The Truth About Cars » Industry http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sat, 29 Aug 2015 15:27:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.4 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 » Industry http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/industry/ Union Leader Blasts Obama on Pacific Trade Talks http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/union-leader-blasts-obama-pacific-trade-talks/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/union-leader-blasts-obama-pacific-trade-talks/#comments Wed, 26 Aug 2015 21:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1153377 The head of the AFL-CIO in the United States is criticizing the current presidential administration for its pursuit of a trade zone in the Pacific that could open up Asian markets to America and vice versa, the Detroit News is reporting. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka wrote the administration a letter saying that a free-trade agreement with […]

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Trans-Pacific Partnership Circa 2010

The head of the AFL-CIO in the United States is criticizing the current presidential administration for its pursuit of a trade zone in the Pacific that could open up Asian markets to America and vice versa, the Detroit News is reporting.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka wrote the administration a letter saying that a free-trade agreement with countries such as Japan jeopardizes American jobs because those countries may be able to source cheaper parts from outside the negotiated area, according to the report.

“I hope it is not the case that the Canadian and Mexican negotiators are actually holding a harder line than our own government on this issue. But due to the unaccountable lack of transparency from USTR, absolutely critical decisions are being made without our input or voice. Thousands of good American jobs and an iconic American industry are at risk, and we don’t even know what our government’s negotiating position is.”

According to the Detroit News, a free-trade agreement with Asia would be high on Obama’s priorities before his administration ends.

Trumka said there would be no guarantee for American automakers to gain a foothold in Japan if the Trans Pacific Partnership were created.

Instead, he said, the deal would make it easier for American automakers to source cheaper parts from China and Thailand, or other developing nations, which would come at the expense of American auto workers. Under current free trade rules in North America, 62.5 percent of a car or light truck must originate within the trade zone to be tariff free. Mexico, which is currently building nearly 4 million cars a year, would like to increase that to 65 percent. Japan is proposing a 45-percent threshold for vehicles and 30 percent for parts.

The agreement could also end the 25-percent import tax on light pickups, commonly called the “Chicken Tax.”

Automakers have said they’d prefer to renew the Chicken Tax or slowly roll the tax back after years — or even decades.

According to the story, Japan doesn’t place any import tax on American-built cars, and has said they’ve spent billions building production facilities in America — which American automakers haven’t yet done in Japan.

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Chart Of The Day: Mini Countryman Sales Are Crumbling In The United States http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/chart-day-mini-countryman-sales-crumbling-united-states/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/chart-day-mini-countryman-sales-crumbling-united-states/#comments Wed, 26 Aug 2015 12:00:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1141985 A rising tide lifts all boats? Not in the Mini Countryman’s case. One of the oldest models on the block, the Countryman, is suffering from a sharp decline in U.S. sales even as consumers develop greater interest in subcompact crossovers. The addition of new rivals from rival automakers certainly doesn’t help. But the Countryman may […]

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Mini Countryman sales chart TTAC 3A rising tide lifts all boats?

Not in the Mini Countryman’s case.

One of the oldest models on the block, the Countryman, is suffering from a sharp decline in U.S. sales even as consumers develop greater interest in subcompact crossovers.

The addition of new rivals from rival automakers certainly doesn’t help. But the Countryman may also be affected by the arrival of a four-door version of the regular Mini Cooper. That Mini uses new engines and is significantly more economical.

2015 Mini Countryman green

Countryman volume is down 26 percent through the first seven months of 2015. Most recently, in July, year-over-year Countryman sales were off July 2014’s pace by 45 percent, a loss of 980 units.

Meanwhile, the category in which it competes is up 64 percent this year thanks to continued gains from vehicles like the Buick Encore and added sales from new urban crossovers like the Jeep Renegade and Honda HR-V. Subtract Mini from the equation and sales of these small, sometimes-AWD tall cars are up 74 percent.

The Countryman certainly lacks a certain freshness, and it wasn’t a terribly common vehicle at the best of times. (In the Countryman’s best ever month, August of last year, 2,412 were sold.) Through 56 months, Mini USA has reported 91,721 Countryman sales. Countryman volume peaked in 2014 after a 26-percent increase in 2012, a 1-percent uptick in 2013, and a 6-percent improvement last year.

Mini is on track for fewer than 17,000 Countryman sales in 2015, the approximate number of Countrymans sold in the model’s first full year.

Mini has, however, sold 9,297 copies of the Cooper 4-Door already this year, which more than makes up for the lost Countryman sales.

Perhaps true passenger cars can still be helpful, after all.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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Chart Of The Day: Mitsubishi Is America’s Fastest Growing Auto Brand, Sort Of http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/chart-day-mitsubishi-americas-fastest-growing-auto-brand-sort/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/chart-day-mitsubishi-americas-fastest-growing-auto-brand-sort/#comments Tue, 25 Aug 2015 15:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1141841 Relative to their own achievements during the first seven months of 2014, no auto brand in America is growing faster through the first seven months of 2015 than Mitsubishi. Mitsubishi? Yes, Mitsubishi. Compared with the January-July period last year, Mitsubishi volume is up 25 percent in 2015. Yet a 25-percent gain at Mitsubishi, which is […]

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Fastest growing automakers sales chart TTAC

Relative to their own achievements during the first seven months of 2014, no auto brand in America is growing faster through the first seven months of 2015 than Mitsubishi.

Mitsubishi?

Yes, Mitsubishi.

Compared with the January-July period last year, Mitsubishi volume is up 25 percent in 2015. Yet a 25-percent gain at Mitsubishi, which is ending North American production, translates to only 11,391 extra sales, year-over-year. Moreover, if we reach back a decade, Mitsubishi sales through the first seven months of 2005 were 33-percent stronger than they are now — and that was three years into the brand’s free fall.

2015 Mitsubishi Mirage ES

Jeep, on the other hand, has produced a 21-percent year-over-year increase through the first seven months of 2015, a gain of 82,515 sales. That latter figure is unparalleled in today’s U.S. auto market. Jeep has boosted its sales with nearly across-the-board gains. The Patriot is up 34 percent, the Cherokee is up 28 percent, the Grand Cherokee is up 4 percent, and the Wrangler is up 19 percent. Jeep has added 20,751 sales via the Renegade. Only the Compass, down 16 percent, has been a drag. Jeep sales have increased in each of the last five years and reached a record high in calendar year 2014.

Similarly, Mitsubishi is producing gains across its lineup. Lancer volume is up 19 percent, the Mirage is up 53 percent, Outlander volume has grown by 16 percent, and the Outlander Sport reported an 18-percent year-to-date gain. Only the disappearance of a few Galant sales (only 122 were sold by this point last year) and an inconsequential 26-percent i MiEV drop has slowed the brand’s growth.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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Just How Bad Are the Automakers Taking a Beating in the Stock Market? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/just-bad-automakers-taking-beating-market/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/just-bad-automakers-taking-beating-market/#comments Mon, 24 Aug 2015 17:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1151441 Markets around the world are down, down, down, down and down. At the time of this writing, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is down roughly 650 points on Monday, which is more than 1,500 points off of where we were at the beginning of August. A lot of the run is fueled by fears that China […]

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Come on Carlos, let’s hit up the Limeys for some money. Picture courtesy of motortrend.com

Markets around the world are down, down, down, down and down.

At the time of this writing, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is down roughly 650 points on Monday, which is more than 1,500 points off of where we were at the beginning of August. A lot of the run is fueled by fears that China is tapering off its growth (or they’ve been making it up for a while) and that Europe is tinkering on the brink of sinking into another recession.

There are plenty of financial sectors that are taking a beating. Automotive companies are no different. Here’s a rundown of publicly traded automakers and how much they’ve lost from their July 31 close to mid-day trading today.

Unsurprisingly, the biggest droppers are those with more exposure to China (Especially Toyota, whose production has been hampered by a blast in Tianjinand Tesla, whose second stock offering could be diluting shares in addition to the larger, global shock.

Tata Motors (TTM) — 29.66-23.01, -22.4 percent
Tesla Motors (TSLA) — 266.15-219.46, -17.5 percent
Toyota Motor Corp (TM) — 133.71-110.87, -17 percent
BMW (BMW.DE) — 91.30-77.88, -13.5 percent
Daimler (DDAIF) — 89.19-77.59, -13 percent
Nissan Motor Company (NSANY) — 19.34-16.90, -12.6 percent
Honda Motor Company (HMC) — 33.96-29.70, -12.5 percent
Ford Motor Company (F) — 15.18-13.21, -12.9 percent
General Motors (GM) — 32.08-28.22, -12 percent
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCAU) — 15.80-14.02, -11.2 percent
Volkswagen AG (VLKAY) — 40.35-36.56, -9.3 percent

Earlier this month, General Motors issued a statement before the massive stock sell off to ensure investors that it would endure a devalued Chinese currency. It’s “natural hedge,” or locally sourced suppliers, would help insulate it from massive market fluctuations, but not entirely. Last month, GM announced it would invest $5 billion in a joint venture with SAIC motors in China to locally build smaller cars.

On Monday, Daimler said it would press on further in China, despite worries that the market for luxury vehicles could be drying up, according to Automotive News.

Losing this much steam in China will undoubtedly have a ripple effect in the rest of the automotive world, that much is clear. The size of the wave has yet to be determined.

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Chart Of The Day: Volvo XC90 Sales Are Way Up, Now Double It http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/chart-day-volvo-xc90-sales-way-now-double/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/chart-day-volvo-xc90-sales-way-now-double/#comments Mon, 24 Aug 2015 15:00:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1138426 We’re finally beginning to see the impact a new SUV can have in Volvo showrooms. The second-generation XC90 posted a 209% year-over-year increase to 1,176 U.S. sales in July 2015. That equalled 796 more sales this July than last and the highest monthly total for the XC90 since December 2010. So is Volvo back? Well, […]

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TTAC Volvo XC90 sales chart

We’re finally beginning to see the impact a new SUV can have in Volvo showrooms.

The second-generation XC90 posted a 209% year-over-year increase to 1,176 U.S. sales in July 2015. That equalled 796 more sales this July than last and the highest monthly total for the XC90 since December 2010.

So is Volvo back? Well, not quite. Not yet.

Because the auto market is so seasonal, year-over-year change is a valid figure to consider, but it’s less useful when the previous year in the year-over-year comparison was the 13th year in the model’s lifespan. XC90 sales in July 2014, for instance, were 88% lower than in July 2004.

You know what that means. Even as XC90 sales exploded, on a year-over-year basis, in July 2015, the new SUV’s total was still paltry in comparison with the XC90’s glory days of yore.

Can Volvo return to those glory days of selling 3,000 XC90s per month in America? There are a number of factors working against the new XC90, not the least of which is supply. Automotive News says that Volvo had just a six-day supply of XC90s at the beginning of July. At the moment, Cars.com shows only 600 XC90s in stock at U.S. dealers.

Pre-production of the all-new Volvo XC90 in Torslanda

If Volvo can ramp up supply, however, the XC90 is still fighting a much more difficult battle now than it was a decade ago.

First, consider the competition. For example, in 2004, there was no Audi Q7. Now, there’s a second-generation Audi Q7, and even the aged outgoing model was selling more often in 2014 than it had in seven years. Infiniti now grabs 3,100 sales per month with their own three-row crossover, the QX60. Other key rivals have been released in all-new form at least twice since the XC90 was initially released and are marketed with far broader model ranges. The latest BMW X5, for instance, is sold with four different engines, including a diesel.

Yet the bigger factor that could inhibit the new XC90 from selling like the old XC90 is Volvo’s own standing in America. No longer is Volvo the only manufacturer which can wow with safety, and more pertinently, Volvo’s non-XC90 vehicles simply aren’t that popular. In July 2004, Volvo sold 9,180 vehicles which weren’t XC90s, 52% more non-XC90 vehicles than Volvo sold last month.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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Iran Calls for Emergency OPEC Meeting Amid Oil Slide http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/iran-calls-for-emergency-opec-meeting-amid-oil-slide/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/iran-calls-for-emergency-opec-meeting-amid-oil-slide/#comments Sun, 23 Aug 2015 16:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1150985 Iran’s oil minister has said that an emergency OPEC meeting may be necessary to stem the tide of slumping worldwide oil prices, Reuters is reporting. Algeria has also called for an emergency meeting. A barrel of crude oil slid to its lowest price last week of around $40, the lowest in more than six years. […]

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Entrance_OPEC_Headquarter_Vienna

Iran’s oil minister has said that an emergency OPEC meeting may be necessary to stem the tide of slumping worldwide oil prices, Reuters is reporting. Algeria has also called for an emergency meeting.

A barrel of crude oil slid to its lowest price last week of around $40, the lowest in more than six years. Record low gas prices could closely follow, which would help American drivers and car buyers, however the broader economic impact may be tougher to discern. Worldwide markets sank on Friday, largely on fears that China would slow its economic growth and instability in Greece could hamper European economies.

Iran said an emergency meeting would be “effective” in slowing the oil slump. OPEC isn’t scheduled to meet until Dec. 4.

According to the Reuters report, an emergency meeting wouldn’t likely happen without Saudi Arabia, the largest member of OPEC. Saudi Arabia has indicated it could withstand lower oil prices, and analysts say the country isn’t likely to reverse its course anytime soon.

Americans have driven more in the first six months of 2015 than they ever have, according to the Federal Highway Administration. Many people say cheap gas and good economic conditions have led to more vehicle miles traveled.

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Toyota Keeping China Production Plant Closed Longer http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/toyota-keeping-china-production-plant-closed-longer/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/toyota-keeping-china-production-plant-closed-longer/#comments Sun, 23 Aug 2015 15:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1150961 Toyota will keep a plant in China closed until at least Aug. 26 as it waits for conditions to improve after an explosion there killed more than 120 people, the Detroit News is reporting. The Aug. 12 explosion in Tianjin, China injured 67 Toyota employees nearby and damaged 4,700 Toyota and Lexus vehicles. The plant in Tianjin, […]

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Panoramic_View_from_Tianjin_TV_Tower_East(small)(2008-08)

Toyota will keep a plant in China closed until at least Aug. 26 as it waits for conditions to improve after an explosion there killed more than 120 people, the Detroit News is reporting.

The Aug. 12 explosion in Tianjin, China injured 67 Toyota employees nearby and damaged 4,700 Toyota and Lexus vehicles. The plant in Tianjin, which produces Crown, Reiz, Corolla and Vios cars, is responsible for roughly half of Toyota’s annual production in China.

“We will only restart operations when we have been able to confirm the safety of our facilities and their surroundings, and when our employees feel that they can once again go to work in a safe environment,” the company said in an email, according to Reuters.

According to reports, fires are still breaking out near the site of the explosion. On Aug. 12, a chemicals warehouse exploded in the port city, which killed 121 people and injured hundreds.

Analysts say the disruption to Toyota’s supply chain would be felt across the automaker’s lineup.

Automakers such as Volkswagen and Jaguar Land Rover said thousands of their cars were damaged in the explosion as well.

(Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

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Apple Hiring All The Robot Car Experts Now http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/apple-hiring-all-the-robot-car-experts-now/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/apple-hiring-all-the-robot-car-experts-now/#comments Sat, 22 Aug 2015 15:00:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1150825 Expert marketing company, and sometimes computer-maker, Apple has poached an automated car engineer from Tesla to join its growing roster of robot car builders, Reuters is reporting. According to Jamie Carlson’s LinkedIn profile, the former Tesla engineer has joined Apple in “Special Projects.” Carlson is the seventh high-profile hire for the Cupertino-based company who has […]

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Apple Logo Circa 2005

Expert marketing company, and sometimes computer-maker, Apple has poached an automated car engineer from Tesla to join its growing roster of robot car builders, Reuters is reporting.

According to Jamie Carlson’s LinkedIn profile, the former Tesla engineer has joined Apple in “Special Projects.” Carlson is the seventh high-profile hire for the Cupertino-based company who has specific automotive experience. Carlson joins a former Volkswagen engineer, a Chrysler VP and the former deputy director of autonomous systems at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, among others, at Apple.

Maybe they’re all working in the cafeteria?

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has address the fact that a few of his employees have left Tesla to work at Apple. In May, Musk said he welcomed whatever “special project” Apple would be working on and said that he had poached employees from Apple at a rate of about 5-to-1.

“I actually hope Apple gets into the car business, that would be great,” Musk said.

Reportedly, Apple has dubbed their secret car program “Titan,” although many insiders believe that is the name for the company’s mapping program. Whatever it’s called, they’re hiring a lot of people who know a lot about cars to do — something.

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Chart Of The Day: Honda Odyssey Puts An End To Toyota Sienna’s Best Seller Streak http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/chart-day-honda-odyssey-puts-end-toyota-siennas-best-seller-streak/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/chart-day-honda-odyssey-puts-end-toyota-siennas-best-seller-streak/#comments Fri, 21 Aug 2015 12:00:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1143953 Not since January of last year had the Honda Odyssey finished a month as America’s top-selling minivan. Indeed, not since October of last year had the Toyota Sienna not been America’s best-selling minivan. But in July 2015, Odyssey sales jumped 18 percent, year-over-year, enough to overtake the Sienna on a monthly basis. America’s whole minivan category […]

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USA minivan sales chart July 2015

Not since January of last year had the Honda Odyssey finished a month as America’s top-selling minivan. Indeed, not since October of last year had the Toyota Sienna not been America’s best-selling minivan.

But in July 2015, Odyssey sales jumped 18 percent, year-over-year, enough to overtake the Sienna on a monthly basis.

America’s whole minivan category is in a state of flux in 2015 as a shutdown at FCA’s Windsor, Ontario, facility produced a dramatic slowdown in Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country sales, particularly of the fleet variety. The one true minivan of the bunch, Mazda’s 5, has been discontinued. The improvements recorded by the Kia Sedona are impressive relative to Kia’s historic Sedona levels, but it remains a small part of America’s minivan segment.

Sienna sales, meanwhile, are up 12 percent and are on track to rise to a nine-year high after five consecutive years of U.S. sales growth. Sienna market share in the people carrier category grew to 29 percent through the first seven months of 2015, up from 22 percent at this stage last year.

The Grand Caravan/Town & Country’s market share has tumbled from 49 percent through the first seven months of 2014 to just 31 percent so far this year. Honda’s market share in July, specifically, was 30 percent. Both the Sienna and Odyssey outsold the combined FCA efforts in May of this year.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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Report: Buick Will Import Most of its New Cars by 2016 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/report-buick-will-import-new-cars-2016/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/report-buick-will-import-new-cars-2016/#comments Thu, 20 Aug 2015 19:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1148865 Reuters is reporting that Buick will import most of its new models to North America from China and Europe by 2016. Only the mid-size that will eventually replace the LaCrosse and the large Enclave crossover will be built in America, both in Michigan. Other Buick models, including the coming Cascada convertible and the small crossover Envision would come […]

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buick-verano-china-is-6-660x488

Reuters is reporting that Buick will import most of its new models to North America from China and Europe by 2016. Only the mid-size that will eventually replace the LaCrosse and the large Enclave crossover will be built in America, both in Michigan.

Other Buick models, including the coming Cascada convertible and the small crossover Envision would come from Europe and China respectively. Production of the Verano would shift from Michigan to China, the next-generation Regal would come from Germany instead of Canada, and the Encore would continue to be assembled in Korea, but would eventually shift to China, Reuters reported from an unidentified source.

If true, executives would deliver a sizable blow to contract negotiations with the United Auto Workers union. Already, General Motors has announced substantial investments in North American plants during negotiations.

According to Reuters, a spokesman for Buick declined to comment on the report. A spokeswoman for the UAW said Buick would be unwise to import cars “after the sacrifices by U.S. taxpayers.”

Buick is expected to launch the China-built Envision in North America later this year.

Buick sells four times as many cars in China as they do in North America. 

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Equinox Gives Oshawa Consolidated Line Extended Life http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/equinox-gives-oshawa-consolidated-line-extended-life/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/equinox-gives-oshawa-consolidated-line-extended-life/#comments Wed, 19 Aug 2015 20:21:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1145993 GM Canada announced Wednesday it will make a small investment in Oshawa Assembly’s Consolidated Line thanks to increased demand of the Chevrolet Equinox. “It’s a modest investment in terms of its size, but it increases the volume of stamping we do at CAMI to increase the run. (The increased stamping) will then boost Equinox production in Oshawa,” GM Canada’s VP of […]

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GM Oshawa Plant Closure

GM Canada announced Wednesday it will make a small investment in Oshawa Assembly’s Consolidated Line thanks to increased demand of the Chevrolet Equinox.

“It’s a modest investment in terms of its size, but it increases the volume of stamping we do at CAMI to increase the run. (The increased stamping) will then boost Equinox production in Oshawa,” GM Canada’s VP of Corporate and Environmental Affairs David Paterson said in an interview with TTAC.

More body panels are stamped at CAMI than that plant’s assembly line can use, which required GM to utilize its “shuttle program” to transport excess Equinox bodies to Oshawa’s Consolidated Line for final assembly, according to GM.

The majority of the $12 million CAD investment will go to CAMI, though the detailed amount was not disclosed. Additional labor will not be needed to produce the additional Equinoxes.

While the success of an 11-year-old model (the Equinox went into its second generation as an enhanced refresh) is newsworthy, there is a larger issue at play.

“That investment has the effect of extending further the Consolidated Line until at least 2017,” said Paterson.

This is the fifth time the Consolidated Line’s death has been postponed in the last ten years, Paterson said. The Consolidated Line was most recently scheduled to shut down in 2016.

Speaking of the Consolidated Line, Paterson said: “It’s the gift that keeps on giving.”

However, the announcement still doesn’t ensure the long-term viability of the manufacturing facility.

Camaro production in Oshawa is scheduled to end this November, while next-generation Buick Regal production is rumored to move solely to Russelsheim, Germany in 2017.

While Cadillac currently produces the XTS in Oshawa, that nameplate will be discontinued at the end of its lifecycle in 2019. However, that best-before date doesn’t secure Oshawa until 2019. Production could be moved to Hamtramck or Fairfax as those assembly plants also build vehicles sharing the same platform, which are the Impala and LaCrosse. Should GM not opt to move production, but continue to sell the XTS in North America, the XTS could be the first Cadillac produced in China and imported to North America — but that’s a far reach.

GM announced they would make a $250 million CAD investment in CAMI for flexible manufacturing similar to Oshawa’s main flex line, seemingly securing the Equinox in Ingersoll, but no investments have been announced for continued production in Oshawa.

If manufacturing departs, GM looks to keep a significant presence in Oshawa for connected car R&D.

Former mayor of Oshawa, John Gray, has encouraged Canadians to boycott GM if jobs are lost. The future of Oshawa assembly activities won’t be announced until 2016 when the company starts labor talks with Unifor.

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Chart Of The Day: U.S. SUV/Crossover Market Share Surges In July 2015 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/chart-day-u-s-suvcrossover-market-share-surges-july-2015/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/chart-day-u-s-suvcrossover-market-share-surges-july-2015/#comments Wed, 19 Aug 2015 12:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1141010 U.S. sales of SUVs and crossovers jumped 14 percent in July 2015, a year-over-year improvement equal to more than 67,000 extra sales compared with July 2014. As a result, just under 36 percent of the U.S. auto industry’s volume was produced by utility vehicles in July 2015, a three-percentage-point increase over the same period one […]

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TTAC SUV market share chart July 2015

U.S. sales of SUVs and crossovers jumped 14 percent in July 2015, a year-over-year improvement equal to more than 67,000 extra sales compared with July 2014.

As a result, just under 36 percent of the U.S. auto industry’s volume was produced by utility vehicles in July 2015, a three-percentage-point increase over the same period one year ago.

Passenger car volume, meanwhile, slid 3 percent last month, a drop of around 18,000 sales as the overall market grew by more than 5 percent, or 75,000 units.

Strengthened by new nameplates which only barely fit the already loose definition of an SUV/crossover/CUV – vehicles like the Honda HR-V and Fiat 500X – the utility vehicle sector’s share of the market has increased, on a month-to-month basis, in six of the last twelve months. While this suggests that the upward trend is gradual, recent gains are clearly more rapid.

As recently as March, for example, “only” 33 percent of the new vehicles sold in the United States were SUVs and crossovers, on par with figures from last summer and below the level of last November, January, and February.

2014 Nissan Rogue

July’s quick rise to 36 percent didn’t occur simply as a result of new nameplates, of course. 16 of the 20 most popular utility vehicles in America in July posted year-over-year improvements, including ab0ve-average increases from the Nissan Rogue, Ford Explorer, Jeep Wrangler, Chevrolet Traverse, Hyundai Santa Fe, GMC Acadia, Ford Edge, and Jeep Patriot.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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Chart Of The Day: 2014’s U.S. Full-Size SUV Sales Pace Wasn’t Sustainable http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/chart-day-2014s-u-s-full-size-suv-sales-pace-wasnt-sustainable/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/chart-day-2014s-u-s-full-size-suv-sales-pace-wasnt-sustainable/#comments Tue, 18 Aug 2015 12:00:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1137298 There were six new full-size SUVs from General Motors. Ford refreshed the Expedition. Lincoln did the same with their upmarket Expedition, the Navigator. The year was 2014, and U.S. sales of Detroit’s biggest, baddest, full-size SUVs were booming, relative to the recent past. Twice in the first seven months of the year — and three […]

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TTAC COTD GM full-size SUV sales chart July 2015

There were six new full-size SUVs from General Motors. Ford refreshed the Expedition. Lincoln did the same with their upmarket Expedition, the Navigator.

The year was 2014, and U.S. sales of Detroit’s biggest, baddest, full-size SUVs were booming, relative to the recent past.

Twice in the first seven months of the year — and three times over the course of the year — Chevrolet sold more than 10,000 Tahoes. By year’s end, Suburban volume had risen to a seven-year high. The GMC Yukon generated more sales in the final three-quarters of the year than in any of the previous five calendar years. Ford averaged 3,700 monthly Expedition sales over the course of the year, up 43 percent from its monthly average from the previous six years. On four occasions at the end of 2014, Lincoln sold more than one thousand Navigators, something the brand had done just twice since December 2011.

15Expedition_02_MR

Yet the overarching modern interest in SUVs and crossovers was not going to permit these behemoths to continue their rapid rate of growth on their way back to 2002-like sales levels. This became most obvious at General Motors in the second-quarter of 2015 and into July: sales of their body-on-frame SUV sextuplets plunged 22 percent compared with the same period one year ago.

In July, more specifically, the Suburban, Tahoe, Yukon, Yukon XL, Escalade, and Escalade ESV tumbled 24 percent, a loss of 6,597 sales for General Motors compared with July 2014. In fact, the six-nameplate lineup didn’t even sell as often in July 2015 as in July 2013, before the new breed of SUVs were introduced.

This doesn’t mean the vehicles don’t continue to be major profit generators for their respective automakers. But as crew cab pickup trucks become the norm, truck platforms which formerly produced a large chunk of their volume with full-size SUVs now produce a portion of that volume with upmarket Silverados, Sierras, F-150s, and Rams.

Thus, it does mean that these once commonplace SUVs are far less consequential in the broader vehicular landscape of 2015. The six GM BOFs and Ford’s two nameplates owned 4.4 percent of the U.S. new vehicle market in 2002. Through the first seven months of 2015, that figure stands at 1.6 percent.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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A First: Macan Is Porsche USA’s Best Seller In July 2015 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/first-macan-porsche-usas-best-seller-july-2015/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/first-macan-porsche-usas-best-seller-july-2015/#comments Thu, 13 Aug 2015 13:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1135266 In July 2015, for just the second time since arriving in America 15 months ago, the Porsche Macan outsold its bigger brother Cayenne. Also in July 2015, for the first time since arriving in America 15 months ago, the Porsche Macan was the best-selling Porsche in America. But is Porsche just using the Macan to […]

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2015 Porsche Macan S

In July 2015, for just the second time since arriving in America 15 months ago, the Porsche Macan outsold its bigger brother Cayenne.

Also in July 2015, for the first time since arriving in America 15 months ago, the Porsche Macan was the best-selling Porsche in America.

But is Porsche just using the Macan to appeal to Cayenne buyers who want something smaller or less expensive, thereby cannibalizing Cayenne volume in the United States?

TTAC Cayenne vs. Macan sales chart

This chart aims to answer that question. Here are the numbers behind the red, green, and blue lines.

In the 15-month period leading up to the Macan’s launch, Porsche sold 23,126 Cayennes in the U.S. Alongside the Macan for the last 15 months, Porsche has sold 19,560 Cayennes, a 15-percent decline in a booming utility vehicle market.

2015 Porsche 911 GTS

Has the Macan eaten into the Cayenne’s share of the Porsche pie? Undoubtedly. But the Macan has more than made up that 15-percent gap. Up from the 23,126 Cayennes sold in the 15 months leading up to the Macan’s launch, Porsche has sold 34,582 Cayennes and Macans in the last 15 months, a 50-percent improvement in Porsche’s utility vehicle total.

More recently, the Cayenne has clawed back some of its lost volume even as the Macan continues to strengthen. Year-over-year, Cayenne sales are up 1 percent over the last three months. And while the Macan climbed to the top of Porsche’s U.S. sales leaderboard in July, the Cayenne is the consistent leader, with 1,693 more sales than the Macan over the first seven months of 2015; 3,624 more than the third-ranked 911.

Speaking of the 911, it was last Porsche USA’s top-selling model in October 2014. As Cayenne volume dropped to a 32-month low and the Macan’s low stock saw sales of the smaller utility fall to its second-lowest total ever, the 911, Porsche’s longest-running model, was the brand’s best seller.

It was short-lived, of course. 911 sales are down 3 percent through the first seven months of 2015. The Macan, on the other hand, achieved its highest U.S. sales total yet (1,537) in April of this year and nearly matched that figure with 1,533 sales in July. More than 1,000 Macans have been sold in the U.S. in each of the last five months, something Porsche hadn’t done in any of the previous nine tries.

2015 Porsche Cayenne S

As for their standing in the broader SUV/crossover marketplace, the Cayenne and Macan, while huge profit generators for Porsche, aren’t among the most popular premium utilities. (Year-to-date, they rank 66th and 72nd overall, respectively.)

BMW sold 35,162 X5s in the first seven months of 2015, nearly four times the Cayenne’s total. The Mercedes-Benz M-Class is more than twice as common as the Cayenne. Cadillac has sold 19,241 regular and long-wheelbase Escalades already this year. Mercedes-Benz GL sales are up 10 percent to 14,693 units, 1.6 times the Cayenne’s 9474-unit total. The Lexus GX460, Land Rover Range Rover Sport, Land Rover Range Rover, and Audi Q7? They all outsell the Cayenne, as well.

Then there are a wide array of entry-level premium crossovers which routinely outsell the Macan: RDX, Q5, NX, GLK, X3, XC60, MKC. They’re hardly comparable, of course, as their average base price is 30-percent lower than the Macan’s $52,600 MSRP.

The degree of frequency with which Porsches of all stripes are commonly seen on your school run continues to correlate quite directly to your zip code. Yet while the two most popular Porsches remain rare by the high-volume standards of ubiquitous BMW and Mercedes SUVs, they’re clearly driving the brand forward.

With 50 percent of the brand’s volume coming from the Cayenne and Macan, Porsche set an annual U.S. sales record in calendar year 2014. Through the first seven months of 2015, brand-wide sales are ahead of last year’s record-setting pace by 10 percent and the two utilities now collect 58 percent of Porsche’s U.S. volume. For the first time in the brand’s U.S. history, Porsche topped the 5,000 sale mark in April 2015, a period during which the Cayenne and Macan accounted for 63 percent of all Porsche sales.

0.13 percent of the new vehicles sold in America in the first seven months of 2015 were Porsche passenger cars. Porsche’s overall market share, however, increased to 0.30 percent through the end of July, up from 0.28 percent in the same period one year ago, 0.27 percent in 2013, 0.24 percent in 2012, and 0.23 percent in 2011.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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Automakers Are Taking a Beating Over China http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/automakers-taking-beating-china/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/automakers-taking-beating-china/#comments Wed, 12 Aug 2015 16:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1139322 Stocks for automakers such as General Motors, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Ford took a pounding Tuesday after China devalued its currency in an effort to boost exports from the country, stemming the economic slowdown already underway. In a statement released Tuesday, GM said it had enough of a local supply chain within China to offset its […]

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buick-verano-china-is-5-660x345

Stocks for automakers such as General Motors, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Ford took a pounding Tuesday after China devalued its currency in an effort to boost exports from the country, stemming the economic slowdown already underway.

In a statement released Tuesday, GM said it had enough of a local supply chain within China to offset its exposure to international currency fluctuations.

“We believe that our exposure is limited and manageable, and do not expect that the devaluation will have a material impact on the company’s financial performance,” the company wrote.

According to the New York Times, China’s currency swing of nearly 2 percent yesterday is historic for the country. Typically the Yuan would fluctuate hundredths of a percent against the dollar. The largest move up until yesterday was 0.16 percent.

Still, the 2 percent dip isn’t considered a big enough swing to warrant a huge reaction. By comparison, the Euro and Yen have fallen 18 and 22 percent against the dollar in the last year, and China’s economy is ranging out of double-digit growth — but still growing.

Nonetheless, automakers with heavy ties to China — notably GM and FCA — took a shot in the pocketbooks yesterday on expectations of what could be around the corner for China.

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The California Air Resources Board, the Automakers, and You http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/california-air-resources-board-automakers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/california-air-resources-board-automakers/#comments Tue, 11 Aug 2015 18:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1138418 Last week, Bloomberg Business profiled the one woman who may have more influence in the automaking universe for the next decade than any other person on the planet. California Air Resources Board Chairwoman Mary Nichols’ story about running the nation’s most stringent air quality standards board is compelling, fascinating and terrifying — if you’re an automaker. […]

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Mary Nichols

Last week, Bloomberg Business profiled the one woman who may have more influence in the automaking universe for the next decade than any other person on the planet.

California Air Resources Board Chairwoman Mary Nichols’ story about running the nation’s most stringent air quality standards board is compelling, fascinating and terrifying — if you’re an automaker.

The state’s ambitious goal of reducing greenhouse gases 80 percent by 2050 is met by an equally ambitious — and onerous — goal for automakers: don’t sell new cars with internal combustion engines in California by 2030.

“If the federal government can’t get it right, we in Cal­ifornia are going to take care of busi­ness,” California Governor Jerry Brown said in an April speech.

Brown tabbed Nichols to run the air quality board during his first stint as California governor in the late 1970s and then rehired her when he was elected to the position again a few years ago.

In her first run, the story points out, Nichols forced automakers to put catalytic converters on their cars to cut down on smog in California cities. General Motors said it would sink them. It didn’t. (Eds note: The Citation did.) 

Now, before the ambitious 2030 goal, Nichols is forcing automakers to comply with her rules — even if it costs them millions. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles chief Sergio Marchionne famously told people not to buy his Fiat 500e because it cost him $10,000.

What’s more, Nichols has the ear of the feds and emerging countries on how best to reduce pollution and greenhouse gases and it could force automakers’ hands into quickly building cars that would comply with more stringent standards. Her policies have scale, too: California is the world’s eighth-largest economy.

Under current rules, zero-emission vehicles sales would need to ramp up in California by 2018, with the eventual goal of having 1.5 million electric cars on the road by 2022, although the automakers have been stockpiling a significant amount of credits to offset that.

Bloomberg’s excellent profile, paired with the LA Times’ in-depth look at Nichols last year, draw a picture of the woman who may further upend the automotive world in the next decade.

Neither story directly forecast how the regulations she’s helping bring forward would impact consumers, but a cursory look at the history of how automakers complied with regulations she worked on (at least, in part) 40 years ago reads like a list of carmaker “must-haves” today: catalytic converters, fuel injection, unleaded fuel, ECUs and oxygen sensors.

(Photo courtesy California Air Resources Board)

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Chart Of The Day: July Marks 11 Months On Top For The Honda CR-V http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/chart-day-july-marks-11-months-top-honda-cr-v/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/chart-day-july-marks-11-months-top-honda-cr-v/#comments Tue, 11 Aug 2015 12:00:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1133417 Beginning in September 2014, the Honda CR-V began a streak as America’s best-selling SUV/crossover, a streak which has now extended through July 2015. Eleven consecutive months is no mean feat — the Toyota Camry’s current streak as America’s best-selling car is only six months long. The CR-V is strengthening, however. In July, year-over-year volume jumped […]

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TTAC COTD best-selling SUV sales streak Honda CR-V

Beginning in September 2014, the Honda CR-V began a streak as America’s best-selling SUV/crossover, a streak which has now extended through July 2015. Eleven consecutive months is no mean feat — the Toyota Camry’s current streak as America’s best-selling car is only six months long.

The CR-V is strengthening, however. In July, year-over-year volume jumped 11 percent to 31,785 units, 2,532 units more than the second-ranked Ford Escape managed. During this increasingly lengthy period of dominance, no one challenger has really stood up to take the fight to the CR-V.

Since the beginning of 2015, the Ford Escape has been the second-place finisher twice (in January and July), the Toyota RAV4 twice (in February and June), the Chevrolet Equinox twice (in April and May), and the Nissan Rogue once (in March). It’s as though James Harden is shooting around on a basketball court beside some playground in Los Angeles waiting for a one-on-one matchup while kids peeking out from around the corner keep pushing one of their friends out to put up a fight.

2015 Honda CR-V

Although this particular streak displays special CR-V strength — sales climbed to a record high 335,019 units in calendar year 2014 and are on pace to top 350,000 in 2015 — we’re not witnessing something new from Honda. The CR-V was America’s best-selling utility vehicle for four consecutive years beginning in 2007 and then, after a one-year break, it was America’s best-selling utility vehicle in each of the last three years, as well.

The difference now is the vehicle’s astounding consistency, like a tennis player that not only ends the year as the top-ranked player but also wins every tournament every weekend.

In 2012, when the current annual CR-V streak began, the Escape was the top-selling utility vehicle in America in June, July, August, and September. In 2013, the Escape led in each of the first three months and in May, June, and in September. Again in 2014, the Escape led in January, February, and March; the RAV4 in August.

Now things have changed. Month after month, no SUV or crossover sells as often in America as the Honda CR-V. Moreover, CR-V sales are growing despite the increasing breadth of the SUV/CUV market. In nine of the last eleven months, year-over-year CR-V volume has increased.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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This Year Could Be the Biggest Car-buying Year in 15 Years http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/year-biggest-car-buying-year-15-years/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/year-biggest-car-buying-year-15-years/#comments Mon, 10 Aug 2015 20:00:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1137538 Automakers could sell more than 17 million new cars and trucks in the U.S. this year, approaching the sales record set in 2000 of 17.4 million, Automotive News is reporting. Analysts raised their forecasts after a strong July for automakers and new cars that will be reaching showrooms in high-selling segments by the end of the […]

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Automakers could sell more than 17 million new cars and trucks in the U.S. this year, approaching the sales record set in 2000 of 17.4 million, Automotive News is reporting.

Analysts raised their forecasts after a strong July for automakers and new cars that will be reaching showrooms in high-selling segments by the end of the year. Last month was the 18th consecutive month for increasing sales.

Our own Timothy Cain thinks that regardless of the final number, 2015 will be a very, very, very good year for automakers.

Cain writes:

It’s been 18 months since monthly auto sales volume last decreased. That decrease, mind you, was brought about by a slight decline in the lowest-volume month of the year, January. In other words, growth in America’s auto industry is notable both for its rapidity and its consistency. It’s that consistency that makes it hard to believe the current pace won’t continue. Regardless of the outright volume attained by manufacturers competing in the U.S., 2015 will undoubtedly be better than 2014. Already, through just seven months, an additional 434,000 new vehicles have been sold compared with the same period one year ago.

Spurred by cheap gas prices, trucks are pacing the overall market as the fastest-selling segment in the U.S. this year. Sales of trucks grew 13 percent this year.

Automakers such as Honda and Chevrolet will introduce newer versions of their Accord and Malibu respectively in the coming months, and that should further stoke car sales, Automotive News points out.

The Wall Street Journal notes that while new car purchases are happening more frequently, and at higher prices, used car prices are finally starting to dip, which may be a relief to low-cost and entry buyers.

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Chart Of The Day: Many Parts Of FCA’s Lineup Are Growing Faster Than The FCA Lineup http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/chart-day-many-parts-fcas-lineup-growing-faster-fca-lineup/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/chart-day-many-parts-fcas-lineup-growing-faster-fca-lineup/#comments Mon, 10 Aug 2015 12:00:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1135810 Each and every month, a great deal of attention is paid to the length of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ U.S. growth streak. July 2015, for example, was the 64th consecutive month in which FCA, formerly known as the Chrysler Group, reported a year-over-year sales gain. Yet so much of FCA’s rate of expansion in the U.S. […]

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TTAC FCA USA sales chart July 2015

Each and every month, a great deal of attention is paid to the length of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ U.S. growth streak. July 2015, for example, was the 64th consecutive month in which FCA, formerly known as the Chrysler Group, reported a year-over-year sales gain.

Yet so much of FCA’s rate of expansion in the U.S. market is muddied by dreadful results in a few small corners of their lineup.

The Fiat brand suffered a 15-percent decline in July sales compared with the same period one year earlier. As the 500X finally began generating proper volume — 962 copies were sold last month — the 500L posted a 78-percent drop. The 500’s 17-percent year-over-year slide was its ninth consecutive decrease.

Discontinued models help to clarify the year-over-year picture, but they don’t help us forecast that which is ahead. The Dodge Avenger has been winding down for more than a year. July Avenger volume plunged 98 percent, a loss of 4,240 units, to just 78 sales. Similarly, the Ram Cargo Van has no future. Sales of the Grand Caravan-based commercial product plunged 97 percent.

As for the Grand Caravan and its better-selling Chrysler Town & Country sibling, their plant’s shutdown earlier this year for retooling dramatically hindered their volume in the first-half of 2015. In July, too, they were jointly down 33 percent.

2014 Fiat 500L Lounge

To say these products don’t count is to ignore history. In July 2014, the Fiat brand, Avenger, Ram C/V, and the Windsor-built vans added nearly 30,000 units to FCA’s U.S. sales tally, but setting them aside for a moment allows us to get a clearer picture of the status of the bulk of FCA’s lineup. Jeep set a 22nd consecutive monthly sales record. Dodge sold more Challengers last month than in any July in the model’s history. Chrysler 200 volume jumped 85 percent.

If FCA can’t eventually find minivan recovery, if Fiat sales continue to go down the toilet, if the Ram ProMaster City can’t pick up where the Ram Cargo Van left off, if the 200 can’t continue to make up for the Avenger’s losses, than this snapshot tells us little. Moreover, besides Fiat, minivans, and discontinued models, there are struggling models in the FCA lineup: the Durango and 300 are in decline and Ram P/U growth has slowed considerably of late.

Nevertheless, a closer look at FCA sales figures makes it appear as though the automaker’s growth is even more significant than a first glance suggests. If Fiat and minivans recover, is FCA thus poised to continue its surge? Or will the recent recall/buyback flap and a product rollout schedule with few all-new product rollouts put an end to the fun and games?

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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Report: Tesla Losing $4,000 on Each Car, and is Burning Cash Faster http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/report-tesla-losing-4000-on-each-car-and-is-burning-cash-faster/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/report-tesla-losing-4000-on-each-car-and-is-burning-cash-faster/#comments Sun, 09 Aug 2015 15:00:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1136986 After Tesla Motors announced last week that it had lost $184 million in the second quarter of this year on lower vehicle deliveries and higher spending on its factory ahead of a new model, analysts say the company could have a bumpier road ahead if it can’t raise cash soon. According to a Reuters report, Tesla […]

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After Tesla Motors announced last week that it had lost $184 million in the second quarter of this year on lower vehicle deliveries and higher spending on its factory ahead of a new model, analysts say the company could have a bumpier road ahead if it can’t raise cash soon.

According to a Reuters report, Tesla is losing $4,000 on each car it sells, and the company’s ability to raise capital could be severely hampered by its spending now and its inability to create positive cash flow in a luxury market that is extremely favorable.

“A capital raise, given the way they’re burning cash today, given the fact that they have future investment needs, seems very likely at some point,” UBS Securities analyst Colin Langan told Reuters.

Despite favorable press and an extremely effective marketing plan, Tesla has only one profitable quarter in its history and the automaker doesn’t project a cash-positive year until 2020.

Tesla’s stock tumbled more than 10 percent Thursday after the announcement and closed Friday still down around 10 percent from its one-week high.

The story points out that Tesla has had tough times before. In 2012, Tesla CEO Elon Musk steered the company out of a cash crunch and renegotiated a federal loan and sold shares of the company to raise money ahead of the Model S launch.

Musk faces a similar quandary now, ahead of the Model X launch, but with a challenged budget sheet, significantly higher investments in production and more competition in the market.

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Lexus Will Test No-haggle Pricing at Some of its Dealers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/lexus-will-test-no-haggle-pricing-at-some-of-its-dealers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/lexus-will-test-no-haggle-pricing-at-some-of-its-dealers/#comments Sat, 08 Aug 2015 14:59:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1136490 Taking a page from the old Saturn playbook, Lexus will test no-haggle pricing at a dozen dealerships this year, according to the Detroit Free Press. The pricing strategy will apply to new and used cars, and service and maintenance at the dealers. According to Lexus general manager Jeff Bracken, no-haggle pricing could be initially difficult. […]

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2016_Lexus_IS_300_AWD_F_SPORT_001_2AEF9F669D0BB0948BE16C125B5434AE04D64090

Taking a page from the old Saturn playbook, Lexus will test no-haggle pricing at a dozen dealerships this year, according to the Detroit Free Press.

The pricing strategy will apply to new and used cars, and service and maintenance at the dealers.

According to Lexus general manager Jeff Bracken, no-haggle pricing could be initially difficult.

“The dealer has to be willing to let the customer walk away or word gets out and the model falls apart,” Bracken told the Detroit Free Press.

Lexus says that it’s adopting the strategy in an effort to differentiate itself from other luxury competition. Luxury automakers such as Cadillac may overhaul their incentive program for dealers to focus on the shopping experience, rather than hard sales goals.

Bracken said the strategy could be expanded to Lexus dealers by 2017.

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Higher Octane Could Solve All of Our Problems http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/higher-octane-solve-problems/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/higher-octane-solve-problems/#comments Fri, 07 Aug 2015 19:00:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1136298 Speaking at a conference this week, EPA exec Christopher Grundler said automakers have asked for higher octane fuels for higher compression tolerance and more powerful engines, Automotive News is reporting. Speaking at the CAR Management Briefing Seminar series, Grundler said the EPA has the authority to regulate fuel, but that the agency would investigate whether it […]

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E10 + 100 Percent Gasoline at the Pump

Speaking at a conference this week, EPA exec Christopher Grundler said automakers have asked for higher octane fuels for higher compression tolerance and more powerful engines, Automotive News is reporting.

Speaking at the CAR Management Briefing Seminar series, Grundler said the EPA has the authority to regulate fuel, but that the agency would investigate whether it would make sense to offer the higher-grade fuel. Grundler is the agency’s director of the Office of Transportation and Air Quality.

(Note to Grundler: You seem like a smart guy. Why can’t we all have race fuel all the time?)

Drivers would have to pay more at the pump, Grundler said, which would make regulating higher octane fuel more difficult to swallow.

However, as more manufacturers turn to turbocharging smaller displacement engines with higher compression ratios, the engines themselves could become more powerful and applicable to a larger range and car size. But will they last?

For example, Mercedes Benz’s 2-liter, turbocharged engine produces 177.5 hp/l, a figure that was almost unheard of in mass-produced passenger cars 20 years ago. The fleet averages though, still hover around 100 hp/l.

Grundler said the EPA would investigate whether higher-octane fuels, or something probably not as exciting, would help manufacturers continue to build bigger, heavier, safer cars, but with more efficient, smaller, fuel-sipping engines.

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TrueCar CEO Scott Painter Will Step Down http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/truecar-ceo-scott-painter-will-step/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/truecar-ceo-scott-painter-will-step/#comments Thu, 06 Aug 2015 20:45:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1135586 TrueCar CEO Scott Painter will leave the company at the end of this year, Automotive News is reporting. Painter announced he was leaving the company after TrueCar announced it had lost $14.7 million in the second quarter on $65.3 million revenue. “After a decade of building TrueCar from an idea into a public company, I […]

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Scott Painter - Picture courtesy venturebeat.com

TrueCar CEO Scott Painter will leave the company at the end of this year, Automotive News is reporting.

Painter announced he was leaving the company after TrueCar announced it had lost $14.7 million in the second quarter on $65.3 million revenue.

“After a decade of building TrueCar from an idea into a public company, I have come to the conclusion reached by many founders and entrepreneurs in my position: It is time for a change.” Painter said in a statement according to Automotive News.

Painter will remain on the company’s board of directors.

It’s been a tough year for Painter and TrueCar.

In July, AutoNation announced it would sever ties with the online auto-buying tool. Representatives from AutoNation said TrueCar wanted sales data from all its car sales — not just the ones directly attributable to TrueCar. TrueCar representatives said the company asked AutoNation for fees that it was charging other dealerships for its service.

Also, a lawsuit brought by 100 dealers this month alleged that TrueCar engaged in deceptive business practices by not disclosing that it was charging dealers $299 to $399 for each car sold, a cost that would presumably be passed along to customers.

A replacement for Painter has not yet been announced.

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There Once Was a Dream That Was 1000SEL http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/there-once-was-a-dream-that-was-1000sel/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/there-once-was-a-dream-that-was-1000sel/#comments Thu, 06 Aug 2015 15:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1135138 Here’s a question for the B&B: When, exactly, did Mercedes-Benz completely lose its famous sense of aesthetic restraint? Was it the arrival of the Panzerwagen W140 S-Class, with its Bismarckian bulk and its little pop-up parking guides? Was it the debut of the two-tone Maybach 57 and 62, complete with their burl-walnut power window switches […]

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1000sel

Here’s a question for the B&B: When, exactly, did Mercedes-Benz completely lose its famous sense of aesthetic restraint? Was it the arrival of the Panzerwagen W140 S-Class, with its Bismarckian bulk and its little pop-up parking guides? Was it the debut of the two-tone Maybach 57 and 62, complete with their burl-walnut power window switches and sliding curtains? Was it the day that the CLA45 AMG proved that the company had no philosophical objection whatsoever to building what was basically a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution?

Whenever it was, it’s certainly happened. Those days of squared-off, buttoned-down diesel sedans and sensibly-sized S-Classes are long gone. But this is one of those rare cases where the reality was equal to the legend. There truly was a time when the W126, in V-8 SEL form, was simply the best car in the world. It was rapid, silent, safe, trustworthy, classic, and supremely comfortable. It existed in a space utterly beyond any but the most picayune criticism.

But it simply wasn’t enough. Wasn’t brash enough, wasn’t trash enough, wasn’t gold-plated enough, wasn’t gull-winged enough. Enter, therefore, the 1000SEL.

100sgs

It wasn’t that Mercedes-Benz was averse to making pimp chariots for plutocrats. Some readers will remember the 600 “Pullman” with its vacuum-operated power windows and limo-style wheelbase extension. There was also some chap named Hitler who liked to ride around in big Benzes well before Sir Mix-A-Lot ever thought to rap about the S-Class. But with the energy crisis of the Seventies striking justified fear into the hearts of oil-less Europe, the company declined to update the 600 concept for the Eighties. Instead, the company revealed the W126, the car that would effectively replace the W116 S-Class and the 600. It was unapologetically aerodynamic, weight-conscious, deliberately efficient, powered by small, all-aluminum V-8s in addition to the usual inline-six in both gas and diesel form that made up the bulk of sales outside the United States.

To drive the W126 was to realize the apex of automotive accomplishment up to that point. It seemed utterly silent, particularly at high speeds. It steered and stopped like a sports car. In 5-liter 500SEL or US-market 560SEL form, it was capable of embarrassing a Porsche 911 of the day once aerodynamics entered the high-speed equation. You could drive it all day and night. No important control was out of the reach of a five-foot woman or a six-three man. Of course, it couldn’t match a modern Chevy Sonic for “telematics” or electronic features but it did have ABS before almost everyone else and it was an early airbag adopter as well.

Mercedes-1981-Mercedes-500SEL-a

It’s hard to think of what could be improved in a W126, but it’s not hard to understand why the car’s relentlessly functional presence seemed a little, shall we say, tame for some markets. Its predecessors had possessed nice big grilles and upright profiles. They looked like the kind of car an Idi Amin or Robert Mugabe could own without blushing. (John Updike made such a car a central character in his African novel of the period, The Coup.) The 600, of course, had an undoubted appeal just due to its stature — but the W126 was actually lower and more modest-looking than the cars that had gone before it.

Enter the tuners, most famously “Styling Garage” and Gemballa. You can read all about Styling Garage on the 1000SEL fan site but suffice it to say that they weren’t playing. They built the “1000SEL”, a pimped-out W126 that could be adjusted to suit the wildest fantasies of the shahs and the sheikhs. They even put the nose of the old car on the new one:

SGS-1000SGS-03

Imagine you were the engineer responsible for the 0.36 drag coefficient of the 380SEL and you saw that God-damned monstrosity on the road ahead of you. How would you feel? Certainly the lawyers didn’t like it, which led to the “1000SEL” being renamed the “1000SGS”.

But if Styling-Garage was the master of vandalizing the outside of a W126, surely Gemballa was the undisputed champion of interior pimpology.

interior

Only the position of the dashboard trim stripe and the shape of the steering wheel really gives this car’s origins away.

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What’s going on with that small screen on the passenger side? Is is a tracking device for stolen nuclear submarines or a way to watch The Cosby Show in black and white? But the greatest horror was yet to come. The 380SEC and 500SEC were not unqualified successes. They were heavier and slower than the nearly flawless sedans on which they were based. In the United States, where emissions equipment strangled the 3.8, this was particularly upsetting. But for some customers, the most upsetting part of W126 coupe ownership was the regular doors. So…

gullwing

That’s right. A Testarossa-straked gullwing W126 coupe. And there was more than one of them.

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Many of these cars disappeared into garages in Brunei or Saudi Arabia where they promptly rusted into worthlessness, often without having been driven any more than their delivery miles. But the arrival of the W140 put the kibosh on much of this extremely profitable and tasteless activity. To begin with, the new car was massively complex and far harder to modify. Just the thousand-mile-long biodegradable wiring harness alone was an insurmountable challenge to most tuners. But there was also the sense that Mercedes-Benz had returned to the idea of the Grosser Benz, a car that was too big to ignore for plutocrats of all stripes who were (usually) too big to fail or jail.

Eventually, Mercedes implemented all but the worst excesses of the tuners in their production vehicles. Some of those vehicles, like the sublime AMG SLS Black Series, are among the finest German cars ever made. Others, like the misshapen and depressed-looking Maybach 62, are not. But it’s fun to look back and see that there was once a brief shining moment where Germany’s best automaker really was the kind of austere, emotionally monochromatic, technically focused company that its owners always claimed it to be. So when you’re in your CLA or GLA or GLE Coupe or whatever and you see some slick dude or bearded hipster in an old W126, have some respect, okay?

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Chart Of The Day: GM’s Pickup Truck Market Share Soars In July http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/chart-day-gms-pickup-truck-market-share-soars-july/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/chart-day-gms-pickup-truck-market-share-soars-july/#comments Thu, 06 Aug 2015 12:00:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1133353 General Motors reported 86,051 U.S. pickup truck sales in July 2015, the highest figure for a seventh month of the year since 2006, GM says. It does not appear as though the advent of new midsize GM trucks – Colorado and Canyon – have had any measurably negative impact on their full-size siblings. Combined, the […]

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TTAC COTD Truck Market Share July 2015 YTD

General Motors reported 86,051 U.S. pickup truck sales in July 2015, the highest figure for a seventh month of the year since 2006, GM says.

It does not appear as though the advent of new midsize GM trucks – Colorado and Canyon – have had any measurably negative impact on their full-size siblings. Combined, the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra outsold the class-leading Ford F-Series by 9,900 copies in July. They lead the F-Series by more than 29,000 units heading into August.

The GM full-size duo hasn’t outsold the F-Series on a calendar year basis since 2009.

GM’s four truck nameplates owned 39 percent of the overall American truck market in July 2015, up nearly eight points compared with July of last year. Through the first seven months of 2015, GM’s total share of the truck market has risen from 31 percent in 2014 to 37 percent in 2015, nearly seven points greater than Ford’s share of the category.

F-Series sales did, however, improve in July, rising 5 percent to 66,288 units, the first increase for the F-Series since January.

Ram pickup truck sales growth has stalled over the last two months, rising just 1 percent over the course of June and July. Tacoma sales made up 62 percent of the truck sales at Toyota last month, sales of which jumped 29 percent to 17,033 units, 55 percent of the small/midsize pickup category’s volume.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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