By on February 22, 2017

2009 Toyota Venza - Image: Toyota Canada

Maybe they should have called it the Toyota Camry SportWagon.

Maybe it wouldn’t have made a hint of a difference.

The first-generation Toyota Venza lingered for seven model years in the United States, ending its run with MY2015 before managing to collect 593 sales since, including four in January 2017. (They’re not easy to clear out, apparently.)

But the end of the Venza’s U.S. run in June 2015 was not the end for the Venza in America. Venza production at the Georgetown, Kentucky, assembly plant continued through the first 11 months of 2016 because of insatiable Canadian demand.

Well, now that demand has been sated. The Toyota Venza is officially dead. Kaput. Gone. Defunct.

Did it have to be this way?  (Read More…)

By on February 21, 2017

2017 Ford Transit and Transit Connect - Image: Ford

On the surface, little Euro vans seem to make so much sense. Not every contractor needs a football field’s worth of space behind two front seats.

City-friendly exterior dimensions, a more affordable price tag, and four-cylinder fuel economy should, in theory, cause Bob the Builder or Handy Manny to take a serious look.

But enticing as the idea sounds, the value quotient proffered by 2017’s crop of five small commercial vans simply doesn’t add up for the overwhelming majority of commercial van buyers. Sure, the Ford Transit Connect may be a decent deal. But the Ford Transit is a comparatively great deal.

As a result, full-size commercial van sales are consistently on the rise. But small commercial van sales? Plunging like Paul the Plumber. (Read More…)

By on February 13, 2017

2017 Nissan Titan King Cab - Image: Nissan

By broadening its lineup, rethinking the dealer approach, and focusing on prime markets, Nissan intends to increase its Titan pickup truck’s share of America’s full-size market to 5 percent.

5 percent. One in twenty trucks. One Titan for every 19 Ford F-Series, Chevrolet Silverado, Ram P/U, GMC Sierra, and Toyota Tundra.

That doesn’t sound so crazy, does it?

Nah, at least until you realize that in 2016, Nissan sold fewer than 22,000 Titans, or slightly less than 1 percent market share. (Read More…)

By on February 10, 2017

2017 Nissan Rogue SL - Image: Nissan

In January 2017, the best-selling SUV/crossover in America was the Honda CR-V.

In calendar year 2016, the best-selling SUV/crossover in America was the Honda CR-V.

But in December 2016 and the preceding three months, the best-selling SUV/crossover in America was the Nissan Rogue, sales of which rose to record November levels in 2016, record January levels last month, and all-time record levels of 40,477 units in December 2016.

Not the most powerful, refined, reliable, or dynamically competent, the Rogue is nevertheless Nissan’s most popular vehicle in America and a hugely consequential member of the SUV sector.

Yet the sheriff in town is wearing a new uniform, the Rogue is about to be joined by a new sibling, and 2017 is the second-generation Rogue’s fourth model year. Can Nissan continue to grow U.S. Rogue sales by more than 17 percent per month, and can Nissan make the Rogue America’s top-selling utility vehicle on a consistent basis? (Read More…)

By on February 6, 2017

BMW USA CEO Bernhard Kuhnt - Image: BMW

Bernhard Kuhnt takes over as the chief executive officer of BMW’s U.S. outpost on March 1, Automotive News reports, replacing BMW’s western hemisphere boss, Ludwig Willisch, who is likely to retire by the end of the decade.

BMW sales grew year after year during Willisch’s tenure, reaching annual records in 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015. There were, at times, questionable tactics employed to maintain rapid growth.

Yet in 2016, as U.S. auto sales shot to record levels, BMW’s U.S. volume plunged by more than 9 percent. In 12 consecutive months, U.S. sales declined on year-over-year terms. At BMW’s Mini brand, three years after volume climbed to record levels in 2013, sales fell to a six-year low in 2016.

And yet no automaker is incentivizing to such a lofty degree. (Read More…)

By on February 3, 2017

2017 Ford Mustang blue - Image: Ford

Across much of the United States, January is not the season for pony car purchases.

In fact, January is not the season for big automotive purchases in general.

Auto sales are at their lowest point in January. The rush to buy and lease vehicles in December, when spending comes naturally and time away from the office is easy to come by, is over. The weather typically takes a turn. Wallets are not flush.

Last month, U.S. auto sales dropped 2 percent from January 2016 levels. Blame a 13-percent passenger car downturn.

But the Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro, and Dodge Challenger all tanked at a substantially worse rate than the market at large, following up a disappointing 2016 with January results that had better not set the stage for 2017. (Read More…)

By on February 2, 2017

2017 Chrysler 200S AWD - Image: Chrysler

The Suzuki Kizashi‘s brief tenure came to an end in 2013. 2014 was the last year Mitsubishi produced Galant sales in the United States. 2015 marked the Dodge Avenger’s terminus. The Chrysler 200’s death was announced in 2016.

Will 2017 be a period of further contraction in America’s midsize sedan market?


This is the eighth edition of TTAC’s Midsize Sedan Deathwatch. The midsize sedan as we know it — “midsizedus sedanicus” in the original latin — isn’t going anywhere any time soon, but the ongoing sales contraction will result in a reduction of mainstream intermediate sedans in the U.S. market. 

How do we know? It already has.


If January 2017’s results are anything to go by, it’s going to be a very ugly year for midsize cars in the United States; sales tumbled by more than a fifth in January 2017, a year-over-year decline worth 30,000 lost sales. (Read More…)

By on February 1, 2017

Mercedes-Benz C450 AMG Sedan - Image: Mercedes-BenzAuto sales slid 2 percent in January 2017, starting off the new year on the wrong foot after a record December ended 2016 by stealing this year’s sales.

Sharp declines at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Toyota Motor Corporation brought down an industry that saw numerous notable gains. While FCA and Toyota tumbled by more than 11 percent, year-over-year, Honda, Nissan, and Subaru were among the biggest brands to report improvements compared with January 2016. (Read More…)

By on January 30, 2017

2017 Honda CR-V - Image: Honda“We think we can sell more than we did last year.”
– John Mendel, American Honda Executive Vice President

It took eight years for American Honda to break 2007’s U.S. sales record. But after muscling past the eight-year-old barrier in 2015, the Honda brand shot past the new mark with ease in 2016.

And Honda, typically prudent-verging-on-pessimistic, intends to report record sales at the end of 2017, as well. (Read More…)

By on January 27, 2017

2017 Chrysler Pacifica Limited - Image: FCAThere’s good news. And there’s bad news.

U.S. sales of minivans in 2016 rose 6 percent, year-over-year, to nearly 554,000 units.

Yet after shooting out of the blocks with a 23 percent increase through the first seven months of the year — partly a response to a slow start one year earlier — minivan sales tanked in the final five months of 2016. (Read More…)

By on January 25, 2017

2016 Toyota Prius - Image: Toyota

2017 will be the fifth consecutive year of U.S. year-over-year sales decline for the venerable Toyota Prius.

The core member of the four-pronged Prius lineup — this non-Prime liftback — was once a seemingly unstoppable presence in America. Annual volume shot beyond 100,000 units in 2005 and rose to an all-time high of 181,221 sales in 2007.

But America’s post-recession enjoyment of lower fuel prices and an accompanying turn to SUVs and crossovers (plus a measure of distaste for the current model’s egregious exterior styling) led to a 98,866-unit U.S. sales result in 2016, a 12-year low for the Prius.

2017 will be worse. “We’re going to follow the market,” Toyota Motor Sales USA’s vice president for automotive operations, Bob Carter, told Wards Auto.

What’s that mean? (Read More…)

By on January 23, 2017

Midsize trucks - Images: Toyota, Honda, Nissan, GMFive members strong, America’s midsize pickup truck sector reported nearly 450,000 sales in 2016.

After claiming only 11 percent of the overall pickup truck market’s volume in 2013 and 2014 and 14 percent in 2015, 17 percent of all pickup truck sales in 2016 were produced by the Toyota Tacoma, Chevrolet Colorado, Nissan Frontier, GMC Canyon, and Honda Ridgeline.

Midsize pickup truck sales growth wildly outperformed the overall auto industry in 2016, leaping forward nine times faster than the full-size truck sector, year-over-year.

Every candidate got in on the action, but one truck in particular did more than its fair share of the heavy lifting. (Read More…)

By on January 20, 2017

2017 Jaguar F-Pace - Image: JaguarJaguar Land Rover North America LLC sold its first 10,016 Jaguar SUVs in the United States in the final eight months of 2016. The new F-Pace was a major factor contributing to Jaguar’s 116-percent year-over-year growth last year.

Jaguar also reported a 47-percent jump in passenger car sales — yes, car sales — in 2016.

As a result, no auto brand operating in the United States posted more significant sales growth in 2016.

So, Jaguar’s back? Not quite.

(Read More…)

By on January 19, 2017

2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport GT – Image: Mitsubishi“People keep asking if we’re going to go away,” Mitsubishi Motors North America COO Don Swearingen told reporters earlier this month.

“We’re not.”

Seemingly anticipating yesterday’s TTAC QOTD — Does Mitsubishi Need To Exist? — Swearingen was defending Mitsubishi’s approach to the North American market following the automaker’s partial takeover by its Nissan compatriot.

Renault-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn claimed the Mitsubishi chairmanship in October after spending $2.3 billion in exchange for 34 percent of the company’s automobile manufacturing business.

Three months later, The Detroit Bureau reports, Mitsubishi North America’s Swearingen said, “We are separate companies and will remain competitors.” (Read More…)

By on January 12, 2017

2018 Toyota Camry – Image: Toyota“When you get into next year and you look at 2018, I believe with these three products
and the excitement they bring back to that segment, I don’t see it falling anymore.”

– Jack Hollis, Toyota Motor Sales USA’s VP of marketing

U.S. sales of midsize cars tumbled by more than 250,000 units in 2016 even as new vehicle volume rose to record highs. The rate of decline was sharper than the decline experienced by the car sector at large. Only Chevrolet, with the all-new Malibu, and Subaru, with the relatively low-volume Legacy, sold more midsize cars in 2016 than in 2015.

Fleet sales excluded, retail data manifests a worsening of results as the year wore on. According to J.D. Power’s PIN December Industry Health Report, midsize car market share fell below 10 percent for the first time ever.

But Toyota USA’s marketing chief, Jack Hollis, believes 2017 could mark the end of the midsize decline, and 2018 sales of midsize cars could even begin to increase. (Read More…)

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