While U.S. auto sales in November were at the highest level they’ve been at since before the recession started, automakers entered the month with the most cars and light trucks they’ve had on dealer lots in eight years. Increased inventories are testing car makers’ commitments to pricing discipline and matching production to demand. Inventory went up to almost 3.4 million vehicles going into November, a 76 day supply, the highest November figure since 2005.
In August, Ford Motor Company started production of their mid-sized Fusion sedan at its Flat Rock, Michigan assembly plant, supplementing production in Mexico to keep up with demand.
|Automaker||Aug. 2013||Aug. 2012||Pct. chng.||8 month
|Ford Motor Co.||220,404||196,749||12%||1,703,220||1,510,614||13%|
|Jaguar Land Rover||6,661||4,756||40%||43,106||36,584||18%|
|Volvo Cars NA||5,518||6,319||–13%||44,005||46,649||–6%|
Source: Automotive News Data Center
Riding on strong pickup truck and sedan sales, Chrysler Group and Ford Motor Co. both posted 12% overall sales increases from last August. It was Chrysler’s 41st straight year to year monthly increase. A number of manufacturers’ sales were constrained by tight inventory of models in high demand.
According the the China Automobile Dealers Association, despite efforts by car makers to reduce inventories, Chinese domestic brand dealers still had 49 days worth of supply in June, a figure that would be considered decent in North America, where two months is the norm. But it’s a matter of concern in China, where normal dealer inventories are 24 to 36 days. That figure is an improvement over the 61 days of supply at the end of May. (Read More…)
I got my 2007 9-3 serviced at the Falls Church, VA Saab dealership. My question: They had new (2011) 9-5s for $20,000 off the sticker price. Almost half off. Are they a good deal? Would you buy one? (Read More…)
While the GM inventory woes have been a fixture of TTAC for months, excess inventory isn’t the sole domain of GM’s pickups. Chrysler is having its own issues, with the Dodge Dart suffering from a glut of inventory.
Only one more day until we get August sales data, and September 4th will bring us the latest inventory numbers. Here at TTAC, we’re keeping an eye on GM’s full-size truck inventory, which is as high as 145 days for the GMC Sierra – well above the 100 day supply that’s considered safe for full-size trucks.
What’s up this month at GM? Inventories of full-size trucks. What’s not? Sales of full-size trucks.
The New York Times carries a long story today that chronicles changes in the Chinese car market. Written by Reuters automotive specialists Norihiko Shirouzu and Fang Yan, it is a story of China where you now get a discount and instant delivery for a BMW instead of having the option to pay 20 percent more, or wait a few month for delivery.
The car market in China, says the article, is becoming more like that in the United States, where most of the money is made in financing, insurance and maintenance. Indeed it is. (Read More…)
It’s been a fascinating year for the compact car, as all six of the segment’s leading competitors brought out new or updated models over the last 18 months. But as our Chart Of The Day shows, the competition has hardly sent the segment into overdrive, as after an early-year boom, compact car sales have slackened considerably. Intriguingly though, Honda and Toyota, which lost sales early this year due to supply interruptions in the wake of the Japanese Tsunami, seem to be the only brands with recovering compact sales. What’s especially interesting about this is the fact that Toyota’s modest refresh and Honda’s poorly-received new Civic were once widely considered by automotive pundits to be under threat from the resurgent competition. Indeed, Honda’s Civic has been especially hard-hit by media criticism, earning a harsh review from TTAC’s Michael Karesh, losing its coveted “recommended” rating from Consumer Reports, and engaging in some ugly media-bashing. But now that the Civic seems to be one of the only compacts to enjoy a late-year sales rebound, Honda’s announcing that it will be upgrading the Civic for the 2013 model-year, just one year after the new model was introduced.
Ever since emerging from bankruptcy, the Chevrolet Cruze has been something of a symbol of GM’s rebound. Widely hailed by the automotive media as General Motors’ strongest effort to date in a compact segment that has become increasingly important in recent years, the Cruze seemed to show that the “new” GM was capable of selling smaller cars on their merits, rather than as afterthoughts to more profitable truck, SUV and large car offerings. And indeed, through the first half of this year, it seemed that the Cruze was something of a roaring success, regularly outselling its segment competitors. But then, in June, when production shifted from 2011 models to 2012 models, something changed: sales started to slow, and inventories started to rise. As Cruzes began piling up on dealer lots, GM trimmed production moderately, but still, inventories began to grow out of control. Clearly something was going wrong.
UPDATED: “Big Six” compact sedan monthly sales graph (Jan-Nov, 2011) added to gallery after the jump.
With all the attention being paid to Volt sales, production and turn time in the wake of recent congressional criticism, I thought I’d update our recent chart of Volt sales versus production to see how GM’s wonder car is doing a month on. As you can see, there’s not much obvious change on the year-to-date chart, with both sales and production trending upwards. But if we zoom in on the most recent months, we can see something strange happening…
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…