2014 has been a good year for the rental car industry. A recovering economy has meant more car rentals and more miles traveled by consumers. Volume alone isn’t responsible for the rental companies’ recent success, though. Each of the big three rental chains has been able to raise prices, thanks to the consolidation of an industry that they now collectively control 98% of.
While we’re fortunate to be treated to a weekly look at American auto auctions courtesy of TTAC’s Steve Lang and his Hammer Time series, today we’re getting a glimpse of an auction on the other side of the world.
While our own Ronnie Schreiber may have taken Zero Hedge to task for its inaccurate story on unsold cars, Australia is facing a situation where rising inventories have created a buyers market, just as local production of automobiles is winding down.
With the first month of 2014 sales nearly wrapped up, we’ll soon get our first look at how the Jeep Cherokee has fared, following the initial shipment of delayed units. Much has been made of the Cherokee selling 10,000 units in November and 15,000 units in December: it was a great storyline for Chrysler to promote in the run-up to NAIAS, and one for the hometown media (in both Detroit and Toledo) to rally around. Left out of the cheerleading was the fact that these figures accounted for the 25,000 units reportedly sent to dealers in one fell swoop. Can you say “pent up demand”?
But even if the Cherokee continued to sell at that pace – say, 15,000 units per month as an optimistic projection, where would that place it in the larger picture of the small crossover segment?
The launch of the Chrysler 200 means Chrysler has to make some decisions about its future; and the most likely course of action for them is to kill off the Dodge Avenger, right away.
News of Mitsubishi’s rebadging of Renault-Samsung vehicles for the US market is being greeted with far less enthusiasm around these parts than one would expect the internet to greet news of any French vehicles coming to America. One angle that isn’t being explored much comes from commenter callisall, who writes
if anyone else was scratching your head (like I was) about how Mitsu makes money in the USA, Mitsu is the third largest seller of cars to subprime borrowers behind Chrysler and Dodge.
So by outsourcing its R&D and focusing on the subprime market (and perhaps parts for its cars), it looks like Mitsu can make its US operations worthwhile.
If you want to see the future of Holden in Australia, this is it. Yes, it’s the same car that Jack Baruth took to the woodshed in today’s edition of TTAC, but it’s also a harbinger of things to come for the iconic Australian marque, with the announcement that Holden’s Elizabeth, Australia plant will be tooling up to produce the first ever front-wheel drive Commodore. And even that looks doubtful.