The Truth About Cars » Sales The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sun, 27 Jul 2014 11:00:20 +0000 en-US hourly 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 (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 The VW/FCA Merger And Its Impact On The American Market, In One Chart Mon, 21 Jul 2014 13:35:12 +0000 BtEaJD6IYAABZ0q


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 Mon, 21 Jul 2014 13:23:58 +0000 450x299x2014-Honda-Civic-Coupe-12-of-29-550x3661-450x299.jpg.pagespeed.ic.VFPFSGfwNb

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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Clean-Diesel Sales Up 25 Percent In The US For 2014 Mon, 21 Jul 2014 11:00:18 +0000 2015-Volkswagen-Jetta-13

Though hardly any of the offerings can be found in a brown wagon with a six-speed manual pushing power to the back, U.S. sales of clean-diesel vehicles have climbed up 25 percent this year.

Autoblog Green reports clean-diesels are set to double their current 3 percent of total vehicles sold in the U.S. by 2018, according to Diesel Technology Forum. The group also noted the 25 percent jump is besting overall sales thus far in 2014, having only seen a boost of 4.2 percent in comparison.

As for the cause of the leap into oil-burning, consumers seeking better fuel economy find a 30 percent gain when the engine quietly purrs, especially when 27 of the 46 available clean-diesel models for the U.S. market are cars and SUVs. Winners include Audi and Chevrolet, both moving 8,100 and 3,000 units through the first half of 2014. Meanwhile, Volkswagen, lost 8 percent in sales during the same period, though still lead the way with 42,000 vehicles leaving the lot.

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Want To Buy A New Car? There Will Be An App For That Fri, 18 Jul 2014 15:55:40 +0000 autonation-ford-304xx2033-1586-0-214

AutoNation, which is America’s largest dealership chain, is embarking on a two-year, $100-million project that will include that creation of an app that will allow shoppers to purchase cars online, in a method similar to traditional e-commerce.

CEO Mike Jackson told the Wall Street Journal

“You can sit at home, watch TV. You can view our entire inventory, select the vehicle you’re interested in, get a price and then you can send us a deposit… That vehicle then becomes the customer’s car without the customer “ever having entered the store.”

Jackson had previously declared his war on third-party lead generation sites like and Edmunds, and announced plans to shore up AutoNation’s web presence. The ability to select a vehicle from inventory was one of his online strategy’s key selling points, as current lead generation sites often do not have that capability.

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Strong C7 Corvette Sales Mean More Profits for GM Thu, 17 Jul 2014 19:04:14 +0000 2015 Corvette Z06. Full gallery here

2015 Corvette Z06. Full gallery here

The Chevrolet Corvette may be outselling all of Porsche’s sports car models combined, but GM will still sell fewer Corvettes this year than the number of Chevy Cruzes they are likely to sell this month. You might think that one of General Motors’ lowest volume cars could not contribute much to the company’s bottom line, but the success of the 7th generation Corvette will mean hundreds of millions of dollars more in profit this year for the automaker.

When the latest Corvette was introduced in early 2013, annual sales had been in the 12,000 to 14,000 unit range since 2009, about a 2/3 drop from sales a decade earlier. I can remember when there were rumors in the 1990s that GM might kill the Corvette because sales had dropped to about 25,000 cars a year so it was somewhat surprising that the ‘Vette survived GM’s bankruptcy with sales at half that level.

At the C7′s introduction in January of 2013, I was talking to Harlan Charles, Corvette majordomo (actually his official title is product and marketing manager for the car) and he surprised me when he said that the program was profitable at the then current build rates. When I expressed skepticism and mentioned the rumored demise of the ‘Vette in the ’90s, Charles said that it wasn’t the 1990s anymore, that efficiencies had been implemented and that the Bowling Green Corvette assembly plant made money making a fraction of the cars it used to make. In 2012, Chevy sold about 14,400 C6 Corvettes in North America. The C7 edition has been well received and Chevy has sold more than twice that number in just the first half of 2014, 18,500. Unless something completely unexpected happens, the Corvette should easily surpass 30,000 sales this year and possibly exceed 35,000.

Mark Reuss, who is GM’s president for North America, has publicly stated that the ‘Vette “makes as much money as any of the top-profit models in our company.” Those pickups can represent five figures of profit on vehicles with higher transaction prices. Adam Levine Weinberg at The Motley Fool website takes Reuss’ comments to mean that gross profit per vehicle (not including development costs) on the C7 Corvette could be $10,000 or more. That means that the 20,000 or so additional Corvettes that GM will sell this year compared to last year works out to an additional $200 million in gross profit.

Now for a company that booked a net profit of $3.8 billion dollars last year, $200 million isn’t a huge amount of money, but it’s  far from chump change. With Chrysler just introducing the 707 horsepower Hellcat edition of the Dodge Challenger, there will be pressure on the Corvette team to respond with a higher performance model than the 650 hp Z06 version of the ‘Vette. While that $200 million may be a fraction of GM’s total profits, it will certainly make it easier for Mr. Charles and his team to convince Marry Barra and her team to greenlight a ZR1 Corvette with even more power than the Hellcat.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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Corvette Stingray Bests Viper, 911 In Sales Through First-Half Of 2014 Thu, 17 Jul 2014 10:00:28 +0000 2014-chevrolet-corvette-stingray-convertible-red-front-end-in-motion-05

The current Corvette is doing well for itself as of late, not only moving off the lot at a greater clip between January and June of this year than last, but also besting the SRT Viper and Porsche 911.

GM Authority reports 17,744 Corvette Stingrays made it to the highway during the aforementioned sales period, over three times what was sold during the first six months of 2013. Meanwhile, only 354 Vipers managed to do the same — thanks to its high price and the velvet rope surrounding the one or two models available in most showrooms — as well as 5,169 of Stuttgart’s finest during those months. Nissan’s 370Z, priced much lower than the Stingray, also fared poorly against the Kentucky-built thoroughbred, 4,114 sold this year thus far.

Within the Chevy dealership, 2,723 convertibles and coupes left the lot in June, down from 3,328 in May. National Automobile Dealers Association forecasts the Corvette Stingray is on pace to hit 35,000 sold by the end of 2014, aided by the improved 2015 model and the introduction of the Z06.

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Chart Of The Day: Crossovers Are King Wed, 16 Jul 2014 16:33:07 +0000 BsrTeYECEAAYuq0


This chart, courtesy of IHS Automotive, shows that for the first time in America, crossovers have edged out sedans as the most popular body style.

While the data only shows new vehicle registrations through May, 2014, don’t expect this trend to reverse any time soon. The crossover’s rise to market dominance is an inexorable fact of our automotive landscape, both in America and around the world.

Now you see why Nissan isn’t so crazy to forgo the new IDx in favor of the Juke. Sure, nobody will ever cross-shop the two cars, but one plays in a space that is constantly growing, while the other competes in a market that has a future that’s slightly worse than the U.S. Postal Service. If you were an auto executive with a few billion to spend on a new car that must turn a profit (so, no fantasy brown wagon projects), the choice would be easy.

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OCC Warns Of Auto Lending Risk Thu, 03 Jul 2014 14:48:24 +0000 20140701_auto2

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, a government entity that regulates and supervises banks, is sounding the alarm regarding risks related to auto loans.

In its semi-annual report released earlier this week, the OCC warned about the usual factors that TTAC has been discussing for some time: rising loan terms, an increased focus on monthly payments and deteriorating underwriting standards

Across the industry, auto lenders are pursuing growth by lengthening terms, increasing advance rates,
and originating loans to borrowers with lower credit scores. Loan marketing has become increasingly
monthly-payment driven, with loan terms and LTV advance rates easing to make financing more
broadly available. The results have yet to show large-scale deterioration at the portfolio level, but signs
of increasing risk are evident. Average LTV rates for both new and used vehicles are above
100 percent for all major lender categories, reflecting rising car prices and a greater bundling of add-on
products such as extended warranties, credit life insurance, and aftermarket accessories into the

The average loss per vehicle has risen substantially in the past two years, an indication of how longer
terms and higher LTVs can increase exposure. Average charge-off amounts are higher across all lender
types over the last year. These early signs of easing terms and increasing risk are
noteworthy, and the OCC will continue to monitor product terms and risk layering practices to ensure
that banks manage growth and exposure prudently.

The OCC report did not single out subprime loans specifically, but instead focused on the entire auto loan sector. The full report is available here.

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SAAR Hits 17 Million On Strong June Sales Wed, 02 Jul 2014 12:47:36 +0000 2014-Maserati-Ghibli-blue-Main_rdax_646x396

For the first time since 2006, the SAAR topped 17 million, as the first half of 2014 finished on a strong note.

Buick, Audi and Jeep posted double digit gains, while Maserati sales rose 233 percent, on account of having more than two vehicles in its lineup. Volvo, the Chrysler brand, Smart, Acura and Volkswagen brand were the big losers. The average transaction price rose to $32,342, a 1.4 percent increase since this time last year. For a full table, see Automotive News.

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Cain’s Segments, July 2014: Trucks Wed, 02 Jul 2014 12:30:41 +0000 450x287x2011_Ford_F-250_XLT_-_07-10-2010-450x287.jpg.pagespeed.ic.glBn7tFc9o

89% of the pickup trucks sold in the United States in the first half of 2014 were full-size trucks, a segment of the auto market that has risen 4.3% so far this year.

Lost market share among the top pickup sellers in America, Ford and General Motors, has been swallowed up in large part by FCA’s Ram brand and the Toyota Tundra. Already this year, Ram has sold 33,541 more pickups than during the first six months of 2013.

Ford’s F-Series, on the other hand, is down by 1661 units. GM’s twins have combined to rise 1.1%, but their share of the full-size category, not even including the now extinct Chevrolet Avalanche and Cadillac Escalade EXT, has fallen by more than a percentage point.

June 2014 was in large part a stronger example of this trend. F-Series sales dropped 11% to 60,560 units, the first time since February that Ford sold fewer than 63,000 F-Series trucks. We expect lower F-Series sales these days, as a number of customers will wait for a new 2015 F-150 and forego the discounted outgoing model. Ford dealers didn’t just miss out on a large number of F-Series sales in June, however, as utility vehicle volume was down 8%.

Meanwhile, Ram’s 20.4% market share in June was par for the course. Ram owned 20.3% in May, 21.4% in April, 22.9% in March, 20.2% in February, and 20.8% in January, a great deal better than the 18.3% Ram managed during the first half of 2013.

Unlike the Ford Motor Company, most of Ram’s relations performed above last year’s pace in June 2014, as well. Fiat sales jumped 11%, Jeep shot up 28% (thanks to Cherokee), and Dodge moved up 1%. Chrysler Group car sales continue to underperform, yet with 68% of the automaker’s sales coming from Ram pickups, Jeep, and minivans, the overall figures tend to impress.

We’re no longer seeing the kinds of decreasing market share figures from GM’s twins that we were earlier in the year – their February share slid by more than four percentage points – but the half-year numbers hark back to those especially disappointing days. Despite their freshness, GM’s full-size truck market share fell to 34.5% over the last six months from 35.6% during the equivalent period one year earlier. June volume was also down 1.5%. (Taking the fewer available selling days into account, the Silverado and Sierra were up 7.7%.)

At Toyota, the Tundra and better-selling Tacoma were responsible for 11.4% of all Toyota U.S. sales so far this year, including Lexus and Scion. Although the Tacoma consistently leads all small/midsize trucks, the Tundra’s steady improvements came to an abrupt halt in june after eight consecutive year-over-year monthly sales increases.

Clearly pickup trucks aren’t the essential motivating forces at Toyota that they are at Ford, GM, and Chrysler. The Ram P/U range is the Chrysler Group’s top seller in the U.S., accounting for 20% of first-half sales. Including the Avalanche, Escalade EXT, Colorado, and Canyon, pickup trucks have pulled in 22.9% of GM’s U.S. volume in 2014. (Full-size, body-on-frame SUVs generated one in ten GM sales in June.) At Ford MoCo, the F-Series, with no help from a Ranger, attracts 28.8% of the automaker’s sales.

Nissan? Sales are booming, but of the 704,477 new vehicles sold by Nissan and Infiniti over the last six months, only 5.1% have been Frontiers; only 0.9% have been Titans.

6 mos.
6 mos.
Ford F-Series
60,560 68,009 -11.0% 365,825 367,486 -0.5%
Chevrolet Silverado
43,519 43,259 +0.6% 240,679 242,586 -0.8%
Ram P/U
33,149 29,644 +11.8% 203,860 170,319 +19.7%
GMC Sierra
15,406 16,568 -7.0% 93,191 87,633 +6.3%
Toyota Tundra
8977 9759 -8.0% 57,987 51,565 +12.5%
Nissan Titan
976 1300 -24.9% 6416 8852 -27.5%
162,587 168,539 -3.5% 967,958 928,441 4.3%


6 mos.
6 mos.
Ford F-Series
37.2% 40.4% 37.8% 39.6%
Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra
36.2% 35.5% 34.5% 35.6%
Ram P/U
20.4% 17.6% 21.1% 18.3%
Toyota Tundra
5.5% 5.8% 6.0% 5.6%
Nissan Titan
0.6% 0.8% 0.7% 1.0%
Full-Size Share Of
Total Pickup Truck Market
89.4% 87.9% 89.0% 87.1%
Full-Size Pickup Share
Of Total Industry
11.4% 12.0% 11.8% 11.9%
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Cadillac Won’t Give Up On The Dream Of European Success Fri, 27 Jun 2014 11:00:08 +0000 Click here to view the embedded video.

Despite a flimsy dealer network, a lack of diesel engines and a poisonous brand, GM still hasn’t given up on the idea of making Cadillac a global luxury brand that can sell cars in Europe.

Speaking to AutoExpress, GM President Dan Amman expressed his desire to sell Cadillacs in Europe, despite its past failures. Amman also tacitly admitted that Cadillac would never be able to become a high volume brand or take on the German luxury brands – despite the fact that Cadillac has nakedly chased them in their home market of America

“But in the long term there is a role for Cadillac in Europe. Is it going to be a high-volume contender in the medium to long term future? Probably not. But is there a role for something other than the three German luxury brands? I think there is…We’ve got to figure out what it is, what our portfolio is, a different value proposition. But trying to out-German the Germans will not be the path to success. We have to have a different proposition.”

With a skeletal dealer network, unsuitable product for European tastes and road conditions (no diesel options is a complete non-starter) and an undesirable brand, it’s worth asking, why even bother?  Cadillac sold just 430 cars in Europe in 2012, with sales peaking at 3,000 cars in 2007. The brand has 40 dealers on the entire continent, and with diesels accounting for a reported 80 percent of premium car sales, this looks like nothing more than a vanity project, with GM wanting to sell Cadillacs in Europe just to bring the fight to the Germans on home turf – similar to VW’s folly in going after premium cars with the Phaeton, because Daimler dared to launch the compact Mercedes A-Class. And we know how that turned out.

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Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Big In The UK Mon, 23 Jun 2014 12:00:49 +0000 03-2013-mitsubishi-outlander-phev-paris

The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV may not be coming to the United States until sometime between the autumn of 2015 and early 2016, but United Kingdom customers are already lining up at their local dealerships for a test drive of the SUV that can be had for the same price as its diesel sibling.

Cambridge News reports one particular dealership, Duxford Motor Group, had conducted 23 test drives during the two-day launch of the PHEV earlier this month, with 40 to 50 parties rebooked for test drives due to its fiscal popularity. According to sales executive Alex Dunn, the Outlander PHEV retails for £28,250 ($48,150 USD) — which includes a government tax credit of £5,000 ($8,522 USD) — the same price as the 2.2-liter diesel variant, and comes with other benefits, as well:

100 per cent write-down in first year, which is a first for employers, and if you’re an employee it’s 5 per cent Benefit in Kind which is astonishing. This is one of very few vehicles which is congestion-charge free and it’s not a little car, it’s a five-seater four-wheel drive vehicle, so it ticks so many boxes fotr [sic] people who perhaps wouldn’t have come to our door before – fans of all the big brands are coming to see us. It’s a tough car too – rock-solid and super-reliable.

The PHEV has an all-electric range of 32 imperial miles before the 2-liter gasoline engine takes over, and delivers 148 mpg between the engine and two electric motors.

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Canada Sales Recap: May 2014 Thu, 19 Jun 2014 15:29:34 +0000


In May 2014, Canadian auto sales shot up to record monthly levels by soaring beyond 195,000 units, one-eighth the size of the U.S. industry last month.

These record sales levels occur as buyers transition from in large numbers from cars to crossovers, particularly smaller crossovers from volume brands.

It’s become a long-running theme. Car sales were down 2.4% in May 2014 according to the Automotive News Data Center. Cars formed just 43.5% of the overall market, down from 43.6% in April and down from 47.1% in May of last year, a massive market share decline.

The bigger the car, the more serious the hit. Large Impala-class cars slid 24% in May to just 2803 units, equal to just 3.3% of the passenger car market. More seriously, midsize cars – led by the Ford Fusion – were off May 2013’s pace by 23%, a loss of 3518 units in just one month.

The Subaru Legacy and Volkswagen Passat stand out as the only midsize cars to achieve year-over-year improvements during the first five months of 2014, but their gains are moderate, and neither of those two cars are even close to being top sellers in the category.

Even Canada’s most popular vehicle category, the compact class, is not immune to the move away from passenger cars. The Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla, the segment’s two top sellers at the moment, have recorded impressive year-over-year improvements by stealing sales from rival cars, not by bringing in new buyers. Compact sales were down 3% in May (4% YTD) as the Dart, Focus, Elantra, Forte, Lancer, and Sentra collectively slid 21%.

Many of the smallest cars are selling better this year than in 2013. Year-to-date, the Ford Fiesta, Honda Fit, Hyundai Accent, Nissan Versa, and Toyota’s Prius C and Yaris are ahead of last year’s pace. Mitsubishi and Nissan have added 2740 sales this year that couldn’t exist at this time last year via the Mirage and Micra. In fact, the Micra has not surprisingly proven capable of attracting Canadians, helped by its ultra-low sub-$10,000 base price. 877 were sold in May, ranking the Micra 28th among all cars. All six of the cars which ranked directly ahead the Micra reported year-over-year declines.

In order to reach record-high sales levels, Canada’s auto market is clearly making up for the lost car sales elsewhere. Although pickup truck volume is down very slightly year-to-date, May pickup sales jumped 6%, a gain of 1879 units. Pickups accounted for 17.1% of the Canadian auto industry’s May sales; 12.7% in the United States.

Minivan volume shot up 7% in May. Include the Mazda 5, Kia Rondo, and Chevrolet Orlando in the mix, and minivan sales were up 10%. Minivans generated 5.6% of the industry’s May sales. 52% of Chrysler Canada’s sales in May were generated by the Ram P/U (Canada’s second-best-selling vehicle line), Dodge Grand Caravan (54% minivan market share), and Chrysler Town & Country.
The real difference from one year to the next is visible when studying sales of SUVs and crossovers. Canadians registered nearly 9200 more in May 2014 than in May 2013, a 17% year-over-year increase. The five top sellers – Escape, CR-V, RAV4, Santa Fe Sport, Rogue – attracted three out of every ten SUV/crossover buyers last month, collectively rising 16%.

The perception that Canadians prefer small cars is not without merit. Yet 48.5% of the new vehicles sold in Canada in May 2014 were pickups, SUVs, and crossovers, compared with 44.3% south of the border.

Ford Motor Company was again the top seller of new vehicles in Canada in May, although Chrysler Canada leads the way year-to-date. Despite falling F-Series sales and plunging car volume, Ford’s Blue Oval brand continues to outsell all other auto brands in Canada. BMW was Canada’s top so-called premium brand in May; Mercedes-Benz leads year-to-date.

The Honda and Nissan brands owned 12% of the Canadian market in May 2013 but improved that total to 13.4% one year later. No brand has added more sales to their 2013 five-month over the first five months of 2014 than Nissan, although Jeep’s 7998-unit YTD improvement comes close.

Strong as Jeep is, and as much as Nissan is powered by its top-selling Rogue, there is perhaps no greater figurehead for the utility vehicle boom than Porsche. By adding its second-best-selling Macan in May, Porsche Canada gleaned 60% of its sales from the high-riding side of the showroom even as Porsche car sales jumped 7%. Not only did Porsche add the Macan, but Cayenne sales increased, as well.


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Cain’s Segments June 2014: Commercial Vans Wed, 11 Jun 2014 10:30:52 +0000 550x395x2014-RAM-ProMaster-Exterior-007-550x395.jpg.pagespeed.ic.mie78qN3ye

The only van not capable of improving its May 2013 U.S. sales figures in May 2014 possessed an in-showroom rival last month which didn’t exist a year ago. Ram Cargo Van sales fell 21%, or 209 units, in May 2014. But with the ProMaster making headway, total Ram commercial van sales jumped 84%.

FCA is not yet a major player in America’s commercial van category, but the ProMaster has, together with the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and Nissan NV200, stirred up the traditional full-size van market.

Ignore the smaller Ford Transit Connect, Nissan NV200, and Ram C/V for a moment to focus on the full-size vans. 14.4% of the full-size commercial-oriented vans sold in the United States in May 2014 weren’t GM or Ford products, up from 10.9% in pre-ProMaster May 2013, and 3.5% in pre-NV May 2009.

This isn’t to suggest that Ford and General Motors are soon to lose control of the American commercial van industry. Indeed, in the coming months, Ford will combine two formulas: the new Transit will still wear a Blue Oval, the logo so many buyers associate with commercial van desirability, and it will also utilize all the European flexibility and diesel availability FedEx enjoys with its Sprinters.

Back in the here and now, Ford set a Transit Connect sales record in May with the model’s second consecutive year-over-year sales increase after a 29% first quarter drop. (Ford’s monthly sales releases don’t separate sales of the Transit Connect van from the minivan-fighting Wagon.) The Transit Connect sold more than twice as often as the Nissan NV200 and Ram C/V combined. Chevrolet’s NV200-based City Express should help form a viable Transit Connect opposition later this year.

Meanwhile, GM’s market share in the overall commercial van market slid only slightly from 30.6% during the first five months of 2013 to 30.5% year-to-date; rising to 35.6% in May 2014 compared with 33.5% in May 2013 and 27.5% in April 2014. Through the first five months of 2014, the Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana generated 43,314 U.S. sales.

Nissan commercial van sales more than doubled to 2678 units in May – the NV200 was only a two-month-old product at this time a year ago. Sprinter volume reached the second-highest level in the model’s U.S. history in 2013 and sales are up more than 23% in 2014. Year-over-year, Sprinter sales have improved in each of the last nine months, following four calendar years of improvement.

The overall category enjoyed a massive month in May 2014 as sales increased by 8524 units, a 28% boost. Sales are up 14% to 142,116 units so far this year, equal to 2.1% of the industry’s total output, up from 1.9% a year ago. It’s not a bad business in which to operate. The Volkswagen brand, for example, has sold 150,317 vehicles in 2014; Mazda has sold 130,223. Total pickup truck volume has risen 4% to more than 900,000 units through five months.

5 mos.
5 mos.
Chevrolet Express
9822 8353 +17.6% 31,378 31,734 -1.1%
Ford E-Series
14,269 12,571 +13.5% 55,115 52,783 +4.4%
Ford Transit Connect
4222 3709 +13.8% 15,226 16,914 -10.0%
GMC Savana
4124 1906 +116% 11,936 6320 +88.9%
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter
2264 1828 +23.9% 9282 7517 +23.5%
Nissan NV
1475 971 +51.9% 6231 5148 +21.0%
Nissan NV200
1203 341 +253% 4564 588 +676%
Ram Cargo Van
768 977 -21.4% 3808 3452 +10.3%
Ram ProMaster
1033 4576
30,656 +27.8% 142,116 124,456 +14.2%
]]> 12
Cain’s Segments June 2014: Compact Cars Wed, 11 Jun 2014 00:38:33 +0000 TTAC_compact-car-best-selling-chart

After a troubling first third of 2014, passenger car sales in May were resurgent in large part because of big numbers achieved by small cars. Overall car sales were down 2% through the end of April, but with a 9% year-over-year May increase (in a longer month with an extra weekend), there have now been a few more cars sold in the first five months of 2014 than during the same period one year earlier.

Compact car sales punched above their weight class, however, rising 15% in May 2014 and 3% year-to-date. If we adopt a narrower definition of the compact category by excluding the surging Kia Soul, new Fiat 500L, Scion xB, and defunct Dodge Caliber and Chevrolet HHR, compact sales were still up 13% in May.

At this point last year, the Toyota Corolla (sales of which include the dying Matrix as per Toyota USA’s release) was 3534 sales ahead of the second-ranked Honda Civic. By the end of calendar year 2013, the Civic had generated 34,000 more sales than the Toyota. Corolla sales are up 8% this year, however, a much faster growth rate than Honda is achieving with the Civic, and the gap is 8613 units in the Toyota’s favour.

The Chevrolet Cruze is the only other compact close to the top-selling duo. Not since February has the Cruze outsold the Civic. The Corolla has been the best-selling compact car in America in every month since December.

U.S. sales of the Hyundai Elantra have increased in each of the last six calendar years, but Elantra volume is down by 8752 units year-to-date. After a sluggish 2013, the Elantra’s partner car at Kia, the Forte, is on pace to get back to 2011 levels, when Forte volume was at its best. The Forte plays second fiddle to the Soul in Kia showrooms. Although not by any means shaped like a typical compact sedan, the Soul is an appealing car for a wide swathe of the car-buying public. It’s outselling all but the seven most popular compacts in America in 2014.

The Focus tells a typically Ford car sales story for 2014: sales of the C-Max, Fiesta, Taurus, and Focus are all down, and the slight gains by the Mustang and the Fusion’s slim 1% increase haven’t overcome those deficits. Ford brand car sales are down 7% this year.

Nissan sold nearly three times as many Sentras in May 2014 as in May 2012; more than in May 2012 and May 2013 combined. Included in the Volkswagen Jetta’s somewhat disappointing total are 1866 May SportWagen sales, a 2% increase. Jetta sedan sales are down 3% to 55,646 through five months. Mazda 3 sales are down this year, but after stabilizing in March, 3 volume jumped 21% in April and 20% in May.

Not included in the Subaru Impreza’s sales tally are the 5778 May sales of the raised Impreza, the XV Crosstrek, sales of which have risen 39% in 2014. Subaru reported an 8% increase to 5659 Impreza sales in May (up 6% to 25,822 YTD) in addition to a record-high 2957 WRX/STi sales; 11,170 so far this year.

Dodge Dart sales have not lived up to what FCA had anticipated. That May’s 8644 Dart sales represents a record high for the nameplate only highlights that fact. (Fiat 500L sales also reached a record high in May, although at 1434 units, the 500L was well back of even the Mini Countryman.)

We’ve included the semi-premium Buick Verano and Acura ILX in this list of mainstream compacts. The Verano is clearly not a high-volume car, but it’s a pleasant profit-driving addition on top of the Cruze’s total for GM. The ILX is proving to be even rarer this year than it was last year.

Look for Volkswagen Golf sales figures to rise quite quickly soon, although there’s sadly little potential for anything more than mid-pack results. Volkswagen derives a large chunk of the Golf’s sales – a majority these days, in fact – from the enthusiast-oriented GTI. At TTAC, we’re all too aware of the mass market appeal of a car that succeeds to a greater degree on the enthusiast front.

5 mos.
5 mos.
Toyota Corolla/Matrix
36,611 27,997 +30.8% 143,409 132,514 +8.2%
Honda Civic
36,089 30,268 +19.2% 134,796 128,980 +4.5%
Chevrolet Cruze
32,393 23,055 +40.5% 119,330 100,818 +18.4%
Hyundai Elantra
21,867 25,090 -12.8% 95,329 104,081 -8.4%
Ford Focus
23,683 27,186 -12.9% 94,690 111,641 -15.2%
Nissan Sentra
21,932 12,504 +75.4% 76,801 56,240 +36.6%
Volkswagen Jetta
13,915 15,910 -12.5% 64,217 66,483 -3.4%
Kia Soul
15,606 11,420 +36.7% 62,677 51,744 +21.1%
Mazda 3
10,682 8935 +19.6% 43,324 45,135 -4.0%
Subaru Impreza
8616 7048 +22.2% 36,992 32,199 +14.9%
Kia Forte
7196 7177 +0.3% 32,105 27,731 +15.8%
Dodge Dart
8644 7448 +16.1% 30,742 38,512 -20.2%
Buick Verano
3816 4158 -8.2% 18,106 18,944 -4.4%
Volkswagen Golf
1793 3052 -41.3% 8941 14,182 -37.0%
Mitsubishi Lancer
1422 1626 -12.5% 7696 9418 -18.3%
Acura ILX
1629 1709 -4.7% 7429 9217 -19.4%
Scion xB
1532 1740 -12.0% 7000 7875 -11.1%
Fiat 500L
1434 5643
Suzuki SX4
2859 -100%
Dodge Caliber
45 -100%
Chevrolet HHR
2 -100%
+15.0% 989,227
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Cain’s Segments, May 2014: Trucks Fri, 06 Jun 2014 12:04:44 +0000 2015-Ford-F150-Front

Ford is in a transition phase: readying the new 2015 F-150 while trying to sell the old model as often as possible. This requires knowing just how many F-Series pickups dealers will need in the weeks leading up to the new model’s introduction.

Too few is a problem, as is too many. Of course, Ford has experience in this arena. They’ve restructured plants before, they’ve forecasted summer truck sales for outgoing trucks before, they’ve done so while continuing to play a major role in America’s truck market before. But we can still expect to see some fluctuation in the figures put up by America’s best-selling vehicle line.

Indeed, May F-Series sales fell by 3084 units. Where did those buyers go? General Motors added 3365 Chevrolet Silverado sales and 2265 GMC Sierra sales compared with May 2013, Chrysler said Ram truck sales grew by 5459 units, and Toyota reported an extra 1441 Tundra sales.

In other words, a handful of potential F-Series buyers may have headed elsewhere – and they could just be waiting – but the truck market added thousands of buyers last month. America’s full-size truck segment grew by more than 5%, or 9210 units, in May 2014. Year-to-date sales are up 6%, or 45,469 units.

At this point last year, six full-size truck nameplates accounted for 87% of the pickups sold in the first five months of 2013. They’ve moved that figure forward to 89% in 2014; 89.3% during the month of May specifically.

Compared with the first five months of 2013, GM and Ford have both lost 1.5 percentage points of market share in the category. Fears that GM’s new trucks couldn’t take advantage of what would inevitably be a more challenging start to the year for Ford have been set aside, to a degree, over the last couple of months, as Silverado/Sierra market share held steady in April (on a year-over-year basis) and improved in May, both on a year-over-year basis and compared with April.

Ram and Toyota are more expertly capitalizing on the opportunity, at least from a purely volume-oriented perspective. Ram’s share of the full-size truck segment has grown by nearly three percentage points as volume has shot up by more than 30,000 units over the last five months. Toyota has added 7204 Tundra sales so far this year.

During the first five months of the Tundra’s best ever calendar year, 2007, the Tundra generated 6.9% of the sales produced by these six trucks. (GM’s share was 39.6%; Ford’s was 32.8%. The full-size market itself was 10% bigger than it has been so far this year.) Toyota isn’t going to sell 196,555 Tundras in 2014 like they did in 2013, but the brand is rapidly moving back to those kinds of market share levels.

Ram’s move up the ladder is impressive, but it pales in comparison to what they’ve accomplished in Canada. 29.5% of the full-size trucks sold in Canada so far this year have been Rams. GM Canada’s twins trail the Ram P/U lineup by 3026 units heading into June.

Unworthy of mention now that GM has all but extinguished the last of its inventory, the Chevrolet Avalanche outsold the Nissan Titan by 578 units in May of last year. Cadillac sold three Escalade EXTs in May 2014; Chevrolet reported a single Avalanche sale.

5 mos.
5 mos.
Ford F-Series
68,520 71,604 -4.3% 305,265 299,477 +1.9%
Chevrolet Silverado
46,648 43,283 +7.8% 197,160 199,327 -1.1%
Ram P/U
37,131 31,672 +17.2% 170,711 140,675 +21.4%
GMC Sierra
18,326 16,061 +14.1% 77,785 71,065 +9.5%
Toyota Tundra
11,391 9950 +14.5% 49,010 41,806 +17.2%
Nissan Titan
1166 1402 -16.8% 5440 7552 -28.0%
183,182 173,972 +5.3% 805,371 759,902 +6.0%


5 mos.
5 mos.
Ford F-Series
37.4% 41.2% 37.9% 39.4%
Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra
35.5% 34.1% 34.1% 35.6%
Ram P/U
20.3% 18.2% 21.2% 18.5%
Toyota Tundra
6.2% 5.7% 6.1% 5.5%
Nissan Titan
0.6% 0.8% 0.7% 1.0%
Full-Size Share Of
Total Pickup Truck Market
89.3% 87.2% 89.0% 87.0%
Full-Size Pickup Share
Of Total Industry
11.4% 12.0% 11.9% 11.8%
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May 2014 Sales: SAAR 16.8 Million In A Strong Bounce From Winter Tue, 03 Jun 2014 21:03:42 +0000 450x253x2014-Mitsubishi-Outlander-2-450x253.jpg.pagespeed.ic.KZy3-yP4Qi

The bleak winter that plagued the start of 2014 looks to be behind the auto makers, as a record-setting SAAR and strong performances by most brands helped propel auto sales in May to post-recession heights.

Volvo and Volkswagen were the major losers this month, seeing losses of 21 percent and 15 percent respectively. Chrysler also saw a 22 percent less as a brand, but FCA overall saw a 17 percent jump, bolstered by Ram and Jeep – as has been the case for the last while.

Practically every Japanese auto maker was up, save for the Scion brand, with most posting double digit increases. Mitsubishi was up 54 percent while Mazda saw a 23 percent bump. Ford and GM also saw solid gains. Check out the full table at Automotive News.

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Not Even Incentives Can Save The Cadillac ELR – Sales Down, Inventories Up Tue, 03 Jun 2014 16:07:54 +0000 Hindenburg_burning

Even as GM rolled out incentives to help move the Cadillac ELR, sales were down this past month, while supplies of the car continued to expand.


In May, Cadillac moved just 52 of their hybrids, down from 61 in April. Inventories are up from 1,077 as of April 3, to 1,515 as of this writing. Not even GM’s generous incentives can help this thing.

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Minivans Making A Comeback, Minus The Name Wed, 28 May 2014 13:00:04 +0000 Ford Transit Connect Wagon: The Unminivan

Once the bane of soccer moms everywhere, the minivan segment is on the rebound in sales. However, the remaining stigma surrounding the name has some marketing reps doing their best to make sure “minivan” is verbotten down on Flower Shop Lane.

The Detroit News reports the marketers are throwing around alternatives — such as “people mover,” “MPV” and “family truckster” — in an effort to make the segment cool for all. Edmunds analyst Jessica Caldwell, however, has reservations on such re-labeling:

Nobody wants to be categorized as a minivan, but at the same time, they have to let people know about how they can utilize these vehicles. The harder you try to convince people it’s not a minivan, the more they are going to think it’s a minivan. Just call a spade a spade.

While the marketers are trying too hard to “#unminivan” the segment, minivan sales climbed to over half a million in 2013 after a nadir of 434,000 in 2009 during the global economic superstorm’s early phase; sales peaked in 2000 at 1.3 million. Current offerings from the Minivan Three of Toyota, Honda and Chrysler dominate the market, though newer minivans such as Ford’s Transit Connect Wagon and Kia Sedona will add more choices in the coming years.

Though the segment had a homogeneous appearance for the past few decades, modern offerings seek to grab an ounce of individuality as far as what each minivan has to offer to families and young people. In particular, smaller minivans could bring new customers to a brand, leading to further sales down the road as situations change among those who enter the showroom for a “people carrier” over a hatchback.

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Study: 51 Percent Of Chinese Consumers Snub Japanese Vehicles Fri, 23 May 2014 11:00:52 +0000 Nissan Teana

Though Japanese automakers are doing all they can to win over Chinese consumers, a study led by Bernstein Research found anti-Japanese sentiments among 51 percent of 40,000 surveyed may be a barrier to further success in the growing market.

The Wall Street Journal reports the nationalistic attitude toward Japan is highest in developing cities such as Changsha, Dongguan and Xian, where automakers hope to strike it rich in the future. Bernstein analyst Max Warburton adds that while the Japanese and their joint-venture parnters will do well in the near future, “the one thing that comes out most clearly is that most Chinese really want a German car… ultimately the market will belong to the Germans.”

In the near term, those surveyed found Japanese vehicles to be less expensive to own and more comfortable than German and American offerings, and superior to vehicles manufactured by South Korean automakers. Nissan, the nation’s largest Japanese brand, was described as being for older consumers with families who have lower incomes than other brands, as well.

Aside from nationalism, the Japanese may also have a hard time breaking into the premium market, with only 41 percent surveyed willing to pay over 300,000 yuan ($48,000) for a Japanese premium vehicle.

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Rising Inventories: A Race To The Bottom? Tue, 20 May 2014 16:43:51 +0000 450x298xholden-plant-450x298.jpg.pagespeed.ic.8Pz782lQeX

While our own Ronnie Schreiber may have taken Zero Hedge to task for its inaccurate story on unsold cars, Australia is facing a situation where rising inventories have created a buyers market, just as local production of automobiles is winding down.

Australia is a notoriously competitive auto market, with more than 60 brands competing for just 1 million units annually. Local outlet Carsguide is reporting that there are currently 150,000 unsold cars sitting in the country, with more arriving from global factories in each, leading to a massive oversupply of new vehicles.

Holden chairman Gerry Dorizas spoke to Carsguide, and provided an interesting quote in light of the fact that Holden will be ending local production by 2017

How can companies sell cars cheaper in Australia than in Europe…It’s not sustainable. I believe they (prices) will go up at some point in time. At some time this competition for prices will create a problem in the network…But that point has not arrived and car companies are rolling out new incentives with every passing week. 

When production of the Commodore and Ute end, Holden will be reliant on imports from South Korea, Thailand and possibly Europe, as it seeks to offer a full line of Holden vehicles sourced from GM’s international operations. The brutal competition in Australia, along with changing market tastes, led to the demise of the Commodore and Australian manufacturing – undoubtedly a loss for enthusiasts and Australian industry. But these same forces have also allowed Australian consumers to get better deals on cars, particularly in the compact segment that is now replacing the large sedan segment as the passenger car of choice.

To the outsider, the stories from Carsguide, Zero Hedge, and elsewhere may be perceived as evidence of poor discipline by the auto manufacturing sector, and in many cases, they’d be correct. Inventories are rising back to pre-recession levels and easier credit are undoubtedly helping spur auto sales in the United States. Industry sources tell us that 2014 has seen record transaction prices, meaning that consumer spending, and by extension, auto financing debt, should be at record levels.

On the other hand, the current economics of the auto industry dictate that under-utilized capacity is a bad thing, and factories must be kept humming above a certain level (typically 75 percent of capacity) to remain profitable. Labor laws in many jurisdictions make it cheaper to keep cranking out cars than to lay off workers, even temporarily. Once they leave the factory gate, they become the dealer’s problem.


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Nissan Resurrects Another Storied Nameplate Fri, 16 May 2014 14:48:55 +0000

When Nissan revived the Datsun brand for its lineup of small, low-cost cars, enthusiasts were left wondering whether they’d ever see a performance oriented Datsun. The answer appears to be an emphatic “not a snowball’s chance in hell” – but their latest new car may be a better candidate for the return of a historic badge.

Nissan’s long awaited rival to the VW Golf and Ford Focus will bear the Pulsar moniker, just like past compact Nissans have done all over the world. The Pulsar nameplate is still used in Australia, New Zealand and Thailand, on a vehicle related to the Nissan Versa, but the newest Pulsar in Europe is an all-new design, intended to make Nissan a serious player in the C-segment hatchback market.

Past Pulsars have included the legendary GTI-R rally special and the little-known VZ-R (with an 8500 rpm-capable 1.6L 4-cylinder engine), and Nissan will be offering a Nismo version of the Pulsar as well. Based on how far Nissan went with the Nismo Juke RS, it should have some decent performance chops, even if it’s not an AWD homologation special.

While Nissan has always lagged in this segment, they’ve managed to build up a tidy business in Europe by bringing to market some of the first viable small crossovers, in both the Juke and the wildly popular Qashqai. Now that Nissan has finally established itself as a serious player in Europe, the hope is that the Pulsar will give them market share in the dominant passenger car segment as well.

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There’s A New Queen Of California Thu, 15 May 2014 14:17:29 +0000 Click here to view the embedded video.

Oh, California, the trend-setting coastal paradise that once sparked a revolution in the American car market. Fully half of cars sold in the Golden State are from Japanese brands, and for a couple of years, the top dog was the Toyota Prius – about as opposite as could be from the rest of the country, where the Ford F-Series reigns supreme. But there’s a new leader in the sales charts, and it’s a bit more mainstream (or “normcore” as the kids are saying these days).

In the first few months of 2014, the Honda Accord has managed to displace the Toyota Prius as California’s best-selling car. The Los Angeles Times reports that 15,611 Accords have been sold, giving it a lead of roughly 300 units over the Prius. The Honda Civic, Toyota Camry and Toyota Corolla rounded out the top five.

That’s not to say that the race is wrapped up already: the Prius, or any of the other cars mentioned, could snatch the crown – no other nameplates have sold more than 10,000 units so far.

At 1.8 million units, California’s car market is bigger than Canada’s, and import brands make up nearly three quarters of all sales. But Chrysler saw a big gain in 2014, with Jeep sales up 57 percent, Ram trucks up 49 percent and Fiat up 78 percent. The big losers in California included Tesla, which saw a 36 percent drop in sales. Perhaps the novelty of being an “early adopter” is wearing off, at least until the Model X arrives next year.


]]> 137
Cadillac ELR Inventories Balloon To 725 Day Supply As Dealers, Consumers Offered Big Incentives Wed, 14 May 2014 12:00:09 +0000 Click here to view the embedded video.

The Cadillac ELR is shaping up to be one of the biggest automotive flops in recent memory – as of May 1, inventories had expanded to a 725 day supply, with Cadillac moving just 61 units in April.

At the start of April, dealers had 1,077  ELRs on their lots. As of May 14th, that number had increased to 1,517, with inventories far outpacing sales of the car.

Now, Automotive News is reporting that dealers are being offered a $5,000 incentive to offer test drivers of the car if they have seven or less unused ELRs in their fleet, and $10,000 for two ELR demos if they have more than seven units. The test drive demos must log 750 or more miles, with the program expiring on June 2nd.

GM is also offering a $3,000 customer incentive if an ELR is purchased or leased (on top of government incentives that already exists), and dealers can qualify for a $2,000 incentive in July or a $1,000 incentive in August for selling ELRs.

While a Cadillac spokesman insists that the inventory backup is a result of production scheduling, the rising inventories, lagging sales and heavy incentives paint a clear picture: the ELR is an overpriced dog that is finding few buyers compared to the much cheaper Chevrolet Volt and the much more prestigious Tesla Model S, to say nothing of the various plug-in and pure EV offerings from other car makers.

Even worse is Cadillac’s inventory picture as a brand: according to the Automotive News Data Center every vehicle except the SRX recording over 100 day’s worth of inventory. Even the much lauded ATS and CTS had 153 and 138 day’s supply, far above industry norms.

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Cain’s Segments April 2014: Canada Recap Wed, 14 May 2014 11:00:59 +0000 TTAC-top-brands-sales-chart

In a record-setting April for the Canadian auto industry, Ford Canada reclaimed its position atop the sales leaderboard by outselling the Chrysler Group’s various and sundry brands by a handful of units.

The Chrysler Group’s five brands continue to lead the way in year-to-date terms thanks to Jeep and Ram success. According to Chrysler Canada, cars account for 13% of the company’s sales this year, down from 20% in the same period of 2013. Even without a single car sale, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram would be outselling all of General Motors in Canada in 2014.

It’s not as though Chrysler is alone with its poor car results. (Excluding the 200 and Avenger, Chrysler Canada car sales are down 14%, rather than 31%.) The industry, according to Automotive News, has suffered from a 5% decrease in passenger car sales in 2014.

And while April results weren’t as bad – the 1% drop equalled a loss of only around 500 units – the car category’s decline was worsened by major losses among some of the country’s top sellers. The Honda Civic and Hyundai Elantra, Canada’s two best-selling cars, were down 14% and 15%, respectively, in April. As a result, the Toyota Corolla was Canada’s most popular car last month.

At Acura, BMW, Buick, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, Hyundai, Kia, Mazda, Mini, Porsche, Scion, Toyota, Volkswagen, and Volvo, year-to-date passenger car sales have decreased.

In the month of April, specifically, car sales accounted for just 43.6% of the Canadian auto industry’s record-setting volume, down from 45.7% in April 2013, and 49.4% in April 2012.

Pickups have made headway, although sales of trucks have fallen slightly this year and in the month of April as numerous nameplates disappeared, the GM twins failed to improve their Canadian totals, and the replacement phase begins for Ford’s aging but best-selling F-Series.

Sales of utility vehicles are booming. Seven dozen SUVs and crossovers produced a 12% year-over-year April sales improvement.

Canada’s perennial SUV/CUV leader, the Ford Escape, was up 18% to 4821 sales in April, a strong enough result for the Escape to outsell all but three vehicles: two trucks and one car.

Over the last four months, SUVs and crossovers have been responsible for just under one-third of the industry’s Canadian sales. With surging Rogue sales and strong Pathfinder volume, Nissan’s utility vehicles now make up 8.3% of the SUV/CUV market, a notable improvement on the 6.5% achieved at this stage last year. Rogue sales have jumped 81% in 2014. It currently ranks fifth among utility vehicles, behind the Escape, CR-V, Toyota RAV4, and Hyundai Santa Fe Sport.

Jeep, thanks mostly to the new Cherokee, is up 40% to 18,945 sales in 2014. Jeep set an all-time Canadian monthly sales record in April. Land Rover, the only premium brand to sell nothing but SUVs, is up 30% to 2169 units in 2014, outselling Lincoln in the process; outselling Jaguar and Mini combined.

But Nissan is the headline grabber. Nissan was Canada’s ninth-best-selling brand in April 2013 but moved up to the sixth position one year later with a 29% year-over-year jump, an increase bettered only by Maserati, Fiat, and Jeep. The Titan and Frontier continue to be mostly ignored trucks, but they are selling more often this year than in 2013. Nissan owns 7.1% of the commercial van category in 2014, up from 4.4% in early 2013. Moreover, Nissan passenger car sales are on the rise.

2013 ended with record Nissan brand sales. At the current pace, the Nissan division is on track for its first ever calendar year above 100,000 sales. Meanwhile, the brand’s premium Infiniti division is following up on a record 2013 with improved sales in the early part of 2013, as well.

As for the industry as a whole, 2013’s banner year for Canadian auto sales is set to lose its record-setting status. Early summer will tell the tale. The April-July period of 2013 generated nearly 40% of the calendar year’s sales. If Canadian automobile buyers don’t buy vehicles in especially large numbers over the next three months, the market won’t make up for such stagnation later on in 2014.

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