BMW continues to spend industry-leading levels of money to lure luxury car buyers in the United States. Yet November was the twelfth consecutive month in which sales at the BMW Group declined, year-over-year, in the U.S..
Through the first 11 months of 2016, sales at BMW are down 10 percent compared with the same period in 2015; Mini volume is off 11 percent.
According to TrueCar, however, no automaker is spending more in incentives, on a per vehicle basis, than BMW of North America. November 2016 incentives at the BMW Group jumped 25 percent compared with November 2015 yet sales fell 16 percent.
How much cash on the hood do American luxury car buyers want?
The Ford Fiesta is the most popular car at TTAC.
We don’t mean to say that TTAC’s audience researches the Ford Fiesta more often than any other vehicle. Nor are we suggesting that the Ford Fiesta is the consensus favourite among TTAC’s vast contributor network. Rather, there are a total of three Fiestas spread across TTAC driveways: the managing editor’s 1.0-liter EcoBoost, an ST at the home of our advice columnist, and another ST in the family of TTAC’s editor-at-large.
That’s an impressive level of marketplace penetration for a car that generates just 0.3 percent of the U.S. auto industry’s new vehicle sales volume. Yet across the pond, the very same car owns an industry-wide 4.5 percent of the overall new vehicle market.
2016 will be the eighth consecutive year in which the Ford Fiesta claims the title of the United Kingdom’s best-selling vehicle. Not only is the consistency remarkable, so too is the authority with which the Fiesta scores its victories.
“It’s the one to have,” we said of the 2017 Mazda 3 on the last day of November, “but not the one you’ll buy.”
Pat TTAC on the back for such an accurate forecast, as the very next day, Mazda revealed that Americans acquired fewer Mazda 3s in November 2016 than at any point since January 2014, a 34-month low.
With the worst U.S. sales results in nearly three years, Mazda USA’s most popular car is now on track to potentially see annual volume fall to a decade low in 2016.
There’s nothing new about the American car buyer’s prerogative to avoid critical advice when it comes to Mazda’s compact sedan. The degree to which the Mazda-supporting suggestion is ignored, however, is, increasingly apparent.
America’s pickup truck market exploded with significant year-over-year growth in November 2016. After the U.S. auto industry reported three consecutive months of decline through the end of October, auto sales jumped 4 percent in November, year-over-year.
Pickup trucks were responsible for half of the industry’s growth last month.
All 11 truck nameplates on offer in the United States — from the Chevrolet Silverado that posted a modest 0.6-percent uptick to the Honda Ridgeline that shot up 115,367 percent — got in on the action.
Even the Nissan Titan.
There remains a select group of American car buyers who are actually buyers of cars. In fact, there are still American car buyers who want American cars. Indeed, there are still a number of American car buyers who want American luxury cars.
As an example, consider the all-new Lincoln Continental.
It’s not a hot seller — at least not in the conventional sense of the word. The new Lincoln Continental isn’t topping the sales charts. Indeed, given the fact, in November, the Continental was America’s 17th-best-selling premium brand car, it may not even be a warm seller.
But there are a couple of indicators that suggest the 2017 Lincoln Continental is over-performing; that it’s exceeding Ford Motor Company’s expectations. That’s not bad news for America’s remaining handful of American luxury car aficionados, especially with the measure of success being enjoyed by a cross-town Continental rival.
General Motors moved to increase the average incentive spend per Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, and GMC vehicle by 36 percent in November in order to clear out an inventory glut that seemingly refuses to be cleared out.
According to Autodata, General Motors now has more than 873,000 vehicles in stock, nearly three months of supply. That’s 26 percent more inventory than at this stage of 2015, when industry-wide volume was pacing at roughly the same level as today, albeit with significantly less incentivization.
J.D. Power PIN data shows that General Motors spent $4,912 per vehicle sale in November 2016, a $1,302 increase compared with November 2015. According to TrueCar, industry-wide incentive spending rose 13 percent, year-over-year, a figure skewed by the dramatic increase at America’s biggest holder of market share.
U.S. sales of midsize cars remained on an even keel in November 2016, decreasing by only one-tenth of one percent compared with November 2015.
But make no mistake: the midsize car category still took a hit in November. While volume remained level, the segment’s share of the overall U.S. new vehicle market fell below 12 percent last month, the fifth consecutive November in which midsize market share has declined.
U.S. sales of new vehicles, year-over-year, declined in three consecutive months between August and October 2016.
Forecasters expected November 2016 to be a much brighter month thanks to buoyant incentives, a lack of post-election economic turmoil, and a lengthier sales month. Indeed, auto sales rose by nearly 4 percent thanks in no small part to big gains at General Motors, America’s highest-volume manufacturer of automobiles.
After the U.S. auto industry reported all-time record sales volume in calendar year 2015, the industry grew by more than 1 percent, year-over-year, in the first-half of 2016.
But since the second-half began, auto sales have trended in the opposite direction. Compared with the July-October period of 2015, sales in the same period one year later were down 2.5 percent. U.S. auto sales declined in August, again in September, and again in October. Since July, year-over-year volume has fallen by nearly 150,000 units, dragging 2016’s year-to-date ten-month tally below last year’s record results.
Yet forecasters say November 2016 will produce a sudden turnaround.
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