Tag: auto sales

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 8, 2016

Flint Silverado assembly plant

“Has GM lost market share? Yes.”
Alan Batey, President, GM North America,
Wall Street Journal, July 6, 2016

From 17.7 percent in the first-half of 2015, General Motors’ U.S. market share tumbled by more than a point to 16.6 percent in the first-half of 2016.

But, GM’s North American president points out in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece, profitability is on the rise.

TrueCar estimates that, as a percentage of the average transaction price, GM’s incentive spend in June 2016 fell by half-a-percentage point to 10.9 percent, year-over-year. As for the average transaction price, TrueCar says GM’s rose 6.5 percent in June 2016 to $36,489. That is 9.4-percent higher than Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s June 2016 ATP, which also required greater incentives to achieve according to TrueCar. Meanwhile, Batey wrote in The Journal that GM has “reduced low-margin sales to daily rental companies in the U.S. by 88,500 units.”

This explains the marriage of two conflicting subjects: GM’s decreased volume in a growing market and GM’s corresponding increase in profitability. (Read More…)

By on July 5, 2016

2015 Ford F-150

We’ve reached the halfway marker. After new vehicle sales soared to record levels in calendar year 2015, the volume produced by automakers competing for market share in the United States continued to expand through the first six months of 2016.

Between January and June, the 30 most popular new vehicle nameplates in the United States generated half of all auto sales, leaving more than 250 other vehicles to fight over half the market. Many of those popular vehicles own a far greater chunk of the market than entire manufacturers. The top-selling Ford F-Series line of pickup trucks, for instance, outsells every auto brand aside from Toyota, Chevrolet, Nissan, Honda, Jeep, and Ford itself. The 30th-ranked vehicle, Subaru’s Outback, outsells whole mid-tier premium brands such as Cadillac, Infiniti, Lincoln, and Jaguar-Land Rover.

In other words, popular vehicles are very popular indeed. (Read More…)

By on July 1, 2016

2015 Honda CR-V

A modest increase of 2 percent fell below expectations from forecasters that the U.S. auto industry would grow by more than 5 percent in June 2016. Indeed, given the extra day on June 2016’s auto sales calendar, the daily selling rate for the industry actually declined in June, albeit marginally.

Big gains were nevertheless not uncommon. The Ford Motor Company, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Nissan-Infiniti, and Hyundai-Kia all posted above-average gains. Ford’s best-selling F-Series, which accounted for three-in-ten sales at Ford’s namesake brand, posted a 29-percent year-over-year increase. Overall pickup truck sales, powered in large part by the Ford’s 15,766-unit increase, jumped 10 percent.

The Toyota Camry claimed the top spot among cars despite its own sharp decline, a 13-percent loss worth nearly 5,000 sales. For the first time since last October, the Honda CR-V was America’s top-selling SUV/crossover(Read More…)

By on June 1, 2016

2017 Kia Sportage

The U.S. auto industry’s May 2016 sales performance was much better than the numbers suggest, but there were disappointing results in some quarters.

Due to a quirk in the auto sales calendar – May 2016 had two fewer selling days than May 2015 – the period in which sales were generated for the “May” period was simply too brief for May 2016 to measure up to May 2015. This is more easily seen with a look at the daily selling rate picture, where industry-wide results were up two percent, a far less daunting figure than the six percent decline in real volume reported by the industry overall. (Read More…)

By on May 6, 2016

2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata

After Mazda reported dreadful first-quarter U.S. sales results, this article, which surveyed some of the potential reasons consumers would turn away from specific Mazda products, was read more often than any other TTAC article in April. Even as critics, myself included, endlessly point out the driver-centric ideology that makes Mazdas so fun, first-quarter sales plunged 17 percent, a loss of more than 13,000 sales for Mazda dealers.

Perhaps there’s a reverse TTAC bump. Maybe we were just practicing our latest reverse psychology techniques, attempting to lure buyers into Mazda showrooms. Like parents who tell their constipated toddlers, “You won’t like this bran muffin, no, not one bit,” to develop an inexplicable craving, we may have told you about road noise, odd ride height, poor equipment choices, and cramped rear quarters simply to stoke Mazda curiosity.

It worked. Sort of. “Mazda achieved its best April since 1995 with 26,195 vehicles sold,” the company said on Tuesday. Mazda’s market share climbed to a four-month high. Year-over-year, Mazda’s volume grew more than twice as fast as the industry average. (Read More…)

By on May 4, 2016

2015 Chrysler 200

Significant incentives did not alter the Chrysler 200’s dreadful U.S. trendline in April 2016.

As the decrease in demand for the 200 became more obvious, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles temporarily shut down the midsize Chrysler’s Sterling Heights factory in order to clear out excess inventory. But 200 demand continued to decrease, and FCA was forced into laying off workers at the Sterling Heights plant while ramping up incentives on the 200. So dreadful is the 200’s marketplace performance that FCA has no desire to develop their next midsize car.

Heading into April, inventory levels remained high. Enticing deals were thick on the ground. But apparently, those deals weren’t so enticing after all, even as TTAC published a positive rental review of the four-cylinder Chrysler 200 at the tail end of April, just as consumers headed into showrooms to capture the best deals of the month. (Read More…)

By on May 3, 2016

2016 Chevrolet Silverado

The U.S. auto industry once again reported gains in excess of three percent in April 2016, thanks to significant improvements at Honda, Nissan, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

General Motors continued to de-emphasize fleet sales. FCA continued to emphasize incentive spending, with TrueCar pegging their average April incentive per vehicle at a hair under $4,000. Only BMW’s was higher.

BMW is at the forefront of the luxury downturn — sales at the namesake brand slid seven percent in April and are down 10 percent through the first one-third of 2016. Mercedes-Benz led all premium brands in April and in year-to-date terms.

Ford’s F-Series produced its second consecutive 70,000-plus sales month, and truck sales jumped at General Motors and Ram, too. Sales of smaller trucks were up at Toyota and Nissan, as well. The pickup truck market rose 12 percent to 232,647 units in April. (Read More…)

By on April 14, 2016

2015 Volkswagen Beetle Classic, Image: Volkswagen Group of America

Compared with February 2016, March 2016’s U.S. sales at the Volkswagen brand jumped 21 percent.

So everything’s back to normal, right? The diesel emissions scandal’s impact has clearly waned, right? Volkswagen’s U.S. team obviously figured out how to market, price, and stock a gas-only lineup, right?

No. This is why we examine an automaker’s sales volume on a year-over-year basis, and why understanding the seasonality of the auto business is essential. (Read More…)

By on April 8, 2016

2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, Image: Toyota USA

After finishing a close third behind the plunging Ford Explorer and Chevrolet TrailBlazer in 2006, the Honda CR-V went on to claim the top spot among SUVs/crossovers in America in eight of the following nine years, including the last four consecutive years.

A victorious ending to 2016 appears less certain for the CR-V. In the last five months, the best-selling utility vehicle in America was the Toyota RAV4, sales of which rose 14 percent in the first-quarter of 2016 as CR-V volume slid 3 percent.

Incidentally, the last SUV to unseat the CR-V on a calendar year basis was the Ford Escape. Back in 2011, the Escape was available with a hybrid powertrain, an option not offered by rival small SUVs. Fast forward to 2016, and the vehicle most likely to unseat the CR-V — the surging RAV4 — is likewise available with a hybrid powertrain. A meaningless, low-volume variant meant to bolster an automaker’s green cred? Perhaps that was the case with the Escape in 2011, but there’s an entirely different story to tell with the RAV4 five years later. (Read More…)

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