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, 23 May 2015 15:11:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 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 » Sales http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/sales/ Sales Of The Aging Electrics You Know Best Are Predictably Falling Fast http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/sales-aging-electrics-know-best-predictably-falling-fast/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/sales-aging-electrics-know-best-predictably-falling-fast/#comments Sat, 23 May 2015 14:17:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1072482 We’re accustomed to seeing outdated sports cars stumble as they age. They’re as capable as they were when launched, of course, but demand for the cars often decreases rapidly. Those who were interested in the stylistic proposition already bought one. Those who saw them as paragons of performance encounter newer models with a greater dynamic portfolio. […]

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Nissan creates "World's Cleanest Car" Ð a zero emissions Nissa

We’re accustomed to seeing outdated sports cars stumble as they age.

They’re as capable as they were when launched, of course, but demand for the cars often decreases rapidly. Those who were interested in the stylistic proposition already bought one. Those who saw them as paragons of performance encounter newer models with a greater dynamic portfolio.

Consider the Scion FR-S, sales of which plunged 23% in its second full year in the United States; sales of which declined 29% in the first four months of 2015.

Perhaps exacerbated by falling fuel prices, the sharp downturn in sales of two particularly famous, unconventionally powered hatchbacks is vaguely reminiscent of a sports car nameplate’s yo-yoing. A Camry-like ability to sustain demand right up until the new model arrives in dealers? Not for the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt.

Granted, the Volt’s decline began before old age. Launched during the same month, December 2010, as the Leaf, the Volt volume ramped up much more rapidly. 2,029 copies of the electric-plus-range-extended Volt were sold in the United States during the car’s first five months, compared with 1,044 Leafs.

Volt vs. Leaf sales chart

Yet by March 2013, when the Volt was 28 months into its first-generation, year-over-year volume plunged 35%. That began a three-month streak of decline for the Volt. In calendar year 2013, Volt sales decreased by less than 2%; declining in seven of twelve months.

Looking back from April 2015’s 42% year-over-year decline, Volt volume has decreased in the United States in nine consecutive months, in twelve of the last 16 months, and in 19 of the last 26 months.

2011 Chevrolet Volt

The Leaf’s downturn is much more recent. After posting annual increases in each of its first four years – including a 130% jump in 2013 and a 34% increase last year – Leaf volume has declined in each of 2015’s first four months.

The 15% drop in January resulted in just 1,070 Leaf sales, the lowest total for the all-electric Nissan in two years. February sales fell 16%. March volume plunged 38%, a drop of 690 sales. In April, Leaf sales slid sharply once again, with a 26% decline measuring a loss of 535 sales. Preceding this four-month streak was a 23-month-long span in which Leaf sales consistently improved on a year-over-year basis.

Many electric cars are ultra-low-volume portions of a high-volume vehicle’s lineup. Tesla infamously doesn’t release detailed monthly sales reports. (HybridCars.com estimates 6,800 Model S sales in the U.S. through the first four months of 2015, a 26% improvement.) The Model S, while never fully replaced during its near three-year lifespan to date, is markedly different from the Leaf and Volt in the sense that Tesla constantly provides significant updates to the car and the Model S lineup. Predictably, during its phasing-out, U.S. sales of the first Toyota Prius Plug-In, a vehicle which posted an annual peak of 13,263 units just last year, is down 66% to 1,699 sales.

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

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GM Putting $2,000 on Hood of 2015 Camaro Z/28 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/gm-putting-2000-on-hood-of-2015-camaro-z28/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/gm-putting-2000-on-hood-of-2015-camaro-z28/#comments Fri, 22 May 2015 14:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1072658 Just after the 2016 Camaro was introduced at Belle Isle last weekend, General Motors upped incentives on the current generation car. The best part? The General has placed the highest incentive amount directly on the hood scoop of the 2015 Camaro Z/28. According to CarsDirect, General Motors has combined two incentive offers: a $1,000 rebate that applies […]

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2015 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28

Just after the 2016 Camaro was introduced at Belle Isle last weekend, General Motors upped incentives on the current generation car.

The best part? The General has placed the highest incentive amount directly on the hood scoop of the 2015 Camaro Z/28.

According to CarsDirect, General Motors has combined two incentive offers: a $1,000 rebate that applies to all Camaros and an additional $1,000 specifically for Z/28. If you are leasing a non-GM vehicle, an additional $500 can be applied.

The car shopping website says the rebate might be due to the Z/28’s availability – currently there are more units in the wild than its supercharged brother, the ZL1 – and limited appeal due to being a manual-only affair with few creature comforts.

While Camaro has typically outsold Ford Mustang since 2010, this year the bowtied offering is struggling to keep up with the blue oval pony car.

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Forget 2016: Is Now The Time To Buy A 2015 Honda Pilot? Many Thousands Say It Is http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/forget-2016-now-time-buy-2015-honda-pilot-many-thousands-say/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/forget-2016-now-time-buy-2015-honda-pilot-many-thousands-say/#comments Fri, 22 May 2015 12:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1071794 After U.S. sales of the Honda Pilot soared to a seven-year high in calendar year 2013, the fifth year for the second-generation Pilot, sales predictably declined 14% last year. Even in a booming SUV/CUV market, the Pilot was old and boxy; the Toyota Highlander was new and, well, less boxy. Yet over the final two […]

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2014 Honda Pilot

After U.S. sales of the Honda Pilot soared to a seven-year high in calendar year 2013, the fifth year for the second-generation Pilot, sales predictably declined 14% last year. Even in a booming SUV/CUV market, the Pilot was old and boxy; the Toyota Highlander was new and, well, less boxy.

Yet over the final two months of 2014 and the first four months of 2015, Pilot volume has shot through the roof. During this six-month span, U.S. sales of the outgoing Pilot have improved by 44%, a gain of nearly 21,000 sales, year-over-year.

You know why, of course. Deals on the Pilot finally became wonderfully attractive. Right now, for example, just as Honda finally allows publications to render their verdict following Kentucky test drives from weeks ago, American Honda is advertising lease deals on the Pilot SE AWD with payments of $289 over three years with $2,899 due at signing.

As Pilot inventory dwindles – there are fewer than 9,000 in stock at U.S. dealers according to Cars.com for a vehicle which is routinely selling more than 11,000 copies per month – dealers are offering significantly more than $5,000 off 2015 Pilots. A TrueCar Pricing Trend example suggests the average price paid for a Pilot fell by 9% over the last five months.

2016 Honda Pilot Elite

The new Pilot will be more efficient, safer, arguably more attractive, and more spacious (particularly behind the second row) but the base price for the 2016 model will only be $125 higher than it was in 2015. That slight MSRP differential ignores the out-the-door price paid for a remaining 2015 model and the no-incentives price of the brand spanking new Pilot that’ll be roaming parking lots near you very shortly.

So is now the time to buy a 2015 Honda Pilot, seven years after its launch, with crash test results like this, AWD city fuel economy of 17 mpg rather than 19, and a cargo area shaped like this rather than this?

Over the last four months, 48,103 U.S. buyers have answered with a resounding, “Yes,” to that question, compared with 30,796 at this time last year.

Healthy Pilot sales have been vital for American Honda this year, as the Accord, Civic, Crosstour, CR-Z, Insight, Odyssey, and Ridgeline have all posted notable sales decreases. Excluding the CR-V (America’s best-selling utility vehicle) and the Pilot, Honda brand sales are down 7%, a 20,000-unit loss.

Lineup fully intact, Honda sales are up 1% through the first four months of 2015.

Indeed, the numbers for the outgoing Pilot may be so strong that, one year down the road, what should turn out to be generally healthy sales for the forthcoming third-gen Pilot may appear weak in comparison. That’s one sign of an aggressive clear-out.

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

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Honda Continues Shift Toward SUVs, Crossovers With 2016 Pilot Production http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/honda-continues-shift-toward-suvs-crossovers-with-2016-pilot-production/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/honda-continues-shift-toward-suvs-crossovers-with-2016-pilot-production/#comments Thu, 21 May 2015 20:00:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1072322 With the 2016 Pilot leaving the assembly line starting Thursday, Honda continues its progress toward more SUVs and crossovers over passenger cars. According to American Honda sales boss John Mendel, 49 percent of the automaker’s U.S. production consists of SUVs and crossovers, and could go further depending on the growth rates between passenger car and […]

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2016 Honda Pilot Elite

With the 2016 Pilot leaving the assembly line starting Thursday, Honda continues its progress toward more SUVs and crossovers over passenger cars.

According to American Honda sales boss John Mendel, 49 percent of the automaker’s U.S. production consists of SUVs and crossovers, and could go further depending on the growth rates between passenger car and light-duty truck markets, The Detroit Bureau reports.

The increase is being aided by Honda’s Lincoln, Ala. factory, where the Pilot, Odyssey and Acura MDX are assembled. The facility is expected to produce 120,000 Pilots annually once production is at full bore, and will begin production of the second-gen Ridgeline in the near future. Mendel says the factory has “some upside potential” as more new product and capacity comes online.

In addition, Honda’s new plant in Celaya, Mexico is helping the automaker enter the U.S. subcompact crossover market with the introduction of the HR-V, whose competitors include the Jeep Renegade and Chevrolet Trax.

Mendel says Honda is looking for more opportunities to expand, though the search for so-called “white space” may diminish over time, prompting the automaker to seek better fortunes over “an incremental 5,000 units of sales.”

[Photo credit: Honda]

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Report: Autonomous Vehicles Displacing Traditional Models Over 25 Years http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/report-autonomous-vehicles-displacing-traditional-models-over-25-years/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/report-autonomous-vehicles-displacing-traditional-models-over-25-years/#comments Wed, 20 May 2015 20:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1071738 Per a report from Barclays, U.S. new-car sales may fall as much as 40 percent over the next 25 years as shared autonomous vehicles take hold of the market. Analyst Brian Johnson said large automakers would need to dramatically slash North American production in order to survive a future where nearly half of all families […]

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Audi A7 Piloted Driving Vehicle At CES 2015

Per a report from Barclays, U.S. new-car sales may fall as much as 40 percent over the next 25 years as shared autonomous vehicles take hold of the market.

Analyst Brian Johnson said large automakers would need to dramatically slash North American production in order to survive a future where nearly half of all families in the market move to a vehicle shared by all members of the family, Bloomberg reports. General Motors and Ford specifically would need to cut production by 68 percent and 58 percent respectively to weather the transition.

Johnson adds annual sales would decline 40 percent to 9.5 million units annually by 2040, while the number of cars on the road would fall 60 percent to 100 million:

While extreme, a historical precedent exists. Horses once filled the many roles that cars fill today, but as the automobile came along, the population of horses dropped sharply.

The analysis points to the rise of four categories of vehicles: traditional models driven by those in rural areas; autonomous vehicles owned by a single family; “robot taxis” summoned via smartphone app; and autonomous vehicles in ride-sharing fleets such as van and bus pools. The shared vehicles would remove nine traditional vehicles from the road, with pooled units taking out 18.

Cost of mobility would also fall regarding the aforementioned robot taxis, with average rates per mile as low as 88 cents for a private car, and 4 cents for a shared two-seater. The category would prove a boon to transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft, as well as low-cost vehicle producers and autonomous tech companies.

[Photo credit: Audi/Facebook]

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Renault Kwid Unveiled, Ready To Battle Maruti Suzuki Alto In India http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/renault-kwid-unveiled-ready-to-battle-maruti-suzuki-alto-in-india/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/renault-kwid-unveiled-ready-to-battle-maruti-suzuki-alto-in-india/#comments Wed, 20 May 2015 17:00:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1071530 As the Datsun brand stumbles in India, Renault-Nissan unveiled the Kwid Wednesday to take on the challenge of beating the best-selling Maruti Suzuki Alto. The Kwid hatchback is underpinned by the alliance’s Common Modular A Family platform, boasts a ground clearance of 7.1 inches, and has a starting price of ₹3,00,000 ($4,700 USD), Automotive News […]

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Renault Kwid 01

As the Datsun brand stumbles in India, Renault-Nissan unveiled the Kwid Wednesday to take on the challenge of beating the best-selling Maruti Suzuki Alto.

The Kwid hatchback is underpinned by the alliance’s Common Modular A Family platform, boasts a ground clearance of 7.1 inches, and has a starting price of ₹3,00,000 ($4,700 USD), Automotive News Europe reports. Power is set to come from an 800cc unit, though no other powertrain information was announced at this time.

Like the Tata GenX Nano announced Tuesday, the Kwid has a feature set normally found on more upscale vehicles for the Indian market, including hands-free voice-calling with Bluetooth, 7-inch touchscreen display with navigation and infotainment, and optional airbags.

Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said the Indian market was not an easy one during the Kwid’s unveiling in Chennai, and expects the city car to be “a game changer for Renault India.” The alliance’s current attempt to crack the market — the Datsun Go — sold 16,000 units since its introduction in 2014. The Alto manages to sell over 16,000 units per month in comparison at a starting price of ₹2,46,163 ($3,865).

Renault India also plans to expand its dealership network from 157 to 280 by the end of next year, though the target still pales to Maruti’s 1,500 stores.

The Renault Kwid is expected in those showrooms in September upon leaving the assembly line in Chennai.

[Image credit: Renault]

Renault Kwid 01 Renault Kwid 02 Renault Kwid 03 Renault Kwid 07 Renault Kwid 06 Renault Kwid 05 Renault Kwid 10 Renault Kwid 04 Renault Kwid 08 Renault Kwid 09

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Hyundai’s Record April Sales Bring Market Share Decline, Heavy Reliance On Cars http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/hyundais-record-april-sales-bring-market-share-decline-heavy-reliance-cars/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/hyundais-record-april-sales-bring-market-share-decline-heavy-reliance-cars/#comments Wed, 20 May 2015 15:00:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1070730 Hyundai USA reported record April sales last month, yet by only posting modest growth figures, Hyundai didn’t match the pace of the overall auto industry. As a result, Hyundai’s market share actually decreased in this record-setting month from 4.8% in April 2014 to 4.7% in April 2015. Year-over-year, Hyundai volume increased 3% to 68,009 units […]

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2016 Elantra

Hyundai USA reported record April sales last month, yet by only posting modest growth figures, Hyundai didn’t match the pace of the overall auto industry. As a result, Hyundai’s market share actually decreased in this record-setting month from 4.8% in April 2014 to 4.7% in April 2015.

Year-over-year, Hyundai volume increased 3% to 68,009 units in April 2015, a gain of 1,902 sales in a market which grew 5%, or 64,000 units. Compared with the prior month of March, during which Hyundai set an all-time sales record regardless of season, Hyundai’s market share slipped from 4.9%.

But in a market that’s increasingly favouring SUVs and crossovers and increasingly uninterested in passenger cars, Hyundai’s growth is notable because of the automaker’s reliance on passenger cars.

SUVs and crossovers accounted for 34% of all U.S. new vehicle sales in April 2015. At Hyundai, where the company’s smaller Tucson has aged and is about to be replaced, that figure stood at just 21%.

April sales of passenger cars across the industry slid 1%. At Hyundai, car sales increased by more than 1% thanks to especially strong performances by small cars. Accent sales jumped 28% to 8,208, well ahead of the fourth-best-selling subcompact, Honda’s Fit.

Although Hyundai says Elantra incentive spending decreased compared with March – when Elantra volume boomed to a second-in-class 28,794 units – the aging Hyundai compact still managed an 8% year-over-year improvement.

The Genesis (up 40%) and Azera (up 31%) both posted improvements. The new Sonata was the trouble spot for Hyundai’s car division. U.S. midsize car volume fell 7% in April 2015; Sonata sales tumbled 13%. Year-to-date, Sonata volume is up 3%.

 

Hyundai USA sales pie chart April 2015 YTD

In response to my questions on the subject of slowing growth, Hyundai Motor America’s VP of national sales, Bob Pradzinski, said, “Our production is contained at about 20% CUV. Our success as a company has to rely on car sales, specifically Elantra and Sonata, our volume models.”

The new Tucson launch will likely provide a big boost to Hyundai’s SUV/CUV total, but not to the extent that Hyundai won’t continue to be a hugely car-oriented automaker in a hugely light truck-oriented market.

Hyundai only sold 14,074 utility vehicles in April 2015, a 9% increase in a category which improved by 15%. But can Hyundai satisfy their dealers with a small crossover lineup: Santa Fe Sport, Santa Fe, Tucson? Nissan sells Jukes, Muranos, Pathfinders, Rogues, and Armadas. Toyota sold 45,311 4Runners, Highlanders, Land Cruisers, RAV4s, and Sequoias in April. Honda only sells two CUV nameplates – CR-V and Pilot – but they sold more than 40,000 CR-Vs and Pilots in April 2015.

Or is Hyundai simply primed for a new era? If, or when, the market reverts to car love, Hyundai is established as an automaker that competes largely on the strength of cars. That’s likely to remain true even if the brand expands their utility vehicle lineup.

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

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Luxury Automakers Wary Around Growing Female Consumer Base http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/luxury-automakers-wary-around-growing-female-consumer-base/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/luxury-automakers-wary-around-growing-female-consumer-base/#comments Tue, 19 May 2015 19:00:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1070938 Those dealing in luxury vehicles and high-performance exotics may need to improve their relations with women soon, as more women seek such wares. While less than 10 percent of Lamborghini and Ferrari owners in the United States are women, and Porsche only boasts 25 percent, female consumers in emerging markets like China are flexing their […]

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McLaren MP4-12C Circa January 2012

Those dealing in luxury vehicles and high-performance exotics may need to improve their relations with women soon, as more women seek such wares.

While less than 10 percent of Lamborghini and Ferrari owners in the United States are women, and Porsche only boasts 25 percent, female consumers in emerging markets like China are flexing their wealth with the automakers’ models in significant numbers, Reuters reports. The overall female consumer base is expanding, as well, fueled by increasing wealth as more and more women enter into greater positions of power.

However, marketing leaves a lot to be desired, especially as some automakers are wary of appealing to the new consumer base. Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann explains:

It’s like with an engineering degree which attracts more men than women, that’s just how it is. Males are more into the car business and the super sportscar is the pinnacle of that business.

On the other side, automotive consultant Belinda Parmar says high-end and exotic manufacturers should consider women drivers when designing vehicles. Her work with Aston Martin on its planned crossover is slated to have a higher sitting position and smaller steering wheel, allowing those wearing skirts to enter and exit without having to worry about feeling “silly” about the matter.

[Photo credit: Axion23/Flickr/CC BY 2.0]

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Direct Sales, Ride-Hailing Bills Among Those DOA In Texas House http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/direct-sales-ride-hailing-bills-among-those-doa-in-texas-house/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/direct-sales-ride-hailing-bills-among-those-doa-in-texas-house/#comments Tue, 19 May 2015 18:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1070898 Tesla and Uber are among those whose efforts were for nothing as a crucial deadline to win approval on the Texas House floor passed last week. The deadline was the last chance for House bills to win initial approval from the entire chamber, The Star-Telegram reports. Though said bills could be added onto other bills […]

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Uber Texas BBQ Pedicab

Tesla and Uber are among those whose efforts were for nothing as a crucial deadline to win approval on the Texas House floor passed last week.

The deadline was the last chance for House bills to win initial approval from the entire chamber, The Star-Telegram reports. Though said bills could be added onto other bills through the end of the legislative session June 1, “the funnel is only so large” to commit the necessary action, according to House Republican Caucus chair Rep. Tan Parker of Flower Mound.

One of the bills shut out by the deadline would have granted transportation network companies like Lyft and Uber statewide licenses to operate while stripping individual cities of their right to regulate their services. House Bill 2440, sponsored by Rep. Chris Paddie of Marshall, failed to receive a floor vote due to issues surrounding safety, wheelchair-access, and insurance.

Meanwhile, Tesla’s efforts to overturn the state’s ban on direct sales were thwarted for a second time since 2013. House Bill 1653 and Senate Bill 639 would have allowed automakers who’ve never sold their wares through a franchise dealership network to open and operated up to 12 stores in Texas. Neither bill drew a committee vote on their respective floors, with the blame directed at Tesla itself, according to Rep. Senfronia Thompson of Houston:

I can appreciate Tesla wanting to sell cars, but I think it would have been wiser if Mr. Tesla had sat down with the car dealers first.

[Photo credit: William Beutler/Flickr/CC BY 2.0]

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The Sixth Chevrolet Camaro Is Here – This Is What The Fifth-Gen Model Achieved http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/sixth-chevrolet-camaro-fifth-gen-model-achieved/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/sixth-chevrolet-camaro-fifth-gen-model-achieved/#comments Tue, 19 May 2015 14:00:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1070034 While by no means the overwhelming success that the first-generation Ford Mustang was back in 1966 – 417,000 were sold in that car’s first twelve months on the market, according to Ford MoCo – the fifth-generation Chevrolet Camaro was a hit by most any other standard. Now that the sixth-generation Camaro has debuted with surprisingly […]

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2016 Chevrolet Camaro SS

While by no means the overwhelming success that the first-generation Ford Mustang was back in 1966 – 417,000 were sold in that car’s first twelve months on the market, according to Ford MoCo – the fifth-generation Chevrolet Camaro was a hit by most any other standard.

Now that the sixth-generation Camaro has debuted with surprisingly similar styling to the outgoing model, it’s worth our while to look back at nearly seven years of Camaro sales to gauge the popularity of GM’s Mustang challenger. (Get it? Challenger?)

The main factor for Camaro fans involves the car’s ability to outsell the Mustang. True, the Camaro (and Mustang, for that matter) both put up the kinds of numbers many so-called mainstream cars can’t. But the more appealing measurement is the one which says that in each of the latest Camaro’s complete sales years, from 2010 forward, the Chevy has been the more popular car.

The Camaro outsold the Mustang in the United States by 7,583 units in 2010. In 2011, the fifth-gen Camaro’s best sales year, it outsold the Mustang by 17,811 units. In 2012, the gap decreased to just 1,396 units, but it was still in GM’s favour. In 2013, the Camaro finished 3,381 sales ahead of the Ford. In 2014, as Mustang sales surged in the final two months of the year, Camaro volume jumped 7% to finish the year 3,662 sales ahead.

USA Chevrolet Camaro rivals sales chart 2009-2015

Naturally, early 2015 figures haven’t been nearly as kind to the Camaro. With a brand new Mustang for model year 2015 and the fifth-gen Camaro reaching the end of its term, the Mustang leads by 18,726 sales over the course of just four months. In fact, even the Dodge Challenger outsold the Camaro in the month of March.

(Challenger sales, as an aside, have always increased despite being significantly lower on an annual basis than the Camaro and Mustang. Reintroduced in 2008, Challenger volume doubled between 2009 and 2014 thanks to persistent U.S. sales growth.)

The Mustang and Camaro are not as consistent in their growth patterns, although the Chevrolet has managed to hover above the 80,000-unit annual sales mark ever since 2010. An average of 84,160 are sold per year in the United States. 2014’s 86,297-unit result was the second-best for the fifth-gen car.

Camaro 2015 2016

Maintaining a relatively even keel, even in an industry which expanded every year since the car was brought back from the dead, is a notable achievement for a sporting coupe. Consider vehicles like the Nissan 370Z, which saw its sales plunge 45% between 2009, when the industry was in the doldrums, and 2014, when more than 16 million new vehicles were sold. There’s no surprise in seeing Scion FR-S sales tumble 23% in its second full year of availability or fall 29% through the first third of 2015, just three years removed from its launch.

In their home market, Detroit muscle experiences sustained interest in a way conventional “sports cars” do not.

Any number of issues could crop up to bring the sixth-gen Camaro down a rung or two, from a pricing strategy gone awry to an unanticipated economic crisis to aggressive new competition. What can be seen now, however, is a car that doesn’t look so dramatically different from the last Camaro.

Porsche 911s are evolutionary. Since 2004, revamped Ford Mustangs don’t appear wholly removed from the former models, either. Historically speaking, new Camaros share cues with their predecessors, rather than a striking overall resemblance. Then again, perhaps the distinct resemblance between old and new Camaro will do more good than harm. It works for the Honda Accord.

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

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Mercedes-Benz’s AMG GT Downmarket Foray Is Already Paying Off http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/mercedes-benzs-amg-gt-downmarket-foray-already-paying-off/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/mercedes-benzs-amg-gt-downmarket-foray-already-paying-off/#comments Mon, 18 May 2015 15:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1069250 Mercedes-Benz keeps moving their high-end sports cars down market just as the company keeps making their high-end sports cars more attractive. The SLR McLaren was absurd in more ways than one, and it took a couple of vehicular lifetimes for Mercedes-Benz to rid themselves of all the copies they built. The SLS AMG, on the […]

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Mercedes-AMG GT (C 190) 2014

Mercedes-Benz keeps moving their high-end sports cars down market just as the company keeps making their high-end sports cars more attractive. The SLR McLaren was absurd in more ways than one, and it took a couple of vehicular lifetimes for Mercedes-Benz to rid themselves of all the copies they built.

The SLS AMG, on the other hand, was a bold yet tasteful maneuver into a more reasonable supercar sector, where prices are closer to $200K than $400K, and if by reasonable we mean the domain of Ferraris with eight, rather than twelve, cylinders.

The new AMG GT, on the other hand, has an advertised base price of $129,900, just ten grand more than the new S-Class Coupe and some $21,000 below the price of a Porsche 911 Turbo. Two different AMG variants of Mercedes-Benz’s own SL-Class have significantly more costly points of entry.

Not surprisingly, then, Mercedes-Benz sold more copies of the AMG GT in its first month on sale in the United States than the SLS AMG ever managed at any point in its tenure.

Mercedes-Benz USA reported the company’s first 205 AMG GT sales in April 2015, a figure only vaguely approached by the SLS AMG in its first month on sale. Initial demand for this kind of car is a significant factor to consider. The fact Mercedes-Benz sold more than 200 AMG GTs in April doesn’t mean that, like the Porsche 911 with its immense staying power, the AMG GT can continue to attract a couple hundred well-off new owners per month. The SLS AMG, for instance, even in its second-best month of March 2012, was down 27% compared with its first month of availability, May 2010.

Mercedes-AMG GT (C 190) 2014

Since that month five years ago, Mercedes-Benz USA has sold 2,724 SLS AMGs, far more than the number of overpriced SLR McLarens (713) sold between 2004 and 2010.

As for other high-end sporting cars, Audi sold 69 R8s in April, a 14% year-over-year drop. BMW i8 volume, which peaked in its second full month of October 2014 at 204 units, stood at 138 units in April 2015. Dodge sold 56 Vipers, a 42% decline compared with April 2014. Nissan GT-R sales rose 32% to 162 units.

Mercedes-Benz’s own SL-Class was down 24% to 434. Figures for the S-Class Coupe are rolled into the overall S-Class’s total, sedan included, of 2,021 April sales. Its CL-Class predecessor averaged 57 monthly sales in the U.S. between 2010 and 2014, but CL volume has declined every year since 2008.

004-2014-porsche-911-turbo

Porsche’s wide-ranging 911 lineup was down 7% to 897 units in the best-ever month for the Porsche brand in America.

With the AMG GT and the aforementioned i8, Mercedes-Benz and BMW certainly have the vehicles with which the fight can be taken to the Porsche 911 in a new, exciting format. Challenging the iconic Porsche on volume terms, however, outside the venue of a car magazine comparison test, is a different can of worms. With an exhaustive array of body styles and engines and extremes and its legendary status, the 911 is king, no matter how far Mercedes-Benz moves its supercar downmarket.

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

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This Is What Porsche Sold To Set A U.S. Sales Record In April 2015 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/porsche-sold-set-u-s-sales-record-april-2015/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/porsche-sold-set-u-s-sales-record-april-2015/#comments Sat, 16 May 2015 15:38:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1069050 Porsche broke its five-month-old U.S. sales record in April 2015 to the tune of an additional 518 vehicles. Despite decreased car volume – five nameplates combined for a 15% passenger car loss, year-over-year – the Macan recorded its third month above 1000 units and set a record in its 12-month tenure with 1537 sales. Porsche’s […]

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Porsche USA sales chart

Porsche broke its five-month-old U.S. sales record in April 2015 to the tune of an additional 518 vehicles.

Despite decreased car volume – five nameplates combined for a 15% passenger car loss, year-over-year – the Macan recorded its third month above 1000 units and set a record in its 12-month tenure with 1537 sales.

Porsche’s best seller, meanwhile, continues to be the Cayenne. Its 4% decrease, a modest 66-unit decline, was more than overcome by the Macan’s surge.

Porsche generated 0.36% of the U.S. auto industry’s April 2015 volume, up from 0.29% in April 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. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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Still Largely Ignored, Infiniti Q70 Is On The Upswing Thanks To Length http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/still-largely-ignored-infiniti-q70-upswing-thanks-length/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/still-largely-ignored-infiniti-q70-upswing-thanks-length/#comments Sat, 16 May 2015 15:38:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1069002 With its highest monthly U.S. sales total in more than three years, Infiniti’s flagship Q70 sedan produced a 68% year-over-year increase in March 2015. That performance was followed up in April by a 115% YOY improvement for the Q70, formerly known as the M. Yet even with particularly outstanding numbers relative to the model’s recent […]

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2015 Infiniti Q70L

With its highest monthly U.S. sales total in more than three years, Infiniti’s flagship Q70 sedan produced a 68% year-over-year increase in March 2015. That performance was followed up in April by a 115% YOY improvement for the Q70, formerly known as the M.

Yet even with particularly outstanding numbers relative to the model’s recent history, the 5-Series rival from Japan’s lowest-volume premium brand continues to be largely forgotten. Or worse, ignored.

Q70 volume has accelerated rapidly over the last seven months. Granted, it’s more common to see startling year-over-year growth from automobiles which have previously reported disastrous lows. Nevertheless, the Q70’s fourth-quarter 50% increase in 2014 preceded a 63% improvement through the first four months of 2015.

As a result of the Q70’s noteworthy improvement, the Q50’s 7% year-to-date improvement, and the Q40’s 8% uptick, Infiniti passenger car sales are up 8% in the United States in 2015. Overall, the U.S. auto industry car volume is flat.

Infiniti Q70 sales chart TTAC

Placing the Q70’s recent sales performance in context involves two different factors: its own history, and the condition of more significant players in its sector.

First, the history. In 2010’s first four months, Infiniti sold 4341 M sedans. That figure fell 6% to 4101 during the same period one year later. Then 2012’s first one-third of M sales slid 20% to 3260. A 40% plunge to 1956 units in the first four months of 2013 before a levelling off (down 0.4%) one year later set the stage for a massive uprising in the first four months of 2015. Yet in comparison with that 2010 achievement, Q70 sales are down 27% this year.

And what of the Q70’s upper-tier segment leaders? Mercedes-Benz’s expansive E-Class range is trending the opposite direction. E-Class sales have fallen 33% in early 2015, but at 14,700 units, it’s still a popular car. (E-Class volume has declined in nine consecutive months.) The BMW 5-Series, on the other hand, is up 10% to a best-in-class 16,359 units. Lexus’s GS is up 11% to 7615 units, more than double the Q70’s 3180-unit, four-month achievement. The Audi A6 and Cadillac CTS have also doubled up on the Q70 despite posting declines of 8% and 42%, respectively.

2015 Infiniti Q70L

Regardless of its more popular history or its more popular alternatives, to what do we credit the Q70’s recent increases? Length.

Infiniti asks for only $1500 more to step out of a Q70 and into a Q70L. The proportions are still handsome; the rear seat is terrific.

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

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FCA US Keeping Key Facilities Open Through Summer To Meet Demand http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/fca-us-keeping-key-facilities-open-through-summer-to-meet-demand/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/fca-us-keeping-key-facilities-open-through-summer-to-meet-demand/#comments Fri, 15 May 2015 17:00:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1069186 Looking to make as many vehicles as possible, FCA US is foregoing its two-week summer shutdown at a number of the automaker’s facilities. The following list of FCA US properties to remain in operation this summer includes four assembly plants, all engine manufacturing locales, and one transmission factory, Detroit Free Press reports: Jefferson North Assembly […]

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2015 Chrysler 300C Platinum and 300S

Looking to make as many vehicles as possible, FCA US is foregoing its two-week summer shutdown at a number of the automaker’s facilities.

The following list of FCA US properties to remain in operation this summer includes four assembly plants, all engine manufacturing locales, and one transmission factory, Detroit Free Press reports:

  • Jefferson North Assembly Plant; Detroit
  • Saltillo Van Assembly; Saltillo, Mexico
  • Toledo Assembly Complex; Toledo
  • Toluca Assembly; Toluca, Mexico
  • Kokomo Casting; Kokomo, Indiana
  • Kokomo Transmission; Kokomo, Indiana
  • Dundee Engine Plant; Dundee
  • Mack Avenue Engine; Detroit
  • Saltillo Engine; Saltillo, Mexico
  • Saltillo South Engine; Saltillo Mexico
  • Trenton Engine Complex; Trenton

Three other transmission factories in Kokomo and Tipton, Ind. will shut down for one week instead of two, while FCA US’ stamping plants will operate on the same schedules as the assembly plants they serve.

The break from the traditional two-week shutdown — meant for equipment repairs and changes to the assembly line for the upcoming model year — comes as the automaker continues its streak of rising sales on a year-over-year basis, currently standing at 61 months. The overall U.S. industry is set to sell 17 million units this year, a peak not seen since prior to the start of the Great Recession.

[Photo credit: Chrysler/Facebook]

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Compact Commercial Vans Booming Despite Challenges http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/compact-commercial-vans-booming-despite-challenges/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/compact-commercial-vans-booming-despite-challenges/#comments Fri, 15 May 2015 15:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1069114 While old-school large vans are still kings in catering and flowers for now, more small business owners are opting instead for compact commercial vans. The new segment, boasting vans such as the Ford Transit Connect, Nissan NV200 and Ram ProMaster City, is gaining significant ground thus far in 2015, with sales jumping 58 percent compared […]

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2015 Ram ProMaster City Pursued By Ram 1500 Crew Cab

While old-school large vans are still kings in catering and flowers for now, more small business owners are opting instead for compact commercial vans.

The new segment, boasting vans such as the Ford Transit Connect, Nissan NV200 and Ram ProMaster City, is gaining significant ground thus far in 2015, with sales jumping 58 percent compared to the same period in 2014, Ward’s Auto reports. The aforementioned Transit Connect is the segment sales leader, with 43,210 units delivered last year.

The popularity of compact commercial vans is in part due to business owners needing a van smaller and more efficient than the Chevrolet Express, Ram ProMaster, and recently discontinued Ford E-Series. Karl Chevrolet fleet and commercial sales manager Scott Sams says the compacts offer those features, filling “a blank space in the lineup,” and adds a lot of catering and delivery businesses would benefit from exchanging larger vans for smaller models.

Though popular with those who know already, dealers and automakers alike are facing challenges in bringing those customers to the compact commercial van segment. For GM, who sells the Chevrolet City Express, most consumers in the market usually don’t have Chevrolet in mind when shopping. Dealer displays at local events have helped in promoting the compact and boosting sales in some parts of the country. Meanwhile, FCA US is helping dealers interested in adding commercial sales to their retail operations with a go-to-market plan aimed at building rapport with business customers.

[Photo credit: Ram]

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Audi A7 vs. Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class – Which One Wins The U.S. Sales Race? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/audi-a7-vs-mercedes-benz-cls-class-one-wins-u-s-sales-race/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/audi-a7-vs-mercedes-benz-cls-class-one-wins-u-s-sales-race/#comments Fri, 15 May 2015 14:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1068130 With a broader product portfolio and extra decades of established premium status in the United States, Mercedes-Benz USA sells a lot more vehicles than Audi USA. Through the first four months of 2015, Mercedes-Benz sales were up 9% to 107,344, excluding Sprinter. Audi, globally favored, was up 12% to 56,925. But again, the comparisons are […]

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2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG

With a broader product portfolio and extra decades of established premium status in the United States, Mercedes-Benz USA sells a lot more vehicles than Audi USA. Through the first four months of 2015, Mercedes-Benz sales were up 9% to 107,344, excluding Sprinter. Audi, globally favored, was up 12% to 56,925.

But again, the comparisons are difficult to make because the lineups simply don’t, well, line up. We’ve discussed the CLA and A3 before, but even there, Audi is offering different bodystyles under one banner, which Mercedes-Benz does not. The S-Class has a significantly higher base price than the A8. The E-Class is available as a sedan, wagon, coupe, and convertible – the A6 is sedan only. The GL is significantly pricier than the Q7; the Q7 offers more seats than the ML. The C-Class is new; we might as well wait for a new A4 to draw realistic comparisons. The SLK is a hardtop convertible; the TT is either coupe or convertible.

You get the idea. Only in a handful of zones do the two brands offer truly direct rivals. GLA vs. Q3, GLK vs. Q5, and the matter at hand, Mercedes-Benz CLS vs. Audi A7.

The CLS is a swoopier E-Class, in a sense, just as the A7 is the more style-centric A6. The CLS starts at $65,990, offerings more performance at $73,200, and is just plain crazy as a $106,550 CLS 63 AMG S 4Matic. The Audi A7 starts at $68,300, rises to $82,900 as an S7, and begins its RS7 scheme at $108,900. Similar.

2015 Audi S7

They are two German mid-rung offshoots with six, eight, or overwhelming eight-cylinder power. There’s very little to separate the two.

Yet the Audi A7 consistently outsells the Mercedes-Benz CLS.

The margins are slim, but sufficient so as to be noticeable.

Audi USA sold 6,270 A7s in 2011, the A7’s first (abbreviated) year of sales. Mercedes-Benz USA, having already sold 44,389 CLS sedans in the six years before the A7’s launch, achieved a 165% year-over-year sales increase in 2011, but fell 605 sales shy of the Audi despite having an extra three months in which to sell.

The A7 outsold the CLS by 533 units in the Audi’s first full year of 2012. A7 sales then slipped 1% to 8,483 in 2013, still enough to outsell the CLS (down 0.4%) by 451 units in 2013.

Last year, A7 sales dropped 4% to 8,133 units, but the CLS’s 13% decline made an 1,152-unit victory possible for the Audi.

And through the first four months of 2015, the A7 is ahead by a scant 34 units with 1,835 year-to-date sales.

What makes the A7 so capable of staying ahead of the Benz? Both cars have had recent supply constraints that caused U.S. volume to drag: CLS sales were down 61% through the fourth-quarter of 2014; A7 sales are down 36% over the last six months. But even in those strange circumstances, the A7 stays just ahead. The Audi has outsold the Benz in 31 of the 49 months in which the Audi has been available.

Audi A7 hatchback

Could it be the tailgate?

Sure, the A7 and CLS line up head-to-head in so many ways. But Audi builds the A7 as a hatchback.

Moreover, Audi builds a diesel version of that hatchback.

Yes, America, the diesel hatchback outsells the sedan that they call a coupe. In a manner of speaking.

Audi A7 hatchback 2

Of course the diesel isn’t all that common. Only 13% of the A7s, S7s, and RS7s currently listed by Cars.com’s inventory are fitted with the V6 diesel. But that, in concert with the fact that the A7 offers 60% more cargo capacity, may be all that’s needed.

After all, the A7 is only just barely pipping the CLS on the TTAC sales-o-meter.

Where’s the CLS350d Shooting Brake when you need it?

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

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Hyundai Group Riding High Amid Russian Economic Maelstrom http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/hyundai-group-riding-high-amid-russian-economic-maelstrom/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/hyundai-group-riding-high-amid-russian-economic-maelstrom/#comments Thu, 14 May 2015 17:00:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1068554 As Russia continues to struggle with its economic health, Hyundai Group is doing its part to keep the nation’s auto sales afloat. According to a representative, “Russia is one of the major and important markets for Hyundai (Group),” Ward’s Auto reports. The group’s Hyundai and Kia brands hold a combined 19.9 percent of the nation’s […]

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2016 Rio  SX

As Russia continues to struggle with its economic health, Hyundai Group is doing its part to keep the nation’s auto sales afloat.

According to a representative, “Russia is one of the major and important markets for Hyundai (Group),” Ward’s Auto reports. The group’s Hyundai and Kia brands hold a combined 19.9 percent of the nation’s automotive market in Q1 2015, with Hyundai holding 10.4 percent and Kia 9.5 percent.

Despite the maelstrom sweeping through the market, Hyundai Group has managed to fare well against the economic storm compared to other automakers. Analysts and industry-watchers suggest this is due to factors such as proper product placement, a beneficial global strategy, and its ability to play the game driving Russia’s auto industry.

The group also took home the gold in deliveries over the recent quarter, moving a combined 75,871 vehicles out of the showroom. Local automaker AvtoVAZ pulled up in second with 68,554 in the same period, while Renault-Nissan took bronze with 65,657 combined deliveries. Meanwhile, BMW is reconsidering plans to build a factory in Russia, and General Motors is shutting down local production and withdrawing its Chevrolet and Opel brands from the market.

Within the group, the Kia Rio has done wonders for the bottom line, especially for the Kia brand. Produced locally at the Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Russia facility in St. Petersburg, the Rio accounted for 44 percent of overall production — 104,700 units — and 48 percent of all the brand’s sales in the market during 2014.

Though the country’s economic woes are expected to worsen in 2015, a Kia representative says market share for the brand is likely to continue trending upward, having gone from 7.1 percent in 2013 to 7.9 percent last year; current projections through February 2015 point to a 9.8-percent share by the end of the year. Hyundai remains mum on yearly forecasts, but believes it will continue to fare well, also, thanks in part to government incentives for both consumers and the industry as a whole.

[Photo credit: Kia]

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April 2015: Finally A Strong Month For Subcompact Car Sales In America http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/april-2015-finally-strong-month-subcompact-car-sales-america/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/april-2015-finally-strong-month-subcompact-car-sales-america/#comments Thu, 14 May 2015 16:00:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1066146 In April, for the first time this year, U.S. sales of the core group of nine subcompact cars increased on a year-over-year basis. After January’s 2% decline, February’s 11% decrease, and March’s 12% drop (and the first-quarter’s 9% decline), April sales of the Nissan Versa-led subcompact group grew 9% compared with April 2014. This brings […]

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2015 Honda Fit

In April, for the first time this year, U.S. sales of the core group of nine subcompact cars increased on a year-over-year basis.

After January’s 2% decline, February’s 11% decrease, and March’s 12% drop (and the first-quarter’s 9% decline), April sales of the Nissan Versa-led subcompact group grew 9% compared with April 2014. This brings the year-to-date tally to 163,309 sales, down 4% over the same period last year.

Although it was the first of the year, April’s increase wasn’t exactly a flash in the pan. There’s been a gradual build-up in subcompact sales during the month of April over the last few years. April 2013 sales jumped 6% and April 2014 sales rose 9% before last month’s 4003-unit, 9% increase.

And the segment didn’t rely on the top-selling Versa/Versa Note for its expansion. In fact, Versa sales slid 8% in April 2015. The Toyota Prius C, Kia Rio, and waiting-for-2016 Mazda 2 declined, as well.

2015 ACCENT

But after troublesome months in which GM’s subcompact market tumbled, Chevrolet Sonic sales improved in April.

The Hyundai Accent surged past the 8K mark for just the second time in 37 months.

Ford Fiesta sales improved on a year-over-year basis for the first time since May 2014.

The new Honda Fit recorded its eighth consecutive month in which sales improved, year-over-year.

For the second consecutive month – and just the second time in 19 months – Toyota USA reported more than 2000 Yaris sales.

Subcompact
April 2015
April 2014
% Change
4 Months 2015
4 Months 2014
% Change
Chevrolet Sonic
8,700
7,655 13.7% 20,015 31,888 -37.2%
Ford Fiesta
5,982
5,824 2.7% 18,092 21,422 -15.5%
Honda Fit
6,529
4,197 55.6% 24,623 14,641 68.2%
Hyundai Accent
8,208
6,419 27.9% 25,007 22,427 11.5%
Kia Rio
2,802
3,214 -12.8% 8,800 12,780 -31.1%
Mazda 2
21
752 -97.2% 249 4,560 -94.5%
Nissan Versa
9,646
10,481 -8.0% 46,644 45,084 3.5%
Toyota Prius C
3,523
3,569 -1.3% 12,402 12,402 0.0%
Toyota Yaris
2,153
1,450 48.5% 7,477 5,594 33.7%
Total
47,564
43,561 9.2% 163,309 170,798 -4.4%

Subcompacts remain low-volume players, even in an especially positive month such as April. Even if we were to include the less ordinary small cars and sub-subcompacts (Spark, Mirage, Mini, as examples), this would still be a low-volume sector of the passenger car market. The Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic, on their own, sold 27% more often than the subcompact category as shown here last month. The top-selling Versa is only America’s 16th-best-selling car this year; the 33rd-best-selling vehicle overall. This group of nine accounts for just 7% of the car market in a good month like April; just 3% of the industry’s April volume.

As a result, there’s room for growth. But true subcompact popularity isn’t about to be found in actual subcompact cars. This growth is, at worst, inconsistent, and at best, modest. (This group of subcompacts was up 4% in calendar year 2014 as a follow-up to 2013’s 4% increase.) No, Americans will instead turn toward subcompacts that are priced more like compacts and entry-level midsize cars, vehicles which don’t shout, “I’m frugal!”, to your co-workers, vehicles which are more upright and more spacious, vehicles which aren’t really subcompact cars at all.

U.S. sales of the Buick Encore, Chevrolet Trax, Jeep Renegade, Mini Countryman and Paceman, and Nissan Juke shot up 65% to 17,011 in April 2015. And around the next corner comes the Fiat 500X, Mazda CX-3, and Honda HR-V.

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

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Ellinghaus: Original Cadillac ELR Price Of Admission ‘A Mouthful’ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/ellinghaus-original-cadillac-elr-price-of-admission-a-mouthful/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/ellinghaus-original-cadillac-elr-price-of-admission-a-mouthful/#comments Thu, 14 May 2015 14:01:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1068474 In part due to its Chevrolet roots, the Cadillac ELR is now selling for up to 35 percent less than its original $76,000 price tag. Out of all of the electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles selling below MSRP due to lower fuel prices at the pump, the current ELR has seen the largest discount from […]

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2016-Cadillac-ELR-005

In part due to its Chevrolet roots, the Cadillac ELR is now selling for up to 35 percent less than its original $76,000 price tag.

Out of all of the electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles selling below MSRP due to lower fuel prices at the pump, the current ELR has seen the largest discount from the original sticker, Bloomberg reports. Nearly 2,000 units have left the showroom over the past 18 months, with some dealerships going as low as $50,000 to make room for a model that will actually leave in a few days (i.e. the Escalade).

Cadillac originally established the high price of admission for its Tesla fighter because of the standard features it offered, despite its PHEV technology coming from the $35,000 Chevrolet Volt. Thus, the brand “overestimated” its customers would discover its competitors “were naked at that price,” according to marketing boss Uwe Ellinghaus.

Another justification was if the ELR were priced closely above the Volt, PHEV shoppers would have gone for the latter instead. Branding also played a role in the pricing, intending to signal to consumers the ELR was a Cadillac through and through, from its badging and design, to the olive wood trim and 10-speaker Bose audio system.

Though these failures have guaranteed the PHEV will not see a second generation, the 2016 edition will at least begin the model’s ride into the sunset on a more even keel. Pricing is set to begin at $66,000 before federal incentives, while power will increase to 233 horsepower and 373 lb-ft of torque from the current edition’s 217 horses and 295 lb-ft of torque.

[Photo credit: Cadillac]

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MKC Aside, Lincoln Sales Keep Tumbling As The U.S. Auto Market Expands http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/mkc-aside-lincoln-sales-keep-tumbling-u-s-auto-market-expands/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/mkc-aside-lincoln-sales-keep-tumbling-u-s-auto-market-expands/#comments Wed, 13 May 2015 14:00:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1067194 This whole Lincoln revival thing is going to be a long process of thorough product replacement if recent U.S. sales figures are anything to go by. And they are. While brand-wide Lincoln sales jumped 20% in April 2015, those gains were created almost entirely by the MKC, a vehicle which wasn’t on sale at this […]

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The rear is the MKZ's best angle

This whole Lincoln revival thing is going to be a long process of thorough product replacement if recent U.S. sales figures are anything to go by. And they are.

While brand-wide Lincoln sales jumped 20% in April 2015, those gains were created almost entirely by the MKC, a vehicle which wasn’t on sale at this time a year ago. The Navigator, recently refreshed, helped out with an additional 245 sales compared with April 2014.

But the Lincoln brand, as it existed at this time a year ago with five models, was down 8% in April.

With a new MKX arriving soon, steadily increasing Navigator sales, and the MKC hovering around 1,900 monthly sales, is it possible that Lincoln could become America’s Acura? Remember Acura, the automaker which made its name on cars like the Integra but now relies on crossovers for nearly two-thirds of its U.S. volume?

Lincoln sales chart TTACLincoln, even with a second-gen MKZ that’s only been around for two years, saw its car sales tumble 22% in the first one-third of 2015. In fact, the MKZ’s year-to-date losses are more severe than the decreases put on the board by the nearly eight-year-old Taurus-based MKS. MKZ sales are down 23% this year, a loss of 2,851 sales. MKS volume is down 17%, a loss of 544 units. Lincoln car sales slid 7% to just 3,564 units in April, equal to 44% of Lincoln brand sales. The Fusion-based MKZ continues to be the best-selling Lincoln in the United States.

There are impediments to becoming an overwhelmingly SUV/crossover-oriented brand. The Navigator is on the upswing but it remains significantly less popular than, for example, the Cadillac Escalade. U.S. sales of the Escalade and Escalade ESV are triple what Lincoln achieves with the Navigator/Navigator L.

The MKT was never anything but a flop, and following last year’s historically low output, MKT volume through the first four months of 2015 is down 26% compared with last year’s pace.

The new MKX has potential, but the nameplate has never previously topped the 40K annual sales mark. (Lexus sells more than 100,000 RXs per year. 2015 will likely be the sixth consecutive year in which Cadillac sells more than 50,000 SRXs.)

And as we’ve mentioned quite recently, the MKC appears to have maxed out. Inventory levels keeps rising. MKC sales do not.

MKCExterior3_rdax_646x396

The MKC is, however, masking the dreadful state of established Lincolns in the United States. Indeed, through the first four months of 2015, because the MKC is simply not proving to be very popular, it’s only barely masking the true state of affairs among Lincoln products that aren’t brand new.

Subtract the MKC from the equation – it wasn’t on sale during the first-third of 2014 – and Lincoln’s year-to-date volume is down 21% to just 22,516 units.

Excitement at Lincoln surrounds the New York Auto Show reveal of the Continental ConceptThat’s not a bad thing. But can Lincoln, which is not even remotely a global brand, sell a car with any frequency? New vehicle launch after new vehicle launch after new vehicle launch, Lincoln keeps offering vehicles that initially appear capable of capturing the U.S. consumer’s attention. And then, crickets.

Lincoln sales in the U.S. in 2014 rose to a six-year high. But 2014 volume was down 41% compared with 2003, a year in which Lincoln sold nearly as many cars (90,427) as they did total new vehicles (94,474) in 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. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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Tesla Gains Renewed Support From FTC For Direct Sales Model http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/tesla-gains-renewed-support-ftc-direct-sales-model/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/tesla-gains-renewed-support-ftc-direct-sales-model/#comments Tue, 12 May 2015 17:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1066378 In its battles for the right to sell its wares directly to consumers, Tesla has found a valuable ally in the Federal Trade Commission. Though the FTC has supported Tesla in the past, the agency recently reemphasized its pro-direct sales stance via a post regarding a new proposal working through the Michigan Legislature allowing so-called […]

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Tesla Showroom In California Circa August 2014

In its battles for the right to sell its wares directly to consumers, Tesla has found a valuable ally in the Federal Trade Commission.

Though the FTC has supported Tesla in the past, the agency recently reemphasized its pro-direct sales stance via a post regarding a new proposal working through the Michigan Legislature allowing so-called “autocycles” – i.e., Elio Motors’ wares – to be directly sold to the public, TechCrunch reports.

The autocycle bill – SB 268 – comes just months after Michigan passed legislation to clarify its position on automakers directly selling to the public, which the state has said was always verboten. The clarification, however, left the door open for further conversation on the matter of direct sales, such as the one proposed by SB 268.

The FTC said the final decision involving the business model would remain in the domain of each individual state’s regulators, though it would prefer policymakers to leave said decisions on such business models to both automakers and their consumers “absent some legitimate public purpose” in prohibiting certain selling methods.

[Photo credit: Ming-yen Hsu/Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0]

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Explorer Police Interceptor Still Outselling Ford Taurus Police Interceptor By More Than Two To One http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/explorer-police-interceptor-still-outselling-ford-taurus-police-interceptor-two-one/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/explorer-police-interceptor-still-outselling-ford-taurus-police-interceptor-two-one/#comments Tue, 12 May 2015 15:40:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1065730 In each of the last ten months, Ford’s Explorer-based Police Interceptor Utility has outsold the Taurus Police Interceptor by at least two to one. Beginning in July 2014 (a month in which Taurus Police Interceptor sales increased 15% and Explorer Police Interceptor sales jumped 64%) and continuing through April 2015 (when Explorer PI sales rose […]

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2015 Ford Explorer Police Interceptor Utility

In each of the last ten months, Ford’s Explorer-based Police Interceptor Utility has outsold the Taurus Police Interceptor by at least two to one.

Beginning in July 2014 (a month in which Taurus Police Interceptor sales increased 15% and Explorer Police Interceptor sales jumped 64%) and continuing through April 2015 (when Explorer PI sales rose to their third-highest monthly level in the model’s history and Taurus PI sales slid 2%), the Police Interceptor Utility’s ten-month long U.S. sales tally rang in at 19,362 units. Ford sold 8,185 Taurus Police Interceptors during the same period.

Thus, 2.4 times more Explorer Police Interceptor Utilities are being sold than Taurus Police Interceptors. That trend falls in line with the civilian market, only to a severely lesser degree. Conventional Explorers are selling six times more often than conventional Taurus sedans through the first four months of 2015. Non-police Taurus sales are down 36%, year-over-year, a loss of 6,422 units. Non-police Explorers are up 18% to 69,372 units, a gain of 10,375 sales, year-over-year.

Ford police car sales chartEven by the standards of vehicles which sell to the general public, the Explorer Police Interceptor Utility isn’t uncommon. Year-to-date, more copies of the lights-and-siren Explorers were sold in the United States than there were sales of the Volkswagen Beetle, the Cadillac ATS, Volvo XC60, Mercedes-Benz GLA, Lexus GS, Lincoln MKC, Ram ProMaster, or any of Land Rover’s SUVs.

The Taurus Police Interceptor, on the other hand, with only 3,373 sales so far this year, is outsold by the Lincoln Navigator, Nissan Titan, Scion FR-S, BMW 7-Series, and Porsche 911.

Of course, none of these vehicles are rivals with which sales comparisons possess any great relevance. (Although, a track test between an EcoBoost Taurus PI and an FR-S would be interesting.) But the vehicles mentioned help to clarify the frequency with which Ford is selling their two main police vehicles.

2012 Ford Taurus Police Interceptor Sedan

Unfortunately, sales figures for police versions of the Dodge Charger and Chevrolet Tahoe, for instance, aren’t broken out. From a historical perspective, we also lack the necessary breakdown of Crown Victoria sales, as well. Ford averaged 38,000 total Crown Vic sales in the model’s final three full years and sold another 4,429 copies in 2012. Ford is on pace for fewer than 45,000 total Taurus sales in 2015 and could top the 250K mark with the Explorer lineup.

In 2013, the Explorer Police Interceptor Utility outsold its Taurus equivalent by just 29%. In their abbreviated launch year of 2012, the Taurus PI was the more common vehicle. More recently, in calendar year 2014, the police Explorer outsold the Taurus almost exactly two to one.

And again we ask, whither the Carbon Motors E7?

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

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China Automotive Exports Crashing Against Geopolitical, Currency Challenges http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/china-automotive-exports-crashing-geopolitical-currency-challenges/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/china-automotive-exports-crashing-geopolitical-currency-challenges/#comments Mon, 11 May 2015 19:00:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1065906 China may be a hotbed for automakers to bring in their latest and greatest, but exports of its automotive wares aren’t as hot these days. The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers reported a drop of 22 percent in exports of commercial and passenger vehicles during April, falling to 61,600 units shipped compared to the previous […]

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Landwind X9 Rally Trucklet

China may be a hotbed for automakers to bring in their latest and greatest, but exports of its automotive wares aren’t as hot these days.

The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers reported a drop of 22 percent in exports of commercial and passenger vehicles during April, falling to 61,600 units shipped compared to the previous month according to Bloomberg. The group also found a decline of 15 percent over the first four months of 2015, putting a significant ding on the nation’s goal of 860,000 units shipped elsewhere this year.

Causes of China’s export woes include geopolitical issues in Iraq, Russia and Ukraine, and currency challenges in Algeria and Argentina, per association deputy secretary-general Shi Jianhua, who sees no signs of improvement on the horizon.

The 2015 export target is a far cry from the nation’s peak of 1.06 million units in 2012, and is less than the 910,400 units sent overseas in 2014.

[Photo credit: Landwind]

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Subaru Sees US Production Boost Five Years Early Due To Rising Sales http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/subaru-sees-us-production-boost-five-years-early-due-rising-sales/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/subaru-sees-us-production-boost-five-years-early-due-rising-sales/#comments Mon, 11 May 2015 18:00:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1065874 Fuji Heavy Industries announced it would increase production at its Lafayette, Ind. plant as Subaru hits its North American sales target five years early. Fuji Heavy president Yasuyuki Yoshinaga said last week Subaru would reach 600,000 units sold in the United States and Canada per year by the end of March 2016, a milestone originally […]

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2015 subaru wrx (9)

Fuji Heavy Industries announced it would increase production at its Lafayette, Ind. plant as Subaru hits its North American sales target five years early.

Fuji Heavy president Yasuyuki Yoshinaga said last week Subaru would reach 600,000 units sold in the United States and Canada per year by the end of March 2016, a milestone originally set for 2021 Automotive News reports.

The U.S. market alone accounts for 62 percent of the automaker’s global sales, with Q1 2015 sales rising 12 percent to 128,900 units. Meanwhile, 570,000 units left for North American showrooms during FY 2014, surpassing a target of 540,000 models projected for the U.S. alone by the end of 2015. The current forecast points to 554,000 sold in the U.S. by next March.

Thus, Yoshinaga proclaimed production in Indiana would climb to 394,000 units annually by the end of 2016. Fuji Heavy originally planned to boost said production to 328,000 by the end of said period, then to 400,000 by the end of FY 2020.

The Indiana plant is set to assemble the next-gen Impreza, which will hit showrooms in 2016 upon the new modular Subaru Global Platform, and with direct injection for its boxer engine onboard.

[Photo credit: Kamil Kaluski/The Truth About Cars]

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U.S. Midsize Truck Sales Jumped 48% In April 2015 – Colorado/Canyon At 30% Market Share http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/u-s-midsize-truck-sales-jumped-48-april-2015-coloradocanyon-30-market-share/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/u-s-midsize-truck-sales-jumped-48-april-2015-coloradocanyon-30-market-share/#comments Mon, 11 May 2015 16:08:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1064434 Midsize pickup truck sales jumped 48% to just under 31,000 units in April 2015, a gain of 10,000 units. In April, the overall U.S. auto industry grew by approximately 64,000 sales. Overall pickup truck sales increased by 15,000 units. In other words, much of the growth in the pickup truck market last month was generated […]

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2015 GMC Canyon

Midsize pickup truck sales jumped 48% to just under 31,000 units in April 2015, a gain of 10,000 units.

In April, the overall U.S. auto industry grew by approximately 64,000 sales. Overall pickup truck sales increased by 15,000 units. In other words, much of the growth in the pickup truck market last month was generated by the smaller quintet.

Year-to-date, the Toyota Tacoma-led small/midsize category has grown by more than 38,000 sales, slightly more than the 36,000 sales added by full-size pickup trucks.

While their bigger brethren are growing faster than the rate of the overall industry, it’s the arrival of new GM midsize twins and continued growth from the two key established midsize players causing the overall pickup truck market to appear so especially healthy.

Yes, even as Chevrolet and GMC added 35,696 sales to the midsize category through the first four months of 2015 – equal to 31% market share – the Toyota Tacoma hasn’t suffered, nor has the Nissan Frontier.

Year-to-date, the Tacoma’s market share has plummeted from 63% to 48%. But if there was ever a situation in which market share tallies matter not, surely this is it. Toyota Tacoma sales jumped 13% through the first one-third of 2015 and in April more specifically. The Tacoma is on track for its best year since 2007, perhaps even 2006.

Auto
April
2015
April
2014
%
Change
2015 YTD
2014 YTD
%
Change
Toyota Tacoma
15,656 13,871 12.9% 55,322 49,100 12.7%
Chevrolet Colorado
7,010 5 140,100% 26,136 22 118,700%
Nissan Frontier
5,827 5,697 2.3% 24,929 23,559 5.8%
GMC Canyon
2,432 9,584 2 479,100%
Honda Ridgeline
43 1,328 -96.8% 470 5,172 -90.9%
Total
30,968
20,901 48.2%  116,441 77,855 49.6%

Nissan Frontier sales are also rising. In fact, the Frontier’s rate of growth matches the rate of expansion in the full-size truck category. April sales of the Frontier increased only marginally, however, and the 5,827-unit total was the lowest for the Frontier since July of last year. Nevertheless, the pace of improvement through the first one-third of 2015 suggests Nissan will easily exceed last year’s U.S. sales total, which was the best since 2006.

As for the GM twins, April was the best month yet for the new Chevrolet Colorado. At 7,010 units, April was about 10% better than the first-quarter average for the Colorado. GMC Canyon sales have hovered between 2,400-2,500 per month over the last three months. Combined, the twins continue to trail the Toyota Tacoma by a wide margin and will continue to do so until one of two factors takes effect: either Tacoma sales will drop as the automaker prepares to launch a significantly revised 2016 model or GM will decide there’s enough demand to support increased production.

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

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