Tag: auto sales

By on August 2, 2016

2016 Buick Cascada

After a steep May decline and modest growth in June, which fell below expectations, U.S. auto sales expansion flatlined in July 2016, suggesting the market is poised for a slower second half than the early part of the year projected.

New vehicle sales volume rose less than 1 percent in July 2016, a year-over-year improvement equal to roughly 11,000 sales.

There were a number of significant improvements. July 2016 was the best July ever for American Honda, for example, as sales jumped 6 percent to 139,125 at the Honda brand, overcoming another Acura decline. Buick, up 10 percent last month, ended the January-July period with its best start to the year since 2005. The only brands with superior growth rates in July were smaller outlets: Smart, Volvo, and Scion.

Mixed in with these gains, however, were double-digit percentage losses from a bundle of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles brands: Maserati, Fiat, Alfa Romeo, and Dodge. (Read More…)

By on July 27, 2016

2017 Chrysler Pacifica Exterior Front 3/4. Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

As recently as March 1, 2016 — on behalf of February 2016’s sales results — Fiat Chrysler US LLC touted a 71-month streak of year-over-year U.S. new vehicle sales improvements. Although FCA US stopped communicating the length of that streak by the beginning of the second-quarter, the company’s sales reports suggested that the streak through the end of June 2016 measured 75 months.

Figures released by FCA yesterday reveal that the streak of year-over-year improvements actually ended at 40 months in September 2013, when an originally reported 1-percent increase, it turns out, was actually a 3-percent decrease. On two other occasions during this 75-month span, FCA claimed sales had improved, year-over-year. August 2015’s 2-percent increase was actually a 1-percent decrease. Then, only two months ago, while FCA originally claimed a 1-percent increase, sales actually fell 7 percent.

The abbreviated streak, however, is only one side of the equation. (And it increasingly appears to be the least of FCA’s worries, as a grand jury has now been empaneled.) FCA’s sales reporting methods, highly questionable on both the retail and fleet side, frequently resulted in significant overstatements and, FCA claims, understatements, as well. (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 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…)

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