By on February 10, 2016

2015 Chevrolet Tahoe silver

U.S. sales of utility vehicles increased 16 percent last year. Amidst the modest decrease in volume reported by the industry in January 2016, U.S. sales of SUVs and crossovers jumped by more than 6 percent.

Yet even with drivers enjoying truly low fuel prices, we have not seen a return to the days of full-size, truck-based, body-on-frame SUV dominance in the modern SUV/crossover sector. In fact, U.S. sales of the 10 full-size SUVs which use full-size pickup truck platforms as a foundation collectively declined 2 percent as America’s auto industry soared to record highs in 2015.

And 2016 begins similarly. Two Chevrolets, two GMC, two Cadillacs, and individual nameplates from Ford, Lincoln, Nissan, and Cadillac tumbled 9 percent in January. (Read More…)

By on February 9, 2016

01 Volkswagen Jetta

We knew it wouldn’t be easy for them. We knew it would get worse before it got better. But did you know it would be this difficult for Volkswagen of America to sell cars, and did you know it would get this bad this soon?

And could it get even worse?

Volkswagen brand sales in the United States tumbled 15 percent in January 2016, a year-over-year loss of 3,425 units. With barely more than 20,000 total sales, January 2016 sales fell to a 60-month low. Not since January 2011, when Volkswagen sold only 18,401 vehicles in America, has the company generated so little showroom activity. (Read More…)

By on February 4, 2016

2016 Chrysler 200S

News that 200 production would instantly end, albeit temporarily, was overshadowed by news that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles would, sooner than later, farm out the design and production of their small and intermediate cars to a rival automaker.

The Chrysler 200’s plant in Sterling, Michigan will undergo a six-week shutdown due to an inventory glut at dealers nationwide. Over the last three months, U.S. sales of the 200, FCA’s best-selling car in the United States in 2015, tumbled 46 percent to only 24,111 units, or about the number of Camrys Toyota sells every 18 days. (Read More…)

By on February 3, 2016

2005 Scion xB

Is Toyota about to officially murder the company’s fledgling Scion marque? If so, it will be both the exact outcome analysts and observers and fans predicted for years and a surprising turn of events.

After thriving for half a decade prior to the economic collapse, Scion’s poor performance in recent years led us to assume that Toyota would tire of the brand’s inability to turn a corner. But then Toyota finally reinvested in the brand, launching a sports car, a conventional hatchback with the iM, and a new Mazda2-based best seller, the iA.

Only months into the tenure of the two newest Scions, the cars which accounted for six in ten Scion sales in January, Toyota apparently realizes that the potential of the iA, iM, and even a C-HR crossover is insufficient. Joining Geo, Eagle, and Merkur on the scrap heap of failed auto brands launched by large automakers, Scion is killed off just when we thought Toyota had decided not to kill off Scion.

(Read More…)

By on January 25, 2016

2015_Toyota_Sienna_SE-1

Minivan sales in America fell 8 percent to only 513,000 units in 2015, less than half the number of MPVs sold in the United States a decade ago. Yet the number of sales produced by the three biggest players, across four nameplates, are more than healthy enough to suggest Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is wise to reinvest in their Windsor, Ontario, plant and the all-new Pacifica van.

Of course, the degree of wisdom employed by FCA as the automaker goes about reinventing its van is up for debate. Switching from Town & Country to Pacifica? Leaving the Dodge Grand Caravan to lumber along in previous-gen form? Neglecting all-wheel-drive in a gaga-for-SUVs market? There are upsides and downsides to each of these decisions.

But FCA’s decision to stick with a segment from which Ford, General Motors, Hyundai and Mazda fled is a wise one. The minivan market is much, much smaller than it was a decade ago. But if half a million people in America want to buy a minivan every year, the automakers which historically controlled the sector will want to own as large a chunk of that market as possible. (Read More…)

By on January 21, 2016

2015 Toyota Camry

The streak began in 2002 and remains unbroken. Yes, 2002, which began with the Patriots winning the Super Bowl and ended after George W. Bush’s GOP was strengthened during the first mid-term elections of his presidency.

The Toyota Camry was America’s best-selling car. And the Camry has topped the best-selling cars leaderboard every year since.

In 2015, the Camry’s lead over the second-ranked car grew to 66,000 units from 40,000 in 2014. As U.S. passenger car volume declined in a record-setting year for the auto industry, the Toyota Camry’s sales did not. As midsize car sales slid 2 percent, U.S. Camry volume increased to the highest level seen of America’s most popular car in seven years.

Threats to the Camry’s supremacy in 2016? They stand shoulder to shoulder with the Camry inside Toyota’s own showrooms. (Read More…)

By on January 13, 2016

2016 chevrolet impala

American consumers, businesses, and government agencies registered a record-setting 17.5 million new vehicles in 2015. That takes into account more than 2.5 million pickup trucks, half a million minivans, more than 420,000 commercial vans, more than 420,000 subcompact crossovers, and nearly 2.4 million midsize cars.

But as SUV/CUV sales increased rapidly, pickup trucks strengthen, and car sales decline, which vehicles dominated their respective categories?

Envelope, please. (Read More…)

By on January 6, 2016

2015 Honda CR-V

Record new vehicle sales volume in 2015 was powered largely by growth in the SUV/crossover category and further strengthening by pickup trucks. Flat car sales and declining minivan volume served to impede U.S. auto sales growth.

Prior to 2015, consumers, businesses, and government agencies had not combined to purchase and lease more than 17 million new vehicles since 2001. With 17.47 million sales in 2015, year-over-year volume jumped 6 percent and total new vehicle sales soared 67 percent compared with 2009, when auto sales plunged to their lowest depths during the recession. (Read More…)

By on December 16, 2015

2015 VW Golf SW

The U.S. auto industry generated an overall sales increase in November 2015 despite notable decreases at American Honda and Volkswagen Group, and a shorter-than-normal November selling season.

So strong were the numbers produced in the lead-up to and during November that analysts and forecasters are all but certain that 2015 will go down as the best year ever for auto sales volume in America. Just six years removed from the doldrums of 2009, auto sales in 2015 are expanding for a fifth consecutive year, rising 52 percent compared with 2010 and 5 percent compared with 2014.

This is the theme of auto sales coverage as we approach the end of 2015, as bestseller lists highlighting the strength of pickup trucks and ever more popular crossovers are being prepped. But what about the small figures behind the big numbers; the less well-known stories which contribute to the overall theme?

These are they. (Read More…)

By on December 10, 2015

2016 Fiat 500

New product is not fueling renewed American interest in Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ namesake Fiat brand.

The 500X, the latest product added to Fiat’s U.S. lineup, was clearly the brand’s best-selling model in November 2015, but sales at the brand slipped three percent, a modest drop of 82 units. Rewind one year and Fiat’s lineup featured only two nameplates: the 500 with which the brand relaunched in 2011, and the 30-month-old 500L. Adding the 500X, a true subcompact crossover, brought in 1,833 buyers in November 2015.

But the 500 and 500L combined to generate 1,915 fewer sales in November 2015 than in November 2014, astounding losses for a brand which in November of last year suffered a twelve-month sales low.

The Fiat brand’s figures in November 2015 were worse. (Read More…)

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