Automotive News

Nissan will boost marketing dollars by nearly 60% from last year and more than double the dealer sales-volume bonuses to help drive foot traffic at stores and lift dealer profitability, according to Automotive News. They have to. The automaker has some angry dealers, some of whom are walking away from the sales incentive program after Nissan decoupled some bonus money from hitting volume-based targets.

The incentive program changes, announced Thursday, came on the same day Nissan cut its full-year operating profit forecast by 43%. Nissan posted a net loss of $238 million for the October-December quarter — a performance that contrasts sharply with upbeat forecasts from rivals Toyota and Honda. Under the new dealer program, referred to as Nissan Drive 2020, retailers will receive additional financial incentives to sell down model-year 2019 vehicles. Nissan also plans to increase the dealer volume bonus for the February-to-September sales period. The bonus will increase from the current $250 per vehicle sold to $550 per vehicle, a dealer source told Automotive News. Nissan said it will dial up its marketing, launching new campaigns for the refreshed Titan full-size pickup and the redesigned Sentra compact sedan. About 40% of Nissan's dealers are now losing money or just breaking even, according to a dealer.

Genesis, with two nameplates, ranked highest in J.D. Power’s survey of light-vehicle reliability after three years of ownership, while Buick placed highest among mass-market brands and third overall. The 2020 Vehicle Dependability Study marks the first year Genesis, Hyundai’s luxury arm, has been included in the survey. For 2017, Genesis marketed just two vehicles: the G80 and G90 sedans. Lexus, the top brand in the study for the past eight years, fell to second place overall. Genesis, Lexus, and Buick were followed in the top 10 by Porsche, Toyota, Volkswagen, Lincoln, BMW, Chevrolet, and Ford. At the bottom of the study, with an average of around 200 problems reported per 100 vehicles: Volvo, Jaguar, Chrysler, and Land Rover. Tesla wasn’t part of the study. The survey, conducted for 31 years, tracks problems per 100 vehicles during a 12-month period by owners of 3-year old vehicles.

Ford is recalling more than 240,000 SUVs and cars worldwide because a suspension part can fracture and increase the risk of a crash. The recall covers the Ford Flex, Taurus police car, Taurus SHO and Lincoln MKT from the 2013 through 2018 model years. Ford says if the suspension moves a lot on the vehicles, the rear toe links can fracture. Toe links help keep the rear suspension stable and the tires on the pavement. Owners will be notified starting March 2, says the Detroit Free Press.

Daimler AG, maker of Mercedes-Benz cars, saw profit slump in 2019 and turned in a loss for the fourth quarter, according to Net profit for the full year fell despite an increase in unit sales and revenue at the Mercedes-Benz division, the main pillar of the company's profits.