By on November 22, 2014

Jaguar vs Land Rover sales chartThe reasons for the drop of the red line and the steady rise of the grey line on today’s chart are perhaps too numerous to count.

Additional product for one brand. Less intervention at another.

A move toward high-riding vehicles helped one brand. A move away from traditional cars harmed the other. These two factors are made all the more apparent when one brand employs a full lineup of SUVs/crossovers and the other has yet to bring its first utility vehicle to market.

One brand’s message has been artfully constructed over a few decades; the other’s has been muddied for at least a generation. (Read More…)

By on November 21, 2014

Honda Fit EXLAmerican Honda reported the Fit’s best October ever last month. At 6851 U.S. sales, Fit volume was up 83% year-over-year to the highest total since April 2011, when Fit sales shot up 73% to 8116.

The new Fit, the third version of Honda’s sub-Civic car for North America has certainly been well-received early on in its tenure. With Honda sales rising to the highest October level ever and a new Mexican-built version of the brand’s least costly car finally readily available, seeing the Fit rise to new heights was not an unexpected occurrence.

It’s no E-Type on the outside, but the Fit’s purposeful design pays dividends inside for owners and even passengers. It is in some ways a mini-MPV with a very monobox shape. It’s not conventional, but its flexibility makes it strangely desirable as a result. Honda’s share of the subcompact category grew to 17.8% in October 2014, up from 10.8% a year ago and 10.6% in calendar year 2013 as a whole. It’s worth noting, as well, that the Fit is available only as a hatchback, while the four other members of the subcompact category’s October top five are sold as hatchbacks and sedans.

It’s also worth noting that the category continues to be controlled in large part by the cheap-and-roomy Nissan Versa, sales of which improved 29% in October 2014 to 11,097 units, 28.8% of the segment’s total. (Read More…)

By on November 20, 2014

Nissan Quest sales chartOctober 2014 was the lowest-volume U.S. sales month for the latest, fourth-generation Nissan Quest since the van debuted nearly four years ago in January 2011.

Minivan sales in America slid 2% in October 2014 but have risen 5% this year. Quest volume plunged 54% in October. Quest sales are down 23% this year. No minivan sold less often than the Quest in October, not even the cancelled Mazda 5. (Read More…)

By on November 17, 2014

Captiva import?The esteemable Jack Baruth backed one up toward an odd-looking statue back in March. Sales then boomed in April and May.

Post hoc ergo propter hoc.

In truth, Jack was no fan of the Chevrolet Captiva Sport he rented earlier this year, saying, “It won’t strike the desirability chord in anyone’s heart,” and, “This is a car to avoid at all costs.”

Fleet buyers, including most especially the rental car companies in the United States, did not avoid the Captiva Sport. They flocked to the reclothed Saturn Vue in large numbers. (Read More…)

By on November 15, 2014

TTAC sales chart trucks and best-selling SUVsPickup truck sales increased 10% in the United States in October, an 18,590-unit jump in a market which grew 6%. Besides drawing attention to the, “The people buy trucks because the fuel is cheap,” argument, which is not at all completely false nor entirely true, the 10% increase drew our attention to the massive figures generated by the biggest nameplates and their expansive product ranges.

We’ve covered truck sales already this month, so rather than taking another deep dive into October’s specifics, consider instead the percentage of America’s growing auto market that belonged to the pickup truck category last month: 15.8%.

That’s not a small number. Indeed, it’s a significantly larger number than the one achieved by the category through the first ten months of 2014: 13.8%. For perspective, however, think back one decade. In 2004, 19% of the new vehicles sold in America were pickup trucks. (Read More…)

By on November 14, 2014

Nissan Sentra - 4. Picture courtesy NissanIn the steadily growing U.S. new vehicle market, car sales have increased just 1% through the first ten months of 2014.

Nissan, however, says their car sales have grown 15.5% in 2014, surging forward by more than 90,000 units to 669,538.

In calendar year 2013, total new vehicle sales were up nearly 8%, but car sales grew just 4% during a year in which, for example, pickup trucks were up 12%.

2014 hasn’t been so kind to cars, with the Chrysler Group’s passenger cars collectively falling 15%, Ford Motor Company car sales sliding 4%, GM cars up less than 2%, American Honda car sales up less than 1%, Hyundai car sales down 3%, total Toyota/Lexus/Scion cars up just 1%, and the Volkswagen brand’s cars down 12%. (Read More…)

By on November 13, 2014

2015 Acura TLX silverIn September we asked if the TLX could restore Acura’s car business. In October, we realized that by Acura standards, the TLX could quickly end up as a hit. And now in November, with October 2014 U.S. sales results in hand, the Acura TLX is a hit.

We could apply all manner of qualifying statements: it’s early; other cars are transitioning to a new model year as Acura ramps up the TLX; year-over-year comparisons only highlight the dire straits which were afflicting the TLX’s predecessors; the TLX is relatively inexpensive and thus obviously a more justifiable proposition for buyers moving up to “luxury” cars.

Or, the TLX is exactly what potential Acura customers had been desirous of for years. Not too big, not too small. A choice between an efficient four-cylinder or a similarly efficient but far more powerful V6. Front or all-wheel-drive. Transmissions which, at least in terms of ratios, leapfrog the competition. Somewhat subdued but not unattractive styling. And an advertised base price below $31,000.

The result? Only four premium brand cars – 3-Series/4-Series, C-Class, ES, 5-Series – and only six premium brand vehicles – RX and MDX included – outsold the TLX in October 2014. (Read More…)

By on November 10, 2014

2014 Porsche 911 Turbo whiteWhat was once the norm is now so rare that October 2014’s results are bizarrely backwards.

The 911 was Porsche’s best-selling model in the United States in October 2014. Stop the presses. Hold the cheese. Alert the medic. Release the proverbial hounds.

The 911 is by all accounts a sports car, even if it’s softer and plusher and more hushed and more PDK’d than ever before. Indeed, the 911 is not an SUV, the type of vehicle which normally dominates Porsche’s sales charts. (Read More…)

By on November 9, 2014

2015 Hyundai Sonata LimitedThe Hyundai Sonata was America’s eighth-best-selling car in October 2014, down just one position but 4309 sales compared with October 2013. Among America’s top sellers, the Sonata was not alone in its decline, although the midsize Hyundai’s decrease was notable for its especially drastic nature.

Honda Civic sales slid 12%, the Civic’s fourth consecutive month with declining U.S. volume. Since the beginning of July, Civic sales in the United States have fallen 10%.

The Ford Focus was also off 2013’s October pace, falling 9% to 13,733 units, a 1375-unit decrease. Overall Ford brand car sales were down 11% in October and are down 4% this year even as the brand’s top-selling passenger car, the Fusion, has risen 6% (and 5% in October.) (Read More…)

By on November 8, 2014

Auto brand market share chart October 2014One month after the Chrysler Group outsold Toyota USA and grabbed 13.6% of the U.S. auto market, Toyota, Lexus, and Scion (14.1%) combined to outsell Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep, and Ram (13.3%) by 10,000 units in October 2014.

As is the norm, this month’s chart shows something of a Big Four, or an Expanded Big Seven. GM, Ford, Toyota, and Chrysler generated six out of every ten U.S. auto sales in October. Throw in Honda, Nissan, and Hyundai-Kia, and there’s only around 15% of all auto sales left over for the Volkswagen Group, BMW, Daimler, Subaru, Mazda, and a handful of truly niche auto brands.

Compared with October of last year, Nissan’s market share (Infiniti included) grew from 7.5% to 8.0%. The Chrysler Group’s year-over-year market share growth meant a surge from 11.6% in October 2013 to last month’s 13.3% as they managed to sell 30,000 more vehicles in October 2014 than in October 2013.

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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