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. Sat, 28 Mar 2015 16:53:19 +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/ Chart Of The Day: GM’s U.S. Sales By Brand Over The Last Decade http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/chart-day-gms-u-s-sales-brand-last-decade/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/chart-day-gms-u-s-sales-brand-last-decade/#comments Sat, 28 Mar 2015 12:21:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1030321 Two weeks ago we published a chart that showed GM’s decreasing passenger car emphasis over the last 14 months. Last Saturday, we showed GM’s annual U.S. sales volume by vehicle type. This week, we’re continuing the GM examination with a look at the brand allotment over the last decade. Aside from the Chrysler Group, no […]

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GM sales by brandTwo weeks ago we published a chart that showed GM’s decreasing passenger car emphasis over the last 14 months. Last Saturday, we showed GM’s annual U.S. sales volume by vehicle type. This week, we’re continuing the GM examination with a look at the brand allotment over the last decade.

Aside from the Chrysler Group, no automaker has undergone such a dramatic restructuring during the last decade. The public face of the GM restructuring, apart from the shuttering of dealerships, congressional hearings, and a revolving door of new faces in the executive’s chair, was the dismissal of a number of brands. Hummer, Saturn, Oldsmobile, and Pontiac were killed off. Saab is still kind of a thing, but not GM’s thing.

In the U.S., General Motors thus became much more of a Chevrolet/GMC company than it already was. Chevrolet’s share of the brand’s U.S. volume increased from 58.9% in 2007 to 71.3% in 2012, for example. GMC was responsible for barely more than 11% of GM sales in 2006, a figure which stands at 18% through the first two months of 2015.

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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Compact SUVs Gain Popularity At Expense Of Midsize, Compact Cars http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/compact-suvs-gain-popularity-expense-midsize-compact-cars/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/compact-suvs-gain-popularity-expense-midsize-compact-cars/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 14:00:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1030297 While compact SUVs are doing well in the showroom, their success comes at the expense of midsize and compact car sales. In a report from Edmunds, 63 percent of compact SUV owners traded a midsize SUV, compact car or midsize sedan for a compact SUV like the Honda CR-V, Ford Escape and Nissan Rogue. Fourteen […]

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2015 Honda CR-V Exterior.CR2

While compact SUVs are doing well in the showroom, their success comes at the expense of midsize and compact car sales.

In a report from Edmunds, 63 percent of compact SUV owners traded a midsize SUV, compact car or midsize sedan for a compact SUV like the Honda CR-V, Ford Escape and Nissan Rogue. Fourteen percent, meanwhile, traded like for like.

Either way, both groups have their reasons for choosing models from this segment:

Compact SUV popularity is truly a product story. They are a desirable size, but concede very little in efficiency and are comparably priced with models in other popular segments. They combine aspects of the market’s best-selling and pragmatic segments — establishing a new middle.

The report says that transaction prices for compact SUVs are on par with midsize sedans, averaging $26,420 compared to the latter’s $25,887 average. It adds that the popular segment is having an effect on dealer inventories as well, as midsize and compact cars take the longest to leave the lot; the aforementioned Rogue has 36 days-to-turn, while the Sentra takes 85 days to do the same.

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Cain’s Segments: Small Luxury Crossover Sales In The United States – February 2015 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/cains-segments-small-luxury-crossover-sales-united-states-february-2015/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/cains-segments-small-luxury-crossover-sales-united-states-february-2015/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 13:11:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1029409 Sales of small luxury crossovers jumped 40% in February 2015 and so far this year are up 40% compared with the first two months of 2014. Subtract the newcomers from that equation and the continuing nameplates, those which were on sale at this time last year, posted a 3% February improvement but are down 1% […]

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2014 Volvo XC60, Exterior, Picture Courtesy of Teknikens VärldSales of small luxury crossovers jumped 40% in February 2015 and so far this year are up 40% compared with the first two months of 2014.

Subtract the newcomers from that equation and the continuing nameplates, those which were on sale at this time last year, posted a 3% February improvement but are down 1% through two months.

Those new players – NX, MKC, Macan, X4 – generated 29% of the small lux CUV activity in January and February. Yet their collective arrival, both at the lower end with the NX and MKC and at the higher end with the Macan and X4, aren’t slowing down the Acura RDX, Volvo XC60, and Range Rover Evoque.

The RDX is the class leader at the start of 2015, just as it was in calendar years 2013 and 2014. Interestingly, the Lexus NX has taken off early on in its tenure, generating more sales than the slowing (and aging) Audi Q5 and all other German contenders.

Auto
Feb. 2015
Feb. 2014
% Change
2 mos. 2015
2 mos. 2014
% Change
Acura RDX
3,862 2,911 32.7% 7,379 5,641 30.8%
Lexus NX
2,666 5,478
Audi Q5
2,493 2,643 -5.7% 5,420 5,417 0.1%
BMW X3
3,124 3,301 -5.4% 4,465 6,000 -25.6%
Volvo XC60
1,954 1,146 70.5% 3,471 2,088 66.2%
Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class
1,781 2,624 -32.1% 3,179 4,926 -35.5%
Lincoln MKC
1,558 3,160
Land Rover Range Rover Evoque
1,107 927 19.4% 2,510 1,806 39.0%
Porsche Macan
624 1,420
BMW X4
466 862
Infiniti QX50
177 220 -19.5% 365 417 -12.5%
Land Rover LR2
10 358 -97.2% 46 721 -93.6%
Total
19,822
14,130 40.3% 37,755 27,016 39.7%

The Q5’s slowdown occurs in conjunction with the Q3’s arrival. Combined Q3/Q5 volume is up 35% through two months; the duo was up 34% in February 2015 compared with February 2014, when the Q3 wasn’t yet on sale.

The situation was similar at Mercedes-Benz, where the sharp downturn in sales of the aging GLK takes place as the GLA begins to roundly and routinely outsell its more costly sibling. Combined sales are up 41% this year compared with the first two months of 2014 when the GLK was on its own to collect Mercedes-Benz small SUV buyers.

2016 Land Rover Discovery SportOther utility vehicles worth mentioning in this group are the entry-level trio from Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz (Q3, X1, GLA sales totalled 7073 units in January and February), the Cadillac SRX (which starts below $38,000 and is down 23% to 7294 year-to-date), and the Lexus RX, America’s top-selling premium brand utility vehicle. RX sales are up 16% to 13,059 in early 2015, not slowed in the least by the NX.

We make a large number of crossovers eligible for this grouping, including the especially premium-priced Evoque, Macan, and X4. The next big change in the category? Land Rover’s Discovery Sport will bring seven-seat availability to the mix.

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: How Would You Reform CAFE? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/question-day-reform-cafe/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/question-day-reform-cafe/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 14:54:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1029337 In response to today’s editorial on the CAFE overview, reader jmo proposed a novel solution to the very idea of regulating fuel economy. Jmo writes: “We don’t need to scrap CAFE” Sure we do and replace it with a $2/gallon gas tax. To hell you say, abolish both. But, between CAFE and fracking we’ve really […]

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Gas Prices Circa December 2014

In response to today’s editorial on the CAFE overview, reader jmo proposed a novel solution to the very idea of regulating fuel economy.

Jmo writes:

“We don’t need to scrap CAFE”

Sure we do and replace it with a $2/gallon gas tax.

To hell you say, abolish both. But, between CAFE and fracking we’ve really put the screws to Iran, Venezuela and Russia. I’m all for the free market but we also have geopolitical enemies that need to be dealt with and low oil prices are far more productive than wars at keeping our enemies in check.

I like the idea of a gas tax in place of CAFE. Let the people buying the gas guzzlers take the hit, rather than punish the consumers with vehicles that designed around a deeply flawed set of regulations. In countries where gasoline taxes are higher, consumers tend to gravitate towards smaller, more fuel efficient vehicles.

Unless you’re Canada, where the Ford F-Series, Ram 1500 and GM full-size trucks still dominate the sales charts. Canadian consumers do tend to shy away from thirstier passenger cars, but they love their pickups, and are willing to shell out at the pump in exchange for the chance to drive one.

Let’s hear your thoughts or alternative suggestions below

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Ford’s Graying Car Lineup Relying On Mustang To Boost U.S. Sales Numbers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/fords-graying-car-lineup-relying-mustang-boost-u-s-sales-numbers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/fords-graying-car-lineup-relying-mustang-boost-u-s-sales-numbers/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 12:45:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1028329 Through the first two months of 2015, U.S. sales of non-Mustang Ford brand cars are down 2% to 91,026, a marginal loss of 1813 units. The overall Ford brand car lineup tumbled 6% in the month of February despite the Mustang’s 32% year-over-year improvement. The five non-Mustangs slid 11%, a loss of 5592 units to […]

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2013 Ford Taurus SHOThrough the first two months of 2015, U.S. sales of non-Mustang Ford brand cars are down 2% to 91,026, a marginal loss of 1813 units. The overall Ford brand car lineup tumbled 6% in the month of February despite the Mustang’s 32% year-over-year improvement. The five non-Mustangs slid 11%, a loss of 5592 units to 45,234. The Mustang was Ford’s third-best-selling car, contributing another 8454 sales.

That February result was more in keeping with the Ford brand’s recent car sales disappointments. But we can’t be surprised to see Ford’s car division falling after 2010’s 22% improvement, 2011’s 14% jump, the 7% increase in 2012, and 2013’s 10% uptick. Ford’s share of the overall passenger car market increased to 10% in 2010, climbed to nearly 11% in 2011 and moved past 10% in 2013 again. Mustang aside, the results we’re now seeing from Ford’s cars reflect the age of the lineup.

The Fiesta arrived in 2010. A refresh and an ST variant produced no measurable benefit but may have stymied greater losses. Sales tumbled 11% in 2014 and are down 20% in early 2015. The Fiesta is America’s fourth-best-selling subcompact through the first two months of 2015, and its market share in the category is down to 10.4% from 14.1% in 2013. 2015 is its sixth model year.

Ford USA passenger car sales chartWe’ve yet to see the impact of the 2015 Focus’s refresh. Sales are up 16% so far this year thanks to a stronger-than-last January, but February volume tumbled 12%. As is the case with the Fiesta, the arrival of a halo ST didn’t lift all boats. Focus volume decreased 5% in 2013 and 6% in 2014 even as its category grew 5% and 3%, respectively. 2015 is the current generation’s fourth model year.

The Ford Fusion’s U.S. sales were down 5% in the first one-sixth of 2015 even as overall midsize car volume increased modestly. The Fusion trailed the top-selling Toyota Camry by more than 17,000 sales heading into March. It’s one of the fresher faces in Ford’s U.S. car lineup – 2015 is its third model year. But the Camry, 200, and Sonata have all been redeveloped more recently, and an all-new Kia Optima and Chevrolet Malibu will be out before the next new Fusion.

The C-Max? Sales are down 22% so far this year after sliding 22% in calendar year 2014. It accounts for just 2.3% of Ford brand car sales in early 2015, down from 3.2% at this stage a year ago. Like the Fusion, 2015 is its third model year.

Meanwhile, though often revised, the Taurus, reviewed earlier this week by one Jack Baruth, has been around under one name or another on its D3 platform for a decade. Overall Taurus sales are down 20% this year. Taurus sales plunged 22% in 2014, including a 7% drop in Taurus Police Interceptor sales.

The all-new Mustang is the natural booster of Ford car sales volume, but as we look ahead to what will likely be another challenging period for Blue Oval cars regardless of the Mustang’s impact, keep the model timelines in mind. (Ford has also pursued fleet sales much less aggressively than had been the historical norm.)

As for Lincoln, well, those numbers are frightening. 2014 sales of the MKS and MKZ slid 2%, but the early 2015 results show the pairing is off last year’s two-month pace by 26%.

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 New VW Van? We’re Trying To Remember The Flop That Was The Volkswagen Routan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/new-vw-van-trying-remember-flop-volkswagen-routan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/new-vw-van-trying-remember-flop-volkswagen-routan/#comments Mon, 23 Mar 2015 11:21:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1027545 TTAC’s managing editor, Derek Kreindler, used an interesting phrase last Friday. “Well, this ought to erase memories of the Routan,” Derek wrote. Memories? Of the Routan? Who has memories of the Volkswagen Routan? Hardly anyone, that’s who. Because even by the standards of minivan flops – and there’ve been more than a couple – the […]

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2009 Volkswagen RoutanTTAC’s managing editor, Derek Kreindler, used an interesting phrase last Friday. “Well, this ought to erase memories of the Routan,” Derek wrote.

Memories? Of the Routan?

Who has memories of the Volkswagen Routan?

Hardly anyone, that’s who. Because even by the standards of minivan flops – and there’ve been more than a couple – the Routan’s failure to capture market share ranks up near the top with the Hyundai Entourage and Buick Terraza. That’s right: two Rs, one Z, Terraza. Like a terrace. Like a terrace you almost jumped off after first spotting one in the wild.

In its best year on sale in the United States, Volkswagen reported 15,961 Routan sales, a 9% year-over-year increase compared with 2009 that preceded four consecutive years of decline. All-time, between the latter part of 2008 and the early part of 2014, VW USA reported barely more than 60,000 Routan sales; 60,197 to be precise.

Between 2008 and 2014, the same vans from Chrysler and Dodge generated 1.61 million U.S. sales.

chrysler van sales chartOf course, the Town & Country and Grand Caravan were more readily available. But why wouldn’t they be? Consumers could visit their local Chrysler or Dodge dealer and spend less on the same product. Those are the vans people will want, not the Volkswagen, so the plant didn’t spent nearly as much time slapping VW badges on grilles as they did Chrysler and Dodge logos. Turns out, minivan buyers didn’t want to appear as though they fell like Andre Agassi for Brooke Shields’ tricks. German engineering, Brooke? In the words of TTAC’s founder, Robert Farago, “Well, some German engineering. Done in America. Presumably by Americans.”

And then, I might add, put into practice by Canadian auto workers in Windsor, Ontario.

But rather than rehash the fact that 2007, the Hyundai Entourage’s best year, was kinder to the Hyundai than the Routan’s best year (2010) was to the Volkswagen, or the fact that Buick sold 4327 more Terraces in its best year, 2005, than the Routan did in its best year, let’s just applaud Volkswagen USA for even considering the importing of a genuine Volkswagen van. They’ve had some success doing so in the past, you may recall.

They’ve also shown us some stunning concepts, including the Microbus and the Bulli.

Sure, the minivan segment is stagnant, but the fast-growing commercial van market can be thoroughly explored. No, we’re not product planners – although with a toddler and a big dog I may wish I was a minivan product planner – but we do recognize that Volkswagen USA may need to expand its portfolio if any kind of success is to be met in the coming years.

http---o.aolcdn.com-hss-storage-midas-e5d1c9474f6c099abe418721a512d550-201718780-VW-T6-TeaserYou can quite rightly argue that niche products like the disallowed Scirocco and Polo GTI are nothing more than low-hanging fruit for malcontent North American VW enthusiasts, vehicles which lack the possibility of adding measurable long-term benefit to the product range. But at what point does Volkswagen consider the possibility that the automaker is harming the brand’s own image with their own fans by keeping products away from North America, thus hampering the success of products that are actually sold here?

Surely a return to the brand’s illustrious van heritage would do the brand favours. While also erasing memories of the Routan, even if only a handful of people actually possess Routan-centric memories.

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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You’re Not Just Seeing Things: Mitsubishi Breaks U.S. Mirage Sales Record In February 2015 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/youre-not-just-seeing-things-mitsubishi-breaks-u-s-mirage-sales-record-february-2015/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/youre-not-just-seeing-things-mitsubishi-breaks-u-s-mirage-sales-record-february-2015/#comments Sun, 22 Mar 2015 13:13:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1025993 Mitsubishi Motors USA broke its one-month-old, sixth-generation Mirage sales record in February 2015, soaring up to 1863 units, a 67% year-over-year improvement. The Mirage is a penalty box in the classic sense of the automotive term – in genuine penalty boxes you’re forced to sit beside a guy who takes notes like a secretive therapist […]

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2015 Mitsubishi Mirage ESMitsubishi Motors USA broke its one-month-old, sixth-generation Mirage sales record in February 2015, soaring up to 1863 units, a 67% year-over-year improvement.

The Mirage is a penalty box in the classic sense of the automotive term – in genuine penalty boxes you’re forced to sit beside a guy who takes notes like a secretive therapist while a camera looks up your nostrils.

But by the relative standards of Mitsubishi’s current U.S. status as a low-volume mainstream automaker in a high-volume market, the Mirage is a hit. And by, “a hit,” we mean it does ok. By Mitsubishi’s standards and our expectations for an 74-horsepower subcompact.

North of the border, the Mk6 Mirage, a replacement for the Colt in much of the world and a new entry-level car for Mitsubishi in our corner of the world, got off to a decent start. But then the Nissan Micra arrived and Mitsubishi’s average monthly Mirage total fell 36% from 377 units in the first eight months of 2014 to 241 since then, with February marking the second-lowest full month total since launch.

Mitsubishi Mirage sales chart February 2015But there’s no Micra in the United States, and Mirage volume has steadily improved over the last year. Only once in six tries has the Mirage failed to increase its U.S. volume, year-over-year. Mitsubishi sold 3785 Mirages in the first-quarter of 2014, 4482 in the second-quarter, and 4599 in the third-quarter. Q4 volume not surprisingly fell to 3842 units, but January sales broke past the 1700-unit barrier for the first time. February, with 1863 units, was 158 sales better than January’s record, a 9% month-over-month improvement.

Context? Yes, the Mirage is selling better now than at any point in its first 16 months. But even in its best-ever month, the Mirage accounted for just 0.15% of all new vehicle sales in America; 0.32% of all new passenger car sales.

Nissan sold 11,909 Versa sedans and Notes in February. Struggling subcompacts like the Chevrolet Sonic (down 62%) and Ford Fiesta (down 23%) outsold the Mirage by 1037 and 1845 units, respectively.

The Mirage was Mitsubishi’s third-best-selling model behind the Outlander Sport and Lancer. Not including the i MiEV (two February sales), Mitsubishi only markets four different vehicles.

Nevertheless, it was a record. So chin up, Mitsubishi. We may wish your subcompact was nothing more than a mirage, but you’re making visible Mirages more apparent than ever.

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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Cain’s Segments: Entry Luxury Sport Sedans – February 2015 YTD http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/cains-segments-entry-luxury-sport-sedans-february-2015-ytd/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/cains-segments-entry-luxury-sport-sedans-february-2015-ytd/#comments Fri, 20 Mar 2015 14:00:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1025905 Trivia time: which cars combined to sell less than half as often in the United States in the first two months of 2015 as the BMW 3-Series and its 4-Series two-door (and four-door) offshoot? The Audi A4 and Cadillac ATS. Or a number of other pairings listed in the chart below. Take your pick. The […]

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550x365x2015-Mercedes-Benz-C-Class-550x365.jpg.pagespeed.ic.snBz3nrGwwTrivia time: which cars combined to sell less than half as often in the United States in the first two months of 2015 as the BMW 3-Series and its 4-Series two-door (and four-door) offshoot?

The Audi A4 and Cadillac ATS. Or a number of other pairings listed in the chart below. Take your pick.

The BMW’s dominance in this executive saloon slash entry-level luxury slash sports sedan slash compact premium segment is long heralded. In January and February, 3-Series/4-Series sales grew at a faster rate than its category. The aging Audi A4 and the oft-ignored Cadillac ATS, among others, suffered notable slowdowns.

Without resorting to including every possible competitor under the sun – Accord V6! Golf GTI! – simply because those are the cars internet commenters say they’d prefer, we have made a conscious attempt to showcase manufacturer-supplied U.S. sales figures in an exhaustive fashion below. Rather than simply displaying the Acura TLX,  for example, there’s a line which shows the full sales impact of the TLX and its predecessor duo.

Since the sales figures for the class leader, BMW’s 3-Series, aren’t broken down by bodystyle or even by 3er and 4er (as they are in Canada), it seems only fair to showcase the Audi, Infiniti, and Lexus product lines similarly. Mercedes-Benz USA’s numbers for the C-Class are similarly confined. This isn’t an abnormal practice, but don’t confuse our attempts to break out as many figures as possible in as many ways as possible with an attempt to display 3-Series and C-Class figures in a restrained fashion.

Regardless, isn’t it nice to see not just Volvo 60-Series sales data, but S60 and V60 figures, too? And not just the V60, but the V60 Cross Country? Good on Volvo for oversharing.

Auto
Feb. 2015
Feb. 2014
% Change
2 mos. 2015
2 mos. 2014
% Change
Acura T Sedans
3,445 2,391  44.1% 6,361 4,652 36.7%
Acura TL
22  1,480  -98.5%  40  2,848  -98.6% 
Acura TLX
3,419  —  —  6,311  —  — 
Acura TSX
911  -99.6%  10  1,804  -99.4% 
Audi A4/A5
2,755 3,527  -21.9% 5,388 6,950 -22.5%
Audi A4 Sedan
1,743  2,216  -21.3%  3,306  4,410  -25.0% 
Audi A4 Allroad
 181 281  -35.6%  408  585  -30.3% 
Audi A5
 831 1,030  -19.3%  1,674  1,955  -14.4% 
BMW 3-Series & 4-Series
8,748 7,791 12.3% 16,096 14,285 12.7%
Cadillac ATS
2,028 2,427 -16.4% 3,785 4,336 -12.7%
Infiniti Q/G
5,638 4,613  22.2% 10,099 8,877 13.8%
Infiniti Q40/G Sedan
1,643  927  77.2%  2,672  1,829  46.1% 
Infiniti Q50
3,649  3,275  11.4%  6,615  6,224  6.3% 
Infiniti Q60/G Coupe
346  411  -15.8%  812  824  -1.5%
Lexus IS/RC
4,367 3,517 24.2% 8,589 6,565 30.8%
Lexus IS
3,383  3,517  -3.8%  6,758  6,565  2.9% 
Lexus RC
984  —  —  1,831  —  — 
Mercedes-Benz C-Class
7,072 5,621 25.8% 13,308 11,369 17.1%
Volvo 60-Series
1,612 1,913  -15.7% 3,303 3,557 -7.1%
Volvo S60
1,203  1,578  -24.0%  2,574  2,900  -11.0% 
Volvo V60
339  335  1.0%  631  657  -4.0% 
Volvo V60 Cross Country
70  —  —  98  —  — 
Total
 35,665
31,800   12.2% 66,929  60,591  10.5%

We left out the true entry-level premium brand cars like Audi’s A3, the BMW 2-Series, and Mercedes-Benz’s CLA; Buick’s Regal (down 32% to 2481 year-to-date), as well.

As for the numbers as they stand through the two lowest-volume auto sales months of the year, Mercedes-Benz’s new C-Class is the real mover and shaker. Sales are up 17% compared with the same period one year ago, but that actually translates to an 8% loss compared with the first two months of 2013, when the C-Class was easily outselling the BMW 3-Series.

After a period of great acceptance at the end of 2013, the Infiniti Q50 – which generated 10,459 sales in the final two months of 2013 – has averaged only 3100 monthly sales since. Hindered by the more affordable Q40, formerly the G sedan? One would imagine.

Cadillac ATS sales have decreased on a year-over-year basis in ten consecutive months and in 13 of the last 14 months.

2014 was the best year since 2007 for the Lexus IS. With the RC stealing some of the limelight, it might be difficult for the IS to top last year’s 51,358-unit performance.

Audi’s A4/A5 line is ancient, but keep the A3 in mind: total Audi car sales are up 5.3% this year despite A4, A5, A6, A7, A8, R8, and TT declines thanks to the A3’s 4099 extra sales compared with the first two months of 2014.

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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More US Consumers Signing Long-Term Auto Loans http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/us-consumers-signing-long-term-auto-loans/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/us-consumers-signing-long-term-auto-loans/#comments Fri, 20 Mar 2015 14:00:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1025785 In the past, six-year auto loans were few and far between. Today, more of those loans are being issued, with seven- and eight-year loans gaining popularity. NPR reports such loans are helping to fuel a boom in U.S. new-car sales, with one-third of the loans lasting 74 months and beyond. AutoPacific analyst Ed Kim says […]

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Signing his life and wallet away for the next six or so years with a long-term auto loan agreement

In the past, six-year auto loans were few and far between. Today, more of those loans are being issued, with seven- and eight-year loans gaining popularity.

NPR reports such loans are helping to fuel a boom in U.S. new-car sales, with one-third of the loans lasting 74 months and beyond. AutoPacific analyst Ed Kim says the cars are one of the reasons for the long loans:

Consumers are demanding a lot more technology in their vehicles, infotainment technologies. There’s also a lot more safety features that are in vehicles right now. Emissions and efficiency technology that are in vehicles right now, that are making vehicles cost a lot more.

Kim adds that the main driver is that most consumers are still crawling out of the Great Recession, which Experian Automotive’s Melinda Zabritski says isn’t much of a problem as far as lending goes. She says that while it would be sensible to take on 36- or 48-month loans on a new vehicle, “the average consumer just can’t afford that.”

Critics counter that the long-term loans could hurt consumers and automakers alike in the near- and long-term. Consumer advocate Mike Sante states that those who are taking out those loans have no business doing so in the first place, and should buy a less expensive new or used vehicle with a loan of no more than four years. Honda Executive Vice President John Mendel, whose company offers 36- and 48-month loans, says loans beyond five years are too long, and adds that he hopes his competitors come to their senses.

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Report: ‘Hundreds’ Of Recalled New Vehicles Sold Without Prior Repairs http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/report-hundreds-recalled-new-vehicles-sold-without-prior-repairs/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/report-hundreds-recalled-new-vehicles-sold-without-prior-repairs/#comments Fri, 20 Mar 2015 13:00:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1025769 In an investigative segment on ABC’s “Good Morning America” Thursday, ABC News purchased a vehicle under recall from a dealer who had not repaired it. Automotive News reports the vehicle, a 2014 Chevrolet Silverado, was purchased by an undercover producer from Hawthorne Chevrolet in Hawthorne, N.J. The truck was under recall for a potential risk […]

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2014 Chevrolet Silverado Crew Cab Z71

In an investigative segment on ABC’s “Good Morning America” Thursday, ABC News purchased a vehicle under recall from a dealer who had not repaired it.

Automotive News reports the vehicle, a 2014 Chevrolet Silverado, was purchased by an undercover producer from Hawthorne Chevrolet in Hawthorne, N.J. The truck was under recall for a potential risk of rolling away while the transmission was in neutral, as well as the possibility for the transfer case to switch to neutral while being driven, leading to loss of power and an increased crash risk.

The recall, issued in June 2014, affected 467,000 2014 and 2015 Chevrolet and GMC Silverados, Suburbans, Tahoes, Sierras, Yukons and Yukon XLs. Per General Motors, 86 percent of the trucks and SUVs — 402,000 units — have been repaired thus far. The Silverado purchased by ABC News was not among them, however, in violation of federal law that requires dealerships to repair vehicles with a safety defect, including those under recall, prior to delivery.

GM representative Alan Adler said his employer spoke with Hawthorne after the segment aired, stating that no disciplinary action is planned. Adler added that while the incident occurred at a Chevrolet dealership with a GM product, such incidents aren’t exclusive to the automaker. ABC confirmed this in its report, having found “hundreds” of new cars from various manufacturers in New York and New Jersey that were under recall, but were not repaired prior to sale.

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Cain’s Segments: Full-Size SUV Sales In America – February 2015 YTD http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/cains-segments-full-size-suv-sales-america-february-2015-ytd/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/cains-segments-full-size-suv-sales-america-february-2015-ytd/#comments Thu, 19 Mar 2015 13:28:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1025249 Sales of full-size, body-on-frame, pickup truck-based SUVs from volume brands are up 58% through the first two months of 2015. The Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe, GMC Yukon and Yukon XL, Ford Expedition, Nissan Armada, and Toyota Sequoia produced 41,557 sales in January and February, or about the same number as the Toyota RAV4, America’s second-best-selling […]

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2015 GMC Yukon XL SLTSales of full-size, body-on-frame, pickup truck-based SUVs from volume brands are up 58% through the first two months of 2015.

The Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe, GMC Yukon and Yukon XL, Ford Expedition, Nissan Armada, and Toyota Sequoia produced 41,557 sales in January and February, or about the same number as the Toyota RAV4, America’s second-best-selling SUV/CUV. RAV4 sales are up 25%, year-over-year.

Part of the reason for the large SUV segment’s impressive uptick relates to early 2014’s severe downturn. With GM’s new quartet still in the on-deck circle, sales of these same seven SUVs tumbled 17% in the first two months of last year.

GM SUV/truck sales chartNevertheless, the category is on track to easily top the 300,000-unit mark in 2015 for the first time since 2008, when 13% of the segment’s sales were generated by discontinued (Aspen, Borrego) or totally altered (unibody Durango) participants.

But even with vastly improved volume, these big brutes continue to operate in a far-flung corner of the industry. From a market share perspective, they combined to bring in only 1.7% of all new vehicle sales in the first two months of 2015. That’s way up from the 1.2% they achieved at this time last year, but it’s down slightly from the 1.8% mustered in calendar year 2014. It’s on par with 2013 year-end results, up from the 1.6% share they collected in 2012, and less than half the market share they collected a decade ago, in 2005.

Auto
Feb. 2015
Feb. 2014
% Change
2 mos. 2015
2 mos. 2014
% Change
Chevrolet Suburban
4,436 2,035 118% 8,566 3,740 129%
Chevrolet Tahoe
7,410 4,961 49.4% 14,017 8,475 65.4%
Ford Expedition
3,277 2,830 15.8% 5,737 4,969 15.5%
GMC Yukon
2,796 1,949 43.5% 5,445 3,236 68.3%
GMC Yukon XL
2,048 1,110 84.5% 4,013 1,975 103%
Nissan Armada
990 1,099 -9.9% 2,019 2,128 -5.1%
Toyota Sequoia
856 980 -12.7% 1,760 1,767 -0.4%
Total
21,813
14,964 45.8% 41,557 26,290 58.1%

Moreover, 2005’s 4.1% share marked a sharp drop from the 5.1% achieved one year earlier and the 5.3% figure from 2003.

Times have most definitely changed. There is a huge amount of competition from luxury-branded three-row crossovers with similar price tags, an image that contains a certain degree of wastefulness (regardless of whether the owners are poseurs or RV haulers), and a greater tendency to view crew cab pickup trucks as the more appropriate all-around vehicle.

Does that mean GM is unhappy with adding 32,041 Suburban, Tahoe, Yukon, and Yukon XL sales (and another 5141 Escalade and Escalade ESV sales) to the 109,279 Silverado and Sierra sales they managed in the first two months of 2015? Most definitely not.

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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Volkswagen Considering Trucks, Vans For US Market http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/volkswagen-considering-trucks-vans-us-market/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/volkswagen-considering-trucks-vans-us-market/#comments Thu, 19 Mar 2015 13:00:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1024977 Long ago, Volkswagen once sold (non-Chrysler) vans, utes and trucks in the United States. Those days may come again. According to Bloomberg, VW North America light commercial vehicle boss Eckhard Scholz said the automaker was looking into bringing a van and/or a pickup into the U.S. market to help bolster its overall range, as well […]

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2014-volkswagen-amarok-canyon-front-three-quarter-view-1

Long ago, Volkswagen once sold (non-Chrysler) vans, utes and trucks in the United States. Those days may come again.

According to Bloomberg, VW North America light commercial vehicle boss Eckhard Scholz said the automaker was looking into bringing a van and/or a pickup into the U.S. market to help bolster its overall range, as well as drive more sales on its way to catching up — and one day, surpass — both Toyota and General Motors.

Potential models include the Amarok pickup, as well as the Caddy, Crafter and T5 vans and minibuses. VW’s global light commercial unit sold 445,000 models around the world last year, compared to the 366,970 models from the automaker’s USDM range over the same period. Overall global sales in 2014 came to over 10 million units.

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Canada Auto Sales Recap: February 2015 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/canada-auto-sales-recap-february-2015/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/canada-auto-sales-recap-february-2015/#comments Wed, 18 Mar 2015 13:29:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1023385 FCA Canada outsold the Ford Motor Company by 3690 units in February 2015, stretching the company’s year-to-date lead over second-ranked FoMoCo to 7162 sales. Keep in mind, FCA (formerly Chrysler Group) was more than 5000 sales ahead of Ford Canada at this time last year but couldn’t hold on for an annual title. Ford continues […]

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canada auto sales chart February 2015FCA Canada outsold the Ford Motor Company by 3690 units in February 2015, stretching the company’s year-to-date lead over second-ranked FoMoCo to 7162 sales.

Keep in mind, FCA (formerly Chrysler Group) was more than 5000 sales ahead of Ford Canada at this time last year but couldn’t hold on for an annual title.

Ford continues to be the top-selling automobile brand in Canada, however, despite a 9% drop in February. Ford car sales plunged 28% last month and the brand’s utility vehicles dropped 20%. As the overall industry grew 3% year-over-year and passenger car sales improved by a small margin, the Ford car sales decline stuck out like a sore thumb.

Car volume at Audi, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Dodge, Fiat, Honda, Hyundai, Infiniti, Jaguar, Kia, Lexus, Mazda, Mitsubishi, and Volvo also decreased in February 2015. Big improvements at Volkswagen, Nissan, and Toyota helped push the car market forward.

2014 Toyota Corolla greyToyota also claimed the title of Canada’s best-selling car with the Corolla. This marks the second consecutive month in which the Honda Civic, Canada’s best-selling car in each of the last 17 years, failed to end a month as Canada’s top-selling car. Corolla volume increased by two units. Civic sales tumbled 15%. The Elantra, January’s leader, plunged 34%.

If cars struggled to make significant gains, MPVs grew just 2%, and SUV/crossover growth completely ground to a halt, how did the Canadian new vehicle market experience its highest-volume February since 2008?

Trucks.

Pickup trucks.

February pickup truck sales jumped 12%, a gain of nearly 2300 units compared with February 2015. That’s akin to adding the volume of seven more versions of the seven lowest-volume pickup trucks in Canada: Tundra, Tacoma, Colorado, Canyon, Titan, Frontier, and Ridgeline.

In spite of a marginal F-Series improvement – the best seller was up just 1% – big gains from General Motors’ full-size twins, a 6% Ram increase, and 648 new GM midsize sales powered the truck market to 20% market share in the industry. Wasn’t cheaper oil and a struggling oil patch supposed to slow the Canadian truck market?

Hugely successful pickup trucks are certainly helpful, but they’re not yet an absolutely vital component for an automobile manufacturer to be taken seriously in Canada. Nissan is booming despite tumbling truck sales and just outsold Honda for the first time since June 2011. The Volkswagen brand is up 19% so far this year, certainly not because of an Amarok but rather a new Golf.

But consider the top three manufacturers in Canada without trucks. FCA, with its pickup truck lineup, was up 1.5% in the first two months of 2015, but without the Ram P/U, FCA volume slid 0.1%. The F-Series accounts for 53% of FoMoCo sales in Canada, not just Ford brand sales but total Ford/Lincoln volume. Four pickup truck nameplates helped GM to a 6% increase over the last two months even as non-truck GM sales slid 10%.

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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GM Withdrawing Chevrolet And Opel From Russia http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/gm-withdrawing-chevrolet-opel-russia/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/gm-withdrawing-chevrolet-opel-russia/#comments Wed, 18 Mar 2015 12:53:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1024569 GM is set to significantly reduce operations in Russia, as the once promising auto market suffers under the weight of economic uncertainty and a difficult regulatory regime. According to the Wall Street Journal Global auto makers have long placed a bet on Russia as a top emerging market, but car companies are saddled with high production […]

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fid-28389

GM is set to significantly reduce operations in Russia, as the once promising auto market suffers under the weight of economic uncertainty and a difficult regulatory regime.

According to the Wall Street Journal

Global auto makers have long placed a bet on Russia as a top emerging market, but car companies are saddled with high production commitments under a regulatory scheme implemented earlier in the decade. Faced with a litany of demands on its capital and little indication Russia will turn around, GM executives decided the company’s money is better spent elsewhere.

As part of the plan, Opel will be withdrawn from the Russian market, while Chevrolet’s offerings will be drastically reduced. Chevrolet and Cadillac products exported from America, like the Corvette and Escalade, will continue to be offered. While production of the Chevrolet Niva will continue with JV partner AvtoVaz, GM’s plant in St.Petersburg will be idled idefinitely, putting 1,000 people out of work. GM will take a $600 million charge related to the events in Russia.

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US New-Truck Leases Rise Thanks To Higher Residuals, Transactions, More Content http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/us-new-truck-leases-rise-thanks-higher-residuals-transactions-content/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/us-new-truck-leases-rise-thanks-higher-residuals-transactions-content/#comments Wed, 18 Mar 2015 10:00:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1023753 Forget about leasing Benzes and Lexuses: trucks are the new hotness, thanks to higher residuals and transaction prices, as well as more content. Automotive News reports leases accounted for 14 percent of light-duty truck sales in the United States, which is smaller than the 20 percent overall figure for U.S. new-car leases, as well as […]

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2015-ford-f-150

Forget about leasing Benzes and Lexuses: trucks are the new hotness, thanks to higher residuals and transaction prices, as well as more content.

Automotive News reports leases accounted for 14 percent of light-duty truck sales in the United States, which is smaller than the 20 percent overall figure for U.S. new-car leases, as well as the ~50 percent figure for luxury vehicle leases.

For automakers, this means they can continue to ride the strongest streak in sales the light truck market has experienced in current times, while also bringing customers into showrooms every three years. In exchange, they also gain less profit from leases — even with higher residuals — and more risk on whether or not the resale value will be strong in three years’ time, especially with external factors like fuel prices and the strength of the economy when the leases are up.

Factors driving the current leasing boom in the light-duty truck segment include higher average transaction prices — hitting a new average high of $41,029 in 2014 — the aforementioned residuals that are several points higher now than in 2010 — leading to more cash on the hood and other deals for potential lessees — and more content and features, like Wi-Fi, luxurious materials and advanced connected-vehicle systems.

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Volvo Moved More Wagons Than Sedans In Canada In February 2015 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/volvo-moved-wagons-sedans-canada-february-2015/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/volvo-moved-wagons-sedans-canada-february-2015/#comments Tue, 17 Mar 2015 14:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1023977 Volvo is having a hard time moving most of its wares out of the showroom in Canada, with its wagons being the silver lining to its cloud. Good Car Bad Car reports overall Volvo sales are down 16 percent so far in the first two months of 2015, following a fall of 62 percent between […]

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2015 Volvo V60 Polestar_2

Volvo is having a hard time moving most of its wares out of the showroom in Canada, with its wagons being the silver lining to its cloud.

Good Car Bad Car reports overall Volvo sales are down 16 percent so far in the first two months of 2015, following a fall of 62 percent between 2005 and 2014. However, the Sino-Swede automaker managed to sell 54 V60s in February, compared to 27 units of the S60. Thirty-one XC70s and four S80s left the showroom that month, as well.

Of course, the best-selling Volvo in Canada that month was not a wagon, but the XC60, with 101 sold; 113 left the lot in January.

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Is Infiniti Getting Back To Normal? Two Whole Consecutive Months Of YOY U.S. Sales Growth http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/infiniti-getting-back-normal-two-whole-consecutive-months-yoy-u-s-sales-growth/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/infiniti-getting-back-normal-two-whole-consecutive-months-yoy-u-s-sales-growth/#comments Mon, 16 Mar 2015 16:35:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1023305 Infiniti USA reported a 20% year-over-year February 2015 sales improvement, a gain of nearly 2000 sales during a period which saw Cadillac, Buick, Jaguar, and Lincoln sales decrease. Among premium brands, only Land Rover (up 23%), and Lexus (up 22%) posted greater February gains than Infiniti. In fact, Infiniti’s February improvement was the second consecutive […]

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Infiniti-Q50-drivingInfiniti USA reported a 20% year-over-year February 2015 sales improvement, a gain of nearly 2000 sales during a period which saw Cadillac, Buick, Jaguar, and Lincoln sales decrease. Among premium brands, only Land Rover (up 23%), and Lexus (up 22%) posted greater February gains than Infiniti.

In fact, Infiniti’s February improvement was the second consecutive for Nissan’s upmarket brand – Infiniti sales rose 7% in the first month of 2015 – a meaningful statistic given the way 2014 ended. Second-half sales last year slid 10%.

Moreover, it marked the best February ever for the brand: 27% better than February 2013, 26% better than February 2012, 28% better than February 2011, 66% better than February 2010.

Speaking of February 2012, that was the last time Infiniti outsold Audi in America, at least until last month. On an annual basis, Infiniti was typically the greater generator of U.S. sales volume until 2011. But while Infiniti sales fell 14% between 2005 and 2014 (the latter being just the fifth-best year of the last decade for Infiniti USA), Audi volume more than doubled during the same period. The chart below displays the gradual Infiniti market share decline and the Audi market share upswing.

Infiniti Audi USA market share sales chartNevertheless, February was an especially strong month for Infiniti, a brand which still operates with a relatively small lineup. Setting aside the forgotten QX50 (only 177 February sales), mostly ignored Q60, Q70, and QX70 (formerly the G coupe, M sedan. and FX crossover), reveals 85% of Infiniti’s February sales were collected by just two sedans and two utility vehicles.

By way of comparison only, 68% Audi USA’s February sales volume was produced by its two top cars and two top utility vehicles. In other words, while many luxury brands have more than a handful of products that sell well, Infiniti currently produces the overwhelming majority of its sales with a small portfolio: the Infiniti G sedan-turned-Q40, the Q40’s Q50 successor, the Pathfinder-based QX60, and the Navigator-fighting QX80.

And in their respective classes, those vehicles aren’t unpopular. Q50 volume is up 6% this year to 6615 units, just behind the Lexus IS (which trails the BMW 3-Series/4-Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class) but ahead of the Acura TLX; well ahead of the Cadillac ATS and Audi A4.

The Q40 is tasked with tangling a newer crop of entry-level contenders. With 2672 sales so far this year, it’s well back of the Mercedes-Benz CLA and Audi A3 (5097 and 4662 sales, respectively, year-to-date) but it’s outselling cars like the Volvo S60, Lexus CT, and Acura ILX.

2013 Infiniti JX35, Exterior, side, Picture Courtesy of InfinitiThe QX80 doesn’t sell like the Escalade or Mercedes-Benz GL, but with 2831 year-to-date sales, it’s more than 1000 units ahead of the Lincoln Navigator, sales of which doubled in early 2015. The QX60 sells less than half as often as the all-conquering Lexus RX and trails the Acura MDX by 3372 sales heading into March, but it’s only 898 sales back of Mercedes-Benz’s M-Class and well ahead of lower-tier players like the Range Rover Sport, Lincoln MKX, Audi Q7, Land Rover LR4, and Volkswagen Touareg.

Put it this way: Infiniti is capable of building vehicles people want. But they need to build more of them if the brand is going to be a major player in the United States. Indeed, they need to build more of them if Infiniti is going to be what Infiniti once was. A rival for the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, BMW 5-Series, and Audi A6 that actually generated any consumer attention would be a big help.

But the Mercedes-Benz GLA-related QX30 is more likely the vehicle that will provide Infiniti’s next big push. Don’t think for a minute that being late to the compact luxury crossover party will cause undue harm, as it’s become obvious that the Mercedes-Benz GLA and Audi Q3 are clearly capable of stealing sales from the established BMW X1. Perhaps the QX30 can do the same.

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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Dodge Restricting New Hellcat Orders Until Older Orders Are Fulfilled http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/dodge-restricting-new-hellcat-orders-older-orders-fulfilled/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/dodge-restricting-new-hellcat-orders-older-orders-fulfilled/#comments Mon, 16 Mar 2015 13:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1023097 Clamoring for a Dodge Challenger or Charger Hellcat? You’ll have to take a number to order one, as the brand is restricting new orders until it catches up. MotorAuthority reports the brand is doing this because so many customers want to throw down behind the wheel of the 707-horsepower, $60,000-plus boulevard bombers. Per a representative: […]

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2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

Clamoring for a Dodge Challenger or Charger Hellcat? You’ll have to take a number to order one, as the brand is restricting new orders until it catches up.

MotorAuthority reports the brand is doing this because so many customers want to throw down behind the wheel of the 707-horsepower, $60,000-plus boulevard bombers. Per a representative:

Due to unprecedented demand for the 2015 Dodge Charger and Challenger SRT Hellcats, we are temporarily restricting orders while we validate current orders that are in the system.

As of now, over 9,000 orders have been placed for the Hellcats; over 2,200 have been delivered thus far.

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Chart Of The Day: GM’s Gradual Car Sales Decrease http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/chart-day-gms-gradual-car-sales-decrease/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/chart-day-gms-gradual-car-sales-decrease/#comments Sat, 14 Mar 2015 12:48:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1020753 GM passenger car volume decreased 15% through the first two months of 2015 in the United States, tumbling by more than 18,000 units, or 21%, in February alone. With vastly improved U.S. pickup truck volume, steadily growing full-size SUV sales, and growth from the brand’s crossovers, GM was easily able to overcome the car deficit […]

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GM car sales bar chartGM passenger car volume decreased 15% through the first two months of 2015 in the United States, tumbling by more than 18,000 units, or 21%, in February alone.

With vastly improved U.S. pickup truck volume, steadily growing full-size SUV sales, and growth from the brand’s crossovers, GM was easily able to overcome the car deficit to post a 10% overall sales improvement in America through the end of February.

This chart doesn’t showcase volume or year-over-year change, but it does show the decreased importance of GM car sales in America since the beginning of last year. For the record, rewinding ten years to the 2005 calendar year reveals GM’s car share to be just above 40%. In 2010, it was ever so slightly below 40%.

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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Hurry Up, Envision: Encore Isn’t Quite Able To Carry Buick On Its Back http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/hurry-envision-encore-isnt-quite-able-carry-buick-back/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/hurry-envision-encore-isnt-quite-able-carry-buick-back/#comments Fri, 13 Mar 2015 12:38:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1020713 What is Buick in America without the Encore, the automaker’s most disparaged product on these pages? Buick reported 16,114 LaCrosse, Regal, Verano, and Enclave sales in February 2014, a figure which fell 22% in February 2015, when the aging products were, quite obviously, one year older. Year-to-date volume of non-Encore Buicks tumbled 20% through the […]

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2013 Buick EncoreWhat is Buick in America without the Encore, the automaker’s most disparaged product on these pages?

Buick reported 16,114 LaCrosse, Regal, Verano, and Enclave sales in February 2014, a figure which fell 22% in February 2015, when the aging products were, quite obviously, one year older.

Year-to-date volume of non-Encore Buicks tumbled 20% through the first two months of 2015, a loss of 5441 sales across four nameplates.

So far this year, LaCrosse sales are down 17%. Regal volume is off by 32%. Sales of the Verano are down 18%. The Enclave is off last year’s two-month pace by 19%.

Yet the Encore, beginning its third full year, continues to thrive. One year ago at this time, Encore sales were up 179% compared with the launch period in early 2013. This year, January volume jumped 46% and February sales shot up 60%.

2013 Buick Enclave. Photo courtesy wikipedia.orgThrough two months, Encore sales are up 54%, an improvement of more than 2900 units. The Encore, an entry-level saviour for Buick dealers at the moment, represents 28% of Buick’s volume. (Buick’s two utilities are outselling Buick’s three cars by 1035 units in early 2015.)

The current Regal went on sale in the first half of 2010 and saw its role sorely diminished by the Verano’s arrival at the end of 2011. The LaCrosse, though refreshed for MY2014, was first sold for MY2010. 2015 marks the Enclave’s ninth year of availability.

The necessity of new products aside, can Buick continue to sell its freshest product, the Encore, at a rate of 4100 units per month with new competitors rising up from every corner of the industry? While it seems unlikely that the Encore can persistently add volume at the prodigious rates it has routinely achieved thus far, the increased appetite among new car buyers for this very type of vehicle should produce further Encore health.

Of course, Buick does need other products to step in and help out, because even the Encore’s rate of expansion hasn’t produced overall health for Buick over the last two months. Encore-inclusive Buick brand sales are down 8% through the first two months of 2015.

Buick EnvisionWith America’s car market failing to grow at anything like the pace of the overall new vehicle market, don’t expect revamped LaCrosses, Regals, or Veranos to do the trick, either. Don’t assume the Cascada will be a volume player. And don’t expect a production Avenir to drop out of the sky in the near future. No, like so many automakers, the Encore and Enclave will need help from yet another crossover: the Envision.

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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Sources: Hyundai Expanding SUV Production In US Market http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/sources-hyundai-expanding-suv-production-us-market/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/sources-hyundai-expanding-suv-production-us-market/#comments Thu, 12 Mar 2015 11:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1020409 Per inside sources, Hyundai is planning to increase SUV production in the United States in an effort to capture more consumers amid low fuel prices. Reuters reports the automaker’s sales of the Elantra and Sonata have slowed as some consumers in the U.S. spend their money on SUVs and crossovers, prompting the company’s shift toward […]

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Per inside sources, Hyundai is planning to increase SUV production in the United States in an effort to capture more consumers amid low fuel prices.

Reuters reports the automaker’s sales of the Elantra and Sonata have slowed as some consumers in the U.S. spend their money on SUVs and crossovers, prompting the company’s shift toward more SUVs. The expansion would come in the form of a new assembly line in Alabama, augmenting the line in Kia’s Georgia facility where the Santa Fe is assembled, and exports of the Tucson from Hyundai’s factories in South Korea.

Korea Investment & Securities auto analyst Suh Sung-moon adds that, aside from Hyundai’s need for a second U.S. plant, Santa Fe production could be moved to Alabama, with the Tucson and a truck — possibly in the vein of the Santa Cruz concept from the 2015 Detroit Auto Show — joining the former. Overall production is expected to be 300,000 units annually, with the first vehicles to leave the line in 2017.

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Aircooled Cars, Hot Prices, The Mild Breeze Of Censorship http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/aircooled-cars-hot-prices-mild-breeze-censorship/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/aircooled-cars-hot-prices-mild-breeze-censorship/#comments Wed, 11 Mar 2015 17:58:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1020321 It seems like yesterday But it was long ago RS America in the dealership’s lights Covered with dust and it had nowhere to go And it sat there for a year Till they sold it at a loss Slow like a Boxster headlights just like a frog And all the service had been skipped and […]

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It seems like yesterday
But it was long ago
RS America in the dealership’s lights
Covered with dust and it had nowhere to go
And it sat there for a year
Till they sold it at a loss
Slow like a Boxster headlights just like a frog
And all the service had been skipped and no one gave a toss

And I remember how cheap they used to be
And I thought that it never would end
I remember how they bought and sold for pennies
Wish I’d had a crystal ball and bought one then

In the past decade, Porsche buyers have voted with their wallets on the merits of post-1999 water-cooled 911s — and the vote has been “guilty”, and the sentence has been “death”. The result has been a dramatic re-valuation of every air-cooled 911 ever built, from short-wheelbase early cars to the most despicable 964 Carrera 4 Cabriolet. I’ve written before about the insane price curve of the 993 Turbo, and I’ve allowed myself a quiet smile of satisfaction at having had the good sense to buy a 993 thirteen years ago when they were cheap while simultaneously self-flagellating over having not bought two of them.

Had I been really smart, however, I’d have bought the other car I was considering back then — the 964 “RS America”. Introduced as a cut-price $54,900 model for the American market, the RS America was nothing more than a plain Carrera 2 with a half-ass aero kit and a list of standard equipment that, were it placed on the Monroney of a Yugo, would have caused Malcolm Bricklin to send that particular vehicle back to Yugoslavia for an upgrade. They were showroom poison, often sitting in dealer inventory long after the arrival of the 1995 993 Carrera which utterly humiliated the RS America in every measure from quarter-mile time to the presence of air conditioning.

At some point in the past five years, however, the desire of every 55-year-old middle manager in North America to own an “RS Porsh” sent the values of these sleds skyrocketing. Cars with stories and more than 50,000 miles on them are selling for close to a hundred grand. This, I hasten to remind you, is an automobile that cannot keep up with a Scion FR-S down most fast roads and might cash your check just for trying. For some time now I’ve watched the prices go up and have wondered where the top of the bubble might be.

Well, if the aircooled Porsche market is, in fact, a bubble, here’s your subprime McMansion. The nice people at Bring A Trailer featured this “scruffy” 215,000-mile example today. Let’s run over the highlights:

* 215,000 miles
* optional A/C that “does not blow super cold”.
* “Some” invoices, none for motor work. You’ll just have to take the seller’s word for it
* 40% tread remaining on the rear tires
* $80,000, no tire-kickers

Imagine driving a car for twenty-one years, ten thousand miles a year, and selling it for more than you paid. Well, in 964-land that still means monthly maintenance outlays that would probably lease you a new Miata every three years. But still. Do you really want to live in a world where this car fetches this kind of money?

For fifty grand you can get a very solid 993, probably in better shape than my son’s track rat. You’d be a fool to buy this car.

Unless, of course, it’s worth more money next year. And it might be.

As if the pricing and condition of the car didn’t raise enough eyebrows, there are multiple allegations on the discussion forum on “BaT” that the site administration is editing comments on the $80k pricetag, particularly unfavorable ones. As a few posters have noted:

Wow, what a lucky guy…drive the crap out of a Porsche for many years, use the whole thing up, then win the lottery at the end?? I hate the BAT is helping drive up the market like this…

My main problem with BAT now is it used to feel like they were on “our” side with surfacing interesting cars and great buys, but now with the auction format and little attention paid to non-auction listings, they are clearly on “their” side…

BAT wiped out a ton of comments on this one…are we in China, is this autoblog Tiananmen??!!

BaT, just a suggestion – if you don’t want comments about price, don’t present a vehicle where price is going to be an obvious talking point.

Clearly, this rising tide of Porsche prices is lifting a lot of boats, not all of them obvious. Now’s a good time to sell, and maybe even a good time to buy — but it appears that the best time of all is had by the people who can earn money on the transaction, or discussion thereof.

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FWD BMW 2 Series Models Too Small For USDM To Be Sold http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/fwd-bmw-2-series-models-small-usdm-sold/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/fwd-bmw-2-series-models-small-usdm-sold/#comments Wed, 11 Mar 2015 13:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1020169 Hoping to drive home in a front-driven BMW 2 Series? You’ll have to settle for the RWD coupe, as the automaker has no plans to sell the former in the U.S. Automotive News reports the 2 Series Gran Tourer and Active Tourer — both based upon the UKL1 platform also underpinning the third-gen MINI Cooper […]

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Hoping to drive home in a front-driven BMW 2 Series? You’ll have to settle for the RWD coupe, as the automaker has no plans to sell the former in the U.S.

Automotive News reports the 2 Series Gran Tourer and Active Tourer — both based upon the UKL1 platform also underpinning the third-gen MINI Cooper — won’t be leaving Germany for the U.S. market due to their small size.

Per a representative, the Gran Tourer’s 179-inch length and the Active Tourer’s 171 inches are too small for a three-row minivan meant for the market. Thus, the smallest USDM BMW will be the 175.5-inch X1 crossover, which will become FWD via the UKL1 platform when the next-gen model goes on sale later this year.

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The Numbers Behind The Nissan Xterra’s Demise http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/nissan-xterra-dead-numbers-behind-nissan-offroaders-demise/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/nissan-xterra-dead-numbers-behind-nissan-offroaders-demise/#comments Wed, 11 Mar 2015 12:21:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1020241 2015 will be the Nissan Xterra’s final model year. The final nails in the coffin were hammered in by an increasingly popular crossover market, total domination on the off-road category by the Jeep Wranglers, and Nissan’s inability to affordably recreate the Xterra with modern regulatory concerns in mind. This doesn’t mean Nissan isn’t competing in […]

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2001 Nissan Xterra2015 will be the Nissan Xterra’s final model year. The final nails in the coffin were hammered in by an increasingly popular crossover market, total domination on the off-road category by the Jeep Wranglers, and Nissan’s inability to affordably recreate the Xterra with modern regulatory concerns in mind.

This doesn’t mean Nissan isn’t competing in the SUV market any more, but most of the automaker’s remaining SUVs are true crossovers. Nissan USA sold 376,388 Rogues, Pathfinders, Muranos, Jukes, and Titan-based Armadas in 2014.

Xterra volume, meanwhile, tumbled 77% over the course of a decade, falling by 55,942 units to 16,505 U.S. sales in 2005.

Although the nameplate had mostly levelled off over the last four years, that levelling off involved just 69,714 sales over a four-year period between 2011 and 2014, fewer than than the total number of sales achieved by the Xterra in 2005.

Nissan Xterra sales chartBut the Xterra was initially popular, both in the automotive press and in the North American market. Not that it’s a sure sign of future success, but Motor Trend twice named the Xterra its Sport Utility Of The Year. Sales in the model’s first full year, 2000, climbed to 88,578 units. As recently as 2005, the last time Nissan sold more than 70,000 in a calendar year, it was America’s 23rd-best-selling utility vehicle.

It fell to 61st in 2014 – behind the Mazda CX-9 and Range Rover Sport but ahead of the Porsche Cayenne and Toyota FJ Cruiser – and ranks 67th through the first two months of 2015, behind Nissan’s own Armada but ahead of the Audi Q3.

2014 Nissan XterraTo say that there’s no demand for this type of vehicle is to deny the success of the Jeep Wrangler. But the Wrangler isn’t just any other off-road capable SUV. Iconic styling, a pair of bodystyles, an aggressive base price, and a convertible bodystyle recently helped the Wrangler fend off a challenger from the planet’s largest automaker: the FJ Cruiser from Toyota.

In 2014, a record-setting year for the Wrangler, 175,328 were sold in America. That was surely a sign of sufficient brightness to assure Nissan that drumming up the volume required to support a necessary new model would prove too difficult.

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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Dodge Dart Sales Are Actually On The Upswing http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/dodge-dart-sales-actually-upswing/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/dodge-dart-sales-actually-upswing/#comments Tue, 10 Mar 2015 12:59:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1019514 Often criticized for its poor performance in North American markets, the Dodge Dart has performed significantly better over the last five months, a period in which its midsize sibling, Dodge’s Avenger, gradually disappeared. After generating nearly 50,000 U.S. sales in the first three-quarters of 2014, the discontinued Avenger dried up at the end of the […]

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2015 Dodge Dart greyOften criticized for its poor performance in North American markets, the Dodge Dart has performed significantly better over the last five months, a period in which its midsize sibling, Dodge’s Avenger, gradually disappeared.

After generating nearly 50,000 U.S. sales in the first three-quarters of 2014, the discontinued Avenger dried up at the end of the year, generating only 2342 sales in the fourth-quarter and 461 in the first two months of 2015. The clear-out of deeply discounted, V6-engined, midsize cars from the Dodge portfolio opened up an opportunity for the Dart.

Through the first four months of 2014, Dart sales had tumbled 29% to just 22,098 units. But year-over-year volume increased in May, June July, and August (16%, 12%, 23%, and 22% respectively). The month of May, in fact, marked the Dart’s best-ever performance up to that point with 8644 sales. After a brief September decline, the Dart once again entered a period in which sales increased, rising 32% in the fourth-quarter with plenty of help from November, when 9012 Dart sales marked the nameplate’s best-ever U.S. sales performance.

Chrysler Group car sales chart February 2015 YTDThe streak has continued in early 2015. January volume shot up 61% year-over-year, and while that comparison takes into account a January 2014 in which Dart volume dropped sharply, the first month of 2015 was still the nameplate’s best of its three Januarys. February volume jumped 52%, and though not quite as successful as February 2013, last month certainly clarified the consistency of the Dart’s upward trend.

Improved the Dart may be, but it’s still selling like an upper-tier subcompact in a market that hugely favours compacts. Over the last two months, the Dart ranks 24th in U.S. passenger car sales: eighth in its class; tenth among small cars; up eight spots compared with the same period a year ago. The gap between the Dart and the most successful compacts is massive. The Chevrolet Cruze, America’s third-best-selling small car, has outsold the Dart 2.4-to-1 over the last two months despite decreased Cruze volume and increased Dart volume.

On the bright side, perhaps there’s a future for the Dart, a car which initially flopped but is now showing signs of life. A best-selling future? Unlikely. The Dart is completing its third year on the market and isn’t getting any younger. But consistent mid-pack placement? That’s a more reasonable goal.

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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