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+++ Ford, Honda and Suzuki have joined the list of carmakers increasing UK pricing on their models as a result of BREXIT. The prices of Ford’s UK range has been announced to increase by 1.5%, while Honda will be increasing the prices of its range by an average of 0.9% this month. Some Suzuki models will also be subject to price increases, with a 2% increase due to the fluctuation of sterling. Last month, the PSA Group, which is made up of Peugeot, Citroen and DS, raised its prices by 2% after the UK’s vote to leave the European Union. Vauxhall is set to increase prices of most models in the UK by 2.5% on the 1 October, matching an increase made in the aftermath of Brexit. General Motors Europe (GME) has suffered as the value of the pound slipped against the euro, with the UK being its largest national market. Tina Müller, Opel’s chief marketing officer, said Brexit has in effect cost the company £346 million already. “It will be the trend across the industry”, Müller told journalists at the Paris motor show. “I think we are leading here but we know that everybody else will follow”. Despite GME’s predictions for a decline in the British market, sales remain strong at the moment, with a Vauxhall spokesman confirming that the brand is currently leading September retail sales for cars. +++

+++ FORD has ended Australian production 91 years after the company’s first models were produced down under. The automaker announced it would stop production at its last remaining factory in Broadmeadows, Victoria, back in 2013. The move doesn’t just mean the end of local production but also marks the farewell of the Falcon, a car built and sold locally for over 50 years. While Ford will no longer produce cars in Australia, it isn’t leaving the country entirely and will continue to employ about 1,500 employees in its engineering and design departments. The first Ford built in Australia was the legendary Model T, initially constructed at the Geelong facility in July 1925. The following year, plants were constructed in Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide and in 1930, in Fremantle as well. Prior to the arrival of Holden, Ford dominated the local market and in 1959, opened the doors to its Broadmeadows Car Assembly Plant. Since the first vehicle rolled out of this factory on August 20, 1959, precisely 4,356,628 vehicles have been built there. The final Ford produced in Australia was a bright blue Falcon XR6. +++

+++ Fiat Chrysler boss Sergio Marchionne hasn’t been shy about trumpeting the company’s upcoming JEEP Grand Wagoneer model as an alternative to the Land Rover Ranger Rover, but just how far up the price scale he’s willing to push the SUV might come as a shock. The UK’s Auto Express caught up with Jeep head Mike Manley at the recent Paris Motor Show and chatted about the upcoming Grand Wagoneer. Manley confirmed that “the Grand Wagoneer concept is moving forward”, but then let a bombshell fly about the SUV’s potential pricing. “I’ll use US dollars, but pushing the car up to $130,000 to $140,000 may be possible, but we need to establish Grand Wagoneer in its own right first”, Manley said. That would put the Grand Wagoneer in some pretty rarefied air, not to mention make it about twice as expensive as Jeep’s current flagship, the Grand Cherokee SRT. However, as Manley indicates, the first version of the Grand Wagoneer might not push the needle to $140,000. It would make more sense for Jeep to introduce the Grand Wagoneer closer in price to the base Range Rover (which starts at about $85,000) and then gradually introduce more luxurious models as the nameplate becomes better known. Land Rover actually followed a similar strategy with its currently Range Rover; it first introduced more mainstream versions before going all-out with the $200,000 SVAutobiography model. Jeep hasn’t nailed down an official launch date for the new Jeep grand Wagoneer, but the luxury SUV is expected to debut around the turn of the decade. +++

+++ The upcoming hybrid MERCEDES hypercar could be adorned with the EQ badge to top out the firm’s upcoming range of electric vehicles. Although the hypercar will use an internal combustion engine derived from AMG’s turbocharged Formula 1 car and won’t be fully electric, vice president of marketing for Mercedes-Benz Cars group, Jens Thiemer, told Motor Trend it may receive the EQ name. If it does, it will be the perfect marketing tool for Mercedes to prove that vehicles with new-age powertrains can be exciting and fuel efficient. While a final decision is still to be made, Thiemer did confirm that the company has already decided on a strategy for which models will receive the EQ badge and which will retain their existing nomenclature. Alongside the Aston Martin AM-RB 001, the Mercedes-AMG hypercar will be the latest and greatest road-legal performance car. The model is expected to have a perfect 1 to 1 power-to-weight ratio and should deliver in excess of 1,000 hp. +++

+++ OPEL ’s next Insignia OPC will feature the same agility-improving torque vectoring technology as the Ford Focus RS when it arrives late next year. The technical specifications of the 2017 sports saloon won’t be revealed for several more months, but GKN, the company that made the Focus RS’s all-wheel drive system, has been developing a current-generation OPC with its so-called Twinster module on the back axle. That suggests this drive technology is headed to Opel’s upcoming all-wheel-drive car. If rumours are right and GKN’s Twinster makes it onto the production OPC, it would enable full torque vectoring at the rear. Drive to the front wheels will be controlled using a more conventional electronic differential lock, which imitates a mechanical diff by braking wheels experiencing slip. Autocar sampled GKN’s prototype at the Aldenhoven test centre in Germany. Initial impressions on the handling track confirmed the Twinster system improves throttle adjustability by increasing yaw angle under heavy mid-corner acceleration, but the car’s less active front drive system meant it still naturally pushed into slight understeer. However, the next Insignia OPC will be much lighter than the 1.825 kg outgoing model (sources suggest a saving of 200 kg) so there’s a strong chance this understeer can be dialled out. +++

+++ Earnings at automakers in the UNITED STATES are expected to decline in the next two years as negative pricing and lower production weigh on North America results, Goldman Sachs said, downgrading the sector to “cautious” from “neutral”. Major automakers posted September U.S. sales that were slightly lower than a year ago, despite big consumer discounts, as pickup truck volumes fell for both General Motors and Ford. “The US auto cycle peaked in 2015 and is currently being held at a plateaued level by increasing OEM incentives”, analysts David Tamberrino and Mariel Kennedy wrote in a note. The analysts said they expected seasonally adjusted annualized rate to hold steady from current levels into next year, followed by a gradual decline. The brokerage downgraded Tesla to “neutral” from “buy” and cut its price target to $185 from $240. The analysts said any delay in the timeline for the launch of the electric carmaker’s much-hyped Model 3 would hurt shares. They also cited Tesla’s deal to buy SolarCity as a concern. “Combination of Tesla and SolarCity – two high growth, high cash burn businesses, creates a higher risk entity”, the analysts wrote. The analysts were neutral on Detroit carmakers Ford and General Motors, saying dividend yields are a cushion and not at risk over the next 12 months. Shares of both companies were untraded premarket. The brokerage downgraded auto part suppliers Lear and BorgWarner. Lear’s rating was cut to “sell” from “neutral”, while BorgWarner was downgraded to “neutral” from “buy”. However, the brokerage said suppliers who had more international profit exposure could see earnings hold up longer, maintaining a “buy” rating on Lear’s rival Delphi Automotive. +++

+++ VOLKSWAGEN is not considering the sale of any of its brands or a capital increase to cope with the costs of the emissions scandal, its supervisory board Chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch told German daily Börsen-Zeitung. “The Volkswagen group is financially solid and has many options for financing”, Poetsch said in the interview. “And that is without extraordinary measures such as a capital increase. That is not being considered at this time. We are also not thinking of selling parts of our brands”, he added. Volkswagen has set aside 17.8 billion euros to pay for costs related to the global emissions cheating scandal. The company faces civil litigation and potential fines from government regulators in the EU and other markets. Poetsch indicated that he did not expect further provisions to be needed. “The items that seem most likely are reflected in the provisions made so far. From today’s point of view, that is robust”, he told Börsen-Zeitung. +++

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