This Week in Car Buying: Hot Wheels Camaro Bows; Two-tones return; October sales down, not out; Incentives rise
To help celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Camaro, Chevrolet has created the 2018 Camaro Hot Wheels 50th Anniversary Edition in partnership with Mattel, the maker of the iconic toy cars. The new package includes a Crush orange exterior paint scheme and stripes inspired by the iconic orange track that Hot Wheels cars run on.
“The Chevrolet Performance design studio is full of designers who were inspired by Hot Wheels,” said Tom Peters, director of exterior design for Chevrolet Performance Cars. “The Camaro Hot Wheels 50th Anniversary Edition captures that passion, turning childhood fantasy into reality.”
The 2018 Camaro Hot Wheels 50th Anniversary Edition is available on 2LT and 2SS Coupe and Convertible models and includes satin graphite striping and ground effects, 20-inch forged aluminum wheels, 50th Anniversary Hot Wheels badging, a unique grille with chrome inserts, orange brake calipers, smoked taillamp covers, black taillamp panel with the Hot Wheels logo and black Chevrolet bowtie emblems. Inside, the car is fitted with a black leather interior with orange inserts and stitching, embossed headrests, 50th anniversary Hot Wheels logo on the steering wheel, illuminated sill plates and carpeted floor mats with orange accents.
The package is priced at $4,995 and goes on sale in the first quarter of 2018.
Return of the two-tone
If Hot Wheels nostalgia isn’t enough for you with this special edition Camaro, another trend that recalls an earlier era, the 1950s, is making a comeback according to Automotive News. This time, however, it’s not as all-American as old Chevys or Fords, but rather it’s coming from Europeans and Asians. The trade paper has counted at least 20 models sporting two-tone paint jobs, many of which have roofs that contrast with the main body color. Another difference with these new age duo-tone vehicles is that most of them are hatchbacks and/or crossover SUVs.
“Designers are cooking with the ingredients they have,” J Mays, retired head of Ford Design told Automotive News. “You can get a lot of bang for the buck out of two-tone paint.”
While the history of two-tone paint scheme stretches back into the 1920s and 1930s, they were also wildly popular on mass market cars in the 1950s. One of the first vehicles to start the current renaissance was the Mini, which sported a white roof true to the design of the original when it bowed in 2001. “I think it influenced a lot of other manufacturers,” Mays said in the interview. “Some of them are quite successful. Some are really terrible, but everyone seems to have jumped on that bandwagon.”
By having contrasting colors on the roof, like the new 2018 Toyota Camry, designers are looking to add sporty feel, while on larger vehicles like a Land Rover SUV, using either a white or a black roof helps it look smaller and lighter.
Typically, two-tone paint schemes are more costly to apply, but with average transaction prices rising, it appears it’s a cost consumers are willing to bear to stand out from the crowd. By offering more looks to their vehicles, manufacturers are hoping to create more customer engagement when purchasing a new vehicle.
“When you’ve got so many combinations of roof and paint tones, it’s pretty involving to the customer,” Stewart Reed, head of the Transportation Department at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, told the trade paper. “It’s like going into a home furnishing store and picking out textiles and materials for floor coverings and countertops. People love choices.”
October sales down, not out
September’s sales rally fueled by big incentives and people needing to replace hurricane-damaged vehicles is expected to have run its course. October sales numbers are expected to post about a 2 percent decline over last year, according to data from Kelley Blue Book.
“Although the headline shows a small decline in sales, October looks relatively strong for the industry, as evidenced by the nearly 18 million SAAR (Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate) for sales,” said Tim Fleming, analyst for Kelley Blue Book. “Sales blew past expectations in September toward an 18.5 million SAAR pace and we expect October to keep up some of that momentum. Some of the strength can be attributed to replacement demand that continues in Texas and Florida.”
In addition to expected sales of 1.34 million units in October, a 1.9-pecent decline from a year earlier, Kelley Blue Book is also seeing a slight rise in fleet sales as auto makers look to more daily rental and business fleet business to keep their manufacturing operations running at current levels. Retail sales will be down slightly to 82.7 percent of the total, from 83 percent a month earlier. Overall, Kelley Blue Book expects that 2017 will finish with volumes totally between 16.9 and 17.2 million units, down from1 to 3 percent from 2016’s record level.
Makers are continuing to push the big incentives used to close out the 2017 model year, as some of those vehicles are still on lots. Also, more and more incentives are beginning to appear on 2018 models. KBB’s Fleming sees incentives playing a large role through the balance of the calendar year. “Even with production cuts this year, incentives are on the rise and have reached 11 percent of average transaction prices,” he said. “This is an indication that new-vehicle demand is still contracting and production cuts could be on the horizon to prevent oversupplies.”
Look for big incentives to continue in the midsize sedan segment, as sales of those vehicles are expected to drop in October, for the 20th consecutive month and these vehicles have continually lost share over the past five years. Increasing incentives on compact crossover SUVs and pickup trucks are expected to boost both segments.
There’s some extra performance on tap for the 2018 Ford Mustang GT. An all new Performance Pack Level 2 offers improved handling and downforce.
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