Inventories of unsold cars and light trucks have swollen to their highest levels since the recession while sales growth in the U.S. market has slowed significantly in the past five months. That combination could mean larger discounts and incentives and lower profit margins in 2014. According to Automotive News, all three domestic automakers started February with more than a 100-day supply of unsold vehicles. Industry-wide automakers had 88 days’ worth of vehicles at the start of February, the highest February inventories have been since 2009, when the industry was at its nadir.
Though many a dealer knows lengthy long-term financing is a bad deal for all involved, Automotive News reports that attendees at the recent American Financial Services Association’s Vehicle Finance Conference in New Orleans acknowledged that such financing is necessary to do business.
Akira Marumoto, Mazda’s executive VP for North America, said that the company will revamp its dealer network as it aims to increase U.S. sales by a third over the next two years. Automotive News reports that underperforming dealers will be culled and dealers in poor locations will be encouraged to open up new stores in more promising places. The company has identified 35 key metropolitan markets where it will focus its sales and marketing efforts. Mazda is highly dependent on North American sales with almost a third of its global sales taking place here.
Mazda currently has 637 franchised dealers in the United States. (Read More…)
One week after we mused that electric carmaker Tesla would never be able to defeat current state laws prohibiting factory direct automobile sales and thus must join the franchised dealer model, the company proved us wrong thanks to the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Despite planning to sell 486,000 units in America this year, Volkswagen has trimmed its sales targets to 440,000 units, after shedding market share in the first half of 2013.
Despite sales of the Fiat 500 picking up, Fiat dealers are getting antsy for new product, with some showrooms struggling to turn a profit based on sales of the subcompact alone.
The rebellion of German Opel dealers against a new, complicated and – in the dealers’ views – disastrous distribution system was victorious. Opel’s sales chief Matthias Seidl withdrew the discredited and disdained design. “Dealers succeeded with their demands for a simpler system,” writes Automobilwoche [sub]. (Read More…)
Opel’s new CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann isn’t officially CEO yet, and he already is facing a rebellion of his troops. Opel dealers threaten to discontinue the brand if Opel won’t withdraw a new distribution system. The dealers say the system comes from where Neumann and Opel’s sales chief Matthias Seidl come from: From Volkswagen. (Read More…)
Being a Suzuki dealer is surely one of America’s least enviable jobs; franchise holders must choose whether to accept a cash settlement and a contract to provide parts and service in exchange for their franchises, or whether they want to fight the matter in court.