January 25th, 2013 at 11:42am
Dodge is chopping production at one of its engine plants as sales of the Dart continue to disappoint. Ford is the next in a line of automakers to offer deep discounts on its electric vehicles. Could a bi-annual styling change become the norm for the industry? All that and more, plus a preview of Autoline This Week with the Lincoln Motor Company’s Matt VanDyke.
Hey folks, it’s Friday and there ain’t nothin’ wrong with that. But, lest you think we’re resting on our laurels, we’ve got a preview of Autoline This Week and the first Autoline Poll of 2013! But before we get to that, let’s launch headfirst into the headlines.
MORE EV DISCOUNTS
First it was the LEAF, then the Volt and now Ford is offering huge discounts for the Focus EV — nearly $11,000 off a three-year lease. The base price dropped $2,000 for cash sales, which lowers the price to about 38 grand. Plus if you finance the car through Ford Motor Credit you get an additional $2,000 cash discount. Ford only sold around 700 Focus EVs last year despite building over two times that amount.
DODGE DART STRUGGLING
And speaking of cars that are struggling, it looks like Dodge Dart is definitely in trouble. Chrysler just eliminated a shift at its Dundee Engine Plant which builds engines for the Dart. Sales of the car have been disappointing, and if Chrysler is chopping production of the engine, that means they don’t see sales picking up anytime soon.
THE BI-ANNUAL STYLING CHANGE
Back in the 1950s and ‘60s, automakers had the annual styling change, where they would change the styling on their cars every year. But as they introduced more and more new models, that started to slip. Today they typically refresh every four years, in some cases even five. But Jeep is refreshing the Grand Cherokee and the Compass after they’ve been in the market for about two years. Mike Manley, the CEO of the Jeep brand, tells me they’re going to start refreshing their vehicles more frequently going forward. They may not go back to the annual styling change, but look for a refresh about every two years. And I think this could become a significant trend in the industry.
X MARKS THE SPOT
OK boys and girls, this next report is brought to you by the letter X, because when it comes to naming cars, automakers seem to love the letter X. There’s the X1, the X3, the SX4, X5, CX5, X6, CX7, RX8, CX9 and QX56. Don’t forget the XC60, XC70 and the XC90. We’ve got the xB, the xD,, EX, EXT, XF, FCX, GX, ILX, XJ, and JX, XK, MKX, LX, XL, MDX, RX, XTS, TSX, RDX, ZDX, X-Terra and XV Crosstrek. You got all that? Excellent!
CAST YOUR COR-VOTE
Earlier in the week, Peter De Lorenzo, the Autoextremist, guest hosted the show and he presented his plan for giving Corvette the shot in the arm it needs to take on the likes of Porsche and Ferrari. Part of his plan included breaking Corvette off as a separate brand that would sell distinctly different models. But, what do you think? That’s the subject of this week’s Autoline Poll. Should Chevrolet spin Corvette off as its own brand? Place your vote by clicking the link under today’s show at Autoline.tv. And, be sure to send this poll to your friends, we want to hear what they think too. Do that by copying the URL under the poll. Get going because we’ll be revealing the results on Monday!
What is Ford going to do with the Lincoln brand? Coming up next, we’ll ask the man who’s been put in charge of running it.
Matt VanDyke is the director of what they’re now calling the Lincoln Motor Company, where he will be in charge of all marketing, sales and service. So what are his plans to revive this historic nameplate? That’s exactly the question I put to him because he’s my guest on Autoline This Week.
It’s no accident that he cites Lexus for its stellar customer service. Matt VanDyke used to work for Lexus. By the way, you can watch that entire show on our website or check out your local public television listings because Autoline This Week is carried across the United States and Canada on many of those stations.
Now, go enjoy the rest of your Friday and we’ll see you back here on Monday.
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