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Foreign Automakers Enjoy Strong April Sales

Honda, Kia, VW buck rising sales trend.

by on May.01, 2015

Carmakers from around the world finished April with strong sales in the United States.

The 2016 Mazda6 helped the Japanese automaker to a 7.5% sales jump last month.

Mazda reported its best sales in 20 years, while Subaru, Jaguar Land Rover, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi and Maserati all chalked up double-digit gains. However, it wasn’t sunshine and roses for every automaker as Honda, Kia and Volkswagen, reported sales declines and Volvo remained flat.

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“It is often said at Mazda that this business isn’t a sprint, but a marathon, and our sixth-generation vehicles prove that a steady pace will establish growth and build our brand,” said Ron Stettner, vice president of sales, MNAO. “Sixth-generation vehicle sales combine to be up 14% year-over-year and we continue to focus on the quality of our sales.” Overall, Mazda’s April sales were up 7.5%. (more…)

Nissan and Honda Trade Potshots – and Warn of Troubles Ahead

Keeping incentives under control key to success.

by on Apr.07, 2015

Honda's John Mendel dismissed any notion that Nissan was gaining sales ground on Honda, pointing out that Nissan relies on fleet sales.

Two of the top Japanese automakers have been trading punches in recent days and, in the process, warning of potential problems to come, especially if the U.S. automotive market continues to slow down.

Sales took an unexpected dip in March after five years of generally steady growth coming out of the Great Recession. That has led a number of industry observers to worry that manufacturers might make some risky moves to shore up their sales and market share.

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“As we see the industry flatten, nobody is flattening production volumes,” said Honda of America Executive Vice President John Mendel. As a result, he warned, “You’ll see some bloody battles out there.” (more…)

Honda Follows Toyota’s Lead Cutting Global Sales Targets

Japanese maker plans to reduce complexity to improve quality.

by on Feb.16, 2015

Honda is taking a hard look at its quality issues, due in part to the Fit begin recalled five times.

Honda, which has been reeling due to a series of recalls in the U.S., scrapped its global sales target of 6 million units by the end of 2017 as it follows the example of one of its principal Japanese rivals, Toyota, which is also scaling back sales targets.

Takanobu Ito, Honda’s chief executive, told reporters during a test drive in northern Japan that Honda will reduce the number of variations of its vehicles it manufactures. This will reduce the workload of its over-taxed engineering staff and protect the company’s reputation for quality, which has been undermined by a series of safety-related recalls of airbags made by Takata Corp., which was once one of its most trusted suppliers.

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“We want to be more efficient,” Ito said, according to the Wall Street Journal. “Even though we’re narrowing these down that doesn’t mean our business would shrink.” (more…)

Detroit Automakers Lead July Sales Increases

Chrysler and Ford hit double-digit gains; GM just misses.

by on Aug.01, 2014

The new Jeep Wrangler posted a 14% increase last month for its best-ever July sales result.

With Detroit’s automakers leading the way, new car sales remained very strong during July thanks to an improving economy, ample financing and the appeal of new products that have given automakers a major lift.

Transaction prices also continued to exceed $32,000 per unit as consumers and automakers remained willing to take on more debt for a new vehicle and carmakers and banks remained more than willing to underwrite it. Analysts said.

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Chrysler Group continued to roll last month reporting a 20% increase compared with sales in July 2013. The Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram Truck and Fiat brands each posted year-over-year sales gains in July compared with the same month a year ago. (more…)

Honda Records Q4 Profit of $1.67 Billion

by on Apr.25, 2014

Honda reported significantly improved Q4 and full year profits today based on a weak yen and strong auto sales around the world.

Honda rode the benefits of its own peculiar “double play” of a weak yen and strong sales to an impressive fourth quarter result. However, the positive impact of the yen is going to decline going forward, the company said.

The automaker reported a quarterly profit of $1.67 billion (170.5 billion yen) compared with less than $800 million (75.5 billion yen) during the same period a year ago. Honda reported sales increased 13% to $30 billion, or 3.1 trillion yen.

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Japanese buyers seeking to beat an April 1 rise in sales taxes helped push Honda to 1.2 million vehicles sold during the quarter, which was nearly 200,000 units more than last year. (more…)

Ford Claims Early Victory in Sales Sweepstakes

Maker declares itself America’s best-selling brand – but may get an argument from Honda.

by on Dec.30, 2013

Ford's Fusion set a sales record this past year.

They’re still testing the ball before the big celebration in Times Square tomorrow night, and the industry won’t officially announce final 2013 sales numbers until later in the week – but no matter, Ford Motor Co. is already declaring victory, pronouncing its flagship Ford marque North America’s best-selling brand for the fourth year in a row.

The maker notes it has a significant lead over second-place Toyota as it regains strength in parts of the country long dominated by imports. But at least one of the Detroit maker’s Japanese competitors has been downplaying the sales numbers, claiming victory of its own.

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“The great news is that we are not overly reliant on any one segment – we’re seeing double-digit sales growth in cars, trucks and utilities,” said John Felice, vice president, U.S. marketing, sales and service, in a year-end statement. “The Ford brand has had more retail share growth than any other brand in the country, with our most significant gains coming from import-dominated coastal markets. With 16 launches next year, we’re looking to keep our sales momentum going.”

There’s no question Ford had a good 2013 – albeit with a few headaches that could cause it problems next year.


Honda Claims Retail Sales Leadership

Why a sale isn't always a sale.

by on Nov.22, 2013

The Honda Accord lags slightly behind the Toyota Camry - but it leads its segment if you look only at retail sales.

“A sale isn’t always a sale,” or so says John Mendel, the top American executive at Honda, which has long steered clear of the daily rental and other fleet sales that prop up many of its competitors’ sales charts.

Honda has traditionally focused its marketing efforts on the retail side of the market and there, it claims, it has been gaining ground. In fact, the Japanese brand claims to now be the retail sales leader in four of the largest non-truck segments in the U.S. auto market with the midsize Civic, compact Accord, Odyssey minivan and CR-V crossover.

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Those powerhouse product lines helped Honda achieve a 16.2% increase in retail sales for the first nine months of 2013, while capturing a 16.1% share of the American market. During the same period in 2012, Honda held a 15.8% share of the retail market.


Honda Earnings Slide Despite Global Sales Increase

Mazda, meanwhile, surges back into the black.

by on Jul.31, 2013

Despite strong U.S. sales of models like the new Accord, Honda's bottom line results disappointed analysts and investors.

Honda’s bottom line took an unexpected hit during the latest quarter, the third-largest Japanese maker reporting that earnings slid 7% compared to the year before despite increased sales outside its home market and the boost Japanese makers, in general, have been getting from a weaker yen.

Honda reported a net profit of 122.4 billion yen, or $1.25 billion during the April-June period – the first quarter in the Japanese fiscal year. A survey of industry analysts by FactSet showed a consensus forecast of 146 billion yen, or $1.5 billion.

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“The figures were lower” than expected, Yuuki Sakurai, chief executive officer of Fukoku Capital Management Inc., told the Bloomberg news service. “The global economy is slowing down, and just because the yen is weaker doesn’t mean Japanese carmakers can sell cars.”


Strong Truck Sales Drive Solid June

Records made and broken.

by on Jul.02, 2013

Pickups, including import models like the Toyota Tundra, helped drive strong June sales.

Strong demand for pickups and other light trucks helped deliver the best June the auto industry has seen since the beginning of the long U.S. recession – several makers reporting their best sales ever.

While industry officials acknowledged the “volatility” of the economy could yet deliver a setback – much as Wall Street traders experienced last month, the general mood is growing increasingly upbeat with June sales numbers solidly exceeding most analysts’ full year forecast.

“While we are cautious in terms of the economic outlook, we expect our sales pace to remain steady in the second-half of the year,” said Jonathan Browning, CEO of the Volkswagen Group of America.

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VW was, in fact, one of the few brands to report a downturn for the month, though that came after a strong surge earlier this year that saw the German maker post its best numbers since the era of the original Volkswagen Beetle. And while the VW brand itself fell 3.2% for the month, the sibling Audi brand reported a record June  and its 30th consecutive month of increases.


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.