Auto Notes - August 2016
Mid-year sales. While some automakers were about even or posted slight decreases for June vehicle sales in the U.S., there were several with measurable increases for the month as well as impressive milestones for the first six months of 2016.
Audi set a June record for sales and is up 3.5 percent for the first half of 2016; FCA US said sales of 199,073 units represented a 7 percent June increase over 2015 and its top June sales in 11 years; Ford posted a 6 percent increase over June 2015 and has had its best first half year sales since 2006; Honda had the best ever June for light trucks and is up 3.2 percent overall for the year; Hyundai, up slightly in June, said it has had its best first six months sales on record in the U.S.
Infiniti posted a 10.7 percent increase in June sales over 2015; Kia, recently ranked by J.D. Power as the highest scoring nameplate for initial quality, jumped 15.6 percent in June and the company marked its top performing half-year sales in history; Nissan set a June record with 140,553 units sold, a 13-percent increase over last year; Subaru was up 5.1 percent over June 2015, the 55th consecutive month of month-over-month growth; and Volkswagen’s Tiguan had its best June sales ever, up 17.7 percent over last June.
VW settlement. In late June, Volkswagen AG and the U.S. Department of Justice, in conjunction with other government agencies, agreed to a $15 billion deal to settle VW’s multi-year cheating on diesel emissions ratings. The case involved the company’s 2.0-L TDI engine for model years 2009-2015; the 3.0-L engine emission issues have yet to be settled.
Under the agreement, which involves some 460,000 Volkswagen and 15,000 Audi models, more than $10 billion will involve buy-backs or repairs to vehicles. Volkswagen will also provide $2 billion over 10 years to California and EPA-directed programs to promote construction of an electric vehicle charging infrastructure, development of zero-emission ride-sharing fleets, and other efforts to boost sales of vehicles that do not operate on petroleum products.
The final $2.7 billion in the federal settlement enables government and tribal agencies to replace old buses, or fund infrastructure to reduce diesel emissions over a three-year period.
While the settlement covers the civil side on the federal level, Volkswagen also announced a $600 million-plus separate settlement with 44 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. A criminal investigation in the U.S. remains active.
American Camry. The Toyota Camry, the best-selling car in the U.S. for 14 consecutive years, has been recognized by Cars.com as the top vehicle in its American-Made index. This marks the second consecutive year, and the sixth time overall, that the Camry has garnered the top spot for vehicles built and purchased in the U.S. based parts considered “domestic” by the federal government. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, the U.S.-sold domestic content for Camry is 75 percent.
Built at the Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky plant in Georgetown, Ky., the Camry has more than 270 supplier locations in the U.S. that provide parts for the car. The Camry Hybrid, Avalon, Avalon Hybrid, and Lexus ES 350 models are also assembled at the facility, one of five U.S. plants that Toyota operates in the U.S.
50th Camaro. General Motors is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the iconic Chevrolet Camaro. As part of that celebration, the sixth-generation Camaro SS will race in the NASCAR XFINITY Series next year.
“For the past 50 years, the Camaro has played a key role in Chevrolet’s racing success in winning races and championships,” said Mark Kent, director of Chevrolet Racing. “We look forward to further success with the new Camaro SS in NASCAR XFINITY Series.”
Other 50th celebration activities include GM offering special tours of the Lansing Grand River Plant where the Camaro is built beginning Aug. 18, plus the Camaro will lead the Woodward Dream Cruise event Aug. 20, in Lansing, Mich.
The original Camaro went on sale in September 1966 and sold 220,906 units in it first sales year. For decades it has battled with the Ford Mustang as America’s sports car. In 2015, Mustang won the battle with sales of 122,349 opposed to 77,502 Camaro sales.