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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.

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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…)

Trucks Carrying the Load for Honda

New Ridgeline pickups, SUVs responsible for surging sales, profits.

by on Aug.03, 2016

A scene from a new Honda Ridgeline ad.

When it first began rolling into the U.S. market nearly five decades, Honda put the emphasis on pint-sized products like the 600 minicar. The brand was barely noticed by American motorists until the twin oil shocks of the 1970s put fuel economy high on the priority list.

A new series of ads Honda is launching this week shows how much times have changed once again. Dubbed the “Power of Ridgeline,” the campaign focuses on Honda’s recently relaunched midsize pickup. While Honda continues to offer American buyers downsized models like the Fit, HR-V and Civic, it has reason to be focusing on the truck side of its line-up.

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Overall, American Honda reported a 4.4% increase in sales for July, running ahead of a U.S. market that some fear is beginning to slow down after six years of rapid growth. But that only tells a part of the story, for it was the truck side of the line-up that propelled Honda’s strong showing last month, models like the Ridgeline, CR-V and Pilot up 12.2% year-over-year.


US New Vehicle Sales Sputter Slightly in July

GM, Ford and Toyota saw sales slide last month.

by on Aug.02, 2016

Nissan continued to see sales increase in July. The Nissan division saw its sales jump 1.7% compared with last July's results.

New car sales sputtered in July as Fiat Chrysler, Audi and Nissan and Honda all posted small gains, but General Motors, Ford and Toyota all saw their sales decline from year-ago-levels as sales remained stable but flat as buyers continued to snap up truck and utility vehicles of all kinds.

General Motors sales fell 1.9%. So far this year, GM sales are down 4% and GM executives have blamed the drop on a shift in strategy, which has seen GM reduce sales to rental fleet customers.

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“Our retail-focused plan is working and as availability of our new cars, trucks and crossovers continues to grow, we expect to keep our retail sales momentum going and our strong margins intact,” said Kurt McNeil, U.S. vice president of Sales Operations, noting GM’s daily rental deliveries are down 38% from a year ago.   (more…)

Lexus Tops Mercedes, BMW in July Luxury Battle

Japanese luxury brand looking to regain top spot in segment.

by on Aug.03, 2015

The 2015 Lexus NX 200h is helping the brand return to the top of the luxury sales charts.

Lexus beat out its archrivals Mercedes-Benz and BMW in sales during July, setting the stage for all out battle royale for leadership in luxury vehicle sales during the next five months.

The German brands have held the lead in luxury car sales since 2011 but Lexus, which has long been focused on the U.S. market, is making a determined challenge this year.

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Lexus reported July sales of 29,816 units, up 9.1% from July 2014 on a volume basis and DSR basis, according to Jeff Bracken Lexus group vice president and general manager. (more…)

Luxury Utilities, Crossovers Push July Auto Sales to New Heights

Month finishes near 18-million-unit sales pace.

by on Aug.03, 2015

Small crossovers did well in July and so did Buick, which posted an 18% sales increase led by the Encore.

New vehicle sales remained robust as carmakers continued to post year-over-year gains in a market where the seasonally adjusted annual rate of sales, or SAAR, inched towards 18 million units.

General Motors, Chrysler, Ford, Nissan, Lexus, Audi, Subaru and Volkswagen all posted sales increases for July as the industry sales continued at their best tempo in more than a decade.

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GM posted a 6% increase, which included the best July results for the maker’s four brands combined since 2007. The month was paced by an 18% increase in Buick sales and an 8% increase in Chevrolet sales. Chevrolet’s results included a 24% increase in pickup, van and SUV sales, and the brand’s best July crossover sales ever.  (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…)

July Sales Look to be Strong

Chugging along despite a weak economy.

by on Jul.27, 2012

Honda regains lost ground with the 2012 CR-V.

Despite fears of an economic slowdown, sales of new vehicles continue to chug along.

July’s new-vehicle retail sales are expected to post the second strongest year-over-year growth rate of the past 12 months, according to a monthly sales forecast developed by J.D. Power and Associates’ Power Information Network and LMC Automotive.

Nonetheless there are signs of a potential slowdown in sales in the coming months. The supply of used vehicles is creeping higher and used car prices are slipping, indicating fewer buyers are out kicking tires these days, noted analyst Art Spinella of CNW Marketing.

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But July new-vehicle retail sales are projected to come in at 969,200 units, J.D.Power noted in its forecast for July. And that would suggest that the auto industry is defying the slowdown that has gripped much of the rest of the economy.

“Retail sales got off to a fast start in July, and while they’ve slowed down a bit as the month has progressed, through the first 16 selling days, they’re still up 15.1%, compared to July 2011,” said John Humphrey, J.D. Power senior vice president of global automotive operations


GM Posts 89% Jump In Earnings

The “results bear out,” says CEO Akerson, though investors remain skeptical.

by on Aug.04, 2011

"There's a high level of uncertainty out there," cautions GM CFO Dan Anmann.

A day after its stock took a drubbing – falling to the lowest level since last year’s IPO — General Motors Co. revealed it nearly doubled its second-quarter earnings as all of its global regions returned to the black.

The once-bankrupt maker had a net income of $2.5 billion, or $1.54 per share, an 89% improvement from the $1.3 billion, or 85 cents per share, earned during the same period a year ago.  Chairman and chief executive officer Dan Akerson noted it was GM’s company’s sixth consecutive profitable quarter – and the third since IPO — as the company continued to recover from its bankruptcy two years ago.

“GM’s investments in fuel economy, design and quality are paying off around the world as our global market share growth and financial results bear out,” Akerson said. “Our progress has been steady and we’re preparing to launch more new products this year, including the Chevrolet Sonic in North America, the Opel/Vauxhall Zafira in Europe and the Baojun 630 in China to keep the momentum going.”

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GM’s overall revenues increased 19%, or $6.2 billion to $39.4 billion, compared with the second quarter of 2010. Earnings before interest and tax, or EBIT, were $3 billion compared with $2 billion in the second quarter of 2010. There were no special items in either period.

Significantly, every region — including Europe — was in the black for the April – June quarter.  In the home market, GM North America (GMNA) reported an EBIT-adjusted profit of $2.2 billion, an improvement of $0.6 billion compared with the second quarter of 2010.


Car Sales Perk Up in July

But demand still short of expectations.

by on Aug.02, 2011

The new Nissan Versa sedan. Nissan was one of the rare few Japanese makers to report a July sales gain.

Sales by Honda and Toyota tumbled again during July even as overall U.S car sales began to regain some momentum last month, raising optimism about the outlook for the balance of the year.

Sales by the major Japanese automakers continued to be hurt by the inventory shortage created by the disruption of production which followed the earthquake that hit Japan in March. Toyota – which has the latest production base in the home market — saw sales drop 19.7% while Honda’s sales fell 25%

A few of the Japanese makers did manage to buck the trend, Nissan reporting a slight 2.7% increase. Subaru, one of the hottest brands in recent months, also reported a meager 2% increase despite an overall increase in the number of unit sales in July.

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Chrysler sales increased 20%, giving the long-struggling band its best July showing in five years, General Motors Co. reported an 8% gain in sales compared to July 2010 and Ford said its sales increased 9%.

“Despite all of the negative news headlines, auto sales have increased during July, which is a good sign for all of us,” said Ken Czubay, Ford vice president, U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service.  Added Ford sales analyst George Pipas, “The sales rate was better than expected.”

Notable for Ford was the fact that its once-strong Lincoln brand, a relative after-thought in the luxury market in recent years, posted a 40% jump for July.

“We are encouraged to see the stronger pace of auto sales, along with continued customer demand for our fuel-efficient cars, utilities and trucks,” Czubay said. “Fiesta, Focus and Fusion have put Ford back in
the car business,” Czubay said.

However, sales of the new Focus remained constrained by low inventory – recent industry reports pointing to a problem with equipment producing the newly updated model’s instrument panel.  Nonetheless, the smaller Fiesta and Focus remain the fastest-turning vehicles on the Ford showroom floor.

Chrysler Group LLC reported U.S. sales of 112,026, a 20% increase compared with sales in July 2010 and the best July sales since 2007.

“In a market that remains tougher than a cheap steak, we were able to produce our highest retail sales in more than three years,” said Reid Bigland, President and CEO – Dodge Brand and Head of U.S. Sales.  “I think that statistic is the ultimate testament to the progress we have made with our product in the areas of fuel economy, quality and design.”

Don Johnson, GM vice president, U.S. Sales Operations, said retail sales for GM’s brands rose 6% for the month compared to a year ago, and they also were 1% higher than June.

“Sales of our fuel-efficient cars like the Chevrolet Cruze and our crossovers remain strong, and we’re now also seeing the seasonal lift in full-size pickups that we expected,” Johnson said.

Cruze has nudged aside several traditionally strong Japanese models, including the Honda Civic, to become the nation’s best-selling passenger car in recent months.

Despite early fears, the shortages facing Japanese makers triggered by the March 11 disaster have had little impact on Detroit, European or Korean makers.  Nonetheless, the industry as a whole has faced significant headwinds in the past several months – ranging from raw material costs to the impact of a weak economy.

(As TheDetroitBureau.com reported this week, a new study finds high unemployment reducing U.S. car sales by more than a million units this year.  Click Here for the full story.) Nevertheless, the industry is poised to regain some of its lost momentum in the second half of the year, aided by higher supply and pent-up demand, Johnson believes.

“There are people who put off vehicle purchases because of uncertainty about fuel prices, vehicle availability and the economy,” he said, but, “As these conditions improve in the latter half of this year, many of these buyers will return to the market.”

Japanese executives also sounded more upbeat than in recent months. “We’re optimistic about the rest of the year,” said Randy Pflughaupt, Toyota Motor Sales vice president of sales administration.

“We look forward to improved inventory levels in the coming months as most of our North American facilities begin to return to full production in August,” said John Mendel, American Honda executive vice
president of sales.

Jeff Bracken, Toyota Division vice president, also emphasized the Japanese auto giant was prepared to defend its claim to having the best-selling car in America.

Saab North America reported an 18% decline in sales, following the recent turmoil at the company home base in Sweden.  The maker’s main assembly plant has been out of production since late March due to a boycott by suppliers demanding payment.

But Volkswagen of America, Inc. reported a 21.7% increase over prior year numbers.

“July was a strong month and signaled a good start for the second half of the year,” said Jonathan Browning, President and CEO, Volkswagen of America, Inc.  “For the seventh month in a row, we significantly outpaced the industry performance, showing strong baseline demand for our products,” Browning said.

Mercedes-Benz sales increased 16% and BMW sales were up 11%, while Porsche sales climbed 2%. Among the Korean automakers Kia posted a 42% increase in sales, while Hyundai’s sales increased 10%.

“Despite continued weakness in the economy and the ongoing concern over the debt ceiling, consumers continued to purchase vehicles packed with options in July,” said Jesse Toprak, VP of Industry Trends and Insights for TrueCar.com, an internet site devoted to monitoring automobile pricing, purchases and shopping trends.

“Tightened inventories, lower dealer discounting and manufacturer incentives, along with a more expensive product mix resulted in the highest transaction prices we have recorded in the industry.”

(Used car prices slide after months of steady increases – even though July demand hit “blockbuster proportions.  Click Here for that story.)

July Used Car Sales Hit “Blockbuster” Proportions

New car demand slipped as month dragged on.

by on Aug.01, 2011

Used car sales hit "blockbuster" proportions in July, according to one key industry analyst.

While July new car sales appeared to weaken as July dragged on, it appears to have been a great month for anyone with a used car to sell.

The struggling economy — and uncertain job prospects, in particular – seem to be leading many shoppers to try to curb spending by shifting to “previously owned,” rather than new vehicles, notes Art Spinella, chief analyst with CNW Marketing.

That meant an estimated 13.5% jump in use car demand last month, to 4.5 million cars, trucks and crossovers.  If the numbers hold, that would be the highest level of demand since July 2005.

Last month started out strong on the new car front, as well, according to preliminary dealer data collected by J.D. Power and Associates.  But with the jobless rate still high and the month marked by uncertainty about the federal debt and the possible impact on the economy, many buyers appear to have been holding off on visits to the showroom.

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“The auto industry is having a difficult time shaking off adversity, as vehicle sales start the second half of the year better than June, but not as strong as many people had hoped,” said Jeff Schuster, executive director of global forecasting at J.D. Power and Associates. “A recovery pattern is still expected, but the pace could be in question as reported weaker GDP growth in the first half of the year may dampen the outlook.”