This week reflects the ups and downs of the past month in the automotive industry – the proposed levy on goods from Mexico may well make certain models more expensive, yet some manufacturers are responding to the changes through innovation – monthly car subscriptions for drivers who want to pix-and-mix their models. In the rapidly changing auto landscape the brands that adapt quickly seem to be riding the wave with greater success.
Mexico Tariffs May Increase Car Prices
The Trump Administration announced a new 5% levy on all Mexican goods last week in a bid to curb immigration from the country, and reports suggest the tax could come into place from June 10th. MSN reports that over 4 million cars were made in Mexico last year, and the majority of those were sold in the US. Models made in Mexico include the Audi Q5, BMW 3-Series, Jeep Compass, and Ram ProMaster and would all be subject to the next tax, raising prices.
What’s more, Mexico also supplies a wide range of parts and equipment to the US Auto Industry, and every individual item sold would be subject to the tax. Carmakers are still waiting to see if the tax will come into place as promised, and what the long term effects may be.
Proposed Merger for Fiat Chrysler and Renault
Italian firm Fiat Chrysler announced on Monday that it had proposed a merger with French carmaker Renault. The announcement comes as electric vehicles take off in popularity across the world and carmakers have come under increasing pressure to adapt and remain profitable. The move would create a mega-company, with potential combined profits of $190.5bn (based on last year’s revenues).
As reported in the BBC, the new firm would be 50% owned by Fiat shareholders and 50% by Renault. As statement released by the company said the move would create a “world leader in the rapidly changing automotive industry with a strong position in transforming technologies, including electrification and autonomous driving.”
Mercedes-Benz Expands its Subscription Service
Mercedes’ innovative car subscription service is expanding to Atlanta after pilot projects in Nashville and Philadelphia, as reported by Auto News. The subscription allows users to drive any of 30 different Mercedes-Benz models for a monthly fee. This gives users the flexibility to choose the car they need for any particular day – an SUV for a big trip to the hardware store, or a convertible for a romantic day out. The move is attracting new customers to the brand – only 20% of whom had previously owned a Mercedes, according to figures from the company. A proportion of subscription customers are likely to make the move to full purchase, using the monthly fee as a chance to test out different models.
Atlanta’s growing number of high-net-worth residents makes it a prime candidate for this type of service. Heiko Schmidt, CEO of Mercedes-Benz Subscription Services said, “We do anticipate that Atlanta is going to be our biggest market.”
Airstream Revives its Classic Styles
If Airstream trailers bring back nostalgic memories of summer camping trips, there’s good news: the company is bringing back its classic single axle Bambi and Caravel trailers. Originally designed in the 1960s, the newly refreshed trailers have the classic riveted aluminum Airstream look paired with modern amenities – like a built-in microwave, stereo and memory foam mattress. Both models are set up to be connected to solar panels for off-grid possibilities.
As reported in Forbes, Bob Wheeler, President and CEO of Airstream, said “With the all-new Bambi and Caravel models, we wanted to honor our roots while offering design-forward, accessible, easy-to-tow travel trailers that will inspire new or experienced consumers to explore the world one highway at a time.”