Housekeeping: In Which Tim Cain Owes Us Timbits

As you’ve no doubt already seen, Tim Cain is leaving us to pursue another opportunity. We wish him well, but as punishment, he owes us Timbits from Tim Hortons. Lots of Timbits. Like, caseloads.

Confectionery jokes that I have already run into the ground aside, what does this mean for the site? If you love Tim’s sales analysis, it will still be a part of TTAC – just less often. He will still post for us a few times a month on a part-time basis.

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Tim Is the New Steph, Kinda, Sorta

Steph’s been locked in his sweltering Ottawa apartment, heat wave after heat wave, for weeks now. To give him some respite, we’ve sent him to British Columbia to enjoy some Korean luxury.

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How To Become An Automotive Journalist (The Right Way)

[Editor’s note: This article was originally posted with the title “ Why Are We Given A New Car To Drive Each Week? And How? GCBC’s Background, Ethics, And Methods Explained” on GoodCarBadCar on March 28, 2016. I asked Tim if we could repost it here because, whether he knows it or not, he’s one of the very few people in this business you should aspire to be if you want to become an automotive journalist. It is reposted here with his permission and for your education. —MS]

Of the 6200+ posts on GoodCarBadCar, only 3 percent are car reviews. In February 2016, for example, we published five reviews on GCBC plus 66 other articles, not to mention another eight submissions at The Truth About Cars and six more at

Yet it is with increasing frequency that the people with whom I have personal contact — whether in conversation at visiting hours for a funeral, in emails from long-time readers, when questioned by soon-to-be car buyers — clearly believe that the bulk of my work revolves around driving fast cars down twisty roads.

It doesn’t.

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U.S. Auto Sales Results: September 2014 YTD

Automakers reported sales of more than 1.24 million new vehicles in September 2014, a 9.4% increase compared with the same month one year ago. Auto sales rose 5.5% over the course of 2014’s first three quarters, powered by big improvements at Jeep, Ram, Subaru, and Nissan.

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Imagine A Kia Without A Soul

Last year was a difficult pill to swallow for Kia in America. After claiming record sales in 2012, Kia volume slid 4% even as America’s auto industry grew 8%.

There were inventory issues, but there was also concern that the new Sorento, though revamped under the skin, didn’t appear new on the outside. The Forte launch didn’t send shock waves through the compact segment. The Cadenza was never expected to be a volume leader.

Explanations for the decline didn’t stop Kia from “restructuring” either, as Kia Motors America’s executive VP of sales, Tom Loveless, was replaced by Michael Sprague.

Through the first eight months of 2014, however, Kia is back on track. Compared with the same period last year, brand-wide sales are up 7%. Compared with the first eight months of that record-setting 2012, sales are up 4.5%.

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U.S. Auto Sales Results: August 2014 YTD

Against less lofty expectations, the U.S. auto industry generated more than 1.58 million new vehicle sales in August 2014, a 5.4% improvement compared with the same period last year. The biggest gains came from Nissan and FCA/Chrysler Group, which jointly raised their August sales total from 286,050 to 332,767 units. Jeep and Ram were the only two brands to top 30% in terms of year-over-year growth.

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Cain's Segments: Trucks – July 2014

These are not normal times for America’s pickup truck market.

The best-selling pickup truck line, Ford’s F-Series, is now entering a transition phase many months after potential customers first witnessed its aluminum-intensive replacement.

Toyota, long a minor player in the full-size category, refreshed its Tundra and continues to achieve notable sales increases, though with gradually less impressive growth figures.

GM’s twins last combined to outsell the Ford F-Series in 2009. They should still seem fresh, but to many the redesign wasn’t, in visual terms, sufficiently differentiated from the GMT900 models. Through the first seven months of 2014, the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra trail the Ford F-Series by 35,610 units.

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U.S. Auto Sales Results: July 2014 YTD

Automakers reported the sales of 1.4 million new vehicles in July 2014, representing a 9% increase compared with July of last year. Among volume brands, the biggest percentage gains were achieved by Jeep, Subaru, GMC, and Ram. Jaguar, Scion, Acura, Volvo, and Volkswagen all reported losses of at least 14%. Cadillac, Honda, and Mini also posted decreased July volume relative to the same period in 2013.

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Canada Sales Recap: May 2014

In May 2014, Canadian auto sales shot up to record monthly levels by soaring beyond 195,000 units, one-eighth the size of the U.S. industry last month.

These record sales levels occur as buyers transition from in large numbers from cars to crossovers, particularly smaller crossovers from volume brands.

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Cain's Segments, May 2014: Trucks

Ford is in a transition phase: readying the new 2015 F-150 while trying to sell the old model as often as possible. This requires knowing just how many F-Series pickups dealers will need in the weeks leading up to the new model’s introduction.

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Cain's Segments April 2014: Canada Recap

In a record-setting April for the Canadian auto industry, Ford Canada reclaimed its position atop the sales leaderboard by outselling the Chrysler Group’s various and sundry brands by a handful of units.

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Cain's Segments April 2014: Luxury Flagships

The impact of Mercedes-Benz’s W222 S-Class has been keenly felt in America’s luxury car sector. The S-Class’s most direct rivals have been shunned in favour of the venerable Benz over the last seven months. And yet there’s no denying that big luxury SUVs have cast a shadow over these flagship luxury cars, nor is there any point rejecting the idea that Tesla’s Model S is stealing market share.

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Cain's Segments April 2014: German Luxury SUVs
AutoApril2014April2013%Change4 mos.20144 mos.2013%ChangeBMW X54,3933,444+27.6%14,15315,335-7.7%BMW X33,5441,914+85.2%13,9749,125+53.1%Mercedes-Benz M-Class3,8313,280+16.8%13,96512,442+12.2%Audi Q53,2933,241+1.6%12,06711,437+5.5%Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class3,1442,702+16.4%11,41510,212+11.8%BMW X11,1301,556-27.4%9,0986,967+30.6%Volkswagen Tiguan1,9982,488-19.7%8,10910,439-22.3%Mercedes-Benz GL-Class2,2532,481-9.2%7,67110,099-24.0%Porsche Cayenne1,8391,750+5.1%6,1195,931+3.2%Audi Q71,4621,183+23.6%5,5514,084+35.9%Volkswagen Touareg597578+3.3%2,1623,102-30.3%BMW X6342354-3.4%1,4421,618-10.9%Mercedes-Benz G-Class274188+45.7%882800+10.3%—— —————Total28,100 25,159 +11.7% 106,608 101,591 +4.9%

It’s not as though consumers hadn’t experienced doses of luxury in their SUVs before the Mercedes-Benz ML, Lexus RX, and Lincoln Navigator began pushing an increasingly impressive wave toward shore in the late 90s. But, especially in the enthusiast community, there was some reluctance to accept the notion of such illustrious brands diving head first into a market that was going to demand perfectly balanced compromises. The traditional off-road ability we associated with SUVs couldn’t be thrust overboard in favour of road manners. Or could it?

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Cain's Segments: Canada Recap April 2014

March 2014’s Canadian auto sales results displayed a further willingness on the part of buyers to gradually forsake cars and turn to smaller crossovers.

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Cain's Segments: Muscle Cars

The Ford Mustang is selling more frequently in 2014 than it did in the same period of 2013. Ford is also grabbing greater U.S. market share in the relatively high-volume muscle car sector.

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  • FreedMike Not much to look at, but these were sweet to drive.
  • EBFlex Ford finally making a good decision although they should shut down their EV operations and investment all together. Why lose that money too?
  • Mike Lol. This is the king of suvs. And its made by GM.Why is everyone trashing it?Top of its its class for a quarter century.
  • Frank Drove past there last week, plant has a huge poster of a bronco on the outside. I was thinking "Is that where they build the new broncos?" I know they use to make the Edge and that other mundane SUV there but I believe both have been canned.
  • CanadaCraig Toyota saw this coming. So good for them for being courageous enough to say, "Wait a minute. Let's not rush into anything."