June 21st, 2012 at 11:00am
The gap in quality among carmakers continues to shrink according to J.D. Power’s Initial Quality Survey. Audi just announced that Scott Keogh will replace Johan de Nysschen as President of the company’s U.S. operations. Chevy just announced the base price for the 2013 Malibu is just over $23,000, which is a small increase over the current Malibu. All that and more, plus a look at the all-new Ford Escape.
Hello and welcome to Autoline Daily for June 21st. It’s the summer solstice and the first day of summer for those of you in the Northern Hemisphere, and the beginning of winter for those of you below the equator. But enough of that, let’s get to the news.
QUALITY GAP SHRINKS
J.D. Power released the results of its Initial Quality Survey. This measures the quality of cars from a year ago, where owners in the U.S. are surveyed after the first 90 days of ownership. J.D. Power says quality continues to get better. Indeed, from Lexus which is at the top of the list, to smart, which is at the bottom, the difference is only 0.78 defects. That shows how good quality is in cars these days, when best to worst is measured in a fraction of a defect.
PEUGEOT FAMILY WANTS TO OUST CEO
A while back I pointed out how much of a family business the automotive industry is. Families still hold an enormous interest in Ford, Fiat, BMW, Toyota, Volkswagen and Peugeot. And now the Peugeot family wants to see the CEO of the company, Philippe Varin, given the heave-ho. They don’t like the direction the company is headed in, and presumably selling a big stake in Peugeot to General Motors didn’t sit well with them. But that prompted the board of directors to issue a statement that they fully support their CEO.
AUDI OF AMERICA NAMES NEW PRESIDENT
Audi just announced that Scott Keogh will replace Johan de Nysschen as President of the company’s U.S. operations. Keogh was Chief Marketing Officer for Audi of America the last six years and starts his new position immediately. de Nysschen left Audi to become the head of Infiniti.
CITI CUTS SALES FORECAST
Yesterday we reported that WardsAuto is sticking with its forecast of 14.5 million car sales in the U.S. this year but Citi Investment Research & Analysis cut its sales forecast from 14.3 million units to 14.1 million due to slow economic growth. Citi also cut next year’s forecast from 15 million units to 14.5 million.
2013 CHEVY MALIBU
Chevy’s latest midsize sedan is primed and ready. Base price for the 2013 Malibu sedan is a hair more than $23,000, INCLUDING destination and delivery charges. That’s a small increase over today’s Malibu but the new version does come with more standard equipment. Also, the company reduced the price of the range-topping LTZ model, which will be powered by a 2.0-liter turbo, the first turbocharged engine ever offered in a Malibu. And going back to the J.D. Power story, the 2012 Malibu just won top-honors in its segment.
HONDA TO RECYCLE RARE-EARTH METALS
On the electric-vehicle front, Honda will begin recycling rare-earth metals along with other materials used in hybrid batteries. It’s all part of the company’s green initiative, but it’s also an important strategic move. Japan – and the rest of the automotive industry for that matter – is dependent on China for rare-earth metals. China has about 30 percent of the world’s deposits of these materials but it accounts for 90 percent of global production. Recycling is a great way to reduce this dependency.
Coming up next, Craig Cole test drives the 2013 Ford Escape.
2013 FORD ESCAPE
(The Ford Escape review is only available in the video version of today’s program.)
I really do like the styling on the new Escape.
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And that wraps up today’s reports, we’ll see you tomorrow.