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Makers Moved Metal by Offering Money

Incentives rose in June keeping the good times rolling.

by on Jul.01, 2015

Slow sales means big incentives on some vehicles, such as the Kia K900 which had $8,000 slapped on the hood to lure in buyers.

Automakers in the U.S. enjoyed a monumental month in June with double-digit sales increases seeming to be the norm as they reported the results.

The results were so positive at least one organization – the National Automobile Dealers Association – revised its expected sales number for 2015 upward to 17.2 million vehicles: a 200,000-unit jump.

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In order to keep that smoking hot sales pace, some automakers sweetened the pot for certain buyers. Hyundai was the leader of the pack on increased incentive spending with a 34.5% jump over last June and 5.6% spike from May. (more…)

Spending on New Cars Hits All-Time High, Even as Loans Stretch to Record Lengths

Average transaction prices up 4% in May.

by on Jun.02, 2015

Buyers filled the showrooms of car dealers and added to the bottom lines of automakers in May.

While May might not have brought the big uptick in sales we’ve seen in recent months, preliminary data suggest that automakers took in record revenues, with the average transaction price of new cars, trucks and crossovers sold last month climbing by at least 4%.

All told, U.S. buyers spent a record $52 billion for their new vehicles in May, in part, due to a sharp, year-over-year decline in incentives, according to several firms that track monthly sales data. A separate study suggested that motorists are covering those higher costs by stretching their loans out longer than the industry has ever seen, an average 67 months.

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“New vehicle sector and segment preference indicates consumers are confident about the economy and their finances,” said TrueCar President John Krafcik. “Not only are these shifts to premium brands and utilities telling from an economic indicator standpoint, they signal sizable revenue gains automakers should reap this year.” (more…)

Automakers Report Robust Results for July Sales

Despite impressive results, makers fall short of predictions.

by on Aug.01, 2014

Ford sales were led, once again, by the F-150, but supported by the Fusion and Escape. The maker reported a 10% increase in July.

U.S. automakers enjoyed a strong sales month in July, but fell short of lofty analyst expectations. Toyota and Ford were the only makers to surpass predictions with increases of 11.6% and 10% respectively.

New car sales got a lift during July thanks to an improving economy, ample financing and the appeal of new products. Several companies posted double-digit sales increases, including Chrysler (20%), Nissan (11.4%), Subaru (27%), Mazda (17.1%), Audi (11.9%), Porsche (12.6%), Mitsubishi (21.4%), Land Rover (15%) and last, but not least, Maserati, which was up 315%.

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“Incentive spending in July was above this year’s average, taking transaction prices down about one percent,” said John Krafcik, president of TrueCar. “Other than GM and Nissan, every full-line automaker increased incentive spending over last year. With growing discounts and low-interest financing readily available, it’s a great time to buy a car.” (more…)

U.S. Auto Sales Surge in March

Vehicle sales outpacing the rest of the economy.

by on Apr.02, 2013

March car sales hit a five-year high led by compacts and trucks.

March U.S. auto sales surged to their highest level in more than five years – with several makers reporting all-time records for the month.

But the overall increase was smaller than the double-digit gains of recent months, raising concerns about whether the unexpectedly strong pace of the automotive recovery will continue – especially in the light of continuing concerns about the impact of Washington gridlock on the overall economy.

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Analysts noted that sales incentives have been declining in recent months, even as average transaction prices – what motorists actually pay after adding options and subtracting discounts – has continued rising. On the other hand, pent-up demand appears to be just one of the positive factors likely to keep momentum going after the industry’s worst downturn since the Great Recession.


March Auto Sales Tracking at Best Rate in Nearly Six Years

Incentives flat, transaction prices rise.

by on Apr.02, 2013

U.S. vehicle sales were up in March led by, in part, truck sales.

While a number of key automakers have yet to formally release their sales numbers, preliminary data suggest that March will see the highest level of U.S. car and truck sales in nearly six years.

Preliminary indications suggest that sales will average out to an annualized rate of as much as 15.6 million – well above current industry forecasts for all of 2013 – and the best total since December 2007, just before the U.S. auto market plunged into its worst downturn since the Great Depression.

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The strong March performance appears to reflect a variety of factors, including the availability of a number of new and well-reviewed products, pent-up demand, low interest rates and even tax-refund checks. At the same time, analysts suggest that makers continue reeling buyers into their showrooms despite cutting back on incentives and boosting prices on many models.


No More Mr. Nice Guy at General Motors

Direct, provocative comparative product advertising is coming.

by on Oct.14, 2009


New approach is “basically telling it like it is.”

Bob Lutz, General Motors Company’s vice chairman of marketing and communications, vows that the days of GM’s “formulaic and cautious” communications techniques are over.

Speaking briefly at a pizza luncheon for media in Detroit, the silver-haired executive said that the company needed to “shock Americans into a new awareness about the reality of GM products.”

Lutz is predicting a much more aggressive approach to communications and above industry-average spending for advertising in the days ahead.

This could be good news for people shopping for a new vehicle if the information is actually relevant to their needs. Too often auto ads just provide endless lists of features.

This promised shift has been a long time coming, if you follow marketing experts such as Marty Bernstein in TheDetroitBureau.com. Comparative advertising will  “shock Americans into the realities about GM products.”

Lutz says the new approach is “basically telling it like it is.”

It didn’t happen in the past because of “old worries that this might somehow or somewhere offend somebody, or that twelve months from now the situation will have changed and somebody would then say let me remind you of what you said twelve months ago – we would rather deal with that, than have the reputation of never saying anything to anyone for fear that at some point we might be caught out,” Lutz said.