Automotive News Underground 4/7/2023

Estimated read time 3 min read

Here are the car news stories you might have missed this week.

Now that we’re official in April and the snow isn’t going away in many areas, things are really heating up in the auto industry. This week’s news includes canceled models, updated models, automaker shakeups, and even dealerships disruption.

Meet the refreshed 2024 Jeep Wrangler.

Stellantis used the New York International Auto Show to reveal the updated 2024 Jeep Wrangler. There are many changes, including an optional Warn factory-installed winch for the Rubicon and 100:1 crawl ratio, a new Willys model with larger tires, a power-folding top, updated 7-slot grille, side-curtain airbags, and an expanded 4xe model lineup.

Read the official press release here.

GM takes a big hit in China.

After pandering to the CCP and Chinese public for years, GM saw a 25% decline in sales for Q1 2023. That drop didn’t come from just one of GM’s lines but instead every brand. Of course, this also coincides with a drop in retail passenger car sales in the country, which was blamed on tax cuts and EV subsidies coming to a close. Whatever the cause, this should concern GM and other automakers.

Read more about it here.

The Jeep Cherokee is dead, again.

Without any fanfare or even so much as a press release, Jeep has killed off the Cherokee yet again. If you recall, early in this century the Cherokee was replaced by the Liberty, a move most enthusiasts think was awful. Now the unibody is gone again, a victim of poor sales.

Check out the full story here.

The Volkswagen Golf is also dead.

With the whole push toward electrification going on, we’re going to see a lot of storied nameplates dying. Ironically, that includes the VW Golf, a gas-sipping little hatchback many who couldn’t afford a more expensive Volkswagen chose. Supposedly VW is cooking up an ultra-affordable EV, however this news is a little interesting.

Read more about it here.

Mini becomes more German than ever.

Some Brits lamented BMW buying the Mini brand about two decades ago, fearing the iconic UK company would be turned Teutonic. Now that the new all-electric next-gen Mini Countryman is being teased we learn it will be made in Leipzig, making it the first Mini model assembled in Germany and likely not the last. At least that colorful camo wrap makes the bitterness go down better.

Thousands take GM’s buyout offer.

According to GM’s CFO Paul Jacobson, about 5,000 salaried employees took the automaker’s offer of a buyout. That’s out of about 58,000 salaried employees. Jacobson claims the move means the company won’t have to do any layoffs, for now.

Read more about what he said here.

There’s a new dealership king in town.

Auto Nation is no longer the biggest car dealership chain in the US. It’s been unseated by Lithia Motors, according to a list compiled by Automotive News. Lithia has been buying up all kinds of mom and pop car dealerships all over the country and the strategy appears to have rocketed it past the traditional 800-lb. gorilla in the industry.

Learn more here.

Images via Stellantis, BMW Group

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