remain its top-selling crossover.
you wonder why they’d bother at all. When the X3 is such a strong seller in general, the smaller X1 might not be missed at all. Which begs the question as to why this sudden explosion in small crossovers from the German manufacturers when the market may not be interested in absorbing them all anyway.
Drumming up sales in the US car market for the Fiat 500 might turn out to be easier than first thought on presenting these kinds of European, Dolce Vita fashion models. The Fiat 500 by Gucci will get a New York Fashion Week debut as the trendy model struts into town complete with Gucci logos and stripes.
The 500C Gucci comes after the standard hard-top 500 Gucci version and is available in either black or white with the red and green classic Gucci stripe down the roof. The wheel hubs feature Gucci logos and on the inside we get additional Gucci logos featuring on the Frau leather seats and chrome trim. In Europe the Fiat 500 Gucci versions sell for about €17,100.
Source | Autoblog.com
The idea of a Mercedes M-Class coupé which will compete with the BMW X6 is not particularly appealing, but given the success of the X6 rival, we’re surprised it’s taken Mercedes this long to announce its competitor. While the company probably waited to see if BMW’s sedan-coupe-SUV thingy wasn’t just a very large flash in the pan, it now won’t have its SUV-coupe M-Class competitor on the market until about 2015.
With brands battling it out both in smaller, fuel-saving compact cars and on the big car front, the Mercedes coupe-crossover will be based on the 2012 M-Class restyled model and could be called the MLC (or GLS as previously rumoured). The model is being designed specifically with the US car market in mind and the battle among luxury brands occurring there.
There are not a lot of details on the vehicle itself, as the announcement from Automotive News is in the context of Mercedes’ investment in the US Tuscaloosa plant, but we expect something quite similar to the 2012 M-Class, with the same engine range, a possible hybrid version and all the luxury you could poke the rakish rear at. Renderings to come, no doubt.
There’s been a lot of talk of Americans buying big on small cars, especially with the launch of the Fiat 500 on the US market and the PR game that’s being played around that. With Fiat on more than one occasion flaunting the good sales of its pint-sized slice of the Dolcevita, Car and Driver are here to dispel the myth that American car buyers are all of a sudden interested in tiny cars.
After reports from the car company that the Fiat 500 was selling big in Texas, as if that’s proof of a revolution in the US car market, the US magazine takes a closer look at the sales figures and what the competition is doing, too. According to original statements from Sergio Marchionne, highly ambitious sales targets for the Fiat 500 in the US were set at 50,000 models this year. So far, they’ve managed just 4,944 vehicles from April to June, including pre-sales of the Prima Edizione version.
A quick calculation tells us that if Fiat is to reach its target by year end, just over 45,000 models are still to be sold. And it seems like an awful lot of dreams in pipes, especially compared to the main competition from Mini which sold just over 45,000 vehicles in 2010. According to Fiat the main reason for the slow sales is that only 70 of its 140 dealerships are actually open for business. Still, the figures from Car and Driver seem to finally settle the debate over whether Americans really want these little retro revivals on a large scale - and for Fiat the answer to that question would seem to be a worrying “no”….
Just to slot right into a stereotype here, when you think Texas you think cowboys, spurs, check shirts and pick-ups right? Well, Americans and their modest love affair with the Fiat 500 are here to disprove our European notions. The Fiat 500 has most surprisingly been a success in Texas. Selling fast in California, New York and Florida, the southern state is next on the list of take-up of the 500 on the US car market.
The reasons behind Fiat 500 sales in that market is exactly what Fiat had planned on when launching the model - stylish, urban motoring. According to Fiat, surburban living and the US’ fourth-largest metropolitan centre of Houston makes a perfect environment for a compact citycar.
What’s more, it appears that Americans are also embracing manual technology, with Fiat 500 manual options being ordered at an impressive rate (we would recommend this as driving a small car can be frustrating with an automatic transmission). A total of 70 percent of all Fiat 500’s are being ordered with manual transmission. Time will tell on the second-hand market whether that’s a sensible option or not, but let’s just say that the pint-sized Fiat has been more than meets the eye on US soil.
Source | Autoblog.com
Jaguar is working on engineering prototypes of its new E-Type, which will finally replace the iconic Jag sometime in 2013. With a nod to the US car market, the new E-Type could actually debut at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show. The new Jaguar E-Type will be an all-aluminium car in coupé and cabriolet versions with a V6 petrol engine. A V8 engine is expected to be revealed later after launch date, but there’s no word on whether we will see a V6 diesel in the future.
The E-Type model will share the same platform as the future Jaguar XK, and while that has provided some problems, we apparently should get an E-Type which is as wide as the current XK, but significantly shorter. Styling details are expected to be borrowed from the CX-75 Supercar concept, especially in the front end, and there could be significant demand from female buyers in the US for the new “XKE”.
Source | Autocar
Recent reports on the loss-making Opel arm of General Motors have taken an interesting turn in this intriguing news from Auto Motor und Sport, via Motortrend. In speaking to Opel manager Klaus Franz, he suggested that the new Opel Allegra or Junior citycar model could make it to the US as an Opel-branded model, bringing the marque back to the North American market after it was last seen there about 40 years ago.
Leaving aside why they would embark on this project with the Allegra and not with the Insignia, for example, General Motors has had nothing to say about the words from Franz, and has left the matter to Opel CEO Dan Akerson. We doubt a move like this would happen, though, as already the Opel citycar future is undecided and the Corsa itself has never previously been mentioned with the US car market in mind.
In the meantime, General Motors will be releasing its Chevrolet Sonic compact vehicle on home turf next year and its fortunes will be closely watched in an increasingly competitive small car segment in the US. Rumours of a possible Opel sale have emerged again recently, and the idea of Opel returning to the US market is probably wishful thinking.
The new Volkswagen Beetle for 2012 is turning into a big car on the US car market, despite its size, and after the first Beetle tuning from VWvortex, we get this limited edition Beetle Black Turbo Launch Edition. A production run of just 600 is planned for this model, and it can be ordered with a deposit of a mere 495 USD. The model will cost 24,950 USD (taxes excluded), which is equivalent to about 17,400 euros.
The Beetle Black Turbo Launch Edition comes with the 2.0 TSI Turbo engine with 200 hp, DSG gearbox and sports suspension. That’s quite an offer, when you think about it, but on a first come, first served basis, there should be a rush on the limited number. The model is available only in pearl black, with shiny wheels, dedicated graphics and interior carbonfibre trim.
Compare that to the standard Volkswagen Beetle entry level model for the US which is based on the five-cylinder, 2.5-litre aspirated engine with 170 hp costing 18,995 USD, and you’ve got yourself a near bargain. Here in Europe, the 2012 Beetle will arrive in autumn with a range of turbo TSI petrol and TDI diesel engines.
Fiat is going to have to play a delicate game so as not to step on the toes of any Chrysler models in the US. According to reports from Autocar, the Fiat 500 will be followed by another of the brand’s compact cars - the Fiat Bravo. For us, that’s a dubious choice as even in its home market of Italy, the more upmarket Bravo has been outstripped by sales of the very utilitarian Fiat Punto. When buying a Fiat, most Italians themselves are more prepared to purchase lower in the line-up because once they’ve got to a Bravo, they’re more likely to switch to a German-branded car.
The British mag quotes Fiat’s brand head Laura Soaves as saying: “Fiat will be the small car brand. It will never have anything larger than a C [segment].” We can’t help wondering if that isn’t extremely limiting for the brand on the US car market. A big deal was made of debuting with the Fiat 500 but its successful sales must surely be put down to its style and image, and not its size. We’re in America after all.
According to the report, the model won’t necessarily be the Bravo as such, but rather a larger car that will replace it. Sergio Marchionne has said that it will be radically styled car and “not a traditional offering”, but we’d ask if the job of a larger Fiat Group vehicle isn’t better left to Alfa Romeo. Meanwhile, with the redesigning of the Alfa Giulia, apparently we’re still heading to the US for that brand with the Alfa 4C. It will still have to be good, though, and not just good looking.
Volkswagen has some work to do for its brand on the US car market and in plans to expand beyond the Passat, Jetta and Beetle models, reports have emerged that it might expand its production and build the Volkswagen Tiguan on US soil. That’s one model that makes a lot of sense for us.
The new Volkswagen Chattanooga plant in Tennesse will build the Volkswagen Passat US model, and could make room for the Tiguan as well. More local US production of VW models is required to achieve the ambitious target of one million unit sales of Audis and VWs in the US.
The Volkswagen Tiguan could get to production either in Tennessee or at the Pueblo plant in Mexico where the Jetta and Beetle are assembled. If US Tiguan production starts, it could go ahead in 2013. It’s no secret that the Tiguan is a popular SUV around the world and the US could benefit from local production of both the restyled and the future next-generation model, too.