Category: Sales

By on July 22, 2016

2016 Chevrolet Malibu

Driving off the dealer lot in a longed-for new vehicle is one of life’s richest pleasures, but there’s no joy if a buyer can’t find the chariot of their dreams.

Now, imagine that your dream ride is a gray Chevrolet Malibu — a 1LT model with two common options. Doesn’t that seem like an attainable goal? Shouldn’t be too hard to find, you’d think, right? Well, one would-be buyer says otherwise. Read More >

By on July 22, 2016

2013 Dodge Dart GT

“If you’re a serious carmaker and you can’t make it in this segment, you’re doomed.”
— Sergio Marchionne, September 2012

“There’s nothing wrong with the car.”
— Sergio Marchionne, January 2013

“We have decided to de-focus, from the manufacturing standpoint, to de-focus on the passenger car market.”
— Sergio Marchionne, January 2016

The launch was flubbed by an emphasis on manual transmissions. The brand lacked the reputation of a competitive builder of small cars after 15 years of Neons and Calibers. Trim and engine variants were, sometimes, poorly aligned. The market for passenger cars began to shrink even as the overall auto industry expanded. Demand for the Dart, limited even at its peak, dried up as most Dart competitors posted modest declines.

The reasons for the Dodge Dart’s demise are many. At the end of its run, however, the Dodge Dart’s production end in September 2016 represents a premature euthanization. After Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ boss said less than seven months ago that the Dart, along with the larger Chrysler 200, would be withdrawn from the marketplace “over a prolonged period of time,”

FCA has now clarified that “prolonged” equals only three-quarters of a year.

What’s the hurry? Jeep. Read More >

By on July 21, 2016

General Motors #AMERICA

General Motors is busy phoning friends and posting on its Facebook wall after it made record net revenue in the second quarter of 2016 and boosted its net profit by 157 percent.

A net revenue of $42.4 billion is a high point for the company, even though the automaker’s global sales were flat compared to this time last year, with 2.4 million vehicles sold. Is it any wonder GM isn’t concerned about its falling market share? Read More >

By on July 21, 2016

2016 Mazda 3 sedan red

Enthusiast praise for the Mazda3 began before the current-generation compact Mazda arrived in late 2013. Previous iterations benefited from hugely positive reviews. “We’re going to love the 3 once it arrives in America,” Automobile wrote in December 2003. Credit for dynamic excellence was the norm a generation later. “Steering is direct and the suspension is firm enough for spirited driving and equally competent at soaking up bumps,” said AutoGuide in early 2009. I haven’t hesitated to get in on the action, writing in my second review of the latest compact Mazda, “The Mazda3 is still the best compact car you can buy.”

It’s therefore not surprising to see that in a five-way compact car comparison for the magazine’s July edition, Car and Driver named the 2016 Mazda3 i Grand Touring the winner of the test. Car and Driver handed the Mazda 203 points, 44-percent more than the fifth-ranked 2016 Nissan Sentra SL achieved.

Industry observers also won’t be surprised to learn that Car and Driver’s fifth-ranked Nissan Sentra produced 139-percent more first-half sales than the Mazda, while the other three losers all roundly outsold the Mazda, as well. Read More >

By on July 21, 2016

2016 Veloster Turbo, Image: Hyundai

Would you be furious if you invested millions to open a dealership, only for the manufacturer to supply just one vehicle with any sort of consistency? Of course you’d be.

That’s the problem some Hyundai dealers in China are facing now, who are in the unique situation of competing with another set of Hyundai dealers in the country. That’s a tall order: the only vehicle Hyundai supplies to those dealers on a regular basis is the Veloster hatchback. Now Hyundai has a Little Problem in Big China in the form of a $135 million lawsuit.

Read More >

By on July 20, 2016

TDI Clean Diesel

It won’t come as a surprise that Volkswagen’s U.S. arm is eager to put all that happy-go-lucky “clean diesel” stuff behind it.

Once the diesel emissions scandal sinks from the headlines like the Deepwater Horizon, the automaker plans to head in a different direction stateside, Automotive News reports, and oil burners won’t be a big part of it. Read More >

By on July 19, 2016

2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland

“Your word is your bond,” Melania Trump famously said. Or was it Michelle Obama?

We are pretty sure the current and potentially future First Ladies were not speaking about the words found in Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ monthly U.S. sales reports. Yet questions have arisen — once again — regarding FCA’s sales practices and reporting methodologies. This time, rather than lawsuits from a Maserati dealer that operates stores in New York, New Jersey, and Florida, or an Illinois dealer of core FCA brands, the questions are being asked by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

In March, Napleton Automotive’s lawsuit (filed by the same lawyer hired by Recovery Racing to sue FCA-owned Maserati last year) accused FCA of “‘strong arm’ tactics to get dealers to falsify sales reports that benefit the auto maker by creating ‘the appearance that [Fiat Chrysler’s] performance is better than, in reality, it actually is,’” according to The Wall Street Journal.

On July 11, reports Automotive News, “Investigators from the FBI and the SEC visited FCA field staff in their homes and offices on July 11 as part of the probe.” In FCA’s own statement, the automaker said yesterday that, “In its annual and quarterly financial statements, FCA records revenues based on shipments to dealers and customers and not on reported vehicle unit sales to end customers,” and confirmed cooperation with both the SEC and the Justice Department.

But what are the actual claims? As automakers report model-specific U.S. auto sales figures at the beginning of every month, FCA typically delves into great detail regarding the prior month’s performance and the year-to-date results. Read More >

By on July 18, 2016

BMW 2-Series Coupe red

Forget last year’s record sales achievements in BMW USA’s showrooms. Through the first six months of 2016, sales at the BMW Group’s BMW brand are down 9 percent in the United States, a first-half pace which suggests BMW sales will fall to a three-year low even as the overall new vehicle market continues to grow.

Not only is BMW’s car division off last year’s pace by more than 20,000 sales, or 18 percent, the brand’s three most costly utility vehicles — X4, X5, X6 — are down 22 percent. Yes, the overall car market is fading, but BMW’s 22-percent car decline is far worse than the U.S. auto industry’s 8-percent drop in car sales. And the 24-percent decrease in, for instance, sales of the BMW X5 stands in stark contrast to the 8-percent increase in the overall SUV/crossover market.

There are nevertheless bright lights in the BMW lineup.

Among passenger cars, the one car that most clearly exemplifies BMW’s old Ultimate Driving Machine credo, the 2 Series, is the BMW car that’s growing fastest. By far.

Among crossovers, the BMW which most flies in the face of everything the BMW cognoscenti value about BMW, the X1, is the BMW SAV division’s fastest-growing vehicle. By far. Read More >

By on July 15, 2016

Nissan Versa

Through the first-half of 2016, passenger car sales volume is down 8 percent in the United States.

It’s not quite that bad in the subcompact car category, but sharp declines from the Chevrolet Sonic, Ford Fiesta, Honda Fit, Toyota Prius C, Toyota Yaris, plus the disappearance of the Mazda2 pushed subcompact car volume down 6 percent.

Yet U.S. sales of the Nissan Versa are on the rise.

Not only are Nissan Versa sales on the rise, the Versa is consistently America’s top-selling subcompact car.

Not only are Versa sales rising now, Versa sales have been on the rise for the last seven years. Read More >

By on July 14, 2016

2016 Tesla Model S

Getting a good price for a used Tesla is now solely up to its owner, after the automaker discontinued a program that allows three-year-old vehicles to be bought back for 50 percent of the purchase price.

Tesla dumped the program on July 1, Reuters reports, allowing the company earmarked for the program for other purposes. The program was created to assure would-be owners of a basic resale value after the Model S entered the marketplace. Read More >

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