Quick Sales Rebound? Forget It, Says Bank of America
U.S. auto sales were already heading into a long-predicted cooling-off period when that spiky little virus arrived, throwing economies into disarray. As a result of the coronavirus’ impact on world markets, including that of the U.S., a return to the kinds of volume the industry enjoyed over the past few years won’t take place overnight.
According to a new Bank of America study, good times won’t really return until the middle of the decade — and even then, not to levels seen last year.
2018 BMW X3 Is Supposed to Become the Segment Sales Leader, but It's Priced Higher Than Key Competitors
Munich HQ has huge expectations for the third-generation BMW X3. The X3, after all, was the vehicle that ignited the compact luxury SUV craze, the vehicle that spawned competitors such as the Audi Q5, Acura RDX, Mercedes-Benz GLK/GLC, Volvo XC60, Lexus NX, and Porsche Macan. Surely the X3 has the power, the might, the capacity for sales domination, right?
“We created that segment,” BMW CEO Harald Krueger said in July. “The No. 1 approach and target I clearly have is, there shouldn’t be anyone besides us who is No. 1.”
“If somebody on my team is not performing to that, well, he has a problem,” Krueger says, making clear to BMW USA’s Bernhard Kuhnt that greater global production of the X3 will mean greater allocation, which had better mean greater U.S. sales.
BMW will not, however, seek to achieve the lofty sales goals by introducing the 2018 X3 with a price that undercuts its key rivals.
For the First Time in 2017, September Auto Sales May Have Increased, Slightly, Perhaps
Both Edmunds and Kelley Blue Book are forecasting marginal year-over-year sales increases for the U.S. auto industry in September 2017.
If the analysts prove correct, it will be the industry’s first month of growth since December of last year. What’ll it take to push the industry beyond the 1.43 million new vehicles sold in September 2016?
The big gains from General Motors and Toyota will have to be big enough to overcome big losses from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Hyundai-Kia.
Remember How Silly You Thought It Was When Lexus Predicted 400 LC Sales Per Month in America?
Lexus has high hopes for the LC, we told you in March. Not yet on sale at that point, Lexus was entirely transparent about the company’s belief that it could sell 400 copies of the LC500 and hybridized LC500h every month in America.
“That’s a big number,” I wrote six months ago, expressing a measure of doubt. But Lexus was insistent, based on “tremendous response to the LF-LC show car” from 2012, a successful carryover to production of concept car design, and “positive feedback in customer clinics.”
Doubt was expressed by most commenters, as well. “Good luck with that,” Master Baiter told Lexus. “Lexus, you need help,” said thats one fast cat. “Setting a goal like this is just setting Lexus up for the unnecessary perception of failure,” dal20402 wrote. “Dumb move.” badhobz said, “I don’t think it’ll do that well.”
It’s been half a year. It’s time for the Lexus LC to stand up and be counted.
Toyota Expects Lexus LS Sedan Sales to Take Off Again, but Not Nearly to Historic Levels
Timing is tough.
Toyota’s Lexus luxury marque launched the fourth-generation Lexus LS for the 2007 model year, just prior to an economic collapse that was followed up by an anti-car/pro-SUV shift. Lexus, which averaged more than 25,000 annual U.S. sales of its LS flagship sedan during its third generation and then topped 35,000 sales in 2007, suddenly found itself struggling to top the 10K marker.
As the fourth-gen LS’s tenure came to an end, Lexus watched as demand for the LS quickly collapsed. From fewer than 11,000 sales in 2013 and fewer than 9,000 in 2014 to barely more than 7,000 in 2015 and only 5,514 in 2016, the once hugely successful Lexus LS — a former leader of America’s large luxury sedan class and the car that was responsible for the genesis of Lexus — became an afterthought.
The fifth-generation Lexus LS is set to go on sale this winter, and Lexus expects to see a huge increase in demand for the new car in 2018. Lexus does not, however, expect the LS to generate anything like the kind of interest the big sedan did prior to the proverbial global financial crisis.
Forget Volkswagen's '800,000 Sales by 2018' Goal - VW's New Goal Is 5 Percent U.S. Market Share by 2020
In 2009, during the depths of a global financial crisis the likes of which generations had never seen, Volkswagen of America set forth on a nine-year plan that would more than triple sales to 800,000 units in 2018.
Stuff happened. A crisis (or two) got in the way. An overly Americanized product lineup lacking in utility vehicles underachieved. Volkswagen lost its right to sell diesel models in America. Volkswagen will struggle to sell 400,000 new vehicles in the United States in 2018.
Although at first it seemed possible — Volkswagen sales grew far faster than the market as a whole exiting the recession — the 800,000-unit sales goal has long since been abandoned. By 2014, before the diesel emissions scandal even broke, now-departed Volkswagen of America CEO Michael Horn was questioning the timing of the 800,000-sales goal.
As the summer of 2017 approaches a close, however, Volkswagen’s global boss Herbert Diess has a new, seemingly unrealistic goal for the brand’s U.S. operations, Bloomberg reports. With a stronger SUV lineup, Volkswagen wants to grow its U.S. market share to 5 percent in 2020.
Volkswagen’s market share in 2017? Less than 2 percent.
Forecasters Believe July 2017 Was the U.S. Auto Industry's Seventh Consecutive Month of Decline
Despite all of the attention being called to the U.S. auto industry’s downturn in early 2017, first-half auto sales slipped only 2 percent from 2016’s all-time record highs.
But the rate of decline in July 2017 is expected to be the worst of the year so far, with forecasters generally calling for drops of at least 5 percent.
That will represent a loss of at least 76,000 sales in July alone.
June 2017 U.S. Auto Sales Likely Slid for a Sixth Consecutive Month As Incentives and Transaction Prices Rise
Automakers likely sold fewer than 1.5 million new vehicles in the United States in June 2017, a modest decrease of around 2 percent compared with June 2016.
While auto sales remain high by historic standards — 1.48 million sales would still make June 2017 more than 15-percent better than the 1.33 million June average from 2011-2015 — June nevertheless represents the persistence of a negative trend.
After 2016 ended with a December boom to close out the highest-volume year on record, auto sales in the United States declined on a year-over-year basis in each of 2017’s first five months. A 2-percent drop in June, worth roughly 30,000 lost sales, will run the streak of decreases to a full half-year.
The American auto industry’s decline comes as automakers continue to incentivize heavily and, fortunately for manufacturers, consumers grow ever more willing to pay higher prices.
General Motors' 2017 U.S. Auto Sales Forecast Adjusted (Downward)
General Motors no longer expects the U.S. auto industry to collect more than 17.5 million new vehicle sales in 2017.
GM’s chief financial officer, Chuck Stevens, revisited the automaker’s U.S. sales forecast and turned the wick down from the mid-17-million-unit range, according to Automotive News, to the low-17-million-unit range.
That’s not a low number. In fact, 2017’s reduction of some 300,000 sales across the industry, year-over-year, would produce the second-best year for auto sales since 2001.
But reduced demand is complicating matters for the entire industry, most particularly for large automakers with excessive inventory.
American Honda Expects Facelifted 2018 Acura TLX to Sell Better Than Ever
Upon its debut in late 2014, the Acura TLX had big shoes to fill. Not only was the TLX intended to replace the Acura TL, the TLX would also serve, at least in part, as a replacement for the Acura TSX.
Not surprisingly, the TLX never sold as often as that duo did at their peak. Acura sold over 113,000 TLs and TSXs in 2005. Yet by the end of their run, in 2013, Acura managed to sell fewer than 42,000 TLs and TSXs. As a result, the arrival of the Acura TLX — and yes, it’s difficult for both reader and writer to keep the letters straight — was heartily welcomed by Acura dealers. The TLX represented a simpler lineup, one sufficiently spacious car, and 47,080 sales in 2015.
But TLX sales have trailed off rather precipitously ever since, and Acura is counting on a thorough refresh for the 2018 model year to spur TLX demand once again.
And quite a spur it must be. Wards Auto is reporting that Acura’s goals for the facelifted TLX are loftier than ever.
2017 U.S. Auto Sales Forecasts Are Falling; Still Likely the Fourth-Best Year on Record
After U.S. sales of new vehicles declined 2 percent, year-over-year, through the first five months of 2017, forecasters surveyed by Bloomberg are largely in agreement. 2017 will fall well short of 2016’s record auto industry output, sliding to 17.2 million sales from more than 17.5 million in 2016.
There are nevertheless a handful of positives on which optimistic automakers can draw. First, a 17-million-unit sales year still represents a huge number of sales for manufacturers that averaged 12.5 million sales between 2008 and 2012.
Second, the high incentive spending doesn’t appear to be growing higher. Pair that with high average transaction prices and automakers can still earn big profits.
Third, if Washington ever does get around to legislating — no sure bet in this investigative congressional age — then promised tax cuts and infrastructure programs could further elevate demand.
In the meantime, there are causes for concern.
Did Anybody Believe The Lexus NX Would Be This Popular?
Popular? Most definitely. In fact, the Lexus NX is twice as popular as Lexus anticipated.
The Lexus NX, a crossover you must never confuse with the Nissan NX, is marketed in the United States both in NX200t and NX300h variants. At the New York International Auto Show three years ago, Lexus revealed the brand hoped to sell around 26,000 NXs per year; roughly 2,200 per month. At that point, in the lead-up to the NX’s 2014 Q4 launch, there were two schools of thought. One, the NX was so ghastly to behold Lexus surely wouldn’t sell 2,200 per month. Or, because Lexus is such a luxury crossover powerhouse, even the NX — with a face even a mother couldn’t love — will be more popular than Lexus anticipated.
Dealers believed Lexus’ forecast was on the low side.
But could anyone have expected the Lexus NX would be more than twice as popular as originally forecasted; that the Lexus NX would be America’s fifth-best-selling luxury utility vehicle; that the NX would account for one-in-five Lexus sales in America?
Seriously? Nissan Intends To Quintuple Titan Volume and Market Share
By broadening its lineup, rethinking the dealer approach, and focusing on prime markets, Nissan intends to increase its Titan pickup truck’s share of America’s full-size market to 5 percent.
5 percent. One in twenty trucks. One Titan for every 19 Ford F-Series, Chevrolet Silverado, Ram P/U, GMC Sierra, and Toyota Tundra.
That doesn’t sound so crazy, does it?
Nah, at least until you realize that in 2016, Nissan sold fewer than 22,000 Titans, or slightly less than 1 percent market share.
It's Official And Insurmountable: These Are 2015's Top Sellers Two Months Early
The Ford F-Series will end 2015 as America’s best-selling truck line and the best-selling vehicle line overall. Yes, there are two months remaining on the calendar, but there will be no unseating of the Ford, which built up a 137,400-unit lead over the second-ranked vehicle over the course of 2015’s first ten months.
The F-Series isn’t the only vehicle to secure its position at the front of its respective pack. These are the kinds of stories typically not published until the beginning of January, but we already know that the level of dominance enjoyed by certain nameplates is so high that they won’t – they can’t – be caught.
TrueCar Predictions: Detroit Loses Market Share In Strong August
Sales Forecasts August 2012Forecast TrueCarForecast KelleyUnitsYoYShareUnitsYoYShareChrysler142,5939.60%11.4%142,6009.60%11.2%Ford191,4569.50%15.3%191,6009.60%15.1%GM227,0873.90%18.1%225,9503.40%17.7%Honda133,45862.10%10.6%129,45057.30%10.2%Hyundai/Kia117,21217.60%9.3%119,66220.00%9.4%Nissan97,0226.00%7.7%105,00014.70%8.2%Toyota182,89641.30%14.6%176,95036.70%13.9%Volkswagen47,06932.80%3.7%53,50050.50%4.2%Industry1,255,39217.20%100.0%1,273,00018.70%100.0%
When U.S. August sales numbers will be announced next week, TrueCar expects them to be up strongly. The Santa Monica forecaster predicts August new light vehicle sales to be in the neighborhood of 1,255,392 units, up 17.2 percent from August 2011. TrueCar’s forecast would translate into a Seasonally Adjusted Annualized Rate (“SAAR”) of 14.2 million new car sales, up from 12.1 million in August 2011.