The Truth About Cars » timothy cain http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sat, 13 Sep 2014 13:51:12 +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 » timothy cain http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Imagine A Kia Without A Soul http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/imagine-kia-without-soul/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/imagine-kia-without-soul/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 12:35:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=909178 Last year was a difficult pill to swallow for Kia in America. After claiming record sales in 2012, Kia volume slid 4% even as America’s auto industry grew 8%. There were inventory issues, but there was also concern that the new Sorento, though revamped under the skin, didn’t appear new on the outside. The Forte […]

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Kia Soul SXLast year was a difficult pill to swallow for Kia in America. After claiming record sales in 2012, Kia volume slid 4% even as America’s auto industry grew 8%.

There were inventory issues, but there was also concern that the new Sorento, though revamped under the skin, didn’t appear new on the outside. The Forte launch didn’t send shock waves through the compact segment. The Cadenza was never expected to be a volume leader.

Explanations for the decline didn’t stop Kia from “restructuring” either, as Kia Motors America’s executive VP of sales, Tom Loveless, was replaced by Michael Sprague.

Through the first eight months of 2014, however, Kia is back on track. Compared with the same period last year, brand-wide sales are up 7%. Compared with the first eight months of that record-setting 2012, sales are up 4.5%.

Admittedly, that pace is not in keeping with the pace of expansion in the overall industry (up 5.1% year-over-year, up 17.5% compared with the first two-thirds of 2012), but it’s a sharp turn in the right direction.

Credit is not owed to the brand’s best seller, the midsize Optima, sales of which are down slightly, just 0.6%, so far this year. Sales of the still-popular Sorento, Kia’s second-best-selling model in 2012 before last year’s 12% decline, are down 5% in 2014. Forte sales are recovering, but only marginally, and it trails ten different compacts in total year-to-date sales, including the Dodge Dart. Rio volume is down 11%. The Cadenza, K900, and Sedona – Kia’s three lowest-volume nameplates – have contributed an extra 3062 sales, not enough to overcome the Sorento’s losses.

Therefore, it’s the Sportage and Soul that are doing Kia’s heavy lifting; restoring the brand’s U.S. fortunes and reversing a trend that resulted in an 8% decline in the final four months of 2013.

The difference, of course, is that the Sportage is a minor player in a booming segment, and it in fact became increasingly minor over the last couple of years. Sportage volume is up 37% in 2014, and that’s no bad thing. But that year-over-year change masks the fact that Sportage sales in 2013 had fallen to a three-year low. Compared with the first eight months of 2012, Sportage sales are up just 6%; compared with the first eight months of 2011, Sportage volume is down 14%. Kia dealers surely appreciate selling more Sportages this year than last, but it’s not the vehicle they’d credit with fuelling Kia’s most recent resurgence.

Rather, the second-generation Soul, currently Kia’s second-best-selling model and the brand’s top seller during the month of July, is the source of this moderate surge. Through eight months, Soul sales have jumped 26%, equal to 21,569 extra units. Kia passenger car volume is up 7.7% with the Soul; slightly less than level without it. Overall Kia sales are up 6.9% with the Soul; just 1.5% without the Soul.

The Soul’s improvements have helped Kia’s market share rise slightly from 3.55% at this time last year to 3.61% in 2014. Had Soul sales only remained level, Kia’s market share would have fallen to 3.42%. Meanwhile at Kia’s Soul-less Hyundai partner, the brand’s market share has fallen from 4.63% to 4.48%, year-over-year.

The Soul was expected to be a niche success. It was, after all, a new introduction from a thriving brand in 2009. But how many observers predicted that Kia would abruptly stall, and that the Soul’s consistent success (volume has increased every single year even as it aged) would be followed up by a second-generation launch on which Kia would rely for big volume?

The Soul is currently America’s 29th-best-selling vehicle overall, only a handful of sales behind the Subaru Forester and Volkswagen Jetta and ahead of the Toyota Tacoma, Toyota Prius liftback, Nissan Versa, and Chevrolet Impala.

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

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U.S. Auto Sales Results: 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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Cain’s Segments: Trucks – July 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/cains-segments-trucks-july-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/cains-segments-trucks-july-2014/#comments Mon, 04 Aug 2014 14:29:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=880378 These are not normal times for America’s pickup truck market. The best-selling pickup truck line, Ford’s F-Series, is now entering a transition phase many months after potential customers first witnessed its aluminum-intensive replacement. Toyota, long a minor player in the full-size category, refreshed its Tundra and continues to achieve notable sales increases, though with gradually […]

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2014 Chevrolet Silverado Crew Cab Z71

These are not normal times for America’s pickup truck market.

The best-selling pickup truck line, Ford’s F-Series, is now entering a transition phase many months after potential customers first witnessed its aluminum-intensive replacement.

Toyota, long a minor player in the full-size category, refreshed its Tundra and continues to achieve notable sales increases, though with gradually less impressive growth figures.

GM’s twins last combined to outsell the Ford F-Series in 2009. They should still seem fresh, but to many the redesign wasn’t, in visual terms, sufficiently differentiated from the GMT900 models. Through the first seven months of 2014, the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra trail the Ford  F-Series by 35,610 units.

 

Truck
July
2014
Share
July
2013
Share
7 mos.
2014
Share
7 mos.
2013
Share
Ford F-Series
37.2% 37.4% 37.7% 39.3%
Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra
35.1% 36.3% 34.6% 35.7%
Ram P/U
21.0% 19.4% 21.0% 18.5%
Toyota Tundra
6.1% 6.1% 6.0% 5.6%
Nissan Titan
0.6% 0.7% 0.7% 0.9%
Full-Size Share Of
Total Pickup Truck Market
89.3% 87.5% 89.1% 87.2%
Full-Size Pickup Share
Of Total Industry
11.8% 12.3% 11.8%  11.9%

 
Ram has placed a six-cylinder diesel in their 1500-series lineup alongside a naturally-aspirated six-cylinder which generates more than 300 horsepower.

There are currently only three non-full-size pickups available: Toyota Tacoma, Nissan Frontier, Honda Ridgeline.

The Tacoma is America’s fourth-best-selling pickup nameplate, yet despite the dearth of competition Tacoma sales are down 7% this year and it accounts for just 6.9% of all pickups sold, down from 7.6% during the first seven months of 2013. The forthcoming arrival of the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, will presumably alter the field on which the Tacoma and Frontier have been farming.


U.S. pickup truck market share July 2014


This isn’t 2005, when American Honda reported its first 42,000 Ridgeline sales; when Isuzu began selling its i-Series pickups and Mitsubishi its Raider; when Lincoln sold more than 10,000 Mark LTs; when Subaru marketed the Baja and GM sold the retractable hardtop Chevrolet SSR. (When, incidentally Subaru and GM were ending their bizarre relationship.)

Not unpredictably, Ford has seen its F-Series lose market share in 2014. Year-over-year, GM’s share of the full-size pickup segment slid from 36.3% to 35.1% in July 2014; GM’s year-to-date share has decreased by more than a percentage point.

Ram is the clear beneficiary, rising from 19.4% in July 2013 to 21% in July 2014; increasing its year-to-date tally from 18.5% during the first seven months of 2013 to 21% in the same period this year.

The Ram pickup range has increased its volume by 37,848 units over the first seven months of 2014 in a category that has only grown by 47,934 units.

Reported sales of full-size pickup trucks are growing, but not quite at the pace of the overall auto market. These six truck nameplates generated 123 out of every 1000 new vehicle sales in July 2013, but that figure fell to 118/1000 in July 2014.

The times are not normal; neither are they extraordinary. Think back again to the valley through which the automobile industry was passing in 2009, when the Silverado/Sierra last generated greater U.S. sales volume than the F-Series. In the whole calendar year GM reported barely more than 428,000 sales. Ford has sold more than 429,000 F-Series pickups already this year.

Truck
July
2014
July
2013
%
Change
7 mos.
2014
7 mos.
2013
%
Change
Ford F-Series
63,240 60,449 4.6% 429,065 427,935 0.3%
Chevrolet Silverado
42,097 42,080 0.1% 282,776 284,666 -0.7%
Ram P/U
35,621 31,314 13.8% 239,481 201,633 18.8%
GMC Sierra
17,488 16,582 5.5% 110,679 104,215 6.2%
Toyota Tundra
10,312 9,820 5.0% 68,299 61,385 11.3%
Nissan Titan
1,072 1,168 -8.2% 7,488 10,020 -25.3%
Total
169,830 161,413 5.2% 1,137,788 1,089,854 4.4%

 

 

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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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RamAnthony-074-450x300

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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Canada Sales Recap: May 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/canada-sales-recap-may-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/canada-sales-recap-may-2014/#comments Thu, 19 Jun 2014 15:29:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=847121 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 […]

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TTAC_Canada-sales-chart

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, May 2014: Trucks http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/cains-segments-may-2014-trucks/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/cains-segments-may-2014-trucks/#comments Fri, 06 Jun 2014 12:04:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=838425 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 […]

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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.

Truck
May
2014
May
2013
%
Change
5 mos.
2014
5 mos.
2013
%
Change
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%
Total
183,182 173,972 +5.3% 805,371 759,902 +6.0%

 

Truck
May
2014
Share
May
2013
Share
5 mos.
2014
Share
5 mos.
2013
Share
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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Cain’s Segments April 2014: Canada Recap http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/cains-segments-april-2014-canada-recap/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/cains-segments-april-2014-canada-recap/#comments Wed, 14 May 2014 11:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=819842 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, […]

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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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Cain’s Segments April 2014: Luxury Flagships http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/cains-segments-april-2014-luxury-flagships/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/cains-segments-april-2014-luxury-flagships/#comments Thu, 08 May 2014 13:36:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=818202 The impact of Mercedes-Benz’s W222 S-Class has been keenly felt in America’s luxury car sector. The S-Class’s most direct rivals have been shunned in favour of the venerable Benz over the last seven months. And yet there’s no denying that big luxury SUVs have cast a shadow over these flagship luxury cars, nor is there […]

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Porsche_Panamera_2013_Facelift3

The impact of Mercedes-Benz’s W222 S-Class has been keenly felt in America’s luxury car sector. The S-Class’s most direct rivals have been shunned in favour of the venerable Benz over the last seven months. And yet there’s no denying that big luxury SUVs have cast a shadow over these flagship luxury cars, nor is there any point rejecting the idea that Tesla’s Model S is stealing market share.

Among the traditional players in its category, however, the S-Class rules the roost. In April, specifically, S-Class volume was up 73%, and sales were 168% stronger than the volume achieved by the second-ranked Lexus LS, sales of which moved up by twelve units, year-over-year.

Sales of the third-ranked 7-Series were down 23%. 7-Series volume has tumbled in seven consecutive months, incidentally. In September, just as Mercedes-Benz USA dealers were readying the new S-Class and sales of their big car had fallen 58% to just 387 units, BMW USA reported more than 1700 7-Series sales for the first time since June 2010. The 7-Series must also battle the more attractive and similarly-priced 6-Series Gran Coupe in BMW’s own showrooms. Sales of the whole three-pronged 6-Series lineup are up 63% to 4610 units year-to-date, although April sales slid 36% to 483.

The drop-off to the S-Class’s remaining European competitors is significant. Porsche sold 517 Panameras in April, 1983 so far this year, little more than a quarter of what the S-Class accomplishes. And while that April Panamera mark is up slightly compared with April 2013, its well off the pace achieved in each of the previous three Aprils. Panamera sales reached their highest annual levels in 2010, the first full year of availability, when 7741 were sold. Porsche is on pace for fewer than 6000 Panamera sales in 2014.

A8 sales figures continue to surprise reviewers who often favour the big Audi. April volume was down 5%. Relative to sales of Audi flagships, A8 sales in 2013 were particularly high at 6300 units, but the steady decline over the last eight months indicates a less exciting 2014 year end number from Audi. (A8 sales had increased, year-over-year, in seven of 2013’s first eight months.)

The Jaguar XJ, a car which attracted 10,552 buyers in 2004 even when the S-Type was generating annual sales above 10K, is simply not a nameplate with that kind of popularity these days. 2013 sales marked an eight-year high, but at 5434 units, XJ sales were half what Jaguar had achieved a decade earlier. XJ volume is up 21% over the last two months; up 19% since the S-Class began crushing rivals in October.

Yet the XJ’s decline from those highs a decade ago is not unique in this class. Even if Mercedes-Benz USA sells 20,000 S-Class sedans in 2014, a lofty goal indeed, that’ll be down 35% from the level achieved in 2006, the year the GL-Class SUV arrived. BMW sold more than 20,000 7-Series sedans as recently as 2003, but they’ll be lucky to sell 10,000 in 2014. 10,000 Lexus LS sales are within the realm of reason for 2014, but that’s well off the annual average rate of 26,668 sold between 2004 and 2008, the last time Lexus sold more than 20,000 copies.

And what of the Tesla? Presumably some, if not most, Model S buyers were in fact going to buy another car had the all-electric Tesla not been available. At the low end, the Model S may align itself more closely to the E-Class and 5-Series than the S-Class and 7-Series, but we mention it here for the sake of clarity. The Automotive News Data Center estimated at the beginning of May that Tesla sales totalled 8066 units through four months, but even HybridCars.com’s 5400-unit U.S. estimate for January-April is on the high end of many guesses reported in the electric car blogosphere. Tesla says the company delivered 6457 units, globally, in the first three months of 2014.

Don’t forget Kia.

The K900 found 260 April buyers; 365 since it went on sale in March. Hyundai Equus sales were up 9% to 285 in April; up 12% to 1203 over the last four months. Mercedes-Benz also sold 2045 CLSs so far in 2014, a 12% drop, and Audi A7 sales are up 7% to 2922. Maserati has reported 3332 total sales in 2014, a 342% year-over-year increase, but sales aren’t broken down by specific models.

Auto
April
2014
April
2013
%
Change
4 mos.
2014
4 mos.
2013
%
Change
Audi A8
443 468 -5.1% 1,617 1,929 +9.4%
BMW 7-Series
674 871 -22.6% 2,556 3,209 -20.3%
Jaguar XJ
369 323 +14.2% 1,578 1,568 +0.6%
Lexus LS
712 700 +1.7% 2,679 3,560 -24.7%
Mercedes-Benz
S-Class
1,909 1,103 +73.1% 7,278 4,180 +74.1%
Porsche Panamera
517 501 +3.2% 1,983 1,885 +5.2%
Total
4,624
3,966 +16.6% 17,691 16,331 +8.3%

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Cain’s Segments April 2014: German Luxury SUVs http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/cains-segments-april-2014-luxury-suvs/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/cains-segments-april-2014-luxury-suvs/#comments Tue, 06 May 2014 12:52:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=816041 Auto April 2014 April 2013 % Change 4 mos. 2014 4 mos. 2013 % Change BMW X5 4,393 3,444 +27.6% 14,153 15,335 -7.7% BMW X3 3,544 1,914 +85.2% 13,974 9,125 +53.1% Mercedes-Benz M-Class 3,831 3,280 +16.8% 13,965 12,442 +12.2% Audi Q5 3,293 3,241 +1.6% 12,067 11,437 +5.5% Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class 3,144 2,702 +16.4% 11,415 10,212 +11.8% […]

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Auto
April
2014
April
2013
%
Change
4 mos.
2014
4 mos.
2013
%
Change
BMW X5
4,393 3,444 +27.6% 14,153 15,335 -7.7%
BMW X3
3,544 1,914 +85.2% 13,974 9,125 +53.1%
Mercedes-Benz M-Class
3,831 3,280 +16.8% 13,965 12,442 +12.2%
Audi Q5
3,293 3,241 +1.6% 12,067 11,437 +5.5%
Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class
3,144 2,702 +16.4% 11,415 10,212 +11.8%
BMW X1
1,130 1,556 -27.4% 9,098 6,967 +30.6%
Volkswagen Tiguan
1,998 2,488 -19.7% 8,109 10,439 -22.3%
Mercedes-Benz GL-Class
2,253 2,481 -9.2% 7,671 10,099 -24.0%
Porsche Cayenne
1,839 1,750 +5.1% 6,119 5,931 +3.2%
Audi Q7
1,462 1,183 +23.6% 5,551 4,084 +35.9%
Volkswagen Touareg
597 578 +3.3% 2,162 3,102 -30.3%
BMW X6
342 354 -3.4% 1,442 1,618 -10.9%
Mercedes-Benz G-Class
274 188 +45.7% 882 800 +10.3%
Total
28,100
25,159 +11.7% 106,608 101,591 +4.9%

It’s not as though consumers hadn’t experienced doses of luxury in their SUVs before the Mercedes-Benz ML, Lexus RX, and Lincoln Navigator began pushing an increasingly impressive wave toward shore in the late 90s. But, especially in the enthusiast community, there was some reluctance to accept the notion of such illustrious brands diving head first into a market that was going to demand perfectly balanced compromises. The traditional off-road ability we associated with SUVs couldn’t be thrust overboard in favour of road manners. Or could it?

To go along with an invasion of crossovers from premium Japanese brands, the Swedes, Detroit’s luxury duo, and an expanding Land Rover range, German brands have added a bevy of utility vehicles to ride the wave over the last decade.

And for the most part, they sell rather well.

BMW’s four X models were responsible for generating 37% of the brand’s April 2014 U.S. volume. To the benefit of BMW’s bottom line, the more costly X5 – rather than the X3 or entry-level X1 – attracts the greatest number of buyers.

With base prices between $63,000 and $118,000, the Mercedes-Benz GL enjoyed its best ever sales year in 2013. Sales this year are sliding, but Mercedes-Benz has already sold more GLs in 2014 than Lincoln will sell Navigators all year, at least at the current pace.

It goes without saying that the Cayenne is hugely important to Porsche. More than four out of every ten U.S. Porsche sales involves the Cayenne. Porsche sold more than 18,000 Cayennes in 2013, the first 18K+ sales year since 2004. The upcoming Macan will surely turn Porsche dealers into SUV specialists with a knack for selling sports cars on the side.

Without the Q5 and Q7, Audi USA would only have sold 33,263 vehicles in the first four months of 2014, 7100 fewer than Infiniti managed. Instead, these two vehicles which account for 35% of Audi’s U.S. volume helped the brand outsell Infiniti by more than 10,000 units over the last four months.

Audi’s parent company, Volkswagen, is the straggler. The Touareg’s low volume can easily be blamed on the combination of a mainstream badge and a premium price tag. Even in 2012, the Touareg’s first year above 10,000 U.S. units since 2006, Touareg sales were down 62% compared with 2004 levels. The Tiguan was supposed to be a compact challenger in the extraordinarily high-volume small crossover category, but it has not succeeded on this side of the Atlantic. You can guess what’s coming next. Gird your anti-Americanization loins.

Regardless of the successes or failures at specific brands, we all know the mission of these automakers has been altered by the drive toward premium utility vehicles. During the first four months of 2004, four of these brands marketed six SUVs, including the niche G-Wagen. BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, and Audi (which had not yet introduced the Q7) owned 4.8% of the overall new vehicle market and generated 15.5% of their sales with the X3, X5, Cayenne, Touareg, G-Class, and M-Class.

The industry had collapsed by 2009. During the first four months of that year, 12 different utility vehicle nameplates produced 21.6% of the quintet’s sales. The market share afforded to Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, and Volkswagen ran up to 6.7%.

This year, these five brands own 7.4% of the U.S. auto market. 13 different SUVs and crossovers generate 28.1% of the 379,322 volume (not including Sprinter) collected by five traditionally German brands.

Five of those vehicles – X3, X5, X6, ML, and GL – are assembled in the United States. All are currently being outsold by the Lexus RX, Acura MDX, Cadillac SRX, and Acura RDX. Five are selling less often this year than they did last year, although only three declined in April.

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Cain’s Segments: Canada Recap April 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/cains-segments-canada-recap-april-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/cains-segments-canada-recap-april-2014/#comments Tue, 15 Apr 2014 13:23:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=799090 March 2014’s Canadian auto sales results displayed a further willingness on the part of buyers to gradually forsake cars and turn to smaller crossovers. Despite the increased strength of the Toyota Tundra and Ram Pickup range, pickup truck sales growth has stalled, and indeed reversed. Year-over-year, minivans are getting back into the swing of things, […]

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TTAC-Q1-Canada-recap-chart-best-selling-SUVs
March 2014’s Canadian auto sales results displayed a further willingness on the part of buyers to gradually forsake cars and turn to smaller crossovers.

Despite the increased strength of the Toyota Tundra and Ram Pickup range, pickup truck sales growth has stalled, and indeed reversed.

Year-over-year, minivans are getting back into the swing of things, but not to the extent that they’re selling as well as they did two years ago.

Although sales at BMW, the second-ranked luxury brand through the first quarter, are down slightly this year, overall premium brand auto sales are up 7% in a market that’s managed less than a 1% improvement over the last three months. BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi own 52% of the market for luxury auto brand vehicles. Mercedes-Benz has the advantage in Canada of not just selling a new entry-level sedan, the CLA, but also the more popular entry-level hatchback B-Class, which accounts for 16% of Mercedes-Benz passenger car sales.

Canadians are very nearly as willing to support traditional Detroit-based brands as their neighbours to the south – GM, FoMoCo, Chrysler/FCA own 45% of 2014’s U.S. market, 44% – but the same does not go for Cadillac and Lincoln. Cadillac is America’s fourth-ranked premium brand, but Cadillac slides to seventh in Canada. Lincoln ranks ninth in Canada, but in the U.S., where Lincoln volume is 19 times stronger, it moves up to eighth. Land Rover sales are 52% stronger than Lincoln sales in Canada, while Lincoln sales in the U.S. are 65% stronger than Land Rover sales. 1.6% of the new vehicles sold in the U.S. in the first quarter of 2014 were Cadillacs and Lincolns; only 0.8% in Canada.

Canadians still made Ford the top-selling auto brand in Q1 of 2014. Ford brand sales tumbled 11% in March and 8% in Q1, however, as first quarter car sales slid 22% and the F-Series, approaching replacement, fell 6%. (YOY, Ford’s share of a pickup truck market that’s down 2.5% has fallen from 38% to 37%.) The Fusion is currently Canada’s second-best-selling midsize car after leading the category in calendar year 2013. In fact, the Mustang is the only Ford car product to record a year-over-year sales increase in Q1.

As a whole, Ford Canada was outsold by the Chrysler family of brands in each of the last three months. (GM Canada outsold Ford/Lincoln in December.) Ford had become the usual leader, but even with the Chrysler Group’s total lack of car success in 2014, Dodge/Ram/Jeep/Chrysler/Fiat have opened up a 7726-unit lead through three months. Chrysler Canada says their car sales are down 21% this year. Even if we exclude the 200 and Avenger (about to be replaced and defunct, respectively) from the equation, the company’s car sales were down 1%.

But the Ram truck lineup, Dodge’s Grand Caravan, and the Jeep brand currently account for seven out of every ten Chrysler Canada sales, and the volume achieved by that group is up 12% in 2014. Minivan sales in Q1, 65% of which came from the Grand Caravan and Town & Country, are up 7%.

Cars are still capable of succeeding in the Canadian auto market. Sales of the best-selling Civic, Canada’s third-best-selling vehicle overall, are up 10% this year. Yet cars are currently responsible for less than 41% of the industry’s volume, and the decline can be spotted in the Civic’s closest rival, the Hyundai Elantra, which is down 9%. Hyundai and Kia, which combine to sell more passenger cars in Canada than any other automotive conglomerate by far, have seen their car sales slide 9%.

As a symbol of the tussle between traditional passenger cars and newfangled crossovers, consider the BMW 3-Series and Audi Q5. No other premium brand products have sold as often as this pair. They’re tied for the lead as Canada’s top-selling luxury brand automobiles through three months. With 1664 sales each, they’re not uncommon: only 53 nameplates have generated greater volume in early 2014.

The Q5 is playing on the winning side. 55% of vehicles sold in Canada in 2014 by Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi, Cadillac, Lincoln, and their luxury rivals have been SUVs or crossovers of one kind or another.

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Cain’s Segments: Muscle Cars http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/cains-segments-muscle-cars/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/cains-segments-muscle-cars/#comments Fri, 11 Apr 2014 18:43:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=793946 The Ford Mustang is selling more frequently in 2014 than it did in the same period of 2013. Ford is also grabbing greater U.S. market share in the relatively high-volume muscle car sector. This might seem surprising given that Ford is set to replace their fifth-gen pony car with a new edition for 2015 – […]

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2010_Dodge_Challenger_RT_Classic

The Ford Mustang is selling more frequently in 2014 than it did in the same period of 2013. Ford is also grabbing greater U.S. market share in the relatively high-volume muscle car sector.

This might seem surprising given that Ford is set to replace their fifth-gen pony car with a new edition for 2015 – don’t people want to wait for the new model? Yet such a turn of events isn’t unprecedented, and it’s not as though a few current Mustangs couldn’t be sold at this moment because their buyers find the next Mustang less desirable.

Unlike the Porsche Boxster’s class of European roadsters, the sales achieved by the Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro, and Dodge Challenger garner attention not just because they stir up the passions of automotive enthusiasts but also because the numbers are high. These aren’t rare cars; their ubiquity can be traced back both to their affordability and to their history.

Moreover, there may be no sports/sporting/sporty car sub-segment where the competitors are so easily identifiable. While it’s true that loyal Mustang owners may never consider the Camaro, the three cars in this group are still plotted on the same connect-the-dots map. The same can’t really be said of the Scion FR-S (hardtop, and a backseat) and Mazda MX-5 Miata (two-seat droptop), nor even the Honda Civic Si (two doors and a trunk) and Volkswagen Golf GTI (hatchback).

And so we compare rear-wheel-drive muscle. Even at the end of winter. Even in a transition year.

The Mustang, sales of which have improved by 2276 units through one quarter of 2014, is America’s 60th-best-selling vehicle overall, less than 1700 sales back of the Lexus RX, GMC Acadia, Jeep Patriot, and Subaru Impreza/WRX. It ranks just ahead of the Nissan Pathfinder, Chevrolet Camaro, Nissan Frontier, and Kia Forte.

Camaro sales have increased by a less impressive 370 units. The Camaro is America’s 62nd-best-selling vehicle so far this year.

Both the Camaro and Mustang have stolen market share from the declining, aging Dodge Challenger. Never capable of challenging the Mustang and Camaro in terms of U.S. volume, Dodge has nevertheless increased its Challenger sales volume every year since the car arrived in 2008. In 2013 there were twice as many Challengers sold in America as there were in 2009.

The first quarter of 2014 has seen the Challenger’s market share in the category fall to 22% from 28.5% one year ago. Meanwhile, the Mustang has outsold the Camaro by a grand total of 28 units in 2014 – 681 units in March, specifically – and its share in the category has grown to 39% from 33.9% in Q1 of 2013. Camaro market share is up from 37.6% to 39%.

To better understand just how common these cars are, however, consider the total sales from individual automakers. Ford, Chevrolet, and Dodge combined for 50,198 Mustang, Camaro, and Challenger sales in the first three months of 2014, 16,519 units more than the combined sales at Fiat, Mini, and Scion. The Mustang, Camaro, and Challenger’s total beats the whole Mazda brand by 8230 units; Infiniti by 18,977 units. The Mustang and Camaro, individually, outsell Volvo.

2014 won’t necessarily be a reliable barometer for American muscle car sales, with a redesign of the Challenger yet to be introduced, the aging Camaro, and the Mustang’s replacement. But the first three months of 2014 could still be an accurate gauge for what we can expect as the pages on this year’s calendar flip over.

And by the by, GM also sold 8179 Corvettes during the first three months of 2014, a 178% year-over-year increase.

—-

Auto
March
2014
March
2013
%
Change
3 mos.
2014
3 mos.
2013
%
Change
Chevrolet Camaro
8624 8102 + 6.4% 19,568 19,198 + 1.9%
Dodge Challenger
4882 6132 - 20.4% 11,034 14,540 - 24.1%
Ford Mustang
9305 7688 + 21.0% 19,596 17,320 + 13.1%
Total
22,811
21,922 + 4.1% 50,198 51,058 - 1.7%

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Cain’s Segments: Q1 2014 Full-Size Truck Sales http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/cains-segments-q1-2014-full-size-truck-sales/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/cains-segments-q1-2014-full-size-truck-sales/#comments Fri, 04 Apr 2014 15:16:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=787729 Year-over-year comparisons are a completely valid comparison tool, indeed a vital one, when analyzing the sales volume reported by automobile manufacturers. The auto industry is seasonal; cyclical at the best of times. The number of vehicles sold in say, January, bears little resemblance to the number of vehicles sold in May. Studying the market share […]

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450x244x2014-Chevrolet-Silverado-1500-Exterior-006-450x244.jpg.pagespeed.ic.zAXX8qzO80

Year-over-year comparisons are a completely valid comparison tool, indeed a vital one, when analyzing the sales volume reported by automobile manufacturers. The auto industry is seasonal; cyclical at the best of times. The number of vehicles sold in say, January, bears little resemblance to the number of vehicles sold in May.

Studying the market share changes from one month to the next, rather than in a year-over-year fashion, is also a perfectly useful yardstick, even if certain automakers do uniquely prioritize certain seasons. And so we consider America’s March 2014 pickup truck sales figures, in which GM’s two full-size trucks suffered a market share decline in the full-size truck category from 32.1% in March 2013 to 31.9% in March 2014.

Yet much worse was the drop from February’s 35% (which itself was down from 39.1% in the previous February) to last month’s 31.9%. The market share owned by the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra in January 2014 was, at 33.3%, also superior to March’s tally, and also way down from the previous January’s 38.9%.

News that the Ram P/U – formerly known as the Dodge Ram – outsold the Silverado in March was greeted both by many a headline and a harsh rebuke from General Motors. Regardless of how you view the General Motors truck partnership, as a solitary unit with two faces or as two separate entities, GM’s twins outsold the Ram by 16,578 units in March.

Ram sales shot up 26% to 42,532 units, equal to 22.9% of the full-size truck category. Those gains undoubtedly ate into GM’s total, but the Ram and Toyota Tundra also worked together to steal some of Ford’s market share, as well.

Ford’s slower growth is more understandable and more acceptable given the state of their current truck. It’s about to be replaced. Meanwhile, Ford topped 70,000 F-Series sales for the fourth time in the last eleven months, no mean feat.

With 11,589 sales, Toyota topped the 10K mark for the fourth time in the last eight months. Toyota had done so only twice in the previous 31 months. At the current pace, Toyota could sell more than 130,000 Tundras in America for the first time since 2008. In fact, Toyota hadn’t sold this many Tundras in a single month since August of that year. Clearly Tundra volume remains low in comparison to Detroit’s big trucks, but that doesn’t make it a rarely seen vehicle. The Tundra ranked 41st among all new vehicle nameplates in Q1, up from 48th in the Q1 of 2013.

Purely on volume terms, Toyota’s 25% increase was moderate. 2319 more Tundras were sold in March 2014 than in March 2013; Chevy’s 7% March improvement equalled 2686 extra sales. 2014 marked the fifth consecutive year in which Silverado volume improved in the month of March. The problem for General Motors, from an outsider’s perspective, isn’t the Ram’s ability to grab the number two spot, nor is it the fact that Silverado growth was well below the segment’s average. GM points to transaction prices – and Chrysler’s incentives – as a sign of health, and one wouldn’t dare argue that making more money off more trucks is a bad thing.

Yet a strategy that consistently requires the Silverado and Sierra to eat an increasingly smaller portion of an increasingly larger pie is a scheme that’s not terribly worthy of applause in one of the most hotly-contested, highest-volume vehicle categories in the industry.

Truck
March
2014
March
2013
%
Change
3 mos.
2014
3 mos.
2013
%
Change
Ford F-Series
70,940 67,513 + 5.1% 173,358 168,843 + 5.4%
Ram P/U
42,532 33,831 + 25.7% 96,906 77,594 + 24.9%
Chevrolet Silverado
42,247 39,561 + 6.8% 107,757 116,649 - 7.6%
GMC Sierra
16,863 13,817 + 22.0% 42,213 40,796 + 3.5%
Toyota Tundra
11,589 9270 + 25.0% 27,402 23,580 + 16.2%
Nissan Titan
1314 2084 - 36.9% 3318 5112 - 35.1%
Total
185,485
166,076 + 11.7% 450,954 432,574 + 4.2%

 

Truck
March
2014
Share
March
2013
Share
3 mos.
2014
Share
3 mos.
2013
Share
Ford F-Series
38.2% 40.7% 38.4% 39.0%
Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra
31.9% 32.1% 33.3% 36.4%
Ram P/U
22.9% 20.4% 21.5% 17.9%
Toyota Tundra
6.2% 5.6% 6.1% 5.5%
Nissan Titan
0.7% 1.3% 0.7% 1.2%
Full-Size Share Of
Total Pickup Truck Market
89.8% 86.1% 88.8% 86.8%
Full-Size Pickup Share
Of Total Industry
12.1% 11.4% 12.0% 11.7%

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Cain’s Segments: Luxury Crossovers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/cains-segments-luxury-crossovers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/cains-segments-luxury-crossovers/#comments Wed, 12 Mar 2014 12:30:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=770786 A strong start to 2014 has the BMW X3 leading its segment even as it’s challenged more closely in BMW showrooms by the slightly smaller and less expensive X1. X1 sales in February jumped 57% to 2329 units, only 318 units shy of what BMW USA managed in January and February of 2013 combined. More […]

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TTAC_luxury-crossover-sales-chart-February-2014

A strong start to 2014 has the BMW X3 leading its segment even as it’s challenged more closely in BMW showrooms by the slightly smaller and less expensive X1.

X1 sales in February jumped 57% to 2329 units, only 318 units shy of what BMW USA managed in January and February of 2013 combined. More direct competition for the X1 is set to arrive soon in the form of the Mercedes-Benz GLA and Audi Q3.

At this time, however, potential X1 buyers look across the BMW showroom floor and wonder why they wouldn’t pay a bit more for the X3. Over the last two months, 62% of the X1/X3 juggernaut’s sales have been X3-derived, up just a hair from last year’s 61%.

The X3 outsold Acura’s much less costly RDX by 390 units in February. The RDX is wildly popular, but like the X3, it’s not among the quartet of top-selling premium utility vehicle nameplates in America.

That group begins with the Lexus RX, a viable alternative to these entry-level crossovers, particularly as Lexus doesn’t yet offer a production version of the LF-NX Concept. Likewise, the Cadillac SRX would be seen by many to be Detroit’s rival for the X3, RDX, Q5, and GLK, at least until Lincoln’s MKC arrives. The third-ranked premium SUV/CUV nameplate in America is the Acura MDX; it’s followed by the Mercedes-Benz M-Class.

Although they don’t lead the way for premium automakers, for many buyers these entry points to the brands’ crossover lineups form the entry point to the brand, full stop. Forget the CLA, A3, and 2-Series; passenger cars with trunks that they are. Growth from these luxury crossovers is significant, especially when one considers that America’s new vehicle market hasn’t grown at all in 2014. The RDX, Q5, X1, X3, QX50, LR2, and GLK have all sold more often over the last two months than during the first two months of 2013.

The Audi Q5’s slight February decline was the first such decrease for the Q5 since October 2012. Q5 volume has improved each year since the model arrived in 2009. Land Rover’s Range Rover Evoque is certainly small enough to be displayed here, although its base price might place it out of reach for a typical Acura RDX customer. Evoque sales are down 5% this year; February volume slid by 54 units. (The Range Rover Sport generated two-thirds of Land Rover’s U.S. February volume.)

Volvo’s XC60 is, not unlike the Volvo brand which it helps to lead, struggling in the United States. Like the Q5, XC60 sales have improved each year since it arrived in 2009, but 2014’s inauspicious start is not terribly surprising given the brand’s recent struggles to attract large numbers of American buyers.

Nevertheless, the story of small luxury crossovers is not told with an emphasis on irregular year-over-year decreases. The RDX, X1, X3, QX50, LR2, and GLK jointly rose 26% in February 2014. Those were not at all the sorts of figures commonly achieved by automakers last month.

Auto
Feb.
2014
Feb.
2013
%
Change
2 mos.
2014
2 mos.
2013
%
Change
Acura RDX
2911 2795 + 4.2% 5641 5284 + 6.8%
Audi Q5
2643 2753 - 4.0% 5417 5097 + 6.3%
BMW X1
2329 1482 + 57.2% 3661 2647 + 38.3%
BMW X3
3301 2175 + 51.8% 6000 4180 + 43.5%
Infiniti QX50/EX
220 150 + 46.7% 417 318 + 31.1%
Land Rover LR2
358 273 + 31.1% 721 573 + 25.8%
Land Rover Range Rover Evoque
927 981 - 5.5% 1806 1910 - 5.4%
Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class
2624 2420 + 8.4% 4926 4816 + 2.3%
Volvo XC60
1146 1496 - 23.4% 2088 3062 - 31.8%
Total
16,459
14,525 + 13.3% 30,677 27,887 + 10.0%

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Cain’s Segments: Midsize Sedans http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/cains-segments-midsize-sedans/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/cains-segments-midsize-sedans/#comments Wed, 12 Mar 2014 04:01:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=770353 By stealing the Toyota Camry’s best-selling midsize car crown, albeit likely on a temporary basis, the Nissan Altima ended February 2014 as America’s best-selling car overall. The Altima’s lead was also substantial enough last month to make the midsize Nissan America’s leading car year-to-date. It’s early. But the Altima’s trend is a good one. Year-over-year […]

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TTAC_midsize-car-sales-chart-February-2014

By stealing the Toyota Camry’s best-selling midsize car crown, albeit likely on a temporary basis, the Nissan Altima ended February 2014 as America’s best-selling car overall. The Altima’s lead was also substantial enough last month to make the midsize Nissan America’s leading car year-to-date.

It’s early. But the Altima’s trend is a good one. Year-over-year volume has increased in each of the last four months while rising nine times in the last eleven months. As Versa sales have fallen harshly – it’s still America’s leading subcompact – and the Sentra continues to play in the second tier of popular compacts, the Altima’s responsibility to produce big volume for the Nissan car lineup becomes more essential. Three out of every ten Nissans sold in the United States in February 2014 were Altimas.

By one standard of measurement, this means the Altima was far more important to Nissan than the Camry was to Toyota, where only 21% of the brand’s sales were midsize-car-derived. Camry volume decreased in February, the eighth such decline in the last year. To suggest there was some great gap between the Altima and camry in February would be to ignore the actual numbers. Per selling day, Toyota sold 1208 Camrys; Nissan sold 1285 Altimas.

Moreover, the Camry’s 7.3% drop was par for the midsize course in February. Segment-wide sales slid 6.3% – 6.6% if you discount the more premium-oriented Buick Regal and Volkswagen CC – as the auto industry as a whole levelled off and consumers flocked to entry-level crossovers. From the soon-to-disappear Dodge Avenger and the all-but-disappeared Mitsubishi Galant to high-volume players like the Camry, Honda Accord, Ford Fusion, Hyundai Sonata, and Kia Optima, midsize cars were down.

Volkswagen Passat sales slid 7%. The Subaru Legacy, entering a replacement phase but anything but popular, was down 31%. Help from the Mazda 6 is of little consequence. Mazda’s 46% increase translated into just 1243 extra sales. Mazda sold one 6 for every two Dodge Avengers sold in America last month. Fleet or retail, those figures prove the lauded 6’s rarity.

According to Automotive News, car sales overall were down just under 6% in February. This isn’t a midsize anomaly. But these midsize cars certainly play a large role in the passenger car market, as they were collectively responsible for 32% of the cars sold in the U.S. last month.

At Nissan, even fretting minds must be put at ease by the Altima’s improvement, not just in terms of the nameplate’s U.S. volume but the increased market share. Through the first two months of 2014, Nissan owns 16% of the midsize market as we’ve configured it here, up from 13% during the equivalent period one year ago.

Auto
Feb.
2014
Feb.
2013
%
Change
2 mos.
2014
2 mos.
2013
%
Change
Buick Regal
2200 1474 + 49.3% 3634 2479 + 46.6%
Chevrolet Malibu
17,448 14,817 + 17.8% 29,270 30,640 - 4.5%
Chrysler 200
12,046 11,446 + 5.2% 22,958 20,292 + 13.1%
Dodge Avenger
8189 9980 - 17.9% 12,984 19,608 - 33.8%
Ford Fusion
23,898 27,875 - 14.3% 44,615 50,274 - 11.3%
Honda Accord
24,622 27,999 - 12.1% 45,226 51,923 - 12.9%
Hyundai Sonata
11,190 16,007 - 30.1% 21,005 29,254 - 28.2%
Kia Optima
11,226 13,195 - 14.9% 21,205 24,447 - 13.3%
Mazda 6
3945 2702 + 46.0% 7117 4849 + 46.8%
Mitsubishi Galant
25 209 - 88.0% 42 433 - 90.3%
Nissan Altima
30,849 27,725 + 11.3% 53,364 49,189 + 8.5%
Subaru Legacy
2575 3745 - 31.2% 5310 6929 - 23.4%
Suzuki Kizashi
446 - 100% 732 - 100%
Toyota Camry
28,998 31,270 - 7.3% 52,330 63,167 - 17.2%
Volkswagen Passat
6997 7532 - 7.1% 13,233 16,388 - 19.3%
Volkswagen CC
964 1123 - 14.2% 1845 2315 - 20.3%
Total
185,172
197,545 - 6.3% 334,138 372,919 - 10.4%

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GM’s Truck Market Share Slides In January http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/gms-truck-market-share-slides-in-january/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/gms-truck-market-share-slides-in-january/#comments Wed, 12 Feb 2014 14:00:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=739609 U.S. sales of full-size trucks slid 4.5% in January 2014 as the two leading manufacturers of pickups reported falling sales of all their big trucks. Typically the slowest month of the year for new vehicle sales, this past January should be no different, as the U.S. auto industry generated 32,000 fewer sales than it did […]

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450x299x2014-Silverado-02-450x299.jpg.pagespeed.ic.NG9-c_eHse

U.S. sales of full-size trucks slid 4.5% in January 2014 as the two leading manufacturers of pickups reported falling sales of all their big trucks.

Typically the slowest month of the year for new vehicle sales, this past January should be no different, as the U.S. auto industry generated 32,000 fewer sales than it did one year ago. Although minivans, commercial vans, and the vast SUV/crossover segment all expanded, passenger car sales plunged, year-over-year, and truck volume declined, as well.

Despite the Ford F-Series’ slight 1% (305 fewer units) drop in January sales, the market share of America’s best-selling vehicle in its own vehicle category expanded by more than a percentage point compared with January 2013.

FCA’s Ram pickup range improved its January market share by more than four points to the level where one out of every five full-size trucks sold were Rams. Year-over-year, Ram sales jumped 22%.

The only other big truck to report higher totals this year than last was the Toyota Tundra. Toyota has recorded four consecutive months of Tundra increases; only once in 2013 did the Tundra decline. But Tundra volume is well off the pace Toyota set in pre-recession 2007 when nearly 200,000 were sold – Tundra sales jumped 11% to 112,732 in 2013. January market share didn’t rise as much as Ford’s even as Toyota sold 886 extra Tundras.

GM’s losses were the bigger story during a disappointing January for trucks. Silverado sales plunged 18%; Sierra sales fell 13%. In total, GM sold more than 10,000 fewer full-size pickup trucks this January than in January 2013, a 20% drop.

Jointly, the Silverado/Sierra decline to 40,044 January sales resulted in a market share tally of 33.2%, down from 38.3% in January of last year. The GM twins outsold the Ford F-Series by 1450 units in January 2013, the second of three consecutive months in which the pair had outsold the F-Series. They have not done so since.

If we are to assume the two trucks themselves are to blame, rather than some combination of inside and outside forces, we can surely place some responsibility on the conservative nature of the redesign. Perhaps the exterior changes from one generation to the next needed to be as different as the changes made under the skin. It’s true, the serious truck buyer is well aware of the newness of the Silverado and Sierra. But the family truck buyer – a big reason for the mass expansion of the truck market – may not wish to pay more money in order to park a pickup in their driveway that doesn’t look much different from the pickup their neighbors bought two years prior.

Thus, with plenty of trucks on dealer lots and concern about losing market share to Ford even before the F-150 is replaced by the more boldly-designed 2015 model, GM will ramp up incentives with a long-running Presidents Day promotion, according to Automotive News. Clearly, for General Motors to avoid going head-to-head against Ford without F-150-like incentives would have required a more significant leap forward with the 2014 models. There’s a belief that truck buyers will pay more for the better truck, but how much better does that truck need to be?

Truck
January
2014
January
2013
%
Change
January
2014
Market
Share
January
2013
Market
Share
Cadillac Escalade EXT
25 172 - 85.5% 0.02% 0.1%
Chevrolet Avalanche
31 1939 - 98.4% 0.03% 1.5%
Chevrolet Silverado
28,926 35,445 - 18.4% 24.0% 28.1%
Ford F-Series
46,536 46,841 - 0.7% 38.6% 37.1%
GMC Sierra
11,118 12,846 - 13.5% 9.2% 10.2%
Nissan Titan
887 1394 - 36.4% 0.7% 1.1%
Ram P/U
25,071 20,474 + 22.5% 20.8% 16.2%
Toyota Tundra
7890 7004 + 12.6% 6.5% 5.6%
Total
120,484
126,115 - 4.5%
Total (Excluding EXT/Avalanche)
120,428
124,004 - 2.9%

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Cain’s Segments, January 2014: Subcompacts http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/cains-segments-january-2014-subcompacts/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/cains-segments-january-2014-subcompacts/#comments Mon, 10 Feb 2014 14:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=737209 The Mitsubishi Mirage’s status as the best-selling Mitsubishi passenger car in America in January 2014 wasn’t enough to help the subcompact segment overcome the declines reported by its leaders last month. Up from nothing a year ago, Mirage sales totalled 1170 units in January 2014, the nameplate’s second-best month since its return in September. Excluding […]

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TTAC_yaris-versa

The Mitsubishi Mirage’s status as the best-selling Mitsubishi passenger car in America in January 2014 wasn’t enough to help the subcompact segment overcome the declines reported by its leaders last month.

Up from nothing a year ago, Mirage sales totalled 1170 units in January 2014, the nameplate’s second-best month since its return in September. Excluding the Mirage from the equation, subcompact sales slid 9% (rather than 7%) in January, right in line with the overall passenger car market’s decline.

It could be argued that the Mirage is more of a competitor for the Chevrolet Spark than the Chevrolet Sonic, sales of which slid 23% to 1848 units in January. We’ve excluded the Spark, Fiat 500, Hyundai Veloster, Mini Cooper, Scion iQ, Scion xD, Smart Fortwo, and Volkswagen Beetle and from this list in an attempt to showcase the most direct mainstream subcompact rivals. Including those cars, sales of 18 small cars were indeed down 9% in January.

Digression complete, the Nissan Versa was again America’s top-selling subcompact car. Simply put, space wins, and the Versa (and Versa Note) provide space for families in an incredibly affordable package. Complaints regarding its CVT or frumpy sedan styling were set aside by a record 117,352 new Versa owners in 2013. 2014 is off to a slower pace.

The next-best-selling Chevrolet Sonic is joined by the Ford Fiesta in claiming 30% of the subcompact market for Detroit. That the Sonic and Fiesta could do so on the basis of offering the lowest price or the highest incentives would be one thing; but that they compete as two of the most dynamically competent subcompacts is a sign that Detroit automakers have a future in the small car business. Sales of both the Sonic and Fiesta were down in January.

The Honda Fit, another friend of drivers, recorded a narrow 34-unit loss, but we can expect Fit sales to fluctuate as the second-generation car departs this year and the third-gen Fit arrives.

Jointly, sales of the Hyundai Accent/Kia Rio fraternal twin duo rose 24% in January 2014 to 7402 units. The pair generated 101,210 sales in 2013, 20% of the category’s volume.

The bottom four – Mazda 2, Mirage, two Toyotas – attracted just 16% of subcompact buyers in January. The same cars, without the Mirage’s help, owned 19% of the market one year ago.

Year-over-year, Mazda 2 volume has decreased in twelve of the last thirteen months. Toyota’s Yaris volume has decreased in ten of the last thirteen months. Yaris sales fell 79% between 2008 and 2013. The Sonic, Fiesta, Accent, Rio, and Versa, all of which sell more often, are available in hatchback and sedan form, unlike the hatchback-only Yaris, 2, and Prius C.

The Prius C was just one part of a Prius family which fell 23% to 12,205 units in January. The Prius C accounted for 20% of total Prius sales last month, up from 17% in January 2013. Although Prius C volume increased 17% in 2013 (4% in a direct year-over-year ten-month period), the year didn’t end well, and Prius C sales are down 7% over the last five months.
At the best of times, in the best of weather, with the highest or the lowest fuel prices, January is traditionally a slow month for the auto industry in the United States. We won’t, therefore, base theories on the decreasing desirability of subcompacts on January results. But, in the back of our minds, we will remember that this same group of cars was up just 1% in October, level in November, and down 4% in December.

Subcompact
January 2014
January 2013
% Change
Chevrolet Sonic
6587 7177 - 8.2%
Ford Fiesta
4162 4285 - 2.9%
Honda Fit
3122 3156 - 1.1%
Hyundai Accent
4240 3495 + 21.3%
Kia Rio
3162 2470 + 28.0%
Mazda 2
907 1543 - 41.2%
Mitsubishi Mirage
1170
Nissan Versa
8524 10,270 - 17.0%
Toyota Prius C
2467 2691 - 8.3%
Toyota Yaris
1005 2897 - 65.3%
Total
35,346
37,984 - 6.9%

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Cain’s Segments: Minivans Up! http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/cains-segments-minivans-up/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/cains-segments-minivans-up/#comments Thu, 06 Feb 2014 14:00:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=734385 The story basically writes itself. America’s minivan segment, which declined faster than the overall industry before becoming mostly stagnant as the U.S. automobile market regained strength, enjoyed a sales boost in January 2014 even as the overall market decreased in size. Eight minivans combined for a 13% year-over-year sales increase last month as four nameplates […]

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TTAC_minivan-chart

The story basically writes itself. America’s minivan segment, which declined faster than the overall industry before becoming mostly stagnant as the U.S. automobile market regained strength, enjoyed a sales boost in January 2014 even as the overall market decreased in size.

Eight minivans combined for a 13% year-over-year sales increase last month as four nameplates – up from just one a year ago and one the year before that – crested the 7000-unit barrier.

Minivan volume increased by 3764 sales in January 2014. Growth which was slowed only by the Mazda 5’s slight 80-unit decrease, the Nissan Quest’s 25% drop, and the Toyota Sienna’s slight 1% decline.

Even the Volkswagen Routan generated more January sales in 2014 than in 2013. Yes, that Routan, the Grand Caravan copy that was cancelled ages ago and oft-ignored before cancellation. In fact, as Volkswagen sales tumbled in January; as every single continuing model other than the Beetle Convertible reported a year-over-year decrease, Routan sales rose to the highest level since last February.

This is utterly inconsequential. The Routan owned just 1% of America’s minivan market in January 2014 (just 0.4% in calendar year 2013). Its Windsor, Ontario-built twins from Chrysler and Dodge, the Town & Country and Grand Caravan, grabbed 43% of January’s minivan buyers, up from 39% a year ago.

Indeed, Chrysler/Dodge minivan market share in January 2013 was particularly low, which, in part, leads us a greater understand of January 2014’s segment-wide improvement. A year before last month’s 13% increase, minivan sales dropped 7% in January 2013, a decrease which assisted in making last month’s increase appear more substantial. Yet, the category’s total last month was also higher than what the same vans managed two years ago in 2011, when 31,685 were sold. Dodge Grand Caravan sales were down 10% from that period, however.

Ignoring the identical twins’ combined total, the Honda Odyssey led all minivans in total sales in January 2014. The Odyssey was the top ranked minivan in 2013, as well, although it trailed the Toyota Sienna by more than 1000 units a year ago.

The top four leave very few crumbs over which the remaining quartet can battle. The Kia Sedona, Mazda 5, Nissan Quest, and yes, the Volkswagen Routan produced one out of every ten January 2014 minivan sales, down from 12% in January 2013.

No matter the vehicle type, January is not a month on which to base trends. It is traditionally the lowest-volume auto sales month of the year. Weather is believed to have been more of a deterrent last month than is typically the case, as well. In 2013, January was responsible for just 5.5% of the minivans sold over the course of twelve months.

Meanwhile, sales of SUVs and crossovers increased approximately 5% in January as sales of passenger cars tumbled 9% and pickup trucks decreased a little less than 5%.

Minivan
January 2014
January 2013
% Change
Chrysler Town & Country
7056
6525 + 8.1%
Dodge Grand Caravan
7290
4965 + 46.8%
Honda Odyssey
7879
6760 + 16.6%
Kia Sedona
442
363 + 21.8%
Mazda 5
1800
1880 - 4.3%
Nissan Quest
735
978 - 24.8%
Toyota Sienna
7696
7781 - 1.1%
Volkswagen Routan
359
241 + 49.0%
Total
33,257
29,493 + 12.8%

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September 2013 Recap: Canada’s Best Selling SUVs http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/september-2013-recap-canadas-best-selling-suvs/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/september-2013-recap-canadas-best-selling-suvs/#comments Wed, 16 Oct 2013 12:30:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=624993 September’s record Canadian auto sales were powered by huge gains among many of the country’s most popular nameplates. The record-setting industry performance occurred despite the declining volume reported by the manufacturer which sells the greatest number of vehicles south of the border. Numerous small-scale luxury automakers continue to post vastly improved sales compared with results […]

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TTAC_Canada-best-selling-SUVs

September’s record Canadian auto sales were powered by huge gains among many of the country’s most popular nameplates. The record-setting industry performance occurred despite the declining volume reported by the manufacturer which sells the greatest number of vehicles south of the border. Numerous small-scale luxury automakers continue to post vastly improved sales compared with results from 2012.

Automobile manufacturers collectively reported a 4.1% year-over-year improvement in September sales, an increase of nearly 6000 units, an increase of more than 14,000 units compared with September 2011. 42.9% of the new vehicles registered in Canada in September were sold by the Ford Motor Company, Chrysler Group, and General Motors, down slightly from 43.2% in September 2012 as volume at the Detroit Three grew 3.5%. In September, those three manufacturers owned 45.3% of the U.S. market, where General Motors wasn’t outsold by Hyundai-Kia.

GM Canada sales were down 2.6% to 18,270 (up 2.1% to 179,923 through nine months) as the improving Hyundai brand and declining Kia brand combined for a 0.6% improvement to 18,538 September sales. Kia’s consistently falling sales in 2013 dragged the Korean pair down 0.7% to 168,171 units during the first three quarters of 2013. Ford MoCo and Chrysler’s five brands lead the way, both having already topped 200,000 sales, a feat accomplished by both automakers one month earlier this year than in 2012.

Hyundai and Kia, not unlike Canada’s fourth-best-selling manufacturer, Toyota, rely on cars for more than half their volume, and that reliance exists in a market that’s increasingly more interested in trucks, SUVs, and crossovers. Ford and Chrysler generated 48% and 32% of their September volume with a single pickup truck line. (Pickup trucks accounted for 37% of GM Canada sales last month.)

Car sales, up just 0.4% this year according to the Automotive News Data Center, did rise 1.3% in September. But that 831-unit increase is mercilessly contrasted with a light truck market which grew by 5100 sales.

Even so, at the top of the heap, Canada’s best-selling car, the Honda Civic, was up 8% to 6262 sales. The Civic was responsible for 9% of the passenger car market. 14 of Canada’s 20 best-selling cars, including six of the top ten, posted year-over-year increases. Six of Canada’s 20 most popular cars were midsize competitors, up from four a month earlier.

And what about those trucks? The category as a whole was up 11.5% in September. 91% of the trucks sold last month were driven away from Ford, Chrysler, and GM dealers in the form of the F-Series, Ram, GMC Sierra, and the Chevrolet Silverado, the only one of the four to report declining volume. Truck sales are up 8% this year, and sales of the five top sellers – which includes the fifth-ranked Toyota Tacoma – are up 13%.

Ford also owns the title of Canada’s best-selling SUV. The brand’s leading utility vehicle, the Escape, was down 10% in September yet still sold nearly half again more frequently than the second-ranked Toyota RAV4. The Escape is America’s second-best-selling utility vehicle this year, but in its September victory, only sold 5% more often than the second-ranked Honda CR-V. Canadian SUV and crossover sales are growing at a faster rate than trucks, cars, and certainly minivans, which fell 5% in September.

In a rosy market, there are still sad cases. Among brands, September’s sharpest declines were reported by soon-to-be-erased Suzuki, down 56%, as well as Scion, Mazda, Fiat, Jeep, and BMW, all of which slid more than 10% from their September 2012 totals. Chevrolet, Volvo, Mini, Audi, Mitsubishi, and Kia all reported September drops, although Chevrolet, Audi, and Mitsubishi are up on year-to-date terms. Lincoln and Smart are not.

On the flip side, Jaguar sales shot up 152% in September and Cadillac reported a 93% jump. Yet in Canada, these brands don’t sell as well as they do in the U.S. market, which is nine times bigger than the Canadian automobile market this year. Jaguar sells 13 times more cars in the U.S. than they do in Canada. Cadillac sales in the United States are 20 times higher than they are in Canada.

Full Table available here

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Cain’s Segments: September 2013 Large Car Sales http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/cains-segments-september-2013-large-car-sales/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/cains-segments-september-2013-large-car-sales/#comments Thu, 03 Oct 2013 15:39:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=594913 As America’s new vehicle market posted a 4% sales decline in an abbreviated September 2013 and total passenger car sales slid 7%, sales of large cars at mainstream brands rose 5%. Growth was powered in large part by the Dodge Charger, which hasn’t sold this well since 2008. Toyota reported its tenth consecutive significant Avalon […]

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TTAC_large-car-sales-chart-September-2013

As America’s new vehicle market posted a 4% sales decline in an abbreviated September 2013 and total passenger car sales slid 7%, sales of large cars at mainstream brands rose 5%.

Growth was powered in large part by the Dodge Charger, which hasn’t sold this well since 2008.

Toyota reported its tenth consecutive significant Avalon sales increase. The Hyundai Azera’s 67% jump equalled 596 extra units. In its sixth month, Kia sold 926 Cadenzas, down 35% from the average it had achieved over the prior three months.

On five separate occasions during the first three quarters of 2012, Hyundai sold more than 3000 Genesis sedans and coupes, but only once this year. Hyundai USA reports sales of the Genesis sedan and coupe as though they’re one car.

The priced-like-a-G37 Nissan Maxima outsold the Toyota Avalon in September, but Nissan hasn’t reported a monthly increase in Maxima volume since October of last year. Only once since October has Buick reported a monthly increase in LaCrosse volume. After rising above 90,000 units in 2005, LaCrosse sales in the U.S. dropped in 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009. But after a huge increase to 61,178 sales in 2010, LaCrosse volume is steadily declining again, and Buick could struggle to top 50,000 LaCrosse sales in 2013.

1299 of the Ford Taurus’s September total was generated by the Police Interceptor sedan. Sales of the civilian Taurus fell 9% to 4279 units in September. Civilian Taurus sales are up 8% to 54,935 this year.

Ford has sold 8686 Taurus Police Interceptors and 10,087 Explorer Police Interceptors in 2013. Sales of Chevrolet’s Caprice PPV are up 4% to 2966. 514 Caprices were sold in September.

In 2012, with a near doubling in year-over-year volume, Chrysler 300 volume rose to the model’s highest level since 2007, but that level has proven to be unsustainable this year. Still, in September 2013, despite two fewer selling days than September 2012 and no Labour Day weekend output, 300 volume grew by 274 units.

General Motors said that, “fleet sales in September reflect the strategic repositioning of the Impala.” Chasing retail customers has limited the Impala’s monthly U.S. totals, but it hasn’t resulted in the Impala’s removal from the top of the segment’s leaderboard. 3797 fewer Impalas were sold this September than last; 19,146 fewer through the first nine months of 2013. Combined, the 300 and Charger outsold the Impala in September but trail the Chevrolet by 3505 sales year-to-date.

The Impala was America’s 11th-best-selling car in September 2012 but fell to 14th in September 2013. The Charger ranked 18th in car sales last month, ahead of the Mazda 3 and BMW 3-Series; just behind the Chrysler 200 and Nissan Versa.

4.3% of all new vehicles sold in September were large mainstream brand cars, up from 3.9% a year ago. Defining this segment only by the perceived status of badges is deceiving, however. These are very well-equipped cars, typically very powerful, and almost always exceedingly roomy. In most (if not all) cases, they’re viable competitors for luxury-branded sedans, at least those which lack sporting intentions.

On that note, Lexus ES sales fell 26% to 4866 in September but have risen 44% to 52,076 this year, numbers which are Avalon-like. Lincoln MKZ sales rose 12% to 2874 in September and are up 1% – 301 units – to 23,775 through nine months, better than what Hyundai and Kia manag with the Azera and Cadenza siblings.

—-

Auto
September
2013
September
2012
September
%
Change
9 mos.
2013
9 mos.
2012
YTD
% Change
Buick LaCrosse
3952 4580 - 13.7% 38,845 45,066 - 13.8%
Buick Lucerne
2 - 100% 9 966 - 99.1%
Chevrolet Impala
11,462 15,259 - 24.9% 121,033 140,179 - 13.7%
Chrysler 300
5036 4762 + 5.8% 44,186 53,630 - 17.6%
Dodge Charger
8713 5863 + 48.6% 73,342 63,485 + 15.5%
Ford Taurus
5578 5555 + 0.4% 63,621 56,848 + 11.9%
Hyundai Azera
1487 891 + 66.9% 9105 5993 + 51.9%
Hyundai Genesis
2926 2669 + 9.6% 25,117 27,016 - 7.0%
Kia Cadenza
926 5758
Nissan Maxima
4717 5718 - 17.5% 36,196 46,121 - 21.5%
Toyota Avalon
4514 1571 + 187% 53,795 21,673 + 148%
Total
49,311
46,870 + 5.2% 471,007 460,977 + 2.2%

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Cain’s Segments: Compacts Lifted By Cruze And Dart http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/cains-segments-compacts-lifted-by-cruze-and-dart/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/cains-segments-compacts-lifted-by-cruze-and-dart/#comments Tue, 09 Jul 2013 14:50:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=494627   Compact cars, many of which are now as roomy as older midsize cars, collectively sold at a significantly better rate in the first half of 2013 than in the first half of 2012. It may have proven to be a bit of a disappointment thus far, but 35,764 of the extra 87,149 compact sales […]

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TTAC_June-2013-compact-car-sales-chart

 

Compact cars, many of which are now as roomy as older midsize cars, collectively sold at a significantly better rate in the first half of 2013 than in the first half of 2012.

It may have proven to be a bit of a disappointment thus far, but 35,764 of the extra 87,149 compact sales have come from the Dodge Dart. Exclude small Dodges from the equation and compact sales in America are up 4.8% this year. America’s auto industry has produced a 7.5% improvement.

But that’s not a fair comparison. The Dart, America’s 27th-best-selling car, has had an impact on the compact market, however small that impact may have been. In truth, compact car sales are up 8% in 2013 and rose 15.1% in June, specifically.

That June improvement had much more to do with the Chevrolet Cruze’s 73.2% improvement than it did with the Dart’s 6235-unit boost. The Cruze was America’s second-best-selling car in June, trailing only the all-conquering Toyota Camry. Honda also reported its second year-over-year increase in 2013. Subaru Impreza volume grew for the first time since December of last year. After falling 6.3% in the first quarter of 2013, Ford Focus sales rose 11.5% in 2013’s second quarter. June marked the Hyundai Elantra’s twelfth consecutive year-over-year increase. With a 25.5% boost, Hyundai added 4508 sales with the Elantra. A good thing, too, as without it, the rest of the Hyundai brand fell 7.2%.

TTAC_June-2013-ytd-compact-car-sales-chart

And while sales of the Toyota Corolla (and its Matrix sibling which Toyota USA affixes to it) fell slightly in June, Corolla volume is up 4.8% in 2013. Its lead over the Honda Civic as America’s top-selling small car stands at a narrow 268-unit margin. Regardless of how Toyota has gone about generating such volume, that’s a lead deserving of praise.

TTAC_top-5-compacts-june-2013-ytd

The Corolla is ancient, not as efficient as its rival; not as refined or as powerful or as comfortable, either. Yet its reputation for invincibility garners for Toyota an average of 26,500 buyers per month, an astounding sum for a car that hasn’t been remotely new since before W. Bush’s first midterm election success.

Auto
June
2013
June
2012
June
% Change
6 mos.
2013
6 mos.
2012
YTD
% Change
Acura ILX
1507 1081 + 39.4% 10,724 1249 + 759%
Buick Verano
4489 4091 + 9.7% 23,433 15,669 + 49.6%
Chevrolet Cruze
32,871 18,983 + 73.2% 133,689 113,884 + 17.4%
Dodge Caliber
995 - 100% 45 8982 - 99.5%
Dodge Dart
6437 202 + 3087% 44,949 203 + 22,042%
Ford Focus
23,144 21,186 + 9.2% 134,785 131,423 + 2.6%
Honda Civic
29,724 27,500 + 8.1% 158,704 162,582 - 2.4%
Hyundai Elantra
22,163 17,655 + 25.5% 126,244 97,769 + 29.1%
Kia Forte
6620 7461 - 11.3% 34,351 40,800 - 15.8%
Kia Soul
11,287 10,199 + 10.7% 63,031 63,635 - 0.9%
Mazda 3
7566 8835 - 14.4% 52,701 59,527 - 11.5%
Mitsubishi Lancer
1422 1529 - 7.0% 10,840 8495 + 27.6%
Nissan Cube
441 711 - 38.0% 3319 4085 - 18.8%
Nissan Sentra
10,199 9211 + 10.7% 66,439 55,984 + 18.7%
Scion xB
1644 1869 - 12.0% 9519 10,206 - 6.7%
Scion xD
780 1017 - 23.3% 4324 5502 - 21.4%
Subaru Impreza
6907 6319 + 9.3% 39,106 46,702 - 16.3%
Suzuki SX4
1161 - 100% 2859 6457 - 55.7%
Toyota Corolla/Matrix
26,458 26,647 - 0.7% 158,972 151,726 + 4.8%
Volkswagen Golf
2602 4092 - 36.4% 16,784 20,882 - 19.6%
Volkswagen Jetta
14,813 13,604 + 8.9% 81,296 83,203 - 2.3%
Total
211,074
184,348 + 15.1% 1,176,114 1,088,965 + 8.0%

Notes: Not quite premium but awfully costly for conventional compact buyers, the Acura ILX and Buick Verano own a little less than 3% of the compact category, as the category is defined here. June marked the first time Chevrolet managed to sell more than 26,000 Cruze sedans in a single month. Since rising consistently from December through April, Dart sales have tumbled from 8099 to 7448 to 6437 in June. Ford Focus sales were higher last year than they’d been since 2002 – the Focus is on pace for more than 250,000 U.S. sales this year. Kia hasn’t sold more than 8000 Fortes in a single month since June 2011, but it’s safe to assume the much-improved new car will top that with ease once inventory rises. Cars.com says Kia dealers currently have more than 8000 MY2013 Souls in stock but not much more than 6000 MY2014 Fortes. Mazda 3 sales were higher last year than they’d ever been, but the pace has proven hard to match as the current 3 reaches the end of its tenure. Only once this year has Mazda recorded a year-over-year increase in 3 sales. Nissan should sell more than 115,000 Sentras this year for the first time since 2006. 24% of of the Subaru Impreza’s total comes from the WRX. Subaru has also sold 25,090 XV Crosstreks this year. If considered a compact car rather than a crossover, the extra XV sales would mean the compact is up 10.3% this year. Volkswagen’s Golf total includes 9062 Golfs powered by five-cylinders and diesels plus 6551 GTIs and 1171 copies of the Golf R. Jetta volume is made up from 70,511 sedans and 10,785 SportWagens, which are actually Golfs.

Independent analyst Timothy Cain is the founder and editor of GoodCarBadCar.net. His look at the important segments are a permanent fixture at TTAC, along with a  look at the market up North.

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Cain’s Segments: Where Did All The German Roadsters Go? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/cains-segments-where-did-all-the-german-roadsters-go/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/cains-segments-where-did-all-the-german-roadsters-go/#comments Tue, 09 Jul 2013 12:05:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=494393 In the first six months of 2013, the volume achieved by America’s auto industry was 5% smaller than it was in the first six months of 2003. This is an important statistic, one which goes a long way in understanding how America’s appetite for the smallest German roadsters (and hardtops, and hardtop roadsters) has dwindled. […]

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TTAC_German-roadster-USA-sales-history-chart

In the first six months of 2013, the volume achieved by America’s auto industry was 5% smaller than it was in the first six months of 2003. This is an important statistic, one which goes a long way in understanding how America’s appetite for the smallest German roadsters (and hardtops, and hardtop roadsters) has dwindled.

In the whole of 2003, the Audi TT, BMW Z4, Mercedes-Benz SLK, and Porsche Boxster accounted for 0.24% of the new vehicle market. So far this year, with assistance from the Porsche Cayman and the not-so-German Jaguar F-Type, this group is responsible for just 0.12% of the new vehicle market.

Auto
June 2013
June 2012
June % Change
6 mos. 2013
6 mos. 2012
YTD % Change
Audi TT
173 190 - 8.9% 994 1142 - 13.0%
BMW Z4
204 240 - 15.0% 1396 1412 - 1.1%
Jaguar F-Type
417 576
Mercedes-Benz SLK
312 301 + 3.7% 2305 2264 + 1.8%
Porsche Boxster
423 464 - 8.8% 2727 624 + 337%
Porsche Cayman
388 26 + 1392% 1205 401 + 200%
Total
1917
1221 + 57.0% 9203 5843 + 57.5%

This isn’t a judgement on the sports car industry. Porsche, for example, will sell more 911s this year than in 2003. As much as anything, it says something about the BMW Z4’s fall from great heights. 20,182 were sold in 2003, enough to outdo the TT, SLK, and Boxster combined.

Nevertheless, this does all sound too pessimistic, particularly given the warm welcome afforded to the new Jaguar F-Type. With its $69,000 base price, the Jag can’t decide whether it wants to take on the 911 or Boxster. With 417 sales in June, it very nearly outsold the less costly Porsche, and it did manage to sell more frequently than the TT, Z4, SLK, and Cayman.

Don’t interpret this to be a surefire sign of long-term success. Sales in this category swing upward and downward whimsically. For instance, the Boxster’s June decline, though slight, points to the suddenness with which growth can be stymied. On sale in its third-gen iteration for a year now, the Boxster’s streak of twelve consecutive months of year-over-year growth came to a halt in June. The Cayman, finally readily available in second-generation form, must have something to do with that.

42% of the 1917 sales represented here came from the two Porsches. Yet Porsche’s greater success was found with the 911, which outsold the mid-engined twins by seven units last month. And Porsche’s greatest volume was achieved with the Cayenne, which generated 49% of Porsche sales, and did so by finding more than 700 buyers for the Cayenne Diesel and Cayenne GTS.

Back to the subject of the F-Type, it’s important to remember that its success or failure is of much greater consequence at Jaguar than, say, the Z4’s would be at BMW. Indeed, Mercedes-Benz’s reliance on the SLK is virtually nonexistent, and though Audi can present the TT as a style icon, the brand will not rise and fall with its U.S. sales improvement or even the TT’s disappearance.

Only 1% of the BMWs sold in the United States this year have been Z4s; only 1.6% of the Benzes have been SLKs; only 1.3% of the Audis were TTs. Meanwhile, at Jaguar, with only one proper month of selling under its belt, the F-Type is already responsible for 7.4% of the company’s American sales this year.

The F-Type sold very nearly as often as the XJ in June and roundly trounced the XK – by a 3.3-to-1 count – last month. Fully one-quarter of Jaguar’s volume in June came from the F-Type. In June 2012, without the F-Type, Jaguar accounted for just 22% of Jaguar-Land Rover U.S. volume. One year later, with the F-Type, Jaguar attracted 32% of Jaguar-Land Rover clientele.

 

Independent analyst Timothy Cain is the founder and editor of GoodCarBadCar.net.

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Cain’s Segments: Return Of The Big, Bad, BOF SUVs http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/cains-segments-return-of-the-big-bad-bof-suvs/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/cains-segments-return-of-the-big-bad-bof-suvs/#comments Mon, 08 Jul 2013 11:00:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=494389 June hosted a dramatic decline in the U.S. sales of traditional full-size sport-utility vehicles but also marked the end of a successful first half in which sales of these seven SUVs rose 7.9%. Through the first six months of 2013, the biggest, baddest, “truck-based” SUVs grew at a pace that exceeded the 7.5% growth rate […]

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TTAC_full-size-suv-market-share-chart

June hosted a dramatic decline in the U.S. sales of traditional full-size sport-utility vehicles but also marked the end of a successful first half in which sales of these seven SUVs rose 7.9%.

Through the first six months of 2013, the biggest, baddest, “truck-based” SUVs grew at a pace that exceeded the 7.5% growth rate achieved by the overall new vehicle market. 1.5% of the automobiles sold in America this year have been Armadas, Expeditions, Sequoias, Suburbans, Tahoes, Yukons, and Yukon XLs. As recently as 2010, more than 2% of the market belonged to these seven SUVs. As recently as 2006, they owned more than 3% of the market. And in 2003, little more than a decade ago, these seven SUVs accounted for 45 out of every 1000 new vehicles sold.

Auto
June 2013
June 2012
June % Change
6 mos. 2013
6 mos. 2012
YTD % Change
Chevrolet Suburban
3813 5136 - 25.8% 21,663 23,068 - 6.1%
Chevrolet Tahoe
5790 6427 - 9.9% 40,857 33,274 + 22.8%
Ford Expedition
3211 3361 - 4.5% 17,741 18,613 - 4.7%
GMC Yukon
1797 2279 - 21.1% 12,105 12,662 - 4.4%
GMC Yukon XL
1824 2343 - 22.2% 14,704 8975 + 63.8%
Nissan Armada
1137 1763 - 35.5% 7381 9474 - 22.1%
Toyota Sequoia
1145 1093 + 4.8% 6693 6249 + 7.1%
Total
18,717
22,402 – 16.4% 121,144 112,315 + 7.9%

Times have changed. That’s not news to casual observers, at least the observers who live outside of Texas or D.C., where individual buyers and motorcade fabricators have helped to keep the big SUV alive.

If you can, forget fleet volume for a moment in order to consider the likelihood that the next full-size SUV you see will be a General Motors product. GM’s June market share in the category fell slightly to 70.7% from 72.2% a year ago and 76.1% in May, when the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon XL both recorded significant upticks, the Yukon XL rising 182% year-over-year. All four GM nameplates recorded year-over-year decreases in June, as did the Ford Expedition and Nissan Armada.

Indeed, the majority of full-size SUV nameplates have recorded year-over-year decreases on year-to-date terms, as well. But the Tahoe’s extra 7583 sales, the Yukon XL’s extra 5729 sales, and the Toyota Sequoia’s slight 444-unit gains have propelled the segment forward.

The suggestion that fleet emphasis will destroy the large truck-based SUV segment ignores three key facts. First, automakers are capable of generating profits in smaller vehicle categories. Second, the whole commercial van category is designed for fleet customers or, at the very least, for clients who don’t use the vehicle as their personal car, and that’s a category that manufacturers are more hotly pursuing of late. Finally, these SUVs take their foundation from high-volume pickup trucks. Well, maybe not the Nissan, but you get the drift.

Including the Cadillac Escalade and Escalade ESV, General Motors has sold 98,833 SUVs off the GMT900 pickup truck platform in America in the last six months. If that number isn’t sufficiently meaningful, remember the 330,219 Silverados and Sierras General Motors has also sold.

That said, the chart you see here clearly shows that this is a dying breed, regardless of whether the Secret Service or individual Texans make up the majority of buyers. While America’s best-selling vehicle has improved its share of the overall market from a decade-low of 3.9% (in 2008) to 4.7% in the first half of this year; while America’s best-selling car has steadily recorded market share totals between 2.4% and 3.4% over the last 126 months, these SUVs have lost two-thirds of their market share since 2003.

Buyers of three-row crossovers are far more numerous. By way of GM’s three Lambda-platform utilities, the Ford Explorer, Nissan Pathfinder, and the Toyota Highlander, six car-like siblings of these seven full-size SUVs have attracted 341,180 in the last six months.

Independent analyst Timothy Cain is the founder and editor of GoodCarBadCar.net. His look at the important segments will be a permanent fixture at TTAC, along with a  look at the market up North.

 

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Canada In May 2013: Picking Up The Pace http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/canada-in-may-2013-picking-up-the-pace/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/canada-in-may-2013-picking-up-the-pace/#comments Tue, 11 Jun 2013 14:53:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=491616 (Editor’s note: Despite being a close neighbor, ally, and NAFTA  member, Canada usually receives short shrift when it comes to the counting of cars. TTAC is a prime offender. We cover sales in Europe, Japan, China, and of course America – but Canada? Our resident car counter Cain will now cover the Canadian market on […]

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Canadian Auto Sales

(Editor’s note: Despite being a close neighbor, ally, and NAFTA  member, Canada usually receives short shrift when it comes to the counting of cars. TTAC is a prime offender. We cover sales in Europe, Japan, China, and of course America – but Canada? Our resident car counter Cain will now cover the Canadian market on a monthly basis. Any volunteers for Mexico?)

For the second time in what was predicted to be yet another year of growth for the Canadian auto industry, volume grew significantly in May 2013. January volume was down 2%. By the end of February, the market was off 2012’s pace by 3%. March’s decline wasn’t as bad, but through the first quarter, sales were still down 2%. After April’s 9% increase, auto sales in May reached their highest level in six years.

TTAC_Canada-auto-industry-market-share-chart-May-2013

Ford, Canada’s leading manufacturer, sold more vehicles in May than in any month since 1997. Buoyed by record Ford F-Series sales, Ford Canada outsold Chrysler’s five brands by more than 3000 units.

Another truck sales record was set by the Ram Pickup, the second best-selling vehicle line in Canada. Just under three out of every ten Chrysler Group sales came from the Ram during Chrysler’s best sales month since 1971.

In all, 16 different brands, including soon-to-be-defunct Suzuki, posted year-over-year sales declines in May. The worst of May’s decreases were recorded by Smart, Lincoln, Mini, Volvo, Suzuki, and BMW, all of which have also sold fewer vehicles in the first five months of 2013 than during the same period a year earlier.

20 brands reported year-over-year sales increases. Boosted by the FR-S, which was responsible for 41% of Scion volume, Toyota’s sub-brand boasted of a 63% jump in Canadian sales in May, the best improvement of any brand. Cadillac, Jaguar, Porsche, Subaru, Acura, Honda, and Ram all reported gains better than 20%.

As the Canadian auto market grew 5.4% in May, passenger car sales made gains of just 2%. Car volume is down 1% through five months. Pickup truck sales grew 9% as 13 nameplates accounted for 17% of the industry’s volume. A year ago, 15 truck nameplates accounted for 16% of the market.

14% of the vehicles sold in the United States in May were pickup trucks. And while Ford, Chevrolet, GMC, and Ram attracted 83% of truck buyers in the U.S., that figure rose to 92% in Canada last month. May’s U.S. new vehicle market was nearly eight times the size of Canada’s, but America’s truck market was just six times the size of the Canadian truck market.

TTAC_May-2013-YTD-passenger-car-sales-Canada-chart

Excluding the Sprinter van, Mercedes-Benz was outsold by BMW for luxury brand leadership. The six-unit margin was quite clearly slim. So far this year, Mercedes-Benz is just 149 units ahead of BMW. Although they go without it in the U.S., Mercedes-Benz markets the B-Class in Canada. With 1255 sales through five months, the B-Class is responsible for a larger portion of Mercedes-Benz Canada’s volume than the E-Class and CLS-Class combined. The B250’s base price is $7400 lower than the base price of Benz’s C250.

While America’s five best-selling cars in May were midsize sedans, the best-selling midsize car in Canada ranked eighth among cars, as is normally the case. May was the fourth time in 2013 that the Hyundai Elantra topped the leaderboard as Canada’s best-selling car. Its year-to-date lead over the Honda Civic now stands at 332 units. The only brand which has sold more cars than Hyundai this year has been Toyota, and Toyota’s car lead is only 804-units strong. Combined, Hyundai and Kia’s cars have outsold the cars of Toyota, Lexus, and Scion by 13,472 units through five months.

Despite the Elantra’s leadership, Hyundai-Kia’s market share has fallen from 12.8% in the first five months of 2013 to 12.1% this year. Ford MoCo, Chrysler Canada, and General Motors have combined to grow their share of the Canadian market from 44.8% last year to 45.9% in 2013. As a trio, the automakers formerly known as the Big Three have sold 15,000 more vehicles in 2013 than they did in the first five months of 2012, helped in large part by 11,000 extra pickup truck sales.

Miss the full table for Canada? Here it is?

Independent analyst Timothy Cain is the founder and editor of GoodCarBadCar.net. His look at the important segments will be a permanent fixture at TTAC, along with a  look at the market up North.

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Cain’s Segments: Muscle Cars Weak, Challenger Dodges The Trend http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/cains-segments-muscle-cars-weak-challenger-dodges-the-trend/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/cains-segments-muscle-cars-weak-challenger-dodges-the-trend/#comments Mon, 10 Jun 2013 13:52:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=491481 That sound you’ve been hearing for nearly two decades is the weeping and gnashing of teeth roused by the Chevrolet Beretta’s demise. Oh, Ford Probe, we hardly knew ye. Whither the Dodge Daytona? Let’s look at the continuing decline of an empire, formerly ruled by the American Muscle Car. At Chevrolet, SS is not the […]

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

That sound you’ve been hearing for nearly two decades is the weeping and gnashing of teeth roused by the Chevrolet Beretta’s demise. Oh, Ford Probe, we hardly knew ye. Whither the Dodge Daytona? Let’s look at the continuing decline of an empire, formerly ruled by the American Muscle Car.

V8 Daytona - Picture courtesy allpar.com,jpg

At Chevrolet, SS is not the oft-used badge that AMG is at Mercedes-Benz. Ford’s ST and SVT branding aren’t used to form an overwhelming BMW M-like presence. You can buy big V8-engined Chryslers, but many of Chrysler’s higher-volume products – 200, Avenger, Dart, Journey, Wrangler – go without sporting iterations. Detroit’s three automakers don’t even sell coupe versions of their mainstream sedans these days.

1990 Beretta Pace Car replica - Picture courtesy Wikipedia.org

There is plenty of sporting heritage present in GM, Ford, and Chrysler showrooms, of course. Iconic nameplates sell at a level normally associated with moderately successful midsize cars. And even in 2013, a year in which muscle car sales have fallen, the Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang are America’s 29th and 30th-best-selling passenger cars, ahead of the Ford Taurus, Subaru Impreza, and Buick LaCrosse.

TTAC_Camaro-chart

Although we’re also showing results for two higher-end cars, two veritable sports cars, a more accurate reflection of the muscle car marketplace is made more apparent when you leave out the Corvette and Viper. Sales of America’s muscle car trio are down 4.6% through five months. May sales of the Camaro, Challenger, and Mustang fell 8.3% in the United States.

TTAC_Camaro-Challenger-Mustang-YOY_chart

Those declines haven’t occurred because of the lowest-volume member of the group. Dodge Challenger volume is up 28% this year, rising 15% in May. Its market share in the three-car category grew to 24.9% in May, up from 19.8% a year ago.

That market share was obviously stolen from the Camaro and Mustang, whether there are any prospective Challenger buyers who would have actually chosen the Chevrolet or Ford. It’s bit of a Sox or Cubs; Manchester United or Manchester City world.

Of the 22,263 American muscle cars sold in May, 35.6% were Camaros, down from 37.2% in May 2012. The Mustang’s share slid from 43% in May 2012 to 39.5% in May 2013. Year-to-date, the Camaro and Mustang have lost nearly four and three percentage points worth of market share, respectively.

In a market which enjoyed an 8% year-over-year increase in May, the fact that the Camaro and Mustang could be struggling to match last year’s pace shouldn’t come as a surprise. Whether you’re selling a German roadster, a driftable Japanese sports car, or an outrageously powerful Detroit pony car, the number of customers is likely to shrink as the launch date becomes a distant memory.

Dodge Challenger sales figures must then be the exception that proves the rule.

Auto
May 2013
May 2012
May % Change
5 mos. 2013
5 mos. 2012
YTD % Change
Chevrolet Camaro
7929 9023 - 12.1% 35,076 40,574 - 13.6%
Chevrolet Corvette
905 1219 - 25.8% 4820 5547 - 13.1%
Dodge Challenger
5537 4816 + 15.0% 24,881 19,442 + 28.0%
Ford Mustang
8797 10,427 - 15.6% 33,868 38,361 - 11.7%
SRT Viper
65 129 20 + 545%
Total
23,233
25,485 - 8.8% 98,774 103,944 - 5.0%

Independent analyst Timothy Cain is the founder and editor of GoodCarBadCar.net. His look at the important segments will be a permanent fixture at TTAC, along with a  look at the market up North.  

 

 

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Cain’s Segments: Trucks Roll Over Subcompacts http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/cains-segments-trucks-roll-over-subcompacts/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/cains-segments-trucks-roll-over-subcompacts/#comments Thu, 06 Jun 2013 11:36:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=491039 The eleven vehicles most obviously classified as subcompacts accounted for 3.8% of the American automobile industry’s May 2013 sales volume, down from 3.9% a year ago. Overall volume increased, but not at the rate of the overall market, and certainly not at the rate achieved by their opposite, pickup trucks. Let’s have a little look at […]

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The eleven vehicles most obviously classified as subcompacts accounted for 3.8% of the American automobile industry’s May 2013 sales volume, down from 3.9% a year ago. Overall volume increased, but not at the rate of the overall market, and certainly not at the rate achieved by their opposite, pickup trucks. Let’s have a little look at the small cars.

TTAC_subcompacts-percentage-of-brand-sales-2013
Through the first five months of 2013, subcompacts are responsible for four out of every 100 new vehicle sales. That’s down from the 4.3% achieved by the same eleven vehicles in the same period of 2012.

Although it could be intelligently argued that the Hyundai Veloster (down 22% to 2826 in May) and Volkswagen Beetle (up 24% to 3718) could be listed here, as well as city cars like the Chevrolet Spark (2581 May sales), Smart Fortwo (up 16% to 818), and Scion iQ (down 41% to 526), the slightly narrower borderlines we’ve established for subcompacts in this post should do a better job of manifesting conventional subcompact purchases and leases. The Fiat 500, Mini Cooper, Toyota Prius C, and leftover Chevrolet Aveos are the most unconventional cars capable of throwing a wrench into the normality of the proceedings.

Auto
May 2013
May 2012
May % Change
5 mos. 2013
5 mos. 2012
YTD % Change
Chevrolet Aveo
1 5 - 80.0% 2 53 - 96.2%
Chevrolet Sonic
9523 7205 + 32.2% 37,783 35,455 + 6.6%
Fiat 500
4051 4003 + 1.2% 17,562 16,702 + 5.1%
Ford Fiesta
6693 6080 + 10.1% 28,801 26,737 + 7.7%
Honda Fit
4667 3879 + 20.3% 20,486 19,706 + 4.0%
Hyundai Accent
5578 6166 - 9.5% 24,222 30,810 - 21.4%
Kia Rio
5142 4019 + 27.9% 19,491 18,728 + 4.1%
Mazda 2
791 901 - 12.2% 4851 9213 - 47.3%
Mini Cooper *
4033 4377 - 7.9% 16,907 18,623 - 9.2%
Nissan Versa
8614 8643 - 0.3% 55,056 52,173 + 5.5%
Toyota Prius C
3782 3693 + 2.4% 17,133 12,594 + 36.0%
Toyota Yaris
1778 3521 - 49.5% 11,179 17,964 - 37.8%
Total
54,653
52,492 + 4.1% 253,473 258,758 - 2.0%

On that note, consider the falling sales in BMW’s Mini showrooms. Sales here include the original Cooper Hardtop as well as the Clubman, Convertible, Coupe, and Roadster. More than two-thirds of Mini’s non-Countryman/non-Paceman total is made up by the one car which spawned Mini’s return. Only 5527 of the Coopers sold this year have been Clubmans, Convertibles, Coupes, and Roadsters. Of these five Cooper sub-models, only the Roadster has posted year-over-year gains in 2013. By itself, the “regular” Mini Cooper’s 2521 May sales equal a 5.9% drop from May 2012’s output.

The Fiat 500, on the other hand, has yet to post a year-over-year U.S. sales decline in 15 tries, although growth has predictably slowed.

Back to the subject of conventional subcompacts, the Chevrolet Sonic’s May victory stands in contrast to the Nissan Versa’s usual leadership. Indeed, the Versa is 17,273 sales ahead of the Sonic through five months after a 30K+ unit victory in 2012. The Versa is not all-conquering. Don’t fall into the trap of confusing sales leadership with outright market domination. 78% of America’s 253,473 subcompact customers haven’t registered a new Versa this year. Jointly, the Hyundai Accent and Kia Rio own 17% of the category.

The very suggestion that the buyer of a well-optioned JCW Mini Cooper S would otherwise consider a Nissan Versa is comical, but we’re always left with these sorts of issues when rehashing sales data. (BMW releases 3-Series sales figures as a group, which presents us with the opportunity to compare a measure of hidden M3 volume, whether we like it or not, with sales of the Lexus IS250.) Besides, it is interesting to note that, despite the price differentials, buyers turn to the Mini and Honda Fit in similar numbers, although Chevrolet did sell twice as many Sonics as BMW sold Minis in May. Granted, unlike the potential Fit buyer, a prospective Mini customer isn’t also eyeing the Civic on the other side of the showroom.

Regardless of the validity of comparisons, the numbers achieved by a large group of small cars certainly proves that interest in inexpensive small cars continues to pale in comparison with moderately more expensive compacts and midsize cars. Together, the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord have found 326,939 buyers in the United States this year, outselling these subcompacts by 73,466 units. The Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic have outsold these subcompacts by 8022 units.

Sure, what with plunging Mazda 2 volume and disappearing Toyota Yaris sales and challenging times for the Hyundai Accent, subcompact sales haven’t been healthy this year. But those same two pairs were handily outselling these subcompacts at this time last year, too.

What’s the point? If subcompacts aren’t as profitable and don’t sell as often, why bother? Automakers feel that they’re hedging their bets against a possible turning of the tide, like when fast-rising fuel prices led to the Honda Civic becoming America’s overall best-selling vehicle in May 2008, outselling even Ford’s F-Series. More important, automakers sell subcompacts as a means of targeting first-time buyers, hoping that a future increase in wealth will inspire a Sonic owner to become a Cruze owner, who will then step into a Malibu before ending up in a CTS, or more likely, a Silverado.

Independent analyst Timothy Cain is the founder and editor of GoodCarBadCar.net. His look at the important segments will be a permanent fixture at TTAC, along with a  look at the market up North.  

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