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. Mon, 29 Sep 2014 21:20:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 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 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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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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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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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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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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Ide: Apathy, Not Policy, Is Behind GM’s Japanese Blues http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/ide-apathy-policy-behind-gms-japanese-blues/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/ide-apathy-policy-behind-gms-japanese-blues/#comments Tue, 02 Sep 2014 10:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=904801 Though General Motors is finding big success in China among its brands, the automaker is still a bit player in Japan, and not because of so-called nontariff hurdles. Automotive News reports Yanase & Co. CEO Takeyoshi Ide proclaims internal apathy, not external policy, as the reasoning behind GM’s current status in Japan. As one example, […]

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Cadillac in Japan

Though General Motors is finding big success in China among its brands, the automaker is still a bit player in Japan, and not because of so-called nontariff hurdles.

Automotive News reports Yanase & Co. CEO Takeyoshi Ide proclaims internal apathy, not external policy, as the reasoning behind GM’s current status in Japan. As one example, Ide — whose Cadillac and Chevrolet dealerships number at 13, down from a peak 114 — says if the automaker would consider building more RHD vehicles suited for the Japanese market, especially Cadillacs, sales of 5,000 units annually would be “not so difficult.”

He has hope that a few moves affecting Cadillac, such as the hiring of former Infiniti chief Johan de Nysschen, would make the change “GM’s original people” from Detroit haven’t been able to undergo to bring success to the automaker’s premium brand. It’s also the reason why Ide hasn’t let go of his remaining GM dealerships despite also being the nation’s No. 1 Mercedes dealer, as well as one of its top sellers of Audi and BMW vehicles.

As for external issues affecting GM, Ide says policy is not among them — Japan imposes no tariffs on imported vehicles — and is just an excuse for the United States government to maintain its tariffs, including the infamous Chicken Tax.

That said, hope may be fading as it is. The sales forecast for 2014 remains flat at 1,200 units for GM’s efforts in Japan, higher than its nadir of 700 for all of 2009, yet lower than its zenith of 47,000 units in 1996. Additionally, while Mercedes moved 31,291 vehicles onto the streets of Tokyo through July 2014, Cadillac saw its sales fall 27 percent to 425 units compared to the same period in 2013.

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Honda’s Sales Chief Warns Of “Stupid Things” As Accord, CR-V Top Retail Sales Charts http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/hondas-sales-chief-warns-stupid-things-accord-cr-v-top-retail-sales-charts/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/hondas-sales-chief-warns-stupid-things-accord-cr-v-top-retail-sales-charts/#comments Tue, 19 Aug 2014 19:33:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=895466 In this year’s red hot new car market, the Honda Accord and CR-V have apparently captured the top spot in both new car and SUV retail sales through the first half of 2014, according to Polk registration data. But John Mendel, Honda’s head of sales, had some pointed words for the industry as a whole, and […]

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In this year’s red hot new car market, the Honda Accord and CR-V have apparently captured the top spot in both new car and SUV retail sales through the first half of 2014, according to Polk registration data. But John Mendel, Honda’s head of sales, had some pointed words for the industry as a whole, and the state of the American auto market.

Speaking to Automotive News, Mendel said that despite Honda’s slipping market share, Honda wouldn’t do“stupid things in the short-term that damage the person who bought yesterday.”

Criticizing longer loan-terms and looser underwriting standards for new vehicle loans, Mendel said

“It’s a very, very short-term tactic…especially in the subprime area, because you not only are pulling sales forward, you’re probably pulling people out of used cars into a new car that maybe they can’t afford.”

Stating that the new car market was “near the top”, Mendel said that Honda would continue to focus on retail sales, rather than pivot towards more fleet delivers like many of its rivals do. Even so, Honda’s sales are down 1 percent year to date, while incentive spending has increased drastically – as much as 55 percent for its passenger car lineup -, as Honda aims to stay competitive against competitive brands and make new car leases more attractive.

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Ford Will Build Next-Generation Fiesta In Thailand http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/ford-will-build-next-generation-fiesta-thailand/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/ford-will-build-next-generation-fiesta-thailand/#comments Tue, 19 Aug 2014 14:31:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=895426 Nikon cameras, condoms and the Mitsubishi Mirage are the only three products that come to mind when I think of “Made in Thailand”, but starting in 2017, we’ll have another to add to that list: the Ford Fiesta. According to TTAC sources, the next-generation Fiesta will be built at Ford’s Rayong, Thailand assembly plant, and exported […]

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Nikon cameras, condoms and the Mitsubishi Mirage are the only three products that come to mind when I think of “Made in Thailand”, but starting in 2017, we’ll have another to add to that list: the Ford Fiesta.

According to TTAC sources, the next-generation Fiesta will be built at Ford’s Rayong, Thailand assembly plant, and exported to America. Even though the current car is built in Mexico, Ford is apparently not making any money on US-spec Fiestas (instead, they are profiting on Fiesta sedans sent to South America). Moving assembly to an even lower cost assembly location should help Ford increase profitability on their smallest passenger car, which has seen a 7 percent drop in sales year-to-date.

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Analysis: China, USA Competing For Allocation As Luxury Crossover Sales Race Begins http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/luxury-brands-battle-for-ammunition-to-win-the-compact-crossover-war/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/luxury-brands-battle-for-ammunition-to-win-the-compact-crossover-war/#comments Tue, 12 Aug 2014 12:15:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=889153 Even though I tipped the Audi Q3 to win the compact crossover sales race, a story in Automotive News highlights another problem that Mercedes, and other luxury brands, could face: a lack of inventory. Back in the spring, a source at Lexus told TTAC that one of the biggest issues with the upcoming Lexus NX would be getting […]

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Mercedes-Benz_GLA_200_CDI_Urban_(X_156)_–_Heckansicht,_16._März_2014,_Düsseldorf

Even though I tipped the Audi Q3 to win the compact crossover sales race, a story in Automotive News highlights another problem that Mercedes, and other luxury brands, could face: a lack of inventory.

Back in the spring, a source at Lexus told TTAC that one of the biggest issues with the upcoming Lexus NX would be getting allocation. While the United States was expected to be the biggest market or the NX, China would also be competing for volume. The fact that the NX could be sold at a much steeper sticker price in China meant more profit for Lexus, and a stronger case for allocating more units to that market.

Now, AN is reporting on a similar situation for the Mercedes-Benz GLA. The outlet reports that Mercedes CEO Steve Cannon said

“…the United States is competing for vehicle allocation with China, where demand is equally strong. The United States is Mercedes’ largest market, but China is likely to become No. 1 next year…”

While the GLA and its twin, the CLA, are built exclusively in Hungary, and the Lexus NX is built exclusively in Japan, the Audi Q3 is built in three factories, including one in China, while the BMW X1 is also built in multiple factories worldwide, with its own Chinese assembly location. Both the Q3 and GLA will have North American production in the near future, with factories in Mexico, but neither Daimler nor Volkswagen have completed building those plants.

The lack of diversity in assembly locations could lead to a bottleneck in supply for both the GLA and the NX. For dealers in the United States, this means a hot product that has little room for negotiation thanks to outsized demand and little supply. But you can be sure that the American sales and marketing arms of Mercedes and Lexus will be clamoring for every single unit they can get.

 

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This Is Not The Hyundai Crossover You Are Looking For http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/hyundai-crossover-looking/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/hyundai-crossover-looking/#comments Tue, 12 Aug 2014 11:30:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=889065 Here’s an interesting study in how two markets, with a similar affinity for small crossovers, will get wildly different products. Hyundai is planning on launching a new small crossover in America, one that will reportedly be akin to the Nissan Juke: small, targeted at Millennial buyers and, ahem, distinctively styled. The ix25, shown above at […]

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Here’s an interesting study in how two markets, with a similar affinity for small crossovers, will get wildly different products.

Hyundai is planning on launching a new small crossover in America, one that will reportedly be akin to the Nissan Juke: small, targeted at Millennial buyers and, ahem, distinctively styled.

The ix25, shown above at Carnewschina, is probably not it. Hyundai has shown a concept of the ix25 before, but this version will reportedly be for the Chinese market only. Built in China and based on the Kia Soul platform (look hard and the resemblance is obvious), the ix25 is designed to compete with the Ford Ecosport and other B-segment crossovers.

Offering the ix25 and the North American Juke-fighter would probably result in overcrowding in Hyundai showrooms, not to mention, fierce competition for finite marketing dollars. But it’s a nice looking vehicle that would be a solid competitor to the Honda HR-V and Chevrolet Trax, if nothing else.

hyundai-ix25-china-1-660x434 hyundai-ix25-china-2-660x496 hyundai-ix25-china-3-660x485 hyundai-ix25-china-4-660x448

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Bloated Inventories Lead GM To Idle Cadillac Plants http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/bloated-inventories-lead-gm-idle-cadillac-plants/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/bloated-inventories-lead-gm-idle-cadillac-plants/#comments Mon, 11 Aug 2014 11:45:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=888081   Back in May, we reported on the rather fat inventory levels of Cadillac’s products, examining through the context of the one product with less than 100 days of supply – the SRX crossover. A few months later, dealers are tight on the newly redesigned Escalade, but the inventory picture for Cadillac’s car lineup hasn’t […]

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2015 Cadillac CTS sedan

Back in May, we reported on the rather fat inventory levels of Cadillac’s products, examining through the context of the one product with less than 100 days of supply – the SRX crossover. A few months later, dealers are tight on the newly redesigned Escalade, but the inventory picture for Cadillac’s car lineup hasn’t gotten much better.

Automotive News is reporting that GM’s Lansing, Michigan factory will sit idle for three weeks, starting next Monday. While the inventory woes of the Cadillac ELR plug-in hybrid have been well publicized, inventories of key models like the ATS and CTS are rather high. Currently, there’s a 152-day supply of the ATS, in line with when we last checked in during May, but the CTS has a 215-day supply, up from 138 days in May, and an astonishingly high number by industry standards.  The XTS large sedan and the ELR have 152 and 194 days worth of supply respectively.

AN paints a bleak picture of Cadillac’s commercial performance, writing

Cadillac’s car inventory stood at 44,700 units on Aug. 1. That’s equal to a 172-day supply — about triple the level that is considered healthy. By comparison, Lincoln’s car inventory was 87 days on Aug. 1. Audi’s was 45 and BMW’s was 42. Overall, Cadillac’s U.S. sales have slipped 2 percent to 97,358 this year through July, in a luxury market that has expanded 6 percent.

From a nameplate perspective, the massive inventories of the CTS are an ominous sign. The CTS was widely praised in the motoring press, besting major German rivals in comparison tests, and heralded as proof that Cadillac had finally mustered up the product needed to compete with Tier 1 luxury brands. But none of that has converted into sales, despite numerous lease specials and cash incentives. As AutoPacific’s Dave Sullivan told TTAC

The last generation CTS presented a tremendous value – almost a 5-Series sized sedan that was priced like a 3-Series. The new CTS is a bit of a turn off when it comes time to replace your CTS lease. The ATS is too small and people feel like they are getting less car for more money. It’s going to take time for people to readjust since Cadillac has basically resegmented the CTS.

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A Contrarian View Of Subprime Auto Loans http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/contrarian-view-subprime-auto-loans/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/contrarian-view-subprime-auto-loans/#comments Thu, 07 Aug 2014 14:53:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=883713 The topic of subprime auto loans has been a hotly contested one at TTAC, with numerous commenters defending both the practice and the stability of recent run-up in subprime lending. Over at the Autos and Economics blog (operated by contributor Mike Smitka), David Ruggles (better known as “ruggles” around here) provides a well-reasoned defense of subprime lending, […]

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The topic of subprime auto loans has been a hotly contested one at TTAC, with numerous commenters defending both the practice and the stability of recent run-up in subprime lending.

Over at the Autos and Economics blog (operated by contributor Mike Smitka), David Ruggles (better known as “ruggles” around here) provides a well-reasoned defense of subprime lending, and why he thinks we are not headed for a subprime lending bubble. Despite that, other voices seem to think we are heading for one, if not in subprime then in the broader market.

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Will Hyundai’s New Crossover Spell The Veloster’s End? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/will-hyundais-new-crossover-spell-velosters-end/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/will-hyundais-new-crossover-spell-velosters-end/#comments Mon, 04 Aug 2014 14:44:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=881162 In an interview with Edmunds, Hyundai CEO Dave Zuchowski spoke of a new vehicle that “would be a vehicle that would be really designed for Gen Y, for new first-time younger buyers…Think of maybe something that looks like a Juke or something that has edgy, dynamic styling.” Doesn’t Hyundai already have something like that? The Veloster, […]

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In an interview with Edmunds, Hyundai CEO Dave Zuchowski spoke of a new vehicle that

“would be a vehicle that would be really designed for Gen Y, for new first-time younger buyers…Think of maybe something that looks like a Juke or something that has edgy, dynamic styling.”

Doesn’t Hyundai already have something like that?

The Veloster, launched in 2012, was intended to be the vehicle that attracted a younger crowd, with funky styling, a focus on fuel economy and neat tech features. Sales of the Veloster have been modest, with Hyundai moving about 30,000 units annually.

The bigger issue at hand is whether Hyundai wants to have two vehicles targeting Gen Y remaining in the lineup, and if 30,000 units is enough to sustain the Veloster’s lifespan into the next-generation. For one thing, the coupe market is shrinking, whereas the crossover market is only growing. A new, Gen Y oriented crossover is also a product that could easily be sold globally, whereas a pseudo-coupe like the Veloster is very much a niche product.

If I were a betting man, I’d look for the Veloster to die come 2016, and be replaced by this new, youth-oriented small CUV. The finite marketing dollars that are at Hyundai’s disposal would arguably be better spent on the CUV, rather than trying to market both cars and have their volumes split in half. One is playing in a growing segment. Soon, the Chevrolet Trax, Honda HR-V and others will join what is now the most popular segment in America. The fortunes of the coupe market are much less promising.

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U.S. Auto Market Share – July 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/u-s-auto-market-share-july-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/u-s-auto-market-share-july-2014/#comments Sat, 02 Aug 2014 13:20:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=878298 General Motors’ U.S. market share held steady at 17.8% in July compared with the same period one year ago. In comparison with June of this year, however, GM’s portion slid from 18.8%. GM’s volume fell 4.2% from 267,461 in June to 256,160 units in July even as overall new vehicle sales grew 1%. Moving ahead from […]

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USA auto brand sales market share chart July 2014

General Motors’ U.S. market share held steady at 17.8% in July compared with the same period one year ago. In comparison with June of this year, however, GM’s portion slid from 18.8%. GM’s volume fell 4.2% from 267,461 in June to 256,160 units in July even as overall new vehicle sales grew 1%.

Moving ahead from June then, which automakers produced the gains at GM’s expense, at Ford’s and Chrysler/FCA’s expense, too? Toyota and Nissan, mostly. With a nearly one percentage point increase, Toyota produced a very high-volume July thanks to record RAV4 sales, predictably lofty Camry volume, and Lexus’ rise to the top of the premium pile.

Nissan owned 7.7% of the U.S. market in June; 8.3% in July. The Versa, Sentra, and Leaf combined for 36,228 July sales, up from 22,310 in July 2013 and 31,057 in June of this year.

Meanwhile, compared with the prior month, American Honda’s share of the U.S. market grew from 9.1% to 9.5% on the strength of the Accord and CR-V, America’s second-best-selling car and top-selling utility vehicle, respectively.

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U.S. Auto Sales Results: July 2014 YTD http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/u-s-auto-sales-results-july-2014-ytd/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/u-s-auto-sales-results-july-2014-ytd/#comments Fri, 01 Aug 2014 19:51:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=878202 Automakers reported the sales of 1.4 million new vehicles in July 2014, representing a 9% increase compared with July of last year. Among  volume brands, the biggest percentage gains were achieved by Jeep, Subaru, GMC, and Ram. Jaguar, Scion, Acura, Volvo, and Volkswagen all reported losses of at least 14%. Cadillac, Honda, and Mini also […]

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Automakers reported the sales of 1.4 million new vehicles in July 2014, representing a 9% increase compared with July of last year. Among  volume brands, the biggest percentage gains were achieved by Jeep, Subaru, GMC, and Ram. Jaguar, Scion, Acura, Volvo, and Volkswagen all reported losses of at least 14%. Cadillac, Honda, and Mini also posted decreased July volume relative to the same period in 2013.

U.S. demand for full-size pickups from Ford, General Motors, and Ram increased 5.3% in July 2014; the overall pickup truck market grew 3.1%. Overall new vehicle sales at Chrysler Group/FCA, Ford Motor Company, and General Motors increased 12%.

Automaker July 2014 July  2013 % Change 2014  YTD 2013  YTD % Change
Acura
 12,480 15,150 -17.6% 90,431 92,131 -1.8%
Audi
 14,616 13,064 11.9% 98,965 87,341 13.3%
BMW
26,409 24,043 9.8% 183,791 164,474 11.7%
Buick
 17,683 16,393 7.9% 131,155 117,239 11.9%
Cadillac
 15,241 15,652 -2.6% 97,357 99,331 -2.0%
Chevrolet
 175,155 162,670 7.7% 1,203,063 1,177,804 2.1%
Chrysler
 23,455 19,978  17.4% 164,523 183,817  -10.5%
Dodge
 43,118 41,986  2.7% 350,042 360,400  -2.9%
Fiat
 3,807 3,783  0.6% 28,779 25,395  13.3%
Ford  203,604  186,161  9.4%  1,424,439  1,437,609  -0.9%
GMC
 48,081 39,356 22.2% 280,452 260,052 7.8%
Honda
 123,428 126,289 -2.3% 784,913 794,886 -1.3%
Hyundai
 67,011  66,005 1.5%  431,445  427,015  1.0%
Infiniti
 8,538  7,762 10.0% 67,879 59,995 13.1%
Jaguar
 1,187  1613  -26.4%  9,504  9,411  1.0%
Jeep
 59,588 42,277  40.9% 392,390 271,682  44.4%
Kia
52,309 49,004  6.7% 349,722 326,355  7.2%
Land Rover
4,643  4,050 14.6%  30,829 27,034 14.0%
Lexus
 27,333 23,031 18.7%  166,022 141,446 17.4%
Lincoln
 7,863 6,919 13.6% 52,385 45,207 15.9%
Maserati
 1132 267 324% 6574 1536 328%
Mazda
 29,238 24,977 17.1% 185,669 169,920 9.3%
Mercedes-Benz
 27,192 23,648  15.0%  178,816  165,598  8.0% 
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter
 2,214 1,915  15.6%  13,697  11,398  20.2% 
Total Mercedes-Benz
 29,406  25,563  15.0%  192,513  176,996  8.8%
Mini
 5811 5950 -2.3% 29,963 38,306 -21.8%
Mitsubishi
 6,349 5,230 21.4% 46,021 35,566 29.4%
Nissan
 112,914  101,279 11.5% 758,050 673,755 12.5%
Porsche
 4300 3820  12.6% 27,219 25,129 8.3%
Ram
 37,699 32,078  17.5% 252,056 207,140  21.7%
Scion
 5,127 6,261 -18.1% 35,763 41,261 -13.3%
Smart
 1,351 860 57.1% 5,998 5,319 12.8%
Subaru
 45,714 35,994  27.0% 283,722 240,591 17.9%
Suzuki
 —  —  —-  —  5,946  -100%
Toyota
 183,342  164,102  11.7%  1,179,624  1,119,478  5.4%
Volkswagen
 30,553 35,779 -14.6% 209,697 242,571 -13.6%
Volvo
 4,894 5,909 -17.2%  34,224 38,487 -11.1%
 —
BMW-Mini
 32,220 29,993 7.4% 213,754 202,780 5.4%
Chrysler Group/FCA
 167,667 140,102  19.7% 1,187,790 1,048,434  13.3%
Daimler
30,757 26,423 16.4% 198,511 182,315 8.9%
Ford Motor Company
 211,467 193,080 9.5%  1,476,824  1,482,816  -0.4%
General Motors
 256,160 234,071 9.4% 1,712,028 1,654,417 3.5%
Honda Motor Company
135,908 141,439 -3.9% 875,344 887,017 -1.3%
Hyundai-Kia
 119,320  115,009  3.7%  781,167  753,370  3.7%
Jaguar-Land Rover
5,830  5,663  2.9% 40,333 36,445 10.7%
Nissan Motor Company
 121,452  109,041 11.4% 825,929 733,750 12.6%
Toyota Motor Corporation
215,802  193,394  11.6% 1,381,409  1,302,185  6.1%
Volkswagen Group *
 49,469  52,663  -6.1%  335,881  355,041  -5.4%
Industry Total **
1,435,805
1,315,266
9.2%
9,604,694
9,148,292
5.0%

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

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

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Question Of The Day: Who Will Win The Luxury Compact Crossover Sales Race? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/question-of-the-day-who-will-win-the-luxury-compact-crossover-sales-race/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/question-of-the-day-who-will-win-the-luxury-compact-crossover-sales-race/#comments Tue, 29 Jul 2014 17:28:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=875425 With pricing for the Audi Q3 and Mercedes-Benz GLA announced, the fight for the luxury compact crossover sales crown is officially on. It’s going to be the most important battle of the year for the luxury car market. Crossovers are, without a doubt, the hottest sales segment right now, and one of the most profitable […]

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With pricing for the Audi Q3 and Mercedes-Benz GLA announced, the fight for the luxury compact crossover sales crown is officially on. It’s going to be the most important battle of the year for the luxury car market.

Crossovers are, without a doubt, the hottest sales segment right now, and one of the most profitable segments for OEMs. Take some normal car underpinnings, add a bit of cladding, a higher ride height and a two-box body and all of a sudden, you can charge a hefty premium over what you’d normally have to sell a sedan for. And what better way to lower your CAFE rating than to sell a ton of “light trucks” that get the kind of fuel economy that you’d normally find in a compact or mid-size car? These little trucklets/wagonlets are going to float the ability of the German brands to keep making AMG, M and RS cars by keeping things kosher with the Feds. Remember that when you bemoan the lack of wagons on sale today.

Audi’s Q3 starts at $33,325, versus $29,900 for an A3, though the Q3, unlike the A3, does come standard with AWD .  The Q3 is front-drive, but it does have a 2.0T engine, unlike the A3′s 1.8T mill. A Mercedes-Benz GLA starts at $32,225 for a front-drive model versus $29,900 for a front-drive CLA. The one wildcard is the BMW X1, which is both rear-wheel drive and $30,900, making it the cheapest BMW in the entire model range.

I’m going to put my money on the Q3 taking the crown, just because Audi is very much the brand of the moment. This segment is a fickle, fashion-driven one, and products live and die by how cool they are. The Audi A3 quickly toppled the Mercedes-Benz CLA from the small sedan sales charts, and this won’t be any different.

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The VW/FCA Merger And Its Impact On The American Market, In One Chart http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/the-vwfca-merger-and-its-impact-on-the-american-market-in-one-chart/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/the-vwfca-merger-and-its-impact-on-the-american-market-in-one-chart/#comments Mon, 21 Jul 2014 13:35:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=870130   Despite repeated denials from all parties, I’ve yet to give up on the idea that Volkswagen and FCA will eventually come together in an, ahem, Auto Union of sorts. Tim Cain’s chart shows us why there are synergies for both parties. Yes, a combined VW/FCA would be just behind GM in overall market share for […]

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Despite repeated denials from all parties, I’ve yet to give up on the idea that Volkswagen and FCA will eventually come together in an, ahem, Auto Union of sorts. Tim Cain’s chart shows us why there are synergies for both parties.

Yes, a combined VW/FCA would be just behind GM in overall market share for the month of June, and one month does not make the case for a merger. But there are plenty of benefits from a product portfolio standpoints, like a strong SUV, truck and commercial arm for VW, while FCA would finally get the global scale it’s been chasing so desperately, as well as the advanced technology to help its brand portfolios thrive well into the next era of automotive sales and manufacturing. Interestingly enough, Automotive News envisions a scenario where FCA’s hugely successful Latin American operations are sold off, perhaps to the Chinese.

The merger would also solve a huge problem for Volkswagen, namely the lack of traction its had in the American marketplace. America is the one major region where VW has failed to really establish itself, and by adding FCA’s brands, it could essentially buy its way in to further volume and a large dealer network, in addition to what it already has with Volkswagen, Audi, Bentley and Bugatti.

Oh, and Ferdinand Peich would finally get Alfa. But not before a massive web of complex financial, managerial and logistical matters are ironed out. Don’t expect anything to happen for a while – but I’m still pacing my bets on “yes”.

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Cain’s Segments, Canada Recap http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/cains-segments-canada-recap-2/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/cains-segments-canada-recap-2/#comments Mon, 21 Jul 2014 13:23:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=870106 Booming utility vehicle sales have boosted Canada’s new vehicle market to unseen highs in the first half of 2014. Despite falling car sales and a slight decline in overall pickup truck volume, Canada’s auto industry is up nearly 3% through the first six months of 2014, an increase of some 25,000 units compared with the […]

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Booming utility vehicle sales have boosted Canada’s new vehicle market to unseen highs in the first half of 2014. Despite falling car sales and a slight decline in overall pickup truck volume, Canada’s auto industry is up nearly 3% through the first six months of 2014, an increase of some 25,000 units compared with the first half of 2013.

Canada’s top-selling utility, the Ford Escape, sells at least 50% more often than any of the next-best-selling SUVs or crossovers. The Escape and all its next-best-selling cohorts combined to generate 32.3% of the Canadian market’s first-half volume, an impressive leap from 29.6% just one year earlier. Excluding SUVs and crossovers, Canada’s auto industry would be down 1.2% this year, losing more than 7000 units, rather than up 2.8% as it is with those vehicles included in the equation.

Yet the story in the month of June, specifically, was quite a bit different. Sales of utility vehicles still increased, but by a much smaller margin, rising just 2% after year-to-date sales had jumped 15% through May. And while passenger car sales declined in December, January, February, March, April, and May, June car volume jumped by more than 3%.

Volvo, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Cadillac, Porsche, BMW, Lexus, Honda, and Audi reported the most significant percentage increases in car sales.

All was not sunshine and roses in June, certainly not in the passenger car market; certainly not for General Motors. Chrysler Canada says their overall car volume slid 27%. Lincoln car sales slid 44%. Acura’s cars were down 42%.

At General Motors, where Buick car sales fell 22% and Chevrolet cars were down 13%, total passenger car volume fell 12% and total GM Canada sales were down 15%.

Hyundai and Kia combined to outsell GM for the first time since September of last year, and this during a month in which Hyundai-Kia sales decreased 6%. Pickup truck sales at GM were down 17% in June. Particularly notable declines were reported by the Spark (-76%), Traverse (-48%), Equinox (-40%), Orlando (-39%), Enclave (-37%), LaCrosse (-36%), Suburban (-36%), Trax (-35%), Impala (-32%), and Acadia (-31%).

Is this downturn an omen for what we will soon see from General Motors in its home market, or just a one-month anomaly for a company that’s down only 2% through the first half of the year? June was certainly a bad month for GM in Canada, as sales travelled very far in the exact opposite direction from where the overall industry was headed. Industry-wide new vehicle sales climbed 2%, but if we ignore the losses at GM and exclude the automaker from the calculation, auto sales were up more than 5% last month.

First half notes: The Honda Civic is halfway to ending its 17th consecutive year as Canada’s best-selling car. Chrysler Canada’s minivan production has seen the Dodge Grand Caravan (Canada’s fifth-best-selling vehicle) and Chrysler Town & Country increase their market share in the category. Canada’s full-size pickup truck market has grown slightly as Ram’s pickup range has filled the void left by declining F-Series, Sierra, and Silverado sales. A 7.5% year-over-year increase has helped Mercedes-Benz to a 1060-unit lead over BMW in Canada’s premium brand sales race. Ford is easily Canada’s top-selling auto brand overall. With its five brands, the Chrysler Group (Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep, Ram) has outsold the Ford Motor Company by 3522 units so far this year, although Ford led Chrysler in each of the second quarter’s three months.

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