AD #1296 – China Passes 20 Million Sales, Chrysler to Add Models, Some Plug-In Sales Slip

January 21st, 2014 at 11:56am

Runtime: 7:27

- China Smashes the 20 Million Barrier
- Chrysler Brand to Add More Models
- Cadillac to Add More Models
- Some Plug-In Sales Slip
- Insurance to Rise with Aluminum F-150
- Bosch CNG Update

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Thanks for joining us on Autoline Daily today.

China just smashed all the sales records, becoming the first country in the world to sell over 20 million vehicles in a year. WardsAuto reports that sales were up 14% in 2013, hitting a record of nearly 21.9 million vehicles, including cars, SUVs and commercial vehicles. If you strip out commercial trucks and only count light vehicles, which is how they’re largely counted in the U.S. or Europe, sales came to 17.9 million. Interestingly, if you count NAFTA as a single market, it’s still slightly larger than the Chinese market.

The Chrysler brand got a lot of good publicity with the introduction of the new 200 last week. But did you realize the brand only has three vehicles in its line-up? The 200, the 300 and the Town & Country. Al Gardner, the new CEO of the Chrysler Brand, who’s only been on the job for three months, says that’s going to change. “We’re working on the new 200, we’re working on the new Town & Country, but we recognize that to be relevant in the marketplace we need more than the three products we have today,” he tells us. How about a crossover for the Chrysler brand, we asked him? “We’re absolutely looking at something like that,” he tells Autoline. While we don’t know anything yet about that new crossover, we do know that it will feature a grille similar to the new 200. Gardner says “you’re going to see that on a lot of products coming up.”

Cadillac will offer 7 different models in the U.S. market this year, which is half the number that both BMW and Mercedes have in their line-ups. But Bob Ferguson, the Senior Vice President of Global Cadillac, says that more models are on the way. “If we were like the Germans and named our cars by 1’s, 2’s and 3’s I think we’d run out of single digits,” he tells Autoline. Cadillac’s new cars are bringing in new buyers. Ferguson says “those buying an ATS, 70% of them didn’t own a Cadillac before, and of those conquest buyers they’re about 10-years younger.” And that bodes very well for the brand.

Sales of electric cars and plug-ins have been making enormous percentage gains for a number of years, but last year we saw some plug-in hybrids see their sales go down. There were 5 plug-in hybrids sold in the US market last year: the Chevy Volt, Toyota Prius, Ford C-Max and Fusion and Honda Accord. Those sales hit 49,000 cars, up 27%, but that increase came from Ford and Honda. Sales of the Volt and Prius plug-in actually went down. That suggests this segment could be hitting a plateau, and that the new entries are starting to slice the pie more finely, rather than make the pie big enough for everyone to grow. But the Cadillac ELR, Porsche Panamera and BMW i8 are about to join the segment and that could bring in a new group of luxury buyers.


1. Chevrolet Volt 23,094 -1.5%
2. Toyota Prius 12,088 -5%
3. Ford C-Max 7,154 +201%
4. Ford Fusion 6,089 —
5. Honda Accord 526 —

Source: Ward’s

Ford is betting that its new F-150 with aluminum body panels will not deter buyers. But few repair shops are certified to work with the metal, and the Ford expects a 10% increase in insurance cost. However Ford believes buyers will accept that because of increases in fuel economy, towing and payload. Doug Scott, Ford’s truck marketing manager also adds that insurance companies currently charge less for the outgoing F-150 than the competition, so he feels it’s a bit of a wash.

The shale revolution is generating a lot of interest in using natural gas to power vehicles. coming up next, we’ll show you how one giant German automotive supplier is getting ready for that revolution.

(Today’s Bosch CNG update is only available in the video version of the show.)

Many experts believe that commercial truck fleets, especially in the North American market, are a perfect application for natural gas. I think we’re going to hear a lot more about this throughout the year. Watch for this to become a recurring theme in our reporting.

And with that we wrap up today’s report, thanks for watching.

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33 Comments to “AD #1296 – China Passes 20 Million Sales, Chrysler to Add Models, Some Plug-In Sales Slip”

  1. ColoradoKid Says:

    Cadillac bringing in new buyers

    What a total crock as well as a pant load of GM propaganda

    Ask your local dealer just how many BMW , Mercedes , Audi , Lexus , Infiniti owners are switching over .

    Answer ? Bupkiss !

    Simple fact is the only ‘ conquest ‘ buying going on is between the GM brands … … ugh …. So IS GM ever gonna be capable of telling the truth .. or at the very least shutting the ____ up ?


    And how’s the ATS’s sales doing overall ? Hit the wall about last July and hasn’t recovered since . Cause like everything else Cadillac sells …. nobody wants one once the reality hits the fan


    I was gonna keep this to myself … but in light of GM’s most current spat of Cadillac lies ..


    Due to the Chevy Silverado’s ongoing self igniting problems

    First … a new Chevy Jingle for the truck

    ” See the USA … in your Chevrolet .. the Marshmellows and steaks we’ll give for free ”

    Chevy’s recent Ad campaign says ;

    ” Find New Roads ”

    What they mean is …. Find new roads [ in your new Chevy Truck ] that’ll keep you within striking distance of a Fire Station – Emergency Response Unit – Fire Hydrant – Fire Extinguisher … or at the very least a body of water … or you’ll die

    BWTM ..if the Siilverado’s problems persist at this rate California’s gonna have ta ban the sales of the thing … due to the increased fire danger

    Oh well … probably the result of all that cheap arsed Chinese garbage GM keeps sticking under the hood

    Yeah …. Chevy trucks … golly gee … really makes one look forward to the Chevy Colorado now …. doesn’t it ;-)

    Bahahahahahahaha … I kill myself sometimes … oops .. Jerry’s calling … gotta grab this

    Be Smart – Be Safe – Spend your money wisely .. Buy a Ford .. or Toyota … and drive away worry free

    Your ‘ friend ‘ .. CK

  2. Lex Says:

    The Chinese are building up a surplus of cash and tech to one day rule the automotive world. The Third Wave is again coming from the East. First the Japanese, Second the Koreans and the third being the Chinese. The Chinese automotive invasion will be like a tsunami hitting the NAFTA region.

  3. ColoradoKid Says:

    Dear Mr Ferguson

    If in fact … you were more like your German competition … you’d be offering genuine technology … real rather than perceived quality .. actual rather than hyped performance … as well as actual value for the money …. rather than the rehashed rebodied Chevy’s OPEL’s and Holdens you’ve been dumping on us for the last 40 years

    BUT … if you really wanted to compete with those Germans … you’d start offering up actual American ALTERNATIVES to their cars … rather than trying to pretend Cadillac’s any wheres near a competitor to them . And then …. you’d market them as above as well ..

    Want an example ?

    Here’s one on me Cadillac ;


    Your hard earned money can buy you a great German car for those wonderful roads in Europe

    Or your money can buy you the best American car for our incredible US roads

    Cadillac .. Made in the US .. By Americans [ you're gonna have to make that one come true I'm afraid Mr Ferguson ] for our American roads

  4. pedro fernandez Says:

    #2 Just say NO! to Chinese cars.

  5. ColoradoKid Says:

    Lex- 2 – The TPP ( Trans Pacific Partnership )

    It makes NAFTA look like a dream come true in comparison

    Scary thing is ….. everyone .. including ALD’s afraid to talk about it … while Obama and his Corporate sponsors do everything possible to fast track it thru

    And just WTH ARE those Tea Party idiots supposedly standing up for the rights of the common/working man on this TPP debacle ?

    Oh gee …. something they might actually have to stand their ground on .. no wonder they’re all nowhere to be seen on this issue

  6. ColoradoKid Says:

    4 – Rots o’ ruck wif that one most honorable Pedro [ I'm practicing for the impending invasion ] … once the TPP’s in force … everything will be Chinese – Viet Nam -Cambodian – Thai .. despite what the badge on the snout says

  7. pedro fernandez Says:

    CK LOL!

  8. Bradley Says:

    What percentage of those Plug-In Hybrid sales are fleet sales? i.e. How many go to the United States government?

    On my 30 mile commute to work, I now see an ATS regularly. I can now say that the styling is a mixed bag. A few things look great, a few things don’t and overall it looks heavy handed.

    I wonder what percentage of that 70% was “never bought a GM car before.” As ColoradoKid points out, I suspect a good percentage of that 70% are people who have bought other GM cars.

  9. pedro fernandez Says:

    My in father in law took a fit when he realized his crappy BP machine was Chinese and asked for an American one, we all laughed and said where have you been living in the past 20 yrs or so?

  10. jack878 Says:

    I don’t believe that the Ford F-150 insurance today is cheaper than the competitions (pointing to the Silverado). The increase it will have due to the difficulty of fixing will not be as quoted “so he feels it’s a bit of a wash”. Another of Ford’s psychological use of words to fool the consumers. My thoughts are Ford has made a huge mistake in going big time with aluminum. Read the book “Future Shock” by Alvin Toffler and you’ll see what I mean.

  11. jack878 Says:

    ColoradoKid Says: @ 1

    You are the biggest ignoramus I’ve ever encountered on the Internet. Why don’t you get a brain. It is so obvious you hate GM and will say anything from the top of your head to discredit GM. What is wrong with you!!

  12. Kit Gerhart Says:

    1, 3,
    Cadillac, with the ATS has a car that beats the Germans in handling. Everyone says so except CK. Yeah, it doesn’t have the badge panache of a BMW, Benz, or even Audi, but it’s a great car.

    I agree, though, that Cadillac should also build “American” cars, like a modern day Sedan de Ville. That will probably happen well before Lincoln has a competitive product.

    The Chinese vehicle invasion started several years ago with cheap scooters. At first, only 50cc ones were sold here, but now there are 150′s, and even some small motorcycles. The quality generally sucks, but they work well enough that people are buying them, and getting reasonable service out of them. A guy in my area is renting them to tourists, and says that they are reliable enough that he is much better off with the Chinese scooters, than paying more than twice as much for Hondas.

    I’ll be saying no to Chinese cars, and am even saying no to Korean ones, even though the Korean cars are now, at least, OK.

  13. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yeah, I checked on-line quotes for a 2014 F-150 and a 2014 Silverado, and the numbers I got were essentially identical.

  14. Marshall Says:

    Just heard on the radio that Fiat has completed their purchase and now own 100% of Chrysler. Sad day, how the once mighty have fallen.

  15. pedro fernandez Says:

    #14 it could be worse, it could have been Wong Fang or Chung Li or Fu-king Motors or some other Commie Chinese entity, if you can’t beat the West, then buy it!

  16. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Doesn’t Fu-king Motors sell duck on the side? I think I had some at a Chinese restaurant a while back.

  17. That Guy Says:


    They make that new sport model, the Fu-king R-Soul. Hamsters drive it.

  18. Buzzerd Says:

    @jack878 – just ignore it and maybe he and his invisible friends will go away some day.

  19. pedro fernandez Says:

    Fu-King has a line of frozen, salmonella infected, sweet and sour chicken and another dish known as Mao’s Revenge Chicken and DUMP-lings

  20. C-Tech Says:

    A follow-up to the question CWolf asked the other day. Even with loaded struts (front struts that come as a completely assembled unit including new strut mounts and coil springs) I would recommend getting an alignment. The reason is because you may have other suspension components which have stretched or shifted slightly as the old struts wore down. The new struts will change the geometry of the suspension. The alignment will help reduce your tire wear.

  21. C-Tech Says:

    Please fellas, let’s not be too anti-Asian. I have nothing against the Chinese people, however I absolutely do not understand the bending over backwards to help a Communist government. Since you for the most part cannot be in business at a high level in China unless the goverment allows you to, helping Chinese business, helps the Communist system.

  22. pedro fernandez Says:

    I have nothing against the slave people of red China, I used to live under a commie dictatorship, so I have nothing buy sympathy for any one who has to endure such a system.

  23. HtG Says:

    “Please fellas, let’s not be too anti-Asian. ”

    +2 Billion

  24. C-Tech Says:

    Higher insurance for the new F-150? What a shocker (not).

    CK you really should try actually driving a new Cadillac. It might change your opinion.

    What is problematic for Chrysler to expand its line is that most anything it ‘expands” into is most likely to be offered by Dodge already. If you are going to expand Chrysler’s offerings they are going to have to be truly different from a Dodge. A good job was done differentiating the Charger from the 300. They will have put that same effort into making a Chrysler crossover different from the Jeep or Dodge sitting in the SAME showroom. Perhaps start with bringing in a new PT Cruiser?

  25. pedro fernandez Says:

    Will this new Cruiser be based on the Dart Alfa Romeo platform as well?

  26. C-Tech Says:

    Pedro, my crystal ball is foggy. :) I personally liked the Dodge Hornet concept small cuv. I don’t know what it was based on, but they could update that and call it the new PT.

  27. C-Tech Says:

    By the way, I think I Fu-King actually made Renault’s specialty tools. That might explain the tragic results with Renault in the U.S.

  28. aliisdad Says:

    #12.. Your post reminded me of a little Honda 70 (I think it was??) that was purchased new in around 1973.. Well, now I see there are now Chinese versions of the same bike that even use the same frame.. The only exceptions that I could see were a missing guard on the front by the engine, AND there was no badge in the indention where the Honda badge was on my “real Honda”.. I thought it was interested that it was copied so well as to have that indention still there… I wondered if maybe they had purchased the tooling from Honda, BUT the Chinese company was still making them around 40 years later!!!

    On the topic of Cadillac vs the import lux cars and competing… I think they can for an American audience, but don’t see them competing in Europe or some other overseas venues due to quality reputation (fair or not) and “American-ness”..
    Cadillacs, even the new ones, have a smoothness and nice plush GM interior that is just a different “breed of cat” than the Euro lux cars, and that is fine! While my past experiences with the quality of GM cars would keep us from ever considering buying another GM product, I do think the Cadillac does a nice job of American luxury.. Why not be happy and proud of what they do well, and do they really need to compete model to model with the Euros??
    I also do think they are on the right track with “softening” the sharp edges on recent models to keep the styling from growing old..

  29. Kit Gerhart Says:

    That’s interesting about the Honda 70 clone. I haven’t seen one of those. It is the CT70, the one that had kind of an oval tube frame, and handlebars that fold back?

  30. T. Bejma Says:


    The BS is back to getting deep around here…

    China isn’t even in the TPP…

    Go away.

  31. Brett Says:

    I sat beside an ATS waiting for a light to change this afternoon. I was struck by just how deftly the stylists had pulled the roofline up for rear seat headroom without making the shape awkward. There’s actually a fairly steep slant to the rear window that should not look as good as it does, too.

    It would’ve been too easy to make the roofline bulbous and peculiar-looking to give that headroom, and they avoided it. I was impressed.

    If I was in that tax bracket, I might go look at one to buy.

  32. aliisdad Says:

    28.. I think it was a CT70… It was kind of like a mini-bike with wide tires, and the handlebars did fold down… It actually is still “on the road” with a friend that I sold it to.. He has ridden it to work a few times.. It is licensed for the street, but you feel pretty small on it in any traffic at all… Top speed was around 30 as I remember… Sometimes, I have to admit, though, that I kind of miss it.. Did you have one, too??

  33. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I never had a CT70, but a few friends had them. They were popular for chasing free free flight model airplanes at contests, because they were easy to transport, and the automatic clutch made them good for riding one-handed. Also, their being street legal made them more useful than most small bikes.