Lincoln tops in customer survey
Ford luxury brand beats Lexus, Buick in new satisfaction index
While sales are only a fraction of what they were back in the 1960s, when Lincoln was one of the top two luxury brands in North America (the other being Cadillac), Ford’s luxury brand is No. 1 today when it comes to satisfying new car customers, according to a new study.
According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index’s annual survey, Lincoln received a 90 per cent score, beating second-place Lexus (89) and third-place Buick (87).
Cadillac, Lexus and Toyota tied for the top spot in the 2011 survey.
Future Infinitis to look lighter and leaner
In an age where parameters of new car reliability, economy and features are razor-thin, a car’s appearance is quite often the determining factor for new car buyers. Nissan’s luxury brand Infiniti is looking at reshaping the look of its cars to reflect a younger image.
Citing the Emerg-E plug-in hybrid concept as an example, Nissan’s chief creative officer Shiro Nakamura told Automotive News that Infiniti vehicles will look lighter and thinner, starting with the next G series in the 2014 model year.
Volvo looking at new Mini-fighter
Ever since Ford sold Volvo to China’s Zhejiang Geely, the brand has been focusing on large vehicles such as SUVs, sedans and coupes to meet anticipated demand in emerging markets such as China, Russia and Brazil.
But a report in Automotive News Europe suggests that Volvo is considering a subcompact car, similar in size to BMW’s Mini Cooper.
“Premium customers no longer define luxury based on the size of the car or number of cylinders. There are other attributes which will come into play,” said Volvo CEO Stefan Jacoby.
In Canada, the smallest Volvo model is the compact C30.
Volkswagen digs deeper into U.S. market
Germany’s largest automaker continues its plans for sales dominance in the U.S.
In addition to new products such as the “Americanized” Jetta and Passat sedans and the opening of a new manufacturing plant in Tennessee, Volkswagen unveiled a new technical centre in California.
“The expansion of our global R&D footprint in the U.S. reinforces our ongoing commitment to this market,” said David Geanacopoulos, executive vice-president for Volkswagen’s U.S. unit.
VW also said the new California facility is part of a $4 billion investment to increase its market share in the U.S., where it lags behind Asian stalwarts like Toyota, Honda, and Hyundai.
New Jags finally get traction at all four paws
In Canada, luxury car buyers demand the added security of all-wheel-drive. It’s a feature Jaguar models in the past have sorely lacked, but no longer.
For 2013, traction at all four wheels is being added as an option to the normally rear-drive mid-size XF and full-size XJ sedans.
Arriving this December, a report from Inside Line suggests the AWD option will add “about $3,000” to the price of either the 2013 XJ or XF.