Tag: auto sales

By on March 20, 2017

Macan Porsche

While still exclusive, Porsche is gradually becoming a more populous and profitable brand. It delivered 238,000 vehicles last year and posted an operating profit of $4.1 billion — a 14-percent increase over 2015’s accounting.

A little back-of-the-envelope math places the per-car profit at roughly $17,250. As a premium automaker, you’d expect it to rake it in on every vehicle sold. However, Porsche doesn’t limit production to the same extent that Ferrari does in order to maintain artificially high prices. And it absolutely decimates other premium brands that offer exclusivity at a higher volume. BMW and Mercedes-Benz both hover at around $5,000 in profit per car.

Porsche seems to have struck an ideal balance. While its per-car profit was actually higher a few years ago — $23,000 in 2013 — it wasn’t making quite as much money overall. At the time, Bentley pulled in roughly 21 grand per unit and sold fewer vehicles overall. Since then, Porsche has shifted some of its focus downmarket, introduced the Macan, expanded its volume, increased income, and still managed to maintain a sweet profit margin on every vehicle sold.

How did it manage that? Basically, the same way Ford wrangles its F-150.

(Read More…)

By on March 13, 2017

2018 Lexus LC500 front – Image: Lexus

Lexus has lofty goals for the new LC performance coupe, a two-car range encompassing V8 and V6 hybrid cars. The Lexus LC, Toyota’s premium division hopes, will attract 400 buyers in America per month.

That’s a big number.

Granted, Toyota sells more than 1,000 Camrys in the United States every day. In fact, Lexus sells 300 copies of the RX, America’s all-conquering premium utility vehicle, every day.

But the 2018 Lexus LC is not America’s best-selling midsize car 15 years running, nor is the LC the dominant luxury crossover in a market gone gaga for luxury crossovers. The Lexus LC, on the other hand, is a $92,995–106,295 Japanese coupe. 400 monthly sales for a two-door priced in that stratosphere is truly a big number.

And Lexus believes it will outsell the Jaguar F-Type, Porsche Cayman, Mercedes-Benz SLC, and Audi TT. Lexus believes the LC will sell roughly three times more often than the Nissan GT-R ever has. Lexus intends to attract more buyers with the LC than Mercedes-Benz can with The Establishment, the SL-Class; more buyers than BMW attracts with the vast BMW 6 Series range.

Why? Lexus certainly has its reasons. (Read More…)

By on March 9, 2017

2017 Subaru Outback - Image: Subaru

“Washington is not a place to live in. The rents are high, the food is bad, the dust is disgusting and the morals are deplorable. Go South, young man, go South and grow up with the country.” —Not Horace Greeley

Subaru generates 60 percent of its global sales in the United States. For a Japanese brand that still relies on imports for half of its volume in its largest market, Subaru knows that 60-percent reliance on America is way too high.

Subaru needs strength in other markets. Subaru needs to diversify its portfolio. Subaru needs another America.

Unfortunately for Subaru, history suggests the brand won’t quickly find strength in other markets. History suggests Subaru’s attempts to diversify its portfolio won’t succeed.

Fortunately for Subaru, however, there is more America.

“It’s true we want to increase sales in other countries, but in terms of the place with the best chance to increase sales, it has to be America’s Sun Belt,” Yasuyuki Yoshinaga, CEO at Subaru’s Fuji Heavy Industries parent company, told Bloomberg.

In other words, Subaru wants to add some New Orleans to its order of New Hampshire; Burlington with a side of Birmingham; Kennebunkport supplemented with a dose of Port St. Lucie. (Read More…)

By on March 2, 2017

2017 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid – Image: ChevrloletAside from the Volkswagen Passat’s 40-percent year-over-year uptick, every automaker competing in America’s midsize sedan segment suffered from declining volume in February 2017.

The midsize car category tumbled 19 percent, a loss of more than 34,000 sales.

February 2017 marked the twelfth consecutive month of year-over-year declines for midsize car sales in America.


This is the ninth edition of TTAC’s Midsize Sedan Deathwatch. The midsize sedan as we know it — “midsizedus sedanicus” in the original latin — isn’t going anywhere any time soon, but the ongoing sales contraction will result in a reduction of mainstream intermediate sedans in the U.S. market. 

How do we know? It already has.


The Passat’s exceptional year-over-year uptick by no means represents healthy volume for the big Volkswagen. But the bigger story from February’s results was the horrific nosedive performed by Detroit nameplates: one discontinued nameplate, one of the older members of the midsize fleet, the newest member of the midsize fleet, and one semi-premium niche player. (Read More…)

By on March 1, 2017

2017 Honda CR-V Touring – Image: Honda

Auto sales declined by a modest 1 percent in the United States in February 2017, dragged down by plunging sales at numerous Fiat Chrysler Automobiles brands and sharp declines at Toyota Motor Corp. and Hyundai-Kia. Ford Motor Company sales slid 4 percent because of a 26-percent decline in car sales at the Ford division.

Across much of the industry, there were signs of rude health, particularly if the car sector is ignored. Of the 20 most popular cars in America — a group topped by the Toyota Camry — 16 nameplates generated fewer sales this February than last. Yet America’s five leading utility vehicles (Rogue, CR-V, RAV4, Escape, Equinox) combined for more than 25,000 additional February sales in 2017. And while minivan sales plunged by a fifth, U.S. pickup truck sales were up 10 percent because of full-size truck strength.

These stark contradictions produced a market that produced slightly degraded numbers in one of the two traditionally weakest months on the calendar. Now one-sixth of the way into 2017, the poor selling season should be behind us.  (Read More…)

By on February 2, 2017

2017 Chrysler 200S AWD - Image: Chrysler

The Suzuki Kizashi‘s brief tenure came to an end in 2013. 2014 was the last year Mitsubishi produced Galant sales in the United States. 2015 marked the Dodge Avenger’s terminus. The Chrysler 200’s death was announced in 2016.

Will 2017 be a period of further contraction in America’s midsize sedan market?


This is the eighth edition of TTAC’s Midsize Sedan Deathwatch. The midsize sedan as we know it — “midsizedus sedanicus” in the original latin — isn’t going anywhere any time soon, but the ongoing sales contraction will result in a reduction of mainstream intermediate sedans in the U.S. market. 

How do we know? It already has.


If January 2017’s results are anything to go by, it’s going to be a very ugly year for midsize cars in the United States; sales tumbled by more than a fifth in January 2017, a year-over-year decline worth 30,000 lost sales. (Read More…)

By on February 1, 2017

Mercedes-Benz C450 AMG Sedan - Image: Mercedes-BenzAuto sales slid 2 percent in January 2017, starting off the new year on the wrong foot after a record December ended 2016 by stealing this year’s sales.

Sharp declines at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Toyota Motor Corporation brought down an industry that saw numerous notable gains. While FCA and Toyota tumbled by more than 11 percent, year-over-year, Honda, Nissan, and Subaru were among the biggest brands to report improvements compared with January 2016. (Read More…)

By on January 10, 2017

2017 Chrysler 200S AWD - Image: FCAAs recently as 2014, U.S. sales of midsize cars were on the rise, albeit marginally. As recently as 2015, U.S. sales of midsize cars were shrinking only modestly, falling less than 2 percent compared with 2014.

In 2016, however, U.S. sales of midsize cars decreased by more than 250,000 units — an 11-percent drop that exceeded the rate of decline witnessed elsewhere in the car market.


This is the seventh edition of TTAC’s Midsize Sedan Deathwatch. The midsize sedan as we know it — “midsizedus sedanicus” in the original latin — isn’t going anywhere any time soon, but the ongoing sales contraction will result in a reduction of mainstream intermediate sedans in the U.S. market. 

How do we know? It already has.


The midsize sedan segment continues to be a hugely consequential part of the car market and the overall new vehicle market, but the segment has greatly contracted over the last few years — including the demise of yet another nameplate in 2016.

That makes 2017 the best time to replace the 15-time best-seller with an all-new model. (Read More…)

By on January 4, 2017

2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee OverlandGeneral Motors, Ford Motor Company, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles all ended 2016 selling fewer new vehicles in the United States than the traditional Detroit Three managed one year earlier.

Yet for a second consecutive year, U.S. auto sales improved to record levels, shooting past 17.5 million units thanks to an end-of-year push that propelled December to a 3-percent increase, not the 2-percent decline forecasted. (Read More…)

By on December 2, 2016

GMC.com screenshot - Image: GMCGeneral Motors moved to increase the average incentive spend per Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, and GMC vehicle by 36 percent in November in order to clear out an inventory glut that seemingly refuses to be cleared out.

According to Autodata, General Motors now has more than 873,000 vehicles in stock, nearly three months of supply. That’s 26 percent more inventory than at this stage of 2015, when industry-wide volume was pacing at roughly the same level as today, albeit with significantly less incentivization.

J.D. Power PIN data shows that General Motors spent $4,912 per vehicle sale in November 2016, a $1,302 increase compared with November 2015. According to TrueCar, industry-wide incentive spending rose 13 percent, year-over-year, a figure skewed by the dramatic increase at America’s biggest holder of market share. (Read More…)

By on December 2, 2016

Front Pedestrian Braking, a new active safety technology available on the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu and 2016 Cadillac CT6, is one of many safety features tested at General Motors' new Active Safety Test Area at the Milford Proving Ground in Milford, Michigan. Image: Jeffrey Sauger/General Motors

U.S. sales of midsize cars remained on an even keel in November 2016, decreasing by only one-tenth of one percent compared with November 2015.

But make no mistake: the midsize car category still took a hit in November. While volume remained level, the segment’s share of the overall U.S. new vehicle market fell below 12 percent last month, the fifth consecutive November in which midsize market share has declined.  (Read More…)

By on December 1, 2016

2017 Subaru Forester 20XT Touring - Image: Subaru

U.S. sales of new vehicles, year-over-year, declined in three consecutive months between August and October 2016.

Forecasters expected November 2016 to be a much brighter month thanks to buoyant incentives, a lack of post-election economic turmoil, and a lengthier sales month. Indeed, auto sales rose by nearly 4 percent thanks in no small part to big gains at General Motors, America’s highest-volume manufacturer of automobiles. (Read More…)

By on November 29, 2016

NIssan Nalley Showroom: Image - Nissan USA

After the U.S. auto industry reported all-time record sales volume in calendar year 2015, the industry grew by more than 1 percent, year-over-year, in the first-half of 2016.

But since the second-half began, auto sales have trended in the opposite direction. Compared with the July-October period of 2015, sales in the same period one year later were down 2.5 percent. U.S. auto sales declined in August, again in September, and again in October. Since July, year-over-year volume has fallen by nearly 150,000 units, dragging 2016’s year-to-date ten-month tally below last year’s record results.

Yet forecasters say November 2016 will produce a sudden turnaround. (Read More…)

By on November 16, 2016

2017 Buick Cascada - Image: BuickFront-wheel-drive, soft top, four-cylinder engine, hefty curb weight— the ideal car for the Enterprise Rent-A-Car lot at Miami International Airport?

Not so.

On sale since January, the Buick Cascada has attracted 6,154 individual U.S. buyers over the last ten months.

According to Buick, General Motors has only seen three Cascadas make their way into fleet use, for a total of 6,157 Cascada sales through the end of October. (Read More…)

By on November 15, 2016

Dodge Journey Canada screenshot - FCA Canada websiteIt was early 2014 when an Albertan car salesman drew my attention to a claim he noticed in commercials and promotional material from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Canada. The Dodge Journey, they said, was Canada’s No. 1 selling crossover.

It wasn’t. But at the time, FCA was using some hilariously inappropriate segmentation from R.L. Polk Canada, Inc. to support the claim.

FCA Canada’s more recent Journey-related claim uses altered language to make a similar-sounding statement. FCA calls the Journey, “Canada’s favourite crossover.”

The Dodge Journey is not Canada’s favourite crossover. The Dodge Journey never was Canada’s favourite crossover. Based on current trend lines, the Dodge Journey does not stand a chance of soon becoming Canada’s favourite crossover. (Read More…)

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