Buy Clark Gable’s Jaguar, Benz’s pay-for-power plan, a new flavor of Alfa
Clark Gable’s Jaguar will be gone with the wind at auction
Intake: A 1952 Jaguar XK120 ordered new by Clark Gable is to be sold at RM Sotheby’s Villa Erba auction in Italy in May. Gable specified his car in battleship grey with a red interior and opted for wire wheels, hood louvers, and a custom luggage rack. Gable drove the car all over Europe before importing it to California in 1953. He sold the Jag shortly afterward to Irving Robbin Jr. and it was purchased by the current owner’s father in 1982. It had a full restoration in 2011 that cost a blockbuster 400,000 Swiss Francs (almost $500,000 today) and reappeared in 2016. After 41 years in the same family, however, the XK is to go under the hammer on May 20.
Exhaust: It will be something of a homecoming for Gable’s XK when it is displayed on the shores of Lake Como. After taking delivery, Gable drove the big cat to Rome, staying at the Villa D’Este for three weeks en-route, no doubt, racking up an extensive bar tab. The bill for buying the car today is estimated to be between €300,000 and €500,000 ($330,000–$550,000). — Nik Berg
80 hp for $900/year? Benz: “Right this way”
Intake: Last year, Mercedes announced plans to offer improved acceleration on the EQE and EQS vehicles, which include both sport-utes and sedans, seemingly testing the waters when it came to customers’ receptiveness to the idea of paying more for extra power. Now we have the details: It’s called the “Acceleration Increase On-Demand” upgrade, which comes with your choice of one-time purchase for the lifetime of the vehicle, or monthly and yearly options. The performance upgrade is offered as an Over-the-Air (OTA) update available for the Mercedes EQE 350 4Matic and Mercedes EQS 450 4Matic Sedan and SUV. It raises the vehicle’s horsepower by 60 in the EQE, and 80 in the EQS, improving acceleration from zero to 60 mph by about a second or so.
Exhaust: The Mercedes-Benz EQE 350 4Matic gets a boost from 288 hp to 348 hp for $600 a year, while in the Mercedes EQS 450 4Matic models, the 80 hp gain gives it 435 hp for $900 a year. For eligible EQE models, the upgrade costs $1950 for the lifetime of the vehicle, and for the EQS, the upgrade will cost owners $2,950. There’s even a monthly plan for those who, say, need more horsepower in May, but in June, the regular horsepower is fine. No, we don’t know why you’d want to do that, but it’s there. — SCS
Tesla cuts prices again as it whiffs on promises
Intake: While Tesla vehicle sales are growing in the U.S., its EV market share is falling and competitors are getting better at challenging the dominance of the Model 3 sedan and Model Y crossover, analysts tell Automotive News. “Teslas are still hot must-haves, but the alternatives are getting way better and more appealing to consumers,” said Robby DeGraff, insights analyst at AutoPacific. “As such, Musk is feeling the heat of the competition as we’ve seen by another round of price cuts on his two highest-volume models, he said. “We’re awaiting a lot of promises that Tesla hasn’t delivered yet.”
Exhaust: Promises like the long-delayed Cybertruck, and “a reliable version of Tesla’s Full Self-Driving software, which is currently classified as advanced driver assistance and not autonomous, despite its name and $15,000 price tag,” Automotive News said. Without a lower-priced vehicle, Tesla has leaned on price cuts—and EV incentives—to push the Model 3 and Model Y into the mainstream. “The fact that a Model 3 now starts just a hair below $40,000 before any kind of federal tax credit kicks in is a good preview of what’s to hopefully come: actual, affordable EVs. People clearly want Teslas but are often priced out of them,” DeGraff said. — SCS
Alfa adds fifth flavor to Giulia, Stelvio
Intake: Alfa Romeo is offering a new limited-edition, Veloce-based 2024 Stelvio and Giulia Competizione models, which are the “most luxurious models yet with an authentic concentration of style and performance.” They get exclusive Moonlight Gray matte paint, red brake calipers, and a new 21-inch alloy wheel design. The interior adds a 14-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, leather-upholstered dashboard, seats with red stitching, and Competizione badging on the seat sides and headrests. Darker privacy glass completes the look. Both Competizione models get Alfa Romeo’s 2.0-liter, direct-injection turbocharged engine delivering 280 horsepower and 306 lb-ft of torque. Dynamics get an upgrade as well with the addition of Alfa Active Suspension tech.
Exhaust: Price: Not bad. The all-wheel-drive Stelvio Competizione is $57,420, including the $1595 destination charge. Pricing for the 2024 Alfa Romeo Giulia Competizione is $53,115 for the rear-drive model and $55,115 for the AWD version. — Steven Cole Smith
Study: Sales of electric cars to surge in 2023
Intake: Global sales of electric cars are set to surge to yet another record this year, expanding their share of the overall car market to close to 20 percent and leading a major transformation of the auto industry that has implications for the energy sector, especially oil, says research from the International Energy Agency (IEA). The new edition of the IEA’s annual Global Electric Vehicle Outlook shows that more than 10 million electric cars were sold worldwide in 2022 and that sales are expected to grow by another 35 percent this year to reach 14 million. This explosive growth means electric cars’ share of the overall car market has risen from around 4 percent in 2020 to 14 percent in 2022 and is set to increase further to 18 percent this year, based on the latest IEA projections.
Exhaust: “Electric vehicles are one of the driving forces in the new global energy economy that is rapidly emerging, and they are bringing about a historic transformation of the car manufacturing industry worldwide,” said IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol. “The trends we are witnessing have significant implications for global oil demand. The internal combustion engine has gone unrivaled for over a century, but electric vehicles are changing the status quo. By 2030, they will avoid the need for at least 5 million barrels a day of oil. Cars are just the first wave: electric buses and trucks will follow soon.” — SCS
Online car buying to blossom by 2030, study shows
Intake: UBS Banking says that based on “market-by-market analysis across our global analyst team, by 2030, we expect 50 percent of all business-to-customer car transactions globally to be conducted online versus 2 percent in 2022. We think this will reduce $50 billion of costs from the automotive distribution ecosystem, leading to structurally higher margins for car dealers and OEMs.” Combining this benefit with top-line growth, UBS says the $200 billion automotive distribution global profit pool could nearly double by 2030.
Exhaust: Within just a few years, UBS says, it will be possible for consumers to purchase almost any car online. UBS Evidence Lab data suggests consumers across five markets are ready for the transition. Twenty percent of respondents said they had already purchased a car online, versus 60 percent who said they were willing to do so. —SCS