Daily News Briefs: May 17, 2012

New models will come fast and furious in the 2013-16 model years, according to Bank of America/Merrill Lynch's annual product pipeline analysis, dubbed the "Car Wars" report. Bank of America sees an above-average level of new model launches starting in the 2014 and 2015 model years, when 105 all-new models will be launched.

GM will have a dramatic replacement rate, according to the investment bank, including the launch of a new Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra and an all-new generation of full-size crossovers (including the Chevrolet Traverse). New versions of the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain will also dramatically transform GM's lineup in the next four years. GM's market share is said to increase slightly over the next three years, to an estimated 18.2% by 2015.

Ford will see an above-average replacement rate, too, says Merrill Lynch. It projects that the automaker will have a "solid product cadence," culminating in an all-new Ford F-Series in the 2015 model year.

Despite Chrysler's current massive product surge, the investment bank says the carmaker will have a below-average launch of new vehicles in the coming years. Chrysler will launch a slew of new crossovers, such as the new car-based Jeep Liberty replacement, and other small and midsize Fiat-based vehicles, such as the new Chrysler 200 and 100, in the coming years. Expect an all-new Ram truck in the 2017 model year, the report says.

Korean, European and Japanese automakers are expected to have below-average replacement rates for the 2013-16 model years. In fact, after Hyundai and Kia had a strong product launch for the 2011 model year, the bank describes the coming years as "volatile" for the Korean carmakers and believes there's a strong indication of decreasing market share for each over the next few years.

In other news:

  • Fisker is pushing back the launch of its smaller plug-in hybrid Atlantic sedan to mid-2014, according to Left Lane News. The EV start-up originally stated an early 2013 launch, but the company is facing funding issues after the U.S. Department of Energy froze $529 million in loans to Fisker that were meant to go toward the Atlantic.
  • BMW predicts record profits and sales for 2012, according to Bloomberg. The automaker is launching new 3 Series body styles and updating the X1 and X6 crossovers, as well as the 7 Series flagship, all due out in 2012.
  • Subaru said it would increase production of its Outback and Legacy models by upping the capacity of its plant in Lafayette, Ind. according to Automotive News, the $75 million expansion, which is expected to start this summer, will increase annual production to 180,000 from the current 156,000. Subaru recently scrapped plans to expand in China; instead, it's focusing on North American operations.

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