The Truth About Cars » Chart Of The Day http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Tue, 15 Jul 2014 20:01:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Chart Of The Day http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/chart-of-the-day/ Chart Of The Day: Channel Stuffing Bonanza http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/chart-of-the-day-channel-stuffing-bonanza/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/chart-of-the-day-channel-stuffing-bonanza/#comments Wed, 25 Jul 2012 15:15:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=454129

Today’s Chart comes from finance blog Zero Hedge, which has taken a periodic interest in General Motors channel stuffing endeavors. While we don’t normally report on stock prices here at TTAC, this one is worth mentioning.

The chart, using an inverted axis, shows the relationship between GM’s month-end inventory levels, and their post-IPO share price. The lower it goes, the more inventory The General seems to have.

Channel stuffing is an addiction that GM is unwilling to get help for, and it’s always the same nasty habit of loading up dealers with big full-size trucks and SUVs (to the tune of 130 day supply levels, or more), even though that’s what got them in to the whole bankruptcy mess in the first place. But that’s ok, because their sales numbers look great, even if their share price is in the toilet.

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Chart Of The Day: The Rise And Fall Of The Chevrolet Cruze http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/12/chart-of-the-day-the-rise-and-fall-of-the-chevrolet-cruze/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/12/chart-of-the-day-the-rise-and-fall-of-the-chevrolet-cruze/#comments Tue, 20 Dec 2011 18:43:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=422951
Ever since emerging from bankruptcy, the Chevrolet Cruze has been something of a symbol of GM’s rebound. Widely hailed by the automotive media as General Motors’ strongest effort to date in a compact segment that has become increasingly important in recent years, the Cruze seemed to show that the “new” GM was capable of selling smaller cars on their merits, rather than as afterthoughts to more profitable truck, SUV and large car offerings. And indeed, through the first half of this year, it seemed that the Cruze was something of a roaring success, regularly outselling its segment competitors. But then, in June, when production shifted from 2011 models to 2012 models, something changed: sales started to slow, and inventories started to rise. As Cruzes began piling up on dealer lots, GM trimmed production moderately, but still, inventories began to grow out of control. Clearly something was going wrong.

UPDATED: “Big Six” compact sedan monthly sales graph (Jan-Nov, 2011) added to gallery after the jump.

Last week, GM shut down production of the Cruze, saying only that it had an unspecified “supplier issue.” But Automotive News [sub] reports that  had already GM shut down the Lordstown plant for the entire week of November 28, after inventories shot from 33 days supply to 73 days supply during the months of September and October. As of December 1, inventories had risen higher still, to 88 days, as sales continue to slacken. Lordstown reopened yesterday, but with sales falling and inventories running out of control, another slowdown or stoppage of production seems inevitable.

So, what happened to the Cruze’s sales? The fact that its downturn coincided with the switch from 2011 to 2012 is certainly mysterious, as GMInsidenews’s reliable guide to 2012 model-year changes shows that only the following features were deleted from Cruze in the switch from 2011 to 2012:

  • (GAP) Imperial Blue Metallic exterior color
  • (EN4) Cargo cover compartment
  • Rear center headrest on all trims

Surely a lost cargo cover compartment and rear center headrest don’t explain the downturn… which might actually be cause for even greater concern. If GM could pinpoint a specific problem that is keeping buyers away from new 2012 Cruzes, it could remedy it fairly easily. As things stand though, it’s tough not to conclude that GM may simply have filled the bulk of market demand for their car, and that it’s now losing out to the brutally tough competition in its segment. If that’s the case, it doesn’t bode well for The General… at least in terms of perception, as the Cruze goes, so goes GM.

What happened? graph (79)

 

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Chart Of The Day: The Truth About Vehicle Fires Edition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/chart-of-the-day-vehicle-fires-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/chart-of-the-day-vehicle-fires-edition/#comments Mon, 14 Nov 2011 19:40:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=418173 I’ve suggested in these pages that the several documented fires involving Chevrolet Volts suggest some kind of pattern, as no other major-manufacturer EVs have been involved in any reported fires. But, as Ronnie Schreiber at Cars In Depth points out, even that pattern seems to pale in comparison to the National Fire Protection Association’s tally of highway vehicle fires in the US each year. Though the number of highway vehicle fires has decreased significantly since 1980, 2009 still saw 190,500 fires. And between 2003 and 2007,

On average, 31 highway vehicle fires were reported per hour. These fires killed one person a day.

Of course, if we’re talking about 200k fires (roughly) in 2008, a year in which there were 256 million registered vehicles (roughly) on the road, we’re still talking about less than one tenth of one percent of all vehicles on the road bursting into flame (.078%). On the other hand, with just over 10,000 Volts built and some 5,000 delivered, three fires could be either relatively insignificant (.03%) or comparable to the rest of the cars on the road (.06%), depending on whether you base it on production or deliveries. And because vehicles must be delivered before they can be used in normal circumstances, it seems that thus far the Volt is delivering a slightly lower percentage of fire incidents than the general vehicle population… which is estimated to be over 9 years old on average (whereas Volts are all a year old or less). So, while the evidence suggests that EVs as a class are just as fire-safe as any other car, the Volt still seems to be something of a statistical question mark.

 

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Chart Of The Day: Lexus Core Models (Plus Luxury/Premium Brands) In 2011 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/chart-of-the-day-lexus-core-models-plus-luxurypremium-brands-in-2011/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/chart-of-the-day-lexus-core-models-plus-luxurypremium-brands-in-2011/#comments Tue, 08 Nov 2011 23:14:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=417254

 

With today’s chart showing the abject failure of Lexus’s HS250h, we thought we’d dig deeper into Lexus’s 2011 performance by breaking out the brand’s core model sales over the year. And, to be perfectly honest, they don’t look as bad as you might expect. Though the tsunami-related supply shortages cut a huge hole out of Lexus’s sales this year, the overall momentum model-by-model doesn’t seem as bad as I might have thought, given that Lexus is the most-stumbling brand of the  year, sales-wise. And, to give a little more context to this focused at Lexus’s portfolio, we’ve included a chart of year-over-year performances through October of all the luxury/premium brands.  Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail Truth be told... graph (73)

 

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Volt Production Drops Slightly As Export Volume Ramps Up And Dealers Sell Demonstrators http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/volt-production-drops-slightly-as-export-volume-ramps-up-and-dealers-sell-demonstrators/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/volt-production-drops-slightly-as-export-volume-ramps-up-and-dealers-sell-demonstrators/#comments Mon, 07 Nov 2011 22:23:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=417051 With all the attention being paid to Volt sales, production and turn time in the wake of recent congressional criticism, I thought I’d update our recent chart of Volt sales versus production to see how GM’s wonder car is doing a month on. As you can see, there’s not much obvious change on the year-to-date chart, with both sales and production trending upwards. But if we zoom in on the most recent months, we can see something strange happening…

This chart, showing production and deliveries since the Detroit-Hamtramck plant was retooled shows a softening of demand and a small but undeniable downturn in Volt production. Wondering why GM was trimming production of a car it says it will build 60k units of next year (including 45k units for the US market), I reached out to GM to ask about the cutback. A spokesman replied

Our 2011 target is 16000 units global production and we’re right on target. The dip in Volt production is made up by an increase in Ampera production for export.

In other words, Det-Ham isn’t making fewer Volts, they’re just building more of them with Opel badges for Europe. But what about anecdotal evidence showing that US demand for the Volt is weak? Where are the 6,000 or so Volts that have been produced but not sold this year? GM’s breakdown is as follows:

As of Oct 31 we had built roughly 10500 vehicles, sold 5000, shipped 2300 dealer demos, had over 1400 in-transit (includes roughly 300 demos) and about 1800 on dealer lots… nearly 85 percent of the 2,600 participating Volt dealers have only one or zero Volt’s in stock. Of the 1400 dealers currently with no stock, roughly half have received a Volt and sold it and half are waiting to receive their first unit.

So, 1,800 units are currently on 1,200 lots. Presumably the 1,400 in-transit” units are headed to the 1,400 lots that have no Volts for sale. And now, Automotive News [sub] reports that GM is now allowing dealers to sell demonstrator-model Volts, noting

The move will increase the number of Volts available for sale to 4,100, from 1,800… Another 1,100 units are in transit.

GM will reimburse dealers $1,500 to compensate for depreciation and for the cost of removing some decals from the demo models. Dealers must sell their demos by Jan. 3 to qualify for the payment

In other words, if demand is as strong as GM is claiming, there should be no problems selling 10k units this year. Production is rolling along and inventory is building (AN [sub] says it was at 83 days supply as of October 1); though still a long way from the volume needed to sell 45k units in the US next year, sales are still growing as well. Over the next few months supply should build to the point where Volt demand should become discernible. One downside to the demonstrator-sale strategy: dealers will be giving up what GM calls its strongest halo car, which The General says draws customers who end up leaving in a Cruze. In any case, we’re about to learn a lot more about the real level of demand for the Volt… for now, however, we’ll have to stay patient.

 

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Chart(s) Of The Day: Is Subaru’s Sales Streak Losing Steam? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/charts-of-the-day-is-subarus-sales-streak-losing-steam/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/charts-of-the-day-is-subarus-sales-streak-losing-steam/#comments Mon, 07 Nov 2011 16:56:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=417035 Sales analysis for calender-year 2011 hasn’t been easy, as supply disruptions in Asia have caused sales dips that may not be related to actual market demand. So, it’s not entirely surprising that Subaru’s sales numbers seem to be drooping this year, after two years of spectacular sales growth. Indeed, the brand’s sales releases make much of its inventory woes, although Subaru USA’s Thomas Doll still insists that

Based on the continuing strong demand for our products, increased supply through December and the launch of the all-new Impreza we expect to finish 2011 with the fourth consecutive year of sales growth for Subaru.

And he may be right (note: our estimate of declining 2011 volume above is non-seasonally-adjusted). In fact, through October, Subaru was less than 1% off its pace for the previous year’s sales through October. On the other hand, if you look at Subaru’s sales over the last 18 months, you’ll find that not all of its sales slippage can be blamed on the tsunami….

Much of Subaru’s sales growth over the last two years was driven by Forester, which rode a buoyant compact crossover segment near- Outback/Legacy levels in 2008 and 2009. Now that model is in steady decline, and has been for well over a year. Though less responsible for growth during Subaru’s boom years, Impreza has also dropped steadily over the last 18 months.Outback and Legacy, meanwhile, are relatively flat, with the Outback showing the strongest signs of strong but tsunami-stifled demand.

But here’s the troubling part of the graph: After a holiday spike last December, Subaru started the year off with its first back-to-back, seriously weak sales months in years. It was only just recovering to its previous habit of setting new monthly records when the tsunami hit, and things have been soft ever since. Meanwhile, According to Automotive News [sub] data, Subaru’s inventory in September (when the brand claimed lowest-ever dealer inventory) was the same in terms of vehicles-per-franchise (34) as December 1, 2010, when the brand’s sales spiked. So much for the inventory argument?

Subaru’s latest press releases  express optimism about the brand’s sales, arguing that they will be coming back in the coming months. We’ll be keeping an eye on those numbers, to see if there are more signs of a slowdown in consumer demand for Subarus or if a turnaround is coming. Certainly it seems that the meteoric growth of 2008-2010 is over for now, but where the brand goes from here remains very much to be seen. Will a considerably more fuel-efficient Impreza bring back the big “Mo,” or will the brand be waiting until a new Forester or Outback to get back on track? Or is Subaru’s day in the sun over, marking a return to its early consistent but unspectacular sales numbers? We’ll be watching…

The hangover sets in? graph (70)

 

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Chart Of The Day: Compact Cars In October And Year-To-Date (Bonus Edition!) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/chart-of-the-day-compact-cars-in-october-and-year-to-date-bonus-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/chart-of-the-day-compact-cars-in-october-and-year-to-date-bonus-edition/#comments Fri, 04 Nov 2011 17:29:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=416918 With October’s compact segment numbers reflecting Midsized segment’s return to the Toyota-Honda duopoly, the year-to-date graph shows that 2011 saw the rise of a new contender in the compact class: Chevy’s Cruze. With “virtually zero” 2012 Civics at Honda’s dealers (allegedly) due to Earthquake aftermath and Thai flooding, it’s beginning to look like Civic could be  kicked out of the new triumvirate, leaving Cruze and Corolla to fight it out to the finish.  To celebrate the drama, we’ve included a special bonus graph showing the “Big Six” compact horserace from January through October, to go along with the YTD graph. Enjoy!

Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail The horserace... graph (66) Fast Times At Compact High....

 

 

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Chart Of The Day: Midsized Sedans In October And Year To Date http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/chart-of-the-day-midsized-sedans-in-october-and-year-to-date/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/chart-of-the-day-midsized-sedans-in-october-and-year-to-date/#comments Thu, 03 Nov 2011 19:05:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=416812 The import empire struck back last month, as Honda and Hyundai jumped in segment sales and Chevy’s Malibu got battered down towards the bottom of our monthly chart. Four of the top five midsized sellers in October were import nameplates, although the two biggest year-over-year growers were Chrysler’s 200 and Kia’s Optima. Meanwhile, VW’s Chattanooga-built Passat is still rolling out, but still managed to post 5,000 units in its first month.  Year-to-date rankings remain unchanged from last month, although Accord could easily squeeze past Fusion to snag third place by year’s end.

graph (59) Get 'em mid...

 

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Chart Of The Day: Brands That Are “Losing” 2011 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/chart-of-the-day-brands-that-are-losing-2011/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/chart-of-the-day-brands-that-are-losing-2011/#comments Wed, 02 Nov 2011 21:46:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=416643

The auto sales game has only one rule: sell more cars this year than you did last year. By that measure, these seven brands are “losing” 2011 as we head into the final two months of the year. Of course 2011′s king of bellyflopping brands was Mercury, which went from 78,656 units in the first 10 months of 2010 to 248 in the same period this year. But because it was mercifully euthanized by Ford (not to mention the fact that its 99.7% decline ruined the rest of the graph), Ford’s erstwhile “entry luxury” brand  has been left off.

And what we’re left with is a sight to behold… the once-dominant Honda and Toyota (and even their luxury brands) laid low by floods, tsunamis, congressional hearings and a few poorly-received products. Even Subaru, a brand that grew 15 and 16 percent in 2009 and 2010 respectively seems in danger of not growing its volume this year… for less easily-explained (or is that superficially-explained?) reasons. Meanwhile, if Jaguar is falling behind with its freshest lineup in… well, you get the point. With the market up 10% compared to where it was in the first ten months of 2010, nobody wants to be losing volume right now…

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Chart Of The Day: Compact CUVs In September And YTD http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/10/chart-of-the-day-compact-cuvs-in-september-and-ytd/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/10/chart-of-the-day-compact-cuvs-in-september-and-ytd/#comments Mon, 17 Oct 2011 20:19:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=415078 Though the Compact CUV segment continues to add volume, its starting to become one of the older segments, as models like Escape, Rogue, CR-V and RAV4 approach the ends of their life cycles. And yet only one of those competitors, the Toyota RAV4, has fallen off sharply. The Equinox seems to have permanently passed the Toyota model in the YTD race, and the Rogue could end up passing it as well before the year is over. Meanwhile, as we start looking ahead to the new look of this segment, there will be some divergence between the top two models that bears keeping an eye on. The Escape, long a cheap-n-rugged entry in this segment will be replaced with a more premium, European-style global crossover (see the Vertrek concept), while Honda is taking a more conservative approach, adding room but keeping the vehicle’s basic image intact. It should be interesting how those changes affect the top of this segment going forward…

Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail Where's the growth? graph (55)

 

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Chart Of The Day: Subcompact Sales In September And Year-To-Date http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/10/chart-of-the-day-subcompact-sales-in-september-and-year-to-date/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/10/chart-of-the-day-subcompact-sales-in-september-and-year-to-date/#comments Thu, 13 Oct 2011 23:25:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=414614 Well, it sure looked like the Kia Soul was poised to take out the Nissan Versa as the king of the small cars, especially in light of Michael Karesh’s lukewarm review. But the new Versa has roared back into contention last month, outselling the two next-closest nameplates combined. The Soul is hanging onto its lead in the YTD numbers, but that won’t last if the Versa keeps up this pace. On the other hand, an updated, more efficient Soul is hitting the market soon, and Kia’s new Rio should help take the fight back to Nissan. Meanwhile, The Fiat 500 still has yet to outsell the MINI, Sonic and Veloster are just entering the market, and Hyundai’s brand-new (and reportedly supply-limited) Accent can’t move past Honda’s aging Fit. But really, there’s only one story here… how about that Nissan Versa? 

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Chart Of The Day: Compact Cars In September http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/10/chart-of-the-day-compact-cars-in-september/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/10/chart-of-the-day-compact-cars-in-september/#comments Sat, 08 Oct 2011 16:07:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=414182 Thought the Midsized segment was heating up in September? A mere 633 units separate the Cruze and Corolla in their battle to become the best-selling Compact in America for 2011. And the way Elantra and Jetta are moving up the chart, this segment could could get a lot more interesting by the end of the year. In fact, the Focus’s weak performance this month makes it vulnerable to the Jetta in the Year-to-Date sweepstakes, despite appearing to be a strong entry in the segment. Back in July it was reported that Focus production was being slowed due to problems with a supplier of dashboard skins. At the time, a Ford dealer told the Associated Press

I know they’re working 24/7 trying to address whatever component issues they have. It’s a high-visibility issue with Ford Motor Co., and senior management is very concerned and very involved.

So, is there still a supply problem, or is the Focus just not selling? A quick look at inventory data shows that Focus started September with a 33 days supply and ended with a 74-day supply, which implies that any supply problems were solved last month. Going forward, the Focus should find its sales stride… or it will become another scalp on the Jetta’s belt.

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Chart Of The Day: Midsized Sedans In September And Year-To-Date http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/10/chart-of-the-day-midsized-sedans-in-september-and-year-to-date/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/10/chart-of-the-day-midsized-sedans-in-september-and-year-to-date/#comments Thu, 06 Oct 2011 22:06:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=413891 We had midsized madness last month, as the Altima came within 500 units of unseating the mighty Camry and Sonata came within 500 units of sending the Accord tumbling further down the chart. Of the top ten best-sellers in the D-segment, only half beat their year-ago numbers, including Altima, Fusion, Impala, 200 and Optima. And though the YTD chart, which you can find in the gallery below, reflects the monthly sales order quite faithfully, it’s getting tighter… especially among the major players. Between the Malibu (171,266) and the Camry (229,521) there are six models in a 58,255-unit pack, and in September the Sonata pulled ahead of Malibu to snag fifth place. As we enter the fourth quarter, the competition is heating up… Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail Midsized Mix-up... graph (44)

 

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Chart Of The Day: The Chevrolet Volt’s Sales Challenge http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/10/chart-of-the-day-the-chevrolet-volts-sales-challenge/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/10/chart-of-the-day-the-chevrolet-volts-sales-challenge/#comments Mon, 03 Oct 2011 22:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=413386 Is the Chevy Volt a flop? It’s a question that plenty of folks both inside the industry and beyond seem awfully curious about, and one that I’ve tried to stay away from until we had some strong data to go on. And with nine months of 2011 under our belt, we’re starting to get a sense of where the Volt is going… and it’s not been all reassuring news. Jalopnik notes that such unloved GM models as the Buick Lucerne and Chevy Avalanche outsold the Volt last month, but failed to look at the important stuff: production as compared to deliveries, and inventory. Jalopnik does quote a Cars.com inventory  figure of 2,600 Volts on dealer lots, although the latest data we have from Automotive News [sub] shows 1,400 units in the national inventory as of September 1… which at that point  constituted a 121-day supply. Add in the 1,644-unit differential between Volts built and Volts sold in September, and the estimated Volt inventory across the nation should be closer to 3,000 units. We will be sure to update when AN gets new inventory numbers, but for now, the signs aren’t promising.

For one thing, it doesn’t seem likely that many Volts are being diverted from the Detroit-Hamtramck factory for sale in Europe. After all, only 10,000 Opel-branded Ampera versions will even be sold in the 2012 model-year, and European Volt volume could be even lower as the model will only be available in 50 European dealerships. In any case, with the European launch of both vehicles starting in November, GM is probably only just shipping the several-hundred Europe-bound Volts and Amperas now. In other words, it’s up to the US market to soak up the up-ramped production volume of Volts. As you can see in the top graph, production ceased in June as workers upgraded the lines for higher volume, which jumped from the 600-800 range up to the mid-2,000 unit range starting in August. What’s interesting, if you look at the numbers cumulatively (see graph below), that zero-production month actually corrected a slow divergence between the production and delivery lines. In other words, slowing production might have been a better move than ramping it up.

 So, why did GM bump Volt volume? Well, more volume could eventually come in from overseas market, for one. And in the post-ramp-up period, US deliveries are climbing… just nowhere near fast enough to keep up with demand. Which is why inventory levels are climbing. Meanwhile, if you keep a close eye out, you might find more anecdotal evidence that the Volt’s sales issues are about a shortage of demand, not supply: for example, Oregon Public Broadcasting story recently ran a story on EV rescue training, which noted

About 40 Oregon first responders took part in this training session in Salem.

John Brown with the Crescent Fire District in central Oregon checks out a brand new Chevy Volt, which runs 35 miles on a battery before switching to a traditional gas engine.

“Nice vehicle. Creates headaches for us.”

For now, if Brown does respond to an accident involving a Chevy Volt, it would be, well, a shock. The dealership that loaned this car for the training session says after a month on the lot, it has yet to sell a single one.

And with Nissan Leaf sales handily outstripping deliveries of Volts, 7,199 to 3,895 (Nissan does not break out inventory data to AN), it’s no wonder the “Volt is losing the EV race” storyline is all over the media. GM’s response to that line of thinking comes from spokesman Rob Peterson, who tells Insideline

Nissan’s sales target is 25,000 Leafs in 2011. (Their sales) should be higher than ours. Our target is to deliver 10,000 (Volts) and we’re on target to reach that goal. Only 1 in 3 of the 2,100 dealers selling Volts have one in stock, with nearly 1,700 in transit. The pipeline from plant to dealership is filling up, making deliveries much more fluid.

Which is another way of saying it’s still to early to tell of the Volt will find consistent demand in the marketplace… although the “one in three dealers” thing is a bit disingenuous. After all, GM launched in EV-friendly states first, which means they likely already have access to a lot of their market. Still, sales are trending upwards, and from here on out, the “supply constrained” argument won’t fly… so the next few months will be key to determining real demand for the Volt. And though GM may only be planning on 10k Volt deliveries this year, the Obama Administration is banking on 15k units this year… and a whopping 120k units in 2012. In fact, the Obama Administration is relying on GM selling over half a million Volts by the end of 2015, in order to meet its “million plug-in cars on the road” goal. Given how much work the Volt still has to do on the demand side in order to keep up with a 28,000 unit annualized production rate, I’d say that goal is pretty much dead on arrival. As far as GM is concerned, the Volt may not be a flop… but politically it’s well on its way towards being a bust.

 

 

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Chart Of The Day: Auto Industry Approval Rating Bounces Back http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/09/chart-of-the-day-auto-industry-approval/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/09/chart-of-the-day-auto-industry-approval/#comments Tue, 27 Sep 2011 00:05:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=412640 Approval rating, based on the question “Do you think each of the following generally do a good or bad job of serving their consumers?”

Auto industry rejoice: you are no longer as despised as the banking industry! Harris Polls didn’t release data for the years 1999 and 2010 exaggerating some of the swings you see in this graph, but it’s safe to say the auto industry has clawed its way out of a post-bailout PR hangover. Sure, Big Auto is still trailing such glamorous industries as Online Retail and Packaged Food, and only barely beat Electric and Gas Utilities for the hearts of consumers… but after nearly falling into negative approval numbers in 2009, this is still a big comeback. And compared to the industry that Big Auto is most closely tied to, namely Big Oil, even 2009 was a “what PR problem?” kind of a year. Which is more than a little strange when you think about it…

Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail We're back... but only because the graph starts in the late 1990s. (Data: Harris) Picture 524 Picture 523 ]]>
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Wild-Ass Rumor Of The Day: After The Ridgeline, Honda Considering An Even Smaller Pickup? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/09/wild-ass-rumor-of-the-day-after-the-ridgeline-honda-considering-an-even-smaller-pickup/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/09/wild-ass-rumor-of-the-day-after-the-ridgeline-honda-considering-an-even-smaller-pickup/#comments Fri, 09 Sep 2011 00:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=410763

In a blog item bemoaning the likely imminent death of the Honda Ridgeline, Automotive News [sub] Product Editor Rick Kranz accuses Honda of “abandoning” its funky pickup by failing to update its styling or hardware since it was introduced in 2005. His point seems to be that the Ridgeline was a decent enough niche product that withered on the vine… and the sales numbers certainly seem to support that thesis. But if you compare Ridgeline to other Japanese-brand compact-midsized pickups, you find that Toyota and Nissan saw similar drops in volume over a similar time period… as did practically all non-full-size pickups. So could Honda have done more for the Ridgeline, or was its decline inevitable? While you’re pondering that mystery, consider this: Kranz points to the last sentence of a months-old piece for one of those zombie rumors that never really got any play:

Based on conversations with industry sources, the story said a smaller pickup is under consideration, derived from the CR-V platform.

Presuming less payload and towing capacity than the Ridgeline, I can’t imagine why a smaller pickup based on a front-drive platform would be a more successful product formula for Honda.

On the other hand, a CR-V-based pickup is something that hasn’t been tried for decades in this market… and it wouldn’t compete nearly as directly with the cheap full-sizers that are killing the “compact” (actually midsized) pickups. So, is Kranz’s logic sound, or could a CR-V-based pickup mix up the market? Faith springs eternal for me when it comes to efficient utility vehicles… but what say you?

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Chart Of The Day: Midsized Sedans In August And YTD http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/09/chart-of-the-day-midsized-sedans-in-august-and-ytd/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/09/chart-of-the-day-midsized-sedans-in-august-and-ytd/#comments Wed, 07 Sep 2011 22:47:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=410588 NB: Chrysler 200 sold 3787 in August 2010, and Kia Optima sold 1714.

Well, it’s that time again TTAC fans: the Midsized wars roll on with Camry retaking the top spot to extend its advantage in YTD sales. Altima continued its consistent year with a second place showing, and improving over its August 2010 number better than any nameplate besides… the Chrysler 200? Yes, Chrysler’s updated Sebring stopgap outsold the freshly-chic Optima on the month, and passed it in YTD sales. Meanwhile, the Hyundai Sonata may still have been 10k off the Camry’s pace, but its August volume was a mere 37 units from tying Mazda6′s YTD volume (through August). All in all though, this wasn’t an incredible month for midsizers, as half of the best-selling nameplates failed to improve on their year-over-year numbers. But what this segment lacks in volume growth it makes up for in drama, as a falling Accord runs the very real risk of being passed by Malibu and Sonata. Camry may be back in control, but the fight for the rest of the podium is as tight as ever.

Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail Midsized sedans (and friends) graph (38)

 

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Chart Of The Day: The 25 Best-Selling Nameplates Of August http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/09/chart-of-the-day-the-25-best-selling-nameplates-of-august/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/09/chart-of-the-day-the-25-best-selling-nameplates-of-august/#comments Fri, 02 Sep 2011 21:32:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=410108 Well, you’ve seen a complete chart of sales by manufacturer and brand… now it’s time for some nameplate results. Here are your top-25 best-selling nameplates for August 2011. And yes, the Honda Civic barely made the list…

 

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Chart Of The Day: The Toyota Camry Index http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/08/chart-of-the-day-the-toyota-camry-index/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/08/chart-of-the-day-the-toyota-camry-index/#comments Tue, 23 Aug 2011 19:31:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=408412

As Camry-fest rolls on, we found an interesting little chart over at Edmunds Autoobserver, which shows that this latest Camry has the lowest inflation-adjusted MSRP in the model’s history. Amid all the talk of record-high transaction prices, Toyota obviously thinks MSRP still matters, as Autoobserver reports

The current-generation Camry has a theoretical build of 1,246 combinations. The 2012 Camry will be available in a startlingly meager 36 combinations, because consumers have told Toyota they want a simpler ordering process… There will be four trim packages from which to choose, and despite the significant improvements in the model, any 2012 Camry will be priced close to or less than a comparably-equipped 2011.

The 2011 Camry L, the base model produced in very low volume and sold almost exclusively to fleets, starts at $20,195. The new 2012 Camry L will start at $21,995 (plus $760 for destination), the core 2012 Camry LE package for comfort and value will be priced at $22,500. The sportier Camry SE, currently priced at $22,965, will start at $23,000. The premium trim package Camry XLE ($26,725 for MY 2011), will start at $24,725, a $2,000 reduction. Toyota notes that comparably equipped, prices for all trim levels have dropped.

So, even though you need fewer inflation-adjusted dollars than ever before to buy a base Camry, very few of those models will be built. Toyota may be talking value, but in this market you need to shout it…

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Chart Of The Day: Mid/Large CUV Sales In July And Year To Date http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/08/chart-of-the-day-midlarge-cuv-sales-in-july-and-year-to-date/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/08/chart-of-the-day-midlarge-cuv-sales-in-july-and-year-to-date/#comments Wed, 17 Aug 2011 00:21:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=407482

Sales of all car-based crossovers continue to climb, far outstripping demand for body-on-frame utes as well as pickup trucks. But strangely enough, a lot of the growth and volume among crossovers is in the compact-CUV segment, where the top-selling model last month beat July’s mid/full-CUV winner by some 10,000 units. This suggests that The Great American Downsizing, as we’ve called it, isn’t as simple as former SUV owners replacing their BOF beast with one of these comparable mid/full-CUVs. Still, this is an important segment because although the stakes aren’t wildly high, the competition is fierce. GM won by a whisker last month, but Ford’s got a strong one-two punch as well with its Explorer/Edge combo. Meanwhile, Honda’s Crosstour and Ford’s Flex have bombed all the way off our monthly volume chart. Hit the jump to find out their Year-To-Date numbers, and to find out who the somewhat surprising YTD volume winner is.

Is this a parable for the future of the US car market? All three Detroit automakers get at least one model past Honda and Toyota… only to be beat back by Kia’s red-hot Sorento. Though many in the pro-Detroit contingent have been crowing over Honda and Toyota’s recent misfortunes, it’s becoming clear that Kia and Hyundai are becoming equally important competitors. As, of course, is Nissan… which simply happens to no longer have a strong competitor in this segment, as the Murano fades away. In any case, only 25k units separate the top eight nameplates here, so expect more back-and-forth as the year goes on… just don’t expect this segment’s generous allotment of bonafide duds, including the Flex, Crosstour, and Venza, to go anywhere.

 

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Chart Of The Day: Subcompacts In July And Year To Date http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/08/chart-of-the-day-subcompacts-in-july-and-year-to-date/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/08/chart-of-the-day-subcompacts-in-july-and-year-to-date/#comments Mon, 15 Aug 2011 22:34:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=407332 In contrast to rapid changes in the compact and midsized segments, the subcompact segment is moving along established trendlines. Kia’s Soul has completely overtaken this segment’s previous champ, but that’s been a long time coming. A new Accent is arriving at dealers, and that model’s starting to take off… in fact, if there’s news here, it’s that the Accent appears to be outselling the segment’s next-freshest offering, the Ford Fiesta. Otherwise, Aveo and Rio are dropping off ahead of their replacement by new models, the 500 is getting closer to MINI’s monthly volume, and Mazda2 can’t quite get past the Cube The YTD chart doesn’t show too many changes either… but watch this space as the A/B segment heats up with new models later this year.

No news is still news... graph (29) Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

 

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Chart Of The Day: Compact Crossovers In July And Year-To-Date http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/08/chart-of-the-day-compact-crossovers-in-july-and-year-to-date/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/08/chart-of-the-day-compact-crossovers-in-july-and-year-to-date/#comments Fri, 12 Aug 2011 20:40:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=406992 Domestics rule the compact crossover segment this month, with the ageless Escape standing above the crowd (albeit without weighting for fleet sales). Again, Honda and Toyota show bigger drops than Nissan’s Rogue, reinforcing the perception that Nissan has done a remarkable job recovering from the tsunami. Intriguingly, Jeep’s Patriot is essentially flat year-over-year, while the Compass has bounced back on the strength of its redesign… but only to about the Patriot’s rate. Meanwhile, Hyundai has yet to find the disruptive success in this segment that it’s enjoying in the C- and D-sedan segments.

In Year-To-Date numbers, Escape still enjoys a strong lead while CR-V jumps to second and RAV4 beats the Rogue for fourth. Compass looks less strong over the year, and Hyundai is still being outsold by Kia. In more surprising news, Juke beat Mazda’s CX-7 and VW’s sluggish Tiguan, while the MINI Countryman outsold the Mitsubishi Outlander

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Midsized Wars: The “Big Six” Sedans, 1995-2010 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/08/midsized-wars-the-big-six-sedans-1995-2010/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/08/midsized-wars-the-big-six-sedans-1995-2010/#comments Fri, 12 Aug 2011 00:26:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=406770 With signs of change appearing in the midsized segment, I thought we would look at our archived sales results for the “Big Six” sedan nameplates in hopes of some historic context. And here it is: competitive convergence is turning what used to be Toyota and Honda’s wading pool into a bloody knife fight.

Sonata has relentless momentum on its side, and Altima has enjoyed remarkably consistent, if less dramatic, growth. Fusion looks like it’s taking off like a rocket ship, but I purposefully left out sales results for its predecessor, the Taurus, which actually overlapped Fusion by several years (sorry Ford fans, but I wanted to keep this to a single nameplate per manufacturer). Malibu’s been up-and-down since the late 90s (I also did not include fleet-special “Malibu Classic” sales), and with a facelift coming, 2011 will be key to determining the most recent model’s ultimate success. And while Camry peaked in 2007, Accord’s peak was much earlier, in 2001… and both are currently on an unmistakeable slide. With the two kings tumbling, and everyone else gunning for them in a tight cluster, it’s clear that we’re in the midst of a possible long-term shift in the US car market.

 

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Chart Of The Day: Midsized Sedans In July And Year-To-Date http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/08/chart-of-the-day-midsized-sedans-in-july-and-year-to-date/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/08/chart-of-the-day-midsized-sedans-in-july-and-year-to-date/#comments Thu, 11 Aug 2011 20:25:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=406733 Like yesterday’s Compact chart, today’s look at the midsized (D) segment shows either profound changes afoot or a lingering tsunami hangover, depending on how you look at it. Accord, Prius and Camry were the biggest year-over-year losers last month, although the Malibu also lost a small amount of volume as well. Nissan, which has clearly weathered the tsunami aftermath better than its competition, took advantage and added to the Altima’s volume. But once again, the changes look less profound when you look at YTD numbers, with Camry remaining on top by a healthy margin, Altima and Fusion close behind, and Honda falling just out of the top three. Meanwhile Chrysler’s midsizers just barely beat the Prius… in combined volume. Yikes! [NB: Optima's July 2010 volume (which is invisible in the codger-friendly chart above) was 1,857]

graph (23) More turnover... Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

 

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Chart Of The Day: Compact Cars In July And Year-To-Date http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/08/chart-of-the-day-compact-cars-in-july-and-year-to-date/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/08/chart-of-the-day-compact-cars-in-july-and-year-to-date/#comments Wed, 10 Aug 2011 23:26:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=406628

Chevy’s Cruze dominated the compact segment last month, racking up a 7k unit advantage over its next-closest rival, the Corolla. Corolla and Civic were the two biggest losers year-over-year, as tsunami related supply issues hold them back. Civic even dropped to sixth in its class, while Jetta (which could almost be classified as midsized) and Elantra snuck past it and towards the falling Corolla. Mazda3 beat Sentra, which in turn beat the Forte… so all in all, a strange month for a class that seemed to be lacking a real leader in the early months of this year. But if you look at the YTD numbers in the second chart (see gallery below, sadly not in “old codger-friendly” format), you’ll find that the Corolla is hanging onto first (for the moment), Civic is about 6k units behind the second-place Cruze and Elantra in fourth place. So there’s some familiarity left in the class that was once ruled by the Corolla and Civic… but don’t expect it to last too much longer, unless a lot of people are simply waiting for their Japanese brands to get restocked. In any case, the competition has never been more fierce. graph (21) Compacts, July 2011 vs. July 2010

 

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