Tag: auto sales

By on April 4, 2017

2017 Toyota Camry - Image: Toyota

Reaching the end of the line before an all-new 2018 model launches, the outgoing Toyota Camry is — quite predictably — losing sales. After all, the auto industry’s total sales volume is shrinking. Passenger cars, in particular, are paying a price. And the midsize segment is stumbling all the more so. With all these factors contributing, of course the Camry is shedding volume.

Aged, outdated, and antiquated, the Toyota Camry seemingly has the most to lose. Yet despite a 4-percent year-over-year U.S. sales loss in March 2017 and a 13-percent decline through the first-quarter of 2017, the Toyota Camry is gaining heaps of market share in America’s midsize sedan segment, not losing it.

That’s because the cars that are most to blame for the midsize sedan segment’s rapid decline don’t sit at the top of the leaderboard, but rather hail from the JV squad.  (Read More…)

By on April 3, 2017

2017 Volkswagen model range – Image: Volkswagen

March 2017’s U.S. auto sales volume dropped nearly 2 percent compared with March 2016, failing to live up to forecasts that expected March to be the best end to the first-quarter in nearly two decades.

Despite record volume at Nissan and Infiniti, continued growth at Subaru, meaningful gains at Buick, GMC, Dodge, Mitsubishi, and Ram, a third consecutive month of improvement at Mazda, and minor improvements at numerous other brands, auto sales fell below March 2016 levels because of declines at Ford, Toyota, and Fiat Chrysler. Hyundai and Kia combined for an 11-percent slide.

A third consecutive month of year-over-year decline for the industry suggests doom and gloom, as does the fact that inventories are ballooning and incentives are rising. Auto sales remain high, however, and only in comparison with 2016 — a banner year for the industry — do sales appear poor. Through the first-quarter of 2017, U.S. auto sales are down by less than 2 percent. (Read More…)

By on March 30, 2017

2017 Jaguar F-Pace – Image: Jaguar

Jaguar’s U.S. volume more than doubled in 2016, rising to a 12-year high thanks to the launch of an all-new entry-level sedan and the brand’s first-ever SUV.

The XE and F-Pace, which now account for nearly three-quarters of Jaguar’s U.S. volume, have taken the brand to a high-volume place (relatively speaking) Jaguar hasn’t visited since the X-Type roamed dealer forecourts.

One year ago, those models didn’t exist, and Jaguar was selling fewer than 50 cars per day in America.

Now Jaguar’s on fire. Year-over-year growth is explosive, with Jaguar’s U.S. volume more than doubling in each of the last ten months and more than tripling in each of 2016’s final three months.

That level of growth can’t be sustained. Jaguar Land Rover North America’s CEO Joachim Eberhardt told Wards Auto, “We have to continue to grow, but we are not looking to grow at the pace we have been.”

All that growth “still does not make us a giant luxury brand,” Eberhardt says. “It makes us a bigger luxury brand that now has scale but is still special and exclusive.”

There’s the key word. Exclusive. “I think that is part of our appeal and something to focus on maintaining,” claims Eberhardt.

What a revolutionary approach for a premium auto brand. (Read More…)

By on March 24, 2017

2016 BMw X1 white

Europe always seemed like a safe haven for the sort of car lover who turns up their nose over North America’s obsession with the sport utility vehicle. That’s now changing, as European demand for SUVs and crossovers continued to grow in 2016. While it may have a penchance for slightly smaller models, the EU saw disproportionately high sales of compact crossovers last year.

In total, SUV sales accounted for 25 percent of all European passenger vehicle sales in 2016 — up from 21 percent the previous year. That doesn’t quite equal the United States’ fervent addiction but, if the European Union keeps this pace, it’ll be less than a decade before it closes the gap.  (Read More…)

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…)

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