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. Mon, 27 Apr 2015 21:34:02 +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/ Oh, So This Is Why BMW Thinks The Sports Car Market Isn’t Going To Recover http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/oh-bmw-thinks-sports-car-market-isnt-going-recover/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/oh-bmw-thinks-sports-car-market-isnt-going-recover/#comments Mon, 27 Apr 2015 14:08:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1055089 It’s been five months since BMW’s sales boss, Ian Robertson, made news by questioning the long-term viability of the sports car. “The sports car market is roughly half of what it used to be. Post-2008, it just collapsed. I’m not so sure it’ll ever fully recover,” Robertson said. BMW, of course, is the maker of […]

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BMW Z4

It’s been five months since BMW’s sales boss, Ian Robertson, made news by questioning the long-term viability of the sports car. “The sports car market is roughly half of what it used to be. Post-2008, it just collapsed. I’m not so sure it’ll ever fully recover,” Robertson said.

BMW, of course, is the maker of the Z4, a car which generates only one-tenth the volume now that it did when launched as a successor to the Z3. In other words, it’s not much wonder BMW wonders whether outright sports cars have a future. 

Just how bad has the Z4’s situation become? Only 802 were sold in the first-quarter of 2015, down 6% compared with the same period one year ago. The Z4 accounted for just 1% of BMW brand volume over the last three months; just 1.5% of BMW passenger car sales. Naturally, roadsters aren’t typically major contributors to an automaker’s volume, but the Z4 was at one time. During a five-year span from 2003 onward, the Z4 was responsible for 5% of the brand’s U.S. sales.

USA Sports Car sales chart BMW Z4

It’s not as though BMW hasn’t significantly altered the Z4 to make it more appealing to a broader cross-section of the buying public. Previously a softtop convertible or a hardtop model, the Z4 has used a retractable hardtop since the 2009 relaunch.

Sales hardly perked up, however, and have only declined since. Only 2010’s marginal 7% increase and 2006’s 22% jump interrupted a streak that saw Z4 sales decline in nine of the last eleven years.

All of this brings us to the month of March 2015, the first time in a year that Z4 volume climbed beyond 300 units. Yet on a year-over-year basis, even March’s 422 sales revealed a 29% decline. Z4 volume has decreased in nine of the last 14 months; Z4 volume has increased only eight times in the last two years.

Yet while reports of sports car death seem to make a special amount of sense when BMW’s delivering the reports, it’s not as though Z4 rivals are contradicting Robertson’s theme.

The Audi TT’s U.S. volume has declined in nine of the last twelve years.

Mercedes-Benz SLK sales in America decreased in six of the last nine years.

Porsche Boxster sales in 2014 fell 15% in 2014 after rising to an eight-year high in 2013, but 2014 volume for the Boxster and Cayman, combined, was down 26% compared to the Boxster’s total from 2002.

The Nissan Z’s 2014 U.S. sales tally was less than one-fifth the total achieved in 2003.

One key exception: although the Chevrolet Corvette’s average U.S. annual volume dwindled to 14,230 units between 2009 and 2013, GM sold more than 34,000 Corvettes in 2014, the best year since 2006.

Since the quote from Ian Robertson was given in November, U.S. Z4 volume has fallen 5%.

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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Range Rover Sales Are Booming In The U.S. – $80K+ SUV Outsells Evoque, Flex, Yukon XL, GLA, Cayenne http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/range-rover-sales-booming-u-s-80k-suv-outsells-evoque-flex-yukon-xl-gla-cayenne/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/range-rover-sales-booming-u-s-80k-suv-outsells-evoque-flex-yukon-xl-gla-cayenne/#comments Sun, 26 Apr 2015 14:30:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1053201 Land Rover USA reported more than 1000 Range Rover sales in each of the last six months and in eight of the last nine months. Year-over-year volume has now increased in four consecutive months as well as in seven of the last eight months. But it was the month of March in particular that drew […]

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2015 Land Rover Range Rover

Land Rover USA reported more than 1000 Range Rover sales in each of the last six months and in eight of the last nine months. Year-over-year volume has now increased in four consecutive months as well as in seven of the last eight months.

But it was the month of March in particular that drew special attention to U.S. sales performance of one of the world’s best known high-end SUVs.

Land Rover reported 1996 Range Rover sales in America in March 2015, a 151%, 1202-unit year-over-year increase.

Three out of every ten Land Rovers sold last month in the U.S. were Range Rovers, a luxury SUV with a USD base price above $80,000 (and options which take the MSRP well beyond $140,000). Only Land Rover’s second-most-expensive model, the Range Rover Sport, sold more often, thanks to a 51% jump to 2646 March sales.

Land Rover
March
2015
March
2014
%
Change
3 mos.
2015
3 mos.
2014
%
Change
Range Rover Sport
2,646 1,747 51.5% 6,225 4,823 29.1%
Range Rover
1,996 794 151% 4,835 2,884 67.6%
Range Rover Evoque
1,284 1,370 -6.3% 3,794 3,176 19.5%
LR4
841 157 436% 2,065 1,144 80.5%
LR2
11 331 -96.7% 57 1,052 -94.6%
Total
6,778
4,399 54.1% 16,976 13,079 19.8%

The Range Rover, reviewed in long-wheelbase form by Kamil Kaluski on TTAC last fall, outsold the whole Jaguar brand by 336 units and outsold Jaguar’s flagship, the XJ, by nearly five to one. The Infiniti QX80 trailed the Range Rover by 580 March sales. The Range Rover sold 82% more often than the steadily improving Lincoln Navigator.

Combined, the Toyota Land Cruiser, Lexus LX570, and Mercedes-Benz G-Class didn’t sell half as often as the Range Rover in March. High-end SUVs which outsold the Indo-Brit Range Rover all have distinctly lower base prices, from the Cadillac Escalade ($73K, 2758 March sales between standard and long-wheelbase derivatives) to the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class ($64K, 2365 March sales). Porsche Cayenne volume slipped 27% to 1364 units; the BMW X6 was up 58% to 587 March sales.

Yet more than the Range Rover’s ability to outsell a bevy of high-end SUVs (thanks to its first 1800+ month of sales since December 2005), the truly impressive thing about operating at a 2K monthly pace is the number of rather more mainstream (allegedly) vehicles outsold by the most costly Land Rover.

2015 LAnd Rover Range Rover

The Buick Regal, Ford Flex, GMC Yukon XL, and Mazda CX-9 are just some of the volume brand vehicles which didn’t sell as often as the Range Rover last month. Add to that list much talked about vehicles like the Mercedes-Benz GLA, Nissan Leaf, Cadillac CTS, Porsche Cayenne, BMW X1, and Land Rover’s own Range Rover Evoque.

No, it’s not a one-time thing. The Regal, Flex, CX-9, Leaf, CTS, Cayenne, X1, and Evoque all trail the suddenly high-volume Range Rover on a year-to-date basis, not just in the month of March. And by high-volume, we mean nobly aristocratic. The Range Rover is the SUV of royals, after all.

As for the overarching brand, Land Rover says the brand “established a new March U.S. sales record with 6,778 units sold.” Five nameplates combined for a 54% YOY improvement. The Range Rover trio of nameplates generated 85% of the brand’s March U.S. volume.

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

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Chart Of The Day: Imagine The U.S. Auto Industry Without Pickup Trucks http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/chart-day-imagine-u-s-auto-industry-without-pickup-trucks/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/chart-day-imagine-u-s-auto-industry-without-pickup-trucks/#comments Sat, 25 Apr 2015 16:34:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1053169 With 29% and 30% of their U.S. sales coming from pickup trucks, respectively, General Motors and Ford Motor Company fall from the top two positions to the second and third when auto manufacturer sales are compared without pickups. Toyota, therefore, becomes the top dog with 507,000 non-pickup sales through the first-quarter of 2015, 21,000 more […]

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Industry sales chart no pickup trucks

With 29% and 30% of their U.S. sales coming from pickup trucks, respectively, General Motors and Ford Motor Company fall from the top two positions to the second and third when auto manufacturer sales are compared without pickups.

Toyota, therefore, becomes the top dog with 507,000 non-pickup sales through the first-quarter of 2015, 21,000 more cars, vans, SUVs, and crossovers than General Motors.

Excluding Frontiers, Titans, and Ridgelines doesn’t change the fact that Nissan and Infiniti are still outselling Honda and Acura. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles nearly pulls level with Ford MoCo when the Ram and dominant F-Series, America’s best-selling vehicle line, are left out of the equation.

Those figures don’t accurately reflect the state of the industry. That’s why today’s chart of the day also includes the actual figures. But the second subject line would clarify the state of the industry if the top manufacturers couldn’t lean on their pickup popularity.

U.S. pickup truck sales are up 12% to 567,560 through the first-quarter, equal to 14% of the industry’s year-to-date volume.

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

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Chevrolet Sonic’s U.S. Subcompact Market Share Is Plunging – Started Near The Top Now It’s Here http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/chevrolet-sonics-u-s-subcompact-market-share-plunging-started-near-top-now/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/chevrolet-sonics-u-s-subcompact-market-share-plunging-started-near-top-now/#comments Fri, 24 Apr 2015 14:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1053129 GM’s share of America’s subcompact segment fell below 10% in the first-quarter of 2015 as Chevrolet Sonic volume tumbled 53%, year-over-year. As a whole, the subcompact category is in decline in early 2015, but a large part of the category’s 9% drop can be attributed to the Sonic. Sales of the Sonic decreased by nearly […]

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Chevrolet Sonic sales chart

GM’s share of America’s subcompact segment fell below 10% in the first-quarter of 2015 as Chevrolet Sonic volume tumbled 53%, year-over-year.

As a whole, the subcompact category is in decline in early 2015, but a large part of the category’s 9% drop can be attributed to the Sonic. Sales of the Sonic decreased by nearly 13,000 units over the last three months.

The Sonic ranked as the second-best-selling subcompact in the United States through the first three months of 2014, a position it held at this stage of 2013 and in each of the last three calendar years.

But through the first three months of 2015, the Sonic is America’s fifth-best-selling subcompact, 25,683 sales back of the top-selling Nissan Versa, a vehicle it trailed by fewer than 11,000 units at this stage in 2014.

In 2014’s first-quarter, the Sonic’s market share climbed to 19% thanks to a 4124-unit improvement year-over-year. A market share drop of nearly ten percentage points just one year later is a shock to GM’s small car system.

2015 Chevrolet Sonic lineup

Chevrolet Spark sales are down 5% this year. Chevrolet Cruze volume is off by 7%. Overall Chevrolet car sales are down 17%. Likewise, General Motors car volume in the U.S. is down 17%, a 45,487-unit deficit (year-over-year) that’s been erased by a 21% surge in light trucks, including a 48,046-unit increase among pickup trucks.

GM has known for quite some time that demand for the Sonic was way below previous expectations. Automotive News reported three months ago that Sonic production at the Orion plant in Michigan would be suspended to clear out a Sonic glut.

But it’s taking a while. At the beginning of this month, GM had a 160-day supply of Sonics. That’s well down from the 258-day supply one month earlier, but still well in excess of the 59-day average across the industry.

Meanwhile, the Sonic isn’t the only subcompact suffering from a downturn. The aging Ford Fiesta is down 22% this year. Kia Rio volume has plunged 37%. The Mazda 2, in a replacement phase, is down 94%. But none of those holes are as large as the one left by the dramatically less popular Sonic, without which the subcompact category would be up 1% in early 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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General Motors Doing Well In Midsize Truck Segment, Success May Not Last http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/general-motors-well-midsize-truck-segment-success-may-not-last/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/general-motors-well-midsize-truck-segment-success-may-not-last/#comments Thu, 23 Apr 2015 18:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1052369 General Motors’ return to the midsize truck segment has done wonders for the automaker and the market, but skeptics aren’t sure how long that will last. Ever since the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon twins left for the showroom last fall, the segment has grown to over 2 percent of the overall U.S. new-vehicle market […]

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2015 Chevrolet Colorado front side 2

General Motors’ return to the midsize truck segment has done wonders for the automaker and the market, but skeptics aren’t sure how long that will last.

Ever since the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon twins left for the showroom last fall, the segment has grown to over 2 percent of the overall U.S. new-vehicle market from 1.4 percent last summer, Reuters reports. Industry execs add that as many as 500,000 midsize pickups could be sold this year, double what was sold in 2014.

However, IHS Automotive analyst Tom Libby found that 9 out of 10 Colorado and Canyon owners traded in other GM cars and trucks for the smaller pickups, with over 16 percent coming from ownership of Chevrolet Silverados and GMC Sierras alone. Libby warns this could be a sign of undercutting of sales of models with higher margins.

GM execs and dealers, on the other hand, are happy with the midsize twins. GM President Dan Ammann called the duo a “very good investment,” while GMC’s director of marketing, Rich Latek, says the midsize segment as a whole is “a sleeper segment with huge opportunity.” AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson adds the Colorado and Canyon happen to have been the right trucks to come at the right time to give the segment a shot in the arm.

The party may not last for the duo, though. LMC Automotive notes that the segment would hold at 2 percent for this year, then slip back down by 2020. Meanwhile, the twins would fizzle out from projected sales of 74,000 for the Colorado and 29,500 for the Canyon this year, falling 8.4 percent and 21 percent over the next five years.

[Photo credit: Blake Z. Rong/The Truth About Cars]

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Volkswagen Takes Silver In Quarterly Sales Amid Lingering Leadership Battle http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/volkswagen-takes-silver-quarterly-sales-amid-lingering-leadership-battle/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/volkswagen-takes-silver-quarterly-sales-amid-lingering-leadership-battle/#comments Thu, 23 Apr 2015 16:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1052129 While the dust-up between chairman Ferdinand Piëch and CEO Martin Winterkorn lingers on, Volkswagen looks to take silver on the global sales podium in 2015. Amid reports from German press agency dpa regarding Piëch’s desire to replace Winterkorn with either Porsche’s Matthias Mueller or Skoda’s Winfried Vahland prior to VW’s annual shareholder meeting early next […]

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2013 Volkswagen Up

While the dust-up between chairman Ferdinand Piëch and CEO Martin Winterkorn lingers on, Volkswagen looks to take silver on the global sales podium in 2015.

Amid reports from German press agency dpa regarding Piëch’s desire to replace Winterkorn with either Porsche’s Matthias Mueller or Skoda’s Winfried Vahland prior to VW’s annual shareholder meeting early next month, the chairman denied the allegations to German newspaper Bild, Automotive News Europe reports.

Piëch said he had agreed to support Winterkorn following a meeting with board members in Austria last week. However, broadcasting network NDR says the chairman doesn’t feel bound by the agreement, and is seeking support from the Porsche and Piëch families to oust the CEO. The two families hold 50.7 percent of VW voting rights, a factor that could sway the state of Lower Saxony and German unions to vote in favor of Piëch’s chosen champion for the role. Both groups, though, stand firm behind Winterkorn and the board’s decision.

Meanwhile, Volkswagen is closing in on its immediate goal of becoming the second largest automaker in the world by the end of 2015. According to AutoGuide, the automaker sold 2.49 million units from its family of brands between January and March 2015, edging out General Motors for the second spot on the sales podium by 70,000 units; Toyota retains the gold for now. The figure is also a 1.8-percent improvement compared to 2014.

[Photo credit: Volkswagen]

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Can American Honda Really Sell 2000 Civic Type Rs Per Month? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/can-american-honda-really-sell-2000-civic-type-rs-per-month/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/can-american-honda-really-sell-2000-civic-type-rs-per-month/#comments Thu, 23 Apr 2015 14:00:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1052033 It’s going to be a while before you can buy a next-gen Honda Civic Type R in North America. We’ve seen the relatively thinly veiled version of the next Civic. Patent images were published on TTAC last week. But, according to AutoGuide’s Colum Wood, American Honda’s Executive Vice President, John Mendel, told reporters after the […]

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2001 Honda Civic Type RIt’s going to be a while before you can buy a next-gen Honda Civic Type R in North America.

We’ve seen the relatively thinly veiled version of the next Civic. Patent images were published on TTAC last week. But, according to AutoGuide’s Colum Wood, American Honda’s Executive Vice President, John Mendel, told reporters after the New York Auto Show that the Civic Type R won’t appear here until at least 2017. “It could be an ‘18 by the time it gets here,” Mendel said.

Clearly, the pricing scheme for the Civic Type R is many months away from being revealed, let alone determined. Yet the most interesting revelation from Mendel wasn’t about the wait, but rather the number of Type Rs Honda believes the company can sell in the United States each month after the car arrives.

“I’d hope we could sell a couple thousand a month,” Mendel said, a number which – in current terms – would have accounted for approximately 8% of the Civics sold in America in the first-quarter of 2015.

Sound high?

2015 Honda Civic Concept

Sales figures for many direct Civic Type R rivals aren’t made public. Ford, for example, doesn’t isolate Focus ST numbers from the overall Focus’s monthly tally, nor are the Focus RS’s figures likely to be discussed.

Subaru, however, has averaged nearly 2200 WRX/STi sales over the last 15 months. Granted, those are combined numbers, not completely dissimilar from a Civic Si/Type R combo. Volkswagen’s latest edition of the Golf R is only now being launched. 478 were sold in March, the Mk7 Golf R’s second month on sale. Over the last nine months, VW USA averaged 1816 monthly Golf GTI sales.

However, the Impreza on which the WRX and STi are based and the Golf that’s used as a foundation for the GTI and R don’t compete in the same league as the Civic family. The Civic is America’s second-best-selling small car. The Impreza is, at best, a moderately high-volume car. Even at its current fast-growing clip, the Golf is a low-volume compact.

Through the first-quarter of 2015, the WRX/STi accounts for 32% of all Impreza sales. The GTI outsells the diesel and gas-powered Golf, though only by a slim margin.

Civic Type R future sales chart

A sampling of current sales figures of potential CTR rivals

Two questions come to mind. One, is there space in the hot hatch market (yes, the WRX/STi are sedan-only) for 2000 more monthly sales from a new entry? Two, even with the Civic hatch originating in the UK, does the overall Civic family’s breadth and popularity potentially make 2000 monthly sales a small matter?

As always, it’ll come down to price. Subaru USA manages to sell more than 2000 WRXs and STis each month with base prices around $27,000 and $35,000. The GTI is only slightly more value-conscious than the WRX; the Golf R is slightly more dear than an entry-level STi. Honda will have the advantage of offering the newer, brighter, flashier thing, a thing we haven’t been able to own in North America before.

The very fact that American Honda wants to sell around 2000 Civic Type Rs per month suggests the price point may indeed be in the affordable realm, which could be some of the best news enthusiasts have received in quite some time.

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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Lincoln Turning To Proper Names For Future Models http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/lincoln-turning-proper-names-future-models/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/lincoln-turning-proper-names-future-models/#comments Wed, 22 Apr 2015 17:00:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1050825 Just as Cadillac embraces an all-new set of alphanumeric naming schemes, Lincoln is deciding that proper names may be better after all. Ford President of the Americas Joe Hinrichs told reporters attending an industry breakfast hosted by Detroit law firm Dawda Mann that his company was “very excited about the Continental name and the attention […]

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LincolnContinentalConcept_10_Detail_Badge

Just as Cadillac embraces an all-new set of alphanumeric naming schemes, Lincoln is deciding that proper names may be better after all.

Ford President of the Americas Joe Hinrichs told reporters attending an industry breakfast hosted by Detroit law firm Dawda Mann that his company was “very excited about the Continental name and the attention it’s gotten,” Automotive News says. Lincoln had made it known during the Continental Concept’s appearance at the 2015 New York Auto Show this month that the production model — set to replace the outgoing MKS — would also be called Continental.

Hinrichs also had this to say about the MK nomenclature as a whole:

I get it. I know MKX and C and Z and T. I’ve studied them very well. I know them well, but we also understand the issue. It’s, frankly, where the auto industry — the premium industry — has gone, if you look at all the nameplates. But another way Lincoln could distinguish itself is to leverage its heritage. So I’ll leave it at that.

The MK scheme was originally thought of as a tribute to the Continental Mark series, though then-CEO Alan Mulally told the media at the time that he wasn’t enamored with the scheme; he would later come to terms with the change. Now that Lincoln is coming back under the tutelage of current CEO Mark Fields, however, one of the ways it aims to stand apart from other premium brands is to return to using names like Continental, Town Car et al.

Proper names may also help on the showroom floor: while sales of the MK models are down 7.2 percent thus far in 2015, sales of the Navigator — the sole bearer of a proper name in Lincoln’s lineup — have climbed 84 percent over the same period, though part of that could be attributed to lower prices at the pump fueling renewed overall demand for trucks and SUVs, as well.

[Photo credit: Lincoln]

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The Top 10 Fastest-Growing Auto Nameplates In America: 2015 Q1 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/top-10-fastest-growing-auto-nameplates-america-2015-q1/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/top-10-fastest-growing-auto-nameplates-america-2015-q1/#comments Wed, 22 Apr 2015 14:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1049929 The Kia Sedona is the fastest-growing auto nameplate in the United States so far this year, nearly quintupling its first-quarter volume to 7670 units in 2015’s first three months. We chose not to factor in the GMC Canyon, Chevrolet Colorado, and Audi A3, all of which actually recorded even year-over-year percentage improvements, not because they’re […]

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sedona6

The Kia Sedona is the fastest-growing auto nameplate in the United States so far this year, nearly quintupling its first-quarter volume to 7670 units in 2015’s first three months.

We chose not to factor in the GMC Canyon, Chevrolet Colorado, and Audi A3, all of which actually recorded even year-over-year percentage improvements, not because they’re not selling at a far more prodigious pace than they did a year ago, but because they weren’t available in new or old form at this stage last year. Nor were the Kia K900 and Ram ProMaster, vehicles which would also have cracked the top ten.

At this time in 2014, Kia was finishing off its second-generation Sedona minivan. The new van, reviewed on TTAC earlier this month, didn’t truly take over until the fourth-quarter. Kia’s on track to sell more than 30,000 Sedonas in the U.S. this year, more than discontinued and/or forgotten vans like the Mazda 5 and Nissan Quest, but a far lower total than that which will be reported by the Toyota Sienna, Honda Odyssey, Dodge Grand Caravan, and Chrysler Town & Country.

Rank
Auto
YOY % Change
2015 Q1
2014 Q1
#1
 Kia Sedona + 398% 7,670 1,539
#2
 Volkswagen Golf +139% 12,763 5,350
#3
 BMW 2-Series + 138% 2,147 904
#4
 Mini Cooper + 136% 9,295 3,946
#5
 Cadillac Escalade ESV + 122% 3,073 1,383
#6
 Cadillac Escalade + 117% 4,826 2,223
#7
 Lincoln Navigator + 84% 2,875 1,561
#8
 Land Rover LR4 + 81% 2,065 1,144
#9
 Chevrolet Suburban + 77% 11,876 6,724
#10
 Honda Fit + 73% 18,094 10,444

Volkswagen’s 139% Golf increase takes into account the conventional Golf’s 117% jump to 5559 sales, the GTI’s 108% increase to an even higher total of 5754 units, a 5900% improvement (to 840 sales) from the Golf R, plus 506 e-Golfs and the first 104 Golf SportWagens.

BMW’s official sales figures simply continued to be released as though the 1-Series simply became the 2-Series, which it basically did, albeit in new-gen form. Compared to the first-quarter of 2014, 2-Series/1-Series sales are up by 1243 units.

2015 Honda Fit grey

Jointly, the Cadillac Escalade and Escalade ESV are up 119% to 7899 sales, year-to-date. That figure is important, because Lincoln Navigator volume is reported with combined figures for the regular and long-wheelbase iterations.

Two more SUVs and a subcompact car fill out the top ten. Measured by units added, no vehicle in the top ten managed to beat the 7650-unit increase of the tenth-ranked Fit. On that note, none of these cars rank among the fastest-growing nameplates in America in terms of extra sales year-over-year. Mini, for example, which sold 4930 2-door Coopers and 3294 4-door Coopers along with 1071 Convertibles, Coupes, Roadsters, and Clubmans, isn’t about to challenge vehicles like the Honda Pilot (+14,850 sales in Q1) or Ford Mustang (+10,215), let alone the Chrysler 200 (+18,663) or Chevrolet Silverado (+18,937).

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

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U.S. Ford Mustang Sales Boom In March 2015: Mustang Outsells Lincoln; Outsells Camaro And Challenger Combined http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/u-s-ford-mustang-sales-boom-march-2015-mustang-outsells-lincoln-outsells-camaro-challenger-combined/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/u-s-ford-mustang-sales-boom-march-2015-mustang-outsells-lincoln-outsells-camaro-challenger-combined/#comments Tue, 21 Apr 2015 14:00:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1048441 The Ford Mustang outsold the whole Lincoln brand by a 1.5-to-1 count in March. U.S. Mustang volume has, not surprisingly, risen sharply since the age of the sixth-generation model began. March’s tally, however, was particularly notable, not just because of the way in which Mustang volume made Lincoln’s abysmal total appear even worse (Lincoln sales […]

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04-2015-ford-mustang-1The Ford Mustang outsold the whole Lincoln brand by a 1.5-to-1 count in March. U.S. Mustang volume has, not surprisingly, risen sharply since the age of the sixth-generation model began.

March’s tally, however, was particularly notable, not just because of the way in which Mustang volume made Lincoln’s abysmal total appear even worse (Lincoln sales slid 3%, year-over-year, to just 8695 units) but because the Mustang outsold the Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger, combined.

That won’t become a long-term trend. General Motors is already gradually leaking details of its next Camaro. The Challenger, meanwhile, is selling better than ever. Sales have only increased on an annual basis since Dodge brought the nameplate back in 2008.

Nevertheless, the Mustang’s March total of 12,663 U.S. sales was, according to Ford, the “best performance in eight years.”

More precisely, Mustang volume hasn’t been this healthy on a monthly basis since June 2007.

Car
March
2015
March
2014
%
Change
3 mos.
2015
3 mos.
2014
%
Change
Ford Mustang
12,663 9,305 36.1% 29,811 19,596 52.1%
Dodge Challenger
6,110 4,882 25.2% 15,957 11,034 44.6%
Chevrolet Camaro
5,956 8,624 -30.9% 17,320 19,568 -11.5%
Total
24,729
22,811 8.4% 63,088 50,198 25.7%

Remember the summer of oh-seven? Yeah, Bush was president, Craig Biggio was still playing baseball, and you were singing all the words to Umbrella in a rented Caliber. More importantly, the Camaro hadn’t returned from its lengthy hiatus, and the Challenger was still months away from being available for order.

In that era, 12,781 Mustang sales wasn’t all that impressive. Ford averaged nearly 14,000 monthly Mustang sales in the United States the year before.

But in 2015, when the overall passenger car market isn’t quite as large and in decline, when competitors of various types are attempting to steal sales, when most other Ford cars posting decreased volume, the Mustang’s surge to 12,663 March sales is rather impressive.

The Mustang was America’s 18th-best-selling car in March 2015 and finished the month just 68 sales back of the 17th-ranked Kia Soul. Besting vehicles like the Subaru Outback and Volkswagen Jetta, the Mustang accounted for 17% of Ford brand car sales, significantly more than the Taurus, Taurus Police Interceptor, Fiesta, and C-Max combined.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Challenger year-to-date figures updated, intiially published with Charger Q1 figures.

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Chart Of The Day: The Chevrolet Volt’s Long And Harsh Decline http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/chart-day-chevrolet-volts-long-harsh-decline/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/chart-day-chevrolet-volts-long-harsh-decline/#comments Sun, 19 Apr 2015 13:07:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1046514 The first three months of 2015 marked the lowest-volume quarter of U.S. Chevrolet Volt sales since the summer of 2011, when Volt production was just ramping up. Volt volume in January of this year, more specifically, fell to the lowest level since August 2011. With only 542 sales in the first month of 2015, Volt […]

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2012 Chevrolet Volt

The first three months of 2015 marked the lowest-volume quarter of U.S. Chevrolet Volt sales since the summer of 2011, when Volt production was just ramping up.

Volt volume in January of this year, more specifically, fell to the lowest level since August 2011. With only 542 sales in the first month of 2015, Volt sales were down 41%.

February sales then tumbled 43%. Most recently, March 2015 volume slid below 1000 units for the third time in three months, tumbling 57% to just 639 units, just the fourth time in 38 months that GM has sold fewer than 1000 Volts in the span of a month. 

Are fuel prices to blame, or the fact that the next, improved Volt has already been revealed? Both may be contributing factors in the most recent months, but a straightforward drop in demand, from low to lower, is the more appropriate response. Volt volume was in decline long before the latest fuel price decline.

Chevrolet Volt sales chart quarterlyVolt sales peaked during the car’s second full year on the market, 2012, before beginning a steady decline that saw monthly volume decrease on a year-over-year basis in 18 of 25 months, including each of the last eight months. Initial expectations called for approximately 40,000 annual Volt sales in the United States. GM hasn’t yet come within 16,000 units of matching that goal.

One thing is certain: there are Volts to be had. The drop to only 1874 first-quarter sales in 2015 occurred despite the fact that GM had, according to Automotive News, a 56-day supply at the beginning of January, a 192-day supply at the start of February, and a 159-day supply when March began.

The Volt was America’s 67th-best-selling car in 2012 but fell to the 70th position in 2013, before falling to 78th in calendar year 2014. Through the first-quarter of 2015, the Volt is now America’s 99th-best-selling car.

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

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Chart Of The Day: The Rise Of Commercial Van Sales In America – 2015 Q1 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/chart-day-rise-commercial-van-sales-america-2015-q1/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/chart-day-rise-commercial-van-sales-america-2015-q1/#comments Sat, 18 Apr 2015 13:13:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1046402 Commercial van sales are on the rise in the United States. But of greater interest than the improvements – total sales jumped 14% to 356,814 units in 2014 and are up 26% to 87,866 year-to-date – is the constant change in the category. The best-selling commercial van in America in each of the last five […]

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USA commercial van sales chart March 2015Commercial van sales are on the rise in the United States. But of greater interest than the improvements – total sales jumped 14% to 356,814 units in 2014 and are up 26% to 87,866 year-to-date – is the constant change in the category.

The best-selling commercial van in America in each of the last five months was the Ford Transit, a Euro-style van that’s replacing the Ford E-Series. Together, the Transit and similar-looking products from Mercedes-Benz (the established Sprinter) and Ram (the Fiat Ducato-based ProMaster), account for 39% of the commercial van market so far this year and 50.4% of the full-size category.

The small van sector, meanwhile, is growing rapidly. Sales are up 76% in early 2015. The quintet, led by the Ford Transit Connect and joined most recently by the Ram ProMaster City, generated 23% market share in 2015’s first-quarter, up from 17% a year ago. Click the chart for a larger view. Specific figures in the column are explained by the descriptions below with, for example, the Transit generating 22,881 first-quarter sales, the Sprinter 5,559, and the ProMaster 5,549.

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

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The Mercedes-Benz GLA’s Arrival Isn’t Slowing Down The Mercedes-Benz CLA: U.S. 2015 Q1 Sales http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/mercedes-benz-glas-arrival-isnt-slowing-mercedes-benz-cla-u-s-2015-q1-sales/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/mercedes-benz-glas-arrival-isnt-slowing-mercedes-benz-cla-u-s-2015-q1-sales/#comments Fri, 17 Apr 2015 12:36:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1046474 As Mercedes-Benz USA levels off with slightly less than 2000 GLA SUV/crossover/hatchback/whatever-it-is sales per month, U.S. sales of the GLA’s sedan donor vehicle, the CLA, haven’t slowed at all. In other words, the GLA’s presence in Mercedes-Benz showrooms is not a deterrent to the CLA. Yes, America, buyers continue to flock to the sedan even though […]

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Mercedes-Benz CLA250As Mercedes-Benz USA levels off with slightly less than 2000 GLA SUV/crossover/hatchback/whatever-it-is sales per month, U.S. sales of the GLA’s sedan donor vehicle, the CLA, haven’t slowed at all.

In other words, the GLA’s presence in Mercedes-Benz showrooms is not a deterrent to the CLA.

Yes, America, buyers continue to flock to the sedan even though there’s a crossover version of that sedan available. Believe it.

Granted, the CLA isn’t selling like it did during its launch period. Anticipated and hyped, the CLA generated 8518 U.S. sales in its first full two months, October and November 2013.

But over the last five months, a period in which the GLA became readily available, CLA sales increased 13%, year-over-year.

March volume jumped 81% after a 16% gain through the first two months of 2015. In the eight months immediately preceding the GLA’s launch, Mercedes-Benz USA was selling fewer than 2000 CLAs per month, although the belief was that dealers could have sold more if they had greater inventory of the Hungary-built sedan.

Mercedes-Benz USA salesMercedes-Benz needed to supply more CLAs to North America, and they have, but one might have expected that the increase in CLA inventory would be timed with decreased CLA demand as the GLA launch period began. Instead, Mercedes-Benz has proved capable of selling more than 2800 CLAs per month alongside the GLA, 45% more monthly sales than they were doing in pre-GLA 2014.

The impact on the brand? Excluding Sprinter, 18% of the Mercedes-Benzes sold in the U.S. in the first-quarter of 2015 were entry-level CLAs and GLAs – 11% for the CLA alone – up from 8% in the first-quarter of 2014, before the GLA. Non-CLA/GLA Benz sales are down 3% in the early stages of 2015.

With the entry-level pairing intact, Mercedes-Benz’s U.S. volume was up 9% in March; 8% in the first-quarter.

Mercedes-Benz GLA 45 AMG (X 156) 2013Even so, only twice in the last six months has Mercedes-Benz topped the premium leaderboard. BMW, the brand which outperformed Mercedes-Benz USA in December, February, and March, adopted a markedly different entry-level strategy compared with Mercedes-Benz and Audi, with their front and all-wheel-drive sedans. The 2-Series is a performance coupe with nothing more than low-volume potential: March was the best 1-Series/2-Series sales month since August 2010, but with only 1249 units, it wasn’t a common car.

No, BMW’s true entry-level car is the 320i, simply a lesser version of the nation’s top-selling premium brand car. BMW doesn’t release specific monthly figures for engine variants, but if we use Cars.com’s inventory results as a guide, BMW likely sold around 4600 copies of the 320i in 2015’s first-quarter.

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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Hyundai To Build Mexican Factory After Sales Exceed 50K Per Year http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/hyundai-build-mexican-factory-sales-exceed-50k-per-year/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/hyundai-build-mexican-factory-sales-exceed-50k-per-year/#comments Fri, 17 Apr 2015 12:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1046314 Hyundai is planning on building a factory in Mexico, but only after annual domestic sales in the country rise to appropriate levels. Bloomberg reports the automaker is waiting until annual sales exceed 50,000 before breaking ground on a factory for the Hyundai brand, per Hyundai Motor de Mexico managing director Pedro Albarran. He adds that […]

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Hyundai Grand i10 Receiving Service in Mexico

Hyundai is planning on building a factory in Mexico, but only after annual domestic sales in the country rise to appropriate levels.

Bloomberg reports the automaker is waiting until annual sales exceed 50,000 before breaking ground on a factory for the Hyundai brand, per Hyundai Motor de Mexico managing director Pedro Albarran. He adds that the target could come as soon as 2018; 2014 sales totalled 12,000.

As for where it could be built, Albarran says the state of Nuevo Leon — where Kia is investing $1 billion into building a new factory of its own — would be an ideal location, and that Kia’s move to build the factory made Mexico more desirable for Hyundai, thanks to the factory attracting suppliers.

When operational, the Hyundai factory would produce over 100,000 units per year, and would include subcompacts popular in the country.

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Best-In-A-Decade March 2015 Ford Explorer Sales Cause Us To Remember Times Gone By http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/best-decade-march-2015-ford-explorer-sales-cause-us-remember-times-gone/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/best-decade-march-2015-ford-explorer-sales-cause-us-remember-times-gone/#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 13:18:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1044946 In the lead-up to the launch of a refreshed 2016 Ford Explorer, March 2015 sales of the current model rose to the highest March output since 2005 and the highest monthly level regardless of season since July 2005. Explorer volume jumped 19% to 23,058 in March 2015, a total made up of 2293 Police Interceptor […]

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Ford SUV sales chart March 2015In the lead-up to the launch of a refreshed 2016 Ford Explorer, March 2015 sales of the current model rose to the highest March output since 2005 and the highest monthly level regardless of season since July 2005.

Explorer volume jumped 19% to 23,058 in March 2015, a total made up of 2293 Police Interceptor Utilities (up 45%) and 20,765 civilian Explorers (up 17%).

In a month which saw particularly strong results from the Nissan Rogue and Chevrolet Equinox, the Explorer ranked sixth among America’s best-selling SUVs and crossovers. (With consistently strong performances from the CR-V, Escape, and RAV4, it’s not reasonable to think the Explorer could routinely stand on the podium.)

But those are all smaller CUVs. Among vehicles which come standard with a third row of seating, the Explorer outsold the next-best-selling three-row crossover, Toyota’s Highlander, by more than 10,019 units and the best-selling minivan, Toyota’s Sienna, by 10,203 sales.

2015 Ford ExplorerCombined, GM sold 24,197 copies of their Lambda-platform (Traverse, Acadia, Enclave) crossovers, a 2% year-over-year gain. But in the interest of full disclosure, Ford also sold 1848 copies of the Flex, which takes the Ford brand’s three-row CUV total up to a Lambda-besting 24,906 units.

That’s besides the point, however. The real story is the return to high-volume status for the Explorer. Last America’s top-selling SUV nine years ago, the Explorer has improved upon its 2006 total in each of the last two years. If the current rate of improvement holds through the next three-quarters, Ford will sell more than 260,000 Explorers in the U.S. this year, the highest total since 2004. March 2015 sales marked the first time since May of last year, which had marked the best month of Explorer sales since July 2005, that Ford had sold more than 20,000 Explorers in a single month. But Explorer sales have increased in 13 consecutive months.

Last month’s 23,058-unit tally was down 7% compared to the previous best March of 2005, but there’s a key difference between the two performances. In March 2005, sales tumbled 17%, a loss of 5000 units compared with March 2004. 2005 was to be the third consecutive year of decline in what would become a seven-year streak. March 2015, on the other hand, marked a 19%, 3700-unit improvement. 2015 is set to be the sixth consecutive year of improved Explorer sales.

Granted, the Explorer isn’t back to historic levels yet, nor is it likely to get back there. Ford averaged 405,000 annual Explorer sales in the U.S. during the decade between 1995 and 2004. The utility vehicle sector has broadened significantly since then, and the competition between nameplates, not to mention the changing tastes of consumers, hasn’t allowed a single SUV/CUV nameplate to come within 60,000 units of the 400K mark since Ford sold 373,000 Explorers twelve years ago.

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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Led By New A3, Entry-Level Autos Are Carrying The Load For Audi USA http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/led-new-a3-entry-level-autos-carrying-load-audi-usa/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/led-new-a3-entry-level-autos-carrying-load-audi-usa/#comments Wed, 15 Apr 2015 13:17:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1044794 March was the highest-volume U.S. sales month in the Audi A3’s decade-long history. Never before had the A3 topped the 3000-unit mark, but March volume climbed to 3081 sales, equal to 18% of Audi USA’s volume last month. Year-over-year comparisons for the A3 are all but completely invalid, as a hiatus between the departure of […]

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Audi A3/A4 sales chart USAMarch was the highest-volume U.S. sales month in the Audi A3’s decade-long history. Never before had the A3 topped the 3000-unit mark, but March volume climbed to 3081 sales, equal to 18% of Audi USA’s volume last month.

Year-over-year comparisons for the A3 are all but completely invalid, as a hiatus between the departure of the A3 hatchback and the current A3 sedan resulted in a three-month-long sales-free period between November 2013 and January 2014. That period was followed by only 863 sales during the new A3’s first two months of February and March 2014.

2015’s first-quarter was, however, the best quarter yet for the new A3 despite the fact that January-March is the slowest period of the year for auto sales in the United States.

Audi sold 7743 A3 sedans and cabriolets (S3-inclusive) over the last three months, a 2% gain compared with the final three months of 2014, a 12% improvement over 2014 Q3, and a 13% jump compared to the April-June launch period of last year.

Healthy A3 volume has been tremendously important for Audi USA, which last month reported the brand’s second-best-ever monthly sales total, the best March ever, and the 51st consecutive monthly sales record.

2015 Audi A3Audi wouldn’t have come close to doing so without such strong entry-level volume, as the aging A4 and A5 fell 32% and 15%, respectively. The A7 was down 30%. A8, R8, TT, and Q7 sales slipped, as well. Excluding the A3 and Q3 crossover, Audi sales were actually down 9%.

But with the A3’s 3081 sales, the Q3’s 1268-unit tally, and the best-selling Q5’s 17% jump, Audi brand sales shot up 20% as the overall U.S. auto industry barely moved the needle forward. New vehicle volume was up just 0.5% in March. Audi’s 14% improvement through the first-quarter is far in excess of the industry’s 6% increase.

The A3 trails Mercedes-Benz’s CLA by 483 units heading into April. Lexus’s hybrid-only CT200h is down 15% to 3399 units in 2015, less than half the A3’s total. Acura is just now launching the 2016 ILX with a more powerful standard engine: ILX sales are down 15% to a CT-besting 3505 year-to-date. The Buick Verano, which straddles the mainstream and entry-level premium categories, is down 17% to 9079 sales so far this year, just 853 sales ahead of the Mercedes-Benz CLA. The CLA’s base price is 35% higher than the Verano’s.

Meanwhile, across the pond, the Audi A3 is the eighth-best-selling vehicle in the United Kingdom so far this year. A3 sales totalled 14,358 in the UK in 2015’s first-quarter, nearly double Audi USA’s total in a market that’s less than one-fifth the size.

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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Chevrolet Spark EV Sees Price Drop, Bonus Cash For Base Model http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/chevrolet-spark-ev-sees-price-drop-bonus-cash-base-model/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/chevrolet-spark-ev-sees-price-drop-bonus-cash-base-model/#comments Wed, 15 Apr 2015 11:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1044706 In the market for a 2015 Chevrolet Spark EV? Your wallet will still feel heavy after signing off on the paperwork for the base model. Chevrolet announced the price for the base Spark EV 1LT will be cut down $1,500 to $25,995, while leasing the EV gets an $80 drop to $139/month for 39 months […]

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2014 Chevrolet Spark EV Exterior-003

In the market for a 2015 Chevrolet Spark EV? Your wallet will still feel heavy after signing off on the paperwork for the base model.

Chevrolet announced the price for the base Spark EV 1LT will be cut down $1,500 to $25,995, while leasing the EV gets an $80 drop to $139/month for 39 months with no money down upon signing; the down payment was $999.

In addition to the new lease and purchase figures, the brand is also throwing bonus cash on the hood, the amount varying depending on which of the three states — California, Maryland (as of this summer), Oregon — one happens to reside. The California bonus comes to $1,000 in addition to the state’s $2,500 rebate, while Oregonians receive $3,500 outright, and those in Maryland gain $1,200 on top of the state’s $2,300 excise tax exemption.

With the price cuts, bonus cash, state incentives, and the $7,500 federal tax credit, one could drive away from the lot having paid just $14,995 for the pleasure of bouncing around from the office park to the coffee shop and bakery in a vehicle meant to help General Motors come into compliance with fleet economy standards.

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Orders For Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Final Edition Now Being Taken In Japan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/orders-mitsubishi-lancer-evolution-final-edition-now-taken-japan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/orders-mitsubishi-lancer-evolution-final-edition-now-taken-japan/#comments Tue, 14 Apr 2015 13:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1043746 If you live in Japan, you can now place your order for one of the 1,000 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Final Edition models before the Evo fades into history. Autoevolution reports Mitsubishi isn’t saying how much power the Final Edition has under the hood, but the publication notes that the GSR-based Evo won’t have the 2-liter […]

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mitsubishi-lancer-evolution-final-edition-ordering-books-open-in-japan-photo-gallery-94369_1

If you live in Japan, you can now place your order for one of the 1,000 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Final Edition models before the Evo fades into history.

Autoevolution reports Mitsubishi isn’t saying how much power the Final Edition has under the hood, but the publication notes that the GSR-based Evo won’t have the 2-liter 4B11T turbo-four and its 473 horses from the Final Concept shown at this January’s Tokyo Auto Salon; the Final Edition uses a 2-liter MIVEC turbo, instead.

Aside from the turbo-four and Mitsubishi’s S-AWC AWD system, Final Edition owners can expect sodium-filled exhaust valves, 18-inch BBS wheels, Recaro seats, Bilstein and Eibach suspension pieces, and Brembo brakes for their ¥4,298,400 (approximately $36,000 USD). Owners can also choose from red, white, blue, black or gray and a white- or black-painted roof panel.

Orders for the 1,000 Evos began last Friday, with deliveries set for August. After that, the Evo will be no more the world over.

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U.S. Minivan Sales – March 2015 YTD – Cain’s Segments http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/u-s-minivan-sales-march-2015-ytd-cains-segments/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/u-s-minivan-sales-march-2015-ytd-cains-segments/#comments Tue, 14 Apr 2015 12:56:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1043866 Minivans accounted for only 2.7% of the U.S. auto industry’s new vehicle volume in March 2015, a sharp drop from the 3.5% achieved by the category one year earlier. First-quarter sales of minivans in 2015 were down 12%, and the segment’s share of the industry’s new vehicle volume tumbled to 2.8% from 3.4% in the […]

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2015 Toyota Sienna SEMinivans accounted for only 2.7% of the U.S. auto industry’s new vehicle volume in March 2015, a sharp drop from the 3.5% achieved by the category one year earlier.

First-quarter sales of minivans in 2015 were down 12%, and the segment’s share of the industry’s new vehicle volume tumbled to 2.8% from 3.4% in the first-quarter of 2014, a period in which total minivan volume had risen 5%, year-over-year.

Two key factors are at play in the minivan segment’s U.S. decline in early 2015. Primarily, a retooling of the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles plant in Windsor, Ontario, is disrupting the sale of the two vans that led the category at this time a year ago and throughout the 2014 calendar year.

Second, the discontinuation of the Mazda 5 spells the end of America’s true, one-vehicle “mini”-van category. 5 sales were basically cut in half in the month of March, a drop of nearly 1000 units.

Minivan
March
2015
March
2014
%
Change
2015 YTD
2014 YTD
%
Change
Chrysler Town & Country
5,489 13,242 -58.5% 19,874 28,994 -31.5%
Dodge Grand Caravan
5,960 14,165 -57.9% 16,918 32,025 -47.2%
Honda Odyssey
11,142 11,008 1.2% 27,088 27,832 -2.7%
Kia Sedona
3,638 641 468% 7,670 1,539 398%
Mazda 5
1,063 2,016 -47.3% 4,003 4,988 -19.7%
Nissan Quest
905 1,559 -42.0% 2,289 3,319 -31.0%
Toyota Sienna
12,855 11,027 16.6% 32,723 26,087 25.4%
Volkswagen Routan
209 -100% 797 -100%
Total
41,052
53,867 -23.8%  110,565 125,581 -12.0%

 The signs of life in the industry are readily observable. Kia’s launch of the third-generation Sedona resulted in a sales spike for the category’s newest entrant, but even with a 468% improvement in March, for example, the Sedona was only the fifth-ranked nameplate in a seven-nameplate (and shrinking) category. Nevertheless, it’s a well-received product, and if the category doesn’t completely dry up and disappear – which it won’t – Kia is setting the stage for a gradual ascent. For now, the Sedona’s 8.9% March market share and 6.9% first-quarter share place the Kia well back of the segment leaders.

The Toyota Sienna’s best-selling status required no asterisks in March. Not only did the Sienna outsell the individual FCA nameplates, Grand Caravan and Town & Country, but it outsold the pair as a combined duo. Sienna sales are up 25% in 2015, a refreshed year for the third-generation Sienna, and March volume jumped 17% to 12,855 units, 1406 better than the Chrysler/Dodge tandem managed. The Sienna was America’s best-selling minivan in each of the four months leading up to March, as well.

Honda Odyssey sales have declined slightly in early 2015 but perked up marginally in the month of March, specifically. 2014 ended with a 5% Odyssey decline and a three-year low in terms of U.S. volume. (Sienna sales rose to a seven-year high in 2014.)

Regardless, both the Sienna and Odyssey have an opportunity to grab greater sales in 2015, at least with potential Chrysler/Dodge buyers who weren’t looking for the absolute least expensive minivan in America.

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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IHS: PHEVs To Overtake EVs In Europe Within Two Years http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/ihs-phevs-overtake-evs-europe-within-two-years/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/ihs-phevs-overtake-evs-europe-within-two-years/#comments Mon, 13 Apr 2015 14:00:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1043242 Electric vehicles are doing well in Europe, but their dominance over PHEVs may soon draw to a close. Automotive News Europe reports sales of EVs in Europe jumped 73 percent to 58,244 units in 2014, while sales of PHEVs climbed 29 percent in the same period to 39,547, according to industry group ACEA. The best-selling […]

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Electric vehicles are doing well in Europe, but their dominance over PHEVs may soon draw to a close.

Automotive News Europe reports sales of EVs in Europe jumped 73 percent to 58,244 units in 2014, while sales of PHEVs climbed 29 percent in the same period to 39,547, according to industry group ACEA. The best-selling EV and PHEV in 2014 were the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (15,134 units vs. 19,855), while the largest markets were Norway for EVs (18,090 units), Netherlands for PHEVs (9,938).

According to IHS Automotive senior analyst Ben Scott, PHEVs will overtake EVs this year or in 2016 as far as production goes, forecasting 1.35 million units by 2020, and 2.7 million by 2025. Meanwhile, EV sales will be under 1 million by 2020, as consumers are likely to choose PHEVs for their flexibility in range and use over electric-only vehicles.

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The Toyota Venza Is Dead: Here’s Why http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/toyota-venza-dead-heres/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/toyota-venza-dead-heres/#comments Sun, 12 Apr 2015 12:03:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1041817 A Camry wagon sounds ideal. On paper. But Toyota’s announcement that the Venza will be discontinued follows U.S. sales declines in four of the last five years. Venza volume peaked in the model’s first full year at 54,410 units. Two years later, in 2011, Venza sales slid 28%. Last year, U.S. Venza volume was barely […]

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2011 Toyota VenzaA Camry wagon sounds ideal. On paper.

But Toyota’s announcement that the Venza will be discontinued follows U.S. sales declines in four of the last five years. Venza volume peaked in the model’s first full year at 54,410 units. Two years later, in 2011, Venza sales slid 28%. Last year, U.S. Venza volume was barely more than half what it was in 2009.

In a Toyota showroom chock-full of SUVs and crossovers – RAV4, Highlander, 4Runner, FJ Cruiser, Land Cruiser, Sequoia – and a close relation at Lexus, the RX, routinely outselling all premium SUV/CUV nameplates, the Venza was tasked with too great a challenge: carve out a niche for a brand which already has all corners covered, but not too small a niche.

Meanwhile, the Camry continued to prove successful at generating sales activity in the mainstream, with increased sales in 2012, 2013, and 2014, all years in which Venza volume declined.

Toyota Venza sales chartThe Venza lacks the Highlander’s third row and, in recent times, operated with a base price 23% higher than the RAV4’s. The standard 2.7L, 181-horsepower inline-four is tasked with propelling 3800+ pounds. And while the Subaru Outback’s success leads many to believe that there’s room in a corridor between traditional cars and utility vehicles, the Venza and far less common (and similarly discontinued) Honda Crosstour consistently imply otherwise. (Other two-row utility vehicles like the Ford Edge and Nissan Murano sell far more often than the Venza.)

Aside from the car’s low U.S. sales volume, the cancellation of the Venza will open up greater production capacity for more popular vehicles built at the same Kentucky site, Toyota’s Avalon and Camry, the latter being America’s best-selling car.

But if the Venza had proven sufficiently popular, Toyota wouldn’t need to rely on the Highlander and RAV4 to generate the volume to make up for Venza losses. Aside from August 2009’s Cash For Clunkers-empowered 8435-unit performance, Toyota USA only sold more than 5000 Venzas in four different months: July, October, and December 2009 and March 2010. Average monthly volume since 2011 fell below 3100 units.

Subaru sold more than 10,000 Outbacks per month during the same period.

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

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Chart Of The Day: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles US Is Very Much An SUV-Oriented Automaker http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/chart-day-fiat-chrysler-automobiles-us-much-suv-oriented-automaker/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/chart-day-fiat-chrysler-automobiles-us-much-suv-oriented-automaker/#comments Sat, 11 Apr 2015 12:02:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1041793 Not surprisingly, one of only a couple automakers with an SUV-only auto brand is enjoying record sales at that SUV brand in an era of booming utility vehicle sales. At this stage in 2013, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles/Chrysler Group was selling more cars in the United States than SUVs and crossovers. Those figures flipped one year […]

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FCA US sales chart by vehicle categoryNot surprisingly, one of only a couple automakers with an SUV-only auto brand is enjoying record sales at that SUV brand in an era of booming utility vehicle sales.

At this stage in 2013, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles/Chrysler Group was selling more cars in the United States than SUVs and crossovers. Those figures flipped one year later and became even more disparate in the first-quarter of 2015.

More than four out every ten FCA sales in the United States in the first three months of this year were SUVs or crossovers: Jeeps, Dodge Durangos, and Dodge Journeys. We only recently covered the enormity of Jeep’s record-setting March success.

Other factors are shaking up the vehicle mix at FCA dealers, as well, such as the retooling at the company’s minivan plant in Windsor, Ontario, and the increased number of commercial vans available. But with SUV/crossover sales rising 12% across the board in early 2015, it’s no secret that FCA was well positioned to take advantage, and that advantage has seriously rejigged the automaker’s overall U.S. sales figures.

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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Lincoln MKC Inventory Rising, But U.S. Sales Have Levelled Off http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/lincoln-mkc-inventory-rising-u-s-sales-levelled-off/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/lincoln-mkc-inventory-rising-u-s-sales-levelled-off/#comments Fri, 10 Apr 2015 12:49:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1041769 With November’s sales results in hand, we asked four months ago whether Ford Motor Company’s Lincoln division had reached “Peak MKC.” Initial evidence suggested the Escape-related small crossover wasn’t able to cross the threshold from middling success in the Acura RDX and Audi Q5-dominated small luxury CUV arena into the upper tier. With the MKC’s […]

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2015 Lincoln MKCWith November’s sales results in hand, we asked four months ago whether Ford Motor Company’s Lincoln division had reached “Peak MKC.” Initial evidence suggested the Escape-related small crossover wasn’t able to cross the threshold from middling success in the Acura RDX and Audi Q5-dominated small luxury CUV arena into the upper tier.

With the MKC’s U.S. sales results from the first-quarter of 2015 now in, there’s yet more evidence leading us to believe that demand for the MKC – at its current price point, with its current level of incentives, without a new MKX stealing limelight – won’t climb noticeably higher.

Its share of the small luxury SUV category is lower than it was during the launch period in the third-quarter of last year. After claiming 9.3% market share last summer, the MKC accelerated to 10.9% in the final three months of 2014. But with five established rivals selling (RDX, Q5, X3, XC60, GLK) more often and Lexus’s NX also generating greater interest, the MKC’s share in the segment was down to 8.6% in Q1 2015.

The MKC was Lincoln’s best-selling model in November, and it seemed likely that it could continue to be the brand’s most popular model given the decreasing interest in the brand’s main car, the MKZ, and the fact that the MKC was believed to be just getting going. (MKZ volume declined in each of the last ten months.) Some showroom traffic is perhaps being diverted toward the MKC, as well, because the first-generation MKX is more than eight-years old and the new MKX is forthcoming.

Lincoln
March 2015
March 2014
% Change
3 mos. 2015
3 mos. 2014
% Change
MKZ
2,842 4,052 -29.9% 6,506 9,218 -29.4%
MKC
2,070 5,230
MKX
1,475 2,581 -42.9% 3,968 7,101 -44.1%
Navigator
1,097 746 47.1% 2,875 1,561 84.2%
MKS
838 1,034 -19.0% 2,042 2,440 -16.3%
MKT
373 556 -32.9% 857 1,283 -33.2%
Total
8,695 8,969 -3.1% 21,478 21,603 -0.6%

Lincoln dealers have the MKCs to sell, as well. Automotive News shows more than 10,000 MKCs were in stock at the beginning of March, a month in which 2070 MKCs were sold, the MKC’s fourth-best of 11 months. That’s a 163-day supply, not an extraordinary number for Lincoln (which has the highest inventory levels of any auto brand in America), but far greater than the industry average of 69 days.

We are, however, approaching the prime automobile buying season. Top-selling small luxury crossovers like the Acura RDX and Audi Q5, for example, sold 19% and 27% more, respectively, in the second-quarter of 2014 than in the first. Over the next three months, the auto industry should produce at least 10% more activity than it did over the previous three months. But after averaging fewer than 2000 monthly sales over the last nine months and never topping the 2400-unit mark, there’s little reason to believe that, even with plenty of MKCs available, there will be a sudden spike in demand without real pricing aggression from Ford MoCo.

As for the hope that the MKC would be a Lincoln saviour, well, that’s not turning out to be the case. Non-MKC Lincoln sales plunged 25% in the first-quarter and 26% in March. Even including the MKC, brand-wide Lincoln sales slid 3% last month and 0.6% in Q1.

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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Eberhardt: No Separate Brand Above Range Rover For Ultra-Luxury SUVs http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/eberhardt-no-separate-brand-range-rover-ultra-luxury-suvs/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/eberhardt-no-separate-brand-range-rover-ultra-luxury-suvs/#comments Fri, 10 Apr 2015 10:00:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1041625 Though Bentley and Rolls-Royce are adding ultra-luxury SUVs to their collections, Jaguar Land Rover has no plans to put one above Range Rover. Car & Driver reports JLR North America CEO and president Joe Eberhardt stated during the 2015 New York Auto Show that such a thing won’t likely occur, adding that JLR hasn’t yet […]

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2016-Land-Rover-Range-Rover-SVAutobiography-106-876x535

Though Bentley and Rolls-Royce are adding ultra-luxury SUVs to their collections, Jaguar Land Rover has no plans to put one above Range Rover.

Car & Driver reports JLR North America CEO and president Joe Eberhardt stated during the 2015 New York Auto Show that such a thing won’t likely occur, adding that JLR hasn’t yet seen “where Range Rover can go.” Eberhardt also said that he wasn’t too worried about the ultra-luxury SUV competition stealing sales from the high-end brand.

Presently, the most expensive Range Rover in JLR’s lineup is the recently introduced Range Rover SVAutobiography, which tops out the range with a base price of $200,490; the Bentley and Roller SUVs are expected to begin between $300,000 and $400,000 for comparison.

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Rogue Surge: Nissan’s Small CUV Continues Rise Toward The Top Of The Crossover Heap http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/rogue-surge-nissans-small-cuv-continues-rise-toward-top-crossover-heap/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/rogue-surge-nissans-small-cuv-continues-rise-toward-top-crossover-heap/#comments Thu, 09 Apr 2015 15:38:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1041513 In smashing its all-time record set just seven months ago by 6000 units, the Nissan Rogue became America’s second-best-selling utility vehicle in March 2015. Year-over-year, U.S. sales of the Rogue jumped 41% to 27,418 in March. Rogue volume is up 28% to 64,486 through the first-quarter of 2015, making the Rogue America’s fifth-best-selling utility vehicle […]

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2014 Nissan RogueIn smashing its all-time record set just seven months ago by 6000 units, the Nissan Rogue became America’s second-best-selling utility vehicle in March 2015.

Year-over-year, U.S. sales of the Rogue jumped 41% to 27,418 in March. Rogue volume is up 28% to 64,486 through the first-quarter of 2015, making the Rogue America’s fifth-best-selling utility vehicle this year, on par with its position at this stage last year and one position north of its year-end ranking in 2014.

But the Rogue, somewhat unusual because it’s available with a third row of seating, has quickly narrowed the gap. At this point in 2014, the Rogue trailed the top-selling utility vehicle in the U.S., Ford’s Escape, by 20,857 units. In 2015, the Rogue trails the top-selling Honda CR-V by fewer than 8700 units.

best selling SUVs chartMoreover, the Rogue’s March tally was second-best among SUVs and crossovers and only 200 units shy of the CR-V, which sat atop the leaderboard for the seventh consecutive month. In a utility vehicle sector which produced a 7% year-over-year improvement in the month of March, the CR-V and Escape both lost sales and market share and combined for a 6% decline.

(Note: “Rogue” is an all-encompassing term that includes both the first and second-generation small crossovers. In a sense, this is not terribly different compared with the overlap of any car: the Toyota Camry over the course of last fall and winter; the Ford F-150 right now. However, the fact that Nissan markets both the Rogue and Rogue Select isn’t just a perfectly timed production overlap to keep inventory levels high in the short-term. The Rogue’s presence is Nissan’s medium-term plan. Nissan doesn’t break down the totals of Rogue new and old, but a translation of inventory results from Cars.com suggests 32% of the Rogue’s sales tally is Rogue Select-derived.)

2014 Nissan Rogue SelectThe Rogue’s year-over-year increase was the nameplate’s eighth consecutive and the 14th in the last 16 months. On an annual basis, the Rogue has always posted improved sales, rising 165% between its first full year (2008) to 199,199 U.S. sales in 2014.

But the Nissan is competing in an increasingly challenging market, one in which the typically better-selling CR-V, Escape, Toyota RAV4, and Chevrolet Equinox all set U.S. sales records in 2014, as well. And as part of the Nissan lineup, the Rogue has its detractors. In a discussion with reporters at the New York International Auto Show that ended with John Mendel saying, “”This is probably the last interview that PR is going to let me do,” the Honda senior VP went off on Nissan’s increasingly impressive sales numbers. “They want to juice their business by 28 to 30 percent fleet every month. That’s their business but then don’t compare it to individual customers who pay their own money for individual cars.”

The Nissan brand has outsold the Honda brand in each of 2015’s first three months. The Detroit News quotes a Nissan spokesman, David Reuter, who denied the 28-30% figure and offered up 17% as the more realistic number. Regardless, Mendel’s insistence that, “I don’t really give a damn about Nissan,” may include slightly too much protest to be completely believable.

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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