AD #1289 – EV Growth Rate Slowing, 2015 Audi Q3, VW Reveals Off-Road Beetle

January 10th, 2014 at 11:56am

Runtime: 7:36

- Nissan Looks to Double LEAF Sales
- EV Growth Rate Strong, But Slowing
- 2015 Audi Q3
- VW Reveals Off-Road Beetle
- Autoline This Week Preview

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Hello and welcome to a brand new Autoline Daily and TGIF. I’m Sean McElroy filling in for John today but now let’s take a look at the top stories.

Nissan announced pricing for the LEAF will go up slightly in 2014. The base price is now just under $30,000 including destination charges, which is about $180 more than last year. There’s not a whole lot new for 2014, a backup camera is now standard and it’s available in a new color. Last year Nissan slashed the price of the LEAF by over $6,000 to help boost sales and it sure did help. The company sold over 22,000 LEAFs in the U.S. last year, a 130% increase. Bloomberg reports that CEO Carlos Ghosn says the company is on track to sell 3,000 LEAFs a month in the U.S. and that 4,000 a month is the next goal, which would be double the current rate.

And speaking of EVs. Electric car sales shot up more than 240% last year, but the latest sales figures also show that their growth is slowing down. In the fourth quarter they were up 81% and in December the were up 15% compared to the month before. That’s still very good growth, but it shows that the torrid growth rate is slowing. The Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model S dominated EV sales. They showed spectacular percentage gains, compared to the year before when there was limited inventory. But now their sales look like they’re hitting a plateau. There are 7 other EVs on sale in the US market but even if you add them all together their numbers are about one third of the Tesla Model S. However, with the BMW i3, Tesla Model X and the Cadillac ELR coming into the market the EV segment will continue to grow. And it’s going to be fun to watch and see just how this segment develops.

2015 AUDI Q3
And now lets take a look at a couple of reveals ahead of the Detroit auto show. Audi’s first compact SUV, the Q3 will make its U.S. debut in Detroit on Monday. It’s standard with a 200 horsepower, 2.0 liter four-cylinder engine that’s mated to a six-speed Tiptronic transmission. Front-wheel-drive is standard and all-wheel-drive is available. And as you would expect from an Audi, the Q3 offers a number of convenience and safety features. The 2015 Q3 will hit dealerships this Fall in the U.S. but pricing will be announced closer to its launch.

Next up is this off-road version of the Volkswagen Beetle, called the Dune. It’s similar to the New Beetle Dune concept the German automaker showed at LA in 2000, but VW says it has a greater potential for production. This concept also gets the same turbocharged engine and DSG transmission as the Beetle R-Line, a 2-inch body lift and more aggressive tires.

And speaking of the Detroit auto show, we’ll be bringing you live coverage from the floor on Monday, January 13th at 1PM eastern time thanks to our signature sponsor Chrysler. We’ll be interviewing top executives from Audi, BMW, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, and Volkswagen, and that’s just on Day One. As always you can watch that show right here at our website

Coming up next, a look at a couple of vehicles that weren’t quite good enough to make the final list for the North American Truck of the Year award.

Next week the jury of the North American Car & Truck of the Year awards will announce the winners at the Detroit auto show. As you know, John is on that panel and he invited two of his fellow jurors to discuss the vehicles that were up for the award on Autoline This Week. Here’s a clip from the show where they talk about the trucks that just missed the final cut for North American Truck of the Year.

(The ATW preview is only available in the video version of today’s show.)

Joining John for that show is Chris Paukert from Autoblog and Jack Nerad of Kelley Blue Book. And you can watch that entire show right now at our website,

But that’s it for today’s show, thanks for watching and have a great weekend.

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36 Comments to “AD #1289 – EV Growth Rate Slowing, 2015 Audi Q3, VW Reveals Off-Road Beetle”

  1. Brett Says:

    I shall buy a new off-road VW Beetle. I will name it “Lorna”.

  2. pedro fernandez Says:

    Oh no!! the return of the “Thing”.

  3. marshy Says:

    Am I the only one bothered by a concept, named Dune, pictured on sand with slicks mounted? That setup would be hopelessly stuck instantly.

    …stepping down from my soapbox.

  4. Lex Says:

    I hear all this talk about EV’s. How are sales of the Chevy Volt? The Volt seem to be heading the same way as the EV1.

  5. RumNCoke Says:

    Vee Dub seems to be all over this platform sharing thing now. Are the Audi Q3, VW Tiguan and Porsche Macan all related?

  6. Ziggy Says:

    Truck winner should be easy, there is only one true truck among the three and that is the Silverado, and while I think GM missed the boat on the styling without enough reach, the other two nominees are nothing more than modern day station wagons, and if you don’t believe me then just look at a state vehicle registration for one of them and tell me it doesn’t list the vehicle as a wagon. Truth hurts.

  7. gary susie Says:

    I was wondering the same thing Lex.Why didn’t they include the volt.

  8. Phoenix Mark Says:

    I don’t think sale growth expressed as a percentage show the correct picture. If you grow sales by the same number of units each month your sale growth is flat by units but the growth rate as a percent is declining.

    Sales Growth in # Growth in %
    Jan 5
    Feb 10 5 100%
    Mar 15 5 50%
    Apr 20 5 33%
    May 25 5 25%
    Jun 30 5 20%
    Jul 35 5 17%
    Aug 40 5 14%
    Sep 45 5 13%
    Oct 50 5 11%
    Nov 55 5 10%
    Dec 60 5 9%

  9. Phoenix Mark Says:

    The table didn’t traslate very well.

  10. T. Bejma Says:

    #4 and #7

    2013 Sales

    Volt 20,702 -1%

    2012 Sales


  11. Steve Weintraub Says:

    The VW Dune is ugly and won’t sell even if it offered 4X4. If VW was serious about doing volume they would bring the Blue Crossover previously shown or a pickup to the US market.

  12. Bradley Says:

    “different styling” is the new spin on “badge engineering”.

    Keeping GMC makes no sense, if the styling is better; simply offer it on the Chevy as an option.

    There has to be some obscure reason that makes sense in some financial way as to why GMC still exists.

    GM is only competing with themselves.

    Having both the Sierra and Sliverado been on the short list would have proved nothing.

  13. G.A.Branigan Says:

    As far as I’m concerned,the gmc’s are to gaudy for my taste,and have been for a long time.I’m one of those ‘less is more’ kinda truck buyer when it comes to styling.I’ve never been a big fan of chrome.

  14. C-Tech Says:

    @ #3 I concur.

    There are buyers who prefer the greater luxury options from GMC and there are still stand alone GMC dealers, or combinations of Buick, or Cadillac GMC dealers. Financially it makes sense to still offer GMC as a stand alone truck line, otherwise those dealers would have to sell the entire Chevy line to offer trucks. I think this is why Chrysler is trying to promote the Dodge trucks as stand alone “RAM” brand. You could sell trucks with Fiat dealers, or stand alone RAM dealers in the future.

  15. Mark Tilton Says:

    The new GMC is quite a looker,. I THOUGHT IT WAS A NEW FORD!!!! Thanks for thinking inside the box— Mark Tilton– Northwood Univ.

  16. Bradley Says:


    The car companies and car dealers are beyond separate entities. Your example may be valid, but it only demonstrates how GM is only competing with themselves.

  17. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Q3 and Tiguan are related. Macan is based on the Q5.

  18. Kit Gerhart Says:

    12, 16
    When decisions were being made a few years ago about what GM brands to drop, I thought it made no sense to keep GMC. The word at the time, though, was that people actually believed the “professional grade” ads, and would buy a Ford rather than a Chevy if GMC didn’t exist. It sounds crazy, buy I heard that from more than one source.

    Another reason to keep GMC, was to give Cadillac/Buick dealers something else to sell. Are there any free-standing GMC dealers? There are very few, if any.

  19. Chuck Grenci Says:

    You can call the GMC, the same only different, when comparing to the Chevy Silverado, however, the sales certainly convey that enough people prefer to have that option to pick. While I haven’t owned a pickup since my ’98 S-10 (some years ago), I continue to be intrigued by what is offered and what development (continue) to be seen. For those wanting a pickup, the choices are certainly appealing (with nary a poor choice when picking from the top three, and guardedly, the top four).

  20. Bradley Says:

    speaking of 2014 Silverado and GMC Sierra.

    I don’t doubt people prefer the GMC trim level, but they’d still like it if it was simply an option on Silverado.

    I owned a LL Bean Subaru, simply because I like the options. Subaru still offers the options, but they dropped the LL Bean logo.

  21. Chuck Grenci Says:

    #20 Let me reword your statement as to what you just said (and of course this is just my opinion):

    “I don’t doubt [SOME] people prefer the GMC trim level, but they still [MIGHT] like it if it was simply an option on Silverado.”

    Personally I don’t think so, and agree with Kit (post 18) that some of the sales would go to a different manufacturer and become (conquest sales). There would certainly be no ‘absolutes’ in either of our descriptions; different outcomes would need to determined (by the various potential buyers) and what their particular needs (and wants) would be.

  22. Bradley Says:


    Thanks! You might be right. I suppose GM has obligations to the GMC dealers, etc. I am not sure, but didn’t GM get sued etc by some Pontiac and Buick dealers.

    The worst case of that I am aware of is in my hometown. The Chrysler dealer wanted out and the Dodge dealer wanted the Chrysler line.

    Chrysler corporate said “NO.”

    Then the Chrysler dealer was flooded and Chrysler corporate wanted it rebuilt. I am not sure how it all played from there, but it wasn’t a direct path.

    Eventually, the Dodge Dealer acquired the Chrysler dealer and the old flooded Chrysler dealer now sells Smart Cars and Used Cars.

  23. T. Bejma Says:


    Totally agree.

    In addition, because most to the mechanicals are identical between the Silverado and the Sierra, the GMC *IS* similar to a trim level on the Chevy. The major differences are Grille’s, Bumpers and Emblems.

  24. T. Bejma Says:


    Forgot to mention that Engineering, Marketing, Manufacturing, etc. are all covered at GM by the same groups for GM/Chevy/Cadillac trucks. Ever since GM got rid of the separate silos internally, they have realized the cost advantage of having only one group for each vehicle type, not model.

  25. HtG Says:

    Ford V2V

    Ford demonstrated a vehicle-2-vehicle communication method at CES. You would get warnings from nearby cars via a wifi standard. The system is limited by the number of cars it can monitor, and the absence of a national standard for a system. My question is if there’s any reason not to expect pedestrians with smartphones to similarly benefit from the same system.

    From TheVerge…

  26. T. Bejma Says:

    If CK is peeking in, it looks like the Euro’s are liking the new Corvette…

    “I find myself in the unusual position of liking an American-built car. I can’t say I’ve experienced this very often; the Ford Mustang Cobra R being the only other one that springs to mind… However, we all loved the 2014 Corvette Stingray with Z51 Package. The performance for the price makes it an absolute bargain.”

    Read more:

  27. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Speaking of C7′s, I saw one a couple days ago, that I thought looked great. It was black, with chrome wheels. The black paint fixes the car’s biggest styling problem, those vent things, and the shiny wheels looked right on it, at least to me. I’m generally not a big fan of black cars, but I liked this one.

  28. HtG Says:

    Was it moving, Kit? I’m still yet to espy a C7 on the road.

    TB, I think CK has taken the wise step of limiting his internet/TV exposures.

  29. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It was in a shopping mall parking lot.

  30. Kit Gerhart Says:

    That article was interesting. The initial impression was not good, but the more time, and the more speed in the car, the better they liked it. There is no doubt that the C7 is a performance bargain, as Corvettes have been at least as far back as the C5. What’s new with the C7, is that it’s also reasonably refined, and has an interior more like you’d expect in a car in that price range.

  31. pedro fernandez Says:

    Another fire related recall involving the new GM trucks, I tell you, people seems to think that the wait a couple of years before you buy idea is archaic and no longer relevant, they’d be wrong, how many times have we seen first year US models being recalled for a number of issues which get resolved rather quickly and do not affect subsequent samples. Case in point, Ford was riding high in reliability and when new models were introduced with new-fangled technologies, reliability went south, while the Mustang, trucks and Crow Vic had no such problems.

  32. ColoradoKid Says:

    CK’s Pancake Bar & Grill – Nomex Casual , Formal and Sports Wear and soon to be Zonker’s Smokers Porch ..

    Now serving all 2014 Chevy/GMC Full Size P/U owners .. with special discounts on offer for all new buyers

    Great truck … ehhhh ? …. Can’t wait to see what the Chevy Colorado’s ‘ Party Trick ‘ will be ;-)

  33. Kit Gerhart Says:

    “The company said it would take 20 minutes for dealers to reprogram software “that could lead to overheating of exhaust components, potentially causing engine compartment fires.”

    Does that mean the engine is idling too rich, causing the catalytic converter to get too hot? In any case, while the recall may be an embarrassment for GM, they are doing the right thing in recalling them early, rather than bringing out the lawyers as in the “bad old days.”

  34. ColoradoKid Says:


  35. ColoradoKid Says:

    …… and yet … despite the Siverado’s CarBQ tendencies … as well as the fact that Chevy can’t GIVE the things away … the folks responsible voted the POS …


    Yeah …. that and the NACOTY awards having become real relevant and meaningful over the years . About as much as the Auto Exec of the Year awards … ” Much Ado About Nothing ” best sums it up .. ;-)

  36. Kit Gerhart Says:

    So if you were on the jury, CK, I suppose you would have given all of your votes to the overpriced Honda tall wagon.

    I agree that the NATOTY isn’t very meaningful most years, with pickups, tall wagons, and vans being combined, and most jurors probably having a bias in favor of pickups.