On December 18, 2015, Acura announced the launch details of the two-seater 2017 Acura NSX. Touted as a “supercar,” the vehicle has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $156,000 in the U.S. and would go up to $205,700 when equipped with all the available factory features and options.
The much-anticipated 2017 Acura NSX has gained the distinction of being the most expensive car being produced in the country today. As Biz Journals quoted Matt DeLorenzo — a managing editor at Kelley Blue Book, a California-based vehicle valuation and automotive research company — commented on the car’s price tag, “It’s right there at the top.” It takes over the title from the Dodge Viper, which is priced at $86,995.
Acura then auctioned off the first serial production NSX, VIN 001, at the Barrett-Jackson collector car auction in Scottsdale, Arizona in January 2016. “Bids quickly started at $500,000 and rose past a million shortly after. In the last minute, a factory delivery and a special Indy racing package was added on. The winner was Rick Hendrick of Hendrick Motorsports. He shelled out $1.2 million for the vehicle,” reported Paulo Acoba in Fansided.
All proceeds from the auction went to two children’s charities: the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation and Camp Southern Ground.
Acura is the prestige car line of Japanese automaker Honda. It is the very first Japanese automotive luxury brand. However, Honda first unveiled it in the U.S. and Canada in 1986. Since then, there have been various Acura models produced.
In 1990, Honda launched the first-generation New Sportscar eXperimental (NSX) Acura line. It was marketed as a less expensive alternative to a Ferrari vehicle with a V8 engine. “It was a revelation for Honda — a company known more for thrifty, utilitarian cars that ran forever — and an unexpected challenge to contemporary exotics from those guys in Italy,” recalled Basem Wasef in his Wired article.
Wasef went on to note that the first-generation NSX “combined groundbreaking tech like an aluminum chassis and titanium engine valves.” It was created to be “a supercar you could commute in.”
The first-generation NSX reigned until 2005. “The original NSX, amazing as it was, eventually became a historical relic, unable (or unwilling) to compete in the horsepower wars of the past decade,” noted Wasef.
Some 10 years later, Acura finally got around to bringing the NSX up to speed — starting with updating the NSX branding as the “New Sports experience.”
The second-generation Acura NSX is produced at Honda’s new Performance Manufacturing Center in Marysville, Ohio. Acura plans to build 800 units this year. “Each NSX will be constructed by 70 manufacturing technicians at the plant, each employed in various aspects of the car’s build, including several constituent parts,” wrote Aaron Turpen in Gizmag.
Turpen goes on to highlight some of the2017 Acura NSX’s distinct features. They the following:
- The framing and bodywork which makes extensive use of aluminum. Moreover, carbon fiber is also used in several components of the Acura’s body, including its deck lid.
- The powertrain in the 2017 Acura NSX is made up of a twin-turbocharged V6, a 9-speed dual clutch automated transmission, three electric motor/generators, and a battery pack.
- The engine gives 500 horsepower and the motors offer another 73, boosting the car to 60 mph in 2.9 seconds and a top speed of 191 mph.
As Joel Patel wrote in Car Buzz, “The Acura NSX has a few things going for it. For one, it offers hypercar technology for supercar money and can and even promises to be a supercar that shines on a daily basis, if that’s your thing.”
Car Fans and Critics Weigh In
Reviews of the 2017 Acura NSX have generally been positive. Autoweek associate editor Wesley Wren stated, “The cheapest NSX we can whip up with Acura’s online configurator rings in at $167,700, including destination. The optional carbon ceramic brakes are standard — until later in 2016 when you can order iron discs — and add nearly $10,000 to the already tall price tag.”
On the other hand, Autoweek road test editor Jake Lingeman said, “No, it’s not perfect. The big vents in the rear look cool, but we could see debris getting caught there on a long drive. And while the steering is direct, there’s not a lot road feel, though Acura says it did that on purpose to keep the daily drivability high.”
Meanwhile, Autorevolution‘s Alexandru Monenciu said, “Nobody says it is wrong to ask that kind of money on a highly expected super sports car, but let’s face it, that’s almost Lamborghini or McLaren pricing.” But even he had to admit, “Although the majority of us believe the price is a little steep, Jerry Seinfeld ordered one on the spot at (the 2015) NAIAS.”
All things considered, the 2017 Acura NSX’s place in the prestige car market seems secure. It will continue to draw the attention of the same crowd that frequents high-end auto auctions.
CNBC’s Brian Price — in his article “Luxury car sales in the fast lane?” — cites Kelley Blue Book executive market analyst Jack Nerad, who predicted that “high-end autos will continue to be good investments, thanks to more categories of collectors.”
Nerad named at least three different types of collectors: high-end collectors, speculators, as well as people who wanted cars as a child but didn’t have enough money to buy them.
In the same article Brett David, CEO of Prestige Imports, said, “Investors are looking for alternatives because they know that the stock market has instability, real estate prices are rising and they are looking for another asset. That’s feeding the want for these vehicles.”
That, of course, is what the 2017 Acura NSX is going for.
Tesla Keeps Streak Intact, Posts Profitable 3rd Quarter
The winning streak continues Tesla posts a profitable 3rd quarter, it’s fifth consecutive. The EV company posted a net profit of $331 million for the three-month period ended Sept. 30. Tesla also confirmed its goal of delivering 500,000 vehicles within the year. CEO Elon Musk calls the latest quarter as Tesla’s “best quarter in history.” The company posted a record of $8.77 billion in revenue against estimates of $8.28 billion. This is an increase of 39% from a year ago. Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected sales of $8.28 billion. Shares went up over 3% at about $438 in after-hours trading. Since January, Tesla shares have grown 500%.
500,000 Deliveries on Target
Despite the pandemic, the company will proceed with its original goal of 500,000 cars in 2020. In a statement, Tesla affirmed its goal. “While achieving this goal has become more difficult, delivering half a million vehicles in 2020 remains our target,” it said. This entails building more cars at its Shanghai factory, and improvements in logistics and delivery.
Earlier in October, Tesla reported 139,593 vehicle deliveries in the quarter. This places the 500,000 targets is within reach. Model 3 and Model Y took up the bulk of deliveries and growth during the period. The more expensive Models S and X dropped by 12% compared to 2019. As such, Tesla started slashing prices for its higher-end models to increase demand. The Model S reduced its prices twice to $69,420.
China Remains the Crucial Market
China remains the key market for Tesla’s profitable 3rd quarter. Tesla’s auto sales in China climbed nearly 13% in September, their sixth straight monthly gain. The company’s Shanghai Gigafactory raised production due to demand. Demand for the Model 3, especially in China, led to a retooling. From 150,000 units per year, it now handles 250,000.
China’s “Golden September, Silver October” is the country’s high point in car purchases. Sales reached 2.57 million vehicles last month. The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) said that sales were still down. For 2020, 17.12 million vehicles got sold, which is 6.9% below last year.
Electric vehicles enjoyed brisk sales during the period. Sales increased by 67.7% to 138,000, which is the third straight month of gain. Tesla reduced its Model 3 prices by 8%, down to 249,900 yuan ($36,805).
Based on September sales, the momentum looks to carry over to October. Haitong International analyst Shi Ji expects even better numbers this month. He said: “Based on our dealer channel checks, the growth in momentum extended into the October Golden Week, as retail sales exceeded dealers’ expectations”
A Decrease in Credit Sales
While revenue rose, regulatory credits fell down from $428 million to $397 million. Ben Kallo of RW Baird observed that “Regulatory credits are a big part of the EPS beat. But that’s part of the game: Tesla’s competitors are paying them, and Tesla is reinvesting that into their factories in Berlin and Texas.”
Tesla generates extra income by selling credits. Manufacturers buy these credits to comply with carbon-emissions standards. They come from all over California, Europe, and other areas. Investors prefer seeing profits from the core business of selling cars. A Bloomberg analyst thinks that the S&P snub might be due to credit sales. Analyst Michael Dean noted “question marks about the sustainability of regulatory emission-credit sales, which are currently underpinning earnings.”
For 2021, Tesla aimed for even more increases in production. This includes its all-electric semitrailer truck and its pickup truck. The company hopes to get more cars out of its China factory. It also expects its newest plants in Berlin and Texas to start churning cars. Musk estimates the 2021 production could reach 840,000 to 1 million vehicles.
The company also laid out plans during its recent “Battery Day” event. Musk announced that the company will start making its own “tabless” batteries. These batteries improve the cars’ range and power. The improvements will help bring down the cost to produce a car. Soon, Tesla hopes to launch a vehicle priced under $25,000.
Watch this as Yahoo! Finance reports on Tesla earnings: Tesla posts a profitable 3rd quarter, it’s fifth consecutive and EPS estimates:
Are you thinking of buying an electric vehicle? If so, will you get a Tesla? Or do you see yourself holding out for more choices in the near future? Let us know what you think about EVs, and if you’re planning on getting one soon? Drop a line on the comments section below.
US Auto Sales Picked up in the 3rd Quarter
It’s still a long road to recovery, but the road trip already started. The U.S. automobile industry reported that auto sales picked up in the third quarter. Now, US auto manufacturers are rushing to build more cars and refill inventories. Total auto sales remain lower compared to the same time last year. But analysts noted that the selling pace in September neared 2019 levels. Compared to near-zero sales earlier when the pandemic hit, this is a godsend.
At the forefront of the resurgence are trucks and sport utility vehicles. Both are making a strong comeback in increasing numbers. Add a growing trend of urban residents who are now buying cars again. These are the ones who used to commute due to traffic and distance. With coronavirus-threatening commuters riding mass transportation, cars are now a safer option.
GM, Chrysler Sales Picking Up
Edmunds.com said that while the US auto industry remains down, it’s still way better than April-June. The car buyer website says that the total industry is down 11% this past quarter. While still negative, this is a big recovery from the 31% loss in the 2nd quarter.
General Motors Co. reported that its 3rd quarter U.S. sales is down almost 10% compared to last year. During the previous quarter, the company suffered a 34% drop. All its US factories shut down due to fears of coronavirus infection. Today, production returned to its pre-pandemic rate. Pre-corona cost-cutting measures and demand for large pickups helped boost profits.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles reported a similar 10% drop in the same period. For the June quarter, it reported a 39% decrease in sales. Others such as Ford and Tesla have scheduled their sales reports later this week.
Among the imports, South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Co. reported that its U.S. sales increased 5.4% in September vs 2019. Sales dropped only 1% in the third quarter. Toyota’s third-quarter U.S. sales were down almost 11% over the same period. The company posted a 16% gain in September, thanks to its Rav 4 and Highlander SUVs. Honda Motor Co’s third-quarter sales fell 9.5%, but it reported a similar 12% spike in September. Nissan, which relies on fleet purchases, said its sales were down 32% during the 3rd quarter.
Factory Shutdowns led to Higher Prices
The coronavirus pandemic shuttered manufacturing plants and sent workers home. Factory shutdowns earlier this year limited inventory. Instead of depending on fleet purchases, demand is now centered on individual consumers. Edmunds forecasts fleet sales to shrink to 11% of new car purchases in the 3rd quarter. Last year, fleet sales accounted for 17% during the same period.
With demand rising the shortage is now palpable. Smart dealers removed discounts and promos as buyers competed for remaining stocks. A higher sticker price helps increase profitability for many dealers. Even if sales numbers are down, profits are higher.
More affordable payment terms due to lower interest also helped increase the demand. This includes a mind-boggling 0% for 84 months payment plan. Dealers also offered payment deferral and job assurance programs.
Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds Executive Director – insights, says hard-working Americans saved the industry. She said: “Most of the doomsday scenarios forecasted at the beginning of the pandemic, fortunately, did not hold true… the American consumer stepped up to become one of the many heroes in this chapter of resilience for the automotive industry.”
The auto industry benefited from many good breaks during the pandemic. The shutdown of auto plants caused a major loss of employment but helped them save money. This also limited the inventory, which spurred demand. It allowed dealers to sell without the need for promos or discounts. With the coronavirus threat, most people stopped public commuting and drove cars instead. Finally, lower interest rates gave rise to attractive payment terms. This attracted customers who resisted buying new vehicles due to interest rates. All these led to a resurgence in the 3rd quarter as auto sales picked up.
Now, buying a car has never been as attractive as now.
Watch this as CNBC reports that total auto sales for September are estimated at 15.9 million vehicles:
Are you planning on buying a vehicle, or have you bought one lately? Which factor was your main reason for buying? Was it the payment terms? Transport needs for the family? Or to help the economy? Let us know by sharing your comments below.
California To Ban Gas Cars
California To Ban Gasoline and Diesel Cars by 2035
California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) signed an order that California bans gas cars by 2035. The ban only covers sales of vehicles, but it remains one of the boldest US measures made to fight climate.
The executive order requires all new vehicles sold in the state to be zero-emission by 2035. This includes battery-powered, hydrogen fuel cell-running, or plug-in hybrids. California ban gas cars and trucks can reduce these emissions by 35%. Recent movements in Europe pushed for strict clean-air and greenhouse-gas requirements for vehicles. Around 15 countries committed to cleaning up, including Germany, France, and Norway. Even China got into the act a few years ago and pushed for zero-emission cars. As such, California already enforces emission rules stricter than federal standards. This new law now raises the stakes further in favor of electric vehicles.
Ban on Selling, Not Owning
Vehicles are responsible for over 40% of the greenhouse emissions in the state. The California ban gas cars cover the selling of combustible engine vehicles. It ends the sale of new gasoline-powered cars. State residents can still own gas or diesel cars or sell them in the secondhand market. According to IHS Markit, California owns more than 11% of all registered light vehicles in the U.S. last year. As of July, 6.2% of light vehicles in California were electric-powered, or 1.6% in the nation.
The order directs the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to craft the guidelines. It added that trucks and construction vehicles should also be zero-emission by 2045. During the signing, Newsom said that “Of all the simultaneous crises that we face as a state…none is more forceful than the issue of the climate crisis. What we’re advancing here today is a strategy to address that crisis head-on, to be as bold as the problem is big.”
The automotive trade group Alliance for Automotive Innovation is hesitant. Chief executive
John Bozzella said his members are committed to expanding EV models, but mandates like this one aren’t the best way to do so. He said: “What builds successful markets is widespread stakeholder engagement.”
A Ford Motor Co. spokesman said: “We agree with Gov. Newsom that it is time to take urgent action to address climate change…Progress requires public-private partnerships, smart infrastructure, and key resources that encourage consumers to invest in electrified products.”
To make this work, California will need new statewide charging infrastructure. It would also need to upgrade its aging power infrastructure to support that. At the same time, the state’s thousands of gasoline stations will need help in their phaseout.
Running Afoul of The White House
The Trump White House didn’t make the announcement kindly. White House spokesman Judd Deere noted the lengths Democrats will go. He said: “This is yet another example of how extreme the left has become. They want the government to dictate every aspect of every American’s life, and the lengths to which they will go to destroy jobs and raise costs on the consumer is alarming. President Trump won’t stand for it.”
A legal fight may be in the works from the Oval Office. The federal government is fighting California over its auto emission rules. In 2018, Trump followed through on a campaign promise to cut regulatory red tape. The EPA announced it will scrap Obama-era vehicle emissions and fuel economy standards. Trump remarked he is taking away California’s power to set its own emissions standards. As a result, states led by California sued the agency in 2019, and the case is currently before the appeals court in D.C.
Elections, SCOTUS Can Make or Break This Case
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s replacement might play a big role. If the GOP pushes through with a nominee and installs a justice, this could work in their favor. A conservative majority on the Supreme Court could strike down the California program. But this hinges on Trump winning the election in November. On the other hand, if Democrat Joe Biden wins, federal opposition would most likely stop.
Watch this as Bloomberg reports that the California ban gas cars sales in 2035:
California started the EV ball rolling, and other states might follow suit. Do you have plans to shift to an electric vehicle soon? Or, do you plan to hold on the old gas guzzler until the wheels fall off? Let us know what you think of California’s initiative by commenting below.
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