Last week, we told you to not buy a full-sized GM pickup just yet, and to hold out for big discounts from GM. You did not have to wait long. However, you may want to wait a little more. (Read More…)
Are you in the market for a full-size pickup? Hold your fire. With a little patience, you can profiteer from an all-out Battle of the BOFs. It’s a fight for your money, and for delivering optimistic 2012 sales goals. The noise you hear outside are the winds of war: GM not only missed its truck sales goals in November, it also sits atop a 4 ½ month supply of full-size pickups taking up space (and cash) at dealer lots. ”We’ll continue to use all levers to influence inventory…,” said Kurt McNeil, GM’s VP of U.S. sales. “That includes first and foremost adjusting production and marketing activity.” Translation: Shutdowns and cash on the hood. (Read More…)
The latest from USA Today suggests now is a good time to buy a Chevy Volt, if that’s what you really want. I checked in with former(?) TTAC scribe Captain Mike Solo, currently helping someone lease a Volt, and he says about the same: lease for $270 a month, with $1500 down. Which includes the government tax credit built into the residual…probably. So what does this all mean? (Read More…)
People keep their eyes on automaker incentives for various reasons. Customers are hunting deals. Analysts hunt carmakers that are sitting on a glut of cars. Incentive numbers don’t always tell the full story, says Edmunds. In August, incentive spend was subdued and stable. Automakers and dealers have become adept in camouflage though, and the reported stability of incentive spending doesn’t factor in some of the “hidden incentives.” (Read More…)
If you are thinking of buying some stock of an automaker, now could be a good time. Not because of the strong sales. Because of dropping incentives, paired with strong sales. This indicates a strong first quarter, which should drive up stock prices. (Read More…)
2011 was a fascinating year to follow auto sales. With the overall market up over 10%, and hot new products hitting showrooms, there was definitely room to grow… and yet everyone seems to have an excuse for why growth wasn’t stronger. Japanese automakers, the biggest losers of 2011, had a strong of natural disasters to blame the bad year on. Detroit showed strong volume gains in terms of percentage growth, and earned respect in growing segments where they were previously weak, but couldn’t match the expectations of its perennially over-optimistic boosters. The Korean manufacturers showed strong market share growth but lack of capacity prevented them from bounding into the top tier of the US sales game. In fact, only the European luxury manufacturers could point to 2011′s sales performance with unalloyed satisfaction, as they grew some 29.5% as a group, from an already-strong volume position. So, given these mixed results, what was the lesson of 2011?
When we reported sales on Monday our conclusion was that “big is big again,” as full-sized pickups dominated growth in a surprisingly up month. So, how do you sell a ton of trucks in a month where gas was still hovering around the $3.50/gal mark? Easy: just throw some cash on the hood. Edmunds Autoobserver reports
From a low that generally occurred around April, Ford Motor Co., General Motors Co. and the Chrysler Group LLC have markedly hiked incentive spending on full-size pickups. In April, the average TCI for the full-size pickup category – which also includes the almost statistically insignificant Toyota Tundra, Nissan Titan and Honda Ridgeline – was $3,261 per vehicle. At the end of September, the average incentive for full-size pickups ballooned by more than 30 percent to $4,281 per vehicle.
Executives from the Detroit automakers insist that this was not simply an inventory-clearing move (because, by industry standards, having three times your monthly sales on the lot is “acceptable”), but manufacturers have been trimming truck production all year and with Days To Turn rising, clearing off the lots makes sense. Especially going into the traditionally slow truck sales months of October and November. Hit the jump for more September incentive and transaction price data…
[Editor's note: the following block-quoted passages were sent to us by an enterprising anonymous tipster (italicized passages were quoted in the original from linked sources). I've decided to let the argument speak for itself, and simply interject a few thoughts (non-block-quoted) towards the end.]
“On Slide 12, we provide what we view as key performance indicators for GM North America. The 2 lines on the top of the slide represents GM’s U.S. total and retail share. The bars on the slide represent GM’s average U.S. retail incentives on a per unit basis. Now U.S. retail incentives as a percentage of average transaction price and compared to the industry average is noted at the bottom of the slide.
“For the second quarter of 2011, our U.S. retail share was 17.6%, up 1.3 percentage points versus the prior year and down 0.6 percentage points versus the prior quarter due to the absence of the first quarter sales programs. Our incentive levels on an absolute basis have declined significantly from the prior year as well as sequentially. On a percentage of ATP basis, our incentives were 8.9%, down 2 percentage points versus the prior year. This puts us at approximately 103% of industry average levels for the second quarter of 2011, flat versus the prior year.
“In terms of incentive levels, our plan continues for us to be at approximately the industry average for the year on a percentage of ATP basis. These results for share and incentive demonstrate the impact of our plan to produce great vehicles the customers are willing to pay for.”
I did not try to verify the first part of the highlighted claim (that incentives have declined compared to previous year totals), but the second part of the claim (that incentives have declined sequentially) is demonstrably false.
Cash on the hood is on the rise again, says Edmunds, which keeps track of the Total Costs of Incentives (TCI.) Incentives definitely had been coming down from their January and February highs to reach a low in May (there were cars missing from Japan …), but now, manufacturer largesse is getting greater again. (Read More…)
The US market’s Seasonally Adjusted Annual Selling Rate (SAAR) hurdled the 12m mark towards the end of last year, and was cruising above the 13m mark for much of the first half of 2011, but after a rough May, June seems set to become the market’s second month back under the 12m mark.
So, sales are up… but what are the automakers spending in order to get those sales? And what are they getting for their cars? Step inside our incentives and transaction price tracking center for a look at the factors that play affect how sales turn into profits (or don’t). But first, take a look at the graph above showing US-market incentive spending broken out by the regions where automakers are based. As usual, the US-based OEMs put more cash on the hood than their competitors, but more importantly notice how much money is spent on sales each month: nearly $2.5b was spent last month. And despite being a serious chunk of change, Edmunds AutoObserver says that’s the lowest overall level of incentive spending since 2005. So if you’re inclined to ignore incentives when it comes to your monthly sales education, you might want to start paying some attention…
Speaking at the New York Auto Show today, GM CEO Dan Akerson defended his inconsistent approach to sales incentives, telling the AP [via The Washington Examiner]
I feel pretty good about that. I think we’re in pretty good shape. I don’t want to be a predictable competitor. I don’t want the other guy to know exactly what I’m doing.
For some context,
GM surprised the industry — and Wall Street — when it raised discounts by $400 per vehicle in January and February. Most automakers didn’t raise them because demand for new vehicles has been rising in line with supply…
GM pulled back on its incentives in March, spending $600 to $800 per vehicle less on the deals. But it was too late for some investors, who shied away from the company’s stock because higher rebates lower car companies’ profits.
But does Akerson’s upside, the element of surprise, outweigh the downsides of his hot-cold incentive strategy?
Ask an industry-watcher to name an automaker that seems to be doing things right, and chances are one of the top choices would be Ford Motor Company. And though Ford is enjoying favorable perceptions in the media, according to the company’s own internal goals, it’s actually underperforming. And in a key metric, no less: retail market share. Bloomerg reports: (Read More…)