Oh, a good life.
U.S. light-vehicle sales climbed for a sixth true year in 2015, a run of success unmatched in a American automobile business given that silly widen from 1921-26. We all remember those days, right?
Once again we’re vital high on a hog.
Stiiiiill, a automotive landscape was blighted this year by another “you-gotta-be-kidding-me” scandal. So even yet sales will surpass 17 million in 2015 — and competence set a record — Automotive News staffers couldn’t get over Volkswagen’s diesel test-rigging chagrin when voting on a many critical stories of a year.
In an eventful year, a VW screw-up was a transparent No. 1.
But there were lots of other headline-grabbing stories in 2015: Sergio Marchionne attempted to poke General Motors into partnership talks with Fiat Chrysler; Mark Rosekind arrived as a hard-nosed enforcer during a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and a attention is waking adult to a existence of unconstrained vehicles.
Here’s a list of a 10 biggest stories of a year.
1. VW’s ‘clean diesels’ were dirty, and a cleanup will be messy Volkswagen and Audi’s “clean diesel” vehicles supposing a honeyed niche in a U.S. for a dual Volkswagen AG brands, mixing driveability and purify emissions – or so it seemed. Then a news pennyless that VW had cheated on emissions tests with a better device, module that incited on emissions controls during contrast and incited them off afterward. VW faces a stability rage of organisation regulators as it tries to cope with a problem. It cost CEO Martin Winterkorn his job, as good as those of Audi rd arch Ulrich Hackenberg and others. Settlement costs are approaching to be in a tens of billions of dollars. VW Chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch has certified that engineers devised a “defeat” module given they couldn’t accommodate despotic U.S. diesel boundary otherwise. That hole in VW’s repute for technical bravery hints during what expected will be a company’s biggest long-term problem – a tarnished picture in a minds of a customers.
2. Sergio Marchionne’s ‘Confessions’ pushes for mergers Sergio Marchionne creates waves. But even by Marchionne’s standards, he set off a tsunami in 2015. The Fiat Chrysler CEO released a declaration patrician “Confessions of a Capital Junkie” in Apr critiquing a industry’s low lapse on invested capital. Marchionne’s resolution was corner prolongation of some components, such as four-cylinder engines, and, some-more controversially, a call of full-scale automaker mergers. Marchionne began campaigning for a partnership between FCA and General Motors, though GM rebuffed Marchionne’s overtures. Although it seemed probable that Marchionne competence try a takeover, in early Dec he said, “At a moment, we have no goal to do anything hostile.” That seemed to settle things – during slightest “at a moment.”
3. Sales soar – how high is a ceiling? If sales is a numbers game, 2015 has been flattering darned good. Overall a U.S. automobile attention appears staid to surpass 17 million light-vehicle sales, and presumably obscure a 2000 record of 17.4 million. That would be a sixth true year of rising sales – a attainment final achieved in a 1920s. What’s more, analysts and attention leaders contend fundamentals such as a age of a automobile swift and U.S. practice indicate toward dual some-more years of 17 million sales. Three uninterrupted years of 17 million U.S. light-vehicle sales would be unprecedented.
4. ‘New sheriff’ Rosekind gets tough with automakers Joan Claybrook, former conduct of a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, reflected on Mark Rosekind’s care of a organisation thus: “I consider we have a new policeman in town.” Rosekind took an assertive stance: fluctuating reserve organisation of General Motors, pulling Takata Corp. to acknowledge inadequate airbags and reproach Fiat Chrysler for a “pattern” of delayed transformation on recalls. He reinforced a latter indicate in early Dec by levying a $70 million excellent opposite FCA for what NHTSA termed “failure to news legally compulsory reserve data.”
5. No strike, though UAW talks were nail-biters UAW workers didn’t strike during a agreement negotiations with a Detroit 3 this year. But a talks got flattering tense. Underlying rancour about a miss of raises for Tier 1 workers and, some-more importantly, a sequence of newer hires into lower-paid Tier 2 slots detonate out when Chrysler workers deserted a initial understanding offering them. Crucially, a initial indeterminate agreement unsuccessful to offer a pathway for Tier 2 workers to benefit compensate equal to their some-more comparison kinship brothers and sisters. That altered with a second deal, that a kinship passed. In a end, a Detroit 3 gave belligerent on Tier 2, though got accede to pierce in some-more nonrepresented agreement workers.
6. Takata struggles to repair a poor airbags As a Takata airbag predicament went by another year, it became — if anything — some-more complex. Takata’s airbag diesel can detonate a surrounding and strike automobile occupants with shrapnel. Eight U.S. deaths have been attributed to a flaw. Technically, a repair is comparatively inexpensive, though replacements have to be customized for opposite vehicles. That, and a scale of a recall, means that some vehicles competence not be bound for several years. To devalue matters, several automakers vowed to stop regulating Takata airbags. That pierce could put Takata out of business – serve complicating a recall.
7. Maybe cars unequivocally are ‘smartphones on wheels’ For years, automakers have been lustful of observant that their vehicles are apropos “smartphones on wheels.” Smartphone makers seem to agree. But they also seem to trust that they themselves competence as good be creation smartphone-mobiles. This year word leaked out from Cupertino, Calif., that Apple had a organisation of hundreds during work on an electric automobile code-named Project Titan. Google, meanwhile, hired former Hyundai Motor America CEO John Krafcik to expostulate a self-driving automobile program.
8. The pierce to unconstrained vehicles gains movement — and a date with reality Two factors are pushing Japan’s Big 3 automakers to deliver self-driving vehicles by 2020: regard about tech companies grabbing a initiative, and a tellurian theatre that that year’s Summer Olympics in Tokyo will offer. Honda, Nissan and Toyota used this fall’s Tokyo Motor Show to contend that they will sell unconstrained cars by 2020. Nissan Motor Co. CEO Carlos Ghosn pronounced that if Nissan doesn’t pull forward, a attention will be invaded by challengers such as Apple, Google and Uber. But also, a 2020 Olympics will yield an event to uncover off Japanese record to a worldwide audience.
9. Insurance organisation revises tests after Ford F-150 disparities There was tiny doubt that a 4 safeguarding steel bars that Ford commissioned on a F-150 SuperCrew were effective in safeguarding a newcomer cell in a tiny overlie crash. The doubt was because Ford hadn’t put a tubular bars on other F-150 models. The bars – commissioned in front circle wells – helped a SuperCrew win a desired Top Safety Pick rating in a Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s successful tests. The other models weren’t tested. When a IIHS beheld a discrepancy, it did a rarely surprising follow-up pile-up exam and gave an extended cab SuperCab a second-lowest rating of “marginal.” The IIHS will enhance a testing.
10. AutoNation breaks with TrueCar, starts online sales site AutoNation embarked on an beginning to retreat a dependency on third-party automobile selling sites this year. As of November, a $200 million record and branding gamble looked to be profitable off. Its self-developed AutoNation Express online collection now expostulate some-more than 20 percent of AutoNation sales. AutoNation also severed ties with lead generators TrueCar and Costco. There was another vital change for AutoNation this year. COO Mike Maroone, who with CEO Mike Jackson led AutoNation’s sell strategies given Jackson arrived in 1999, late Apr 1. Bloomberg contributed to this report.
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