As 2018 closed out, Audi announced that it was no longer offering European delivery of U.S.-ordered vehicles. Citing the global nature of its production sites with new vehicles like Audi Q5 assembly in Mexico and Q7 and Q8 in Slovakia, it announced that U.S. ordered vehicles will no longer be eligible for the program. The company will continue factory deliveries at its Ingolstadt and Neckersulm factories for the European markets, however.

Audi reintroduced European delivery in 2006 and it was a sweet deal while it lasted including a 5 percent discount on all vehicles except the A3 which had a 3 percent discount. The program also included insurance coverage and export license plates good for 15 days after delivery while travelling in Europe, one hotel night stay, a factory tour, admission to the Audi Museum at the factory in Ingolstadt along with free meals during the visit, overseas shipping and delivery to your local dealer.

European delivery options are still available from BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Volvo.

Deals of the month

The new year is opening with a number of low cost leases and rebates as high as $5,000 as manufacturers look to keep the momentum going from last year’s 17 million-plus performance. There are four sub-$200 per month lease offers among January’s Deals of the Month. It’s also interesting to note that many of the hot deals are on crossover SUVs.

In the under $200 per month lease club are three crossovers, the 2019 Jeep Cherokee, 2018 Hyundai Tucson and 2019 Kia Sportage. The Jeep, which was recently redesigned to give it a more conventional looking nose, is available on a 3-year lease at $189 per month with $3,959 due at signing on a vehicle that carries a $27,635 MSRP and a Kelley Blue Book estimated fair purchase price of $26,098. The 2018 Tucson has a $199 per month 3-year lease deal with just $1,899 down, while the 2019 Kia Sportage is on a 39-month contract at $199 per month with $2,999 due at signing.

The other sub-$200 lease is on the new 2019 Hyundai Veloster sport coupe. The Korean automaker is touting a 3-year lease with $2,299 down on payments of just $189 per month.

Slightly higher lease deals are available on two stalwarts in the compact crossover SUV class, the 2019 Honda CR-V and 2019 Ford Escape. The Honda, which again repeated this year as a Kelley Blue Book Best Buy for its category, can be leased for $229 per month for 3 years with $1,999 due at signing. The Escape is $10 more at $239 per month over 3 years and a slightly higher upfront payment as well as $2,989. While a bit more, the lease reflects a higher trim level with a $28,995 sticker versus the CR-V’s entry-level model that’s priced at $23,395.

There’s also plenty of rebates available in the new year, starting at $2,000 cash back on the 2019 Toyota Corolla and 2019 Kia Soul. Keep in mind that both models, the Corolla sedan and Soul hatchback, will be supplanted by redesigned 2020 models later in the year. Likewise, a new Mazda Mazda3 is due during the calendar year, so the Japanese automaker is looking to entice buyers of the 2019 Mazda3 with $3,000 rebates. Buick has $5,000 on its Regal Sportback as it looks to close out stocks of 2018 models.

Crossovers trump cars

In the postmortem of 2018 calendar year sales, the results show that crossover SUVs outsold cars as a class for the first time ever. According to Automotive News, cars took a 36 percent share of the market in 2017 compared to the 35 percent attributable to crossovers. Last year, crossover share jumped to 38 percent, while car share plunged to 31 percent. Not only is it the first year ever that these vehicles outsold more traditional cars, they did it by a rather comfortable 1.3-million-unit margin.

Among car segments, the biggest drop was in mini cars, which fell 21 percent, while subcompact cars dropped 20 percent. Large cars were close behind with a 19 percent decline, while midsize and compact cars fared slightly better with respective decreases of 16 and 14 percent. Ironically, the biggest gainer among traditional cars were alternative power (i.e. electrics) which saw a 51 percent jump largely on the success of the Tesla Model 3.

Tesla cuts models

Just a week after cutting prices of all its models $2,000 to compensate for a halving of the $7,500 federal tax credit on the brand’s EVs, Tesla announced that as of Jan. 14, it will no longer be taking orders for its entry level Model S and Model X 75D versions equipped with dual motors and a 75-kWh battery, effectively making the dual-motor 100D models with the 100 kWh battery pack the entry level variants. This effectively raises the base prices from $77,200 to $95,200 for the Model S and from $83,200 to $98,200 on Model X, respective price increases of $15,000 and $18,000.

The larger batteries also provide longer range boosting the distance between charges for the Model S from 259 to 335 miles. Eliminating the 75D also creates a wider gap between the Model S and the Model 3 Performance, which has an 80-kW battery and a 310-mile range. The Model 3 Performance is priced from $63,200 to $71,700.

Orders for the Tesla Model S and Model X 75D submitted before the deadline are said to have a month-long wait for delivery.

The rundown

Ford has taken the wraps off the 2020 Ford Explorer. Learn more about the new 3-row SUV based on the same platform as the 2020 Lincoln Aviator in this First Look.

As truck popularity hits new highs, the timing is right for Kelley Blue Book’s 2019 Full-Size Pickup Truck Comparison Test. We pit the Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado and Ram 1500 against each other. 

While trucks are soaring, car sales are down significantly. Are they over as a vehicle type? A Cox Automotive Car Study says there’re plenty of life left in midsize and compact cars. 

In the market for a new car? Explore these useful tips on how to get the best deal: 

Top 10 deals of the month

Kelley Blue Book’s Complete Guide to Incentives

All you need to know about leasing

Which dealer services are right for you

What you need to know about conditional rebates

New Car Spotlight


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