Tag: Sales

By on January 3, 2020

2020 Toyota Corolla - Image: Toyota Canada

Not that long ago, we posited that the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic would buck the declining passenger car trend and eke out a sales win in 2019. Several things were working in the models’ favor — name recognition, diversity of choice, and the elimination of domestic rivals.

In this market, in this era, breaking even counts as a win. And that’s just what the Corolla and Civic did last year. (Read More…)

By on January 2, 2020

2019 Mazda CX-3 rear quarter

The smallest Mazda crossover, which happened to be too small for a friend of this writer, enters the new decade with a greatly reduced presence. Not just in America, but overseas, too.

While the U.S.-market CX-3 subcompact stands to lose all but one trim in a carefully calculated move by Mazda brass, a different plan is afoot on the other side of the Atlantic. (Read More…)

By on December 30, 2019

Earlier this year, when rumors of a forthcoming all-wheel drive Chrysler Pacifica arose, the minivan segment seemed ready to birth a rival to Toyota’s AWD Sienna. Instead, Chrysler ended up debuting a stripped-down version of the FWD Pacifica called the Voyager.

AWD isn’t off the table, it seems, but the traditional form of all-wheel traction is. A new report claims the coming year will bring an electrified AWD minivan from Windsor Assembly. (Read More…)

By on December 26, 2019

Image: GM

We spend a lot of time discussing pickups on these digital pages, and with good reason. Pickups have quickly become the go-to vehicle for growing families, replacing sedans and wagons in that role, though crossovers and SUVs of varying sizes still garner the greatest market share.

With a proliferation of trim choices leading to ever-higher ATPs and hefty margins for those who build them, pickups remain a cash cow for many companies — at least, those capable of capturing the public’s attention. With data in hand, let’s look at the decade that was. (Read More…)

By on December 20, 2019

Earlier this fall, word arose that Fiat Chrysler had resurrected a practice from the bad old days of the company — a sales bank of unallocated vehicles churned out by over-productive factories and pushed on dealers with little use for them. The company claimed otherwise, saying that its new “predictive analytics” system was simply in the process of being refined to better guide the flow of certain models and configurations to dealers.

With 2019 nearly at an end, unordered inventory is once again on the rise, Bloomberg reports. And not by any small amount, either. In response, FCA is reportedly pulling out all the stops to get these vehicles into consumers’ hands before 2020. (Read More…)

By on December 17, 2019

2020 Toyota Prius and RAV4 Hybrid - Images: Toyota CanadaYou weren’t crazy. In 2000, when the Toyota Prius first arrived in the United States only slightly behind the Honda Insight, it wasn’t unreasonable for you to wonder whether the odd little duck had a future. And to be fair, it didn’t. It wasn’t until Toyota launched a new generation of the Prius as a more practical liftback for MY2004 that a hybridized future appeared plausible.

With little in the way of competition, Toyota sold 107,897 copies of the Prius in the U.S. in 2005. That made the Prius more popular than the Volkswagen Jetta and Mazda 3; more popular than the Toyota RAV4, as well. By 2012, Toyota had expanded the Prius family to include a plug-in, a subcompact Prius C, and a Prius V wagon. The result: U.S. Prius sales peaked at 236,655 units in 2012.

And then, for the Prius, it all fell apart. Half a decade later, total Prius sales were less than half that strong. In 2019, Toyota is tracking toward fewer than 70,000 U.S. Prius sales, the worst year for the nameplate since 2004.

Yet Toyota is on a pace for its hybrid family to earn roughly 226,000 sales in 2019. Granted, those aren’t 2012 levels. And selling at that level does require an array of hybrid options. But regardless, it’s clear Toyota has found its Prius replacement. As the Prius’s star fades, the RAV4 Hybrid is now Toyota’s primary hybrid volume driver. (Read More…)

By on December 11, 2019

Ram 1500 MultiFunction Tailgate

Many stories can be told of the events of 2019, but one of the headliners should be Fiat Chrysler’s growing presence in the full-size truck segment. Not domination of it, obviously — that role continues to be reserved for Ford Motor Company and its F-Series pickups. Still, the past year did see the Ram brand relegate Chevrolet to the third-place spot in U.S. sales.

North of the border, where people love big trucks just as much as Americans (regardless of what virtues are signalled on the world stage), it’s a similar story. Let’s see how the Detroit Three are faring in the snowy full-size segment up yonder. (Read More…)

By on December 9, 2019

Russia’s largest automotive manufacturer, AvtoVAZ, announced Monday that it plans to buy General Motors out of its regional joint venture. The duo previously assembled Chevrolet-branded automobiles for the local market; however, GM lost interest after the market took a turn for the worse.

While sanctions from Western nations and falling oil prices upended Russia’s economy a few years ago, it was already headed for hard times. Wages have stagnated and average citizens no longer possess the same level of buying power they held a decade earlier. The Russian Economic Development Ministry predicts just a 1-2 percent growth rate up to 2030 and leadership doesn’t seem terribly interested in improving the situation for the citizenry, deciding instead to raise taxes on just about everything. GM was probably right to get out.  (Read More…)

By on December 6, 2019

While U.S. auto sales are expected to slump further this year, continuing a trend in the industry, certain products seem impervious to market pressures. Take the Toyota Tacoma, for example. Hardly the newest kid on the block, the Tacoma nonetheless manages to consistently retain buyers while capturing new ones.

Like its parent company, the Tacoma just posted its best-ever November sales month. And wouldn’t you know it — early results are in, and the new Corolla seems to be a hit. (Read More…)

By on December 5, 2019

BMW is walking back its controversial decision to charge an annual subscription for the use of Apple’s CarPlay in its vehicles. We quickly complained about it, worried that it would spur a new trend of charging customers for the privilege of accessing what is normally standard content.

The German manufacturer originally said the subscription fee was necessary in order to offer wireless updates aimed at keeping the user interface evolving with phones. This was soon proven not to be the case, as other manufacturers already offer that exact service for free. BMW wanted to charge $80 a year (or $300 for a 240-month plan) after providing CarPlay free of charge for 12 months. Now, it will be gratis.  (Read More…)

By on December 5, 2019

Image: Nissan

As Christmas looms, Nissan just placed an unwanted gift in the stockings of its U.S. employees. Sinking sales, combined with a global streamlining of its cash-strapped operation, has led the automaker to give all employees two unpaid days off of work in January, Automotive News reports.

In a memo to employees obtained by the publication, Nissan’s U.S. arm laid out the emergency cost-cutting measures in full. It seems no one gets off the hook. (Read More…)

By on December 3, 2019

ford

Plenty of digital ink has been spilled on the new Mustang Mach-E, from Ford’s decision of saddling it with a pony car name to questions around who’s going to buy the thing. Just over two weeks since its introduction, we at least have an answer to the latter.

The gearheads at The Detroit News ran a story this morning about the Mach-E’s ability to pull new customers into Ford showrooms, citing a conversation they had with suits at San Tan Ford outside of Phoenix. Your author decided to go one step further, calling up what’s touted as the #1 Ford dealer in the world to see if the findings were a one-off anomaly.

They aren’t.

(Read More…)

By on November 25, 2019

Roger Penske, the business magnate whose Penske Automotive Group operates more than 150 dealers across the U.S., isn’t very excited about electric vehicles, as he’s seen how easily they sell.

Which is to say, he’s seen how difficult it can be to unload an EV.

While Tesla chooses to go its own way in the retailing space, established OEMs with a strong dealer presence must consider other financial realities in deciding how they offer a new EV. Unlike Tesla, these new EVs often look like the ICE-powered vehicles they share a stable with. However, their price might not have much in common with similar-sized vehicles sitting just across the showroom or lot. (Read More…)

By on November 14, 2019

Image: GM

A new report from Edmunds tries to make a case against Ford and General Motors placing their small- and medium-sized cars on an iceberg and setting it adrift. We don’t even need to see the metrics to agree. Ditching cars for higher-margin crossovers and SUVs always seemed a little short-sighted. Without entry-level models, you’re likely to get fewer entry-level (i.e. new) customers, and several of the models axed from North American lineups happened to be the most enjoyable to drive.

Selfishly, we like to see plenty of variety among mainstream brands.

Edmunds’ concern isn’t so much about Ford and GM losing money; rather, it’s more about the automakers setting themselves up for failure further down the line. The analysis revealed that 42 percent of Cruze and Focus owners are choosing to stay in the passenger car segment, rather than spending a little (or lot) more to purchase crossovers and SUVs. Meanwhile, 23 percent of Cruze owners and 31 percent of Focus owners who traded in their car in 2019 ended up buying something similar from a competing automaker(Read More…)

By on November 14, 2019

gm

A new Buick arrives from across the Pacific early next year, and it may be priced in a manner that relegates the hot-selling Encore to the runner-up spot.

The Encore GX, which aims to split the size difference between Encore and Envision, may be larger than its subcompact sibling, but it sheds one cylinder beneath its hood. It also doesn’t add much in the way of cost, pricing guides reveal. (Read More…)

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