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Altima Takes Car Sales Lead from Camry in February

Nissan, Chrysler enjoy strong sales due to SUVs.

by on Mar.03, 2014

The Nissan Altima took over the car sales lead in February outselling Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.

The cold February weather that settled across the nation set the stage for something of a revolution in showrooms across the country as the Nissan Altima replaced the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord as the best-selling passenger car in the U.S.

The final sales totals for the month of February showed Nissan selling a total of 30,849 Altimas, an increase of 11.3%. Sales of the Toyota Camry, the most popular car in America for more than a decade, fell 7.3% to 28,998 units, while sales of the Honda Accord fell 12% to 24,622.

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The decline in sales of the Camry and Accord also undercut the overall sales results for Toyota and Honda. Toyota sales slipped 4.3% despite and Honda’s fell 7% despite strong utility vehicle sales for both makers. (more…)

February Brings Automakers Mixed Sales Results

GM, Ford, Toyota, VW slump, while FCA, Nissan rise.

by on Mar.03, 2014

Jeep sales were up 47% in February, helping FCA to an double-digit jump overall for the month.

The chill of a cold February spread to new vehicle sales, but makers increased incentives to try to heat up sales in the second half of the month, setting the stage for stronger sales heading into the spring selling season.

General Motors, Ford, Toyota and Volkswagen all reported sales declines for February as inclement weather over much of the country reduced showroom traffic.

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However, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), Porsche and Nissan posted double-digit sales increases thanks to strong sales of sport utility vehicles. FCA’s Chrysler Group posted an 11% increase compared, while Nissan said sales increased 15%. (more…)

Bad Weather Puts a Freeze on January Car Sales

Economic concerns also played a role.

by on Feb.03, 2014

Chrysler was one of the few makers to shake off the January freeze with products like this 2014 Ram 1500.

The record cold weather that has swept across much of the U.S. in recent weeks has apparently put car sales in the deep freeze – a situation analysts suggest was worsened by the slide in stock prices that has again raised concerns about the nation’s on-again/off-again economic recovery.

While a few manufacturers were able to buck the downward trend, key makers including General Motors and Volkswagen saw sales tumble last month.  And the industry, on the whole, saw average transaction prices – the amount consumers actually paid after factoring in incentives and options – slide after months of reaching new records.

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“Given the difficult weather in our largest sales regions, we are fortunate to have held in at retail as well as we did,” said John Felice, vice president of marketing, sales and service for Ford, which experienced a 7% decline in sales during January.

“In areas where the weather was good, such as in the West, sales were up,” Felice added, noting, “The poor weather also had an impact on the timing of some of our fleet deliveries. A bright spot is Lincoln, which had its strongest sales in four years.”

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Toyota Takes Global Sales Title over GM

Robust US and China sales propel maker to top spot.

by on Jan.23, 2014

Toyota outsold GM worldwide for the second consecutive year. The maker expects to sell more than 10 million vehicles next year.

The battle for global automotive sales superiority has been fought and won by…Toyota.

For the second year in a row, Toyota topped General Motors in worldwide auto sales by selling a record 9.98 million vehicles, just about 270,000 more than GM, and up 2% over its previous year’s sales.

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Not only did it beat GM again, the Japanese maker said it would do something next year no other vehicle maker has ever done: sell 10 million vehicles. It predicted sales would rise to 10.32 million vehicles in 2014. (more…)

GM’s Eroding Market Share Raises Concerns

Strong reviews do little to buoy GM’s position.

by on Nov.04, 2013

Even strong 3rd-party endorsements for products like the Cadillac ATS have failed to boost GM's share.

Despite winning wide praise for its improving quality and well-reviewed new products, General Motors has been steadily losing market share, and that is raising concerns about the maker’s competitiveness, according to a new report from the General Accounting Office, which continues to monitor the U.S. Treasury Department’s investment in the Detroit maker following its 2009 bankruptcy.

The Treasury took a majority stake in GM but has been rapidly selling down its shares in recent months and expects to sell off the last of its holdings by next April – with the latest government report estimating taxpayers will ultimately lose about $9.7 billion on the bailout.

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On the positive side, the GAO report said the globe’s second-largest maker “has shown increasingly positive financial results” since its emergence from Chapter 11 protection, with “positive and growing operational cash flow, and a stable liquidity position.”  On the downside, “However, GM faces continued challenges to its competitiveness. For instance, its market share of vehicles sold in North America remains smaller today than in 2008. Furthermore, GM continues to carry large pension liabilities,” the report noted.

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U.S. Auto Sales Jump Double Digits for October Despite Shutdown

Sales soft early in month, but saw rebound in second half.

by on Nov.01, 2013

Ford Fusion sales jumped 71% in of October while the automaker saw an overall increase of 13.9%.

Despite early concerns in the wake of the U.S. government shutdown, U.S. auto sales returned to form in October with most automakers reporting sales increases despite the 16-day stalemate in Washington early in the month.

With a few makers yet to report in, sales are expected rise between 11.7% and 13%, according to a variety of estimates. Most of the makers reported that sales were slow early in October, but began hopping after the issue was settled — at least temporarily.

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The Detroit Three was led by General Motors Co. and its 16% increase over last October. The maker delivered 226,402 vehicles with Chevrolet, Cadillac and Buick-GMC performing well, according to Kurt McNeil, vice president, U.S. sales operations, in a statement. (more…)

GM Earnings Fall By Over Half for Q3

Maker hurt by restructuring costs; buoyed by European improvement.

by on Oct.30, 2013

The surge in truck sales -- the 2014 Chevy Silverado shown here -- helped prop up GM's bottom line.

General Motors reported its net income was cut in half during the third quarter as one-time adjustments for restructuring the company’s debt reduced profits to $700 million from the $1.5 billion reported for the same period a year ago.

Despite the drop income, GM chairman and chief executive officer Dan Akerson said he was satisfied that GM was still making steady progress as its North America Operations, where margins surpassed 9%, continued to show strength. And the maker also saw an improvement in its loss-making European operations as a new turnaround plan appeared to be taking hold.

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During the third quarter, GM said net income to common stockholders was $700 million, or 45 cents per fully diluted share, down from $1.5 billion, or 89 cents per share a year ago.  Investors appeared to be taking the results in stride, however, with GM shares up in early trading. Excluding the one-time items, GM would have earned $1.7 billion, or 96 cents a share. That was ahead of the 94-cent forecast of analysts surveyed by FactSet.

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October Car Sales Rebounding from Brief Slowdown

Market largely overcomes impact of government shutdown.

by on Oct.28, 2013

Car dealers have been able to regain momentum since the government shutdown ended.

Despite the turmoil created by the government shutdown – and the subsequent impact on consumer confidence — sales of new vehicles are showing unexpected resilience in October with analysts predicting a welcome increase for the full month.

Sales are expected to rise 7% in October to a total of 1.22 million units, according to data tracking service Kelley Blue Book, with other analysts making similar predictions. A combined forecast by J.D. Power and LMC Automotive was even more bullish, with an anticipated 8% gain for October.

“Sales in the third week of the month strengthened relative to the first two weeks, which is evidence of vehicle buyers delaying their purchase until the shutdown was resolved,” said Power’s senior automotive analyst John Humphrey.

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That’s in sharp contrast to the dire predictions made by some industry executives earlier in the month, notably Hyundai Motor America CEO John Krafcik, who had cautioned that sales could decline as much as 10% in the wake of the government shutdown.

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Parts Shortages Could Cripple Auto Market Rebound

After recession, suppliers racing to rebuild capacity.

by on Aug.12, 2013

The 2014 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali gets a new face, upgraded interior and more power and it's one of many new vehicles buyers are flocking to showrooms to buy.

The good news is that American motorists are racing back to showrooms at a far faster pace than even industry optimists had anticipated at the beginning of the year. The bad news is that automakers are struggling to keep up with that burgeoning demand – and part of the problem is that after years of cutbacks and bankruptcies, industry suppliers can barely keep up.

That could be particularly troubling for Detroit makers who made some of the biggest cutbacks in capacity during the Great Recession only to find that they can’t keep up with consumers as they return to showrooms.

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“It’s amazing if you look at the change,” says Mustafa Mohatarem, General Motors’ chief economist. “At the beginning of the year people were asking do you have too many truck. Now we’re being asked are you sure you are going to have enough?” (more…)

GM Global Sales Surge 4% – Could Help Maker Top Toyota

Numbers buoyed by U.S., China.

by on Jul.16, 2013

Uphill battle? The success of the new 2014 Chevrolet Silverado could determine whether GM regains the global sales crown.

After slipping back into second place in the global automotive sales race, General Motors appears to be gaining momentum on its Japanese arch-rival and world’s best-selling automaker Toyota.

GM says it sold 4.85 million vehicles worldwide during the first six months of the year, a 3.9% gain over the same period during 2012. The Detroit maker was buoyed by both rising demand in the recovering U.S. market, along with record sales in China which accounted for nearly one of every three cars GM sold between January and June.

If GM maintains that pace for the rest of 2013 it could find itself in a shoot-out with Toyota which last year regained its position as global king-of-the-hill with sales of 9.3 million vehicles. Toyota had hoped to near the 10 million mark this year but it has been lagging behind the overall U.S. market recovery and continues to face problems in China due to an ongoing political dispute between the booming Asian nation and Japan.

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GM sales also are running ahead of the tally for Volkswagen AG, the German maker that has set out a goal of being the global industry leader before decade’s end. VW said it sold 4.7 million vehicles worldwide during the first half of 2013 – however, it grew faster than GM, with a 5.5% increase over the same period a year earlier.

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