Tag: Sales

By on May 23, 2019

According to a study commissioned by Nissan, Millennials are committed to saving the sedan in an era when crossovers have usurped much of the market. While much of the study revolves around asking people whether they’d consider purchasing a sedan in the future — something any smart shopper would say “yes” to — survey respondents also said there was very little difference in terms of customer satisfaction between crossovers and sedans.

That’s good news for any automaker that launched a bundle of new and refreshed sedans over the past few years. Can you think of one? (Read More…)

By on May 23, 2019

2019 INFINITI QX50

Amid a tumultuous time for Nissan and its luxury division, Infiniti, company CEO Hiroto Saikawa is counting on its crucial U.S. business to turn things around. After seeing its global profit fall 45 percent last year, Saikawa declared earlier this month that the company had hit “rock bottom.”

Further profit and operating margin declines are forecasted for 2019.

Executive shuffling has become the norm as the automaker attempts to stem sales losses in the United States. Lofty volume targets of yesteryear have given way to an approach focused on long-term stability. Still, a turnaround won’t happen overnight.

One man Saikawa is counting on is Infiniti’s new sales boss, Bob Welby, who takes over the position June 1st. (Read More…)

By on May 12, 2019

Subaru Legacy 2018 Logo Emblem Grille

Subaru may be getting too big for its britches. Despite seeming like it was positioned for nearly incalculable growth at the start of last year, the automaker’s latest financial report showed the period was actually plagued with problems. Over the full fiscal year, which ends on March 31st for Subaru, the company basically showed that its operating profit had been cut in half.

How could this have happened? Subaru’s commitment to all-wheel drive has given its sales a shot in the arm as the crossover craze has escalated and it has one of the best reputations in the business. Seriously, ask any automotive layperson what they think of the brand and they will almost always have something positive to say. However, for all of its presumed advantages, the company is reporting a 48.5-percent decline in operating profit (to 195.5 billion yen) and a 6.3-precent loss of global sales volume.  (Read More…)

By on May 9, 2019

Image: Nissan

Pick your jaw up off the floor. As automakers struggle to offer electric vehicles deemed “affordable” by the motoring public, those buyers aren’t exactly swamping dealers with requests for EVs.

Even in the Europe Union, members of which punish drivers of fossil fuel-powered vehicles with high taxes, EVs amounted to just 2 percent of new vehicles registered last year. And yet the EU plans to drastically cut down on greenhouse gas emissions in the coming years.

New data from the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) shows that the EU’s green dreams will be hard to realize without some sort of massive incentive for the purchase of electric vehicles, as right now those vehicles are only marginally popular in extremely wealthy countries. The EV “people’s car” is still a dream. (Read More…)

By on May 7, 2019

Maserati promises it will steer clear of widespread electrification. And yet, it’s unclear whether this is part of a bold corporate strategy that sees electrification as the less-promising path forward, or simply the result of the brand’s current financial situation.

Regardless, the firm’s North American leader, Al Gardner, says it’s not in the cards. While Maserati fully intends to insert more plug-in vehicles and hybrids into its lineup by 2022, it vows to stop short of killing the internal combustion engine. Of course, we know that’s a promise no automaker can expect to keep indefinitely. All it takes is one important change in management to readjust a brand’s corporate trajectory, but Maserati appears safe from total electrification for the time being.  (Read More…)

By on May 6, 2019

2018 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack, Image: VW Group

If you missed last week’s Volkswagen Golf kerfuffle, here’s a recap: a VW employee at a first drive event let slip that the basic (read: non-GTI, non-R) Golf and its SportWagen counterpart won’t make it to the U.S. after the eighth-generation model appears this fall.

Fake news, said VW.

Well, potentially inaccurate news, really. The automaker explained that, while the next-gen GTI and Golf R are indeed greenlit for the U.S., “other Golf models are under consideration for the North American Region.” While Golf sales figures — which are falling, by the way — are readily available from VW, when contacted for a breakdown in SportWagen sales, a not unsurprising figure emerged. (Read More…)

By on May 1, 2019

With an extra selling day compared to the same month one year ago, auto sellers in America had the chance to improve their numbers in April. Subaru, the two Korean brands, and Nissan all managed that feat, while the likes of Fiat Chrysler and Toyota did not. Honda, for one, was roughly flat.

It all adds up to a softening market impacted by rising transaction prices and higher borrowing costs. At this rate, there’s a very good possibility that total light-vehicle sales in this country will drop below 17 million this year for the first time since 2014.

(Read More…)

By on May 1, 2019

Perhaps to its misfortune, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles does not sell a midsize pickup in the world’s biggest truck market, but buyers in certain overseas markets were able to get into a four-door, body-on-frame midsizer carrying the Fiat badge — the Fullback, more properly described as a rebadged Mitsubishi Triton/L200.

Note the word “were.” The Fiat Fullback is no more, according to FCA’s light commercial vehicles division. The discontinuation stems from the same problem Fiat faces in America: really bad sales. (Read More…)

By on April 30, 2019

General Motors’ first-quarter earnings report revealed turmoil in international markets and a shrinking presence in North America, but net income rose to $2.1 billion, up from $1.1 billion a year ago, and adjusted earnings per share ($1.41) beat out estimates of $1.11. Still, that wasn’t enough to stop its stock from sliding in pre-market trading, as revenue of $34.9 billion undercut analyst estimates of $35.28 billion. Pre-tax earnings fell 11 percent.

In its report, GM wanted to talk about trucks. You know the ones — the revamped 2019 Silverado and Sierra 1500 crew cabs, now featured in half of the pop-up ads on your author’s computer and phone, advertising 0% financing. (Read More…)

By on April 29, 2019

smart fortwo electric

The brand discontinuation we’ve all been waiting for has come to pass.

One month after the city car-building Smart brand’s salvation at the hands of China’s Geely, parent company Daimler has announced the 2019 model year will be Smart’s last in North America.

Say goodbye to a single electric model with a range of 58 miles. (Read More…)

By on April 29, 2019

Unlike components used in new vehicle assembly, the finished product is not shipped to the customer in a just-in-time manner. There’s usually a healthy amount of dealer-ready vehicles on hand, though recent months has seen inventories slide into obesity. Extended downtime and shift cuts at assembly plants are one result of a bloated supply made worse by falling U.S. sales (Fiat Chrysler’s Windsor Assembly is just the latest victim), but autoworkers aren’t the only ones bearing the brunt.

Figures from the beginning of April shows the inventory problem is only getting worse, with pressure growing on the dealers tasked with selling these vehicles. (Read More…)

By on April 29, 2019

1975 Mercedes-Benz 240D in California wrecking yard, LH front view - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

Europe, the continent where tech-savvy bad guys in action movies come from, finds itself in a rapid and transformational shift. As European lawmakers and city governments turn their back on diesel, so too are automakers and customers.

Compared to past years, the take rate for diesel automobiles now resembles the trajectory of American-market passenger cars. Last month, the continent posted the worst sales showing for diesel vehicles this century. In what DPRK News Service calls “Belgian’s colonies,” the take rate for diesel — which once surpassed 55 percent — is accelerating its descent to zero.

It seems you can tax the evil away. (Read More…)

By on April 19, 2019

Ford celebrated its iconic sports coupe’s 55th birthday at the New York International Auto Show this week by proclaiming Wednesday as “Mustang Day.” But Mustang Day was overshadowed by other nostalgic celebrations taking place at the New York Auto Show, specifically Nissan’s 50th Anniversary Editions of the GT-R (which looked excellent) and 370Z (which one of our anal-retentive staffers criticized over technical inaccuracies). The Japanese manufacturer even had a multi-tiered display and brought in historic models, countering the building apathy many automakers seem to have developed for giant trade shows.

Despite Nissan winning the battle for eyes in New York, Ford still appears to have won the day — at least from its own perspective. Following the NY debut of the Mustang’s 2.3-liter High Performance Package, which brings up the base auto’s peak output to 330 horsepower just for starters, the company proudly announced that its pony car has remained the world’s top-selling sports coupe over the last four years.  (Read More…)

By on April 16, 2019

Ram 1500

Fiat Chrysler doesn’t break down its Ram pickup sales figures for us wordy-typey slobs, so it isn’t easy to figure out just how much the held-over 1500 Classic has helped the brand’s soaring sales. FCA decided, last year, that the old-generation half-ton should remain in production, and not just to smooth things over while the new-for-2019 1500 got up to speed.

Well, we now have a better idea of just how useful that strategy was. Go figure — scores of American truck buyers are willing to forgo refinement for a lower price on a big, brawny pickup. (Read More…)

By on April 9, 2019

Image: Toyota

The first quarter of 2019 reflected a long-predicted cooling off of U.S. auto sales, with volume falling 2 percent. A few automakers bucked the trend, but the news was generally unpleasant. Of course, rising average transaction prices and a bevy of high-margin trucks, SUVs, and crossovers softened the blow for those who got their lineups in order ahead of time.

One segment that gets very little attention — for many reasons — is the lowest rung of all: subcompact cars, which traditionally provide a stepping stone for buyers just entering the market. Many journos bemoan the loss of low-priced cars, claiming relatively cash-strapped Millennials stand to be priced out of the new vehicle market by rising MSRPs and interest rates. It’s true — the herd is thinning, with the last quarter bringing about the death of the Chevrolet Cruze. (This writer actually bought one; the jury’s out if anyone else out there did.)

Still, despite the industry flux, some nameplates continue to earn the love of buyers who choose to spend as little as possible on a new car. (Read More…)

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