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Delayed a Day, Ford Sales Also Take a Tumble

Lincoln a rare bright spot.

by on Nov.02, 2016

Ford's Super Duty provided a rare bright spot for the automaker in October.

A day late – and a dollar short, it seems, as Ford Motor Co. says its sales also took a double-digit dip during October, in line with the overall U.S. new car market slide.

The news wasn’t entirely bad, however, Ford reporting growth by its long-struggling luxury brand, Lincoln, as it rolls out an assortment of new and updated products, including the all-new Continental flagship sedan.

By the Numbers!

Ford issued its numbers after a day-long delay due to a fire that knocked out electrical power to its corporate headquarters in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn. The rest of the industry didn’t fare especially well, even without Ford’s downward pull. While a few makers reported strong, and even record, sales for October, the market was down about 4% year-over-year.

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AutoNation Embarks on Major Brand Expansion

Dealer chain will add used car-only shops, parts business, push online car sales and more.

by on Oct.28, 2016

AutoNation plans to invest $500 million in a brand expansion that will see it challenge used car leader CarMax.

It may already be the nation’s largest new car dealer chain, but Florida-based AutoNation is setting out on a major brand expansion that will see it challenge used car specialist CarMax, start selling its own line of automotive parts and accessories and push further into online car shopping.

The project is expected to cost AutoNation about $500 million and take several years to put in place. But it could firm up the publicly traded dealer network’s grip at a time when many industry experts forecast dramatic changes to come in the automotive world. Whether the project is enough remains to be seen, as some experts believe car sales could decline during the coming decade in favor of new car- and ride-sharing alternatives, such as Car2Go and Uber.

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AutoNation was at the forefront of an earlier transition, as thousands of traditional ma-and-pa dealerships were taken over by mega-chains. “Now we’re ready to see how we can extend this brand we created to new business opportunities,” said AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson. (more…)

Carmakers Face Tough Test as Market Flattens

Sales expected to fall just short of last year's record.

by on Oct.13, 2016

Honda's John Mendel says there is a chance that automakers will beat last year's record sales.

Manufacturers are eager to roll out new models this fall and even adding more capacity in an effort to gain an edge over rivals.

But they are also facing a highly competitive market where manufacturers are being tempted to raise incentives to protect market share, noted Stephanie Brinley, an analyst with IHS Automotive.

Sales News!

“The market is going to get more competitive and we will see if (companies) fall back into their old practices,” she added. “The easy growth is gone.” (more…)

California Mandate Expected to Grow EV Sales

Improving performance of alt-fuel vehicle aids expansion.

by on Oct.04, 2016

California's ZEV rules are expected to drive EV sales during the next decade.

California’s Zero-Emission Vehicle program is expected to increase sales of electric, plug-in hybrid and other alternative light-duty vehicles in the United States during the next decade, according to a new report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The ZEV program, which is administered by the California Air Resources Board, affects model year 2018 and later vehicles, requiring automakers to earn credits for alternative-fuel vehicles based on a percentage of their sales in California.

Tech News!

It also extends to nine other states concentrated on the West and East Coast where the program covers the entire New York City Metropolitan Region, which is also one of the stronger markets for new vehicles in the U.S. (more…)

Fuel Economy Numbers Expected to Take a Hit in 2017

Nearly a third of new models will see a decline in mileage.

by on Sep.27, 2016

The popularity of large utility vehicles and pickups has caused the average fuel economy of new vehicles to dip this year.

The surge in demand for pickups, utility vehicles and other light trucks has taken a toll on fuel economy. For the first time since it started tracking the numbers, the mileage of the typical vehicle sold in the U.S. dipped slightly this year, according to the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute. But the mpg ratings for many vehicles are expected to take an even bigger hit for 2017.

With the Environmental Protection Agency revising its testing procedures for the new model-year, about 30% of all new models will see at least a modest dip in their reported fuel economy, according to a study by website Cars.com. In some cases, the impact will be significant. The 2017 Volkswagen Passat, for example, will suffer a 4 mpg dip in its highway rating, and a 2 mpg decline in its combined number.

Tech Talk!

The change in the way the EPA calculates fuel economy could make it difficult for shoppers who were hoping to consider this year’s figures to those from 2016. And it could paper over what, in some cases, might be an actual improvement in fuel efficiency by some models. (more…)

Buyers Take a Breather as August Auto Sales Slump

Makers hoping for strong September to regain momentum.

by on Sep.01, 2016

New vehicles sales hit the brakes in August as buyers appeared to take a break from the market.

Sales of new vehicles stumbled in August and as a result General Motors, Ford, Nissan and Toyota all reported significant drops sales year over year but transaction prices continued to increase right along with incentives, analysts said.

But Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V., which has come under for its reporting methods, said its sales increased 3% last month thanks to a strong showing by the Jeep brand, which continues to win new customers with its sport utility vehicles.

The Journal of Record!

Audi also posted a 2.5% sales increase, but Volkswagen, which has been in year-long sales slump, said its sales dropped 9%. (more…)

Makers Putting Some Old Models Out to Pasture with Big Discounts

Edmunds suggests a list of new vehicles with great deals.

by on Aug.30, 2016

The Chrysler 200 will be dropped later this year, creating great deals for savvy buyers looking for a car on a big discount.

Auto sales are cruising along at near-record levels this year and automakers have become relatively good at monitoring production levels to ensure they don’t end up with a glut of some models they have to give away.

Pretty good isn’t perfect though and there are always a few vehicles that get away from them a bit and find their way into the “bargain bin” of new vehicle purchases. Most are perfectly lovely vehicles, but because they’re due for a redesign, get a bad rap or consumer tastes shift, these vehicles can be had for a fantastic price.

Your Auto Insider!

“Even though these vehicles are being redesigned or going away altogether, they still have the same great technology and performance that you’d find in most new cars, but at a much better value,” says Edmunds.com Senior Consumer Advice Editor Ron Montoya. (more…)

Dealer Ethics Critical to Getting Vehicle Sales

Survey shows ethics, trust still tops on buyers wishlist.

by on Aug.09, 2016

General Motors' Shop-Click-Drive online shopping serivce was so popular, it made it available to all 4,300 U.S. dealers after a week of testing.

Automakers have long known that the opinions about car dealers are shall we say, less than positive? Dealers are also keenly aware that they aren’t always held in high regard and often try to find ways to make the experience more inviting.

Those efforts have ranged from significant store upgrades to no-haggle pricing to using kiosks to limit a customer’s interaction with a potential buyer.

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Thanks to Amazon and similar websites, perceptions about how to buy big-ticket items have changed and continue to do so. Dealers work in a highly competitive arena in terms of competition with each other, add in a shifting retail landscape and the problems can seem insurmountable. (more…)

Average New Vehicle Gas Mileage in US Rises in July

New vehicles sold in July averaged 25.4 mpg.

by on Aug.05, 2016

Even as American consumers continue to buy new trucks instead of new cars, the fuel economy average for new vehicles sold in July rose slightly over June.

Despite the continuing rise in sales of trucks and utility vehicles, the average fuel economy or window-sticker value of new vehicles sold in the U.S. in July 2016 was 25.4 miles per gallon, a slight increase over the previous month, according to the University of Michigan.

The fuel economy was up 0.1 mpg from the value for June 2016, according to a new report from U-M researchers Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle. The figure of 25.4 mpg, which is identical to the average fuel economy figure for vehicles sold in July, 2015.

News You Can Trust!

The monthly U-M report said fuel economy is down 0.4 mpg from the peak reached in August 2014, but still up 5.3 mpg since the university began keeping track of fuel economy figures across the industry. (more…)

Jaguar, Land Rover, Volvo Gaining on Luxury Leaders

BMW, Lexus ceding ground to other brands.

by on Aug.04, 2016

The F-Pace is Jaguar's first utility vehicle and helping the brand gain on traditional luxury sales leaders in the U.S.

Strong sales by Volvo and Jaguar are giving the luxury market in the U.S. a new look and challenging for the first time in a decade the dominance of BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Lexus.

Mercedes-Benz is the top luxury brand in the U.S. and it increased its sales by 7% during July as the industry seasonally adjusted annual rate of sales topped 17.88 million units, the best number so far this year. But both BMW and Lexus saw their sales decline. BMW sales dropped 4% and Lexus sales dropped 6.5%

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Volvo and Jaguar sales jumped dramatically in July and both brands are winning converts this year and moving up on other brands that appeal to affluent luxury buyers, such as Infiniti and Acura. During July, JLR sold only about 500 fewer vehicles than Infiniti, according to the latest sales reports. (more…)