Retail Automotive Dealership Newsletters: Average Fuel Efficiency Hits Record High.. But

March 11th, 2019 Automotive Weekly

MONTHLY CAR PAYMENTS UP

Experian Automotive released its detailed auto finance statistics for the fourth quarter of 2018 on February 28. According to the report, the average new-vehicle monthly payment was a record $545 for the quarter, up about 6% from a year ago. The average used-vehicle monthly payment, also a record, was $387, up about 4%.

Source: Forbes.com

CRUEL WINTER

It’s been a cruel winter for auto sales, as slowing deliveries of even once-hot sport utility vehicles signal the rapid onset of a widely expected downturn in U.S. new-car demand. After several years of U.S. sales at or near record levels topping 17 million vehicles, the National Automobile Dealers Association forecasts 16.8 million deliveries in 2019. That would be down from about 17.3 million last year.

Source: Bloomberg

TOYOTA JOINS RIVAL CARMAKERS IN SOUNDING BREXIT ALARM BELL

Toyota Motor Corp. has added its voice to warnings about potential Brexit fallout as the deadline for an agreement on the U.K.’s European Union exit looms less than four weeks away. Possible disruption to trade between Britain and the EU is Toyota’s “biggest concern,” the Japanese company’s Europe chief, Johan van Zyl, said in an interview with Bloomberg TV at the Geneva motor show on Tuesday.

Source: Bloomberg

2020 TESLA MODEL Y PREVIEW

The 2020 Tesla Model Y is the automaker’s small, all-electric crossover that’s the next big thing from Tesla until, well, the next thing. With the Model Y, Tesla has a rival for the relative push among all automakers to sell all-electric powertrains in the world’s hottest body style. When the Model Y goes on sale, sometime in 2020 or 2021, it will compete with other electric crossovers such as the Mercedes-Benz EQC, Jaguar I-Pace, Audi E-tron, and Hyundai Kona EV.

LIKES

  • Another electric crossover
  • Another Tesla
  • Another tech spectacle
  • Another car for non-car people

DISLIKES

  • Another deadline for Tesla to miss
  • Another wait for mainstream buyers
  • Another distraction
  • Another promise of self-driving

Tesla CEO Elon Musk hinted that the Model Y would cost about $40,000 to start when it goes on sale, but it’s unclear if that will be a model that’s widely available early on. The Model 3 electric sedan, which is related to Model Y, was initially advertised to be Tesla’s $35,000 car in 2016 although those versions didn’t arrive until 2019, long after more luxurious and expensive versions of the sedan went on sale. Musk also hinted that the Model Y would have 10 percent less range than related Model 3 variants, effectively giving the Model Y a range between 200 and 300 miles, depending on variant.

On its other electric cars, Tesla has offered a range of battery sizes with related ranges—the Model 3 includes Standard, Standard Plus, Mid Range, and Long Range battery sizes—with a performance version at the top. All-wheel drive and electric powertrains in other Tesla vehicles have propelled those cars to 60 mph from a standstill in less than four seconds.

The 2020 Tesla Model Y is the automaker’s small, all-electric crossover that’s the next big thing from Tesla until, well, the next thing. With the Model Y, Tesla has a rival for the relative push among all automakers to sell all-electric powertrains in the world’s hottest body style. When the Model Y goes on sale, sometime in 2020 or 2021, it will compete with other electric crossovers such as the Mercedes-Benz EQC, Jaguar I-Pace, Audi E-tron, and Hyundai Kona EV.

The Tesla Model X, its lone crossover until the Model Y arrives, was controversial when it arrived. The rear doors opened via top hinges—so-called “falcon doors”—that prohibited roof racks and early owners complained that the doors didn’t fit properly. Unlike the Model X, the Model Y is only built to seat up to five adults, and it’s unclear if the falcon doors will make a cameo on Tesla’s smaller crossover.

Although Tesla hasn’t yet detailed safety equipment for the Model Y, it’s likely that the crossover will boast the automaker’s suite of driver-assistance features, which are called Autopilot. Adaptive cruise control and active lane control can pilot the car for short distances alone, or complement drivers on long hauls or lengthy commutes by reducing attention required on the road. Full Self Driving software has been promised by the company on its other models—and customers have paid for those features—although those promises haven’t yet materialized.

It’s unclear what the Model Y will offer for features, but it’s likely that the central focal point will be a large, vertically oriented touchscreen planted in the middle of the dashboard. Other Tesla options have included performance upgrades, longer range, or bigger wheels.

Unlimited access to Superchargers, which was an early perk for Model S and Model X buyers, isn’t likely to be offered on Model Y crossovers. The company discontinued free access to those chargers for Model 3 buyers sometime last year.

Source: TheCarConnection

AVERAGE FUEL EFFICIENCY HITS RECORD HIGH…BUT

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Wednesday that the average fuel efficiency of cars and trucks hit a new record high in the 2017 model year at 24.9 miles per gallon, but said the report showed there are “legitimate concerns” about the industry’s ability to meet rising annual requirements.

Source: Reuters

NEW-VEHICLE INTEREST RATES REACH 10-YEAR HIGH

The shortage of low or no interest rate deals in the new-vehicle market drove the average loan interest to a 10-year high last month, according to Edmunds. The average interest rate on new-vehicle financing reached 6.3 percent in February, the highest since February 2009 and an increase of more than 1 percentage point from a year earlier. Of all financed deals, only 3.2 percent had no interest, compared with 8.3 percent in February 2018. And only 18 percent of shoppers received a rate below 3 percent in February, compared with more than a quarter of customers last year, Edmunds said in a statement Friday.

Source: Edmunds and Automotive News

VW EXEC: ‘LEVEL 5 WILL NEVER HAPPEN GLOBALLY’

Fully autonomous vehicles will take at least another five years to perfect, with the cost and complexity of rolling out the technology globally undermining the business case, Volkswagen’s head of commercial vehicles said. Autonomous cars require high-tech infrastructure, hugely expensive lidar and radar systems, as well as pricey deals with cloud computing and mapping providers, VW’s Thomas Sedran told Reuters on the sidelines of the Geneva motor show.

Source: Reuters

TESLA MODEL 3 DESIGN FLAW RESULTS IN SAND AND WATER GETTING “STORED”

Tesla Model 3 owners in cold climate are starting to uncover what appears to be a design flaw in an underbody panel of the vehicle – resulting in sand and water getting stuck.

Over the years, Tesla has often been accused of designing cars in California for the Californian climate. Yet, Tesla vehicles have performed extremely well in colder climates and have often been praised for their winter driving performance.

Some Model 3 owners, myself included, ran into some issues in Canada where things like the door handles, charge ports, and frameless windows didn’t perform well in extremely cold weather. Tesla has since been trying to push updates to help the situation.

Now, we learn of another problem with Model 3 that becomes evident in colder climates, especially where they use sand to de-ice the roads. Eric Bolduc, the owner of Antirouille Bolduc, an anti-rust body shop specializing in electric vehicles in Quebec, has found significant amounts of sand and dirt accumulating in the underbody panel at the back of every Model 3 he has worked on so far. Bolduc says that he has worked on about 25 Model 3 vehicles so far and he always finds about 10-20 lbs of sand and dirt stuck in the panel due to what he thinks is a lack of proper drainage. In some more extreme cases, he extracted over 35 lbs of dirt from a Model 3’s underbody. That’s definitely one of the more extreme cases, but it’s not usual to find a significant amount of dirt and road sand in the panel. After removing some panels, Bolduc believes he found where the dirt is coming from behind the wheel well. The good news is that it shouldn’t affect corrosion since it only touches an aluminum panel in the underbody, but Bolduc believes that the weight over time could put pressure on the body parts.

He believes that the same lack of drainage is linked to the back bumpers that we have seen breaking off two Model 3 vehicles after ‘heavy rain’ last year. The panel with lack of drainage is directly attached to the rear bumper of the Model 3 At the time, Tesla said that it was investigating what led to those bumpers falling off, but we haven’t heard anything since.

We contacted Tesla again last week about Bolduc’s findings and the issue arising in Quebec, where there’s a lot of sand and dirt on the road due to the rough winter. Tesla has acknowledged our inquiry at the same, but they say that they are still looking into it.

Electrek’s Take
It does look like there’s a design flaw in the underbody panel that creates a lack of drainage.
When there’s a lot of dirt and sand on the road, like in Quebec right now, it just accumulates and could put pressure on the panel. Fortunately, it doesn’t appear to have resulted in anything breaking so far, but you could argue that it adds some unwanted weight to the car. Probably negligible in most cases. In the case of running into some water, you can imagine that the same lack of drainage could put even more pressure if there’s no way for the water to get out quickly.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Bolduc is right about the same lack of drainage being the cause of the Model 3 bumpers falling off.

When it comes to the winter driving experience, I disagree with those who say that Tesla is designing cars in California for the Californian climate. Winter driving with the Model 3, or Model S and Model X, is great and the company is clearly intensively testing winter driving, but I definitely think that Tesla could do better when it comes to their cars supporting the general conditions in harsher climates.

And for all the Tesla superfans out there that don’t like when we report things like that, It’s all about making the product better. It should be a simple fix for Tesla as long as they acknowledge the issue.

Source: Electrek

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