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. Tue, 25 Nov 2014 20:00:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 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/ Small/Midsize Truck Sales Up 19% In October 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/smallmidsize-truck-sales-19-october-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/smallmidsize-truck-sales-19-october-2014/#comments Tue, 25 Nov 2014 13:48:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=948881 U.S. sales of small/midsize/non-full-size pickup trucks jumped 19.4% in October 2014, a gain of 3672 units compared with October 2013. Sales of the Toyota Tacoma were up 5%. Nissan Frontier sales shot up 25%. Not surprisingly, the slowly disappearing Honda Ridgeline was down 35%. GM’s new pickup trucks contributed an extra 2158 sales. Even without […]

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2015 Chevrolet ColoradoU.S. sales of small/midsize/non-full-size pickup trucks jumped 19.4% in October 2014, a gain of 3672 units compared with October 2013.

Sales of the Toyota Tacoma were up 5%. Nissan Frontier sales shot up 25%. Not surprisingly, the slowly disappearing Honda Ridgeline was down 35%. GM’s new pickup trucks contributed an extra 2158 sales. Even without those additional Colorados and Canyons, the category would have risen 8% despite the Ridgeline’s sharp but relatively inconsequential decline.

With those extra GM truck sales, these not exactly small pickups accounted for 11.2% of the overall pickup truck market in October 2014, up from 10.3% a year ago. Overall, pickup truck sales were up 10% in October and have grown 5% this year. We covered the full-size portion of the category earlier this month.

We know that the launch of the new Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon will reveal far greater sales figures over the coming months. They will steal market share. Indeed, they already have. At this early stage, however, they haven’t stolen sales – or at least not a sufficient number of sales to slow YOY growth – from the Tacoma and Frontier, as both of those older established pickup trucks posted meaningful gains in October.

The Tacoma’s share of this pickup truck sub-segment fell from 65.5% to 57.7% in October. The Frontier’s share grew from 27.8% to 29.1%.

Heading into November, Automotive News reports that GM dealers had 4300 Colorados in stock and 1800 Canyons, plus 274,000 Silverados and Sierras. Clearly then, we’ll be waiting a while if, in fact, it’s possible for us to ever see Tacoma and Frontier-beating numbers from these trucks.

Auto
October
2014
October
2013
%
Change
10 mos.
2014
10 mos.
2013
%
Change
Toyota Tacoma
13,010 12,351 5.3% 127,739 134,123 -4.8%
Nissan Frontier
6,568 5,242 25.3% 61,931 51,423 20.4%
Chevrolet Colorado
1,491 29 5,041% 1,600 3,404 -53.0%
Honda Ridgeline
802 1,239 -35.3% 12,373 14,807 -16.4%
GMC Canyon
667 5 13,240% 683 923 -26.0%
Suzuki Equator
448 -100%
Total
22,538
18,866 19.5% 204,326 205,128 -0.4%

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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McKenna: MINI Coupe, Roadster Dead By 2015 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/mckenna-mini-coupe-roadster-dead-2015/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/mckenna-mini-coupe-roadster-dead-2015/#comments Tue, 25 Nov 2014 13:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=950897 The backwards-cap-wearing MINI Coupe and its Roadster brother are being taken out behind the shed, both going out of production next year. AutoGuide reports MINI USA product chief Patrick McKenna made the announcement during last week’s LA Auto Show, proclaiming both had “run their life cycle.” The duo also were redundant compared with the hardtop […]

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2012_mini_roadster_29

The backwards-cap-wearing MINI Coupe and its Roadster brother are being taken out behind the shed, both going out of production next year.

AutoGuide reports MINI USA product chief Patrick McKenna made the announcement during last week’s LA Auto Show, proclaiming both had “run their life cycle.” The duo also were redundant compared with the hardtop and convertible already in the portfolio, and differences in styling and price didn’t attract many customers.

In their place, McKenna says higher-volume models over niche product will be the order of the day going forward, beginning with the launch of a four-door MINI for those who feel claustrophobic inside the main two-door unit.

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Tales Of Redesign Timing: Two Traditional Detroit Products Get Refreshed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/tales-redesign-timing-two-traditional-detroit-products-get-refreshed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/tales-redesign-timing-two-traditional-detroit-products-get-refreshed/#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 13:04:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=948721 Ford’s facelifted 2016 Explorer debuted at the auto show in Los Angeles this week. Admittedly, it’s more than a facelift for the Explorer, as a better EcoBoost four-cylinder will serve as the vehicle’s smallest powerplant. Ford will also begin selling a higher-grade Platinum trim level and, in all models, an improved interior will take centre […]

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Explorer 300 sales chartFord’s facelifted 2016 Explorer debuted at the auto show in Los Angeles this week. Admittedly, it’s more than a facelift for the Explorer, as a better EcoBoost four-cylinder will serve as the vehicle’s smallest powerplant. Ford will also begin selling a higher-grade Platinum trim level and, in all models, an improved interior will take centre stage.

At the same auto show, the 2015 Chrysler 300 also appears quite similar to the outgoing model, although the changes underneath are perhaps more thorough. The exterior, while not wildly different, is certainly altered to the point that you’ll know the difference.

These two redesigns of two prototypical Detroit products with wildly different backgrounds occur at very different life stages for these product lines as the two vehicle lines head in opposite directions.

The Explorer, which has not been a true truck-based SUV for years, carries on with one of the most successful and iconic SUV nameplates in history. The 300 initially grew out of Mercedes-Benz “partnerships”, but as a vast, rear-wheel-drive car, it probably represents America’s big sedan history more accurately than any other vehicle currently on the market.

2016 Ford ExplorerBut while the Explorer is America’s fifth-best-selling SUV/crossover nameplate and sales have risen 9% this year, the fifth consecutive year of improved Explorer volume, 300 sales are tumbling. Sales of the big Chrysler fell 18% last year, a loss of 23,023 units. 300 volume is down 9% through the first ten months of 2014. It’s currently America’s 42nd-best-selling car. It ranked 14th in 2006.

Like the 300, the Explorer doesn’t sell like it once did. As recently as 2002, Ford reported more than 400,000 Explorer sales in America. The nameplate then decreased in volume in seven consecutive years.

Nevertheless, these two vehicles are on different tracks travelling to different destinations. America’s passenger car market is hardly growing despite steady increases in the size of the overall new vehicle industry, and the 300 is just one of many big cars with falling sales. Azera, Taurus, Impala, Avalon, LaCrosse, and the 300’s Charger twin are all down this year, as well.

2015 chrysler 300The Explorer, on the other hand, is part of a utility vehicle sector that’s rising 12% this year, earning more than 470,000 extra sales for the industry over the last ten months.

A new 300 isn’t going to return Chrysler to the days of 140K annual sales rates, nor will a facelifted Explorer cause Ford to sell more than 400,000 per year.

One redesign stands a chance at stemming the tide; the other should help maintain its heady position.

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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Audi USA Sold More A3s Than A4s In October 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/audi-usa-sold-a3s-a4s-october-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/audi-usa-sold-a3s-a4s-october-2014/#comments Sun, 23 Nov 2014 13:41:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=948681 Are times changing, or was October nothing more than an optimal arranging of circumstances in favour of Audi’s smallest sedan? Audi USA sold more A3s than A4 sedans in October 2014, a serious shift from a year ago when the old A3 hatchback was dead and Audi sold 3040 A4s. Before we assume this will […]

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2015-Audi-A3-beauty-exterior-005Are times changing, or was October nothing more than an optimal arranging of circumstances in favour of Audi’s smallest sedan?

Audi USA sold more A3s than A4 sedans in October 2014, a serious shift from a year ago when the old A3 hatchback was dead and Audi sold 3040 A4s.

Before we assume this will be the new way forward for Audi in America, remember that the A4 is at the end of its rope. The next generation A4 has already been spotted in camo form, and while the current car clearly remains competitive in the marketplace, it is an older design.

The A3, on the other hand, was released in the United States in new sedan form earlier this year.

Additionally, the A4’s figures don’t take into account the Allroad (basically a jacked-up and cladded A4 Avant, which is no longer available in North America) and the A3 lineup’s second offering, a convertible, began reaching showrooms this fall. Include the Allroad in the A4’s total and the A3 trailed the bigger car by 292 units in October. The A3 Cabriolet, meanwhile, makes up 17% of all A3 inventory as we speak.

Nevertheless, it’s a meaningful moment in time, a snapshot of a downward-stretching “luxury” market that needs additional entry-level models to create greater volume. Along with the 2380 A3s Audi sold in October 2014, there were another 683 Q3 crossovers. Together, they accounted for one in five Audi sales last month.

The brand’s best-selling Q5 was up 6% to 3571 units, equal to 24% of all Audi sales. Top-end models – A6, A7, A8, Q7 – collectively rose 7% to 4671 October sales, 31% of the brand’s total. Equivalent lineups at Mercedes-Benz – E-Class, CLS-Class, S-Class, GL-Class – have produced 40% of the brand’s (significantly higher) sales through the first ten months of 2014.

Yet so often this year, the more interesting shift in the premium market has seen Audi consistently outselling Cadillac: in April, May, June, August, September, and October, and by 4681 sales year-to-date. Cadillac outsold Audi by nearly 25,000 units in the U.S. last year, when Cadillac sales jumped 22% and Audi rose 13%. One key difference between the two brands is the breadth of Audi’s lineup at the top and bottom of the range. While not Mercedes-Benz-like, Audi’s broad range makes the narrow scope of the Cadillac portfolio all the more apparent. Cadillac lacks products which could directly take on the TT, R8, A8, A7, Allroad, and Audi’s new entry-level cars, the A3 and Q3.

Together, those vehicles were responsible for 28% of Audi sales last month. At Cadillac, their non-existent rivals produced 0% of the brand’s October sales.

12a4allroadCadillac’s missing parts creates a story for another day and an issue their new boss, Johan de Nysschen appears willing to take a look at only if it means Cadillac will make more money.

Back among German automakers, the A3 trailed Mercedes-Benz’s CLA by 216 units in October 2014 but leads the CLA by 1512 sales since the beginning of April, when the A3 arrived in real numbers. The GLA, in its second month, outsold the Q3, in its third month, by 1324 units in October.

When luxury automakers dive down to this price bracket, volume certainly matters. How much relevance Audi places on the A3’s A4-beating performance in October is another matter, of course, not just because of the A4’s age. With numerical assistance from a wagon, the A4 was actually the more popular product last month. Imagine that, a wagon, of all things, helped the A4 rise to the top of Audi’s car leaderboard.

Regardless of their position in the rankings, the new A3 has undeniably been a far more successful car for Audi USA than the old hatchback. Audi has already sold twice as many A3s in the last seven months than the old model ever managed in a full calendar 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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Chart Of The Day: Jaguar vs. Land Rover http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/chart-day-jaguar-vs-land-rover/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/chart-day-jaguar-vs-land-rover/#comments Sat, 22 Nov 2014 13:10:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=947857 The reasons for the drop of the red line and the steady rise of the grey line on today’s chart are perhaps too numerous to count. Additional product for one brand. Less intervention at another. A move toward high-riding vehicles helped one brand. A move away from traditional cars harmed the other. These two factors […]

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Jaguar vs Land Rover sales chartThe reasons for the drop of the red line and the steady rise of the grey line on today’s chart are perhaps too numerous to count.

Additional product for one brand. Less intervention at another.

A move toward high-riding vehicles helped one brand. A move away from traditional cars harmed the other. These two factors are made all the more apparent when one brand employs a full lineup of SUVs/crossovers and the other has yet to bring its first utility vehicle to market.

One brand’s message has been artfully constructed over a few decades; the other’s has been muddied for at least a generation.

Both have been labelled as dreadfully unreliable at different points. One brand has had trouble discarding that label; the other has succeeded in spite of it.

Both British brands were Ford-owned but now find themselves under the wing of India’s Tata Group.

These lines could yet head in similar directions. Jaguar will begin to sell a crossover and a lower-priced sedan. Land Rover’s Discovery Sport could buoy the brand’s lower range, as the majority of the company’s U.S. sales are produced by the trio of Range Rover-branded products.

At the moment, however, Land Rover USA sales are better than they’ve ever been thanks to a market which is increasingly keen on this type of vehicle and the brand’s broadest product range ever. Jaguar USA, on the other hand,  sold nearly 16,000 S-Types in 2002 but might not sell that many XJs, XFs, XKs, and F-Types in total 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.

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Versa Still Rules Roost As Fit Sales Reach 42-Month High In October http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/versa-still-rules-roost-fit-sales-reach-42-month-high-october/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/versa-still-rules-roost-fit-sales-reach-42-month-high-october/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 13:21:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=947057 American Honda reported the Fit’s best October ever last month. At 6851 U.S. sales, Fit volume was up 83% year-over-year to the highest total since April 2011, when Fit sales shot up 73% to 8116. The new Fit, the third version of Honda’s sub-Civic car for North America has certainly been well-received early on in […]

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Honda Fit EXLAmerican Honda reported the Fit’s best October ever last month. At 6851 U.S. sales, Fit volume was up 83% year-over-year to the highest total since April 2011, when Fit sales shot up 73% to 8116.

The new Fit, the third version of Honda’s sub-Civic car for North America has certainly been well-received early on in its tenure. With Honda sales rising to the highest October level ever and a new Mexican-built version of the brand’s least costly car finally readily available, seeing the Fit rise to new heights was not an unexpected occurrence.

It’s no E-Type on the outside, but the Fit’s purposeful design pays dividends inside for owners and even passengers. It is in some ways a mini-MPV with a very monobox shape. It’s not conventional, but its flexibility makes it strangely desirable as a result. Honda’s share of the subcompact category grew to 17.8% in October 2014, up from 10.8% a year ago and 10.6% in calendar year 2013 as a whole. It’s worth noting, as well, that the Fit is available only as a hatchback, while the four other members of the subcompact category’s October top five are sold as hatchbacks and sedans.

It’s also worth noting that the category continues to be controlled in large part by the cheap-and-roomy Nissan Versa, sales of which improved 29% in October 2014 to 11,097 units, 28.8% of the segment’s total.

With a higher price tag and fewer build options, it’s hard to see the Fit unseating the Versa any time soon, even on a semi-long-term basis.

Added competition may pose the greater danger to the Fit over the next few years, however. And we don’t mean competition from more subcompact hatchbacks. While Nissan Canada has seen Versa sales tumble 43% over the last three months as the Micra slotted in below and stole sales (and added many more), Honda will challenge their own Fit and Civic with the new HR-V, set to be displayed in detail at the Los Angeles auto show this week.

It’s a long-running theme. America’s new vehicle market is expanding at a 5.5% clip in 2014, and while subcompact sales shot up 11.5% in the month of October, specifically, subcompact volume is up just 3.4% this year. That outpaces the overall passenger car market, which is up just 1.2%. But combined sales of the Buick Encore, Mini Countryman and Paceman, Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, Nissan Juke, and Subaru XV Crosstrek are up 28.2% to a combined 181,370 units. Sure, as a group they’re not as popular as subcompact cars – they’re certainly more costly, too. Yet their growth does represent a real turning of the tide.

Nissan Versa NoteBack in the here and now, Detroit subcompacts, in the form of the Chevrolet Sonic and Ford Fiesta, have earned 31% market share in 2014. Sales of the Hyundai Accent rose 34% to 4839 in October and are up 5% this year; Kia Rio volume was down 12% both in October and through the first ten months. Combined Prius C/Yaris sales are down 19% in Toyota showrooms in 2014. Mazda 2 sales have increased 34% in advance of the next 2’s arrival, but October volume plunged 38% to just 457 units.

Meanwhile, America’s four top-selling compacts – Corolla, Civic, Cruze, Focus – combine to outsell the whole subcompact category by more than two-to-one.

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 Quest U.S. Sales Reach 45-Month Low In October 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/nissan-quest-u-s-sales-reach-45-month-low-october-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/nissan-quest-u-s-sales-reach-45-month-low-october-2014/#comments Thu, 20 Nov 2014 14:03:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=946689 October 2014 was the lowest-volume U.S. sales month for the latest, fourth-generation Nissan Quest since the van debuted nearly four years ago in January 2011. Minivan sales in America slid 2% in October 2014 but have risen 5% this year. Quest volume plunged 54% in October. Quest sales are down 23% this year. No minivan […]

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Nissan Quest sales chartOctober 2014 was the lowest-volume U.S. sales month for the latest, fourth-generation Nissan Quest since the van debuted nearly four years ago in January 2011.

Minivan sales in America slid 2% in October 2014 but have risen 5% this year. Quest volume plunged 54% in October. Quest sales are down 23% this year. No minivan sold less often than the Quest in October, not even the cancelled Mazda 5.

Year-to-date, the Quest leads the Kia Sedona by a slim margin of 633 units, but that figure will swiftly flip: the Sedona outsold the Quest by 2006 units in October thanks to the arrival of an all-new third-gen model.

Historically, Nissan has sold Quests in much greater numbers, but it’s never been a pillar of the minivan movement. When 46,430 Quests were sold in calendar year 2004, that represented just 4.2% of total minivan sales. (It’s unlikely Nissan will even sell 10,000 in 2014.) The Quest’s market share during the first ten months of 2014: 1.8%.

It’s too early to say Nissan USA has given up on the Quest. There is a MY2015 variant. Indeed, that 2015 model accounts for 38% of the current stock listed on Cars.com. But this isn’t a product you’ll find in large numbers in Nissan showrooms across America.

North of the border, in the much stronger minivan market that is Canada, the Quest was first moved to special order status and has since been removed from the company’s consumer website. It’s not even mentioned in the company’s 2015 product plans.

2014 Nissan Quest grey rearThe numbers? In the U.S. in October 2014, only 370 Quests were sold, down from 812 in October 2013 and 395 in September of this year. Nissan has reached four digits with the Quest only three times this year after averaging 1073 monthly Quest sales in 2013, 1523/month in 2012, and 1131/month in the latter 83% of 2011.

The vast majority of automakers would truly struggle to break into this category. The fact that Nissan’s been a long-time player seems to make little difference, perhaps because of the avant-garde styling of the last two iterations. Even during a month in which sales of the fifth-ranked van (Sedona) jumped 251% to 2376 units, the top four owned a staggering 92% of the segment, with Chrysler and Dodge grabbing slightly more than half of all minivan sales.

The fourth-gen Quest has flopped, and now it’s being kicked while it’s flat on the mat. Is it the looks; the difficult task of balancing low demand with the need to increase supply if greater volume is to be generated; the simple fact that it’s not a Grand Caravan, Town & Country, Sienna, or Odyssey; or something else altogether?

It’s not as though the overall Nissan brand is struggling to conquer greater swathes of the U.S. market. Few brands with mainstream appeal are growing faster.

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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Canada Auto Sales Recap: October 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/canada-auto-sales-recap-october-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/canada-auto-sales-recap-october-2014/#comments Tue, 18 Nov 2014 13:29:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=946657 In October 2014, for the first time since March of this year, the Chrysler Group outsold all other automobile manufacturers in Canada. The margins were slim: only 259 units separated Chrysler Group’s five brands from the Ford Motor Company; only 301 stood between the Chrysler Group and General Motors. But these are celebratory moments for […]

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October 2014 YTD Canadian auto brand market shareIn October 2014, for the first time since March of this year, the Chrysler Group outsold all other automobile manufacturers in Canada.

The margins were slim: only 259 units separated Chrysler Group’s five brands from the Ford Motor Company; only 301 stood between the Chrysler Group and General Motors. But these are celebratory moments for an automaker which owns 15.6% of the Canadian market. Chrysler Group’s market share in its “home” U.S. market stands at 12.6% through the first ten months of 2014.

Pickup trucks, minivans, and utility vehicles continue to be the driving force for Chrysler in Canada. The Ram P/U, Dodge Grand Caravan, Chrysler Town & Country, Jeep brand, and Dodge’s Journey and Durango generated 83% of Chrysler Group sales in Canada in October, and this during a month in which the company says its car sales grew 34%.

Indeed, the Chrysler 200 was Canada’s top-selling midsize car last month, a story we covered last week. Non-200 Chrysler Group car sales were down 6%.

2015 Nissan MicraBoth pickup trucks and minivans are greater volume producers in Canada than they are in the United States. Pickups accounted for 17.2% of all new vehicle sales last month; minivans another 4.4%. (Those groups owned 15.8% and 3.2% of the U.S. market in October.) Chrysler is consistently poised to take advantage of those Canadian tendencies. Ram P/U sales jumped 15% to 6591 units in October, 25% of the truck market. The Grand Caravan was responsible for 62% of the country’s “full-size” MPV sales, Mazda 5, Chevrolet Orlando, and Kia Rondo excluded.

Jeep, meanwhile, is at the forefront of the continued SUV/crossover craze. Canada’s new vehicle market has expanded 5.6% through the first ten months of 2014, surging to record high levels after record volume was created in calendar year 2013. But pickup truck sales are up just 3% and, according to Automotive News, car sales are down slightly less than 1%.

Utility vehicles have more than made up the slack, and the sector has undeniably been hugely helped by the mostly Cherokee-powered surge at Jeep, Canada’s second-fastest-growing brand. (Maserati sales are up 141% to 417 units this year. Jeep is up 62% to 59,728.)

Total SUV/crossover sales are up nearly 16%, equalling 32.6% of the overall new vehicle industry’s volume, up from 29.8% during the first ten months of 2013. Jeep’s Wrangler, Cherokee, and Grand Cherokee rank seventh, eighth, and 13th among SUVs and crossovers.

Canada’s top-selling utility in October was, of course, the Ford Escape. Though sales dipped 5% in October, Escape volume is up 17% this year to 45,152 units, more than any other SUV or crossover will manage in the full twelve months of 2014. The Escape has been the category’s best seller every month this year after conquering all SUVs and crossovers in ten of 2013’s twelve months.

Taking all vehicles into account, the Escape is Canada’s fourth-best-selling nameplate, ahead of all but two truck lines and one car.

October also marked a slowdown for Honda’s Civic, perpetually Canada’s best-selling car, although the compact Honda managed to lead all cars despite its 14% year-over-year decline. Civic sales are up 5% this year in a stagnant car sector – October flipped these results, with the Civic’s decline and a 2% improvement in total car sales. In fact, all of Canada’s six best-selling cars and eight of the top twelve posted decreased October sales.

Helping to push the car market forward last month was volume generated by a number of cars which didn’t exist (or barely existed) in the Canadian market at this time a year ago. Canadians registered 2366 combined copies of the Nissan Micra, Acura TLX, BMW 2-Series, BMW i3, Cadillac ELR, Dodge Viper, and Audi A3 in October, a combined 9000% year-over-year increase.

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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Expanding Portfolios Overwhelm Automakers, Consumers Alike http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/expanding-portfolios-overwhelm-automakers-consumers-alike/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/expanding-portfolios-overwhelm-automakers-consumers-alike/#comments Tue, 18 Nov 2014 11:00:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=946586 With as many plentiful lineups as the eye can see, consumers are beginning to feel overwhelmed, as are the manufacturers who are coming to realize that too many choices are just as bad as offering too few. Yahoo Finance reports automakers like Porsche, Audi and BMW are reaching a point where their respective lineups may […]

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With as many plentiful lineups as the eye can see, consumers are beginning to feel overwhelmed, as are the manufacturers who are coming to realize that too many choices are just as bad as offering too few.

Yahoo Finance reports automakers like Porsche, Audi and BMW are reaching a point where their respective lineups may soon — if not already — overlap themselves, prompting consumers to go as far as to use Excel just to find the exact model and array of features they desire.

Auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers forecast the growth among German automakers would peak at 230 total models in 2018, then begin to flatten out as they cut production costs and improve differentiation among their portfolios, while also injecting what they sell with the latest technologies available at the time.

However, while automakers like Porsche and PSA Peugeot Citroën are implementing caps or drastically cutting down their offerings, others, such as Mercedes-Benz and Opel, plan to add more vehicles to their lineups. The expansions could lead to situations where models can only be seen in virtual showrooms — such as what has happened for BMW — as well as most consumers walking away from buying any vehicle or feeling less satisfied with the one they do buy, due to feeling overwhelmed.

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Report: US Median Income Could Soon Outpace Falling Car Prices http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/report-us-median-income-soon-outpace-falling-car-prices/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/report-us-median-income-soon-outpace-falling-car-prices/#comments Mon, 17 Nov 2014 15:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=946258 Consumers looking for a new car may not need to take their wallets to the hospital afterwards should prices continue to fall and incomes continue to rise. According to Edmunds, the Auto Buyer’s Affordability Index found that a consumer whose income matched the U.S. household median of $54,457 could afford 54.1 percent — $16,448 — […]

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Woman Receiving Car Keys For Her Death Ride 1969 Extravaganza

Consumers looking for a new car may not need to take their wallets to the hospital afterwards should prices continue to fall and incomes continue to rise.

According to Edmunds, the Auto Buyer’s Affordability Index found that a consumer whose income matched the U.S. household median of $54,457 could afford 54.1 percent — $16,448 — of a new vehicle with an average transaction price of $30,382, as recorded in October 2014.

ABAI publisher Requisite Press stated that while the current percentage was still high, “transaction prices have recently begun to weaken under ideal conditions for strength,” such as the rise in income among consumers. There, the ABAI found said income had climbed 3.8 percent above the 52.1 percent value reported in April of this year, corresponding to an extra $653 in spending ability.

The publisher adds that should the center hold, the U.S. median household income would continue to outpace automotive pricing, a status not seen since 1980. President Phil Kelton explains:

New-car affordability is likely to improve in the coming days if we can avoid an income slowdown. The selection of affordable models is best increased by competition, but a sustained improvement in affordability will certainly give it a boost.

As for taking advantage of this burgeoning reality, Requisite Press suggests consumers “maximize their buying power” along every step of the car-buying process, with a suggestion to follow the 20-4-10 rule: 20 percent down, four-year loan term max, 10 percent of income spent on car payments.

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Chronicling The Captiva Sport’s Brief U.S. Sales History http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/chronicling-captiva-sports-brief-u-s-sales-history/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/chronicling-captiva-sports-brief-u-s-sales-history/#comments Mon, 17 Nov 2014 13:26:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=944961 The esteemable Jack Baruth backed one up toward an odd-looking statue back in March. Sales then boomed in April and May. Post hoc ergo propter hoc. In truth, Jack was no fan of the Chevrolet Captiva Sport he rented earlier this year, saying, “It won’t strike the desirability chord in anyone’s heart,” and, “This is […]

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Captiva import?The esteemable Jack Baruth backed one up toward an odd-looking statue back in March. Sales then boomed in April and May.

Post hoc ergo propter hoc.

In truth, Jack was no fan of the Chevrolet Captiva Sport he rented earlier this year, saying, “It won’t strike the desirability chord in anyone’s heart,” and, “This is a car to avoid at all costs.”

Fleet buyers, including most especially the rental car companies in the United States, did not avoid the Captiva Sport. They flocked to the reclothed Saturn Vue in large numbers.

Nevertheless, as was reported on these pages earlier this month after a virtual disappearance from GM’s sales reports in September and October, GM is done with the Chevrolet Captiva Sport. The upcoming Trax will, in addition to potentially satisfying some potential Buick Encore buyers who would rightly spend less money, also cater to rental companies in the Captiva Sport’s stead.

Now that it’s gone, consider just how many of these overweight but not completely unpleasant SUVs were sold: 7038 in the final quarter of 2011; another 36,935 in 2012; 47,600 more in 2013. Through the first seven months of 2014, before GM began running out the clock, Captiva Sport volume was up 22% to 33,308 units. The Captiva Sport’s best ever month was May 2014, when sales shot up 22% to 6204 units. On four occasions, more than 5000 were sold in a single month. Through the first five months of 2014, the Captiva Sport ranked 29th overall among SUVs and crossovers, ahead of some 60 different nameplates.


These aren’t insignificant figures. In other words, there’s a reason you see’em around. Even after two months in which only 74 were sold, the Captiva Sport’s year-to-date figures at the end of October show a vehicle which sold as often as the Mercedes-Benz M-Class and Nissan Juke; nearly as often as the surging Kia Sportage; 38% more often than the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport; 69% more often than the Volkswagen Tiguan.

The Captiva Sport, like the Vue which came before it, is not the kind of vehicle that will stand out in our memory for its goodness or popularity. But as a fleet-only experiment, obsessive observers of the auto industry will hark back to the Captiva Sport’s presence in the U.S. market as a means of justifying that Nissan should sell a Rogue and a Rogue Select, that the current Impala should stay on board when they introduce an eleventh-gen sedan, and that the W124 E-Class should still be on sale today.

The Captiva Sport was an anomaly, the kind of vehicle we’ll re-eulogize the next time a brand is killed off. And in the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t rare.

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 Fights Georgia Dealers Over Direct Sales Model http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/tesla-fights-georgia-dealers-direct-sales-model/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/tesla-fights-georgia-dealers-direct-sales-model/#comments Mon, 17 Nov 2014 12:00:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=946194 Tesla’s ongoing battle to directly sell its wares to the public has come to Georgia, where the automaker is asking for a dismissal of a petition by the state’s dealer association seeking to ban Tesla from conducting such sales. Atlanta Business Chronicle reports the petition, filed with the Georgia Department of Revenue by the Georgia […]

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Tesla’s ongoing battle to directly sell its wares to the public has come to Georgia, where the automaker is asking for a dismissal of a petition by the state’s dealer association seeking to ban Tesla from conducting such sales.

Atlanta Business Chronicle reports the petition, filed with the Georgia Department of Revenue by the Georgia Automobile Dealers Association in late August of 2014, demands Tesla sell its Model S and other models through a franchise network, the automaker’s alleged violation of the Georgia Motor Vehicles Franchise Practices Act serving as the foundation for said petition. Tesla, of course, said that wasn’t the case:

GADA’s arguments rely on a wholesale misapplication of the FPA. The FPA only regulates conduct between franchisors and their affiliated franchisees, and does not apply to Tesla, which has no franchisees.

GADA also asserts that Tesla cannot directly sell to the public because of another cited statute — one that allows direct sales only if a given vehicle is “manufactured or assembled in accordance with custom-design specifications of the customer” — proclaiming Tesla offers no such thing to its customers. Representative Derrick Dickey stated that his employer is eager for Tesla to follow the letter of the law, “just like every other automobile manufacturer that sells new vehicles in Georgia.

The case is expected to be heard in court early next month. Until then, Tesla will continue to sell directly to the public under an exemption for ZEV models, which currently limits a given automaker to just 150 per year.

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Cain’s Segments: Compact Luxury Crossovers In October 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/cains-segments-compact-luxury-crossovers-october-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/cains-segments-compact-luxury-crossovers-october-2014/#comments Sun, 16 Nov 2014 13:47:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=944937 In the span of two months, the BMW X1 went from possessing no true direct German competition to finding challengers on two fronts. That’s not to say the X1 was never a viable, though slightly smaller, challenger to the rivals of BMW’s own X3. But the X1 was sitting on the bottom rung of the […]

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mercedes-benz-gla-2In the span of two months, the BMW X1 went from possessing no true direct German competition to finding challengers on two fronts.

That’s not to say the X1 was never a viable, though slightly smaller, challenger to the rivals of BMW’s own X3. But the X1 was sitting on the bottom rung of the ladder, and it’s no longer resting their on its own.

Audi USA sold 243 Q3s during the month it which it first went on sale in the United States, August 2014. Another 1092 were sold in August. October results, visible in the accompanying table, position the Q3 at the bottom of the three-car category.

(Want to add the Buick Encore into the mix? It sells far more often than any of these cars – 4780 copies in October; 41,213 year-to-date – but it’s 26% cheaper than the Q3 in base form, 22% less costly than the X1, and 26% less expensive than our final subject, the Mercedes-Benz GLA.) Sales of the Q3’s big brother, the Q5, were up 6% to 3571 units in October. 2014 appears set to be the Q5’s fifth consecutive year of annual U.S. sales growth.

Auto
October 2014
October 2013
% Change
10 mos. 2014
10 mos. 2013
% Change
Audi Q3
683 2,018
BMW X1
 2,073 3,059 -32.2% 17,801 21,407 -16.8%
Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class
2007 2,998
Total
 4,763
3,059  55.7%  22,817  21,407  6.6%

The BMW X1 reached a sales peak of more than 4300 units in March of this year but has averaged fewer than 1800 monthly sales, down from more than 2200 last year. The X1 is part of a five-pronged SAV lineup at BMW that’s enjoyed a 6.5% sales increase in 2014 despite significant declines from the X1 and X6. X3 sales are up 26% to 28,808 this year. X5 sales have risen 9% to lead the range with 36,376 sales. As you can see, X1 volume fell by nearly 1000 units in October, but the Q3 and GLA did much more than make up for those losses.

The GLA, a Mercedes-Benz CLA-related tall hatchback that you can call an SUV or a crossover or a CUV if you like, is also part of a five-member SUV/crossover lineup. The GLA, along with the more costly and larger G, GL, GLK, and M-Class, generated 39% of the Mercedes-Benz brand’s non-Sprinter sales in October. The GLA’s presence may have had an impact on the GLK’s total in October, the GLA’s second month, but if so, it was only the slightest of impacts. (Mercedes-Benz reported 991 U.S. GLA sales in September.) GLK volume slid 4%, a loss of just 107 units, after rising 21% during the first three-quarters of 2014. But GLK inventory of late hasn’t been as strong as it was earlier in the year, and the GLA therefore may have had little to do with the decline.

The lesson? If “luxury” automakers are going to sell more new vehicles, they’ll do so with less costly vehicles. And if they’re going to sell more of these less costly vehicles, the easiest way to do so will be to turn those vehicles into high riders, or at least vehicles with the appearance of increased ride heights. They’re not huge sellers – yet – but nearly one out of every 20 Audis soldnin October was a Q3. BMW has relied on the X1 for 7% of the brand’s U.S. volume this year. Likewise, 7% of the vehicles sold in Mercedes-Benz showrooms last month were GLAs.

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: The Pickup Truck Portion http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/chart-day-pickup-truck-portion/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/chart-day-pickup-truck-portion/#comments Sat, 15 Nov 2014 13:08:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=944833 Pickup truck sales increased 10% in the United States in October, an 18,590-unit jump in a market which grew 6%. Besides drawing attention to the, “The people buy trucks because the fuel is cheap,” argument, which is not at all completely false nor entirely true, the 10% increase drew our attention to the massive figures […]

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TTAC sales chart trucks and best-selling SUVsPickup truck sales increased 10% in the United States in October, an 18,590-unit jump in a market which grew 6%. Besides drawing attention to the, “The people buy trucks because the fuel is cheap,” argument, which is not at all completely false nor entirely true, the 10% increase drew our attention to the massive figures generated by the biggest nameplates and their expansive product ranges.

We’ve covered truck sales already this month, so rather than taking another deep dive into October’s specifics, consider instead the percentage of America’s growing auto market that belonged to the pickup truck category last month: 15.8%.

That’s not a small number. Indeed, it’s a significantly larger number than the one achieved by the category through the first ten months of 2014: 13.8%. For perspective, however, think back one decade. In 2004, 19% of the new vehicles sold in America were pickup trucks.

Although this chart provides another line at which to gander, we’re not suggesting that buyers of dual-rear-wheeled Ram 3500s are switching over to Honda CR-Vs, only that times are changing. Pickup trucks remain vital to the health of the American auto industry, more significantly because of their profit generation than with their outright volume. But the market isn’t returning to a 16 million+ annual sales pace because of the strength of passenger cars, or minivans, or pickup trucks. It’s the ess-you-vees.

The Honda CR-V, Ford Escape, and Toyota RAV4 are all on pace for another record sales year, a follow-up to 2014’s record sales year for each of those nameplates. Ford should also sell more than 750,000 F-Series pickups, a startlingly high number compared with the totals achieved by other vehicle lines, but not exactly the 939,511 sold in 2004.

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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Mercedes-Benz Tops In J.D. Power Satisfaction Survey http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/mercedes-benz-tops-j-d-power-satisfaction-survey/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/mercedes-benz-tops-j-d-power-satisfaction-survey/#comments Fri, 14 Nov 2014 15:00:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=945105 Another day, another customer survey. This time, it’s J.D. Power with its annual Sales Satisfaction Index Study, with those surveyed placing Mercedes-Benz at the top of the podium. AutoGuide reports the German premium brand scored 726 out of 1,000 points as far as how pleasurable the car-buying experience turned out. Taking the gold among the […]

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2015 Mercedes-Benz C400 front

Another day, another customer survey. This time, it’s J.D. Power with its annual Sales Satisfaction Index Study, with those surveyed placing Mercedes-Benz at the top of the podium.

AutoGuide reports the German premium brand scored 726 out of 1,000 points as far as how pleasurable the car-buying experience turned out. Taking the gold among the mainstream brands, MINI scored 727 out of 1,000, marking the fifth straight year the BMW brand took the top spot on the podium.

Infiniti, Jaguar — last year’s top finisher — Lexus and Porsche round out the premium top five, while Buick, Chevrolet, GMC and Fiat did the same among mass-market brands.

As far as the overall car-buying experience is concerned, J.D. Power found an improvement of 12 points among mass-market brands, and a 16-point improvement among premium brands. The main factor for both sides was a knowledgeable sales representative who could understand a customer’s needs, especially with more “tech-heavy” offerings on the lot and in the showroom, per vice president of the automotive retail practice, Chris Sutton.

This year’s survey collected 29,805 responses from those who bought or leased a new vehicle between April and May of this year.

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Nissan Defies Trends, Keeps Selling More Cars In America http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/nissan-defies-trends-keeps-selling-cars-america/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/nissan-defies-trends-keeps-selling-cars-america/#comments Fri, 14 Nov 2014 13:09:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=944801 In the steadily growing U.S. new vehicle market, car sales have increased just 1% through the first ten months of 2014. Nissan, however, says their car sales have grown 15.5% in 2014, surging forward by more than 90,000 units to 669,538. In calendar year 2013, total new vehicle sales were up nearly 8%, but car […]

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Nissan Sentra - 4. Picture courtesy NissanIn the steadily growing U.S. new vehicle market, car sales have increased just 1% through the first ten months of 2014.

Nissan, however, says their car sales have grown 15.5% in 2014, surging forward by more than 90,000 units to 669,538.

In calendar year 2013, total new vehicle sales were up nearly 8%, but car sales grew just 4% during a year in which, for example, pickup trucks were up 12%.

2014 hasn’t been so kind to cars, with the Chrysler Group’s passenger cars collectively falling 15%, Ford Motor Company car sales sliding 4%, GM cars up less than 2%, American Honda car sales up less than 1%, Hyundai car sales down 3%, total Toyota/Lexus/Scion cars up just 1%, and the Volkswagen brand’s cars down 12%.

According to Automotive News, in an industry that’s expanded by 720,125 units, total new passenger car sales are up by fewer than 77,000 units. Cars accounted for 50.6% of all new vehicle sales in the first ten months of 2013; just 48.5% in 2014.

That approximate 49% mark isn’t an unusual one for the auto industry in the United States. Americans are expected to register more than 16 million new vehicles in 2014, the first such 16K+ year since 2007, a year in which 48.8% of the new vehicles sold were passenger cars, down from 49.1%.

But Nissan is a much different seller of cars now than they were in 2007, when they sold 542,258 cars in the full calendar year, a figure which they eclipsed in the first eight months of 2014. (Nissan’s car division in 2007 was made up of a Z, Altima, Maxima, Sentra, and Versa. In addition to those five cars, Nissan now also lists the Cube, GT-R, Juke, and Leaf among their cars.)

Setting aside the historical significance, though, just look at Nissan’s current car performance, excluding the Juke for relatively obvious reasons. The brand’s car sales are thus up 16% to 635,517 units. 44% of that volume comes from the Altima, America’s fourth-best-selling car overall and third-best-selling midsize car. The Altima competes in a stagnant segment, but sales of this intermediate Nissan are up 3.4% in 2014. The brand’s two core small car nameplates, Versa (which includes the Note in Nissan’s release) and Sentra, combine to sell about as often as the Altima, generating another 43% of the brand’s car volume.

The Versa, up 21% in 2014, is America’s leading subcompact. Sentra sales are up 44% in a competitive set that’s risen around 3% this year. The Leaf is Nissan’s fourth-best-selling car. Sales are up 35% to 24,411 units, making the Leaf America’s 66th-best-selling car in 2014, just behind the Hyundai Veloster; just ahead of the Ford C-Max. This leaves less than 2% of the brand’s car volume for the 370Z (up 13%), Cube (down 28%), and GT-R (up 9%), and another 7% for the Maxima.

Sales of the Maxima are up 9% in this run-out-the-clock year, a real rarity in a declining category of big, volume-brand cars. The Maxima sells slightly more often than the Buick LaCrosse; slightly less often than the Chrysler 300.

These car nameplates have generated 59% of the Nissan brand’s year-to-date sales, up from 58% last year. Fortunately for Nissan, the Frontier, Juke, Murano, NV, NV200, and especially the Rogue have produced significant improvements, as well. Those vehicles, along with the declining Armada, Pathfinder, Quest, Titan, and Xterra, are up 11% to 436,947 units this year. Total Infiniti sales are up 4% to 93,925, 8% of the overall company’s volume.

And where does the Nissan brand rank in the grand scheme of automakers competing for passenger car sales in America this year? Automotive News says the Toyota brand leads the way, followed by Chevrolet, Honda, and then Nissan, which is nearly 17,000 sales ahead of FoMoCo’s Ford division. Of course, Ford has managed to sell 620,447 F-Series pickups this year, a massive figure which once again puts the car market into perspective.

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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Merrill Lynch: Tesla Sitting On 3K Cars Despite Alleged Scarcity http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/merrill-lynch-tesla-sitting-3k-cars-despite-alleged-scarcity/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/merrill-lynch-tesla-sitting-3k-cars-despite-alleged-scarcity/#comments Fri, 14 Nov 2014 11:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=945017 If you’re still waiting for your Model S to arrive in your driveway, you might not be too pleased to learn there could be 3,000 cars hiding in the back room, thanks to one man seeking knowledge about Tesla’s famed scarcity. The Daily Kanban reports Merrill Lynch research analyst John Lovallo found that while the […]

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If you’re still waiting for your Model S to arrive in your driveway, you might not be too pleased to learn there could be 3,000 cars hiding in the back room, thanks to one man seeking knowledge about Tesla’s famed scarcity.

The Daily Kanban reports Merrill Lynch research analyst John Lovallo found that while the hype held up for the Model X — for obvious reasons — the same couldn’t be said for the Model S. Despite Tesla’s claim that they sold every car they had in Q3 2014 — even the ones in the showrooms — Lovallo saw a different story with the finished goods inventory. In short: Some 3,000 vehicles were either in transit or in a warehouse.

Merrill Lynch — who told its clients in its research note about Tesla that the automaker’s stock will remain labelled “underperform” for the foreseeable future — also noted that Tesla is facing difficulties in penetrating the Chinese market, “coupled with seemingly tepid European demand for the Model S.” Despite the Chinese government creating a separate pool for EV license plates, 70 percent of plate winners failed to cash-in by the end of last month, and even if everything worked out, lower-cost EVs like the Nissan-Venucia r30 and the 20-some models set to leave Volkswagen’s factories would hardly leave any money for a higher-end EV like those sold by Tesla.

The note concludes by pointing out that the automaker barely makes money from selling regulatory credits to other automakers, while not making a dime off of its vehicles, the latter an issue that “could ultimately prove to be the biggest risk for the company and the pure electric vehicle market at large.”

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Now Is The Acura TLX A Hit? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/now-acura-tlx-hit/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/now-acura-tlx-hit/#comments Thu, 13 Nov 2014 13:59:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=944073 In September we asked if the TLX could restore Acura’s car business. In October, we realized that by Acura standards, the TLX could quickly end up as a hit. And now in November, with October 2014 U.S. sales results in hand, the Acura TLX is a hit. We could apply all manner of qualifying statements: […]

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2015 Acura TLX silverIn September we asked if the TLX could restore Acura’s car business. In October, we realized that by Acura standards, the TLX could quickly end up as a hit. And now in November, with October 2014 U.S. sales results in hand, the Acura TLX is a hit.

We could apply all manner of qualifying statements: it’s early; other cars are transitioning to a new model year as Acura ramps up the TLX; year-over-year comparisons only highlight the dire straits which were afflicting the TLX’s predecessors; the TLX is relatively inexpensive and thus obviously a more justifiable proposition for buyers moving up to “luxury” cars.

Or, the TLX is exactly what potential Acura customers had been desirous of for years. Not too big, not too small. A choice between an efficient four-cylinder or a similarly efficient but far more powerful V6. Front or all-wheel-drive. Transmissions which, at least in terms of ratios, leapfrog the competition. Somewhat subdued but not unattractive styling. And an advertised base price below $31,000.

The result? Only four premium brand cars – 3-Series/4-Series, C-Class, ES, 5-Series – and only six premium brand vehicles – RX and MDX included – outsold the TLX in October 2014.

4890 TLXs were sold in October, a 95% year-over-year increase compared with the combined total of the TL and TSX in October 2013, a 26% increase compared with the TLX’s own total from September of this year. During a month in which brand-wide Acura sales rose 8%, the TLX accounted for 31.7% of all Acura sales. These were tremendously useful figures for Acura last month, as the ILX, RLX, TL, TSX, MDX, RDX, and ZDX all posted year-over-year decreases.

Non-TLX sales were down 26%.

What of the TLX’s competitors? The vast 3-Series/4-Series range is virtually a brand unto itself, with more permutations than Law & Order, CSI, and NCIS put together. As a result, the 3-Series/4-Series lineup (up 16% to 13,621) sells in brand-like numbers, with more October sales than Cadillac, Infiniti, or Lincoln; more than Volvo, Posche, Land Rover, and Jaguar combined. Mercedes-Benz sold 7412 copies of its new C-Class in October – no one would deny the C-Class is a long-time success.


Lexus’s ES, meanwhile, was down 1% to 5932 units. (The IS was up 6% to 3771 October sales.) Nissan sold 4188 Maximas; Buick sold 4071 LaCrosses; Infiniti reported 2964 Q50 sales. Audi and Cadillac both reported fewer than 2700 total A4 and ATS sales, respectively. Mercedes-Benz CLA sales were down to 2596, a 47% drop compared with its peak month of October 2013.

It will take more than a year, at least, to see if the TLX has the long-lasting appeal of venerable German nameplates or even Lexus’s more comfort-oriented ES. If we can judge cars based on three months of results – admittedly, it’s early – the TLX is an undeniably potent force for American Honda. Moreover, on the subject of premature heralding, any suggestion that these strong results are symptomatic of pent-up demand for a long-awaited car only serves to point out that Acura may possess a larger, more fervent fan base than we would have believed; that the TLX has been deemed by many to be a car worth waiting for.

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Aldred: Jeep Wrangler-Style GMC Model A Possibility http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/aldred-jeep-wrangler-style-gmc-model-possibility/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/aldred-jeep-wrangler-style-gmc-model-possibility/#comments Thu, 13 Nov 2014 11:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=944665 Would you like a “professional grade” Jeep Wrangler? Should Buick-GMC vice president Duncan Aldred get his way, that’s exactly what will happen as part of Aldred’s vow to “change the face” of GMC. Edmunds reports Aldred is looking at where to take GMC to boost sales, including what segments will and will not be key […]

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2015-GMC-Canyon-Main_001

Would you like a “professional grade” Jeep Wrangler? Should Buick-GMC vice president Duncan Aldred get his way, that’s exactly what will happen as part of Aldred’s vow to “change the face” of GMC.

Edmunds reports Aldred is looking at where to take GMC to boost sales, including what segments will and will not be key to success. While only in the brainstorming phase with no plans at present to expand the lineup, he said there was “room throughout the range” if one were to segment it, with “plenty of room everywhere in the hierarchy” to spare.

Thus, Aldred’s team could bring aboard an “active all-road, Wrangler-esque type of vehicle” to the lineup, as well as a flagship SUV above the Yukon, and an Encore-sized subcompact crossover. Aldred added that the brand could play around in “more big segments” if so desired.

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GM To Lay Off 510 Employees In Two Separate Actions http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/gm-lay-510-employees-two-separate-actions/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/gm-lay-510-employees-two-separate-actions/#comments Wed, 12 Nov 2014 13:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=944513 A total of 510 employees will be laid-off beginning in January, the result of two separate actions linked to production and inventory concerns. According to Automotive News, the majority — 350 employees — come from the Lansing Grand River Assembly plant in Lansing, Mich., where the Cadillac ATS and CTS are assembled. The cut comes […]

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2015 Cadillac ATSs at Lansing Grand River Assembly

A total of 510 employees will be laid-off beginning in January, the result of two separate actions linked to production and inventory concerns.

According to Automotive News, the majority — 350 employees — come from the Lansing Grand River Assembly plant in Lansing, Mich., where the Cadillac ATS and CTS are assembled. The cut comes from the loss of a second shift at the plant, a planned cut in production as part of Cadillac president Johan de Nysschen’s promise to make his brand more exclusive, and to allow excess inventory to be sold off.

A second shift is expected to return when GM begins production of the next-gen Chevrolet Camaro — based upon the same platform underpinning the two Cadillacs — between the end of 2015 and the start of 2016. In the meantime, GM plans to relocate some of the 350 to one of its two nearby plants.

Closer to Detroit, Detroit Free Press says the remaining 160 employees at Lake Orion Assembly in Orion Township, Mich. will have their positions permanently phased-out starting in January. The plant is slowing down production of the Buick Verano and Chevrolet Sonic to meet projected sales. Representative Chris Bonelli says the process will conclude by the end of 2015, but the number of workers ultimately laid-off “could be reduced by planned retirements and general attrition.”

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Lexus Europe Boss: Teutonic Trinity “Impossible” To Beat http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/uyttenhoven-teutonic-trinity-impossible-beat/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/uyttenhoven-teutonic-trinity-impossible-beat/#comments Tue, 11 Nov 2014 15:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=944057 While American premium brands Cadillac and Lincoln look to the Germans for inspiration — and their places on the podium — Lexus Europe chief Alain Uyttenhoven proclaimed that the Teutonic Trinity — BMW, Mercedes and Audi — were “impossible” to beat on a global scale, settling for fourth if possible. According to Just-Auto, Uyttenhoven says […]

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2014 Lexus CT200

While American premium brands Cadillac and Lincoln look to the Germans for inspiration — and their places on the podium — Lexus Europe chief Alain Uyttenhoven proclaimed that the Teutonic Trinity — BMW, Mercedes and Audi — were “impossible” to beat on a global scale, settling for fourth if possible.

According to Just-Auto, Uyttenhoven says the parent company is “out of its adolescence,” a turbulent time that included taking a one-two combo from the Great Recession and the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. Global sales prior to the occurrences topped out at 518,000 in 2007, with 2013 sales hitting a new peak of 523,000 units sold. That figure is just a quarter of what Audi aims to sell by 2020.

He adds that after establishing a reputation for high quality, customer service and environmental responsibility, Lexus will now focus on “emotion.” Thus, more high-performance vehicles with better driving dynamics, and likely more Predator grills. Diesels in Europe, on the other hand, will need more work:

The next big discussion will be about particulates. CO2 is not behind us, but we have to go to 99g/km by 2020. So, diesel has been growing because that CO2 average is easier to achieve with diesel. But the cost of purifying a diesel car is going to rise, so in the future, these engines are going to cost a lot more… For us, [petrol] hybrid is the answer.

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Best-Selling Midsize Car: Chrysler 200, In Canada, In October http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/best-selling-midsize-car-chrysler-200-canada-october/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/best-selling-midsize-car-chrysler-200-canada-october/#comments Tue, 11 Nov 2014 12:59:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=943545 Canada’s best-selling midsize car? The Chrysler 200. At least, that was the case in October 2014, a month in which sales of the 200 jumped 120% to 1800 units. Even with the near-disappearance of the Dodge Avenger, the fraternal twin of the new 200’s predecessor, Chrysler Canada midsize car sales grew 64% last month. Odd […]

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2015 chrysler 200Canada’s best-selling midsize car? The Chrysler 200.

At least, that was the case in October 2014, a month in which sales of the 200 jumped 120% to 1800 units. Even with the near-disappearance of the Dodge Avenger, the fraternal twin of the new 200’s predecessor, Chrysler Canada midsize car sales grew 64% last month.

Odd as this may sound for U.S. observers, it’s not completely out of the blue in Canada. Nor did we arrive at this point without an explanation.

South of the border last month, the 200 was outsold by a large group of direct rivals: Camry, Accord, Altima, Fusion, Sonata, and Optima. Moreover, even though 200 sales jumped 40% to 11,675 units, total Chrysler Group midsize volume was down 5% as the 200 has not yet been able to make up for the Avenger’s lost volume, as well.

In Canada, on the other hand, the 200 was well ahead of all direct rivals, opening up a 421-unit gap between the Chrysler and Honda’s Accord. In other words, the 200 31% more often than the Honda last month. The leader from July, August, and September, Hyundai’s Sonata, was down 25% as it no longer benefited so thoroughly from both the arrival of a new generation and the clear-out of the outgoing car. Canada’s year-to-date leader, the Ford Fusion, was up 4% compared with October 2013, its second-lowest month last year.

Canada midsize car sales chart October 2014 YTDLooking at recent history, the Fusion has been the Canadian midsize leader for much of the last half-decade, topping the category in 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2013. But the Ford’s 12% year-to-date drop through the first ten months of 2014 is symbolic of the category’s overall decline. Midsize car sales in Canada are down 14% this year. And it’s not as though these were Canada’s favourite cars to begin with.

Twelve midsize nameplates from Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mazda, Nissan, Subaru, Toyota, and Volkswagen have accounted for fewer than 99,000 sales this year, or about 15% of Canada’s declining passenger car market. Those same cars are responsible for nearly 31% of U.S. new car sales.

While midsize cars rank first, second, fourth, sixth, and tenth in year-to-date U.S. car sales, Canada’s top midsize car, the Fusion, slots in behind eight better-selling small cars, including the subcompact Hyundai Accent.

It’s among these doldrums that Chrysler Canada spotted an opportunity with their new, more stylish, more modern car. And so they incentivized the 200 up to its wing mirrors in discounts, a story chronicled in TTAC’s most recent review of the 2015 200.

The comparison thus becomes 200 versus Dart as much as it is 200 versus Accord. At this moment, Chrysler Canada’s advertised deals include $3000 in consumer cash, dropping the base price below $20,000 to match mid-grade Darts, a price which is bound to be further reduced on dealer lots with obvious, obligatory accouterment: bouncing gorillas and streamers and balloons. The Dart conundrum is a story told on TTAC in the past, but who would have expected the debate to return so soon? Return, yes, but so soon?

And as you’ve guessed, Dart sales did decline in October, falling 14% to 549 units, 1251 back of the 200. Canadian Dart sales are down 13% in 2014.

On a larger scale, the Chrysler Group was Canada’s leading manufacturer in October for the first time since March. The lead over the Ford Motor Company, Canada’s year-to-date leader by a small margin, was inconsequentially small, but it’s nevertheless a key fact in this whole issue.

The 200 succeeds in Canada in large part because of the way it’s positioned price-wise, but also because of Chrysler’s might in this country. Chrysler’s five brands own 15.6% of the Canadian market this year compared with 12.6% in the United States.

Imported from Detroit? Why, yes, the 200 is actually built outside Detroit in Sterling Heights, Michigan. Chrysler’s two other products, the 300 and Town & Country, are built in Ontario.

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The 911, Not An SUV, Was Porsche’s Best-Selling Model In October 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/911-suv-porsches-best-selling-model-october-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/911-suv-porsches-best-selling-model-october-2014/#comments Mon, 10 Nov 2014 13:04:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=943521 What was once the norm is now so rare that October 2014’s results are bizarrely backwards. The 911 was Porsche’s best-selling model in the United States in October 2014. Stop the presses. Hold the cheese. Alert the medic. Release the proverbial hounds. The 911 is by all accounts a sports car, even if it’s softer […]

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2014 Porsche 911 Turbo whiteWhat was once the norm is now so rare that October 2014’s results are bizarrely backwards.

The 911 was Porsche’s best-selling model in the United States in October 2014. Stop the presses. Hold the cheese. Alert the medic. Release the proverbial hounds.

The 911 is by all accounts a sports car, even if it’s softer and plusher and more hushed and more PDK’d than ever before. Indeed, the 911 is not an SUV, the type of vehicle which normally dominates Porsche’s sales charts.

Nevertheless, we can’t expect to see the 911 riding high atop the Porsche leaderboard for long. October’s results for the Cayenne came, Porsche says, “ahead of the introduction of the comprehensively revised 2015 model which goes on sale in November.” Inventory was low; customers want the newer model; the Macan stands in the way for some consumers.

But Porsche fans and crossover haters and rear-engine aficionados can still point to October 2014 as a month in which American consumers registered more new 911s than any other Porsche. With 974 sales, it was the 911’s third month above 900 units this year and the second-best month of 2014. October marked the end of a four-month growth period in which 911 volume shot up 22%.

On an annual basis, surpassing 2013’s 911 sales performance won’t be easy. The 911 is on pace to do so, rising 6% through ten months. But 911 volume took off in November of last year, surging to the model’s best month ever with 1368 sales. At the current rate, Porsche should sell around 10,500 911s this year, a slight increase compared with last year.

Back to October more specifically, an increase in Boxster volume, nothing more than a slight decrease from the Cayman, and five more 918 Spyder sales meant Porsche’s sports cars accounted for 45.8% of brand-wide sales.

The Cayenne, suddenly (and temporarily) down 57% to 712 units, and the Macan, at 741 sales, generated 39.6% of Porsche USA volume. The Panamera was up 6% to 533 units, 14.5% of Porsche’s 3667-unit total.

The sports car group was up from 39.1% one year ago; the SUVs were down from 46.9%.

As for rivals, the 911’s direct opponents are difficult to define, so broad is its range. Chevrolet sold 2959 Corvettes in October, yes, but the all-American is a much more affordable car. BMW’s 6-Series range, sedan included, was down 20% to 740. Mercedes-Benz SL sales fell 33% to 347. Jaguar sold 342 F-Types, a 3% drop. BMw sold 204 i8s. Nissan sold 140 GT-Rs, a 26% jump. Dodge Viper volume was up 16% to 80. Audi R8 sales slid 38% to 40 units.

This sterling performance from the brand’s most iconic nameplate and its two-seat cohorts is not in keeping with conventional outcomes, of course. Not since February 2012, when Porsche said the Cayenne’s 30% drop to just 657 units related to, “limited supply and low dealer inventory,” has the 911 or any non-SUV Porsche been the brand’s top seller.

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America’s 10 Best-Selling Cars In October 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/americas-10-best-selling-cars-october-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/americas-10-best-selling-cars-october-2014/#comments Sun, 09 Nov 2014 13:08:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=940425 The Hyundai Sonata was America’s eighth-best-selling car in October 2014, down just one position but 4309 sales compared with October 2013. Among America’s top sellers, the Sonata was not alone in its decline, although the midsize Hyundai’s decrease was notable for its especially drastic nature. Honda Civic sales slid 12%, the Civic’s fourth consecutive month with […]

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2015 Hyundai Sonata LimitedThe Hyundai Sonata was America’s eighth-best-selling car in October 2014, down just one position but 4309 sales compared with October 2013. Among America’s top sellers, the Sonata was not alone in its decline, although the midsize Hyundai’s decrease was notable for its especially drastic nature.

Honda Civic sales slid 12%, the Civic’s fourth consecutive month with declining U.S. volume. Since the beginning of July, Civic sales in the United States have fallen 10%.

The Ford Focus was also off 2013’s October pace, falling 9% to 13,733 units, a 1375-unit decrease. Overall Ford brand car sales were down 11% in October and are down 4% this year even as the brand’s top-selling passenger car, the Fusion, has risen 6% (and 5% in October.)

The Fusion ranked seventh overall in October; fourth among midsize cars.

Rank
Best-Selling Car
October
2014
October
2013
%
Change
10 mos.
2014
10 mos.
2013
%
Change
#1
Toyota Camry 33,164 29,144 13.8% 368,143 348,134 5.7%
#2
Honda Accord 27,128 25,162 7.8% 331,510 307,264 7.9%
#3
 Toyota Corolla/Matrix 24,959 23,637 5.6% 283,764 257,184 10.3%
#4
 Chevrolet Cruze 24,289 16,087 51.0% 232,403 211,862 9.7%
#5
 Honda Civic 24,154 27,328 -11.6% 277,584 280,889 -1.2%
#6
 Nissan Altima 23,544 21,785 8.1% 280,479 271,303 3.4%
#7
 Ford Fusion 22,846 21,740 5.1% 263,431 248,033 6.2%
#8
 Hyundai Sonata 15,563 19,872 -21.7% 180,497 172,574 4.6%
#9
Volkswagen Jetta 14,607 11,710 24.7% 129,662 135,983 -4.6%
#10
Ford Focus 13,733 15,108 -9.1% 189,889 203,762 -6.8%

The majority of America’s best-selling cars, however, posted notable increases in October 2014. Chevrolet Cruze volume jumped 51% from October 2013’s total and 27% compared with October 2012. Volkswagen Jetta sales rose 25% year-over-year; 8% compared with October 2012.

Returning to the normal order after two months away, the Toyota Camry was America’s best-selling car in October 2014, outselling the second-ranked Honda Accord by more than 6000 units and expanding its year-to-date lead to 36,633 sales. 2014 will be the Camry’s 13th consecutive year as the top-selling passenger car in the United States.

That streak began in 2002, a year in which Accord sales fell 4% and Camry volume jumped 11%. Accord sales are on the rise now, as well, but competing sale-for-sale with the Camry requires more than a great product. Toyota’s desire to see the Camry end annual races as the top dog knows few boundaries. Refreshing the Camry for MY2015 and pricing the car very competitively make it more likely than not the Camry will be America’s best-selling car next year, 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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Chart Of The Day: U.S. Auto Market Share – October 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/chart-day-u-s-auto-market-share-october-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/chart-day-u-s-auto-market-share-october-2014/#comments Sat, 08 Nov 2014 13:27:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=940337 One month after the Chrysler Group outsold Toyota USA and grabbed 13.6% of the U.S. auto market, Toyota, Lexus, and Scion (14.1%) combined to outsell Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep, and Ram (13.3%) by 10,000 units in October 2014. As is the norm, this month’s chart shows something of a Big Four, or an Expanded Big […]

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Auto brand market share chart October 2014One month after the Chrysler Group outsold Toyota USA and grabbed 13.6% of the U.S. auto market, Toyota, Lexus, and Scion (14.1%) combined to outsell Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep, and Ram (13.3%) by 10,000 units in October 2014.

As is the norm, this month’s chart shows something of a Big Four, or an Expanded Big Seven. GM, Ford, Toyota, and Chrysler generated six out of every ten U.S. auto sales in October. Throw in Honda, Nissan, and Hyundai-Kia, and there’s only around 15% of all auto sales left over for the Volkswagen Group, BMW, Daimler, Subaru, Mazda, and a handful of truly niche auto brands.

Compared with October of last year, Nissan’s market share (Infiniti included) grew from 7.5% to 8.0%. The Chrysler Group’s year-over-year market share growth meant a surge from 11.6% in October 2013 to last month’s 13.3% as they managed to sell 30,000 more vehicles in October 2014 than in October 2013.

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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