By on July 2, 2018

Image: Honda
As the industry stresses about the new vehicle market taking it easy for the foreseeable future, there’s one aspect of it that’s of particular concern: car sales. After dominating the field for so long, passenger car sales fell below half of the market just a few years ago. That gap continued to widen through 2018.

Automakers responded by shifting output towards utility vehicles and crossovers. Ford ultimately decided to abandon the majority of its passenger cars in the United States as other manufacturers scramble to adjust their lineup to account for consumer tastes. However, these changes are also helping to push shoppers further away from cars. Bank of America Merrill Lynch estimates that 71 percent of vehicle introductions for the 2019 through 2022 model years will be light trucks.

Some automakers still believe cars hold an importance that’s not to be ignored. True, some models still sell incredibly well. But the general assumption is that they’ll continue losing relevance in the coming years. It’s likely to take another energy crisis or major shift in consumer preference to turn back the tide of crossover vehicles.  (Read More…)

By on May 2, 2018

This marks the first full 30 days since General Motors deemed us slovenly journalists unworthy of a monthly sales report. We’ll live, of course, as estimates are a wonderful thing. To be fair, their move wasn’t entirely without precedent: the industry used to report sales on a 10-day cycle, then twenty, before finally settling on a monthly statement.

As for concrete numbers, all other OEMs are still providing them (for now). Given the sea of red in some corners, there are a few who probably wish they weren’t.

(Read More…)

By on April 5, 2018

After four years of consecutive growth, the United Kingdom’s automotive market has tanked for 12 months straight. The culprit is, of course, dwindling diesel sales.

Thanks to European governments latching onto the fuel as the cleaner alternative to “petrol” throughout the 1990s (subsequently incentivizing the fuel as a way to meet aggressive CO2-reduction targets), diesel-powered autos accounted for roughly half of all new auto sales between 2009 and 2017 . But diesel is now “evil” and everyone in Europe has started avoiding it.

In March, diesel sales declined by 37.2 percent — leaving the once dominant fuel with just 32 percent of the new car market. Unsurprising, as the new trend in Europe is the widespread (future) banning of the fuel in city centers. April’s sales are expected to be even lower, as the British government’s new taxes on diesel vehicles come into effect. Those fees and a weakened pound, which practically everyone has attributed to Brexit, forced new car sales in the UK down by 16 percent.  (Read More…)

By on January 5, 2018

Last week I asked the B&B about the worst L they ever took on a car or bike deal. To my surprise, a lot of readers were forthcoming about not always being steely-eyed cash-purchase Vanguard Funds billionaires who always make salespeople cry and who get loans that are so good the bank actually pays them interest. To those of you who responded with a story or a description: THANK YOU for putting just a tiny little pebble in the way of the Internet Tough Guy steamroller.

This week we’re going to let the braggarts and the Dave Ramsey disciples and the Rich-Dad-Poor-Dad types have a word. Of course, it would also be nice to hear real things from real people. The subject is: What’s the best deal you ever made on a car (or motorcycle, or both)? I’ll kick it off.

(Read More…)

By on April 5, 2017

used cars used car lot

The auto industry has really turned a corner over the last decade, but this year has been underlined by an unsettling lack of interest in new vehicles — potentially hinting at the return of a industry-wide crisis. The good news is that abnormally high used car prices are sinking like a stone. The flip-side of that coin, however, means that we could be approaching darker days as more consumers shy away from the new vehicle market.

Most carmakers spent last year enjoying record sales but seemed keenly aware that the market was about to plateau. However, 2017 sales have stagnated more than predicted, with rising interest rates and deflated prices seen on second-hand automobiles. It all looks very pre-recessionish and some analysts are beginning to make fearful noises.  (Read More…)

By on June 30, 2016

dealership

After riding the sales roller coaster to dizzying, record-breaking heights, it’s only natural that consumers will bring automakers back down to reality.

This year will be a high water mark for new vehicle sales in the U.S., according to a new study by consulting firm AlixPartners (via Automotive News). Sales are forecasted to hit 17.8 million vehicles this year, but a downturn is on the way, and the industry won’t start to see a rebound until the coming decade. (Read More…)

By on March 28, 2016

Mazda Miata RF reveal at NYIAS, Image: © 2016 Bark M./The Truth About Cars

The auto show press conference is a strange phenomenon. More often than not, it’s an executive from a foreign land, reading what is likely his third or fourth language from an obvious teleprompter, getting ready to introduce a car that we’ve all already seen at a “preveal” party. He’s typically using words like “social media,” “lifestyle,” and “aspirational,” all to describe a car that will likely sell less than twenty thousand units — if it even makes it to market.

The speeches are full of safe, non-threatening language, and normally take place in front of screens that rotate stock photos of happy multicultural families enjoying life on sunny, non-homogeneous days. The music is more Wagner than Bach, with thunderous bass and drums booming through speaker systems that even The Darkness might look at and say, “That’s a bit excessive.” And then, finally, a wall lifts and a car appears through a screen of smoke to thunderous applause from a press corps that can’t wait to rewrite the embargo materials already in their collective inbox.

So when Masahiro Moro, President and CEO of Mazda North American Operations, calmly stood next to his gorgeous new creation last week, with little fanfare or adulation, and said these words in while standing front of a black wall, accompanied only by the silence of the room, I believe he did it purposefully. Here’s what he said:

“Other companies have become quite successful by not caring if their cars are boring or not.”

Mic drop. And you know what? Moro-san is absolutely right.

(Read More…)

By on March 10, 2016

2016 Fiat 500L

Fiat’s American retailers are struggling to bring in buyers as well as pay the cost of their dealerships, but help is on the way from the parents.

On March 9, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles pitched a plan to stabilize dealers, offering Fiat stores the opportunity to combine their operations with the Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram dealers many are adjacent to, Automotive News reports.

(Read More…)

By on March 3, 2016

subprime-lenders-car-get-you-guaranteed-approval-on-bad-credit-auto-loans

Good times have clearly arrived, because Americans are flinging money at cars like it’s going out of style.

Leasing has never been more popular for American car buyers, reports the Detroit Free Press, and the size of their auto loans have also reached record territory.

(Read More…)

By on May 30, 2015

2015 Lexus NX200T

123,000 of the 5.4 million new vehicle sales generated in the United States over the last four months are new vehicle nameplates which weren’t on sale at this time a year ago.

Between January and April, the Ford Transit, Acura TLX, Chevrolet Trax, Lexus NX, and 18 other new nameplates accounted for 2.3% of all new vehicle sales volume in the United States, way up from the 1.7% achieved by a smaller fleet of all-new nameplates during the same period one year earlier. (Read More…)

By on April 21, 2015

Tesla Model S delivery to Høyres Nikolai Astrup in Norway

The law of unintended consequences has found another victim in Norway as the nation re-assesses its electric vehicle incentives amid soaring sales.

(Read More…)

By on March 20, 2015

2014 Chevrolet Silverado Crew Cab Z71

In an investigative segment on ABC’s “Good Morning America” Thursday, ABC News purchased a vehicle under recall from a dealer who had not repaired it.

(Read More…)

By on January 26, 2015

2016-Chevrolet-Volt-2

By the end of Q1 2015, PHEVs are expected to take 1 percent of the overall U.S. domestic market despite fuel prices continuing their downward spiral.

(Read More…)

By on July 2, 2014

Cuban Yank tank

Last year, the Cuban government finally made it legal for its citizens to freely buy new vehicles for the first time since Fidel Castro sent Fulgencio Batista packing in 1959. The people rejoiced right up until they saw the prices on the showroom floor this January, family sedans marked up 400 percent or above as if they were Ferraris and Bugattis.

(Read More…)

By on January 12, 2014

ford-ecosport

For the first time in more than a decade, new car sales in India have failed to post a year-over-year increase. Instead, a sharp drop in sales spells bad news for carmakers with heavy investments in that important developing market.

(Read More…)

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