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GM Remains in Tight Race for Global Sales Leadership

VW holds tiny lead, but Toyota has yet to weigh in.

by on Jul.17, 2014

GM is hoping new product - such as the Chevy Colorado, shown here with product chief Mark Reuss - will help it regain global sales leadership.

Despite recalling millions of vehicles and watching billions of dollars in new legal claims pile up during the first half of the year, General Motors is still in a relatively close race for global sales leadership with rivals Volkswagen and Toyota.

GM has reported selling 2.5 million vehicles around the world during the second quarter of 2014, with year-over-year sales in the United States and China, the company’s two largest markets, growing by  7% and 8%, respectively. Globally, GM’s total sales were up 0.5% for the second quarter. In the first half, GM sold 4,921,928 vehicles, up 1.4%.

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Volkswagen AG, thanks to strong sales in China and a solid performance in Europe as well as gains by Audi and Porsche, held a whisker-thin lead with sales of 4.97 million vehicles worldwide during the first half of the year. VW is actively targeting global sales leadership – but the race likely won’t be determined until later this month when Toyota Motor Co. weighs in with its own figures.

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Nearly Every GM Model Targeted for Recall This Year

Maker hits 54 separate recalls in just six months.

by on Jul.01, 2014

One of the very few new GM vehicles not recalled this year: the 2014 Chevrolet Equinox.

The numbers are daunting: 54 separate recalls in just six months impacting nearly 26 million vehicles sold in the U.S., nearly 29 million worldwide. For General Motors that works out to one separate recall nearly every three days. It has a record for any individual manufacturer, and has pushed the overall U.S. auto industry to an all-time record, manufacturers collectively recalling about 39 million vehicles in just six months, 20% more than the previous peak set for all of 2004.

When GM’s recall frenzy began, back in mid-February, with the first recall related to faulty ignition switches, senior executives like CEO Mary Barra were quick to point out that the problems were largely focused on products built by the “Old GM,” before the maker’s 2009 bankruptcy, such as the now abandoned Chevrolet Cobalt. If anything, newer models, such as the 2014 Chevy Impala, they stressed, were winning rave reviews and endorsements from the likes of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

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But while GM’s recall frenzy continues to sweep up older products – including this week’s callback of 6.8 million vehicles dating back to 1997 for “unintended ignition key rotation” – a growing number of new models are also being targeted. In fact, a search of GM and federal recall records by TheDetroitBureau.com shows that only three of more than three dozen General Motors products, along with a few model variants, have so far not been subject to recall in 2014.

The only key models not among the list of 54 recalls are: (more…)

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.

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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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New Car Sales Soar in May

Ford defies expert predictions with small sales increase.

by on Jun.03, 2014

Jeep Wranger saw its best May sales ever last month. The Jeep brand overall was up 58% during the period.

Buoyed by fantastic weather and a fifth weekend for dealers to move metal, new vehicle sales during demonstrated renewed strength in May.

Those factors helped Jeep post its best monthly sales in history and led General Motors to predict it would gain marketshare this year.

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General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, Nissan, Toyota, Hyundai and Audi all reported increased sales during May. (more…)

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.

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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…)

GM Faces More Recalls, NHTSA Warns

GM attorneys meet with lawyers for victims of ignition switch defect.

by on May.05, 2014

Among the latest GM models to face recall: the 2014 Buick Enclave has a defective fuel gauge.

While General Motors sales have held steady over the past two months, and even grown a bit, the automaker still isn’t free of the recall bug that hit the company hard during the first quarter, costing it an estimated $1.3 billion and impacting about 7 million vehicles overall.

Already slammed in Congressional hearings for not notifying the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of earlier problems, GM has informed NHTSA of two separate potential safety issues.

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GM is recalling 51,640 Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse and GMC Acadia SUVs from the 2014 model year because faulty software may cause the fuel gauge to read inaccurately, U.S. regulators disclosed over the weekend.

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U.S. Auto Sales Heating Up with the Weather

New models and trucks help automakers to strong April.

by on May.01, 2014

The Audi A3 helped the German maker to a 19% sales increase in April.

New models demonstrated their value to automakers in April as the latest cars and trucks launched over the past several months combined with a break in the frigid weather pulled buyers into showrooms, helping keep the annual sales rate at more than 16 million units for the second consecutive month.

Audi, Toyota, Subaru, Mercedes-Benz, Chrysler, Jaguar Land Rover and Kia Hyundai posted double digit sales increase in January thanks in part of the launch of new or replacement models. General Motors, which was deluged with bad news, also benefitted from the strong sales of its latest models. Luxury vehicles also enjoyed a strong April, with Audi among those reaping the rewards with a 19% increase.

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“The launch of the all-new A3 Sedan gives Audi an even broader product portfolio and the opportunity to reach more luxury buyers in the premium compact segment,” said Mark Del Rosso, executive vice president of Audi of America. “In its first month of retail sales, the Audi A3 was a top seller in April, with over 2,000 vehicles sold.” (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…)