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Mark Wahlberg drives into Columbus, Ohio with a new Chevrolet car dealership

Famed actor Mark Wahlberg is known for his many roles, one of which is playing as Cade Yeager in the fourth and fifth installment Transformers film series. In the film, Wahlberg gets to ride Bumblebee, a Chevrolet Camaro. In real life, Wahlberg gets to sell not just a Camaro, but other Chevrolet vehicles in his new car dealership business.

According to a report by The Detroit News, Wahlberg has announced that he is opening a car dealership – his very first -- Columbus, Ohio. Wahlberg’s car dealership is a result of partnership inked with seasoned car dealer, Jay Feldman. A businessman in his own right, Feldman is an owner of not just one, but eight Chevrolet dealerships across southeast and mid-Michigan. The report says that Wahlberg and Feldman have been friends for years now, and are partners in Wahlburgers restaurants in Cleveland and Georgia.

It is easy pretty much easy to locate Wahlberg’s new car dealership in Columbus. After all, the dealership bears his name -- Mark Wahlberg Chevrolet, and it is located in a former Chevrolet dealership the duo has bought in 3900 W. Broad St., Columbus. Interestingly, the Mark Wahlberg Chevrolet dealership will feature the same “W” logo that has come to distinguish his Wahlburger chains. These burger chains are found in a number of locations in the United States, like in Palo Alto, California and in Orlando, Florida. A Wahlburger can also be farther north, in Toronto Canada.

Read the entire article Mark Wahlberg drives into Columbus, Ohio with a new Chevrolet car dealership

Genesis-exclusive dealerships will soon be set up in the US

Genesis and Hyundai are finally working together to begin the establishment of a network of Genesis-exclusive dealerships in the United States.

It was just last Friday when a statement confirmed that existing Hyundai dealers in the United States were offered the opportunity to establish separate Genesis franchises. In other words, dealerships that already sell Genesis vehicles today will finally be able to apply for a Genesis franchise if they wish to do so. The automaker actually hopes to establish a network of around 100 retailers by the end of this year.

In the United States, there are around 350 Hyundai dealerships that carry Genesis models. And when the franchises begin to pop up, then this will help cement the idea of Genesis being a standalone brand, more than a sub brand of Hyundai. This also permits Genesis specific franchises only to perform warranty work. Initially, they will have a selection process for this, choosing from a limited number of dealers who are party to the Genesis Participation Agreemen. The next three years will be busy for the automaker, as they will be building dealerships during this period.

Read the entire article Genesis-exclusive dealerships will soon be set up in the US

Toyota’s Costa Rica retailer is in talks to buy US dealerships

Purdy Motor Group wants to expand outside Costa Rica, where it is Toyota’s exclusive distributor, and is in talks with several potential sellers in the U.S. Purdy Motor’s CEO Jesus Castro told Automotive News that in three years, it hopes to own 5 to 7 Toyota dealerships and "a couple" of Lexus stores in the U.S. Purdy Motor isn’t even halfway yet to meeting that goal.

Castro said that he prefers to buy Toyota stores that acquire their units from Houston distributor Gulf States Toyota Inc. Purdy has set its target on Texas but it is also open to acquiring stores in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Oklahoma – the other states that Gulf States Toyota serve.

According to Castro, Toyota stores in these states have an “excellent” distributor and that Purdy wants to “compete with the best." It was in December 2012 that Purdy purchased Atkinson Toyota-Scion Bryan and Atkinson Toyota Madisonville.

Read the entire article Toyota’s Costa Rica retailer is in talks to buy US dealerships

Penske signs letter of intent to open new Porsche store in the US

Penske Automotive Group Inc. has inked a letter of intent to open its seventh Porsche dealership in the United States in the second quarter of 2015. The dealership, Porsche of West Broward, will be located in Davie, Fla., around 12 miles west of Fort Lauderdale. Penske said the dealership is expected to generate around $125 million in annual revenue.

Porsche said in 2013 that it had been seeking to add one or two stores in high-growth areas. "The new dealership will afford us the opportunity to scale operations within our existing Florida footprint, and it provides an outstanding growth opportunity for our company," Whitfield Ramonat, Penske vice president for the central region, said in a statement.  Porsche saw its new-car sales in the US more than double in the past four years.

Joe Lawrence, COO of Porsche Cars North America, told Automotive News that over 40 of its 189 dealerships in the US will expand, improve or build new facilities in this year.

Read the entire article Penske signs letter of intent to open new Porsche store in the US

Mazda Motor Corp. targets a significant surge in sales per outlet while also planning to get rid of underperforming dealerships. Mazda is focusing sales and marketing energies into 35 metropolitan markets it has identified as vital to its growth. Mazda’s plan calls for opening showrooms to replace outlets in poor locations or underperforming dealerships.

According to Akira Marumoto, executive vice president in charge of North America, Mazda commenced explaining the new strategy to dealers in October, saying that the carmaker will be "aggressive" with the shuffle. Marumoto remarked during the Tokyo Motor Show that their initiatives are “bearing fruit."

Mazda is on pace for a fourth consecutive year of higher sales in the United States. Mazda Chief executive Masamichi Kogai aims to sell 400,000 units in the US in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2016, up a third from 300,000 units expected to be sold in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2014.

Read the entire article Mazda to replace underperforming US dealerships

Audi plans to launch a program in the United States that targets military technicians for service department jobs at its dealerships. Dubbed the Veterans to Technicians, the program is developed in part by Calibre a.k.a. a Virginia-based management and technology services company.

The program will recruit veterans that have proven automotive skills but also canditates with experience in power generation, electronics, aviation, welding, hydraulic systems and maritime systems.

Under the Audi program, Calibre plans to handle employment opportunity outreach to more than 1,800 military service alumni groups such as Veterans Service Organizations, Veterans Affairs departments, public and private organizations that support veterans and military transition assistance centers. Of course, eligible veterans must have an honorable discharge and three to five years of direct experience in a military unit's maintenance operations.

Read the entire article Audi to hire U.S. military technicians for service department jobs in its dealerships

Jaguar is commencing a plan to refurbish its dealerships in the United States to prepare for a series of new products. Regional Jaguar teams are holding "door-to-door" discussions with US dealerships -- starting with about 50 older stores -- over new corporate identity standards, according to Andy Goss, chief executive of Jaguar Land Rover North America.

Goss said plans for the concerned dealerships should be fully implemented by end of 2013. Jaguar wants the interior of the stores to reflect the changes in its product range as it offers all-new models, the first of which will be the F-Type convertible that will be rolled out in the US this Monday, May 20, 2013. Jaguar is expected to roll out a coupe version of the F-Type in 2014, followed by a sedan that will rival the BMW 3 series, as well as a compact crossover.

Goss noted that if they are introducing the F-Type and the other vehicles in the US, they have to with the “blue box,” referring to the container for a Tiffany ring as it is presented as a romantic gift.

Read the entire article Jaguar is refurbishing US dealerships for new vehicle offerings

Buyers for vehicles built by Tesla Motors Inc. could soon make purchase reservations at a store in suburban Boston, after municipal officials approved a dealer license for the carmaker. Despite obstructions from local dealers and the Massachusetts State Automobile Dealers Association, the town of Natick's Board of Selectmen finally approved on December 10, 2012, on a 4-1 vote, a Class 1 dealer license for a Tesla location on West Central Street in the Boston suburb.

The store is set to open as soon as possible and will offer consumer test drives of Tesla's electric vehicles. Tesla chief executive Elon Musk tweeted Monday that the approval is "much appreciated!" The dealers association argued against approval of the dealer license at Monday's meeting.

The association's executive vice president, Robert O'Koniewski, expressed disappointment of the approval, saying that they felt that they outlined compelling reasons for the license to not be approved. He added that the association will explore further its next point of action.

Read the entire article Tesla will open its second store in Natick, Massachusetts

American Suzuki Motor Corp. was granted interim court approval to borrow up to $45 million as it closes its auto dealerships and revives motorcycle and boat sales with the aid of bankruptcy protection. Suzuki Motor Corp. will offer cash payments in 10 days in order to avoid extended court battles with its 216 dealerships if they voluntarily throw out their franchise deals.

In court, Suzuki lawyer Richard Pachulski said that a variety of state laws typically protect dealers when auto manufacturers attempt to compel them to shut down.

Company attorney James Stang said that on Nov. 5, Suzuki placed the distributor into bankruptcy to cut U.S. losses, steer clear of the costs of making federal regulations more stringent and eliminate a sales network in which 69% of dealers sell lower than five cars each month.

Read the entire article American Suzuki gets approval to borrow $45 million as it closes its US dealerships

It’s no surprise that so many have become interested in acquiring VW dealerships in the U.S. It’s mainly due to the high sales that the brand has achieved in this market. Frank Trivieri, executive vice president of sales at Volkswagen of America, said that 55 VW stores have changed ownership in 2012, about 50% higher than in the full year of 2011.

He said that the interest for the VW franchise is high. As examples, Trivieri named four public dealership groups Group 1, AutoNation, Sonic and Penske Automotive) that have ignored the brand in the past.

Presently, VW has 607 U.S. dealerships. Of this figure, only 22 are owned by public groups. However, Group 1 has acquired 6 VW stores during the last 1.5 years and so far, it has eight and wants to get more.

Read the entire article Interest in Vw dealerships in the United States is high due to high sales

Volkswagen anticipates that the by the end of 2012, it will have 615 dealerships in the U.S., with the addition of 15 more this year. At the Paris Auto Show last week, Jonathan Browning, CEO of Volkswagen of America, said that the company is putting much thought into where its dealerships will be located. It has also implemented several changes in buying and selling.

However, the primary focus is increasing the throughput. He said that around 91% of VW's dealers reported profits through July compared with 89% in 2011 and 83% in 2010. He said that throughout the present dealer body, this has been the first phase of growth. He believes that this “footprint” will expand further later on.

On the other hand, Browning said that Passat sales made in the U.S. reached a one-year record of 79,000 vehicles through Sept. 16. Browning said that Passat made a mark in the marketplace due to its “configuration, size, content and value.” Volkswagen started to offer the redesigned Passat a year ago when production started at VW's plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The previous sales record that the Passat achieved in the U.S. was in 2001 with 77,523 units.

Read the entire article Volkswagen to add more dealerships in the United States

Dealers for Hyundai in the United States are experiencing difficulties in coping with the demand. They realize that they could sell more only if the South Korean carmaker could replenish their inventories as fast as they could. Hyundai’s factories have lean inventories and are unable to keep up with the sales pace of the carmaker’s dealers.

As a result, transaction prices are increasing modestly with floorplan and incentive costs remaining low. Scott Fink, chairman of the Hyundai National Dealer Council, recalled that years ago, dealers wanting to replenish their inventories had no problem getting supplies since “there were tens of thousands of cars on the ground.”

Fink told Automotive News that the situation now is that there are practically no cars waiting for delivery to dealers. He said that dealers don’t have enough cars and the carmaker they are dealing for now doesn’t have enough cars as customers queue in line to buy vehicles.

Read the entire article Hyundai’s US dealerships struggle to meet demand

The number of Daimler Vans dealerships in the U.S. that offer the Sprinter commercial van will increase by up to 27%, to 250 dealers, according to Claus Tritt, the vice president of Daimler Vans USA. He said during an interview that the company doesn’t want to overdeal. He added that the company hopes to have dealers in the ”right places and the right markets,” which have customers that have a requirement.

It was in 2010 that the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter was launched by the U.S. commercial van unit of Daimler AG. Dodge sold the van for a period from 2003 to 2009. Freightliner had also sold the van since 2001. Tritt added that in the U.S., 197 Mercedes-Benz and Freightliner dealers offer the Sprinter.

He explained that Daimler hopes to increase this number to between 230 and 250. No timetable was given for the target. Tritt said that after a recent move by the company to give customer experience a boost, Daimler hopes to guarantee that Sprinter dealers know how to manage commercial customers.

Read the entire article Daimler to increase the number of dealerships selling vans in the U.S.

As Mercedes-Benz USA prepared to launch several new models, the new management team has prioritized the improvement of customer experience at its dealerships. Mercedes also plans to construct one more assembly plant in North America. Steve Cannon, who is 51 years old, became the CEO on Jan. 1.

Cannon said that Mercedes, a top luxury automaker, has to get back to behaving as such and working so that customers get a special experience. Cannon has already created a customer experience department and training programs so that dealers can improve their game.

In the 2012 J.D. Power and Associates Customer Service Index Study, Mercedes-Benz took the seventh place, which is surprisingly too far down for a luxury model, says Autonews. It placed eighth last year. Cannon commented that the company isn’t pleased with getting the No. 7 place.

Read the entire article Mercedes-Benz USA wants to improve customer experience at dealerships

Within three years, the number of Jaguar Land Rover’s dealerships in the U.S. will be lower by around 20%. To accomplish this, the two brands will be consolidated into single locations. Andy Goss, CEO of Jaguar Land Rover North America, said that they want to limit the number of dealerships to around 200. He said that most of the dealerships would then be for Jaguar Land Rover.

Goss said that the company, which is owned by India-based Tata Motors, won’t compel dealers to buy or sell. It also won’t be giving financial incentives. Goss added that the dealers are being encouraged to sit with them and get to a solution.

Goss said that this plan seems reasonable, according to Autonews. There are currently 243 Jaguar or Land Rover dealerships in the country. He said he hopes that about half of the 97 stand-alone Jaguar or Land Rover dealerships will merge. He said that it’s sensible for the two brands to be housed in the same building. He is focused on consolidating seven markets where the two brands are strong.

Read the entire article Jaguar Land Rover to reduce the number of dealerships in the U.S.

Fiat plans to add around 30 dealerships across the United States to cater to growing demand in areas where the Italian carmaker is not yet represented. According to Tim Kuniskis, Fiat brand chief for North America, Fiat still has some areas in the US where the carmaker currently does not have representation, citing downtown Chicago and San Francisco as its key markets.

Kuniskis revealed that Fiat currently has 170 dealerships in the US and aims to increase that figure to a max of around 200. A spokesman for the Italian carmaker said Chrysler Group already has several Fiat franchise holders in the US which are not Chrysler dealers.

The spokesman said that Fiat will continue to "look for the best partner in the best markets in the best locations" to fill out its network, including non-Chrysler dealers. After experiencing a turbulent start since its March 2011 rollout, the Fiat 500 posted a steady increase in sales, particularly in the first six months of 2012. In May and June 2012, Fiat’s US dealers had a monthly sales average of 24 Fiat 500s, compared to 15 monthly sales average in October 2011.

Read the entire article Fiat plans to add 30 more U.S. dealerships in right markets to reach 200

Volvo’s performance brand, Polestar, is all-set to redefine the way people purchase their new vehicles. But even before it rolls out it this innovative brand and retail concept, Polestar is opening its very first showroom based on traditional network of dealerships. Its new showrooms – to be called as Polestar Spaces – will have it first brick-and-mortar location in Oslo, Norway. The Polestar Space in Oslo will commence its operations in the middle of 2019.

Thomas Ingenlath, chief executive of Polestar, called Polestar Spaces as a vital part of the brand’s customer experience, as it serves as the location where the carmaker physically meets its customers. The new Polestar Space will be found on Ovre Slottsgate in downtown Oslo, as located in a prominent retail environment along with other progressive brand stores.

Actually, the performance brand’s choice of location didn’t come as a surprise. Oslo is the capital city of Norway, where people are more likely to buy an electric vehicle instead of a conventionally powered one. Ingenlath remarked that it is logical to start the Polestar Space story in Oslo, since Norway is considered one of the most important EV markets in the world.

Read the entire article First-ever Polestar Space to open in Oslo, Norway by mid-2019

At last, the new 2019 Acura RDX is arriving this June, and customers interested in purchasing this reengineered and redesigned SUV would need at least around $38,295 (including destination) in their pockets to own the entry-level version of this luxury vehicle.

The base two-wheel drive model of the 2019 Acura RDX has a window sticker price of $37,300, before $995 in destination fees. The base 2019 RDX with the Super Handling-All Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system, on the other hand, is priced at $39,300 before $995 destination fees. At this starting price, the Acura RDX is essentially less expensive than the BMW X3 (at $41,000), the Audi Q5 (at $41,500), and the Volvo XC60 (at $41,500). However, the new RDX is bit pricier than the Infiniti QX50 (at $36,550), the Lexus NX (at $35,985) and the Lincoln MKC (at $33,995).

Interestingly, some standard equipment and features on the RDX are offered as optional on more expensive luxury SUVs like the X3 and the Mercedes-Benz GLC 300. These include adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist as well as road departure mitigation. Furthermore, the base RDX with SH-AWD comes standard with LED headlights, a panoramic moonroof, as well as a set of 19-inch wheels.

Read the entire article 2019 Acura RDX arrives in June with starting price of $37,300 before destination fee

Alexander Schmuck, BMW spokesperson, recently confirmed that the 2019 BMW M2 Competition will finally go on sale in July, with a starting price of $58,900.

BMW also revealed its options range for the brand’s newest high performance model. For instance, getting a metallic paint would cost $550, while a moonroof is priced at $1,050, and the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission will be priced at $2,900.

There will also be an M Driver’s Package for $2,500 that will boost the speed limiter to 174 miles per hour (280 kilometers per hour) from the original max speed of 155 miles per hour (249 kilometers per hour). Customers will also be required to join a one-day driving school at the BMW Performance Center. There will also be an $850 Executive Package that includes a heated steering wheel, adaptive LED headlights, automatic high beams, wireless device charging, and speed limit monitor.

Read the entire article 2019 BMW M2 Competition has $58,900 starting price, sales kick off in July

Automakers have been jumping on the bandwagon of offering subscription vehicle service. You may have already heard about BMW’s Access by BMW or Porsche’s Passport. Now, Mercedes-Benz is planning to join the lateset trend of car sharing with the newest Mercedes-Benz Collection, a monthly subscription that will launch in two United States cities in the summer. These are Nashville, Tennessee, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The two cities will act as test beds for the Mercedes Benz Collection. For some reason, BMW also chose Nashville to be the starting point of their service, while Porsche went for Atlanta, Georgia. In particular, Mercedes Benz Collection will let users swap vehicles depending on their needs and their lifestyles.

As such, there will be different levels to the monthly subscription, and that will depend on how much you are willing to spend too. Subscribers will have an option to rent everything from sedans to SUVs, to roadsters and wagons, including Mercedes-AMG models in each tier.

Read the entire article Mercedes-Benz Collection subscription service will be launched in two US cities this summer