This Week in Car Buying: Incentives on 2017s; Record June sales; Caddy tweaks ATS, CTS; Smart cabrio pricing; Volvo poll on self-driving cars
Incentives are typically used to clear out current or older model year cars, but as we head into the July 4th holiday weekend, a number of spiffs are appearing on new 2017 models. Manufacturers are hoping to keep the ball rolling on a record sales year, and the fact that some newly introduced models have rebates is evidence of the shift to a buyer’s market.
Take for instance the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica, which is just starting to reach dealer showrooms in significant numbers. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has a $500 rebate plus subsidized financing ranging from 0 to 5.9 percent. At Ford, rebates ranging from $250 to $500 are being offered across the range of Ford and Lincoln models along with financing from 0 to 7.9 percent. GM is offering $1,000 on 2017 Chevrolet Volt, 1.9 to 6.5 percent financing on the newly launched 2017 Cadillac XT5.
Among imports, BMW has $1,000 to $1,500 cash back on some 2017 BMW 6 Series, 7 Series, X3 and X4 models along with 2.9 to 9.9 percent financing. The 2017 Mini Cooper has financing ranging from 0.9 to 9.9 percent. Hyundai has $500 on the 2017 Elantra and Santa Fe and $750 on the Santa Fe Sport, along with 0 to 4.9 percent financing. The 2017 Jaguar F-Type, Audi A4 and Q7 as well as the 2017 Mercedes-AMG C63 and Merecedes-Benz C300 all have finance deals starting at 1.9 percent. And finally, Toyota is offering $500 to $1,000 cash back on 2017 Toyota Camry models including hybrids.
In another pricing move, GM is reducing the cost of its OnStar 4G LTE data plan by 50 percent across the board. The new pricing ranges from $10 per month for 1 GB to $40 per month for 10 GB. The $150 annual plan price remains the same but doubles from 10 to 20 GB for the year. GM also announced Chevrolet, Buick and GMC will celebrate the Independence Day holiday by extending their expanded military discount for all 21 million U.S. military veterans and their spouses through July 8, 2016.
June sales on record pace
New vehicle sales are expected to be up 5 percent over last year when the final numbers are tallied, according to Kelley Blue Book data. The strong result builds on weaker May numbers to keep the seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) above 17 million units. With 1.55 vehicles retailed in June, the year-to-date total will hit 8.66 million, the highest on record and up 2 percent over last year.
“June 2016 is expected to bring mostly positive numbers for new vehicle sales and the industry remains on pace for another top performing year,” said Tim Fleming, analyst for Kelley Blue Book. “As we head into summer, sales should stabilize just slightly ahead of last year’s pace. This month’s volume will market the highest June since 2005, when 1.67 million units were sold during a wave of discounts.”
Among the brands expected to post gains, Subaru is poised to have the largest percentage increase, nearly 13 percent over June 2015. “Subaru has been the fastest-selling brand this year by far, with models averaging just 27 days to turn, but sales have been hampered by low inventories,” Fleming observed. ”While still tight, inventory is much better than last year and should help Subaru achieve another record month.” Honda is also expected to post big gains of 10 percent on the strength of Accord and Civic sales.
Cadillac tweaks ATS and CTS for 2017
With all-new 2017 Cadillac CT6 sedans and Cadillac XT5 crossover SUVs on their way to showrooms, GM's luxury division has turned its attention to the ATS and CTS, adjusting prices, streamlining trim levels and adding new features for the 2017 model year. Both the 2017 Cadillac CTS and Cadillac ATS will be offered in base, Luxury and Premium Luxury trim levels, with the ATS Coupes and Sedans offering a Premium Performance range topper, while the CTS will have V-Sport and V-Sport Premium models at the high end.
GM’s luxury division is dropping the normally aspirated 2.5-liter 4-cylinder base engine in the ATS and will offer the previously optional 2.0-liter turbo 4-cylinder as standard equipment. A 3.6-liter V6 will be available as the top engine. Prices are expected to drop between $650 and $1,100 and buyers will benefit from more content including the turbo engine and other standard features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability as well as 4G LTE Wi-Fi. Even though the prices are being dropped on some trim levels, by eliminating the base normally aspirated engine model in favor of the turbo boosts the least expensive ATS MSRP $1,500 to $35,590.
The 2017 Cadillac CTS sports a new grille treatment that brings it in line with the larger CT6 along with a new rear tail treatment that features a vertical arrangement on the exhaust tips. Among the new features available on the mid-size sedan is Cadillac’s rear camera mirror, a full-display rearview mirror technology that debuted on the CT6. Both CTS and ATS will also offer new Carbon Black sport packages as well as two new exterior colors and redesigned wheels.
Smart Fortwo Cabrio priced
Smart set to bring out its all-new 2017 Fortwo Cabrio as the lowest priced open car on the market with a base price of just $18,900 for a manual-equipped model. The dual clutch automatic version will retail for $19,890. The company boasts that it is the only convertible priced below $20,000.
The diminutive 2-seater features a power soft top that retracts in 12 seconds. The cabriolet is offered in three trim levels, Passion, Prime and Proxy and will be available this fall.
Volvo studies autonomous trends
With more than 50,000 respondents globally, a survey by Volvo Cars assessed the future of driving and found that while many will embrace autonomously driven vehicles, 72 percent also believe that manually driving a car is a luxury that must be preserved. A similar number also believes that car companies will be the first to offer autonomous cars and not tech companies.
Still, where commuting is drudgery, self-driving cars will be welcome with nine out of 10 New Yorkers and 86 percent of Californians believing that these vehicles will make life easier. Nationally, 68 percent think that autonomous cars will eliminate traffic accidents, while 69 percent feel that the technology will keep their families safer. Not surprisingly, nearly 80 percent also believe that manufacturers and not vehicles owners must take responsibility for accidents that occur when the car is driving on its own.
A new app from KBB parent Cox Automotive called Dojo not only assesses your driving, but also offers rewards good habits. Check out more information here.
The 2017 Honda Sport Special Edition is the latest trim level that has been added to Honda’s mid-size family sedan lineup. Prices start at $26,250.
Enthusiasts are set to be impressed by the 2018 Mercedes-AMG GT R supercar, which recently bowed at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Prices for the 577-horsepower coupe will be announced later.
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