By on December 1, 2016

2017 Subaru Forester 20XT Touring - Image: Subaru

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. (Read More…)

By on November 1, 2016

2015 Ford F150

Updated with Ford, Lincoln, and Ford Motor Company results.

Delayed by a fire at the automaker’s Michigan headquarters, Ford Motor Company sales figures weren’t released until this morning, a day after every other automaker issues their monthly reports.

Now, with Ford numbers included, the auto industy lost 6 percent of its October volume in 2016, a year-over-year loss of more than 86,000 units that’s causing observers to question the likelihood of a second consecutive annual sales record for the U.S. auto industry. Ford’s 12-percent drop in October certainly didn’t help. (Read More…)

By on October 7, 2016

2016 Subaru Outback

At the beginning of each and every month, automakers release complete U.S. sales results for nearly every make and model. Sometimes the numbers are spectacular. Other times, surprising. Sometimes they’re just downright silly; nonsensical even. More often than not, the interesting tidbits are subtle.

Spectacular, surprising, silly, and subtle they may be, but not all such data points are worthy of a story. So we’ve plucked out a handful of results and statistics that are worthy of some attention from September 2016, a month in which new vehicle sales slid slightly less than 1 percent.

Ford sells a lot of F-Series pickups, the Toyota Camry is still America’s best-selling car, Americans are buying more SUVs/crossovers than cars. But auto sales figures are more interesting behind the headlines. (Read More…)

By on October 3, 2016

2017 Volvo S90

September 2016 auto sales slid nearly 1 percent, not as rough an outcome as projected by many industry analysts but more proof that the auto industry may have peaked in calendar year 2015.

Despite bright spots from Ram, Buick, and Infiniti, most of the year-over-year improvements reported by automakers in September were modest in size. Porsche, Lincoln, Toyota, Honda, Audi, and Volvo all combined for sub-2-percent increases. Mercedes-Benz, Subaru, Cadillac, Hyundai, and Lexus couldn’t quite manage 4-percent upticks.

Yet in a market that slowed for a second consecutive month, many of the gains produced by pickup truck sales still weren’t strong enough to bring more buyers into showrooms than in September 2015. (Read More…)

By on September 1, 2016

2016 Lincoln MKX

Expectations from analysts suggested U.S. auto sales would decline by as much as 5 percent in August 2016, a year-over-year drop of more than 70,000 units.

In the end, it wasn’t quite that bad. But August 2016’s 4-percent drop translated to a decline of 55,000 sales for an industry that grew by more than 116,000 sales in the first-half of 2016, a decent rate of expansion given the record-setting pace from one year ago.

There were industry bright spots in August 2016. Subaru reported an all-time monthly record of more than 60,000 sales. This was the best August ever for the Jeep brand. American luxury — Cadillac and Lincoln — was on the rise. Volvo’s resurgence continues apace. (Read More…)

By on August 2, 2016

2016 Buick Cascada

After a steep May decline and modest growth in June, which fell below expectations, U.S. auto sales expansion flatlined in July 2016, suggesting the market is poised for a slower second half than the early part of the year projected.

New vehicle sales volume rose less than 1 percent in July 2016, a year-over-year improvement equal to roughly 11,000 sales.

There were a number of significant improvements. July 2016 was the best July ever for American Honda, for example, as sales jumped 6 percent to 139,125 at the Honda brand, overcoming another Acura decline. Buick, up 10 percent last month, ended the January-July period with its best start to the year since 2005. The only brands with superior growth rates in July were smaller outlets: Smart, Volvo, and Scion.

Mixed in with these gains, however, were double-digit percentage losses from a bundle of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles brands: Maserati, Fiat, Alfa Romeo, and Dodge. (Read More…)

By on July 1, 2016

2015 Honda CR-V

A modest increase of 2 percent fell below expectations from forecasters that the U.S. auto industry would grow by more than 5 percent in June 2016. Indeed, given the extra day on June 2016’s auto sales calendar, the daily selling rate for the industry actually declined in June, albeit marginally.

Big gains were nevertheless not uncommon. The Ford Motor Company, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Nissan-Infiniti, and Hyundai-Kia all posted above-average gains. Ford’s best-selling F-Series, which accounted for three-in-ten sales at Ford’s namesake brand, posted a 29-percent year-over-year increase. Overall pickup truck sales, powered in large part by the Ford’s 15,766-unit increase, jumped 10 percent.

The Toyota Camry claimed the top spot among cars despite its own sharp decline, a 13-percent loss worth nearly 5,000 sales. For the first time since last October, the Honda CR-V was America’s top-selling SUV/crossover(Read More…)

By on June 1, 2016

2017 Kia Sportage

The U.S. auto industry’s May 2016 sales performance was much better than the numbers suggest, but there were disappointing results in some quarters.

Due to a quirk in the auto sales calendar – May 2016 had two fewer selling days than May 2015 – the period in which sales were generated for the “May” period was simply too brief for May 2016 to measure up to May 2015. This is more easily seen with a look at the daily selling rate picture, where industry-wide results were up two percent, a far less daunting figure than the six percent decline in real volume reported by the industry overall. (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 1, 2016

2016 Ford Mustang GT convertible

Against expectations that auto sales would rise by at least 7 percent, March 2016 volume in the United States increased just 3 percent. Modest growth at General Motors and noteworthy drops at Toyota, Volkswagen, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz didn’t stop auto sales from increasing by more than 50,000 units, year-over-year. But the possibility that auto sales in March would climb to one of the highest levels ever failed to materialize despite an additional two selling days compared with March 2015.

Indeed, the daily selling rate achieved by the auto industry decreased even as March 2016 hosted 27 official selling days on the auto sales calendar, up from 25 one year ago. (Read More…)

By on January 6, 2016

2015 Honda CR-V

Record new vehicle sales volume in 2015 was powered largely by growth in the SUV/crossover category and further strengthening by pickup trucks. Flat car sales and declining minivan volume served to impede U.S. auto sales growth.

Prior to 2015, consumers, businesses, and government agencies had not combined to purchase and lease more than 17 million new vehicles since 2001. With 17.47 million sales in 2015, year-over-year volume jumped 6 percent and total new vehicle sales soared 67 percent compared with 2009, when auto sales plunged to their lowest depths during the recession. (Read More…)

By on December 16, 2015

2015 VW Golf SW

The U.S. auto industry generated an overall sales increase in November 2015 despite notable decreases at American Honda and Volkswagen Group, and a shorter-than-normal November selling season.

So strong were the numbers produced in the lead-up to and during November that analysts and forecasters are all but certain that 2015 will go down as the best year ever for auto sales volume in America. Just six years removed from the doldrums of 2009, auto sales in 2015 are expanding for a fifth consecutive year, rising 52 percent compared with 2010 and 5 percent compared with 2014.

This is the theme of auto sales coverage as we approach the end of 2015, as bestseller lists highlighting the strength of pickup trucks and ever more popular crossovers are being prepped. But what about the small figures behind the big numbers; the less well-known stories which contribute to the overall theme?

These are they. (Read More…)

By on December 11, 2015

2016 Honda Accord Touring

“Very little to dislike,” I found myself responding day after day during my week with the 2016 Honda Accord.

Rarely does a visiting test car generate as many questions and compliments. But the slightly restyled Accord, riding on the Touring’s eye catching, wheel-arch-filling 19-inch wheels, was deemed by friends, family, and neighbours to be quite the looker. And because it’s a car that’s squarely positioned in the affordable realm, they didn’t just compliment the Accord the way they did the $85,000 Audi A6 I drove earlier this fall. Rather, they’d ask, “Would I like it?” (Read More…)

By on September 25, 2015

Brilliance V5

After covering the northernmost city in China (Mohe), we now travel to Ürümqi in the Xinjiang Uyghur autonomous region in the westernmost part of China. I thought we may as well push it to the extreme and explore the provincial capital furthest from Beijing, a whopping 1,500 miles (2,400 km) away.

In fact, Ürümqi – pronounced something resembling “Yooloomooshee” – is both geographically and culturally closer to Kabul in Afghanistan than it is to Beijing. The majority of the population is Muslim and most Chinese road signs are dubbed in Arabic and sometimes Cyrillic script.

What are the most popular vehicles in this remote part of the world?

(Read More…)

By on March 1, 2015

Bugatti Veyron blueFinally. The Veyron is done.

Bugatti reportedly sold the last Veyron, a car which will be displayed at the Geneva auto show in March, to a customer in the Middle East.

Volkswagen-owned Bugatti’s 450-unit production run comes to a close after nearly a decade of delivering cars to customers. Although the cars routinely sold for more than $2M, Bloomberg referenced Singapore-based analyst Max Warburton who believes VW lost €4.6M per car, more than USD $5M.

Unlike the detailed sales reports we see each month from Volkswagen of America’s namesake brand, Veyron-specific numbers were never formally reported. Automotive News reports that approximately one-quarter, or 113, of the Bugatti Veyrons produced ended up in the United States. (Read More…)

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