Tag: Sales

By on June 10, 2020

Shifts are returning to Ford Motor Company plants across North America, with the automaker claiming Thursday that full production will return sooner than you might think.

At the same time, Ford dropped details on when consumers might expect to see an electric vehicle that hauls heavy loads, rather than steals past glory and heritage from one of America’s most beloved vehicles. (Read More…)

By on June 9, 2020

hyundai

In the midsize sedan war, the Hyundai Sonata is like Japanese forces in the Pacific — slowly  losing ground as powerful enemies amass an ever larger share of the territory. When faced with the name recognition and brand appeal of the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, maintaining your position means throwing everything you have into the fight.

Into that battle came the radically restyled 2020 Hyundai Sonata, joined imminently by the Sonata Hybrid — a sedan that gets up to 52 mpg on the combined cycle. Hyundai has apparently decided that money talks, and that the new hybrid will ride into battle waving cash at local townfolk. (Read More…)

By on June 6, 2020

2020 Mazda 3 hatchback grey - Image: Mazda

The redesigned Mazda 3 arrived for 2019 with upgrades in both looks and cabin refinement, elevating the sporty compact sedan and hatch to a level of class it never occupied before. Also new was optional all-wheel drive to temp those who like a little tail action in sandy corners (or just getting through the winter).

Unpredictably, the new 3 landed with a resounding thud.

Launched with too high an entry price in the U.S., the attractive model’s sales plunge was swift and jarring, forcing Mazda brass to re-think the whole effort. They’re still thinking, and it seems the latest move will bring moar power to the little KODOmobile. (Read More…)

By on June 5, 2020

2019 Nissan Altima

Replay the last couple of years and you’ll hear a chorus of automaker pledging their allegiance to sustainable business practices. Streamlined operations, pared-down lineups and build configurations, reduced incentives, and a newfound preference for retail sales over the volume-at-all-costs approach. No single company touted this more than Nissan, though it was hardly alone.

The coronavirus pandemic, in some cases, sped up the need to find firmer financial footing, even if incentivization became the name of the game in order to move any car or truck. One thing’s for sure: fleets, especially rental fleets, sure weren’t interested. (Read More…)

By on June 4, 2020

Sport Mazda dealer storefront - Image: MazdaMonth after month, as the Mazda product lineup improves and as plaudits pour in, we chronicle the company’s tragic dearth of U.S. sales success. The automaker’s goals for performance in the American marketplace are modest: a good 2 percent market share, for example. Yet generating meaningful demand for deserving products – the second-generation CX-9 and the new-for-2019 Mazda 3, as examples – has proven remarkably challenging.

At least it was remarkably challenging, until a pandemic battered and bruised the U.S. auto market beyond all recognition. U.S. auto sales in the first quarter of 2020 tumbled by more than 12 percent, yet Mazda sales during the same period were off by just 4 percent. Mazda market share ticked up to 1.9 percent in Q1.

But it was Mazda’s May 2020 performance, in which the brand’s sales in the United States dropped by fewer than 300 units, that Mazda appeared downright hopeful. You won’t be surprised to learn the market fared much, much worse.

(Read More…)

By on June 1, 2020

I must make a confession. Of all the vehicles on the market today — a diverse crowd if there ever was one — no car’s rear end annoys me more than that of the Lexus IS.

The brand’s sporty compact offering went in a controversial direction for its third generation, entering the 2014 model year with half-melted ice cream cone styling. Seems the taillights suffered worst from the heat, as the red plastic managed to bleed nearly all the way down to the rear wheel well. And the first-gen was so clean!

For Gen 4, it seems Lexus is prepared to correct this mistake. (Read More…)

By on June 1, 2020

2018 Lexus RX 350

The new vehicle market has stopped marching. For three weeks in a row, sales in the U.S. plateaued, mirroring COVID-19 case levels in many locales. Try as they might, neither doctors nor dealers seem capable of eradicating all of the bad and returning the country to its coronavirus-free, spend-happy ways.

Things take time.

If you’re a purveyor of premium cars, however, things are looking up. If mainstream’s your bag, uncertainty reigns. And if you thought Memorial Day Weekend sales offers would stimulate the industry and kick-start a renewed sales climb, well, you were out of luck. (Read More…)

By on May 29, 2020

There’s inventories to be filled with trucks and crossovers, and time’s wasting. After staging a cautious, production-limited restart of its North American assembly plants on May 18th, General Motors is prepared to put its foot down, boosting output at numerous locations.

Hungry dealers can’t wait. (Read More…)

By on May 29, 2020

A seldom-mentioned player in the compact crossover arena, the Chinese-built Buick Envision had a complicated introduction to the U.S. market, landing in the middle of the 2016 model year with only pricey uplevel trims in tow.

Buick quickly rectified the problem, adding lower-tier fare and sinking the Envision’s entry price to a more palatable level. Still, the model failed to make a big splash in a hugely competitive segment, with sales peaking in 2017, its first full year on the market. Can this second-generation model make up for a bad first impression? (Read More…)

By on May 27, 2020

Tesla Model X

Hoping to reduce the coronavirus pandemic’s strain on its balance sheet, Tesla slashed prices on three of its four models on Wednesday. While the company posted a surprise first-quarter profit last month, no one expects Q2 to be similarly rosy.

Tesla only recently fired up its Fremont, California assembly plant amid a cloud of threats and a lawsuit targeting Alameda County officials. With sales severely hampered by both the weeks-long shutdown and state-level stay-at-home orders, getting new Teslas out of the factory and into driveways becomes even more important than it was before. Perhaps consumers respond well to lower prices… (Read More…)

By on May 27, 2020

We’re still a day away from the (online) debut of Acura’s next-generation TLX sedan, and already there’s catnip to be had for the performance and handling crowd. And for lovers of tradition and heritage, too.

Late Tuesday, Acura revealed that the TLX won’t just feature a slinky body and potent — yet unspecified — powertrain. The new sedan will also break from its predecessor by reaching further into the past, returning to a suspension type that made past Acuras top performers in their class. (Read More…)

By on May 21, 2020

2018 Lexus NX front – Image: Lexus

It could be a blip, a fluke, but it could also become the norm as consumer buying habits struggle to return to something approaching normal. Via data from J.D. Power, we can see that U.S. auto sales failed to make any headway in the week ending May 17th, ending a six-week climb out the lockdown sales pit.

Finding a guilty party on which to pin the result is proving difficult. (Read More…)

By on May 19, 2020

Reeling from the pandemic-born financial crisis, Hertz is unloading some particularly cost-intensive vehicles from its rental fleet. While plenty of these vehicles are old stock it would have had to get rid of eventually, Hertz is limiting fleet turnover this year, recently cancelling roughly 90 percent of new vehicle orders it had on the books for 2020. The company’s also selling some of the special performance vehicles slotted into its lineup every year ⁠— and not all of them seem to have accrued the kind of mileage that would normally warrant a sale.

We’ve chronicled the rental agency’s plight for a while now; Hertz seems to be on the brink of declaring bankruptcy, making it a good case study for the perils confronting auto rental groups everywhere. While we don’t think selling a handful of high-horsepower Chevrolets will be anyone’s saving grace, it might help Hertz scrounge up some loose cash — and provide a half-decent opportunity for enthusiasts to procure a bargain project car.  (Read More…)

By on May 19, 2020

Image: Nissan

The analysts at BloombergNEF foresee a rough year ahead for global auto sales, putting their crystal ball in alignment with everyone else’s. Hardly a shock that the worst pandemic in a century would weigh heavily on consumer spending and confidence.

For electric vehicles, however, the virus stands to rock this segment’s boat to a lesser degree than its mainstream counterparts — which isn’t to say there’s smooth sailing ahead. (Read More…)

By on May 19, 2020

As you read last week, the U.S. auto industry continues its climb out of the coronavirus ditch, with foreign automakers pushing back at a briefly dominant Detroit in a bid to restore sales sanity.

The domestic three managed to unload an awful lot of big-margin trucks during the lockdown, propelling scared customers into dealers with zero-interest financing on long-term loans. Detroit’s rivals have now fully caught on, fighting back with their own offers. For Lexus, the new proposal to buyers doesn’t even end at the new-car lot. (Read More…)

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