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U.S. Auto Sales Hit 16.6 Million Units in June

GM sees small increase while others enjoy stronger results.

by on Jul.01, 2014

The all-new 2015 Audi A3 is helping the German maker to another banner year in 2014.

Overall June was another stellar month for U.S. automakers, General Motors faced positives and negatives. The automaker’s sweeping recalls managed to divert attention away from the troubles at Cadillac and its flat sales.

Despite those issues GM managed to eke out a 1% sales increase despite predictions that sales might fall under the weight of an unfavorable year-to-year comparison and the din from the recalls. But Cadillac sales increased less increasing by only one-tenth of 1%.

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Meanwhile, the luxury brands from Germany and Japan continued to post sales increases. Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi, Jaguar Land Rover and Lexus all reported sales hikes. Mercedes, Audi and Lexus posted double-digit increases. Among Cadillac’s rivals in the luxury space, only Infiniti and Volvo, both of which are facing challenges gaining credibility among luxury buyers, saw sales decline. (more…)

June Car Sales Deliver Unexpected Surprises

GM defies skeptics, posts best numbers in seven years.

by on Jul.01, 2014

The new Chrysler 200 helped drive a strong month for the Detroit side of Fiat Chrysler.

With motorists facing new worries over rising gasoline prices, sales of fuel-efficient passenger cars perked up in June, while General Motors Co. surprised some observers by posting a modest 1% sales increase despite its ongoing recall crisis.

Chrysler, Toyota, Nissan and Hyundai also reported sales increases in June, while Porsche reported its best-ever numbers for the month. On a seasonally adjusted basis, June saw the industry operating at a 16.6 million annual rate, well ahead of the industry’s overall performance for the first half of the year. Were that figure to hold, the industry would sell nearly 1 million more vehicles than it did in 2013. Meanwhile, consumers wound up paying more than ever for their new vehicles in June, according to industry analysts.

Behind the Numbers!

There had been concern that June might bring a slowdown to the rapid recovery of the U.S. automotive market, in part due to worries about fuel prices. Some analysts, meanwhile, were predicting that GM would go into the negative column because of its ongoing recall crisis. It ended the month by announcing four new recalls covering 7.6 million vehicles in the U.S. alone. GM has now had 54 separate recalls since January, covering about 26 million vehicles in the U.S., and 29 million worldwide.

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June Car Sales Looking Robust – But GM Could Take Hit

Industry is in “the position since well before the Great Recession.”

by on Jun.27, 2014

Demand for the new Jeep Cherokee is leading the way for Chrysler's strong sales performance.

Neither the threat of rising gasoline prices nor the distraction created by the World Cup tournament has short-circuited the U.S. new vehicle market this month, according to industry analysts and executives – though the recent, torrid pace has slowed a bit.

Preliminary estimates call for a modest gain for June of perhaps 1% or so, overall, with the Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate of sales, or SAAR, expected to reach around 16.4 million, not far under the industry’s peak of a decade ago.

On Track!

“Sales have been very good,” said David Zuchowski, president and chief executive officer of Hyundai Motors America.

That’s a position echoed by other industry insiders.

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Dealers Playing Critical Role in Recall Crisis – But Franchise System Under Increasing Fire

Tesla gets a loophole in NY.

by on Jun.19, 2014

Dealers have been investing billions for upgrades demanded by automakers like BMW in recent years.

The surge in recalls this year by General Motors and other automakers has underscored the vital role that franchise dealers play in the automobile industry – or so says the powerful dealer trade association – but there are a growing number of challenges to the century-old franchise system.

Dealers are facing a flood of work as recalls accelerate to a record pace – GM alone announcing service actions covering nearly 18 million vehicles sold in the U.S. so far this year. But other makers, including Toyota, Ford, Honda and Chrysler, have announced, or are facing the prospect of, millions more recalls in the months ahead.

What a Deal!

Handling those repairs is one reason why a new study commissioned by the National Automobile Dealers Association, the trade association tasked with protecting the position of franchised dealers, argues that the century-old system is the most reliable and efficient way to deal with the nation’s auto buyers and owners.

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Trucks, SUVs Lead May to Record Sales Levels

VW bucks trend with 15% drop.

by on Jun.03, 2014

Trucks and SUVS, like the Cadillac Escalade, helped put U.S. car sales to dizzying heights in last month.

Strong sales of light-duty truck and utility vehicles boosted vehicles sales again during May.

General Motors was a major beneficiary of the trend as the inventories of new utility vehicles such as the Cadillac Escalade, GMC Yukon and Chevrolet Suburban remained tight because of the strong demand as GM overall reported the best sales since the collapse of the Lehman Brothers in the autumn of 2008.

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Ford, Chrysler and Toyota all benefited from the same trend. For example, Chrysler passenger car sales dropped by 27%, but Jeep sales set an all-time monthly record and sales of Chrysler’s Ram brand also increased. Meanwhile, Ford reported brisk sales of the Ford Explorer and Toyota posted brisk sales of its new Highlander. (more…)

What Was Hot and Not in May

Convertibles are cold, despite the warm weather.

by on Jun.03, 2014

Porsche can barely keep up with demand for the all-new Macan sport-utility vehicle.

What’s hot and what’s not? One thing’s for sure: the U.S. new car market is back in gear after a chilly winter left many makers struggling with a shortage of buyers. But May saw shoppers flooding back into showrooms for what was one of the best months in a decade for the industry overall – and a number of players, notably including Jeep and Audi, set all-time records.

But, as always, the double-digit gains weren’t spread around uniformly. Volkswagen, for example, posted yet another decline, and appears to be losing even more momentum until its new, seventh-generation Golf hatchback finally reaches showrooms.

Beyond the Headlines!

Credit relatively stable fuel prices for the strong demand for pickups, big SUVs and other fuel-chugging models. Surprisingly, despite finally getting some warm weather, however, a number of convertibles were decidedly cold, at least in terms of sales.

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GM Struggles to Salvage Reputation Amidst Recall Crisis

Financial impact worsening.

by on May.21, 2014

GM CEO Mary Barra was whacked like a pinata during hearings on Capitol Hill.

After having already recalled more vehicles than during any full year in its history, even as it faces a Justice Department probe that could result in criminal charges and hefty fines, General Motors is clinging to the hope that it somehow won’t suffer long-term damage to its brands.

So far, GM has managed to hang on despite the storm of negative publicity.  The company’s sales held up in April after the scandal became top-of-the hour headline news and it got a little bit of good news this week when influential ALG – the former Automotive Leasing Guide – issued a new report that the residual, or resale, values of GM car have remained relatively stable.

On Top of the News!

That said, the automaker is facing a flurry of legal actions that it warned this week lay claim to over $10 billion in potential damages. (more…)

Automakers Enjoy April Sales Shower

GM, Chrysler, Toyota, Nissan all see sales spikes.

by on May.01, 2014

GM rode strong truck sales to a 7 percent sales increase in April.

After going through the big chill this past winter, automakers entered a spring thaw in April, makers reporting some of the strongest sales results they’ve seen in months.

Industry analysts suggest a variety of factors may be working in the industry’s favor. For one thing, April marked the start of the traditional automotive buying season, likely getting a bit of a nudge as motorists snowed in by the Polar Vortex finally headed for showrooms.

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Key automakers, including Nissan and Chrysler, even a General Motors battered by recalls, posted sales gains for the month. And though Ford did report a modest 1% decline, Toyota is reporting a 13.3% increase. (more…)

Despite Prolonged Winter Sales Bounce Back

FCA, Ford, Toyota, Nissan all report gains.

by on Apr.01, 2014

Ford's F-Series helped the automaker to a 3% sales increase in March.

New car and trucks sales rebounded from a February dip led by some perennial sales “all-stars,” such as the Dodge Ram, Ford F-Series and Nissan Altima.

The seasonally adjusted annual sales rate is expected to come in at 15.8 million units, which is an increase of February’s rate of 15.3 million units. General Motors, which normally reports sales in the morning failed to do so due to a computer error, is expected to post its results by the end of the day today.

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Fiat Chrysler, Ford, Toyota and Nissan all reported sales gains for the month due to the strong sales of trucks and sport utility vehicles. Both Chrysler and Ford beat expectations. (more…)

US Car Sales on the Rise in March

FCA, Ford, Toyota, Nissan all report gains.

by on Apr.01, 2014

FCA's Ram pickup enjoyed its best March sales total in 10 years.

Sales of new vehicles, stalled by bitter winter weather, showed signs of recovery during March as both Fiat Chrysler, Ford, Toyota and Nissan all reported sales gains for the month due to the strong sales of trucks and sport utility vehicles.

Both Chrysler and Ford beat expectations. General Motors delayed release to their monthly sales totals due to a technical problem.

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“We are entering the spring selling season on a high note as our Jeep and Fiat brands recorded their best sales months ever and Chrysler Group extended its streak in March to 48 consecutive months of year-over-year sales increases,” said Reid Bigland, head of U.S. Sales. “Our Ram pickup truck posted its best March sales in 10 years.” (more…)