By on May 4, 2016

2015 Chrysler 200

Significant incentives did not alter the Chrysler 200’s dreadful U.S. trendline in April 2016.

As the decrease in demand for the 200 became more obvious, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles temporarily shut down the midsize Chrysler’s Sterling Heights factory in order to clear out excess inventory. But 200 demand continued to decrease, and FCA was forced into laying off workers at the Sterling Heights plant while ramping up incentives on the 200. So dreadful is the 200’s marketplace performance that FCA has no desire to develop their next midsize car.

Heading into April, inventory levels remained high. Enticing deals were thick on the ground. But apparently, those deals weren’t so enticing after all, even as TTAC published a positive rental review of the four-cylinder Chrysler 200 at the tail end of April, just as consumers headed into showrooms to capture the best deals of the month. (Read More…)

By on May 3, 2016

2016 Chevrolet Silverado

The U.S. auto industry once again reported gains in excess of three percent in April 2016, thanks to significant improvements at Honda, Nissan, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

General Motors continued to de-emphasize fleet sales. FCA continued to emphasize incentive spending, with TrueCar pegging their average April incentive per vehicle at a hair under $4,000. Only BMW’s was higher.

BMW is at the forefront of the luxury downturn — sales at the namesake brand slid seven percent in April and are down 10 percent through the first one-third of 2016. Mercedes-Benz led all premium brands in April and in year-to-date terms.

Ford’s F-Series produced its second consecutive 70,000-plus sales month, and truck sales jumped at General Motors and Ram, too. Sales of smaller trucks were up at Toyota and Nissan, as well. The pickup truck market rose 12 percent to 232,647 units in April. (Read More…)

By on April 29, 2016

2015 Ford Transit

The Ford Transit was America’s best-selling van in March 2016 and the first-quarter of 2016, full stop.

Not just the best-selling full-size commercial van. Not just the best-selling commercial van overall. The Ford Transit was America’s best-selling van, besting all of its direct rivals as well as each and every minivan.

Much has been made of the all-American Ford Mustang’s one-month stand in Germany. Even if the Mustang’s “Best-Selling Sports Car In Germany” status is only temporarily grasped, it certainly was a noteworthy turn of events. Meanwhile, Ford of Europe’s long-running commercial van, now Americanized, is dominating on our side of the Atlantic. (Read More…)

By on April 25, 2016

2016 Volvo XC90 T6 Inscription Car wash, Image: Timothy Cain/The Truth About Cars

We said the new Volvo XC90 would need to sell very well. It is, in fact, selling well. And given the sharp declines Volvo is reporting with every other model, we may have understated the need.

Globally, Volvo reported an all-time record number of sales in calendar year 2015. In the United States, however, even with the second-generation XC90 displaying signs of recovery, Volvo sales in 2015 were half the total achieved by Volvo 11 years earlier.

But in early 2016, Volvo’s big new SUV isn’t simply “displaying signs of recovery.”

Nearly half of all Volvos sold in America in the first-quarter of 2016 were XC90s. (Read More…)

By on April 20, 2016

2014 Mazda 3 5-door

Through the first-quarter of 2016, U.S. auto sales volume grew 3 percent compared with the same period in record-setting 2015.

Mazda’s U.S. sales have fallen 17 percent, a meaningful decline of 13,399 sales over the course of only three months.

Something isn’t clicking for Mazda. (Read More…)

By on April 14, 2016

2015 Volkswagen Beetle Classic, Image: Volkswagen Group of America

Compared with February 2016, March 2016’s U.S. sales at the Volkswagen brand jumped 21 percent.

So everything’s back to normal, right? The diesel emissions scandal’s impact has clearly waned, right? Volkswagen’s U.S. team obviously figured out how to market, price, and stock a gas-only lineup, right?

No. This is why we examine an automaker’s sales volume on a year-over-year basis, and why understanding the seasonality of the auto business is essential. (Read More…)

By on April 13, 2016

2012 Toyota Tundra – Image Source: Toyota Canada

Late last month, I determined the extent to which Canadians buy the most reliable vehicles according to automaker-supplied sales figures and J.D. Power’s 2016 Vehicle Dependability Study. In large measure, the vehicles that win their respective categories in J.D. Power’s Study are distinctly unpopular vehicles in Canada.

In the United States, the same group of vehicles are notably more common. But does J.D. Power’s VDS, a study which takes into account problems encountered by original owners of MY2013 vehicles over the course of their third year, have a measurable impact on U.S. buying habits? (Read More…)

By on April 8, 2016

2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, Image: Toyota USA

After finishing a close third behind the plunging Ford Explorer and Chevrolet TrailBlazer in 2006, the Honda CR-V went on to claim the top spot among SUVs/crossovers in America in eight of the following nine years, including the last four consecutive years.

A victorious ending to 2016 appears less certain for the CR-V. In the last five months, the best-selling utility vehicle in America was the Toyota RAV4, sales of which rose 14 percent in the first-quarter of 2016 as CR-V volume slid 3 percent.

Incidentally, the last SUV to unseat the CR-V on a calendar year basis was the Ford Escape. Back in 2011, the Escape was available with a hybrid powertrain, an option not offered by rival small SUVs. Fast forward to 2016, and the vehicle most likely to unseat the CR-V — the surging RAV4 — is likewise available with a hybrid powertrain. A meaningless, low-volume variant meant to bolster an automaker’s green cred? Perhaps that was the case with the Escape in 2011, but there’s an entirely different story to tell with the RAV4 five years later. (Read More…)

By on April 6, 2016

2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit, Image: FCA

At Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, this much we know: 72 consecutive months of year-over-year U.S. growth, a market share increase in the United States from 9.4 percent to 12.8 percent between 2010 and 2015, routine record-setting U.S. sales performances at Jeep, and an overarching “light truck” division that now produces more than four out of every five U.S. sales for the automaker.

Chapter 11 reorganization was undoubtedly a painful process — bankruptcy isn’t supposed to tickle. And because of reliability woes, frequent Alfa Romeo delays, and poor passenger car demand, there are serious doubts about the automaker’s long-term plans.

Yet only a few quick glances at an FCA U.S. monthly sales report are necessary for observers to replace concerns with applause, at least in the here and now. The rate of growth is staggering. The U.S. auto industry grew its volume by 37 percent between 2011 and 2015, a period during which FCA — and formerly the Chrysler Group — grew 64 percent. (Read More…)

By on April 4, 2016

2015 Ford F-150

Consumers, businesses, and government agencies registered nearly 4.1 million new vehicles during the first quarter of 2016. That’s an additional 130,000 new vehicles sales compared to the pace set one year ago, and equals a 3.3-percent year-over-year improvement over a record-setting 2015. But while there’s meaningful sales growth within the industry, passenger car sales continue to tumble and the premium market continues to stumble.

Many aspects of the U.S. auto market are changing, but some corners of the market refuse to reflect any change in the attitudes of consumers. The three best-selling vehicle lines in America in 2015’s first-quarter are the three best-selling vehicle lines in 2016’s first-quarter. All three are pickup trucks. (Read More…)

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  • Bark M., United States
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  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
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