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May New Vehicle Sales Expected to be Strong

Total numbers will be lower due to fewer selling days.

by on May.27, 2015

Small SUVs and crossovers like the 2015 Lincoln MKC are still selling strong in May despite rising gas prices.

Early reports show that May will be a strong month for new car sales, but when the numbers come out they are likely to show sales being down on a year-over-year basis.

According to Kelley Blue Book (KBB), sales are likely to come in at 1.59 million units this month, which will be down 1%. So what’s with all the optimism? There’s one less day this year to sell cars, trucks and SUVs than last May so the seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) is actually higher (17.3 million versus 16.5 million last May) even though fewer vehicles will leave dealer showrooms.

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“May sales will reach the highest total year-to-date, and could remain the highest until December of this year,” said Alec Gutierrez, senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book.  “While we expect an overall decline in volume versus last year, the difference is the result of one fewer sales day from May 2014, and total SAAR will reflect year-over-year improvement. (more…)

Trucks, SUVs Lead May to Record Sales Levels

VW bucks trend with 15% drop.

by on Jun.03, 2014

Trucks and SUVS, like the Cadillac Escalade, helped put U.S. car sales to dizzying heights in last month.

Strong sales of light-duty truck and utility vehicles boosted vehicles sales again during May.

General Motors was a major beneficiary of the trend as the inventories of new utility vehicles such as the Cadillac Escalade, GMC Yukon and Chevrolet Suburban remained tight because of the strong demand as GM overall reported the best sales since the collapse of the Lehman Brothers in the autumn of 2008.

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Ford, Chrysler and Toyota all benefited from the same trend. For example, Chrysler passenger car sales dropped by 27%, but Jeep sales set an all-time monthly record and sales of Chrysler’s Ram brand also increased. Meanwhile, Ford reported brisk sales of the Ford Explorer and Toyota posted brisk sales of its new Highlander. (more…)

What Was Hot and Not in May

Convertibles are cold, despite the warm weather.

by on Jun.03, 2014

Porsche can barely keep up with demand for the all-new Macan sport-utility vehicle.

What’s hot and what’s not? One thing’s for sure: the U.S. new car market is back in gear after a chilly winter left many makers struggling with a shortage of buyers. But May saw shoppers flooding back into showrooms for what was one of the best months in a decade for the industry overall – and a number of players, notably including Jeep and Audi, set all-time records.

But, as always, the double-digit gains weren’t spread around uniformly. Volkswagen, for example, posted yet another decline, and appears to be losing even more momentum until its new, seventh-generation Golf hatchback finally reaches showrooms.

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Credit relatively stable fuel prices for the strong demand for pickups, big SUVs and other fuel-chugging models. Surprisingly, despite finally getting some warm weather, however, a number of convertibles were decidedly cold, at least in terms of sales.


May Could Bring Best Retail Car Sales in a Decade

Spending on new vehicles could set a new record for the month.

by on May.27, 2014

Big Memorial Day sales are expected to deliver strong numbers for May.

With automakers offering lavish sales for the Memorial Day weekend, industry-watchers are optimistic May will end on an upbeat note. But even before the annual holiday event, sales of new vehicles have been rocking along this month, with analysts predicting May will see a significant upturn from year-ago sales.

New light vehicle sales in the U.S. are expected to hit 1.52 million units, up 5.5% from May 2013 and a 9.5% increase from April 2014, according to TrueCar, which is predicting that the Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate, or SAAR, will reach 16.1 million when the books are closed on May, a 6% year-over-year increase.

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Spring car sales generally are some of the year’s strongest, but industry observers are particularly relived considering the unexpectedly sharp slide in demand during this past, cold Winter.

“The industry is back to the level we expected at the beginning of the year,” said Larry Dominique, President of data tracking service ALG, and Executive Vice President of TrueCar.  “Chrysler, GM and Nissan are all benefiting from increased demand. They are showing higher sales and are able to pull back on incentive spending,” he added.


Toyota, Honda Lead Way as May Sales Surge

GM numbers best since ’09 - but VW’s sales tops since 1973.

by on Jun.01, 2012

New products such as the Toyota Prius C helped the maker nearly double sales in May.

With Toyota and Honda leading the way, new vehicles sales jumped more than 20% in May as carmakers had one of their best months since the 2008 financial crisis.

It was hard to find any losers for the month – though industry analysts were briefly worried about sales trends which seemed to slow mid-May before rebounding in time for the long Memorial Day holiday.  As one industry-watcher reported, concerns about the economy seemed to give the market jitters but fast-falling fuel prices and the increasing availability of credit appears to have won out in the end.

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Bob Carter, Toyota Motor Sales vice president, said Toyota’s 73% sales increase indicated the maker not only had recovered from the shortages created by last year’s Japanese earthquake and tsunami but that its new products were winning over customers. Toyota was helped by several other factors — among them rising consumer confidence, better credit availability and a steady flow of traffic through its showrooms.


Despite Earlier Concerns, May Car Sales Could be Best in Five Years.

Toyota, Honda, VW expected to deliver strong gains.

by on May.29, 2012

Japanese makers, in particular, appear to be having a very good month. Toyota, in particular, is recovering well from last year's production cuts.

With motorists reportedly flooding dealer showrooms over the long holiday weekend, May could turn out to be the best month since mid-2007 for new car sales – with Japanese automakers Toyota and Honda driving much of the upturn as they recover from last year’s devastating, earthquake-led production cuts., which tracks new car pricing, trends and forecasting, estimated new light vehicle sales in the U.S. — including fleet — should reach 1.401 million, up 32% from May 2011 and an 18.3% increase from April of this year.

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Exactly how strong a month May proves to be will depend on the final sales figures from the long Memorial Day holiday weekend.  But that is expected to offset some apparent weakness in the market earlier in the month.


Are U.S. Car Buyers Getting the Jitters

Economic concerns may be slowing down the industry’s booming recovery.

by on May.23, 2012

Are motorists becoming more jittery about signing for a new car?

By most accounts, the U.S. auto industry has been one of the major engines of the American economic recovery, car sales helping offset slow housing demand and other economic indicators. But are those other factors now starting to give potential car buyers the jitters?

Even with fuel prices coming down, there are unsettling signs of a slowdown in showroom traffic and the ability to dealers to close sales, cautions Art Spinella, lead analyst at CNW Marketing. And so, while May sales should still be up, year-over-year, demand will likely take a tumble compared to April unless dealers can deliver some solid Memorial Day holiday traffic.

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“Some of the steam seems to be coming out of the new-car market” as of mid-month, Spinella cautions.  While dealers are still seeing showroom traffic, he adds, closing rates have fallen sharply, noting that, “People are looking but are hesitant about taking the plunge.


Americans Paying Record Prices for New Cars

Used cars not far behind.

by on Jun.02, 2011

Ford has taken three price hikes this year, one reason it had the highest average transaction price of all major makers in May, analysts report.

There are plenty of reasons why new car sales took a tumble last month – everything from a weak economy to a shortage of some popular Japanese vehicles.  But pricing also appears to have been a significant issue, according to industry analysts, with Americans now paying more than ever for new cars, trucks and crossovers.

The average transaction price – what a typical customer actually pays, as opposed to sticker price or the low come-ons you might see advertised – surged to $29,817 in May, according to the data tracking service  That was up a full $608, or 2.1%, from May 2010 and an increase of $215, or 0.7% over April of this year.


Significantly, prices rose sharply even though many buyers began shifting from larger to smaller vehicles in a bid for better mileage, analysts noted.  Traditionally, U.S. motor vehicle prices are closely linked to the size of an automobile.

And while some potential buyers are rethinking their options, used car prices also are heading skyward.


Car Sales Dip as GM, Japanese Tumble

Ford sales flat, but Chrysler, Koreans buck the trend with comfortable gains.

by on Jun.01, 2011

Even the biggest Chrysler products gained ground in May. The maker was the only one of Detroit's Big Three to post a gain.

Crushed under the weight of declining consumer confidence, rising gas prices, lower incentives and shrinking inventories of Japanese-made vehicles car sales took a sharp tumble in May, though some makers, including long-struggling Chrysler, managed to buck the downturn.  It was the first significant downturn for the industry since the American market began to recover in late 2009.

The biggest losers were Japanese makers, like Toyota, who expect to continue being hammered for months by the impact of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami , which nearly shut that country’s auto industry down for a month.  Some key models, such as the new 2012 Honda Civic aren’t expected to be back in full supply until late this year.

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But General Motors also saw an unexpected dip in demand reflecting sluggish sales of its big trucks even as consumers rushed to buy the maker’s new and more fuel-efficient small cars.

Overall, analysts described May as a disconcerting start to what is normally the annual spring buying season.  Sales had, in fact, been rising steadily all year, reaching a seasonally-adjusted annual sales rate, or SAAR, of 13 million in April.  But for May the annualized rate dipped to just 12 million.


Cool Start, But May Sales Could Still Turn Hot

Is a major recovery in store for 2011?

by on May.21, 2010

Auto dealers are hoping to be busy in the coming weeks, as the traditional spring buying season gets underway over Memorial Day weekend.

The economic uncertainties that have rocked the stock markets may be translating into a slowdown in the U.S. new car market, but things may pick up in the coming days, reports J.D. Power and Associates, as the upcoming Memorial Day holiday normally ushers in the traditional start of the spring buying season.

But a separate report, by consulting firm A.T. Kearney, suggests automakers might be patient for the moment, predicting a huge recovery for the sluggish American auto market in 2011.

Using real-time data from dealers across the country, the California-based research firm says May got off to a “wavering start” on the retail side of the market.  The good news is that sales are likely to come in about 11% ahead of the dismal May 2009.  But volumes will nonetheless be down from April 2010.

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The industry is expected to sell 874,000 cars, trucks and crossovers this month.  On a seasonally-adjusted annual sales rate, or SAAR, that works out to 9.2 million vehicles.  But that’s down from 9.6 million in April.  The industry might have to point the collective finger at itself for the slowdown.

“Compared with April, incentives this month are flat at $2,800, which is contributing to the slower sales pace,” said Jeff Schuster, Power’s executive director of global forecasting. “However, with the unofficial start to summer approaching, consumers are more inclined to consider purchasing a new vehicle, and it’s likely that Memorial Day sales incentives will generate an even stronger close for May.”