By on April 2, 2013

Honda and the Big Three posted the biggest gains this month, and we’re getting word that March’s best-selling car was the Nissan Altima, followed closely by the Camry and Accord.

Table courtesy Automotive News

Automaker March 2013 March 2012 Pct. chng. 3 month
2013
3 month
2012
Pct. chng.
BMW Group 33,233 29,885 11% 79,209 75,966 4%
    BMW division 27,078 23,940 13% 64,902 61,549 5%
    Mini 6,071 5,866 4% 14,055 14,180 –1%
    Rolls-Royce 84 79 6% 252 237 6%
BMW Group 33,233 29,885 11% 79,209 75,966 4%
Chrysler Group 171,606 163,381 5% 428,352 398,051 8%
    Chrysler Division 33,905 34,726 –2% 79,684 79,338 0%
    Dodge 59,885 52,076 15% 158,751 126,222 26%
    Dodge/Ram 94,425 79,819 18% 238,105 195,717 22%
    Fiat 3,807 3,712 3% 9,612 8,850 9%
    Jeep 39,469 45,124 –13% 100,951 114,146 –12%
    Ram 34,540 27,743 25% 79,354 69,495 14%
Chrysler Group 171,606 163,381 5% 428,352 398,051 8%
Daimler AG 27,104 25,514 6% 75,214 66,924 12%
    Maybach 4 –100% 12 –100%
    Mercedes-Benz 26,175 24,511 7% 73,021 64,648 13%
    Smart USA 929 999 –7% 2,193 2,264 –3%
Daimler AG 27,104 25,514 6% 75,214 66,924 12%
Ford Motor Co. 235,643 222,884 6% 596,816 537,822 11%
    Ford division 228,818 214,081 7% 580,917 516,986 12%
    Lincoln 6,825 8,803 –23% 15,899 20,836 –24%
Ford Motor Co. 235,643 222,884 6% 596,816 537,822 11%
General Motors 245,950 231,052 6% 664,963 608,320 9%
    Buick 18,007 13,105 37% 47,620 37,336 28%
    Cadillac 15,751 10,537 50% 42,712 30,966 38%
    Chevrolet 173,859 173,073 1% 469,704 448,134 5%
    GMC 38,333 34,337 12% 104,927 91,884 14%
General Motors 245,950 231,052 6% 664,963 608,320 9%
Honda (American) 136,038 126,999 7% 337,651 320,165 6%
    Acura 14,100 11,166 26% 34,953 30,805 14%
    Honda Division 121,938 115,833 5% 302,698 289,360 5%
Honda (American) 136,038 126,999 7% 337,651 320,165 6%
Hyundai Group 117,431 127,233 –8% 291,262 301,633 –3%
    Hyundai division 68,306 69,728 –2% 164,330 163,573 1%
    Kia 49,125 57,505 –15% 126,932 138,060 –8%
Hyundai Group 117,431 127,233 –8% 291,262 301,633 –3%
Jaguar Land Rover 5,722 5,520 4% 16,004 13,987 14%
    Jaguar 1,408 1,321 7% 3,585 3,328 8%
    Land Rover 4,314 4,199 3% 12,419 10,659 17%
Jaguar Land Rover 5,722 5,520 4% 16,004 13,987 14%
Maserati 218 257 –15% 549 602 –9%
Maserati 218 257 –15% 549 602 –9%
Mazda 32,028 32,376 –1% 78,283 82,023 –5%
Mazda 32,028 32,376 –1% 78,283 82,023 –5%
Mitsubishi 5,286 7,160 –26% 15,996 16,607 –4%
Mitsubishi 5,286 7,160 –26% 15,996 16,607 –4%
Nissan 137,726 136,317 1% 318,281 322,361 –1%
    Infiniti 11,103 10,185 9% 27,376 26,220 4%
    Nissan Division 126,623 126,132 0% 290,905 296,141 –2%
Nissan 137,726 136,317 1% 318,281 322,361 –1%
Subaru 36,701 32,387 13% 92,527 80,568 15%
Subaru 36,701 32,387 13% 92,527 80,568 15%
Suzuki* 2,696 2,632 2% 5,946 6,562 –9%
Suzuki 2,696 2,632 2% 5,946 6,562 –9%
Toyota 205,342 203,282 1% 529,444 487,284 9%
    Lexus 23,190 20,140 15% 56,740 49,096 16%
    Scion 6,432 6,694 –4% 16,377 15,171 8%
    Toyota division 175,720 176,448 0% 456,327 423,017 8%
    Toyota/Scion 182,152 183,142 –1% 472,704 438,188 8%
Toyota 205,342 203,282 1% 529,444 487,284 9%
Volkswagen 54,696 50,882 8% 142,726 131,581 9%
    Audi 13,253 11,585 14% 34,186 29,470 16%
    Bentley 206 206 0% 574 450 28%
    Lamborghini 46 43 7% 138 129 7%
    Porsche 3,487 2,460 42% 9,650 7,159 35%
    VW division 37,704 36,588 3% 98,178 94,373 4%
Volkswagen 54,696 50,882 8% 142,726 131,581 9%
Volvo Cars NA 5,365 6,693 –20% 15,107 16,418 –8%
Volvo Cars NA 5,365 6,693 –20% 15,107 16,418 –8%
    Other (estimate) 253 245 3% 759 735 3%
TOTAL 1,453,038 1,404,699 3% 3,689,089 3,467,609 6%
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108 Comments on “March 2013 U.S. Car Sales...”


  • avatar
    Secret Hi5

    Hmm . . . What’s going on at Hyundai?

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Post tsunami production for the Japanese makers are back and inventories are stabilized – they are now having to compete on a 100% even field with Ford particularly strong, GM hitting it right in the B and C segments particularly, and the Dart product mix improving (e.g. more automatics).

      Hyundai is having to compete – more – and it seems to me they are moving away from lots of cash on the hood, although they still seem to cater to the subprime crowd. I don’t think any of this is particularly “bad,” but the natural order of things are being restored.

      Regardless, in the B, C and D segments, and when it comes to compact and midsized CUV/SUVs, and really for minivans too – there isn’t a bad choice among them. It really comes down to individual preferences. Any of the non-luxury brands (to take BMW, Audi and Mercedes out of the mix) will give you 150K relatively trouble free miles from new right now if you just follow the care requirements in the owner’s manual. Yes, I would even put the maligned Jetta.

      • 0 avatar
        th009

        The Dart is still selling at only half the rate of the geriatric Avenger, so I don’t think it’ll be at the top of the list of problems for the Hyundai execs.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        Hyundai still has the lowest amount of incentive spending (according to TrueCar).

        Basically, Hyundai sales is holding serve as there is no more capacity and Kia sales have been hurt by a work stoppage in Korea, as well as the Sedona not being offered this year and sales of the old Forte winding down as the new Forte will soon be launched.

    • 0 avatar
      tikki50

      a production problem, again. Because lets face it, they are the best cars in the world right TTAC.

    • 0 avatar
      eggsalad

      It’s interesting to see that despite the numbers being down at H/K, every dealer of both brands for 200 miles in any direction thinks their cars are made of gold.

      From the lowliest Accent and Rio, all the way to the top of the line, every H/K car on the lot carries a $3,000 ADM sticker.

      Until those ADMs are gone, H/K will lose business. A car that’s a good value at $18k (I’m looking at you, Elantra GT) completely loses my interest at $21k.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        I agree. I like the Kia Optima SX (with nav and sunroof), but not for what they’re selling them at…

        • 0 avatar
          200k-min

          It’s not just Hyundai/Kia. Ford/Honda/Toyota think their cars are carved from solid gold too….or better stated, the options list is. Some leather, sunroof and navigation isn’t worth $10k – not now, not ever.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            The problem for Hyundai/Kia going forward is that most of their vehicles are now significantly overpriced (yes, significantly) compared to their Asian and U.S. competition.

            When comparably equipped Hyundais and Sonatas could be purchased for 20%+ less than comparably equipped Japanese and American vehicles, man were tempted to care less about the badge on their new vehicle, and more importantly, many were willing to live with spotty quality (not all Hyundai or Kia models, but many) and — clearly inferior suspension systems (I’ve always maintained and still maintain that Hyundai/Kia still are not competitive in terms of suspension systems; many who have driven a Genesis Sedan, Sorrento, Azera, Veracruz, etc. know exactly what I’m talking about).

            Now that the Koreans no longer carry a significant discount, people are likely to be and to grow less forgiving of anything less than class leading or matching quality and design.

    • 0 avatar
      Type57SC

      Inventory struggles and the return of stocked lots, incentives and marketing budgets at Honda and Toyota.

    • 0 avatar
      philadlj

      This is probably a small factor, but the fact they had to revise downward EPA numbers for several models might have put off a potential customer here or there.

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      What’s going on is that Hyundai is not being aggressive with incentives – minimal rebates (most are tied to financing with Hyundai), almost no 0% deals, and some models don’t even have discounted rates through Hyundai or incentives at all. Meanwhile, the competition is whoring their cars out. Production is still tight on some models – Accent, Tucson, Santa Fe, but the volume cars like Elantra and Sonata we seem to have plenty of now. I don’t think Hyundai is too worried, though. They are still selling all they can make.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        The strike/work slow down in Korea has hurt supply of models imported from Korea and Hyundai really needs to find a way to expand supply of the Santa Fe Sport – since the 7-8k they get a month from Kia’s plant isn’t going to cut it.

    • 0 avatar
      jimmyy

      Easy. Overstyled vehicles have short life spans. Ford will be hitting this same overstyled roadblock shortly. Very few want to spend their money on an overstyled vehicle that will age quickly. Toyota and Honda have always knows this. The cardinal rule … conservative styling = resale.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        I think this is a pretty valid point. If you look at the legendary Camry from 92 – 96 the car has aged incredibly well (although the 97 update moved far away from the prior styling).

        BUT – I think there is a fine line between getting it right, not doing enough, and over styling.

        I think the Corolla (fine, the sales numbers prove otherwise) is an example of not doing enough. On the other hand I think the Cadillac CTS (which has controversial looks) like it or hate, has had a continued evolution. It is a good example of riding that line of “over styled.” Another great example of doing it “just right” is the Challenger.

        The Camaro is definitely going to have big problems – as an example of going too far.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          I agree, especially with what you said about Camaro. The pre-facelift version was great, but I think the post-facelift one looks ugly to boot, and will only get worse as the years go on. As much as I like GM, I have to say that Mustangs have always looked better, and they’re going to blow Camaro out of the water with their (presumed) MY2015 redesign.

          I think that Accord, Fusion Mazda6 and Passat will look the best in a few years, but Sonata, Camry and Legacy will be definite losers in the looks department. Optima and Malibu could go either way, the latter depending on how good the ’14 refresh is. 200 and Avenger are, as far as I’m concerned, neither genuinely mid-sized nor remotely relevant in this particular arena.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        Except, resale on Hyundais and Kias have seen a marked increase with the current lineup (ALG ranks Hyundai 2nd, after Honda, for residual value for 2013 models).

        Must be why Mercedes and Lexus have gone the other way design language-wise.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      People tired of whaly Sonata, which never had my heart pumping. But it it obviously Kia that tanking.

  • avatar
    mike978

    It is interesting that 3 of Toyota’s big four vehicles actually had sales declines (some by double digits) – RAV4, Camry and Prius. As BS would say growing less than the market leads to market share declines and this isn`t the first month this has happened. Q1 has been pretty consistent with Honda and the big 3 doing well.
    I was initially surprised by Nissan only growing by 1% but then remembered that they are trying to hold onto the post Tsunami increase they had.
    I am not surprised the Altima did well because they are throwing money at it. A colleague bought an Altima 2.5S last week and got $3.5K off a $23500 MSRP. A dealer in Florida is offering $6-7K off SV and SL models (c.20% off).

    • 0 avatar
      sunridge place

      Altima is actually down 10% YTD with an all new model this year. Further evidence of the brutal competition in the mid-size segment.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        Agreed, that is why they are throwing money at it. Plus I see on Edmunds $750 straight from Nissan if you buy or lease an Altima.

        Glad to see the Mazda 6 is starting to do well (still not at last March’s figures, but no longer at 2000 units a month).

    • 0 avatar
      jimmyy

      Your number spin is not working. Fact … Toyota + Honda + Nissan have a record market share of the midsize sedan market. Detroit should abandon this segment. Ford is throwing thousands on the hood of the Fusion just to get 4th place. Not good.

      The Japanese are giving away nearly nothing. The 0% interest rate is an inexpensive incentive … on the order of hundreds.

      • 0 avatar
        VA Terrapin

        A healthy SAAR overall. I wonder how much of this increase in sales is due to incentives. I also wonder if part of this increase is due to people trading in gas guzzlers for smaller cars due to rapidly rising gas prices earlier this year.

        Looking at YTD sales, I’m surprised that newer, small cars like the Civic and Focus have gone down in sales while older competitors like the Corolla/Matrix, Cruze and Elantra have gone up.

        • 0 avatar
          carrya1911

          The only incentive Honda has at the moment, to the best of my knowledge, is 0.9% finance from Honda for a 36 month loan to those with good credit. Even that is slated to end relatively soon.

      • 0 avatar
        sunridge place

        http://www.gulfstates.buyatoyota.com/Advanced/Pages/OfferSearch.aspx

        $1500 cash rebate on a 2013 Camry in Texas. Not 0% stuff. $1500 cash back is $1500 cash back no matter how you try to spin it.

        I’m not arguing market share. The Japanese are putting their foot on the throat of the mid-size segment and not giving up a thing. But, they are paying for it.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        Jimmyy – no spin, just facts that three of Toyota’s big sellers actually fell last month.
        Honda deserve the surging Accord sales, Camry doesn`t deserve second place – it is objectively inferior to Accord and Altima on space and fuel economy. As others have pointed out Nissan and Toyota are as you call it whoring their cars out. Unless you don`t call 0% finance and >$2000 off a $20K car whoring out.

        Next time GM or someone does 0% finance I expect no complaint from you because it costs nearly nothing apparently.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        The ATP of the Fusion is $1k more than the Accord and a whopping $2k more than the Camry.

  • avatar
    Reino

    No surprise to see a big increase in Cadillac and Buick, but…who the hell is buying more Acuras?

  • avatar
    thornmark

    Accord won retail sales, #3 overall but up 36%. Camry and Altima dropped even with massive discounting.

    • 0 avatar
      jimmyy

      Massive discounting on Camry? Are you making that up?

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        $1500 cash on the hood of 2013 Camry – 0% for 60 months. Average dealer discount (the break the dealer gives off of the sticker price above and beyond any incentives) for Toyota products is over 9%.

        Camry SE lease for $209 a month (ya, you read that right) for the 4-banger, $259 a month for the 6-banger. $2509 due at signing on the 4-banger $209 a month lease, but they give you $1000 cash – so really $1509 needed.

        All of the above is based on 2013 models, 2012 models have $2,000 on the hood.

        Pulled all of this information right off of Toyota’s website at 3:00 PM (PDT) 4/2/2013.

        In comparison the Chevy Malibu.

        $1500 in cash on the hood. 2.9% finance deal is as good as it gets. A stripper 2013 Malibu LS has a lease deal of $233 a month – but zero down.

        Toyota’s Camry incentives are more generous that the rather unacceptable Malibu. Pulled all of this information right off of Chevrolet’s website at 3:15 PM (PDT) 4/2/2013.

        In comparison the Ford Fusion.

        Ford Fusion is getting 0% for 60 months PLUS $1000 on the hood. Or you can take $1500 cash back, and/or if you’re ending a lease on a competing product, another $1000 on the hood. Ford is not running any cheapo lease deals according to their website. Pulled all of this information right off of Ford’s website at 3:15 PM (PDT) 4/2/2013.

        Sorry jimmyy – but Toyota’s incentives are on par or more generous than Ford and Chevrolet – and the $209 lease deal with a $1000 on the table, $1500 drive out for an SE Camry (not a stripper L or LE) is a “give away.”

        I agree with thornmark, there is some serious discounting going on with the Camry. It’s on par with Detroit.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          Why you would lease a non-luxury midsized sedan is beyond me, so I rarely pay attention to lease deals…

        • 0 avatar
          KixStart

          I have to wonder if there are regional differences. Around here (MN), my dealer is offering $1500 cash back on Camrys… that is on 2012 Camrys only. There is cut-rate financing available, 0.9% for 36 months for the 2012 and the 2013s, but that’s not a major deal when I can get 2% from a bank. Good credit required.

          The other incentives on their cars seem to be no big deal. 1% financing advantage on Priuses. Lease specials on Scions are $189-209/month.

          As it happens, I was in the market for an inexpensive car and couldn’t find a way to swing a Yaris for anywhere near what I wanted to spend. Mazda was offering $2K rebates on the Mazda2, bringing the price down to $13,700 (leftover 2012 with auto) or $14,100 (new base stick 2013), which was tempting, but I decided to keep the expense to a minimum and finally found a used car I liked.

      • 0 avatar
        sunridge place

        Agree @APaGtth. You beat me to it as I made the same point to jimmyy above before scrolling down.

        Nothing wrong with it, but Toyota has been very agressive with rebates as all mid-sizes came out with new models within a year.

        jimmmy is living in the past when Toyota might throw out a 0% for 36 months and have no cash back. Can’t blame them I guess. Gotta stay competitive. But, jimmy needs to catch up to the present and not live in the past.

        • 0 avatar
          mike978

          Agreed either Jimmyy is just ignorant of the new market conditions or he is purposely trolling. Toyota used to be able to trade on name, reliability etc but after 2008 they have not been able to charge a premium and they have admitted that they are unlikely to sell much more than 400,000 Camry’s this year. That is a solid number and an achievement but they will lose market share – just a fact when there are plenty of compelling midsize sedans. Accord, Altima and 6 are certainly all better and as reliable.

          Camry is also getting giveaways on Edmunds along with Altima.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            It does seem like the Obama regime had some luck with their witch trials after all, but it hasn’t applied to used cars. Even the ones built during the farce are still worth more than anything this side of a used Honda.

          • 0 avatar
            bd2

            If you think Toyota is giving away Camrys, you should look at what they are doing with the Corolla.

        • 0 avatar
          mike978

          It is clear the old order has changed where Camry would be well out in front, followed by a solid second for the Accord and then everyone else. It seems there are 4 main players (Camry, Altima, Accord and Fusion) whoa er within 20% of each other and all selling between 300-400K a year. Incentives have certainly spread to Toyota and Nissan. Honda has much more discipline and their achievement is more noteworthy because of that and the non-existent fleet sales.
          The Passat seems to have ground to a halt with 10K a month. A colleague who looked at one last month was turned off because the TDi was too expensive and the base gasoline engine too thirsty- She bought an Altima.

          Nissan should be doing better though because they are the only manufacturer to offer vehicles across the whole range – subcompact to large sedans, trucks, minivans, odd bod cars (Cube/Juke) as well as luxury.

  • avatar
    cargogh

    Drove across Kentucky yesterday, and while they were over a year old, it seemed I met more Altimas than anything else. Saw 3X more new Fusions than new Malibus–three and one. That Malibu is horrible compared to the model before. I’m hoping that GM can keep the momentum going for Buick without pulling some crap like that major downgrade.
    This is in the land of Chevy, Ford and Dodge 4x4s, with Rangers, S-10s and Explorers thrown in for good measure. Lots of Camrys. There was one Fiesta with a trunk. Two black Cruzes and 2 Sonics–a sedan and a hatchback.
    Got passed by an Equus and equated it to a fake Rolex. I figured if it looked ok, kept good time, and hung on your wrist, it didn’t really matter did it? Then I said screw that, it is a Hyundai; I wouldn’t want one. Speaking of H, saw a few Sonatas. They already look so dated and cheaply foreign. Yikes. That was a flash in the pan styling, but then they sold a billion of them. On the other hand, I think the Elantra is a good looking body, but I didn’t see any of those. Several Lucerns, and a butt load of newer CTSs, but the Marquis and Crown Vic crowd have faded out of view.

  • avatar
    billfrombuckhead

    Chrysler’s assault on the profitable truck market has begun! 33,000 Ram trucks last month with a far stronger product mix on the way with Pentastar 8 speeds coming in volume, Hemi 8 speeds after that and diesel 8 speed 1500′s in the fall.

    How about 29K 200′s and Avengers last month?

    Ford is having a very strong launch of the Fusion and Escape.

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      Looks like both Chrysler and GM are outspending Ford on truck incentives. $3K on the hood for either a RAM 1500 4×2 quad cab or a Chevrolet Silverado 4×2 crew cab. Ford is offering just $1000 on the equivalent F150 …

      Oh yeah, the Avenger/200 rebates range from $3250 to $4000 on cars that list between $19K and $25K. No wonder they’re able to sell them.

      Escape is well beyond launch, it’s been in production for a year already. It’s simply selling very well. Heck, even I don’t mind driving one, and I’m definitely not a truck guy.

  • avatar
    sketch447

    Interesting that the much-maligned 200/Avenger twins are comfortably in the top-10. I always knew they were decent cars, equal to any Korean brand.

    Sonata seems to be tanking. Just 18 mos. ago, Hyundai was talking of building another factory to meet demand. They just don’t discount the things, so people walk over to Chrysler or GM (who do discount their cars).

    People want a great car. But they’ll settle for a good car with lotsa cash on the hood. That’s the one thing the Americans have always understood over the Japanese.

    Heck, in 2004, I bought a brand new leftover Alero for $12k. Never regretted it and I saved many $$thousands over a Camry/Accord.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      If you scroll up I just responded to jimmyy showing that the incentives, lease deals, and cash on the hood of the Camry are equal to or better than the Fusion or Malibu. Go figure.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      “People want a great car. But they’ll settle for a good car with lotsa cash on the hood. That’s the one thing the Americans have always understood over the Japanese.”

      So you’re saying that building uncompetitive cars and then having to give them away has been some sort of strategy?

      • 0 avatar
        VA Terrapin

        “So you’re saying that building uncompetitive cars and then having to give them away has been some sort of strategy?”

        Thanks to the jobs bank and other idiotic UAW and management co-decisions, this actually was the Detroit Three’s strategy during the 90s and 00s. Increase production to potentially increase revenues by having more cars to sell, decontent cars to improve profitability per unit, and encourage sales of excess inventory using aggressive incentives. The results were that the Detroit Three built inferior cars, their customers took on more of a mentality of buying their cars based on cheap price and less on quality, and resale values took a hit.

        Right now, the Detroit Three isn’t nearly as bad with this strategy as it used to be, while other car companies (Japan’s Big Three and Volkswagen) seem to be following this formula.

    • 0 avatar
      ranwhenparked

      The truth is that the Avenger & 200 are not all that bad anymore. The heavy Sebring-to-200 facelift, and the upgraded interiors really did move them from bottom of the pack to solid middle-of-the-road status, not great, but not bad. If you get a good price on one, you could do worse. That’s good enough for a lot of people.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        TTAC even had two separate, positive reviews of the Chrysler 200, and one review of the 200 equipped with the Pentastar V6 was a borderline glowing one, not only praising the ride, interior fit and finish and powertrain of the 200, but calling it an unconditional “bargain” relative to the competition.

        One of the things I like most about TTAC are the reviews that cut against the grain and tone of reviews of the old, stale automotive press, who are actually merely errand boys, sent by grocery clerks, to collect a bill (for the manufacturers).

        This is probably the biggest reason certain TTAC writers/reviewers don’t have an open & unlimited portal into the VIP & Champagne rooms hosted by the manufacturers – you know, that whole “criticism, let alone brutal honesty, is most unappreciated” thing.

        • 0 avatar
          joeveto3

          I had a 200 Covertible in Florida for 8 days last month. I actually liked it. A lot. I drove it from Miami, up across Alligator Alley, around middle Florida, and then up to Jacksonville. I easily put over 1000 miles on it.

          Even though it was a base 4cyl and I spent most of my time driving it with the top UP, I was really sad to see it go.

          I was Shocked.

          Up until this experience, I foolishly belived what I read and expected a total POS.

          I drove the heck out of it, from Tampa to Orlando and back to make meetings. It was comfortable and actually got good mileage. When I was able to drop the top, that was the icing on the cake.

          Again, I was shocked. It’s a really good car.

          • 0 avatar
            threeer

            Joe…more or lesss the same story for me when I rented a (then) newly redesigned 200 last year. At first, I though…OMG…please do NOT stick me with this POS Chrysler. But after nearly a week driving it, I found it to be a pleasant car to drive. It wasn’t the near-300 HP six, but the car ran well. And call me wierd, but one of the store managers here at our local Publix has a metallic orang Avenger R/T that I secretly think is really cool…shocking, I know…

  • avatar
    TheEndlessEnigma

    The Altima was best selling in March for one reason and one reason only, MASSIVE incentive/rebate package. Here in Tampa, you have Nissan dealers advertizing the things at $7000 off due to “factory rebates”. You can pick up a top trim 2.5 SV (yes thats the 4 cyl engine) for $19000 – additional haggling with the dealer, a car that would normally cost you mid-20′s.

  • avatar
    TheEndlessEnigma

    Just wondering where all those people are who were saying not more than 2 years ago that Chrysler will NEVER sell more than 800,000 cars a year?

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      I thought GM would be bankrupt by now, and the Mustang was going to crush the Camaro. The Eminem Imported from Detroit campaign was a mistake for Chrysler, the Ram pickup truck is irrelevant, and no one will pay $20,000 for a Focus or Cruze.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        My prediction skills pretty much suck as well. Becoming an auto analyst would not be a good career path for me. I don’t think I made a single correct prediction.

    • 0 avatar
      kksulli

      Apparently, Chrysler broke a record this March having 36 consecutive months of sales gains, beating the previous record of 35 months from February 1992 – December 1994.

    • 0 avatar
      Type57SC

      I always thought CSM was silly to predict they don’t make it (after the bk), but never thought they’d rock-out-with-their-****-out like this.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Ouch, Toyota car sales numbers are kind of – yech.

    Yaris (redesigned last year) – down 26.9% year-over-year in 2013
    Prius family – down 7.2% year-over-year in 2013
    Camry (redesigned) – down 3.1% year-over-year in 2013
    Scion iQ – down 59.5% – only 383 units sold this month, 1,009 for the year
    Scion tC – down 19.9% year-over-year in 2013

    Take away the gains from the Corolla, the only bright spot in the non-luxury segments and Toyota cars are down for the year. That is even comparing against a still inventory coming up to speed 2012 data from last year – and some Detroit grade incentives on bread and butter vehicles like the Camry and Corolla.

    Lexus division

    CT down 32.8%
    IS down 20.9%
    GS down 17.9%

    The march of the trucks, CUV, and SUV continue – even for the Japanese makers – it’s the bright spot on the delivery sheets (all for the year)

    RAV4 up 5.2%
    FJ Cruiser up 10.3%
    Venza up 30.0%!!!
    Highlander up 14.8%
    4Runner up 31.7%
    Sienna up 21.6%
    Sequoia up 6.1%
    Land Cruiser up 70%
    Tacoma up 24.5%
    Tundra up 16.9%

    RX up 21.2%

    41% of Toyota sales are now CUV, SUV or trucks.

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      Still, there are bright spots for Toyota. The Avalon and ES were up nearly double. That is likely to be some high-quality profit margins.

      • 0 avatar
        ttacfan

        Have you tried getting in and out of the redesigned Camry? If you got inside, did you try looking out of it? I bet the good portion of the Avalon and Lexus ES increase is due to folks too old, too tall or too fat for the acrobatics required by the redesigned Camry.

    • 0 avatar
      Type57SC

      cha-ching! That’s a very profitable mix swing

  • avatar
    ajla

    Looks like I’ll finally be right about something because Lincoln is done.

    Every dollar Ford spends on it is a waste.

  • avatar
    TorontoSkeptic

    Wow, is the US economy really doing that well or is insane subprime lending going on? Because the mainstream luxury numbers (non-exotic) are pretty eye-popping. Going on the 3 month y/y averages…

    Acura +14%
    Cadillac +38%
    Mercedes +13%
    Land Rover +17%
    Lexus +16%
    Porsche +35%
    Audi +16%

    I know there is the tsunami factor with the Japanese brands but still, is everyone replacing their 2001 econobox with a Caddy? (I thought I read that the median car in the US was 11 years old)

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      You forgot to include the numbers for Lincoln … ?

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        Lincoln is off 23%.

        He also left off Infiniti, up 9%. Generally, it looks like transaction prices should be notably up for the entire market. Unless all the luxury marques are heavily discounting.

      • 0 avatar
        TorontoSkeptic

        Yes Lincoln is down, but almost every other luxury brand is up a lot… and while it’s not double digits Infiniti, BMW, Jaguar, Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Lanborghini and Buick (semi-luxury? it’s similar to Acura in my mind) are all positive on the 3 month y/y comparison.

        Seems crazy to me living outside the US and reading about record high unemployment, student loan debt, housing foreclosures, underwater mortgages, municipal bankruptcies, etc etc.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      The tsunami was TWO years ago.

  • avatar
    VA Terrapin

    The US economy isn’t doing that well, but it has improved compared to 2008-2009. Eligibility for car loans might be easing. Incentives are up for Japanese brands and not much different for Detroit compared to the past. There’s probably also some pent up demand to replace aging cars bought earlier in the previous decade that didn’t get met when car sales tanked later in the decade.

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      Also, high prices for used cars give current owners more opportunity to buy.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      A big reason that U.S. auto sales have bounced fairly robustly off the 2009 annual lows is that U.S. consumer debt (to finance things such as car & truck purchases) is now at a new record high level (at last check, in December, it stood at 2.77 trillion USD).

      Keep in mind that regardless as to whether the underlying economy is great, fair or poor at any given time, debt-fueled consumption merely pulls future demand forward.

      It isn’t difficult to make a case that the U.S. economy is still fundamentally quite weak, but that monetary policy in the U.S. is providing a tsunami of liquidity that’s making it possible for even poor credit-risk consumers to finance the purchase of new vehicles, especially in light of the pent up demand that has accrued, whereby the average vehicle on U.S. roads in (IIRC) 10.7 years old.

      We are also now seeing real time evidence that some manufacturers are clearly back to the old (and I would argue inevitable, given the cost structure and labor arrangements that are unique to the auto industry) habit of producing excess product, which continues to swell inventories.

      These current conditions will impact future levels of demand and pricing sooner than many think, and not in a manner that will be beneficial to the auto industry as a whole (where incentives will rise and fleet sales will increase; global manufacturing capacity literally can’t be taken off line fast enough given the global level of demand for passenger vehicles).

      Finally, on a more positive note, the automakers have succeeded in creating a highly profitable segment in the form of the crossover, with most being built on platforms shared with compact or midsized cars, and that are far more profitable in general than passenger cars are (even if I detest CUVs, and believe that the psychology of women, who somehow perceive crossovers to be “safer” than cars and more “stylish” than minivans, is the biggest, single catalyst driving the explosion in CUV sales).

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        “Keep in mind that regardless as to whether the underlying economy is great, fair or poor at any given time, debt-fueled consumption merely pulls future demand forward.”

        People could be betting that hyperinflation will soon be upon us. It’s a pretty sage wager, actually. Just look at commodities and energy costs.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          A lot of money from the sidelines is coming in to play.

          That’s usually a good indication that people who hoard cash money are expecting hyperinflation and are converting their cash into tangible asset, even depreciating assets like new cars.

          • 0 avatar
            corntrollio

            There’s no such thing as money on the sidelines. If Person A sells Asset 1 to Person B, then Person B’s money comes “off the sidelines” and Person A’s sale proceeds go “on the sidelines.” No new net funds on the sidelines.

            Anyway, I don’t know who these geniuses are who are allegedly converting cash out of fear of hyperinflation into depreciating assets like cars, but if they even exist, they’re idiots. Inflationistas have been saying this hyperinflation FUD crap for at least 5-6 years now.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          I do not believe there’s a single person on earth who truly knows whether the U.S. will experience high rates of inflation or coming deflationary bouts, despite bold claims made by many…the number of factors leading to such conditions are too numerous and complex for even advanced computer algorithms to accurately forecast (Japan’s central bank has been unsuccessfully attempting to induce inflation since the mid-1990s by massively increasing both the volume of the Japanese money supply, and the % of Japanese public debt as a ratio of Japanese GDP, with Japan now officially being the most indebted nation of all advanced economies).

          As for the “hyperinflation” argument (let alone the high inflation argument, which, again, I don’t think can be accurately forecast), I think this is nonsense.

          Hyperinflation is a monetary crisis AND systemic political crisis working in conjunction, whereby there’s a literal, total loss in the faith that a nation has the ability to repay even a fraction of the debt it owes to creditors (even in relatively highly devalued, nominal dollars).

          Hyperinflation is, in numerical terms, like obscenity, in that you know it when you see it, but is not 5%, 15% or even 25% per annum (those are damaging, high rates of inflation by advanced economy standards, but nowhere near hyperinflationary levels, which is something closer to a rate of 150% inflation, or well above, per annum).

          I believe that the use of the term “hyperinflation” in reference to advanced economies, let alone ones having global reserve currencies (like the U.S.) or competing reserve currencies (such as the EU), is one of the most frequently used & abused economic terms in modern times.

          • 0 avatar
            corntrollio

            Yes, the hyperinflation canard is overblown and is usually invoked by anti-Fed ideologues who don’t really understand economics or inflation.

            The inflationistas ignore the fact that inflation in currency occurred well before any quantitative easing. Increased inflation can occur due to an increase in the money supply or an increase in credit.

            When banks extended credit during the boom years prior to the financial crisis, they increased the money supply. All that quantitative easing is doing is maintaining this increased money supply caused by extension of credit, not adding to it.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            corntrollio, it’s refreshing to see that we agree on a substantive issue, as it serves as evidence that our sometimes frequent disagreements are legitimately on the substance, and not personal.

            I will add that I am not Ben Bernanke’s (nor Alan Greenspan’s) biggest fan, however, nor am I a fan of the modern system of full fractional reserve fiatism, since it inherently and ultimately comes to rely on a basic strategy of using the volume of fiat to induce asset valuation bubbles (that inevitably and always burst) in order to encourage consumption and resource mal-investment, via a psychological “wealth affect” phenomenon, which Bernanke calls the “virtuous circle,” rather than real wealth creation resulting from real net gains in productivity, the creation of significantly more efficient processes, or the discovery and production of higher yield sources of energy.

            The Federal Reserve or the central bank in any nation that employs fractional reserve fiatism is merely the conductor that helps to create asset bubbles to try and conceal (for however long) the decline in real wealth/productivity by seeding credit/debt based booms.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            “Lenin is said to have declared that the best way to destroy the Capitalist System was to debauch the currency. By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens. By this method they not only confiscate, but they confiscate arbitrarily; and, while the process impoverishes many, it actually enriches some. The sight of this arbitrary rearrangement of riches strikes not only at security, but at confidence in the equity of the existing distribution of wealth.”

            “There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose.”

            -John Maynard Keynes

            When Keynes said that, he didn’t have the advantage of witnessing trillion dollar deficits and 60 billion in monthly QE. Somehow he knew that much of the printed money would be concentrated in the hands of a few though.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Deadweight, One huge change that is coming is that more people will do job-sharing, spending only 25hrs/week at their job so their employer won’t have to furnish them with mandated healthcare.

        All those people may hold and job-share more than one job at different employers and may actually work a total of 50hrs/week at two jobs resulting in more money for them, and more disposable income to buy cars, etc.

        That’s a good thing too! Work at one employer for 5 hours, take a 1-hour lunch, then work at another employer elsewhere for 5 more hours.

        This could translate into more people needing to buy more cars.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          A counterargument can be made that as wages stagnate or decline (in real terms) people will be less able to purchase cars (used or new) as frequently in the past, that the increase in urbanization is significantly reducing reliance on passenger cars as modes of primary transportation, that working from home, despite a recent and modest decline, will increase rapidly in the future (especially given the relative inelasticity of the demand for gasoline if one wants/needs to drive their car), etc.

          There’s also more than a modest risk that “credit crunches” will grow more frequent and severe in the future, given that U.S. consumption has essentially been predominately the result of a credit crack-up boom (aka increasing debt levels) since the 1970s, which would effectively limit access to credit with which to purchase expensive/large ticket consumer goods such as passenger vehicles.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I agree, but I could see a world where these folks work their 40+ hours between two jobs and because both are so low pay, they effectively work more to get paid the same as those in traditional jobs.

          Work more, get less, and spend your extra sweat subsidizing the glorious people’s revolution.

        • 0 avatar
          Chicago Dude

          “One huge change that is coming is that more people will do job-sharing, spending only 25hrs/week at their job so their employer won’t have to furnish them with mandated healthcare.”

          There is a big problem with that theory. When you make a negative change to the terms of employment, your BEST employees leave first and there is nothing you can do to stop them. I’ve seen it happen from the inside at a major corporation. The employees that can’t do any better will stick around until you physically push them out the door. Once you go down that path, you need to be satisfied with mediocre employees because that’s all you’ll ever have again.

          If your competitor thinks they can hold on longer than you, offering healthcare benefits and 40 hours a week per employee, they will run you out of business because they don’t even have to pay the previous market rate for top employees anymore.

          Seriously. A few restaurant chainshave attempted to cut hours to avoid the increased costs. It has backfired for each one. Badly.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            The bean counters at the top will do whatever it takes to protect the bottom line, I’m sure most big chains would love to have legions of mediocre employees vs good/medium/bad.

            I agree with your logic in losing your “best employees” in such a manner but if you work in a low tier industry and everyone plays the same game, what is your recourse?

            Wait its coming on… get connected for free with edu-cat-ion co-nnec-tion. Run up your debt now for entry level jobs in equally crappy careers!

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I have to give props to this overall assessment.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      VA Terrapin, in spite of the US economy being sluggish, this is still an excellent time to buy that brand new car or truck. Prices will never be better.

      Sure, there’s pent-up demand. But there is also the recognition that there will never be a better time to buy that new vehicle, than right now!

      And that is a good thing. I read somewhere that SAAR is up to 15.2 million based on March-sales data. This is what is suppose to happen in a dynamic and constantly changing US auto industry.

      The analysts who predicted gloom and doom were not wrong; the manufacturers, marketers and dealers made changes in their strategy to accommodate more potential buyers through a variety of means and incentives, and success on the sales floor translates into a changed outlook for the industry. This outlook is for the better!

      Now that the political elections are over and the US population knows what to expect in the next four years, they are making adjustments to their lifestyles to suit their individual needs and help them circumvent upcoming taxes and government mandates.

      Two big things are going on right now that are bringing out hoarded money from the sidelines and that is people buying new cars and people buying second/third/fourth homes for themselves and their kids.

      Both new cars and home-sales are doing extremely well right now.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        “VA Terrapin, in spite of the US economy being sluggish, this is still an excellent time to buy that brand new car or truck. Prices will never be better.”

        I won’t say that your prediction won’t ultimately ring true, but will say that:

        1) It’s nearly impossible to know and therefore be able to predict what future prices will with respect to what are, for all practical purposes, commoditized goods, in the future, in real terms (i.e. many sports cars of far lesser performance, reliability and content were 2x to 3x as expensive as their modern counterparts, in real prices);

        2) Even if passenger cars were NOT the highly commoditized consumer goods that they are, similar predictions about “never a better time to buy” were made regarding U.S. housing trough 2007, on the basis that housing had never fallen in value, let alone failed to appreciate in real prices, on a nation-wide basis, and we know how that turned out;

        3) There are quite a few very solid reasons to predict that advances in technology related to manufacturing efficiencies, materials science and a whole host of other processes/materials could not only drive the prices of passenger vehicles down in real terms, but actually in NOMINAL terms (as these advances have in other industries, the most notable being the computer & electronic sectors).

        4) Passenger cars and trucks are the 2nd largest ticket item purchased by almost all consumers during their lifetimes, carry with them maintenance, finance, running and repair costs that can easily equal many times the initial purchase price, depreciate more rapidly than almost any other category of consumer goods, and thus carry a massive financial burden, and there’s never really a “great time to buy” a new passenger vehicle, but only relative better times to buy them, and on a rational basis, only when absolutely necessary.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    Miraculously, the Leaf sold a record 2236 cars in March, extending its EV sales lead worldwide.

    The Volt sold 1478, but it usually beats the Leaf in the US.

    In 6 months, I have yet to see another Leaf in western PA, besides my own. :(

    • 0 avatar
      baggins

      Out here in SF Bay area I see a Leaf nearly every day.

      Seen Tesla S at least a dozen times too

    • 0 avatar
      BrianL

      Nissan now has a $199 lease available for the Leaf and the Leaf S is now 6.4k cheaper than the entry model of last year. They have increased sales by lowering the price.

      I wouldn’t be surprised to see an uptick in sales from slashing prices.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    It is great to see US car sales remain bouyant.

    This creates much needed employment.

    It is hopefully a sign that the US is finally on the mend.

    It would also be interesting to see the sales for heavy vehicles as this is a good indicator on business within a country.

    Goods need to be moved around. I know trucks aren’t cars.

    • 0 avatar
      Athos Nobile

      “It would also be interesting to see the sales for heavy vehicles as this is a good indicator on business within a country.”

      And very often overlooked…

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    “It does seem like the Obama regime had some luck with their witch trials after all, but it hasn’t applied to used cars.”

    Lol. Wut?

  • avatar
    vcficus

    Chrysler’s going to build out the 200/Avenger for changeover to the new 200 coming out next year; last month will be June and new cars won’t be in dealers until April or so. Sterling Heights is getting a new body and paint shop.

    I think they’re just filling up the parking lots now so they’ll have something to sell… what I DON’T know is what they’re going to do with the Avenger and 200 Convertible. New 200 does not have a Dodge counterpart or convertible planned.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      That’s a pickle because I could see Avenger in a “Malibu Classic” role, but I know fleets like a convertible so that means there will be a certain percentage of 200 Convs in addition to Avenger. Too much “cheap” Chrysler in fleets could do more harm than good for the image.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    The two outliers at opposite ends of the pricing/financing spectrum,

    Land Rover 4,314
    Mitsubishi 5,286

    So there are at least 9600 suckers out there.

  • avatar
    chicagoland

    Avenger/200′s are the 2010′s [yes, this is a different decade!] fleet queens, I see so any around OHare airport with bar code stickers. It’s like the 2004-07 Taurus again.

    They are also cheap ‘nearly new’ used cars for Subprime buyers, maybe $11,995 for two year old Avengers, available by the truckload.


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