The Truth About Cars » Sales http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Wed, 10 Dec 2014 17:21:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 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 editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (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 » Sales http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com U.S. Auto Sales Results: November 2014 YTD http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/u-s-auto-sales-results-november-2014-ytd/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/u-s-auto-sales-results-november-2014-ytd/#comments Tue, 02 Dec 2014 20:03:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=954857 New vehicle buyers registered 1.3 million cars, SUVs, crossovers, vans, and pickup trucks in November 2014, a 57,000-unit improvement compared with November 2013. No volume brand accelerated at a faster rate in November than Ram, which shot up 31%. Scion sales, on the other hand, plunged 21%. Land Rover, Cadillac, Smart, Infiniti, and Jaguar all […]

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2015 toyota camryNew vehicle buyers registered 1.3 million cars, SUVs, crossovers, vans, and pickup trucks in November 2014, a 57,000-unit improvement compared with November 2013.

No volume brand accelerated at a faster rate in November than Ram, which shot up 31%. Scion sales, on the other hand, plunged 21%. Land Rover, Cadillac, Smart, Infiniti, and Jaguar all posted double-digit losses, as well. Ford is America’s top-selling auto brand, both in November and the first eleven months of 2014. With a 10% decline in F-Series sales last month, however, Ford was down 2.6%. Total GM sales are up 4.1% this year and rose 6.5% in November, spreading the manufacturer’s lead by 39,484 units to nearly 409,000 units.

As for premium brands, Mercedes-Benz claimed a broad victory in November but trails BMW by 1830 sales heading into 2014’s final month. Lexus, the third-ranked premium automaker, is almost 25,000 sales back of Mercedes-Benz, but the first 22 NXs were sold in November. We also saw the arrival last month of the Chevrolet City Express and Alfa Romeo 4C, both of which produced their first 24 sales. The Toyota Camry was America’s best-selling car; the Honda CR-V led all utility vehicles.

Automaker November 2014 November 2013 % Change 2014 YTD 2013 YTD % Change
Acura
 14,857 14,559 2.0% 150,034 149,685 0.2%
Alfa Romeo
 24 24
Audi
 16,650 13,636 22.0% 162,773 141,048 15.4%
BMW
 31,019 31,752 -2.3% 298,212 271,891 9.7%
Buick
 19,143 15,072 27.0% 208,606 190,130 9.7%
Cadillac
 13,148 16,172 -18.7% 154,600 164,378 -5.9%
Chevrolet
 149,673 145,089 3.2% 1,848,504 1,793,632 3.1%
Chrysler
 27,243 21,024 29.6% 277,855 282,222 -1.5%
Dodge
 42,108 41,506  1.5% 527,577 548,654 -3.8%
Fiat
 3,111 3,075  1.2% 42,337 39,491 7.2%
Ford  178,221  182,978  -2.6%  2,167,162  2,194,934  -1.3%
GMC
 43,854 35,727 22.7% 448,815 407,781 10.1%
Honda
 106,957 101,948 4.9% 1,253,557 1,240,372 1.1%
Hyundai
 53,672 56,005 -4.2%  661,211 657,778 0.5%
Infiniti
 11,398 13,152 -13.3% 105,323 103,223 2.0%
Jaguar
 1,253 1,446  -13.3% 14,090 15,408 -8.6%
Jeep
 57,489 45,415  26.6% 629,074 437,179 43.9%
Kia
 44,936 45,411  -1.0% 534,647 501,548 6.6%
Land Rover
 3,644 4,601  -20.8% 45,711 44,246 3.3%
Lexus
 27,472 25,611 7.3% 271,510 239,090 13.6%
Lincoln
 8,113 6,727 20.6% 84,784 73,710 15.0%
Maserati
 1,203 887 35.6% 11,531 3,715 210%
Mazda
 21,242 20,754 2.4% 280,993 260,982 7.7%
Mercedes-Benz
 34,578 34,376  0.6%  296,382  279,501  6.0%
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter
 2,532 2,010  26.0%  22,457  18,988  18.3% 
Total Mercedes-Benz
 37,110 36,386  2.0%  318,839  298,489  6.8%
Mini
 5,009 4,575 9.5% 49,497 59,910 -17.4%
Mitsubishi
 6534 6071 7.6%  71,098 55,671 27.7%
Nissan
 91,790 93,376  -1.7%  1,164,254 1,035,439 12.4%
Porsche
 4,699 3,966  18.5% 43,732 39,077 11.9%
Ram
 40,864 31,255 30.7% 420,511 331,815 26.7%
Scion
 3,907 4,968 -21.4% 54,192 63,998 -15.3%
Smart
 815 959 -15.0% 9,480 8,409 12.7%
Subaru
 45,273 36,621 23.6% 463,770 384,511 20.6%
Suzuki
 —  —  —  —  5,946 -100%
Toyota
 151,967 147,465  3.1% 1,833,012 1,742,111 5.2%
Volkswagen
 31,725 30,727 3.2% 332,911 373,689 -10.9%
Volvo
 3,623 4,233 -14.4% 51,446 56,345 -8.7%
 —
BMW-Mini
 36,028 36,327 -0.8% 347,709 331,801 4.8%
Chrysler Group/FCA
 170,839 142,275  20.1% 1,897,378 1,639,361 15.7%
Daimler
37,925 37,345 1.6% 328,319 306,898 7.0%
Ford Motor Company
 186,334 189,705 -1.8%  2,251,946 2,268,644 -0.7%
General Motors
 225,818 212,060 6.5% 2,660,525 2,555,921 4.1%
Honda Motor Company
121,814 116,507 4.6% 1,403,591 1,390,057 1.0%
Hyundai-Kia
 98,608  101,416  -2.8%  1,195,858  1,159,326  3.2%
Jaguar-Land Rover
4,897 6,047  -19.0% 59,801 59,654 0.2%
Nissan Motor Company
 103,188  106,528  -3.1%  1,269,577  1,138,662  11.5%
Toyota Motor Corporation
183,346  178,044 3.0% 2,158,714  2,045,199

 5.6%

Volkswagen Group *
 53,387  48,652  9.7%  542,007  556,336  -2.6%
Industry Total
1,302,655
1,245,189
4.6%
15,023,111
14,243,037
5.5%

* Volkswagen Group includes sales figures for Audi, Bentley, Porsche, and Volkswagen brands

** Industry total includes Automotive News sales estimates for ultra-low-volume automakers and their 2200-unit (November) Tesla sales estimate.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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U.S. Auto Sales Results: October 2014 YTD http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/u-s-auto-sales-results-october-2014-ytd/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/u-s-auto-sales-results-october-2014-ytd/#comments Mon, 03 Nov 2014 20:00:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=939849 We weren’t going to see rapid growth month after month after month. Indeed, monthly year-over-year improvements for the industry as a whole averaged 7.6% over the last four months. The U.S. auto industry was up 6% in October 2014 as a handful of automakers reported big gains, and a handful struggled to match last year’s […]

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2015-jeep-wranglerWe weren’t going to see rapid growth month after month after month. Indeed, monthly year-over-year improvements for the industry as a whole averaged 7.6% over the last four months. The U.S. auto industry was up 6% in October 2014 as a handful of automakers reported big gains, and a handful struggled to match last year’s pace.

The Chrysler Group was up 22%, for example, but inside that total was Dodge’s 8% decline and Jeep’s 52% improvement. GM sales were level despite Buick’s 6.5% increase and Cadillac’s 8% decrease.

Automaker October 2014 October 2013 % Change 2014 YTD 2013 YTD % Change
Acura
 15,427 14,296 7.9% 135,177 135,126 0.04%
Audi
 15,150 13,001 16.5% 146,133 127,412 14.7%
BMW
 30,602 27,574 11.0% 267,193 238,469 12.0%
Buick
 18,699 17,555 6.5% 189,463 175,058 8.2%
Cadillac
 13,615 14,792 -8.0% 141,452 148,206 -4.6%
Chevrolet
 155,965 155,214 0.5% 1,698,831 1,648,543 3.1%
Chrysler
 27,546 23,452 17.5% 250,612 261,198 -4.1%
Dodge
 41,512 45,314 -8.4% 485,469 507,148 -4.3%
Fiat
 3,725 3,674  1.4% 39,226 36,416 7.7%
Ford  179,014  184,136 -2.8%  1,988,941  2,011,956  -1.1%
GMC
 38,540 38,841 -0.8% 404,961 372,054 8.8%
Honda
 105,745 100,242 5.5% 1,146,600 1,138,424  0.7%
Hyundai
 50,081 53,555  -6.5% 607,539 601,773 1.0%
Infiniti
 9,045 9,152 -1.2% 93,925 90,071 4.3%
Jaguar
 1,007 1,515 -33.5%  12,837 13,962 -8.1%
Jeep
 55,198 36,369  51.8% 571,585 391,764 45.9%
Kia
 44,694  39,754 12.4% 489,711  456,137 7.4%
Land Rover
 3,643 4,286  -15.0% 42,067 39,645 6.1%
Lexus
 23,355 22,719 2.8% 244,038 213,479 14.3%
Lincoln
 8,883 7,131 24.6% 76,671 66,983 14.5%
Maserati
 1,203 587 105% 10,328 2,828 265%
Mazda
 18,798 19,737 -4.8% 259,751 240,228  8.1%
Mercedes-Benz
 28,593 30,069 -4.9% 261,804 245,125 6.8%
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter
 2,140 2,038 5.0% 19,925 16,978 17.4%
Total Mercedes-Benz
 30,733  32,107  -4.3%  281,729  262,103  7.5%
Mini
 5,300 5,700 -7.0% 44,488 55,335 -19.6%
Mitsubishi
 6,199  4,972  24.7%  64,564  49,953  29.2%
Nissan
 94,072 81,866 14.9% 1,072,464 942,063 13.8%
Porsche
 3,667 3,562  2.9% 39,033 35,111  11.2%
Ram
 42,499 31,264  35.9% 379,647 300,560 26.3%
Scion
 4,182 4,940 -15.3% 50,285 59,030 -14.8%
Smart
 585 513 14.0% 8,665 7,450 16.3%
Subaru
 43,012 34,483 24.7% 418,497 347,890 20.3%
Suzuki
 — 5,946 -100%
Toyota
 153,043  141,317 8.3% 1,681,045  1,594,646  5.4%
Volkswagen
 30,313 28,129 7.8% 301,187 342,962 -12.2%
Volvo
 3,972  3,919  1.4%  47,823  52,112 -8.2%
 —
BMW-Mini
 35,902 33,274 7.9% 311,681 293,804 6.1%
Chrysler Group/FCA
 170,480 140,083 21.7% 1,726,539 1,497,086 15.3%
Daimler
 31,318 32,620 -4.0% 290,394 269,553 7.7%
Ford Motor Company
 187,897  191,267  -1.8% 2,065,612  2,078,939  -0.6%
General Motors
 226,819 226,402 0.2% 2,434,707 2,343,861 3.9%
Honda Motor Company
121,172 114,538 5.8% 1,281,777 1,273,550 0.6%
Hyundai-Kia
 94,775  93,309  1.6%  1,097,250  1,057,910

 3.7%

Jaguar-Land Rover
 4,650 5,801  -19.8% 54,904 53,607 2.4%
Nissan Motor Company
 103,117 91,018 13.3% 1,166,389 1,032,134 13.0%
Toyota Motor Corporation
 180,580 168,976 6.9% 1,975,368 1,867,155 5.8%
Volkswagen Group *
 49,189  45,032  9.2%  488,621  507,784  -3.8%
Industry Total
1,281,132
1,207,516
6.1%
13,717,987
12,997,862
5.5%

* Volkswagen Group includes sales figures for Audi, Bentley, Porsche, and Volkswagen brands

** Industry total includes Automotive News sales estimates for ultra-low-volume automakers and their 1400-unit (October) Tesla sales estimate.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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Aston Martin Gets U.S. Government Exemption on Safety Standards http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/aston-martin-gets-u-s-government-exemption-safety-standards/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/aston-martin-gets-u-s-government-exemption-safety-standards/#comments Sun, 02 Nov 2014 21:14:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=939465 Aston Martin won a crucial exemption from the U.S. government regarding safety standards, allowing them to continue selling their line-up of sports cars in America. By denying an exemption to Aston Martin, the government would have effectively prevented Aston Martin from selling their products in the United States market, as the cost of retrofitting or […]

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2014-Aston-Martin-Vanquish-Volante-main_rdax_646x396

Aston Martin won a crucial exemption from the U.S. government regarding safety standards, allowing them to continue selling their line-up of sports cars in America.

By denying an exemption to Aston Martin, the government would have effectively prevented Aston Martin from selling their products in the United States market, as the cost of retrofitting or redesigning their cars to meet standards would be too expensive. In a statement released by NHTSA, the regulator declared

“The basis for the grant is that compliance would cause substantial economic hardship to a low volume manufacturer that has tried in good faith to comply with the standard.”

According to Reuters, Aston Martin sold just 4,200 cars worldwide last year. The exemptions will continue until summer, 2017 at the latest.

 

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Editorial: By Royal Decree http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/editorial-royal-decree/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/editorial-royal-decree/#comments Fri, 31 Oct 2014 17:26:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=938985 Buried in a Reuters article on Hyundai’s new Prius-fighter was talk of Hyundai’s new Aslan sedan. The Aslan is intended to take on the growing sales of imported sedans in South Korea, namely the VW Passat, BMW 3-Series and Audi A4. Based on a front-drive architecture, the Aslan seems to occupy a slot between the […]

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Buried in a Reuters article on Hyundai’s new Prius-fighter was talk of Hyundai’s new Aslan sedan. The Aslan is intended to take on the growing sales of imported sedans in South Korea, namely the VW Passat, BMW 3-Series and Audi A4. Based on a front-drive architecture, the Aslan seems to occupy a slot between the Sonata and the Grandeur (aka our Azera) – which made it all the more surprising when Reuters reported that “The automaker is also looking at introducing the Aslan in China, the United States and Middle Eastern countries.”

A sort of large, sort of premium sedan makes sense for China and the Middle East. These vehicles tend to thrive in markets where lots of passenger space, “premium styling” and a comfort-focused driving experience are prized by consumers.

But the United States? Sales of the new Sonata haven’t had the same impact as the previous generation. The mid-size sedan market is on a downward trend, and the outlook for large sedans is dismal. Between the Sonata and the Azera, Hyundai has the large sedan space sewn up, and Hyundai product planners would be the first to tell you that the Aslan would be a redundant offering. So why the talk of exports?

Simple. Sometimes, certain vehicles are sent to certain markets by “royal decree”. See also: Phaeton, Volkswagen. Products are cooked up at the “mothership” and sent to certain markets, even if they may not be wholly appropriate for sale there. The regional arm is tasked with the sales and marketing of said product, even if it doesn’t make sense (yet another large-ish sedan) or wholly inappropriate for the brand (think about the Kia K900).

 

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Quote Of The Day: Gas Price Amnesia http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/quote-day-gas-price-amnesia/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/quote-day-gas-price-amnesia/#comments Mon, 27 Oct 2014 18:40:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=936674 “I think it’s fairly interesting from a cultural memory standpoint, that American car buyers, for the most part, don’t seem to have memory of gas prices two, three or six months ago,” –  TrueCar President John Krafcik speaking to NPR about slumping hybrid sales. According to NPR, hybrid sales are off by about 5 percent […]

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2010-2011_Toyota_Prius_--_12-21-2011

“I think it’s fairly interesting from a cultural memory standpoint, that American car buyers, for the most part, don’t seem to have memory of gas prices two, three or six months ago,”

–  TrueCar President John Krafcik speaking to NPR about slumping hybrid sales.

According to NPR, hybrid sales are off by about 5 percent this year, despite a new car market that’s on track for a record year. Sales of trucks and SUVs, on the other hand, are up by double digits.

For many consumers, the extra cost of a hybrid just isn’t worth it. Not when the internal combustion engine has gotten so efficient, and the fuel efficiency of the overall new vehicle fleet is bound to be a big improvement, especially given that the average vehicle on the road is 11 years old.

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Editorial: Accord A Canary In the Coal Mine For Europe’s Large Car Segment http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/editorial-accord-canary-coal-mine-europes-large-car-segment/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/editorial-accord-canary-coal-mine-europes-large-car-segment/#comments Mon, 27 Oct 2014 16:17:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=936642 Acura’s decision to consolidate both the TL and TSX into a single replacement, did more than just deprive North American consumers of a Made In Japan, manual-equipped Acura sedan. It also helped spell the end of the European Honda Accord. The “narrow body” Accord, sold in Europe, Australia and other world markets formed the basis […]

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1280px-2008-2011_Honda_Accord_Euro_sedan_(2011-06-15)_01

Acura’s decision to consolidate both the TL and TSX into a single replacement, did more than just deprive North American consumers of a Made In Japan, manual-equipped Acura sedan. It also helped spell the end of the European Honda Accord.

The “narrow body” Accord, sold in Europe, Australia and other world markets formed the basis for our TSX. But Honda has decided to cease production of their “large” (by world standards) sedan starting early next year.

In Canada and the United States, the Accord is a strong player in the mid-size sedan market. But in the rest of the world, it’s a bit player at best. In a region where cars like the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Fiesta regularly top the sales charts, the Accord was fighting for relative scraps. And its competition, like the Ford Mondeo, Opel/Vauxhall Insignia and Volkswagen Passat practically have the segment locked down in the all important corporate fleet arena, where most of these large cars are purchased, due to the tax savings generated by a company car, rather than buying one for personal use.

Honda won’t be replacing the Accord with another version, but given the way things are going for Europe’s car market, that may not be a bad thing. Crossovers are eating into everything from sedans to compact hatchbacks to station wagons. Better to devote resources to marketing the CR-V and the upcoming HR-V than a minor player in a shrinking segment.

 

 

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Chart Of The Day: 8 Years A Slave http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/chart-day-8-years-slave/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/chart-day-8-years-slave/#comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 17:28:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=935786 Today’s Chart comes from J.D. Power, showing the growth of long term loans in the Canadian car market. While 96 month loans are just starting to hit American consumers, the 8 year loan terms have been present in the Great White North for some time. A friend was recently looking at a modestly equipped Big […]

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Today’s Chart comes from J.D. Power, showing the growth of long term loans in the Canadian car market. While 96 month loans are just starting to hit American consumers, the 8 year loan terms have been present in the Great White North for some time. A friend was recently looking at a modestly equipped Big Three Pickup, which would be used for work. The truck, with an MSRP of $35,000 CAD (plus 13 percent sales tax), was offered at 96 months for 3.99%. That would have added up to $6,000 in interest payments over the loan term.

Faced with less disposable income and higher vehicle costs, the discourse in the Canadian market has gradually shifted to one where bi-weekly and even weekly payments have become the advertised norm, with 72, 84 and 96 month loans appearing as a fixture of the new and used vehicle marketplace. While the Honda Civic is still Canada’s best-selling passenger car (advertised at $39 per week), and Canadians opt for more modest choices overall, credit rating agencies are already sounding the alarm over the rapid expansion of auto loans to unworthy consumers, driven largely by Canada’s banking sector.

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Fuel Prices Leave Efficient, Greener Offerings On The Lot http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/fuel-prices-leave-efficient-greener-offerings-lot/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/fuel-prices-leave-efficient-greener-offerings-lot/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 14:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=934794 Falling fuel prices are helping to drive sales of SUVs and trucks as of late, but at the expense of more efficient, greener offerings. Automotive News reports dealers flush with fuel efficient and alternative fuel models are dropping truck-month style incentives on the hood to help move them off the lot. KBB.com notes that the […]

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2012-ford-f-250-xlt-westport-cng-front

Falling fuel prices are helping to drive sales of SUVs and trucks as of late, but at the expense of more efficient, greener offerings.

Automotive News reports dealers flush with fuel efficient and alternative fuel models are dropping truck-month style incentives on the hood to help move them off the lot. KBB.com notes that the Toyota Prius and Ford C-Max alone have seen increased incentives, with the latter jumping from $2,650 last September, to $4,900 this past September.

Meanwhile, strengthening fuel efficiency targets may lead to automakers producing vehicles that, according to Kelley Blue Book senior analyst Eric Ibarra, “consumers don’t want to buy” should gasoline and diesel prices remain low. Per forecasts by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the decrease in fuel costs will remain in play for at least another year, thanks to the oil boom in places like Alberta and North Dakota.

That said, dealerships aren’t too worried yet, believing consumers are ever-vigilant toward price spikes. Until then, SUVs and pickups will dominate the highways for another day.

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Japanese Auto Makers Crack The Closed Market http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/japanese-auto-makers-crack-closed-market/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/japanese-auto-makers-crack-closed-market/#comments Thu, 16 Oct 2014 18:25:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=932073 While the eternal debate about whether Japan is or isn’t a closed market continues to rage onwards, the Nikkei reports that a new phenomenon is occurring in Japan: imported vehicles from domestic brands are starting to trickle in. Previously, only a very limited number of imported nameplates trickled into the Japanese market. The Ohio-built Honda […]

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While the eternal debate about whether Japan is or isn’t a closed market continues to rage onwards, the Nikkei reports that a new phenomenon is occurring in Japan: imported vehicles from domestic brands are starting to trickle in.

Previously, only a very limited number of imported nameplates trickled into the Japanese market. The Ohio-built Honda Accord Coupe was one of the most famous examples, with right-hand drive units sent back to Japan and marketed specifically as an American-built vehicle.

 

Even though the yen has weakened – a key factor in the decision to set up overseas manufacturing facilities – Japanese OEMs aren’t so eager to move production back home. As the Nikkei reports

In some cases, the economies of scale from building cars where they sell the most makes those vehicles more competitive than those produced domestically. So the automakers are moving to import these models to beef up their domestic lineups… ‘Each automaker has taken risks to conduct capital investment abroad, so it’s unlikely that the trend to manufacture locally will change as a result of exchange rates returning to earlier levels,’ says Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association Chairman Fumihiko Ike.

While models from lower cost locales like Spain, Hungary and Thailand will be brought to Japan, Honda will be bringing the Ohio-built Acura NSX over, albeit as a low volume halo car. Nevertheless, it’s an interesting twist of events, given that the Plaza Accord and voluntary export restrictions aren’t too distant a memory for many people.

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Datsun Dealing With Low Sales In Emerging Markets http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/datsun-dealing-low-sales-emerging-markets/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/datsun-dealing-low-sales-emerging-markets/#comments Wed, 15 Oct 2014 10:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=931346 Last year, Renault-Nissan resurrected Datsun, positioning the brand for emerging markets — like India, Russia and Indonesia — with a portfolio of models that would attract new, young consumers whose wallets were a bit thin. It’s not quite working out thus far. Bloomberg reports deliveries of the Go hatchback in India have fallen in three […]

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Datsun mi-Do 01

Last year, Renault-Nissan resurrected Datsun, positioning the brand for emerging markets — like India, Russia and Indonesia — with a portfolio of models that would attract new, young consumers whose wallets were a bit thin.

It’s not quite working out thus far.

Bloomberg reports deliveries of the Go hatchback in India have fallen in three of the previous four months through this August, with only 607 units leaving the lot in July, briefly dipping below the sales rate of the Tata Nano in the same month. Further, from its debut in March through August, a total of 9,557 of the ₹312,270 ($5,100 USD) Gos found their way into Indian garages.

Meanwhile, Russian sales will take a hit thanks to the ongoing geopolitical Cold War retro revival delivering a two-pronged attack upon the market, with sanctions by Western states on one side, the spectre of recession along the other. According to IHS Automotive, sales may fall to a decade-low of 9 percent by the time 2015 rolls around.

Finally, Datsun has moved 6,400 Go+ Pancas thus far in FY 2014, with the goal set for 40,000 units sold by the end of March 2015. The brand recently began accepting orders for the Go hatch, while Nissan believes it can hit the mark within the year.

India may prove to be the toughest market for the upstart brand, as those interested in a new car would rather pay more than be seen in something considered “cheap.” That said, sales could pick up during the country’s festival season, which began last month and is set to end in November. Additionally, Datsun corporate vice president Vincent Cobee acknowledged that it would take a while for a new-car buyer to consider a new brand over an established one, even if they are paying $10,000 or less for the vehicle.

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Chart Of The Day: America’s Top Rental Cars http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/chart-day-americas-top-rental-cars/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/chart-day-americas-top-rental-cars/#comments Tue, 14 Oct 2014 14:57:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=930946   Courtesy of the New York Times and Polk, a chart showing the top rental cars in 2013, as a percentage of overall sales. A big question mark overall is “what percentage of Impala sales (not just to fleets) are of the W-Body, fleet only, ‘Impala Limited'”? GM won’t break out their numbers from the […]

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rentalcars

 

Courtesy of the New York Times and Polk, a chart showing the top rental cars in 2013, as a percentage of overall sales.

A big question mark overall is “what percentage of Impala sales (not just to fleets) are of the W-Body, fleet only, ‘Impala Limited'”? GM won’t break out their numbers from the Epsilon II-based model that replaced it, but either way, at least half of the Impala’s volume (roughly 156,000 units were sold in 2013) went to rental fleets. The Impala and the Dodge Charger, two heavy hitters in the ever-shrinking full-size car segment, are well represented, along with the Chrysler minivans, the now defunct Dodge Avenger and GM’s full-size SUVs. Mazda also appears to be dumping volume into daily rental, with the Mazda2 and Mazda5 making an appearance.

Ranking ahead of the Impala was the Toyota Yaris. Even though nearly 60 percent of Yarisis (Yari?) go to rental fleets, Toyota just spent what must have been a huge sum of money flying journalists and their guest of choice to a week-long drive event in Hawaii to preview the new Yaris, as well as the Sienna and refreshed 2015 Camry. TTAC was not invited, but perhaps we can do two rental reviews, for less than the cost of one night’s stay on the Big Island.

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Chart Of The Day: U.S. Auto Market Share – September 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/chart-day-u-s-auto-market-share-september-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/chart-day-u-s-auto-market-share-september-2014/#comments Sat, 04 Oct 2014 12:35:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=923969 Auto sales in the United States rose 9.4% compared with September 2013 to 1.245M in September 2014. Pickup trucks climbed above 190,000 units for the third consecutive month. The Honda Accord unseated the Toyota Camry for the second time in two months. Chrysler Group used pickup trucks, minivans, and Jeep to generate 68% of the […]

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U.S. Auto brand market share sales chart September 2014Auto sales in the United States rose 9.4% compared with September 2013 to 1.245M in September 2014. Pickup trucks climbed above 190,000 units for the third consecutive month. The Honda Accord unseated the Toyota Camry for the second time in two months. Chrysler Group used pickup trucks, minivans, and Jeep to generate 68% of the company’s volume as their car sales slid 7%.

Chrysler Group’s market share increased to a Toyota-beating 13.6% from 12.6% a year ago and 12.5% in August of this year. GM’s market share grew to 17.9% from 16.4% in September 2013 as Silverado volume shot up by more than 50%. Ford Motor Company, on the other hand, suffered a decline in market share, falling from 16.2% in September of last year and 15.5% in August of this year to 14.4% in September 2014.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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U.S. Auto Sales Results: September 2014 YTD http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/u-s-auto-sales-results-september-2014-ytd/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/u-s-auto-sales-results-september-2014-ytd/#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 18:59:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=922825 Automakers reported sales of more than 1.24 million new vehicles in September 2014, a 9.4% increase compared with the same month one year ago. Auto sales rose 5.5% over the course of 2014’s first three quarters, powered by big improvements at Jeep, Ram, Subaru, and Nissan. Aside from Maserati’s massive leap in September – the […]

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2014-MINI-cooper-cooper-sAutomakers reported sales of more than 1.24 million new vehicles in September 2014, a 9.4% increase compared with the same month one year ago. Auto sales rose 5.5% over the course of 2014’s first three quarters, powered by big improvements at Jeep, Ram, Subaru, and Nissan.

Aside from Maserati’s massive leap in September – the brand once again outsold Jaguar – the month’s fastest-growing brand was Jeep, up 47%, or 17,767 units. Mini, Scion, Volkswagen (down 19% to fewer than 26,000 sales), Infiniti, and Jaguar stood out for their declines. Countryman sales shot up 60%; every other Mini was down sharply, including the core Hardtop model which fell to just 1118 units.

Automaker Sept. 2014 Sept.  2013 % Change 2014 YTD 2013 YTD % Change
Acura
 13,832 11,648 18.8% 119,750 120,830 -0.9%
Audi
 14,917 13,065 14.2% 130,983 114,411 14.5%
BMW
 25,586 23,568 8.6% 236,591 212,565 11.3%
Buick
 17,466 15,623 11.8% 170,764 157,503 8.4%
Cadillac
 13,829 13,828 0.0% 127,837 133,414 -4.2%
Chevrolet
 153,873 127,875 20.4% 1,542,866 1,493,329 3.3%
Chrysler
 28,781 25,251  14.0% 223,066 237,746 -6.2%
Dodge
 44,020 48,576 -9.4% 443,957 461,834 -3.9%
Fiat
 3,360 3,157  6.4% 35,501 32,742 8.4%
Ford  172,261  177,999  -3.2%  1,809,927  1,827,820  -1.0%
GMC
 38,269 29,959 27.7% 366,421 333,213 10.0%
Honda
 104,391 93,915 11.2% 1,040,855 1,038,182 0.3%
Hyundai
 56,010 55,102 1.6%  557,458  548,218  1.7%
Infiniti
 7,837  9,040 -13.3% 84,880 80,919 4.9%
Jaguar
 1,142 1,313 -13.0%  11,830 12,447 -5.0%
Jeep
 55,231 37,464  47.4% 516,387 355,385 45.3%
Kia
 40,628 38,003 6.9% 445,017 416,383 6.9%
Land Rover
 3,106 3,387  -8.3%  38,424  35,359 8.7%
Lexus
 21,852 19,522 11.9% 220,683 190,760 15.7%
Lincoln
 7,257 6,453 12.5% 67,788 59,852 13.3%
Maserati
 1,318 379 247.8% 9,125  2,241 307.2%
Mazda
 23,980 22,464 6.7% 240,953 220,491 9.3%
Mercedes-Benz
 27,315 24,697  10.6%  233,211  215,056  8.4% 
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter
 2,208 2,152  2.6%  17,785  14,940  19.0%
Total Mercedes-Benz
 29,523  26,849  10.0%  250,996  229,996  9.1%
Mini
 4,219 5,306 -20.5% 39,188 49,635 -21.0%
Mitsubishi
 5,558 4,001 38.9% 58,365 44,981 29.8%
Nissan
 95,118  77,828 22.2% 978,392 860,197 13.7%
Porsche
 3,607  3,093  16.6% 35,366  31,549 12.1%
Ram
 38,498 25,569  34.8% 337,148 269,296  25.2%
Scion
 4,154 5,131 -19.0% 46,103 54,090 -14.8%
Smart
 748 625 19.7% 8080 6937 16.5%
Subaru
 41,517 31,755 30.7% 375,485 313,407 19.8%
Suzuki
 —  — 5,946  -100%
Toyota
 141,273  139,804 1.1%  1,528,002  1,453,329 5.1%
Volkswagen
 25,996 31,920 -18.6% 270,874 314,833 -14.0%
Volvo
 4,667 4,188 11.4% 43,851 48,193 -9.0%
 —
BMW-Mini
 29,805 28,874 3.2% 275,779 262,200 5.2%
Chrysler Group
 169,890 143,017  18.8% 1,556,059 1,357,003 14.7%
Daimler
30,271 27,474 10.2% 259,076 236,933 9.3%
Ford Motor Company
 179,518  184,452  -2.7%  1,877,715 1,887,672  -0.5%
General Motors
 223,437 187,195 19.4% 2,207,888 2,117,459 4.3%
Honda Motor Company
118,223 105,563 12.0% 1,160,605 1,159,012 0.1%
Hyundai-Kia
 96,638  93,105  3.8%  1,002,475  964,601  3.9%
Jaguar-Land Rover
4,248 4,700 -9.6% 50,254 47,806 5.1%
Nissan Motor Company
 102,955  86,868 18.5% 1,063,272 941,116 13.0%
Toyota Motor Corporation
167,279  164,457  1.7% 1,794,788  1,698,179  5.7%
Volkswagen Group *
 44,520  48,078  -7.4% 437,223  460,793  -5.1%
Industry Total **
1,245,786
1,138,378
9.4%
12,436,855
11,790,337
5.5%

* Volkswagen Group includes sales figures for Audi, Bentley, Porsche, and Volkswagen brands.

** Industry total includes Automotive News sales estimates for ultra-low-volume automakers and their 1300-unit (September) Tesla sales estimate.

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Editorial: The Best Laid Plans Of Lotus And Men http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/editorial-best-laid-plans-lotus-men/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/editorial-best-laid-plans-lotus-men/#comments Wed, 24 Sep 2014 16:35:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=917850 Reports of the demise of Lotus in America have been greatly exaggerated. Lotus will revive the Evora for a 2016 model year run, complete with up-to-spec airbags, while dealers will be held over by whatever remaining inventory is left from the 2014 model year (or earlier). The big question for Lotus USA is whether that […]

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1024px-LotusEvora-front

Reports of the demise of Lotus in America have been greatly exaggerated. Lotus will revive the Evora for a 2016 model year run, complete with up-to-spec airbags, while dealers will be held over by whatever remaining inventory is left from the 2014 model year (or earlier).

The big question for Lotus USA is whether that will be enough to sustain Lotus dealers in the USA. Without a retail network, Lotus can’t sell cars – but the dealers need something to sustain them, even if volumes are low (according to Automotive News estimates, Lotus sold about 112 cars in America, year-to-date). Service and parts sales aren’t likely to be sufficient, though it’s conceivable that the vast majority of Lotus franchises are not stand alone entities.

Even so, this presents the question: will selling a few track day specials and left over Evoras be able to sustain the Lotus retail network in the United States. At best, whatever other brands the dealer is selling will be subsidizing the Lotus operations. At worst, it will present dealers with cash flow problems due to having to move a lineup of year old or non-street legal cars.

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2015 Honda CR-V Gets New Look, New Transmission http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/2015-honda-cr-v-gets-new-look-new-transmission/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/2015-honda-cr-v-gets-new-look-new-transmission/#comments Mon, 22 Sep 2014 14:23:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=916346 Our own Jack Baruth is full of praise for Honda’s CVT transmission, and it looks like the 2015 CR-V could be the next vehicle from the Big H to adopt it, replacing the 5-speed automatic gearbox. While Honda has released just a single photograph of the 2015 CR-V, we have it on good authority that […]

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2015-honda-cr-v

Our own Jack Baruth is full of praise for Honda’s CVT transmission, and it looks like the 2015 CR-V could be the next vehicle from the Big H to adopt it, replacing the 5-speed automatic gearbox.

While Honda has released just a single photograph of the 2015 CR-V, we have it on good authority that the CVT will be part of the CR-V’s mid-cycle refresh. It’s unlikely that consumers will notice the changeover, despite the howls of protest from certain corners of the enthusiast community. And the CR-V is unlikely to lose its dominant spot on the top of the crossover sales charts.

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Lotus Ceases Sales Of Road Cars In America http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/lotus-ceases-sales-road-cars-america/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/lotus-ceases-sales-road-cars-america/#comments Mon, 22 Sep 2014 13:54:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=916314 As of 2015, Lotus will no longer sell road cars in the United States, as sales of the Evora sports car come to an end. Car and Driver reports that a waiver granted to the Evora for its lack of smart airbags has come to an end, and Lotus won’t be making any modifications to […]

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550x371xevoradealership-550x371.jpg.pagespeed.ic.bycVHiMPB6

As of 2015, Lotus will no longer sell road cars in the United States, as sales of the Evora sports car come to an end.

Car and Driver reports that a waiver granted to the Evora for its lack of smart airbags has come to an end, and Lotus won’t be making any modifications to help it comply with U.S regulations. That will leave Lotus with only a lineup of track-only variants of the Elise and Exige.

Lotus is also in the midst of mass layoffs at its UK headquarters, and both signs bode ill for the boutique sports car maker. Selling off the remainder of US-spec Evora inventory will take some time, but its unlikely that selling non-street legal cars will be enough to keep the American arm of Lotus afloat in the forseeable future.

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Ford Cutting European Fiesta Output On Weak Demand http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/ford-cutting-european-fiesta-output-weak-demand/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/ford-cutting-european-fiesta-output-weak-demand/#comments Fri, 19 Sep 2014 18:36:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=915210 As one of Europe’s most popular vehicles, the Ford Fiesta’s sales is an interesting datapoint when it comes to looking at the strength of the overall European car market. So it’s interesting that despite a supposed rebound of Europe’s new car market, Ford is cutting Fiesta output at its plant in Cologne, Germany. Just-Auto is […]

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1024px-Ford_Fiesta_-_Mondial_de_l'Automobile_de_Paris_2012_-_003_(image_modifié)

As one of Europe’s most popular vehicles, the Ford Fiesta’s sales is an interesting datapoint when it comes to looking at the strength of the overall European car market. So it’s interesting that despite a supposed rebound of Europe’s new car market, Ford is cutting Fiesta output at its plant in Cologne, Germany.

Just-Auto is reporting that Ford will cut output for 11 days, despite an overall EU market up 6 percent this year, though key markets like France, Italy and Germany were down slightly. Last year, the Fiesta was Europe’s best-selling small car, and according to Polk registration data, the top-selling subcompact in the world. The aforementioned countries are also key markets for the Fiesta (though the UK, its top market, is still going strong), so Ford won’t be taking this development lightly.

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Best Selling Cars Around The Globe: Coast to Coast 2014 – Charleston SC http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/best-selling-cars-around-globe-coast-coast-2014-charleston-sc/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/best-selling-cars-around-globe-coast-coast-2014-charleston-sc/#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 15:05:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=913602 Ford F250 in Charleston SC After driving from Washington DC through Virginia, North & South Carolina, we are now in Charleston SC. I know a lot of you live in town and have already predicted the type of cars I would see depending on which area of town I travel to. So I need to preface my observations […]

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1. Ford F250 Charleston 2Ford F250 in Charleston SC

After driving from Washington DC through Virginia, North & South Carolina, we are now in Charleston SC. I know a lot of you live in town and have already predicted the type of cars I would see depending on which area of town I travel to. So I need to preface my observations by saying I spent some time in North Charleston, Downtown Charleston and Ashley River as this will impact the landscape I have observed.

Full Report below the jump.

2. Ford F150 Ranger Charleston 21973 Ford F150 Ranger in Charleston SC

The first observation is the strength of the Chrysler brand in this area compared to the regions I previously traversed, with the 300 and 200 (both the previous Sebring-facelift generation and the spectacular current one) more frequent as well as quite a few Pacifica indicating very solid sales when the model was still part of the Chrysler range. More significantly, Charleston is the first city where I could spot a very clear heritage of pick-up trucks with many older models parked throughout town, showing a decades-long history of domination of this type of vehicle.

3. Albert Charleston 1Albert pretending to be a big Charleston home owner…

And of course a lot more new pick-ups here than I have seen so far, with the usual suspects leading the way: the Ford F-Series is the most popular, with the Chevrolet Silverado, Ram and Toyota Tacoma also strong but not that many GMC Sierra or Toyota Tundra. Getting more granular, Charleston is the first city where I’m noticing the popularity of the F250 and, to a lesser extent, F350 variants as opposed to the F150. Ford doesn’t easily share sales split by variant, grouping each one into the “F-Series” nameplate, partly to ensure its best-seller the #1 overall spot each year, whereas the F250 and up differ quite significantly from the F150.

4. Albert Charleston 2…and again…

During my last US trip about 6-7 years ago, I had hardly noticed any other variant other than the F150. In Charleston, the most popular F-Series truck was not the F150 but the F250, sometimes in a 2-door variant I didn’t even know existed. This is a pretty significant evolution that seems to have happened only during the last generation of the model. Further cities visited along this trip will confirm that trend as you will see.

5. Dodge Ram vintage 2 Charleston1981 Dodge Ram in Charleston SC

2015 Ford F1502015 Ford F150

I am in touch with Ford US to try and establish the ratio of F250 and F350 within F-Series sales nationally, as this would be a great indication of where this trend is going. To me another hint is the new generation F150 which will hit dealerships this November, arguably closer to the current F250/350 than the F150 – confirming my observations. In any case, I am nominating the Ford F250 as the Hero in Town for Charleston.

6. Ford F250 Charleston 6Ford F250 in Charleston SC

There are also a lot more tradesman/base variants on the road, like the one I am driving – Albert is feeling more and more at home on this trip.

7. Toyota Corolla CharlestonToyota Corolla in Charleston SC

On the opposite end of the scale, Charleston drivers also seem to love particularly small cars, with a lot more Nissan Versa Note, new Honda Fit and Hyundai Accent here than up until now. As it has now been the case everywhere I’ve been so far, the new generation Chevrolet Tahoe / Suburban / GMC Yukon / XL is appearing in the streets way more often than its national ranking would lead us to expect. When is this going to stop and why is this nameplate not ranking higher overall?

8. Albert Charleston 3Albert in Charleston SC

One last observations is a surprisingly strong number of Honda Element, which seem to simply have been among the best-sellers in Charleston at the height of its career, as well as already quite a few new generation GMC Acadia. Next step: Savannah in Georgia. Stay tuned!

Matt Gasnier is based in Sydney, Australia and writes a blog dedicated to tracking car sales around the globe: BestSellingCarsBlog

9. Ram 1500 Nissan Sentra CharlestonQuick size check: Albert vs. Nissan Sentra

10. Ford F250 Charleston 4Ford F250 (previous gen)

11. Ford F250 vintage CharlestonFord F250

13. Albert Charleston 4Albert with one of his Heavy Duty bros

14. Chevrolet Silverado CharlestonChevrolet Silverado

15. Chevrolet Silverado vintage CharlestonChevrolet Silverado

Chrysler 200 Jeep Wrangler CharlestonJeep Wrangler and Chrysler 200

Dodge Ram Vintage Charleston1981 Dodge Ram

Ford Explorer CharlestonFord Explorer

Ford F150 vintage CharlestonFord F150

Ford F250 Charleston 1Ford F250

Ford F250 Charleston 3Ford F250 (previous gen)

Ford F250 Charleston 5Ford F250

Nissan Versa Note CharlestonNissan Versa Note

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Ferrari Boss Steps Down As Marchionne Takes Control http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/ferrari-boss-steps-marchionne-takes-control/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/ferrari-boss-steps-marchionne-takes-control/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 15:30:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=910106 Luca di Montezemolo, who has headed up Ferrari for over two decades and presided over record profits, has stepped down amid in-fighting with Fiat head Sergio Marchionne. After joining Ferrari in the early 1990’s, di Montezemolo led a campaign to revitalize Ferrari, bringing in a lineup of vastly improved products and putting their Formula 1 […]

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Luca di Montezemolo, who has headed up Ferrari for over two decades and presided over record profits, has stepped down amid in-fighting with Fiat head Sergio Marchionne.

After joining Ferrari in the early 1990’s, di Montezemolo led a campaign to revitalize Ferrari, bringing in a lineup of vastly improved products and putting their Formula 1 team back on the road to success. Under his stewardship, Ferrari dominated the latter half of the 1990’s and early 2000’s, with Michael Schumacher, Ross Brawn, Rory Byrne and other motorsports all-stars working as one of the most dominant Formula 1 outfits in history.

In addition to their on-track success, Ferrari also found great financial success in the now ubiquitous merchandise licensing deals that were spearheaded by di Montezemolo, which has allowed Ferrari to maintain a lucrative revenue stream despite capping production of the cars at 7,000 units annually.

But that wasn’t enough for Marchionne, who publicly criticized di Montezemolo’s performance in Formula 1 this past week. Speculation is rife that Marchionne wants to expand Ferrari’s production volumes to help it compete with Lamborghini, which many fear would dilute the brand’s exclusivity.

On the other hand, the departure of di Montezemolo, who is credited with introducing milestone vehicles like the 355 (which replaced the dreadful 348), is being seen as a turning point in the brand’s history. Marchionne has never had experience running any premium brands, and Ferrari is one of FCA’s few profit centers. But many fear that this delicate balance will be permanently disrupted.

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California Dominates US Plug-In Market http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/california-dominates-us-plug-market/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/california-dominates-us-plug-market/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 12:00:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=910058 A shock that may come to no one among the B&B, California leads the way in sales of plug-ins with just over 100,000 units sold in the past four years. Bloomberg reports the figures, accounting for 40 percent of the plug-in market, were compiled by the California Plug-In Electric Vehicle Collaborative from data gathered between […]

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2013 Ford C-MAX Energi Plug-In Hybrid, Exterior, Charging Plug, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

A shock that may come to no one among the B&B, California leads the way in sales of plug-ins with just over 100,000 units sold in the past four years.

Bloomberg reports the figures, accounting for 40 percent of the plug-in market, were compiled by the California Plug-In Electric Vehicle Collaborative from data gathered between December 2010 and August 2014 by the California Air Resources Board, Hybridcars.com and Baum & Associates. Baum also reported overall U.S. sales checked-in at around 250,000 units over the same period.

Though California has 40 percent of the plug-in market covered — thanks in part to legislation pushing automakers to bring more ZEVs to market — the milestone is a long way from the goal of 1.5 million plug-in vehicles by 2025, let alone the Obama administration’s target of 1 million such units by the end of 2015.

As for the present, Baum & Associates founder Alan Baum — who says 300,000 total units will hit the road by the end of this year — believes California’s stake in the market will likely shrink “as certain mass-market models that were initially sold only in state are introduced more broadly across the country.”

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A Look At Western Europe’s Most Popular Brands From 25 Years Ago http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/look-western-europes-popular-brands-25-years-ago/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/look-western-europes-popular-brands-25-years-ago/#comments Tue, 09 Sep 2014 21:22:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=904681   From The Machine That Changed The World and the Financial Times: a companion to our article showing a breakdown of the most popular brands in Europe today. While Volkswagen is still dominante, Both of PSAs nameplates have fallen from their former glory to be also-ran brands on the continent. Fiat, while strong regionally, has weakened significantly. […]

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From The Machine That Changed The World and the Financial Times: a companion to our article showing a breakdown of the most popular brands in Europe today.

While Volkswagen is still dominante, Both of PSAs nameplates have fallen from their former glory to be also-ran brands on the continent. Fiat, while strong regionally, has weakened significantly. Rover no longer exists. Volvo is practically a non-entity.

On the other hand, the Japanese can no longer be lumped into a singular entity (Nissan is particularly strong in Europe, with the Qashqai and Juke), and the Koreans are wholly absent from this chart. Meanwhile, Hyundai and Kia are challenging some established European brands in their home markets?

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U.S. Auto Market Share – August 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/u-s-auto-market-share-august-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/u-s-auto-market-share-august-2014/#comments Sat, 06 Sep 2014 12:45:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=906657 As U.S. auto sales grew 5.5% to more than 1.58 million in August 2014, GM’s market share fell from 18.4% in August 2013 to 17.2% last month. Ford Motor Company’s share fell by seven-tenths of a percentage point, year-over-year. American Honda’s share of the total sales pie fell from 11.1% to 10.5% even as the […]

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U.S. auto brand sales market share chart August 2014As U.S. auto sales grew 5.5% to more than 1.58 million in August 2014, GM’s market share fell from 18.4% in August 2013 to 17.2% last month. Ford Motor Company’s share fell by seven-tenths of a percentage point, year-over-year. American Honda’s share of the total sales pie fell from 11.1% to 10.5% even as the Accord became America’s best-selling car with more than 50,000 sales.

Toyota’s share improved slightly to 15.5%, while the Chrysler Group/FCA shot up from 11% in August 2013 to 12.5% in August 2014. Nissan USA’s market share grew by one half of a percentage point.

Compared with July 2014, GM, FoMoCo, and Hyundai-Kia, all lost significant portions. Toyota USA moved up from 15%, American Honda jumped a full percentage point, and the Chrysler Group climbed from 11.7%.

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That Green Car: Winning And Losing At Your Own Auction http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/green-car-winning-losing-auction/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/green-car-winning-losing-auction/#comments Fri, 05 Sep 2014 18:27:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=906721 Jack Baruth has a very thoughtful post on selling his green stick, apparently an Audi. (See No Fixed Above: Stick it to ‘em.) Here I delve into his logic as a devil’s advocate. A key observation throughout his post is that most (newish) used cars move through dealerships, and for many there is an auction […]

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Jack Baruth has a very thoughtful post on selling his green stick, apparently an Audi. (See No Fixed Above: Stick it to ‘em.) Here I delve into his logic as a devil’s advocate.

A key observation throughout his post is that most (newish) used cars move through dealerships, and for many there is an auction through a Mannheim or Adesa in between the trade-in and the used car lot. The same is true in Japan: the graphic above is of a car auction in Osaka, though on-site buyers sit at computers with a huge display of the two virtual “lanes” with no audible action. (For more see my post on a June 2014 visit at Auto Auctions, Japanese Style.)

1. Now you and I may want a stand-out color, but I think if Jack talked to marketing people, this blandness comes from careful study of what color choices consumers make – not from dealers and auctions. After all, there remain regional differences in color preferences across the US, and particularly for high-end cars there’s a significant bespoke demand. Dealers only see a small and potentially unrepresentative slice of the market. Furthermore, color decisions have to be made well before the start of production, long before dealers get a chance to order. Things can and do go wrong in paint shops (I’ve been through BMW Spartanburg with PPG as guide, gloating over a problem their rival BASF was having). Things get tested in advance. Color choices must be made on a predictive basis.

As it happens, there’s a good history of the professionization of colorists, of how such predictions are made: Regina Lee Blaszczyk’s book, The Color Revolution, MIT 2012. She spoke at the Business History Conference a few years back at the Hagley Museum outside Wilmington; DuPont was central to mass-market cars being available in color, and their museum has some wonderful examples. Be warned, though: a lot of her book is about the fashion industry and about the technical side of developing color systems and color cards, and on experimental psychology with color perception, and not just the impact of wartime camouflage experts bringing their skills to Earl Harley’s design studios where they could play with DuPont’s new Duco paints.

2. Back to used cars. I think Jack argues that the variance of niche markets is high. Jack was fortunate in that he got a “high” draw, finding that match with someone else who really wanted a stick shift in a green package. High variance means that when you may have the opposite experience when you try to sell your pink Cadillac – wasn’t that a Mary Kay cosmetics thing? – and you may get a bad draw. Indeed, the only pink Caddy I know is used purely for its decorative value, such as that is, parked outside the Pink Cadillac cafe in Fancy Hill, Virginia. That use surely reflects a low market value, not a high one – be warned!

3. Jack is very correct in noting that dealerships need to turn their inventory. What he fails to point out is that he personally bore the same costs. So let’s detail those:

  • Jack surely continued to insure his car,
  • he accumulated (pro-rated) property tax and paid various annual registration fees,
  • he lost the use of the part of his garage in which it sat,
  • he lost the opportunity of having that new drive he wanted today rather than months from now,
  • he continued to face the slow but inexorable depreciation from which all cars suffer, and
  • he had to personally put in time first marketing his car and then acting as his own salesman.

Now personally Jack may have had fun being a used car salesman, and playing with Craigslist and similar services, so those weren’t costs, they were benefits. Would that be true for you? Particularly if it takes 6 months to sell your Pink Cadillac? And if you can’t sell your old wheels immediately, the other costs add up: the longer you wait, the lower the net price you are actually charging.

A dealer sitting on an inventory of 200 cars can’t ignore such costs. You shouldn’t ignore them either, and you may not be so lucky in making a good match.

4. Indeed, I suspect the buyer of Jack’s car must have had money to burn: if you are lusting after a lime green car, why would you tell the seller that? Instead you’ll make a lowball bid: when markets are thin, the buy-sell (ask-offer) spread is high. You can find a bargain if you’re patient as a buyer, and are good at bluffing when you’re holding a losing hand. You can lose a lot if you’re impatient as a seller, and not a good horse trader.

5. Conclusion: Jack offered one anecdote of coming out well in a thin market. Here’s mine of doing not so well, shopping for a vehicle with niche specs on a Chevy Cruze early this year.

Sticks aren’t popular, and for a daily drive in DC they were less popular than dealers had hoped – I know why, having made a day trip from the mountains of Virginia into stop-and-go traffic in my Cruze. My guess is that the dealer may well have accepted them as part of their allotment (standard factory “push” marketing, where dealers must accept unpopular combinations of features). So even though we made it clear that a stick was what we wanted, we also made it clear that we weren’t going to hang around if they tried to get a premium from us. We got what appeared to be a very good price, I spent quite a bit of internet time checking things out. Our hand was weakened a little when we didn’t want black, not many in inventory, but we were OK with a couple different colors [green and blue but not dark blue] and there were enough around. So we didn’t have to give back anything at that point.

When we went to pick up the vehicle and saw the actual interior, it was clear from our faces that it was no go. Black. Not just black, but some sort of textured “cloth” surface. And all the cars they had were that same black. All our negotiating power disappeared: instead of getting a better price than with an automatic, we ended up handing back a chunk of the margin, though we still paid less that what any of the other dealers we visited asked for. (They had to make a dealer trade, so out of pocket costs may have eaten up that difference.)

So thin markets are thin markets, patience and negotiating skills matter.  But those niche cars are out there. You don’t have to pay to be bland, but it does carry risk.

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U.S. Auto Sales Results: August 2014 YTD http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/u-s-auto-sales-results-august-2014-ytd/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/u-s-auto-sales-results-august-2014-ytd/#comments Wed, 03 Sep 2014 18:55:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=905753 Against less lofty expectations, the U.S. auto industry generated more than 1.58 million new vehicle sales in August 2014, a 5.4% improvement compared with the same period last year. The biggest gains came from Nissan and FCA/Chrysler Group, which jointly raised their August sales total from 286,050 to 332,767 units. Jeep and Ram were the […]

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2013 Honda Accord, Exterior, Picture Courtesty of Alex L. DykesAgainst less lofty expectations, the U.S. auto industry generated more than 1.58 million new vehicle sales in August 2014, a 5.4% improvement compared with the same period last year. The biggest gains came from Nissan and FCA/Chrysler Group, which jointly raised their August sales total from 286,050 to 332,767 units. Jeep and Ram were the only two brands to top 30% in terms of year-over-year growth.

Honda set a sales record with the Accord by topping 51,000 units, but the Honda brand was up just 1.5% as the Civic and CR-V slid back from their very high August 2013 performances. The Toyota RAV4 – not the Honda CR-V; not the Ford Escape – was America’s top-selling utility vehicle. Pickup truck sales jumped 6% as the full-size GM twins combined to outsell the declining Ford F-Series.

Automaker August 2014 August 2013 Change 2014 YTD 2013 YTD Change
Acura
15,487 17,051 -9.2% 105,918 109,182 -3.0%
Audi
 17,101 14,005 22.1% 116,066 101,346 14.5%
BMW
 27,214 24,523 11.0% 211,005 188,997 11.6%
Buick
 22,143 24,650 -10.2% 153,298 141,880 8.0%
Cadillac
 16,650 20,255 -17.8% 114,008 119,586 -4.7%
Chevrolet
 185,930 187,740 -1.0% 1,388,993 1,365,544 1.7%
Chrysler
 29,762 28,678  3.8% 194,285 212,495 -8.6%
Dodge
 49,895 52,858  -5.6% 399,937 413,258 -3.2%
Fiat
 3,362 4,190  -19.8% 32,141 29,585 8.6%
Ford  213,227  212,212  0.5%  1,637,666  1,649,821  -0.7%
GMC
 47,700 43,202 10.4% 328,152 303,254 8.2%
Honda
 151,551 149,381 1.5% 936,464 944,267 -0.8%
Hyundai
 70,003  66,101  5.9%  501,448  493,116  1.7%
Infiniti
 9,164  11,884  -22.9%  77,043 71,879  7.2%
Jaguar
 1,184 1,723  -31.3% 10,688 11,134 -4.0%
Jeep
 68,766 46,239  48.7% 461,156 317,921 45.1%
Kia
 54,667 52,025  5.1% 403,389 378,380 6.6%
Land Rover
 4,489 4,938  -9.1% 35,318 31,972 10.5%
Lexus
 32,809 29,792 10.1% 198,831 171,238 16.1%
Lincoln
 8,146 8,192 -0.6% 60,531 53,399 13.4%
Maserati
 1,233 326 278.2% 7,807 1,862 319.3%
Mazda
 31,305 28,106 11.4% 216,973 198,027 9.6%
Mercedes-Benz
 27,078 24,761  9.4%  205,894  190,359  8.2%
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter
 1,880 1,390  35.3%  15,577  12,788  21.8% 
Total Mercedes-Benz
 28,958  26,151  10.7%  221,471  203,147  9.0%
Mini
 5,006 6,023 -16.9% 34,969 44,329 -21.1%
Mitsubishi
6,786 5,281 28.5% 52,807 40,847 29.3%
Nissan
 125,224 108,614 15.3% 883,274 782,369 12.9%
Porsche
 4,540 3,327  36.5% 31,759 28,456 11.6%
Ram
 46,594 33,587  38.7% 298,650 240,727 24.1%
Scion
 6,186 7,698 -19.6% 41,949 48,959 -14.3%
Smart
 1,334 993 34.3% 7,332 6,312 16.2%
Subaru
 50,246 41,061 22.4% 333,968 281,652 18.6%
Suzuki
 — 5,946 -100%
Toyota
 207,105  194,047  6.7%  1,386,729  1,313,525  5.6%
Volkswagen
 35,181 40,342 -12.8% 244,878 282,913 -13.4%
Volvo
 4,960 5,518 -10.1% 39,184 44,005 -11.0%
 —
BMW-Mini
 32,220 30,546 5.5% 245,974 233,326 5.4%
Chrysler Group/FCA
 198,379 165,552 19.8% 1,386,169 1,213,986 14.2%
Daimler
 30,292 27,144 11.6% 228,803 209,459 9.2%
Ford Motor Company
 221,373  220,404  0.4%  1,698,197  1,703,220  -0.3%
General Motors
 272,423 275,847 -1.2%  1,984,451 1,930,264 2.8%
Honda Motor Company
167,038 166,432 0.4% 1,042,382 1,053,449 -1.1%
Hyundai-Kia
 124,670  118,126 5.5% 904,837  871,496  3.8%
Jaguar-Land Rover
 5,673 6,661  -14.8% 46,006 43,106 6.7%
Nissan Motor Company
 134,388  120,498 11.5%  960,317 854,248 12.4%
Toyota Motor Corporation
246,100 231,537 6.3% 1,627,509 1,533,722 6.1%
Volkswagen Group *
 56,822  57,674  -1.5%  392,703  412,715  -4.8%
Industry Total **
1,586,374
1,503,665
5.5%
11,191,068
10,651,957
5.1%

* Volkswagen Group includes sales figures for Audi, Bentley, Porsche, and Volkswagen brands

** Industry total includes Automotive News sales estimates for ultra-low-volume automakers and their 1800-unit (August) Tesla sales estimate.

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A Look At Europe’s Top Selling Brands By Country http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/look-europes-top-selling-brands-country/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/look-europes-top-selling-brands-country/#comments Tue, 02 Sep 2014 11:30:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=904657   From the Twitter account of Bob Flavin comes this map of Europe, overlayed with each country’s best-selling auto brand. Volkswagen, along with Skoda (and to a lesser extent, SEAT and Audi) are far and away the dominant force in Europe, with Fiat, Renault (and Dacia) trailing behind. Regionally, Audi is popular in wealthy enclaves […]

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From the Twitter account of Bob Flavin comes this map of Europe, overlayed with each country’s best-selling auto brand.

Volkswagen, along with Skoda (and to a lesser extent, SEAT and Audi) are far and away the dominant force in Europe, with Fiat, Renault (and Dacia) trailing behind.

Regionally, Audi is popular in wealthy enclaves like Monaco, while Skoda dominates in Central Europe. Dacia is abundant in developing countries as diverse as Romania, Moldova, Morocco and Algeria while Fiat is tops not just in Italy, but Turkey and Serbia as well – countries where Fiat builds vehicles locally.

Popular brands in North America, like Ford, Toyota and Honda are much smaller players in the continent. While the Fiesta, Focus and other nameplates enjoy widespread success throughout Europe, Toyota and Honda are much smaller players. And most tellingly, none of the PSA nameplates (Peugeot and Citroen) are present. Or Hyundai/Kia, for that matter.

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