The Truth About Cars » compact cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 17 Apr 2014 16:14:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » compact cars Marchionne: No Money In Small Diesel Cars Tue, 08 Apr 2014 12:15:51 +0000 sergio-marchionne

Bucking a trend that has been gathering steam beyond its traditional European stronghold, FCA head Sergio Marchionne said that FCA’s upcoming product plan, due to be revealed in May, would be light on diesel engines for B and C-segment cars.

Automotive News reports that Marchionne sees no money in placing a clean diesel powertrain into a compact car if it would prevent the compact offering from being “economically viable”:

You can do this on a larger vehicle because of the costs associated with those vehicles. It’s much more difficult to join with a car like [the Chrysler 200 sedan] and keep the margins above normal. Other manufacturers are making the cars. The question of whether they’re making money is a question you should ask them specifically.

FCA has V8 diesels under the hoods of Ram’s heavy-duty pickups, and V6 oil-burners in the Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee. But in Europe, diesels are prominent in Fiat and Alfa Romeo vehicles, particularly in countries where the fuel is subsidized (and gasoline prices are rather high). It would be difficult to imagine these smaller diesels going away entirely, but the oil-burning powertrains will certainly not make it to North America.

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Canada Sales Recap: October 2013 Thu, 14 Nov 2013 12:00:20 +0000 TTAC_canada-recap-chart

With forecasters calling for another year of improved Canadian auto sales, 2013’s early months didn’t add up. January volume fell 2.2%, February sales were down 3.3%, and March’s results were off the pace by 0.7%. But not since the first quarter ended have the players competing for sales in Canada reported anything but collective improvement.

55,000 more vehicles have been sold during the first ten months of 2013 than during the equivalent period in 2012, a 3.8% increase. 2013’s rise follows three consecutive years of improved Canadian auto sales. The current pace suggests Canadians will end 2013 having registered more than 1.7 million new vehicles for the first time since 2002.

As for the month of October, growth was particularly strong as multiple sectors contributed to the increase. Even cars. Automotive News says car sales in Canada are up less than 1% through ten months, but October car volume rose 4.2%.

Car sales in October punched above their year-to-date weight at BMW, Cadillac, Honda, Hyundai, Infiniti, Jaguar, Lincoln, Maserati, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Smart, and Volvo.

Canadian car sales rose by fewer than 3000 units, yet the Honda Civic (up 1811 units), Mazda 3 (up 1313 units) and Toyota Corolla (up 794 units) combined for a 35.4% increase. The Civic was responsible for more than one out of every ten new car sales in Canada in October. Its year-to-date lead over the Hyundai Elantra grew to 6584 units. The Elantra led at 2013’s halfway point by 305 sales.

Passenger cars did not, however, manifest across-the-board gains. Combined, car sales were down 4.8% at GM, Ford Canada, and the Chrysler Group. Total Toyota brand car sales fell 5.2% as sales of the brand’s hybrid passenger cars slid 15.6%. Kia car sales fell 6.4% despite Rio and Soul increases. Audi’s cars were down 9.1%. Scion, which offers no crossovers, was down 24.6%. The Fiat 500 was off by 19.6%, a 93-unit decline, and the Mini Cooper range fell 22.3%.
In the midst of a slight car sales resurgence, SUVs and crossovers were up 11.1% in October. 13 of the top 15 top-selling utility vehicle nameplates – 17 of the top 20, 20 of the top 25, 25 of the top 30 – reported year-over-year improvements last month.

Many of the increases reported by leading utility vehicles were significant. The Nissan Pathfinder, Subaru Forester, Mitsubishi RVR, BMW X5, and Mercedes-Benz M-Class all produced gains of at least 30%. Even without its 10.7% jump, the Ford Escape would have outsold the surging Toyota RAV4 by more than 1300 units. But Escape sales did jump 10.7%, and the Escape outsold the second-ranked RAV4 by 1769 units. Ford sold more than three Escapes for every two RAV4s in October.
Pickups continue to be a major force in the Canadian automotive marketplace. Truck sales rose 15.4% in October despite the loss of nameplates which reduced sales of the Avalanche, Escalade EXT, Canyon, Colorado, and Ranger by 85%. Even the Toyota Tundra surged in October, shooting into fifth place in the overall rankings (ahead of the normally fifth-ranked Toyota Tacoma) with a 74% year-over-year increase. Detroit’s four stalwarts – F-Series, Ram, Sierra, Silverado – owned 88.5% of the truck market in October after collectively rising 17.8%.

So far this year, pickups account for 18.2% of the Canadian auto industry’s sales volume. Trucks make up 13.9% of U.S. auto sales.

Three in ten Chrysler sales are Ram-derived. The F-Series is responsible for more than four in ten Ford Canada sales and nearly four in ten GM Canada sales come from pickups.

The impression that Canadians buy more trucks, SUVs, crossovers, and minivans than cars isn’t inaccurate, but it is skewed by the presence of Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors. Remove their presence from the equation and cars go from forming just 44.6% of the industry’s October volume to 61.4%.

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Cain’s Segments, November 2013: Compact Vs. Mid-Size Cars Mon, 11 Nov 2013 18:57:57 +0000 TTAC_compact-chart-October-2013

Four months ago, when we last looked into the U.S. compact car sales battle, the Toyota Corolla (including the Matrix hatchback offshoot with which Toyota combines Corolla sales figures) was the class leader. Yet the expiring Corolla’s lead over the Honda Civic was slim, and it didn’t seem promising.

Indeed, through ten months, the best-selling compact car in America is the Honda Civic, not the Toyota Corolla. By the end of October, the Civic was America’s third-best-selling car, up from sixth at the halfway point.

Toyota’s Corolla is now 23,705 sales back of the increasingly popular Honda.

The Civic’s 10% year-over-year improvement through the end of October comes on the heels of a year in which Civic sales rose to their highest level since 2008. Honda may not be commanding absurd transaction prices, and they may be competing with the same kinds of incentives used by other automakers, but that doesn’t change the outright number of Civics that are currently being sold.

The Civic outsold Honda’s top seller, the Accord, in the months of July, August, and October. Accord sales were down 0.5% over the last four months as Civic volume jumped 25% to 122,185 units, 1781 more than what Honda managed with the Accord.

By those measurements, the Honda Civic seems to be the dominant small car in the United States. Through six months, 13.5% of the sales generated by the cars we showed in the compact table were Civic-derived, a figure which has risen to 14.6% through ten months.

But you can do math just as well as Dave in accounting. If fewer than 15% of of compact car buyers are choosing the Civic then most compact car buyers, more than 85% of them, are choosing something other than the Civic.

There certainly is a dominant group of small cars. The Civic, Corolla, Chevrolet Cruze, Hyundai Elantra, Ford Focus, Volkswagen Jetta, and Nissan Sentra – the seven compacts which have attracted at least 100,000 buyers so far this year – produce 73% of the compact category’s U.S. sales.

Although October was a particularly poor month for compact car sales in America, the category has certainly punched beyond its weight category over the course of 2013. Automotive News says car sales are up just 5% this year even as the overall auto industry has grown 8.2%. Yet compact sales are up 6.6%.

The segment has been pushed forward most especially by the Dodge Dart, which has contributed 46,630 more sales than Dodge compacts did last year, and by the Hyundai Elantra’s 25% year-over-year improvement, equal to 42,382 extra sales. Declines among compacts were most notable at Kia, Mazda, and Volkswagen.

If we define the compact segment’s borders in a stricter fashion, compact growth still appeared slow in October, yet healthy through ten months. Exclude the Suzuki SX4, two Scions, Nissan’s Cube, and the Kia Soul and compact sales rose 0.8% in October; 8.1% year-to-date. Exclude those cars plus the defunct Dodge Caliber and compact sales were up 0.9% in October; 8.2% year-to-date. Exclude the aforementioned cars and the premium-leaning Acura ILX and Buick Verano and compact car sales rose 0.7% to 143,475 units in October; 7.9% to 1,732,330 year-to-date.

Acura ILX
1529 + 31.1% 17,275 7658 + 126%
Buick Verano
3502 - 5.6% 39,874 32,648 + 22.1%
Chevrolet Cruze
19,121 -15.9% 211,862 199,721 + 6.1%
Dodge Caliber
92 - 100% 45 10,113 - 99.6%
Dodge Dart
5455 + 3.0% 71,453 14,710 + 386%
Ford Focus
18,320 - 17.5% 203,762 205,006 - 0.6%
Honda Civic
20,687 + 32.1% 280,889 254,716 + 10.3%
Hyundai Elantra
14,512 + 2.5% 209,469 167,087 + 25.4%
Kia Forte
5911 - 20.4% 57,421 67,139 - 14.5%
Kia Soul
7988 + 3.2% 98,864 101,344 - 2.4%
Mazda 3
9518 - 19.4% 89,288 103,223 - 13.5%
Mitsubishi Lancer
1256 - 7.6% 16,581 14,024 + 18.2%
Nissan Cube
475 - 37.5% 4719 6287 - 24.9%
Nissan Sentra
5624 + 49.3% 106,680 91,464 + 16.6%
Scion xB
1463 - 14.8% 15,238 17,055 - 10.7%
Scion xD
855 - 16.3% 7676 9280 - 17.3%
Subaru Impreza
4738 + 3.9% 64,922 68,389 - 5.1%
Suzuki SX4
1072 - 100% 2859 10,633 - 73.1%
Toyota Corolla/Matrix
20,949 + 12.8% 257,184 243,652 + 5.6%
Volkswagen Golf
2914 - 22.8% 26,836 35,322 - 24.0%
Volkswagen Jetta
13,476 - 13.1% 135,983 140,504 - 3.2%
159,457 - 0.1% 1,918,880 1,799,975 + 6.6%
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Nissan Hikes Price Of Unpopular Cube Thu, 22 Nov 2012 13:00:07 +0000

One of the most popular cars in our TWAT talks is the Nissan Cube; the much maligned, slow-selling compact is looking like a shoo-in for our ignominious honor, but Nissan seems to think that a price hike is just the ticket.

For 2013, the Cube will start at $17,550, a $1,790 increase over the 2012 model. Of course, the Cube is built in Japan and the rising yen has a lot to do with the price hike. But it’s not going to help dealers move units any quicker.

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Dodge Dart Gets “Aero” Package To Break 40 MPG Mon, 30 Apr 2012 13:47:52 +0000

Looks like the Dodge Dart will apparently break 40 MPG adjusted in the end…but you’ll need a special option package to do it, just like its chief domestic rivals, the Ford Focus and Chevrolet Cruze.

We weren’t invited to the launch of the Dart, but reports from the event state that the 1.4L MultiAir turbocharged engine with the dual clutch transmission will return 27 mpg city and 39 mpg highway. Dodge will release an “Aero” package that will help them return “at least 41 mpg“. No word on what the 6-speed manual will return, or the 2.4L engine for that matter, but the base 2.0L “Tigershark” will get 25mpg/36mpg with the 6-speed manual. We’ll have our impressions as soon as we get our hands on one.

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High Gas Prices Mean Happy Days For Honda Civic Tue, 13 Mar 2012 21:17:39 +0000

Pop quiz; what do increased production, lots of cash on the hood and high gas prices mean for Honda dealers? Lots of Civics moving out the door.

Civic sales are up 45 percent in the first two months of this year, and the model is outselling former top dogs like the Chevrolet Cruze and last year’s compact champion the Toyota Corolla. Honda’s supply chain woes are over (something they were stung by last year) and production is up by 69 percent.

High gas prices are helping the Civic, which is seen as a solid choice in a segment full of fuel-efficient cars. While gas prices may level out this summer, the Civic is set to get a very early refresh in time for the 2013 model year. Add to that strong incentives to help move the 2012 model (one source told us that there was as much as $1,900 per car in incentives for the Civic) and Honda is looking strong in the compact segment – maybe even regaining the small car sales crown, something it hasn’t held since 2002.

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Kia Procee’ds With New Cee’d. Puns Are Not Our Forte. Wed, 15 Feb 2012 22:04:28 +0000

The new Kia Cee’d may have a stupid name, but everything else about the car looks pretty attractive. Well, maybe not the grille. They also refrained from releasing any specs at all alongside these photos, so you’ll have to wait until March’s Auto Show to get the scoop. The Forte is a little dated by now, to the point where it’s hard to justify buying one over a Rio, let alone an Elantra – how about it, Kia?

Press release and gallery below


012012kiaceedoff Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail 2013 Kia Cee'd. Photo courtesy Kia. 022012kiaceedoff 032012kiaceedoff 042012kiaceedoff




(15/02/12) — Kia’s all-European cee’d stunned audiences when it was revealed at the Geneva Motor Show just six years ago and at Geneva this year the all-new version is set to repeat that feat thanks to its elegant lines – heralding an even more successful future for the company’s bed-rock C-segment model.

Combining dynamic, sophisticated styling with maturity and prestige, the all-new cee’d five-door hatchback the new cee’d is longer, wider and lower than its predecessor, with the same long wheelbase. The elegant simplicity of its coupe-like proportions is emphasised by a steeply raked A-pillar, a very low belt-line in the front and lengthened side windows.

The front of the new cee’d is dominated by the latest interpretation of Kia’s trademark ‘tiger-nose’ grille and aggressive, wraparound headlamp clusters housing signature LED daytime running lights.

Wide track and solid stance
In profile the pronounced front and rear wings emphasise the car’s wide track and solid stance whilst above the taut, strongly sculpted door surfaces, the steeply raked A-pillar, sweeping roofline and integral rear spoiler accentuate the sporting aesthetics of the new model’s generous glasshouse.

The entire exterior is accented by numerous small yet highly significant detail touches which add to the prestige and premium feel of the new cee’d without detracting from the purity and elegance of the overall design.

These include a new, bolder, more sophisticated Kia badge, the indicator blade protrusion in the front headlamps, the Kia-signature windscreen head castellations, the chrome side glazing surround and the cee’d-unique, aerodynamic shaping of the tail lamp which extends into the adjacent bodywork.

New premium interior
The new cee’d features a completely new interior hallmarked by a more premium look and feel, higher perceived quality, improved switchgear, touch-screen technology and enhanced driving position ergonomics.

The dashboard layout features a cockpit-like design with an aircraft-themed, driver-oriented fascia. The main control panel wraps around the steering wheel, placing all switchgear within easy reach of the driver, and the main control groups such as audio and air-conditioning have been segregated to bring a more premium, luxurious, big car feel to the interior.

Carefully considered precision detailing gives the cabin a more prestigious look and feel than that of the current generation model. Soft touch materials add a new tactility to the driving environment. Instruments and switchgear are picked out in very thin chrome, the door handles are built up in a layered sandwich of high quality materials and the door opener itself has a sculpted, one-piece, shell-like quality reflecting the premium values of the new interior design.


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Will GM Bring Us A Diesel, Manual Station Wagon? Fri, 27 Jan 2012 18:00:16 +0000

The Chevrolet Cruze hatchback that’s sold in virtually every market except the United States still won’t be coming to America – but we may have the chance to get a Cruze wagon, if Automotive News has their story straight.

GM is apparently working on a Cruze wagon, essentially a stretched version of the already attractive Cruze hatch. Yes, general wisdom says that Americans don’t buy hatches. But the Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra Touring (which debuts next month), Volkswagen Golf, Kia Forte5, Toyota Matrix and Mazda3 all exist – why not something from the bowtie brand? As AN notes, the Cruze did very well in 2011′s sales charts and all of the volume was composed of 4-door sedans. Surely a Cruze 5-door would add something to the mix? Canada, a strong market for the Cruze, and hatches in general, would gobble this thing up. A Cruze Eco hatch with a 6-speed stick would be a fantastic way to get around in my books. Or what about the prospect of a wagon version of the Cruze diesel? Let’s not get too ahead of ourselves here…

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Fiat Outsells Mini, Scion In Canada Thu, 05 Jan 2012 18:09:44 +0000

Canadians already bought the Honda Civic in droves, so it would make sense that another unloved car, the Fiat 500, would do well in a country that favors smaller, more European vehicles, right? Sort of.

Fiat did outsell both MINI and Scion in Canada this past year, but not by much. Accordingly to analyst Timothy Cain, Fiat ranked 27th out of 34 brands on sale in Canada, selling 5392 units. MINI was 28th with 5155 units and Scion was 29th with 4720 units.

The Fiat 500 is a common sight on the streets of Toronto, where being chic goes a long way. Despite the 500 selling in small volumes, the Dodge/Ram brand had a great showing in Canada overall, finishing behind Ford in second place (though Ford outsold Dodge/Ram by 100,152 units). Chrysler and Jeep sales were counted separately.

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