This week we were informed about the start of regular import marketing of the new Jeep Grand Cherokee.
The model offered in 5 and 7 seat configurations (details below) is not just another Jeep model.
10-15 years ago, his previous generation was the poster boy of the "Personal Import" channel (which was actually a code name for farmers who imported cars in an institutionalized manner) and his successor became a hit on the parallel import channels that replaced the same washed-up name of Personal Import with a slightly more orderly approach.
The start of his import under the official importer after he started to pick up speed in the parallel import was an excellent opportunity to look at some very interesting models that on the face of it have considerable potential in the local market.
But just before we dive into this list, a few words about what happens behind the scenes of choosing which model will be marketed in Israel.
In the set of considerations for importing cars to Israel, there are a number of factors that guide the importer to make a decision to introduce one or another model into the showrooms.
Starting with a regulation that complies with the legislator's requirements, through the marketing strategies of the manufacturer who is not enthusiastic about launching another model in Israel for which she will have to support technically even if it is sold in small numbers for her, pricing that is not attractive enough, the evaluation of the chances of success or even avoiding situations of "cannibalization" of existing models or futures that the same importer intends to bring.
This void is often filled by the parallel importers, those who do not need to negotiate with the manufacturer on pricing and stocks and simply get their hands on a few dozen units or stock of one kind or another and import it to the local market.
The disadvantage is that the parallel import is based on purchasing from existing and available stock of dealers abroad. Without the ability to accessorize the car according to preferences in Israel, without the ability to present in Israel a variety of accessorizing and engine versions for the model, as an importer can do with regular imports directly from the manufacturer. In addition, the parallel import is carried out many times Without long-term thinking. Models in demand that have no competition in the importers' halls get exorbitant price tags, and the customers are invited to bargain. More than once, when regular imports of a model that until now only came through parallel imports finally began, the importer's prices were significantly cheaper. Two examples from recent years: Skoda Anyak and Hyundai Elantra Hybrid.
There are few cases of the opposite, especially in the luxury market where the existence of parallel imports restrains the prices at the official importers. This channel led to a real price reduction, mainly in Jeep models, even while the franchise was in the hands of Traffic Devices, and also after it moved to Symbol .
Of course, behind the scenes of the considerations, the games and the balance of power between the direct and parallel importers there are many other factors.
One of them is the share of profits that the importer makes from each unit, as a general rule, the cheaper the car, the smaller the profit margin from each piece sold.
In general, car importers will not rush to fight or change policies in the face of the arrival of a Corolla, Civic or Seat Leon.
On the other hand, in more expensive cars where the rate of profit on each unit is high, the direct importer will also try to put such versions in the showroom, sometimes even at competitive prices for the corresponding imports (as in the case of the Wranglers with the V6 engines).
Sometimes the reason will be the relative share of the model in question out of all the dedications - a few dozen Elantras among thousands of cars don't really move anyone's cheese - a few dozen Grand Cherokees - here it is already a different story.
Another genre of cars that come through parallel imports and not through the official channels are those aimed at customers in specific market segments, where it is more likely that there will be discerning customers looking for that particular model and also willing to make an effort to find it and/or bargain for the preferential deal.
Less the scenario of the regular customers who will naturally turn to the official importer and the traditional purchase route.
This is, for example, the story of large minivans such as the Toyota Sienna or the Honda Odyssey, which are very common among ultra-Orthodox or families with many children who are familiar with the American market.
By the way, in some cases it cannot be ruled out that official importers will also try to put pressure on the manufacturers to stop this channel.
This is not always done only out of fear of the direct financial loss due to the competition, since sometimes it is a model that is not imported at all in a regular importation, but the car services law requires the importer to take care of cars in his garages that he did not import himself, to train employees for this and to keep a stock of spare parts available for him.
Over the years, the parallel import field was responsible for the trickle of quite a few models that, looking back, could have had considerable sales potential and image for the official importers.
Sometimes these remained the property of the corresponding importers such as Ford Mustang or Chevrolet Corvette.
These are some of the models that could be a fascinating addition to the local offer.
This has already happened with the electric Skoda Aniac, the plug-in versions of the Superb and Octavia, the Volkswagen ID and also with versions with larger engines of the Jeep Wrangler for example.
Everyone was trickling here with parallel imports long before the importer did it herself.
Bourgeois Indian: Jeep Grand Cherokee
Finally 3 rows of seats (photo: manufacturer website)
The latest model to make the transition from a drip import to a permanent representative in the showroom of the importer Semlat is the new Grand Cherokee.
The model that was introduced about two years ago in the 7-seat version and about a year ago in the short version sits on a common platform with the Alfa Stelvio, but is significantly larger than it.
4.91 meters in the five-seat version and 5.21 meters in the long version.
The wheelbase is 2.97 and 3.09 meters.
In the official import channel, you can get the Grand Cherokee only with the 3.6-liter V6 gasoline engine with a volume of 290 hp. In the US, it is also marketed in more economical and powerful plug-in versions, with a supercharged 2-liter volume and an electric motor that provide a combined 375 horses.
The new Grand moves even further away from the historic off-road icon and gives up a power transmission, the ground clearance is 21.4 cm and the moderate approach and departure angles of the outgoing generation are surrounded by fine and smooth plastics.
In terms of trim levels and prices, the Grand is offered in three trim levels for the 5-seat version at a price of between NIS 400 and NIS 475,000.
The 7-seat versions start at 420 to 600 thousand shekels for the highest level of finish.
The most expensive Honda: Acura MDX
A challenging price tag (Photo: Ronan Topelberg)
In Israel, we have long since learned to know the luxury divisions of Toyota and Nissan, aka Lexus and Infiniti.
In the last year we have also been familiar with Hyundai's luxury division - Genesis.
And Honda also has one like this, it's called Acura and it's been in a renewal phase in recent years.
One of the models leading this trend is the MDX, a 7-seater crossover that competes with the Genesis G80 or Volvo XC90 and the like.
It is imported to Israel by Gazpro in two trim levels, where the A spec is the entry version with a 3.5 liter engine with 290 hp and the Type S is the sportier one with a supercharged 3 liter engine and 355 hp.
The drive is double and the gearbox is continuous.
An overall length of 5.04 meters and a wheelbase of 2.89 meters means it is larger than the GV80 but has a shorter wheelbase.
The equipment list is handsome and includes a sunroof, heating and cooling for the electric front seats, a 12.3-inch digital dashboard and a multimedia screen of the same size.
Five USB sockets, split climate control into three areas, electric trunk door, acoustic windows, Android and Apple connectivity and more.
The Type S version adds air shocks with the option of lowering, Brembo front brakes and more.
The list price is not cheap at all - starting at NIS 695,000.
About 100 thousand shekels above the price of the GV80 and the Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Let's cautiously assume that if you haggle, the price you pay will be much closer to them
Family packaging: Toyota Sienna
Hybrid drive provides surprising fuel consumption relative to the size (photo: Keinan Cohen)
In Israel, Toyota is completely absent from the "civilian" minivan market (unlike the Hiace, for example, which was a commercial car converted with limited success to transport passengers).
Sorry, she's actually just officially missing.
Because there are target audiences, who know him from the streets of the American suburbs that are flooded with Sienna drafts.
This is an audience that cannot grasp the insistence on pushing children into the two bunks known in Israel as "third row seats" in cars like the Mitsubishi Outlander or Skoda Kodiaq - Toyota has an alternative.
The Toyota Sienna earns its most points not thanks to generous equipment, a bunch of gimmicks, design or performance - but thanks to excellent fuel consumption for a minivan.
In our not easy test, it came back home with 13.5 km per liter. And beyond that, the built-in great advantages of a minivan - large side doors, the possibility to comfortably seat 7 or 8 passengers and still have a huge trunk.
The problem is the price, of course, it goes around with a price tag that starts slightly north of NIS 300,000, while its main competitor - the excellent Kia Carnival that does arrive as a regular import, costs between NIS 258 and 290,000.
The story also repeats itself with the competitor from Honda, the Odyssey, again the same extremely useful mini-van configuration, only here with a model whose age is already evident in its interior design but on the other hand has slightly better dynamic capabilities than the Sienna.
Because even parents of 4 children still want to smile every now and then.
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Tesla promised, Chevrolet delivered: Chevrolet Bolt
The cheapest streetcar in America, why not in Israel? (Photo: Walla! system, Chevrolet)
For years now, Elon Musk has been promising that, lo and behold, Autoto the tooth fairy will put us all in electric parking for less than $25,000.
It didn't happen, the one who did come very close to that was Chevy, which built the Bolt.
The standout, which you should pay attention not to confuse with the Volt that preceded it, is a small crossover 4.3 meters long (the same as the Peugeot 2008 for example) and with a wheelbase of 2.67 meters - 7 cm more than the French and with a proper trunk of 462 liters
. The tram is powered by a single 200 hp engine that drives the front wheels.
Chevrolet does not publish acceleration figures, but the reliable American "car and driver" magazine measured it at 6.8 seconds to 100.
In terms of range, Chevy claims 400 km from its 65 kWh battery.
Last year, when the model underwent a significant facelift, an enlarged and elevated version, the EUB, was added to it.
The regular Bolt already sells for a base price of $25,000 in the US, the EUB costs between $28,000 and $33,000, still the cheapest electric in the US, and $5,000 less than the price of the Hyundai Kona electric, which is identical in dimensions to the entry-level version.
That is, the potential for a price of no more than NIS 140,000 after "conversion", and even a chance to maintain these price ranges even after the expected tax increase in January.
Tuned sound: Honda Accord Hybrid
Toyota Camry shows the wasted potential of the big Honda (photo: Walla! system, Honda)
Even in the days when the category of large family cars is getting beat by the jeeps and crossovers, there are mythical models that among conservative customers are still not a miracle.
The success of the Toyota Camry in Israel proves it.
The Accord stopped arriving in Israel long before the entire Honda brand went into general silence, but in parallel imports you can find the hybrid versions of the American Accord, as for example in the case of Target Motors.
The design is not particularly exciting, even a little fussy, but the 2.0-liter electrically boosted engine with a combined power of 212 hp, and a continuous automatic transmission was and remains one of the most efficient and economical engine combinations on the market. These are also its popular versions.
In terms of dimensions, with 4.88 meters from bumper to bumper and a wheelbase of 2.83 meters it sits right in the middle of the category with the Toyota Camry, Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and Skoda Superb.
However, at least according to some publications, the Accord can be had for several thousand or tens of thousands of shekels less, with a price tag of between 199 and 230 thousand shekels for more equipped versions.
Note of warning: about a week ago, a "new generation", the 11th model, was introduced in the United States.
The quotation marks appear here because Honda chose not to present an all-new model, but contented itself this time with a complete refresh for the outgoing generation.
We are on the map: Volkswagen Atlas
Interesting competition for the Chevrolet Traverse, Ford Explorer and also for the prestigious German ones (photo: manufacturer's website)
In accordance with its global strategy, Volkswagen mainly markets its European models in Israel, but for the American market the German manufacturer has several dedicated cars that are more suitable for local tastes and are even produced closer to the target market.
The Volkswagen Atlas, which is marketed in two body configurations, is one of them, and it is time for the Germans to lift the embargo they imposed on regular imports of their American models to Israel.
With a length of 5.1 meters and a wheelbase of 2.98 meters, the Atlas, like the mythical giant after which it is named, is a very large vehicle with a cm margin even over the Hyundai Palisade, for example, so that it is deeply rooted in the group of large crossovers such as the Toyota Highlander, Chevrolet Traverse, Ford Explorer and the like.
The cabin of the Atlas has a configuration of 7 seats or 6 seats where the two in the second row are "captain seats", that is, a full-sized seat and not as part of a row.
In its "Cross Sport" version, which has a more sporty design with a roof that comes down earlier and an offset of a few cm from the overall length to 4.97 cm and together with them also an offset of the 7-seat option.
Both configurations also have two possible powertrains - a naturally aspirated 3.6-liter V6 engine with 276 horses, dual-wheel drive and an 8-speed planetary gearbox - a combination that has not been seen in Volkswagen's European models for years.
The second engine is a 2.0-liter turbocharged with 235 hp, an 8-speed planetary gearbox and front-wheel drive.
The price is similar to that of the competitors mentioned earlier, and as mentioned, they may be more competitive with regular imports.
At Automax, the list prices start at about NIS 340,000 for the simple version of the 2.0-liter engine or NIS 460,000 for the entry-level version of the 3.6-liter engine.
The ultra equipped and expensive versions will also cross the half million shekel mark.
"The people's car", yes?
Unchangeable winning horse: Ford Mustang
The new generation remains loyal to gasoline (photo: Ford)
You may have heard about the new generation of Ford Mustang being introduced, but you can put the credit card back in your wallet - it is not expected to enter production before the second or third quarter of 2023 and is defined as a 2024 model. But this means that quite a few more Mustangs will still be racing here through the parallel import channel as they did So far for years.
The Mustang began as a popular sports car, but today offers a huge variety of versions ranging from simple to incredibly brutal performance machines.
The sports car offers engines that start with a 2.3-liter turbo with 315 hp, go in the GT with a 5-liter engine with a capacity of 480 hp (in the Mach 1 version) and up to a 5.2-liter V8 with 760 hp, 3.3 seconds for maximum 100 and 290 km/h.
The prices vary according to the trim levels, the configuration (coupe or cabriolet) and the engines, but start around NIS 280,000 for the simple versions of the 2.3-liter engine, around NIS 335,000 for the higher trim levels, and for those who go for the large V8 engines in the GT, the amounts already You start with a prefix of 400 thousand shekels and upwards, for the monstrous Shelbi editions you will already prepare about half a million shekels and if you are really irresponsible to that extent, there is the GT500 with a price tag that also reaches 800 thousand shekels.
Ford Mach E: the electric differential
Mustang Mach E. Like the Tesla Model Y, but with heritage (photo: manufacturer's website, manufacturer)
Ford made its entry into the streetcar market by taking advantage of the Mustang's reputation to create a sporty crossover that turns heads thanks to its design and not because of the sound of its gasoline engine.
The Mustang sells well in the US and is also offered in Europe, but for now it only comes to Israel through parallel import. There is a 68 kWh battery as an entry-level version, but the preference is with 88 kWh and 435 km.
The power varies between 266 and 346 hp, and the range between 370 and 600 km.
At the top is the GT with a 99 kWh battery, 465 hp, and acceleration from standstill to 100 km/h in less than 4 seconds. In
the US and Europe, the Mach E competes mainly with the Tesla Model Y, and it is priced accordingly even when arriving Its limited stocks to the parallel import agencies.
The driver's environment will also look familiar to Eloman Musk, with a horizontal 15.5-inch display in the center, but unlike the Tesla, there is also another 10.1-inch one that serves as a dashboard.
Ford does not send to Israel almost any of the interesting models it launched in recent years, including the Maverick, the electric 150F lighting, and the Mach E suffers the same fate.
Sometimes it seems that the parallel import channel was invented for such manufacturers who find it difficult for their own reasons to allocate their more successful configuration to Israel.
Toyota Tacoma: Hilux XL
Like a Hilux, but not for work (Photo: Toyota)
The van market has been dominated here for years by the Japanese and the Americans.
Toyota stars with the Hilux in the first group, but leaves the second to Chevrolet, Ram and Ford.
This is despite the fact that in the USA it successfully sells the Tacoma, an enlarged and equipped version of the Hilux, with a 3.5-liter gasoline engine with 278 hp replacing the diesel engine of the little brother.
The Tacoma has roomier interior space and superior approach and departure angles, and has an off-road-oriented performance version, TRD.
It is not a work van, and its fuel costs will be significantly higher than a diesel van.
But with a price tag in a parallel import ranging from NIS 320-360 thousand, it is anyway priced more as a recreational vehicle, and as a van it offers much more recreational capabilities than any crossover with a luxury symbol at the same price.