Friday, 22 February 2019

Used passenger cars, SUVs top-of-mind for Canadians

Passenger cars and SUVs remain top-of-mind for car shoppers across Canada, according to a January 2019 national Autobarometer report.
Autobarometer is a monthly report that provides dealers with vehicle inventory performance metrics from across Canada, based on listings that appear on Kijiji's automotive marketplace (online).
In January, a total of 338,523 vehicle listings (including new and used car and truck inventory) were posted on Kijiji by dealers in Canada. These listings resulted in 84.7 million VDP views; one million email/chat replies; 998,000 click-to-call engagements; and 155,000 dealership URL clicks.
Views by body segment for used cars only hovered around 11.9 million for passenger cars; 5.3 million for pickup trucks; 7.1 million for SUVs; and 1.3 million for vans.
The report reveals the average listing price of a new vehicle jumped $3,044 to a total of $46,392. For used vehicles, the price increased by $1,411 to $17,462. Vehicles also took a little longer to sell on the site this January (37.7 days) compared to the same period a year earlier, when it took 35.4 days on average.
The most popular vehicle models were the Honda Civic, Ford F-150, Dodge Ram 1500, Toyota Corolla, Ford Escape and the Mazda3. In terms of brand popularity, Ford took first place and was followed by Toyota, Dodge, Honda, Chevrolet and Nissan.

Spotlight - Ontario
In Ontario, the total number of vehicle listings on Kijiji in January was 114,518 - down 15,619 year-over-year. Engagement on Kijiji for cars and vehicles led to 30.4 million VDP views; 440,000 email/chat replies; 436,000 click-to-call engagements; and 56,000 dealership URL clicks.
Views by body segment for used cars only were 5.2 million for passenger cars; 1.7 million for pickup trucks; 2.6 million for SUVs; and 574,000 for vans.

Spotlight - Quebec
In Quebec, vehicle listings on Kijiji hovered around 64,671 compared to 71,157 in January 2018.  Engagement levels were at 15.1 million for VDP views; 148,000 for email/chat replies; 197,000 for click-to-call engagements; and 28,000 for dealership URL clicks.
In terms of body segment views, Kijiji recorded 3 million for passenger cars; 600,000 for pickup trucks; 1.6 million for SUVs; and 232,000 for vans.
The national report indicates that Canadians are interested in used sedans and SUVs - a trend that is very much apparent in both Ontario and Quebec.

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Amazon Invests in Self-Driving Car Startup Aurora Innovation

Of the numerous companies developing autonomous driving tech, Aurora Innovation is one of the low-key players. However, the startup will likely attract much more attention now, thanks to an infusion of cash from Amazon.
The online retail giant's Sequoia investment arm led a $530 million Series B funding round, Aurora Innovation announced in a blog post. Shell Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Geodesic also joined.
Aurora Innovation is notable primarily for its leadership. It was founded in 2016 by Chris Urmson, who led Google's self-driving car project before it became Waymo. The executive team also includes Drew Bagnell, previously of Uber's Advanced Technologies Center, and Sterling Anderson, the former head of Tesla's Autopilot development program.
So far, Aurora Innovation has made deals with Hyundai and Volkswagen, as well as Byton, a Chinese startup that is trying to emulate the success of Teslawith electric cars. It's unclear what Amazon's interest in a self-driving car startup might be, but the company has expressed interest in alternative ways to deliver its packages, such as drones.
Several companies are experimenting with autonomous delivery vehicles. Ford has deals with Domino's and Postmates to run pilot programs using its prototype self-driving cars as delivery vehicles. General Motors' Cruise Automation division has a deal with DoorDash to do food deliveries. Startup Nuro is developing a purpose-built autonomous delivery vehicle, and is currently operating a pilot grocery delivery service with test mules. Walmartplans to launch a similar service with a different startup, Udelv. Will Amazon be the next company to join the fray?

Amazon Invests in Self Driving Car Startup Aurora Innovation

Friday, 8 February 2019

Carfax-Kijiji Autos Tool May Help Canadians Make Better Used-Car Decisions

LONDON, Ontario - 
Carfax Canada has released a new pricing tool available on the Kijiji Autos site and an app that the companies say will help Canadians better understand used-vehicle values and empower them to make better decisions about used cars. The tool, according to Carfax Canada, will also help used-car sellers set competitive asking prices.
The company says its price analysis uses a proprietary algorithm that calculates the average price for a vehicle by considering its available history. That history could include factors such as odometer readings, damage and actual selling prices for similar vehicles in nearby locations. Carfax Canada says sellers and shoppers can use those findings as a benchmark to understand what similar cars are worth.
Carfax Canada says it is the exclusive source of vehicle history information on Kijiji Autos' platform, and the company's president and general manager Mark Rousseau said in a news release that the company is "proud to now also power the platform's price analysis tool with Carfax's valuation data."
Leanne Kripp, director of autos at Kijiji, said in a news release that Canadians mentioned transparency when telling her company which factors would be an important factor for them in using the new platform.
"By integrating CARFAX Canada data into our price analysis tool, we're able to provide millions of Canadians with a greater level of transparency that will empower them to feel more confident in their car buying journey," Kripp said.

Friday, 1 February 2019

Volvo gets approval for a no-hands test of its self-driving cars

If you’re planning a vacation in Sweden this year, take careful note of who’s doing the driving in that Volvo beside you. The odds are getting better that the answer is—no one.
That’s because Zenuity – Volvo’s autonomous driving joint venture with partner Veoneer – has just received the go-ahead from Sweden’s Transport Authority to begin conducting tests of its autonomous software on the country’s highways, according to a report by Reuters.
In September of 2018, Volvo had managed to secure a similar permit, but back then the Transport Authority had stipulated that a human being had to keep at least one hand on the steering wheel at all times.
That might be an acceptable condition for testing a Level 2, or maybe a Level 3 autonomous system, but Zenuity has its eye on the Level 4 prize. Successful level 4 vehicles have the capability of completing a trip from point A to point B on most roads without any human touch, so getting the green light on a look-ma-no-hands test permit was a vital next step.
Apparently getting permission for this test, which comes with a maximum speed limit of 80 km/h, wasn’t easy. Ever since Uber’s autonomous vehicle – coincidentally also a Volvo – was involved in a lethal encounter with a pedestrian last year, regulators have been understandably cautious about who gets to test, and where they get to do it.
Veoneer Chief Technology Officer Nishant Batra said the approval to do real-life tests was “essential for gathering important data and test functions,” and, if you read between the lines, essential for keeping up with Google’s Waymo and General Motors’ Cruise, two of the leading companies in the autonomous race.
The only question that still remains: Is the public still excited about seeing someone win?

Volvo Gets Approval For A No Hands Test Of Its Self Driving Cars