A TALE OF 2 BRANDS
“It was the best of brands, it was the best of brands…..”
An epic tale of automotive firsts has emerged in 2 motoring centers with arrival of the 2014-model year 10-01-14. Daimler-Benz and Toyota are the gold medalists of the “firsts”, which are the highest-priced cars ever built by a U.S. domestic automaker, and the first global automaker to build 10 million cars of a single brand – Toyota Corolla.
Toyota, to the surprise of the Toyoda family, topped the 10 million mark for its price leader compact car 10 years after starting Corolla production in the late 1950’s. The Corolla milestone eclipsed overall production marks of such brands as VW Beetle and Ford Escort.
This year prices act as a differentiation between compact and midsize sedans. For one thing, Toyota will equip its upmarket cars with Corolla safety accessories like those on Avalon or Lexus. That will make safety-centric models more appealing as owners opt for lane monitors, continuously variable transmissions, Lexus-like interior trim, crash signals and LED diode lights for tail lamps and head lights.
The second “first of firsts” was garnered by Mercedes-Benz, whose 4S 5500 supersedan goes on the market as the first car ever built by a domestic automaker with a suggested list price of upwards of $50,000.
Close on the shirttails of the deluxe and “loaded” Corolla sedan are luxury entry-level sedans not only from Corolla but also labeled upmarket editions of the Acura FSX, $31,500 loaded and a new Audi 4 series at $41,125.
At the Los Angeles show, special attention will be paid on media days to the Mercedes GLA 250 crossover SUV, VW electric Golf, Audi A3 convertible and Porsche compact 911 Turbo Cabriolet.
Already exhibited at the Frankfurt and Orange County shows have been the trio of new GM SUVs – Chevy Tahoe and Suburban, GMC Sierra, Yukon and Cadillac Escalade.
Don’t be surprised if GM replicates the Volt with an advanced hybrid electric Buick that extends range to over 300 miles! On the Volt platform of course!
In a surging U.S. market of a record 16.4 million units this year, watch for our ”first of the firsts” to dominate the brand lists – Toyota Corolla and Mercedes S550.
Toyota’s U.S. group VP, Bill Fay, says lease returnees of about 300,000 or more in the 2014-model year will bolster the record sales in the 4th quarter and calendar 2015. Our “firsts”, plus miles-per-gallon achievers, should help spur dealers to strive for new national and quarterly sales records, with Toyota out front again!
The LA show will unveil 22 world debuts, plus 56 in all, Nov. 19-22 for media and Nov. 22-Dec. 1 for the general public. Debuts are on tap for the first time globally from other automakers include BMW, Chevy, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar, Mercedes and Nissan.