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Like many folks who purchased a Model 3 sedan (plus options) earlier this year, the sticker price hovered in the $56,000 range. Pricey for some, accessible for others, but none complained when $7,500 was knocked off lowering the price to the high $40,000s. This popular, federal tax credit has been offered to Americans when purchasing electric vehicles (EVs) to incentivize the purchase. Butthere’s a catch. There’s always a catch …

The full tax credit is only available on the first 200,000 cars that Tesla, in this case, sells in the U.S. Two quarters later, that credit is reduced. The Tesla threshold was hit in July, so cars delivered on or after January 1st will now feature just a $3,750 credit. This will be halved once again on July 1st and then by 2020 there will be no credit.

Some analysts believe this phaseout will hinder Tesla’s ability to reach a wider [...]

Roger Lanctot put it best. Who is Roger Lanctot? An appropriate first question and we’ll get to that immediately. Mr. Lanctot is aleading analyst with Strategy Analytics, a firm that focuses heavily on automobile infotainment systems. Mr. Lanctot received much attention when he summed up the value of data and apps as they pertain to the auto world. “The lifetime value of a customer,”Lanctot states, with respect to the automaker who sold the customer the car, “is typically around half a million dollars.” The value Lanctot is referring to comes from the sale of new vehicles and services, and if the manufacturer cedes any of their customer data to a third-party a hefty portion of that $500,000 is placed at risk.

There are two principal app players that run on infotainment systems (and you know these intimately) – Apple’s CarPlay andGoogle’s Android Auto. Automakers have not been shy in their outward desire [...]

In Part I we delved into the sad state that some manufacturers find themselves in, deciding when to pull that plug and put on their “Dr. Kevorkian hat.” It can be a rough business as we’ll continue to see with these models on their way to auto heaven …

Cadillac ATS

Conceived as the answer, a competitor that could hold its weight versus the likes of the BMW 3-series, this unfortunately for Cadillac never occurred. The brand struggled and so did the ATS which eventually met its demise as the entire compact segment went up in flames. As a side-note this car, aesthetically, took home quite a few accolades. But outside beauty is only skin (metal) deep.

Cadillac CT6 and XTS

Two other Cadillacs that also will not be seeing the light of day come 2019. This was an overall disastrous year for Cadillac withthese large sedans hitting a collective [...]

For nearly every manufacturer, the rough decision of when to pull the trigger, and kill off an underperforming model is never an easy decision. Sure, people might not desire the vehicle any longer, and that’s the will of the consumer. But what most people never see or even hear about is the time and resources (dollars, dollars, dollars) that go into developing and bringing to market a vehicle. It’s a tremendous undertaking and that putting a car to bed is painful, and in many cases, can cost folks their jobs.

Lately, the undertaker role in the auto industry has been busy, busy, busy. Buyer preferences have shifted fast with folks desiring more space, a higher stance on the road (SUVs), and better fuel economy than a decade ago. In 2019 Edmunds projects 1 in every 2 cars sold will be crossovers or SUVs. The shift away from passenger cars has been going [...]

“If everyone who has placed a deposit to pre-order the car actually buys it, we’ll sell it out in its first year of production.” Just the type of news any CEO of a major car manufacturer would surely welcome. In this case, the person behind the quote is Klaus Zellmar,and his position – Porsche North America President and CEO. The car in question – the all new electric sports car, the Taycan.

Dubbed by many to be Porsche’s most important debut ever, the Taycan is whipping up a frenzy worldwide. A four-door sedan, this is Porsche’s first foray into mainstream, electrified vehicle territory(not counting the 918 Spyder hybrid for all those gearheads shaking their finger at the screen). The Volkswagen AG lineup (of which Porsche belongs to) will be much more agile in 2019 as a result, smartly poised to compete with the big boys in the electric arena. But more than [...]

The U.S. auto industry is at a crossroads. Arriving at a crossroads can be a positive thing. After all, if one picks the right direction some great things potentially await. But choosing that other direction can be sudden death. Now, this might be a bit premature, the American car industry will not crumble, roll up or disintegrateanytime soon, but there have been some fascinating changes over the last 3 decades that have led us to where we stand today.

Fundamentally, the U.S. has too many factories that manufacture cars Americans do not desire. This is where the conversation really lies. It’s the main reason why Ford is in the process of a massive reorganization and GM is closing four plants. The good news – U.S. auto plants have the capacity to make roughly 3 million vehicles that they can sell. They just need to start doing it.

In conjunction with a U.S. [...]

Two areas that evolved in a nearly simultaneous fashion were cars and electric power. Thomas Edison (electricity) and Henry Ford (cars) worked together on several projects and both moved theirrespective industries forward as a result.

In 2019, Edison’s side is being expected to supply massive amounts of electricity for not only traditional car factories but the electric side as well. If this supply cannot be generated with minimal carbon emissions in mind (coupled with a reasonable price point) then the advantages of electric vehicles (EVs) are mute. Two current players who are taking some plays from the Edison/Ford playbook are Honda and Southern California Edison. Their joint program, Honda SmartCharge, is allowing EV owners to charge their cars when the largest amount of renewable energy is on the grid and when prices are lowest.

One of the massive barriers to furthering EV development are charging times. Most car owners drive [...]

The auto sector is officially in a slump. Worldwide the sector has been slowing and while there are number of factors at work it is interesting to see how this plays out on a country by country level.

Japan

Asia’s second largest economy, Japanese passenger car sales are down 3.4 percent (over the first 8 months) compared to 2017. An aging population is partly to blame as senior citizens are eitherdriving less or not driving at all and the costs of owning a car in Japan have been rising fast which is incentivizing a younger crowd to opt into other forms of transport. Those that do have cars are waiting roughly 7.7 years to sell them which is much longer than the car buying heydays when folks would switch every 4 to 5 years.

For the first time in 3 years vehicle deliveries are poised to decline from a [...]

New Jersey and Virginia are likely additions to this novel coalition in the coming years, but a notable absence is New York. Being that New York was one of the initial states to adopt the previously mentioned Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, it is odd they’re not on board. Much skepticism is political in nature as officials have declined all comments. As a side note, when someone cannot comment on something odds are it’s a bit complex with multiplemoving parts and differing ideas. The lone voice on the other side of the aisle here comes from the American Petroleum Institute who is calling for a response to climate change from the innovation and technological development side. The very industry has invested billions in new technology (cleaner fuels, etc) and has publicly stated they are interested in joint state collaboration.

Other actors in climate circles have also expressed doubts. A senator from Massachusetts for [...]

The auto industry provides us all with a piece of machinery that continues to add tremendous value to our lives. But nothing is free in this world and the downsides of cars, lots of them that is, is pollution.

Cap it, and then trade it. Pollution continues to be a thorn in our side and Washington D.C. coupled with 9 other northeastern states have joined forces to cap and trade with the goal of reducing pollution in their individual states. This is by far one of the most ambitious programs across multiple states, counting on what will be some intense collaboration over various state governments to cut carbon dioxide emissions. Up to now most states have focused climate efforts on regulating and/or reducing the number of power plants. Coal plants for example have seen a drastic reduction which has produced a real drop in power-sector emissions. But many northeastern states are sitting [...]

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