The Truth About Cars » Sales http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Fri, 06 Mar 2015 17:29:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 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 » Sales http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/sales/ Smart Follows Opel Out Of Australia Amid Weak Sales http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/smart-follows-opel-australia-amid-weak-sales/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/smart-follows-opel-australia-amid-weak-sales/#comments Fri, 06 Mar 2015 15:00:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1016730 In 2013, Opel left Australia amid poor sales in the land down under. This year, it’s Smart that is bowing out of the market. Just-Auto reports the Smart ForTwo would soon return to Europe after finding little success in Australia, due mainly to consumers not wanting to pay a premium on a city car; the […]

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Smart-fortwo-BoConcept-Edition-2014-51

In 2013, Opel left Australia amid poor sales in the land down under. This year, it’s Smart that is bowing out of the market.

Just-Auto reports the Smart ForTwo would soon return to Europe after finding little success in Australia, due mainly to consumers not wanting to pay a premium on a city car; the ForTwo’s $18,990 AUD ($14,727 USD) price is nearly on par with the much bigger, more roomier Toyota Corolla.

Since arriving in 2003, Smart has sold over 4,400 of its models, 3,517 being the aforementioned ForTwo. However, demand began to fall in 2005, and reached a point that by 2013, the brand only took orders online. Additionally, only 22 ForTwos have been sold in 2015 so far as the Australian market recovers.

Mercedes-Benz said it would continue to offer parts and service for the vehicles, and would do its best to move the remaining 60 days’ worth of inventory before Smart’s days in Australia came to a close.

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Volkswagen USA’s Sales Decline Begins Anew In February 2015 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/volkswagen-usas-sales-decline-begins-anew-february-2015/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/volkswagen-usas-sales-decline-begins-anew-february-2015/#comments Fri, 06 Mar 2015 13:28:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1016930 The Volkswagen brand had arrested its sales decline in the United States. After 18 consecutive months of decreased year-over-year volume, Volkswagen sales increased in October, November, December, and January. • Everything but the Golf drops • Golf R returns • Total Golf sales up 138% Granted, those increased sales appeared only in comparison to the prior […]

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VW USA February sales chartThe Volkswagen brand had arrested its sales decline in the United States. After 18 consecutive months of decreased year-over-year volume, Volkswagen sales increased in October, November, December, and January.


• Everything but the Golf drops

• Golf R returns

• Total Golf sales up 138%


Granted, those increased sales appeared only in comparison to the prior year period, when Volkswagen was in the middle of an 18-month downward streak. Compared with the equivalent period two years earlier, VW of America sales tumbled 12% in October 2014, 14% in November, 23% in December, and 19% in January 2015. Moreover, the reported yeear-over-year improvements were mostly slight: 8% in October, 3% in November, 0.1% in December, and 0.04% in January.

Perhaps Volkswagen was simply regressing toward the mean, rather than stopping a oncoming train in its tracks. February volume slid 5% in a market which grew 5%.

Even with some new product in Volkswagen showrooms – overall Golf volume more than doubled to 3921, an increase of 2272 units – the losses reported by the brand’s other models brought the brand down by 1402 sales compared with February 2014; by 5746 compared with February 2013.

2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI whiteNon-Golf volume slid 14% as Beetle sales plummeted 30%, the departing Eos plunged 40%, the aged CC was down 57%, Tiguan and Passat sales dropped 10%, and Touareg volume fell 8%.

Overall Jetta volume was down 9%, but much of that decline was due to the severe slowdown of Jetta SportWagen sales – the Mk7 Golf wagon will actually be a Golf. The Jetta sedan was a relatively stable corner of the Volkswagen lineup. Sales dropped by just 4%, a loss of only 378 sales, year-over-year. It accounts for 38% of Volkswagen USA’s sales through the first two months of 2015.

Regardless, the addition of 362 Golf R sales (the previous model ended its run last summer), 130 e-Golfs, a doubling of GTI volume, and a 119% increase in Golf sales didn’t turn Volkswagen into even a moderately high-volume brand. After averaging 36,500 monthly sales in 2012 and appearing like a brand that could turn on the jets in America, it became readily apparent that a luxury SUV and an undersized and overpriced small crossover weren’t going to cut it in a market which veered away from cars toward utility vehicles. Of equal or greater importance was the fact that the brand’s core cars, Jetta and Passat, had significant initial appeal but ranked low in terms of long-lasting desirability.

That’s not to say Jetta interest completely dried up. It’s America’s 17th-best-selling car so far this year and ranked 13th in 2014. But as the standard-bearer for a brand with lofty goals, the volume it generates is simply not sufficient to form the basis of a high-volume automaker in the United States.

As a result of all the brand’s issues, Volkswagen’s February market share tumbled to 2% in 2015, down from 2.3% in February 2014, 2.6% in February 2013, and 2.7% in February 2012.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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Marchionne: Fiat Will Never Again Be ‘A General Brand’ In Europe http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/marchionne-fiat-will-never-general-brand-europe/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/marchionne-fiat-will-never-general-brand-europe/#comments Thu, 05 Mar 2015 14:00:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1015962 Once a mass-market player in Europe, FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne says Fiat will never again be as such. According to Automotive News Europe, Marchionne made the proclamation during this year’s Geneva Auto Show: In terms of the scope of a mass producer of vehicles, Fiat (brand) no longer offers — and it never intends to […]

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Fiat-500X-2

Once a mass-market player in Europe, FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne says Fiat will never again be as such.

According to Automotive News Europe, Marchionne made the proclamation during this year’s Geneva Auto Show:

In terms of the scope of a mass producer of vehicles, Fiat (brand) no longer offers — and it never intends to have — a full range of product of the kind mass brands have. Fiat will lose its appeal as a general brand and it will focus on what it does best.

He adds that “the economics are not there” to keep Fiat in the mass-market arena as far as investments are concerned, and has no plans to claw back lost market share in Europe. As such, Marchionne has refocused the brand’s European lineup toward smaller cars like the 500 range, the Panda, and upcoming replacements for the Bravo and Punto.

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Automakers Continue Support Of Electric Vehicles Despite Weak Sales http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/automakers-continue-support-electric-vehicles-despite-weak-sales/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/automakers-continue-support-electric-vehicles-despite-weak-sales/#comments Thu, 05 Mar 2015 11:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1015890 Though sales of electric vehicles are still weak, automakers are not giving up on them over the long term. Reporting from the floor of the 2015 Geneva Auto Show, Autoblog says that technology is important to help automakers meet ever-stringent emissions standards, especially those in China, where heavy air pollution limits how many cars are […]

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2015 BMW i3

Though sales of electric vehicles are still weak, automakers are not giving up on them over the long term.

Reporting from the floor of the 2015 Geneva Auto Show, Autoblog says that technology is important to help automakers meet ever-stringent emissions standards, especially those in China, where heavy air pollution limits how many cars are registered annually. BMW AG CEO Norbert Reithofer said as much when stating that his company cannot leave EVs like the i3 behind, proclaiming such vehicles would be in demand in the future.

Daimler AG CEO Dieter Zetsche says hybrids were “truly attractive cars that represent the best of both worlds” as his and other companies cross the bridge toward a zero-emission future. However, Zetsche adds that the battery technology needed to get to the other side — long-lasting battery packs — are at least five years away.

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America’s 20 Best-Selling Vehicles: February 2015 YTD http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/americas-20-best-selling-vehicles-february-2015-ytd/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/americas-20-best-selling-vehicles-february-2015-ytd/#comments Wed, 04 Mar 2015 15:45:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1015162 After an especially strong start to 2015, Ford F-Series volume failed to increase in the United States in the second month of the year. The F-Series was outsold by GM’s full-size twins in February 2015, just as it was in the final five months of 2014. Through the first two months of 2015, however, the […]

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2015 Ford F-150After an especially strong start to 2015, Ford F-Series volume failed to increase in the United States in the second month of the year. The F-Series was outsold by GM’s full-size twins in February 2015, just as it was in the final five months of 2014. Through the first two months of 2015, however, the F-Series isn’t just America’s best-selling vehicle line, it’s also ahead of the GM twins.

Slightly.

By 327 units.

It’ll be the race to watch in 2015, not because there’s any real possibility of the F-Series being unseated – the Silverado would need to outsell the F-Series by an average of 2811 units in each of 2015’s remaining ten months to take the top spot by year’s end – but because 2015 is a major year for Ford’s truck line.

Can Ford strike the balance between incentive-boosted volume and profitability on their new aluminum-intensive F-150? If the F-Series’ market share continues to be strong, does it matter if the GM twins can muster more sales?

Ford and GM trucks aren’t alone at the top of best sellers lists: the Ram P/U line is the third best-selling vehicle range so far this year, 211 sales ahead of the best-selling car, Toyota’s Camry. The Camry’s February results, a 14% jump to 32,942 sales, meant the Ram was temporarily knocked down to the fourth position for the first time since August.

Rank
Best-Selling Vehicle
2 Months 2015
2 Months 2014
% Change
#1
Ford F-Series
109,606 102,418 7.0%
#2
Chevrolet Silverado
81,501 65,510 24.4%
#3
Ram P/U
59,916 54,374 10.2%
#4
Toyota Camry
59,705 52,330 14.1%
#5
Toyota Corolla
55,196 48,052 14.9%
#6
Nissan Altima
54,882 54,364 2.8%
#7
Honda CR-V
45,509 38,991 16.7%
#8
Honda Accord
42,627 45,226 -5.7%
#9
Ford Fusion
42,426 44,615 -4.9%
#10
Toyota RAV4
41,767 33,331 25.3%
#11
Chevrolet Equinox
41,278 36,134 14.2%
#12
Ford Escape
40,969 42,604 -3.8%
#13
Honda Civic
39,737 43,399 -8.4%
#14
Nissan Rogue
37,068 31,028 19.5%
#15
Chevrolet Cruze
36,994 38,664 -4.3%
#16
Ford Explorer
35,649 26,734 33.3%
#17
Ford Focus
32,497 27,929 16.4%
#18
Chrysler 200
29,962 22,958 30.5%
#19
Nissan Sentra
29,749 21,466 38.6%
#20
Jeep Cherokee
29,180 22,300 30.9%

This list was updated at 11:34 AM ET to reflect former Corolla/Altima exclusion.

The Camry, meanwhile, led all cars in February. On the one hand, that’s not surprising. On an annual basis, the Camry is routinely America’s best-selling car. On the other hand, this was just the third time in the last seven months that the Camry’s topped the car leaderboard, as the Honda Accord took top honours in August and September and the Nissan Altima was the best-selling car in December and January.

The Accord, however, isn’t even the top-selling Honda these days. Honda’s CR-V continued its streak atop the Honda leaderboard in February, the fifth consecutive month in which the CR-V outsold the Accord and Civic. Through the first two months of 2015, the CR-V began just where it left off, as America’s top-selling SUV/crossover.

The odd story in February’s utility vehicle sales race was the positioning of the Ford Escape. Sales of Ford’s smallest utility declined 10% in an SUV/crossover category which grew by more than 8%. This decline opened up the door for the Toyota RAV4, Chevrolet Equinox, and Nissan Rogue to all outsell the Escape, albeit by narrow margins. The Escape, typically America’s second-best-selling SUV, ranked fifth in February and fourth through the first one-sixth of 2015.

Overall, this list of the 20 best-selling vehicles includes three pickup trucks, ten passenger cars, and seven utility vehicles, including the Ford Explorer and Jeep Cherokee. At this stage in 2014, all of these vehicles except for the Chrysler 200, Jeep Cherokee, Nissan Sentra were also among the 20 top sellers. The Hyundai Elantra, Chevrolet Malibu, and GMC Sierra – which ranked 15th, 17th, and 20th, respectively, at this stage a year ago – were knocked off.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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February 2015 Full-Size Pickup Truck Sales Up 8%: GM Gains Plenty Of Market Share http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/february-2015-full-size-pickup-truck-sales-8-gm-gains-plenty-market-share/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/february-2015-full-size-pickup-truck-sales-8-gm-gains-plenty-market-share/#comments Wed, 04 Mar 2015 13:28:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1015186 One year ago, when we began tracking the monthly market share movement in America’s full-size pickup truck sector, General Motors had just seen its February market share fall from 39% in February 2013 to 35% one year later. Their trucks were new, but GM’s volume wasn’t matching the heavily incentivized sales production of their predecessors. […]

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450x186x2014-RAM-1500-Eco-Diesel-Exterior-005-450x186.jpg.pagespeed.ic.lOe8Dz48bOOne year ago, when we began tracking the monthly market share movement in America’s full-size pickup truck sector, General Motors had just seen its February market share fall from 39% in February 2013 to 35% one year later. Their trucks were new, but GM’s volume wasn’t matching the heavily incentivized sales production of their predecessors.

The story is turned on its head one year later, as Ford’s transition into a new F-Series lineup has caused a slight slowdown in a booming category. Full-size truck volume jumped 8% in February 2015, but F-Series sales slid 1%. GM, on the other hand, reported 8811 more Chevrolet Silverado sales this February than last along with more than 900 extra GMC Sierra sales.

Thus, at the expense of Ford (which lost more than three percentage points of market share), Ram (which lost three-tenths of a percentage point), and Nissan (which also lost three-tenths of a percentage point), GM’s market share in America’s full-size pickup category grew to 38.6% in February 2015 from 35% a year ago, and from 34.6% a month ago.

Truck
Feb.
2015
Feb.
2014
%
Change
2 mos.
2015
2 mos.
2014
%
Change
Ford F-Series
55,236 55,882 -1.2% 109,606 102,418 7.0%
Chevrolet Silverado
45,395 36,584 24.1% 81,501 65,510 24.4%
Ram P/U
31,298 29,303 6.8% 59,916 54,374 10.2%
GMC Sierra
15,157 14,232 6.5% 27,778 25,350 9.6%
Toyota Tundra
9,052 7,923 14.3% 17,249 15,813 9.1%
Nissan Titan
816 1,117 -26.9% 1,590 2,004 -20.7%
Total
156,954 145,041 8.2% 297,640 265,469 12.1%

Although Ram volume improved in February – the 58th consecutive month of YOY Ram P/U growth – the FCA pickup’s market share declined on a YOY basis for the second consecutive month. The Ram’s impressive growth in the first two months of 2015 simply isn’t quite as impressive as the growth in the overall segment. February was the first month since August that the Ram wasn’t America’s third-best-selling vehicle.

Truck
Feb.
2015
Share
Feb.
2014
Share
2 mos.
2015
Share
2 mos.
2014
Share
Ford F-Series
35.2% 38.5% 36.8% 38.6%
Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra
38.6% 35.0% 36.7% 34.2%
Ram P/U
19.9% 20.2% 20.1% 20.5%
Toyota Tundra
5.8% 5.5% 5.8% 6.0%
Nissan Titan
0.5% 0.8% 0.5% 0.8%
Full-Size Share Of
Total Pickup Truck Market
85.0% 89.0% 84.8% 88.7%
Full-Size Pickup Share
Of Total Industry
 12.5% 12.1% 12.3% 12.0%

February was also a return to form for the combined GM twins. Together, the Silverado and Sierra outsold the F-Series in each of 2014’s final five months. Ford leaped ahead by a wide margin in January, but its year-to-date lead over the GM pair is now down to 337 units heading into March.

Results to this point aren’t meaningless. Nearly 300,000 full-size pickup trucks were sold in January and February. But after  January’s low-volume potential and a February that was brought below forecasts because of winter weather, March’s end to the first-quarter will give us more to work with. In 2012, March was the highest-volume month for new vehicle sales volume. It was the second-highest-volume month in 2013 and the third-highest-volume month for auto sales last 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.

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U.S. Auto Sales Brand Results: February 2015 YTD http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/u-s-auto-sales-brand-results-february-2015-ytd/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/u-s-auto-sales-brand-results-february-2015-ytd/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 19:30:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1013794 An unexpectedly strong winter impact slowed February 2015 auto sales compared with the expectations of forecasters but not in comparison with February 2014. The market jumped by more than 5% with the strongest gains coming from Jeep, GMC, Subaru. A number of lower-volume brands – Mini, Mitsubishi, Land Rover, Lexus, and Infiniti – all posted […]

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2015 Nissan Versa Note SRAn unexpectedly strong winter impact slowed February 2015 auto sales compared with the expectations of forecasters but not in comparison with February 2014. The market jumped by more than 5% with the strongest gains coming from Jeep, GMC, Subaru. A number of lower-volume brands – Mini, Mitsubishi, Land Rover, Lexus, and Infiniti – all posted year-over-year improvements of at least 20%. 

Ford Motor Company suffered the loss of sales at its namesake Ford brand and at Lincoln. GM volume dropped at Buick and Cadillac but increased at the automaker’s two higher-volume brands. FCA/Chrysler Group suffered a sharp drop at Dodge, but the big Jeep improvement was married to strong Chrysler and Ram sales.

Automaker Feb. 2015 Feb. 2014 % Change 2015 YTD 2014 YTD % Change
Acura
 12,992 11,545 12.5% 24,974 22,368 11.7%
Alfa Romeo
 47 144  —
Audi
 11,455 10,881 5.3% 22,996 20,982 9.6%
BMW
 25,201 22,017 14.5% 44,182 40,270 9.7%
Buick
 17,418 19,192 -9.2% 29,971 32,470 -7.7%
Cadillac
 11,739 13,437 -12.6% 23,419 24,823 -5.7%
Chevrolet
 159,788 153,913 3.8% 302,670 273,002 10.9%
Chrysler
28,502 25,230 13.0% 51,895  46,343 12.0%
Dodge
 42,115 49,744 -15.3% 77,462 84,649 -8.5%
Fiat
 3,289 3,465 -5.1% 6,544 6,687 -2.1%
Ford  173,509  176,688 -1.8%  344,331  324,209 6.2%
GMC
 42,433 35,562 19.3% 78,104 63,295 23.4%
Honda
 92,474 88,860 4.1% 182,676 169,668 7.7%
Hyundai
 52,505  49,003 7.1%  97,010  93,008 4.3%
Infiniti
 11,659 9,729 19.8%  21,317  18,727 13.8%
Jaguar
 1,410 1,552 -9.1% 2,676 2,899 -7.7%
Jeep
 55,642 45,946  21.0% 107,165 87,856 22.0%
Kia
 44,030 41,218 6.8% 82,329 78,229 5.2%
Land Rover
 4,917 4,006 22.7% 10,198 8,680 17.5%
Lexus
 22,995 18,855 22.0% 46,126 36,492 26.4%
Lincoln
6,164 6,661 -7.5% 12,783 12,634 1.2%
Maserati
 481 837 -42.5% 933 1405 -33.6%
Mazda
 25,650 24,341 5.4% 45,921 43,154 6.4%
Mercedes-Benz
 23,616 22,609  4.5%  48,235  45,213  6.7%
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter
 1,675 1,421  17.9%  3,180  2,709  17.4%
Total Mercedes-Benz
 25,291  24,030 5.2%  51,415  47,922 7.3%
Mini
 3,720 2,459 51.3% 6,948 5,002 38.9%
Mitsubishi
 7,533 5,977 26.0% 14,026 10,844 29.3%
Nissan
 106,777  105,631 1.1%  201,226 187,103 7.5%
Porsche
 3,202 3,232  -0.9% 7,139 6,328 12.8%
Ram
 33,991 30,481  11.5% 65,383 56,514 15.7%
Scion
 3,864 4,529 -14.7%  7,554 8,540 -11.5%
Smart
 458 941 -51.3% 950 1462 -35.0%
Subaru
 41,358 34,909 18.5% 82,170 67,909 21.0%
Toyota
 153,608 135,900 13.0% 295,981 260,617 13.6%
Volkswagen
 25,710 27,112 -5.2% 49,214 50,606 -2.8%
Volvo
 4,012 3,991 0.5% 7,806 7,783 0.3%
 —
BMW-Mini
 28,921 24,476 18.2% 51,130 45,272 12.9%
FCA/Chrysler Group
 163,586 154,866 5.6% 308,593 282,049 9.4%
Daimler
25,749 24,971 3.1% 52,365 49,384 6.0%
Ford Motor Company
 179,673 183,349 -2.0%  357,114 336,843 6.0%
General Motors
 231,378 222,104 4.2% 434,164 393,590 10.3%
Honda Motor Company
105,466  100,405 5.0% 207,650 192,036 8.1%
Hyundai-Kia
 96,535  90,221 7.0%  179,339  171,237 4.7%
Jaguar-Land Rover
 6,327 5,558 13.8% 12,874 11,579 11.2%
Nissan Motor Company
118,436 115,360 2.7%  222,543 205,830 8.1%
Toyota Motor Corporation
 180,467 159,284  13.3% 322,840  305,649 5.6%
Volkswagen Group *
 40,563 41,403 -2.0% 79,641 78,286 1.7%
Industry Total
1,258,570
1,194,679
5.3%
2,411,050
2,208,105
9.2%

* Volkswagen Group includes sales figures for Audi, Bentley, Porsche, and Volkswagen brands

** Industry total takes into account Automotive News estimates for brands such as Tesla (2000 February units) and other low-volume, high-priced manufacturers.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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The Finally Defunct Bugatti Veyron’s U.S. Sales Run: By The Numbers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/finally-defunct-bugatti-veyrons-u-s-sales-run-numbers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/finally-defunct-bugatti-veyrons-u-s-sales-run-numbers/#comments Sun, 01 Mar 2015 13:22:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1009418 Finally. The Veyron is done. Bugatti reportedly sold the last Veyron, a car which will be displayed at the Geneva auto show in March, to a customer in the Middle East. Volkswagen-owned Bugatti’s 450-unit production run comes to a close after nearly a decade of delivering cars to customers. Although the cars routinely sold for […]

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Bugatti Veyron blueFinally. The Veyron is done.

Bugatti reportedly sold the last Veyron, a car which will be displayed at the Geneva auto show in March, to a customer in the Middle East.

Volkswagen-owned Bugatti’s 450-unit production run comes to a close after nearly a decade of delivering cars to customers. Although the cars routinely sold for more than $2M, Bloomberg referenced Singapore-based analyst Max Warburton who believes VW lost €4.6M per car, more than USD $5M.

Unlike the detailed sales reports we see each month from Volkswagen of America’s namesake brand, Veyron-specific numbers were never formally reported. Automotive News reports that approximately one-quarter, or 113, of the Bugatti Veyrons produced ended up in the United States.

It would be easy to rib Bugatti for its sales struggles. But rather than critique the French hypercar, let’s do ourselves the service of placing its numbers in context.

Bugatti Veyron Pur SangIf there are 113 Bugatti Veyrons on America’s roads – or more likely, locked in hyperbaric, anechoic chambers – how do such figures align with the sales numbers (circa 2014) for the vehicles you drive?

671 – the number of seconds it takes for Americans to buy 113 SUVs and crossovers.

79 – the number of minutes it takes Ford to sell 113 F-Series pickups in America. Ford sold more than 2000 F-Series per day in 2014, a slightly slower year for the F-Series, America’s best-selling vehicle line.

9 – the number of hours Ford needed in the final two months of 2014 to sell 113 Mustangs.

5 – the number of days required for the Chevrolet Trax to find 113 new owners in its first month of availability, December, when a twin of the Trax, Buick’s Encore, had already been on sale for nearly two years.

1 – the number of days required for GMC to sell 113 Yukons. The Yukon is the third-best-selling nameplate off GM’s full-size SUV platform. On an average day in the U.S. in 2014, GM dealers sold 697 Escalades, Suburbans, Tahoes, Yukons, and Yukon XLs.

2 – the number of weeks required for Mercedes-Benz USA to sell 113 G-Class SUVs. At the moment, the G-Class has the highest base price of any SUV sold in the United States.

4925 – the number of minivans sold in America during calendar year 2014 for every Bugatti Veyron ever sold in America.

35,619 – the number of Toyota Camrys sold between 2005 and 2014 for every Veyron ever sold in America.

130 – the number of $845K+ Porsche 918 Spyders sold in the United States in its first eight months of availability.

51 – the number of miles one must drive from the Smart factory in Hambach, France – from which 10,453 Fortwos were shipped and sold in the United States in 2014 – to Molsheim, France, where the Veyron was assembled.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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Chart Of The Day: A Decade Of January Market Share Improvement For Winter’s Auto Brands http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/chart-day-decade-january-market-share-improvement-winters-auto-brands/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/chart-day-decade-january-market-share-improvement-winters-auto-brands/#comments Sat, 28 Feb 2015 13:17:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1009394 Subaru and Jeep are consistently two of America’s fast-growing auto brands. Aided by expanding portfolios and clearly understood branding, Jeep volume jumped 41% in 2014; Subaru sales shot up 21%. Are any two auto brands more easily identified with winter than Subaru and Jeep? As the U.S. auto industry grew 14% in January 2015, Jeep […]

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Jeep Subaru market share chartSubaru and Jeep are consistently two of America’s fast-growing auto brands. Aided by expanding portfolios and clearly understood branding, Jeep volume jumped 41% in 2014; Subaru sales shot up 21%.

Are any two auto brands more easily identified with winter than Subaru and Jeep?

As the U.S. auto industry grew 14% in January 2015, Jeep sales were up 23%; Subaru volume rose 24%. Together, they accounted for 8% of all new vehicle sales in America in the first month of 2015.

Since January may be the most Subaru and Jeep-like month of them all, the accompanying chart showcases their market share improvements in the month of January over the last decade.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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Nissan GT-R Approaches 10,000 U.S. Sales After Best-Ever January http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/nissan-gt-r-approaches-10000-u-s-sales-best-ever-january/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/nissan-gt-r-approaches-10000-u-s-sales-best-ever-january/#comments Fri, 27 Feb 2015 14:09:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1009074 Following a six-year period in which an average of only 55 GT-Rs were sold in America during the first month on the calendar, Nissan USA reported 101 GT-R sales in January 2015. The GT-R’s 28% year-over-year increase hides a 110% improvement compared with January 2013 and a 405% improvement compared with January 2012, equal to […]

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2015 Nissan GT-R red profileFollowing a six-year period in which an average of only 55 GT-Rs were sold in America during the first month on the calendar, Nissan USA reported 101 GT-R sales in January 2015.

The GT-R’s 28% year-over-year increase hides a 110% improvement compared with January 2013 and a 405% improvement compared with January 2012, equal to an extra 81 sales.

This sudden January uptick comes after sales in 2014 jumped 16% to 1436 units, the third-highest-volume year in the GT-R’s seven-year history. 2014 was down 17%, or 294 units, from the pace Nissan set in the GT-R’s first year on the market, 2008.

Over the final five months of 2014, U.S. GT-R volume shot up 63%. December sales doubled to 156 units. August volume, at 208 units, was the best month for the GT-R since November 2008.

GT-R sales chatThe January improvement is therefore not out of the ordinary given the recent history of Nissan’s junior supercar. More importantly, it’s noteworthy because the car – frequently updated but never thoroughly reengineered with an all-new introduction since a different guy became Russian president – is soon going to crack the 10K barrier in U.S. sales. Through the end of January, 9397 GT-Rs were sold in America.

True, the GT-R has been helped along by consistent horsepower improvements, a boon to a car that takes speed as seriously as a minivan takes its responsibility to provide redundant cupholders. I’m told that Nissan USA employees were offered spectacular short-term lease deals, a factor which may have contributed to the recent spike.

But an automaker deserves credit when they sells their most expensive product in healthy numbers even as that product becomes firmly entrenched in old age. Nissan has managed to keep the GT-R sufficiently current in a market that always wants tomorrow’s car. Perhaps this says something about the degree to which the GT-R was futuristic when it arrived at the dawn of a recession.

While the GT-R continues to earn plaudits, one key high-end sports car continues to sell far more frequently. The Porsche 911, which is sold in a wide range of configurations, was up 33% to 1052 sales in January alone. For every GT-R sold by Nissan USA in 2014, Porsche sold more than seven 911s. Meanwhile, over the last four months, BMW USA reported 573 i8 sales to Nissan’s 519 GT-Rs. (Chevrolet reported 11,016 Corvette sales during that period, albeit with a much lower base price.)

On the other hand, the GT-R nearly outsold the Dodge Viper and Audi R8 combined in 2014. The fact that a $101,000+ Nissan was outselling anything at all in its seventh year is a testament to the GT-R’s appeal.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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Question Of The Day: Will The CR-V Continue To Be America’s Best-Selling Honda? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/question-day-will-cr-v-continue-americas-best-selling-honda/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/question-day-will-cr-v-continue-americas-best-selling-honda/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 15:21:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1008298 After averaging around than 230,000 U.S. sales between 2007 and 2013, a period in which Honda averaged 295,000 annual Civic sales and 324,000 annual Accord sales, the CR-V was the second-best-selling Honda in America for the first time ever in 2014. Much of the CR-V’s Civic-besting work was done in a second half which saw Civic […]

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2015 Honda CR-VAfter averaging around than 230,000 U.S. sales between 2007 and 2013, a period in which Honda averaged 295,000 annual Civic sales and 324,000 annual Accord sales, the CR-V was the second-best-selling Honda in America for the first time ever in 2014.

Much of the CR-V’s Civic-besting work was done in a second half which saw Civic volume slide 10%. Moreover, 54% of the CR-V’s 2014 U.S. volume was generated in a strong second-half.

But the CR-V didn’t stop with the Civic. In each of 2014’s final three months, the CR-V also outsold the Accord, America’s second-best-selling car.

A brief spurt of extraordinary achievement? Perhaps not. In the first month of 2015, the CR-V was once again the best-selling Honda in America.

The CR-V outsold the Accord by 2129 units in October; the Civic by 5103. In November, the gap widened considerably, with the CR-V outselling the Accord by 7103 units; the Civic by 9318. In the final month of 2014, as Accord volume slid 2% year-over-year, the CR-V outsold the midsize Honda by 780 units; the Civic 7032. In the fourth-quarter of 2014, American Honda reported 94,004 CR-V sales, equal to 28% of the brand’s total, up from 23% the same period one year earlier.

Honda sales chart 2014-2015The Civic’s share of Honda’s pie fell from 26% in the fourth-quarter of 2013 to 22%. The Accord’s share slid from 26% to 25%.

Then, in concert with its fifth consecutive month as America’s top-selling SUV/crossover, the CR-V was the top Honda for the fourth month running in January 2015. As non-CR-V Hondas collectively achieved a 7% year-over-year improvement, equal to 4415 extra sales compared with January 2014, CR-V volume jumped 27%, or 4979 units.

In fact, despite being outsold by Nissan, the Honda brand reported record January sales in 2015, with no large amount of thanks to their car division, which slipped 1.5%. But in addition to a record January from the CR-V, a clear-out of remaining second-gen Pilots helped the bigger Honda crossover to a near-doubling of January volume: 12,315 units, up 89% from 6224 in January 2014.

The CR-V is not alone in its car-conquering ways. Pickup trucks aside, the Escape, America’s second-best-selling utility vehicle, was Ford’s top seller in each of the last five months, although it trailed the Fusion by a scant 648 units at year’s end. The Escape was Ford’s best-selling non-pickup-truck in 2011, 2012, 2013, as well.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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Nissan Xterra Leaving US Market After 2015 Model Year http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/nissan-xterra-leaving-us-market-2015-model-year/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/nissan-xterra-leaving-us-market-2015-model-year/#comments Wed, 25 Feb 2015 15:00:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1007842 Looking at buying a new Nissan Xterra? Better pull the trigger soon, as the SUV will leave the U.S. market after the 2015 model year. Edmunds reports the Xterra is leaving these shores for regulatory reasons, with Nissan finding no business case in bringing the SUV up to code for an audience that also adores […]

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2015 Nissan Xterra

Looking at buying a new Nissan Xterra? Better pull the trigger soon, as the SUV will leave the U.S. market after the 2015 model year.

Edmunds reports the Xterra is leaving these shores for regulatory reasons, with Nissan finding no business case in bringing the SUV up to code for an audience that also adores the Jeep Wrangler. Updating the Xterra to meet regulatory and environmental requirements was deemed too costly for such a low volume product. CAFE regulations also don’t favor the Xterra’s small, body-on-frame SUV layout, making the updates a tougher sell.

The automaker moved 16,505 Xterras in 2014, a 7 percent decline compared to 2013’s 17,766 units sold. The SUV also faces stiff competition from crossovers like the Buick Encore, Toyota RAV4, and Nissan’s own Rogue, nearly 200,000 of which left the lot last year.

For those few who will buy one of the last Xterras, features for 2015 include NissanConnect, a USB connection for the iPod, and a new color named SolarFlare Yellow.

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Pickup Trucks Grab Three Best-Selling Positions In America In Five Consecutive Months http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/pikcup-trucks-grab-three-best-selling-positions-america-five-consecutive-months/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/pikcup-trucks-grab-three-best-selling-positions-america-five-consecutive-months/#comments Wed, 25 Feb 2015 12:39:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1007866 The pickup truck world’s consistent hold on the whole of American best seller’s podium is steadily tightening. January 2015 was the fifth consecutive month in which all three of America’s best-selling vehicle lines were pickup trucks. It’s nothing new for Americans to see the Ford F-Series atop the monthly leaderboard. Not since the Cash For […]

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2015 Ford F-150The pickup truck world’s consistent hold on the whole of American best seller’s podium is steadily tightening.

January 2015 was the fifth consecutive month in which all three of America’s best-selling vehicle lines were pickup trucks.

It’s nothing new for Americans to see the Ford F-Series atop the monthly leaderboard. Not since the Cash For Clunkers-fuelled August 2009 has the F-Series not been the top-selling vehicle line in America.

We’re also accustomed to seeing the Chevrolet Silverado in the second spot. Only three times in 2014 did the Silverado fall from the silver medal position, and only twice did it surrender that position to a car.

With ever-strengthening Ram P/U sales, however, pickup trucks now routinely claim all three top spots. Not only did they do so in January 2015 – a month in which total pickup volume jumped 22% – and each of 2014’s final four months, they also did so in January and March of 2014. In fact, the Ram outsold the Silverado in March, though not the combined GM twins.

2015 Chevrolet SilveradoOn an annual basis, 2014 was the first year since 2003 that the F-Series, Silverado, and Ram topped America’s best seller list.

In September, the three trucks combined for 146,651 sales, 62,925 more than the top three cars managed.

In October, their 150,210-unit total was higher than the total sales achieved by all but three brands: Ford, Chevrolet, and Toyota.

In November, the 137,713 F-Series’, Silverados, and Rams sold was greater than the total achieved by the five next-best-selling vehicles.

In December, the top three trucks generated 176,414 combined sales, more than double the number of sales achieved by the three top SUVs/crossovers.

2015 Ram 1500In January, 10.3% of the new vehicles sold and 84.7% of the full-size trucks sold were F-Series, Silverado, or Ram pickup trucks.

The three top trucks, however, are only the tip of the collective best-selling iceberg. 30 nameplates account for half the new vehicles sold in America in January, leaving the remaining 89% of nameplates to fight over 50% of the market.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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A Leaf Falls In January: After 23 Consecutive Increases, Nissan USA Reports Leaf Decline http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/leaf-falls-january-23-consecutive-increases-nissan-usa-reports-leaf-decline/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/leaf-falls-january-23-consecutive-increases-nissan-usa-reports-leaf-decline/#comments Tue, 24 Feb 2015 15:54:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1006802 In the same way that consecutive games without a point draw attention to the fact that Sidney Crosby previously achieved a 25-game point streak, the Nissan’s Leaf slight decline in the lowest-volume month on the calendar shines a light on what was a 23-month streak of year-over-year improvements. Leaf volume slid 15% in January 2015, […]

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2015 Nissan Leaf whiteIn the same way that consecutive games without a point draw attention to the fact that Sidney Crosby previously achieved a 25-game point streak, the Nissan’s Leaf slight decline in the lowest-volume month on the calendar shines a light on what was a 23-month streak of year-over-year improvements.

Leaf volume slid 15% in January 2015, a 182-unit drop. On a monthly basis, Leaf volume increased every month between February 2013 and December 2014, year-over-year.

It’s not a high-volume car, the Leaf, but it’s not so exclusive as to be called rare. Leaf volume has risen beyond 1000 units in each of the last 23 months. Average monthly U.S. volume measured 2911 units in the second half of 2014, up from an average of 2129 monthly sales in the second half of 2013. Leaf volume shot above 3000 units in May, July, August, and December of 2014. (The Chevrolet Volt has only topped the 3K mark once, in August 2013. Toyota has only sold more than 2000 Prius Plug-Ins in a single month twice.)

In fact, that high December output – U.S. sales jumped 23% to 3102 in the final month of 2014 – was partly to blame for the Leaf’s first decline in two years. “Increased demand in December from customers looking to take advantage of federal and state incentives at the end of the tax year pulled some sales ahead,” Brian Brockman, senior manager of corporate communications for Nissan, told TTAC yesterday. And while Nissan doesn’t see low fuel prices having long-term impact on the EV market, Brockman said, “We are also seeing some short-term effects of historically low fuel prices on EV demand among buyers who are solely focused on the economic benefits.”

Some? In the case of the Leaf, very little at all. Even in January, the lowest-volume month for the Leaf since February 2013, the all-electric Nissan still outsold a long list of conventional cars, SUVs, crossovers, and vans, including a large number of Nissan products: NV, Q40, Armada, Xterra, Titan, Quest, Q70, and many more. The Leaf sold more than twice as often as the approaching-replacement Volt (not that the Leaf is a spring chicken), 43% more often than the Scion FR-S, more than three times more often than the Volvo V60.

January 2015 Nissan USA Leaf sales chartThe Volt, FR-S, and V60 aren’t exactly mainstream machines. But that’s not really the point. In a slow month for the Leaf, it was wildly more popular than truly rare cars. In a slow month for the Leaf, it outsold approximately 47% of all passenger car nameplates in January. In a slow month for the Leaf, it outsold all-electrics like the Mercedes-Benz B-Class, Volkswagen e-Golf, Smart Fortwo EV, Fiat 500E, Chevrolet Spark EV, Ford Focus EV, Kia Soul EV, Toyota RAV4 EV, and Mitsubishi i MiEV combined.

It’s worth noting that while HybridCars.com estimates that Tesla sold 1300 copies of the Model S, the Tesla is mostly alone in its electrified nature at the Model S’s price point. The same can not be said for the degree of direct competition faced by the Leaf. Indirectly? Toyota, for instance, sold more than 12,000 total Prius family cars in January.

Regardless of what the competition manages, Nissan would prefer to see Leaf sales continue to improve. Crosby fans also want to see Sidney do more than record points in back-to-back games after being held scoreless in five of six. That’s The Truth About Hockey.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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Study: US Auto Sales To Rise Through 2017, Modestly Decline Through 2020 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/study-us-auto-sales-rise-2017-modestly-decline-2020/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/study-us-auto-sales-rise-2017-modestly-decline-2020/#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2015 16:00:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1006458 Happy days are back again for automakers selling to the United States, with auto sales projected to rise through 2017 before dipping slightly through 2020. According to The Detroit Bureau, a study by AutoPacific found that consumers bought 16.4 million vehicles in 2014, a 6 percent increase over 2013. Further, the group predicts 2015 sales […]

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Bill Colwell Ford Dealership

Happy days are back again for automakers selling to the United States, with auto sales projected to rise through 2017 before dipping slightly through 2020.

According to The Detroit Bureau, a study by AutoPacific found that consumers bought 16.4 million vehicles in 2014, a 6 percent increase over 2013. Further, the group predicts 2015 sales will hit 17 million, peaking at 17.24 million in 2017.

Per AutoPacific industry analysis vice president Ed Kim, the boom is fueled by both “continued increases in truck and SUV sales,” and the rapid growth of compact crossover sales among mainstream and premium brands. Combined, such sales would make up 55 percent of the overall U.S. market this year.

As for the aforementioned downturn beginning in 2018 and going forward through 2020, Kim cites rises in interest rates, Millennials waiting to purchase their first vehicle, and extended loan terms as factors in the upcoming decline. He adds that despite this, sales are likely to bottom-out at 16.8 million by the start of the next decade, 60 percent better than the 10.4 million vehicles sold in 2009 during the early days of the Great Recession.

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NHTSA To Congress: Pull Recalled Used, Rental Vehicles Off The Road http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/nhtsa-congress-pull-recalled-used-rental-vehicles-off-road/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/nhtsa-congress-pull-recalled-used-rental-vehicles-off-road/#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2015 13:00:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1006322 The next vehicle the TTAC Zaibatsu or the B&B rent could be safer if Congress heeds the call of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. AutoGuide reports the NHTSA is calling upon Congress to pass legislation that would bar rental companies and used-car dealerships from renting or selling any vehicle under recall without first being […]

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Rental Car Corridor - SeaTac International Airport

The next vehicle the TTAC Zaibatsu or the B&B rent could be safer if Congress heeds the call of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

AutoGuide reports the NHTSA is calling upon Congress to pass legislation that would bar rental companies and used-car dealerships from renting or selling any vehicle under recall without first being repaired; current legislation only asks of such things for new vehicles prior to sale.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said that “requiring rental car agencies and used car dealers to fix defective vehicles before renting is a common-sense solution” that would improve road safety. Foxx adds that Congress should follow the lead of both safety advocates and the rental-car industry in taking a stand on the issue.

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Goodbye Mini Coupe And Mini Roadster, Don’t Let The Door Hit You On The Way Out http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/goodbye-mini-coupe-mini-roadster-dont-let-door-hit-way/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/goodbye-mini-coupe-mini-roadster-dont-let-door-hit-way/#comments Sun, 22 Feb 2015 13:59:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1004682 Mini says increased demand for new three and five-door Mini and foreordained plans are bringing production of the Coupe and Roadster to an end. Also, it turns out people didn’t want less practical versions of a car that already lacked a certain degree of flexibility. Surely Mini would have thought twice about cancelling production of […]

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2013 Mini CoupeMini says increased demand for new three and five-door Mini and foreordained plans are bringing production of the Coupe and Roadster to an end.

Also, it turns out people didn’t want less practical versions of a car that already lacked a certain degree of flexibility.

Surely Mini would have thought twice about cancelling production of the two cars – or at least considered replacing them with new versions off the new Mini platform – had sales been strong.

Americans have registered only 6679 Mini Roadsters since the two-seat convertible arrived in 2012. Roadster volume jumped 18% in 2013, the first full year for the car, but 2014 sales plunged 49%. Only 65 were sold in January 2015, which actually represented a 12% uptick compared with January 2014.

BMW-Mini sales chart January 2015The helmet-wearing Coupe, which went on sale in 2011, attracted 7351 U.S. owners through the end of January 2015. (Few Coupes are left; only 22 were sold last month.) Coupe sales jumped to a high of 2880 units in 2012, the car’s first full year, but slipped 12% in 2013 and plunged 62% in 2014.

But the Coupe and Roadster were never integral parts of the Mini USA lineup. Together, they generated just 8% of the brand’s volume in 2012 and 2013; just 4% in 2014.

2013 Mini RoadsterMini now turns its focus to its core models: the three-door Hardtop, the Countryman, and the new five-door model. Mini’s U.S. sales jumped 27% in January as the Hardtops generated two-thirds of the brand’s volume and the Countryman, though down 31%, brought in 23% of buyers. For every Clubman, Convertible, Coupe, and Roadster sold in January, Mini USA sold nine conventional Hardtop models.

While Mini continues to be a relatively small part of BMW USA’s portfolio, generating less than half the sales of the 3-Series/4-Series lineup in January, Mini’s home market is very keen. 22% of the BMW Group’s UK volume was Mini-derived in January. Mini owned 1.4% of the overall market (0.3% in the U.S.; 0.2% in Canada) and the brand ranked 21st overall, behind Mazda, Renault, and Volvo, but ahead of Suzuki, Mitsubishi, Dacia, Lexus, Jaguar, Porsche, Jeep, and Alfa Romeo.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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Chart Of The Day: Is Minivan Fuel Mileage A Big Part Of The Problem? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/chart-day-minivan-fuel-mileage-big-part-problem/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/chart-day-minivan-fuel-mileage-big-part-problem/#comments Sat, 21 Feb 2015 13:21:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1004658 “America’s minivan segment generated only 3.4% of the U.S. auto industry’s new vehicle volume in 2014, down from 5.2% in 2007.” So said I earlier this week in my review of the updated 2015 Toyota Sienna, the only remaining all-wheel-drive minivan. The Sienna was America’s top-selling minivan in each of the last three months. And […]

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Minivan fuel economy chart 2015“America’s minivan segment generated only 3.4% of the U.S. auto industry’s new vehicle volume in 2014, down from 5.2% in 2007.”

So said I earlier this week in my review of the updated 2015 Toyota Sienna, the only remaining all-wheel-drive minivan.

The Sienna was America’s top-selling minivan in each of the last three months. And although the accompanying chart displays its official EPA mileage ratings at 16/23 mpg on the city and highway, front-wheel-drive Siennas are rated at 18/25. Forget the 14.4 mpg we saw during our test. Temperatures were brutal, the vehicle spent much of its time idling as we attempted to clear it (along with every other car on the street) of multiple inches of ice, the city streets on which the Sienna spent most of its stay were mostly snow-covered, and the van was fresh off the assembly line.

But could we have reasonably expected more than 16 mpg in city driving? Not according to the EPA.

A 2005 all-wheel-drive Sienna was also rated at 16 miles per gallon in the city, and it was marked down on the highway by just one mpg compared with our 2015 version. But at that time, the most efficient 4WD Ford F-150 was rated at 13 mpg in the city.

Pickup trucks have made massive progress. Ford’s 2.7L EcoBoost V6 is rated at 18 mpg in 4WD trim today.

Minivans are impressive vehicles. But are we surprised that in a relatively em-pee-gee-conscious society, a dearth of progress will be rewarded when other vehicle categories are leaping forward?

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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America’s Top 5 Midsize Cars Earn 7 Out Of Every 10 Midsize Car Sales http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/americas-top-5-midsize-cars-earn-7-every-10-midsize-car-sales/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/americas-top-5-midsize-cars-earn-7-every-10-midsize-car-sales/#comments Fri, 20 Feb 2015 12:20:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1004602 America’s five top-selling midsize cars have held an iron-fisted grip on their category for years, making it very difficult for interlopers to succeed in any meaningful way. • Sonata & Malibu knocked out of January’s top five • Midsize cars up 5.5% in January • Top five own 69% of midsize market Yet after earning […]

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U.S. midsize car sales chart January 2015America’s five top-selling midsize cars have held an iron-fisted grip on their category for years, making it very difficult for interlopers to succeed in any meaningful way.


• Sonata & Malibu knocked out of January’s top five

• Midsize cars up 5.5% in January

• Top five own 69% of midsize market


Yet after earning more than seven out of every ten midsize sales in 2009 and 2010 – when the top five included the Camry, Accord, Altima, Fusion, and Malibu – the top five’s market share slid to 67% in 2011 and 64% in 2012. In 2011, the Hyundai Sonata supplanted the Chevrolet Malibu in the top five and didn’t let go in 2012, 2013, or 2014.

But then a return to the norm began, as the top quintuplet’s share grew to 66% in 2013 and 69% in 2014.

2015 started off similarly.

With the Toyota Camry-led midsize segment thoroughly controlled by a few nameplates, the core midsize car category’s volume grew 5.5%. That’s not terribly far off the pace of the overall car market, which jumped nearly 8%, but well below the 19% growth rate of SUVs and crossovers. 69% of the midsize category in January was owned by the Camry, Nissan Altima, Honda Accord, Ford Fusion, and the fifth-ranked car.

That car was not the Hyundai Sonata, nor was it the Chevrolet Malibu, the last two cars to join the CamAcoTimUsion in the top five on an annual basis.

2015 Toyota Camry XLEInstead, the Chrysler 200, up 30% to 14,157 units in January, was America’s fifth-ranked midsize car, 1794 units ahead of the Hyundai Sonata (up 26% to 12,363), 2279 ahead of the Chevrolet Malibu (up 0.5% to 11,878), 4763 ahead of the Kia Optima (down 6% to 9394), and 7852 sales ahead of the Volkswagen Passat (up 1% to 6305).

And while total FCA/Chrysler Group midsize car volume slid 8% to 14,399 in January (as the 200 was not able to completely counteract the disappearance of 95% of the defunct Dodge Avenger’s January sales) and as Fusion volume slid 5%, the real story is the increased clout of the top five finishers. Their market share grew three percentage points from 66% in January 2013 and January 2014 and 67% in December 2014 to 69% in January 2015.

There are only a handful of sales leftover for many intermediate sedans which are marketed with mainstream pricing but sell in the kinds of numbers put up by premium cars. The Mazda 6, Subaru Legacy, and Volkswagen Passat combined for slightly less than 9% of the midsize car market in America last month. The aging Kia Optima, which slid 6% in a category which grew 5.5%, posted four consecutive years of improvement leading up to 2015. But the Optima earned only 6.5% of the market in its best year, a year in which GM’s declining Chevrolet Malibu claimed 7.8% of the midsize category.

Does that mean all hope is lost for the Optima, Passat, Legacy, 6, or any potential Mitsubishi sedan? Of course not all hope. But a number of factors – e.g. production capacity, reputation, loyalty, incentives – contribute to an even more precise alignment of stars that favours the major players maintaining their standing.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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Ford Cuts $900 From Fusion Hybrid, Energi Price Tags http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/ford-cuts-900-fusion-hybrid-energi-price-tags/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/ford-cuts-900-fusion-hybrid-energi-price-tags/#comments Fri, 20 Feb 2015 12:00:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1004482 Shopping for a Ford hybrid or PHEV? The 2016 Fusion Hybrid and Energi models won’t be as thirsty for your wallet as before. CarsDirect reports both models will see a price drop of $900 across all trim levels, from $26,575 to $25,675 for the Fusion Hybrid S, to $33,900 (from $34,800) for the Fusion Energi […]

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2015 Ford Fusion Energi Titanium

Shopping for a Ford hybrid or PHEV? The 2016 Fusion Hybrid and Energi models won’t be as thirsty for your wallet as before.

CarsDirect reports both models will see a price drop of $900 across all trim levels, from $26,575 to $25,675 for the Fusion Hybrid S, to $33,900 (from $34,800) for the Fusion Energi Luxury SE.

Despite the cuts, no decontenting will occur among the Fusions; the Hybrid, in fact, will have a new driving mode called EcoSelect, which offers more regenerative braking while delivering a softer launch from the light and less intense heating and cooling.

The price drop follows a similar action last year, when Ford chopped up to $1,200 off the price of C-Max Hybrid and Energi models, and is meant to draw interest away from the upcoming redesigned Toyota Prius, set to begin production later in 2015. Both 2016 Fusion models are due in showrooms at around the same time.

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Tesla Pushing For Direct Sales In Texas, Dealers Wanting A Shot To Sell http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/tesla-pushing-direct-sales-texas-dealers-wanting-shot-sell/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/tesla-pushing-direct-sales-texas-dealers-wanting-shot-sell/#comments Thu, 19 Feb 2015 15:00:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1004082 As Tesla gears up to tackle Texas’ direct-sales ban during the state’s 2015 legislative session, dealers are begging for a shot to sell the automaker’s EVs. The Texas Tribune reports several Texas dealerships have approached Tesla about selling its wares, claiming they would take on the risk of selling a niche premium EV if given […]

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As Tesla gears up to tackle Texas’ direct-sales ban during the state’s 2015 legislative session, dealers are begging for a shot to sell the automaker’s EVs.

The Texas Tribune reports several Texas dealerships have approached Tesla about selling its wares, claiming they would take on the risk of selling a niche premium EV if given the chance. According to Texas Automobile Dealers Association president Bill Wolters, those dealers were rebuffed:

This is such a unique situation in which Elon Musk doesn’t want to have competition from other makes.

Currently, Tesla has galleries in Austin, Dallas and Houston, where customers can see the Model S, but cannot buy the car directly from the gallery, turning to the company’s website to complete the process as a result.

While dealers believe the direct-sales ban gives consumers a chance to buy the car they want anywhere within Texas — instead of having to drive to a few select cities where automakers would focus their efforts if given the opportunity — Tesla says the ban threatens to undermine its success in the state. CEO Elon Musk adds that franchise dealers would ultimately fail in selling his company’s EVs, citing the traditional model’s main source of revenue — maintenance — as where the struggle would occur.

Meanwhile, Tesla is spending between $625,000 and $1.18 million on 21 lobbyists to persuade lawmakers in Austin to consider legislation that would allow for direct sales. No bills have come up regarding the issue thus far this session, through Rep. Eddie Rodriguez of Austin is working on a proposal that would grant the automaker and other EV-only manufacturers the right to sell directly to Texas consumers; a similar proposal by Rodriguez was rejected last year.

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Escalade To The Rescue: Cadillac’s Numbers Are Awful Without The Big SUV http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/escalade-rescue-cadillacs-numbers-awful-without-big-suv/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/escalade-rescue-cadillacs-numbers-awful-without-big-suv/#comments Thu, 19 Feb 2015 13:45:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1003938 At this very moment, imagine if you will, Cadillac without the Escalade. It’s not a difficult task. Let’s just do the Cadillac maths as if the Escalade no longer exists. It does, and it surely will, but let’s exclude it for the sake of establishing a different perspective. • Cadillac cars down 7% in January […]

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2015 Cadillac Escalade & ESVAt this very moment, imagine if you will, Cadillac without the Escalade.

It’s not a difficult task. Let’s just do the Cadillac maths as if the Escalade no longer exists. It does, and it surely will, but let’s exclude it for the sake of establishing a different perspective.


• Cadillac cars down 7% in January

• Escalade up 136%; ESV up 189%

• Cadillac brand up 2.6% in January


In the U.S. last month, Cadillac’s car division was down 7%. The ATS slid 8%, the ninth consecutive year-over-year monthly decline for the small Cadillac.

The CTS, which is still a recently introduced model, fell 24%, a loss of 534 units. We knew Cadillac was repositioning this car in a smaller, less affordable corner of the luxury market. But CTS declines are nothing new. After sliding 15% in 2012, CTS volume fell 31% in 2013, then suffered a slight 4% drop in 2014. On a monthly basis, CTS volume has fallen on 30 occasions in the last 37 months.

XTS volume increased in January, however, rising 14% (or 234 units) to 1882 U.S. sales. But that year-over-year comparison takes us back to a month in which XTS sales fell 13%. Compared with January 2013, the XTS didn’t quite make it back to that level. In 2014, the XTS’s second full year on sale, U.S. volume plunged 25%.

Cadillac
January
2015
January
2014
% Change
SRX
3,485 4,446 -21.6%
XTS
1,882 1,648 14.2%
ATS
1,757 1,909 -8.0%
CTS
1,698 2,232 -23.9%
Escalade
1,664 704 136%
Escalade ESV
1,100 381 189%
ELR
92 41 124%
Escalade EXT
2 25 -92.0%
Total
11,680 11,386 2.6%

Cadillac also reported a 124% ELR uptick, but at just 92 units sold, the ELR only forms 1.7% of Cadillac’s passenger car volume.

Thus, in a U.S. car market which climbed 8% in January, Cadillac car volume was down by 401 units to 5429.

In other words, the whole Cadillac car line was outsold by individual nameplates such as the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, the Lexus RX, and the BMW 3-Series/4-Series.

As for the SRX, an aging crossover which resides at the heart of the premium utility vehicle market, January volume dropped 22%. After witnessing impressive U.S. SRX sales growth in 2010, 2011, 2012, and the first half of 2014, second-half volume last year tumbled 25%.

Fortunately, the Escalade still exists, and the weak performance of other Cadillac allowed the Escalade family to showcase the Cadillac’s real strength in January. Combined, the Escalade and the SRX – which, while slowing, is not yet an unpopular luxury utility vehicle – accounted for 54% of Cadillac’s January sales.

The regular-wheelbase Escalade jumped 136% to 1664 units, nearly as many sales as the CTS managed. The long-wheelbase Escalade ESV was up 189% to 1100 units. (Cadillac also reported two EXT sales.)

Without Escalade, Cadillac was down 13% to 8914 January sales.

With Escalade, Cadillac was up 3% to 11,680 January sales.

True, the overall brand’s slight 294-unit increase involves a year-over-year comparison with January 2014, when auto sales were not at their healthiest. In comparison with January 2013, total Cadillac volume was actually down 11% last month. Moreover, Cadillac’s growth was far outpaced by the industry as a whole, which shot up 14% in January 2015.

The fact remains, no imagination is required to realize that the Escalade is the beacon of hope for Cadillac at this moment.

And yet even the Escalade isn’t selling like it did in the glory days of yore. Take your mind back to January 2007, when the Escalade, ESV, and EXT combined for 3710 total U.S. sales.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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Tesla Hitting Sales Roadblock In China http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/tesla-hitting-sales-roadblock-china/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/tesla-hitting-sales-roadblock-china/#comments Wed, 18 Feb 2015 16:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1003778 Tesla’s Apple aspirations may have its detractors, but the automaker’s ongoing problems in China are likely to do more harm than said detractors. Forbes reports Tesla’s China operations are closing 2014 on a down note, having brought over 444 units in December compared to 747 in November. Further, 45 percent of all Teslas have yet […]

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Tesla’s Apple aspirations may have its detractors, but the automaker’s ongoing problems in China are likely to do more harm than said detractors.

Forbes reports Tesla’s China operations are closing 2014 on a down note, having brought over 444 units in December compared to 747 in November. Further, 45 percent of all Teslas have yet to be registered with local authorities, and therefore, have yet to legally hit the road. The country also accounted for 15 percent of the automaker’s global sales in 2014.

The issue is the brand’s cachet with Chinese consumers, who bought the Model S because of its trendiness, not because it’s better for the environment. Thus, Tesla’s popularity will last as long as the next trendy vehicle from a competing luxury automaker.

CEO Elon Musk’s current solution? Fire or demote those “not on a clear path to positive long-term cash flow.” The publication says this approach will only “erode his power base and credibility,” aspects he needs to maintain if he intends to keep to the path of long-term sustainable growth and stability.

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Jeep Is Selling More Wranglers Than Ever, Needs Toledo To Build Many More Wranglers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/jeep-selling-wranglers-ever-needs-toledo-build-many-wranglers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/jeep-selling-wranglers-ever-needs-toledo-build-many-wranglers/#comments Wed, 18 Feb 2015 13:32:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1002946 After averaging 7500 Wrangler sales in the five Januarys leading up to 2015, Jeep sold 11,683 Wranglers in America last month, a January record for the nameplate. Record-setting figures are nothing new for the Wrangler, of course. Chrysler Group/FCA broke their annual Wrangler one-year-old sales record by 13,833 units in 2013 and then smashed that […]

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2013 Jeep WranglerAfter averaging 7500 Wrangler sales in the five Januarys leading up to 2015, Jeep sold 11,683 Wranglers in America last month, a January record for the nameplate.

Record-setting figures are nothing new for the Wrangler, of course. Chrysler Group/FCA broke their annual Wrangler one-year-old sales record by 13,833 units in 2013 and then smashed that with a 19,826-unit, 13% improvement in the 2014 calendar year.

Year-over-year, the pace of U.S. Wrangler sales expansion is even more impressive of late.
Over the last four months, Wrangler sales are up 17%.

The Wrangler was certainly not unpopular a decade ago, but with a more family-friendly four-door Unlimited now the Wrangler of choice, the jeepiest of Jeeps is now firmly entrenched in the mainstream.

The Wrangler was America’s 18th-best-selling utility vehicle in 2005; the 17th-best-selling in 2006. But with a four-door model, it became the tenth-best-selling SUV/crossover in 2007. It moved up to eighth in 2008, slid back to tenth in 2009, fell out of the top ten in 2010, moved back up to ninth in 2011, eighth in 2012 and 2013, and then claimed the ninth spot in 2014.

The big figure? Over the course of the last 109 months – January 2006 to January 2015 inclusive – 1,067,125 Wranglers were sold in the United States.

More than one million Jeep Wrangler sales in less than a decade.

Yet with growing global demand, FCA boss Sergio Marchionne demands greater production. The Toledo, Ohio, plant where Wranglers are assembled currently has capacity for 240,000 units, according to the Detroit Free Press, and very nearly that many were sold around the world last year.

U.S. Jeep Wrangler sales chartCanadians alone snapped up a record-setting 23,057 Wranglers in 2014 in addition to the 175,328 sold in the U.S.

We’ll know soon enough whether Toledo and FCA can come to an agreement. One thing remains more easily confirmable: every month, Jeep will continue to sell more Wranglers than they did in the same period one year earlier. Year-over-year, U.S. Jeep sales increased in each of the last 16 months.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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Not Aussiely Influenced: Big Chevrolet Sedans Struggle All The More In January 2015 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/not-aussiely-influenced-big-chevrolet-sedans-struggle-january-2015/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/not-aussiely-influenced-big-chevrolet-sedans-struggle-january-2015/#comments Tue, 17 Feb 2015 13:22:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1002890 In September, we told you the Chevrolet SS didn’t sell as often as the dreadfully unpopular Cadillac ELR in August, the first time the SS failed to do so during the period of coexistence. They tied in September before the ELR outsold the SS again in each of the following months. In December, we told you […]

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2015 Chevrolet SS rear redIn September, we told you the Chevrolet SS didn’t sell as often as the dreadfully unpopular Cadillac ELR in August, the first time the SS failed to do so during the period of coexistence.

They tied in September before the ELR outsold the SS again in each of the following months.

In December, we told you that Chevrolet SS volume slid to a new low in November. With only 105 sales, the SS was outsold by ultra-rare cars like the BMW i8, Nissan GT-R, Volkswagen e-Golf, and yes, the Cadillac ELR.

Yet during the month of December, SS volume fell to yet another new low. Only 93 were sold, a 61% drop.

Surely this was a darkest-before–the-dawn kind of month, right? Surely with an available manual transmission (which is still not at all readily available, according to Cars.com inventory results) and a 168-day supply of cars overall at the beginning of the new year (according to Automotive News) the SS was about to shoot through the roof, matching or exceeding its peak of 350 sales in March of last year? Or at least the 232 SS sedans sold in January of last year?

No. Not quite. GM reported 115 SS sales in January 2015, a 50% cut compared with January 2014 results.

GM sales chart G8 SS Caprice CamaroOver the last six months, Chevrolet only sold 691 SSs in the United States, down 59% from 1671 over the course of the previous six months. Year-over-year comparisons are only valid in the last three months, but during that period, SS volume has tumbled 52%.

2015 Chevrolet Caprice PPVPut it this way, agencies responsible for purchasing big Chevy sedans are far more keen on the Caprice PPV than consumers are on the SS. 1762 Caprices were sold in the last six months.

Granted, year-over-year volume slid 19% to 700 units over the last three months. With just 124 sales last month, January was the lowest-volume Caprice sales month since March 2012. Ford sold 2041 Explorer Police Interceptors and 678 Taurus Police Interceptors in January.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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