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Automakers Get Into the Black Friday Spirit

Deals abound for new car shoppers.

by on Nov.23, 2016

Like many other makers, Mercedes is offering special holiday deals.

Black Friday isn’t just the day to get a great deal on a low-end television or video game system, automakers are fully into the swing of busiest shopping day of the year with a slew of promotions.

Ford, General Motors, Toyota, Lexus and Mercedes are all flooding the airwaves with various Black Friday connected sales as makers look for ways to jumpstart stalled efforts to move metal after months of red-hot sales stalled at the end of the summer.

Auto Sales News!

“We are seeing a tougher pricing environment, higher levels of discounts,” said Ford Chief Executive Officer Mark Fields reported Reuters. (more…)

Delayed a Day, Ford Sales Also Take a Tumble

Lincoln a rare bright spot.

by on Nov.02, 2016

Ford's Super Duty provided a rare bright spot for the automaker in October.

A day late – and a dollar short, it seems, as Ford Motor Co. says its sales also took a double-digit dip during October, in line with the overall U.S. new car market slide.

The news wasn’t entirely bad, however, Ford reporting growth by its long-struggling luxury brand, Lincoln, as it rolls out an assortment of new and updated products, including the all-new Continental flagship sedan.

By the Numbers!

Ford issued its numbers after a day-long delay due to a fire that knocked out electrical power to its corporate headquarters in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn. The rest of the industry didn’t fare especially well, even without Ford’s downward pull. While a few makers reported strong, and even record, sales for October, the market was down about 4% year-over-year.

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AutoNation Embarks on Major Brand Expansion

Dealer chain will add used car-only shops, parts business, push online car sales and more.

by on Oct.28, 2016

AutoNation plans to invest $500 million in a brand expansion that will see it challenge used car leader CarMax.

It may already be the nation’s largest new car dealer chain, but Florida-based AutoNation is setting out on a major brand expansion that will see it challenge used car specialist CarMax, start selling its own line of automotive parts and accessories and push further into online car shopping.

The project is expected to cost AutoNation about $500 million and take several years to put in place. But it could firm up the publicly traded dealer network’s grip at a time when many industry experts forecast dramatic changes to come in the automotive world. Whether the project is enough remains to be seen, as some experts believe car sales could decline during the coming decade in favor of new car- and ride-sharing alternatives, such as Car2Go and Uber.

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AutoNation was at the forefront of an earlier transition, as thousands of traditional ma-and-pa dealerships were taken over by mega-chains. “Now we’re ready to see how we can extend this brand we created to new business opportunities,” said AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson. (more…)

Carmakers Face Tough Test as Market Flattens

Sales expected to fall just short of last year's record.

by on Oct.13, 2016

Honda's John Mendel says there is a chance that automakers will beat last year's record sales.

Manufacturers are eager to roll out new models this fall and even adding more capacity in an effort to gain an edge over rivals.

But they are also facing a highly competitive market where manufacturers are being tempted to raise incentives to protect market share, noted Stephanie Brinley, an analyst with IHS Automotive.

Sales News!

“The market is going to get more competitive and we will see if (companies) fall back into their old practices,” she added. “The easy growth is gone.” (more…)

Buyers Take a Breather as August Auto Sales Slump

Makers hoping for strong September to regain momentum.

by on Sep.01, 2016

New vehicles sales hit the brakes in August as buyers appeared to take a break from the market.

Sales of new vehicles stumbled in August and as a result General Motors, Ford, Nissan and Toyota all reported significant drops sales year over year but transaction prices continued to increase right along with incentives, analysts said.

But Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V., which has come under for its reporting methods, said its sales increased 3% last month thanks to a strong showing by the Jeep brand, which continues to win new customers with its sport utility vehicles.

The Journal of Record!

Audi also posted a 2.5% sales increase, but Volkswagen, which has been in year-long sales slump, said its sales dropped 9%. (more…)

Lincoln Nabs Top Spot in Customer Satisfaction Survey

Detroit automakers gaining ground on Japanese, Korean counterparts.

by on Aug.24, 2016

Lincoln is tops on the latest ACSI survey of new vehicle buyers in 2016.

New car buyers are happier with their purchases this year than they were last year and Lincoln is the leader of the pack, according to a new survey from the American Customer Satisfaction Index.

The annual survey shows Lincoln’s approval rating this year – 87 out of 100 – is a 5% improvement over last year’s result. Honda was second with an 86, marking an 8% jump, while Toyota and BMW tied for third at 85. It was a 4% increase for both brands.

Product News!

Often in these types of surveys, luxury brands, such as Lincoln and BMW, sweep the top spots, but this wasn’t the case this year. Claes Fornell, ACSI chairman and founder, said the figures show the gap in consumer perception may be closing between mass-market and luxury brands. (more…)

Have US Auto Sales Hit Their Peak?

Several key analysts dial back their forecasts.

by on Jul.12, 2016

While no one's predicting a major downturn, some analysts are dialing back their auto sales forecasts.

It wasn’t supposed to be nearly as good a ride. Coming out of the Great Recession, which saw U.S. auto sales plunge to their lowest level in more than half a century, industry planners had expected to see only a modest recovery. But consumers defied expectations and raced to showrooms in record numbers.

Now, however, the good times may be over. While no one appears ready to predict another major downturn, several key analysts are dialing back on their sales forecasts for the coming years.

A Look at the Future!

While the industry’s current, modest growth, “may go into part of next year, we’ve peaked,” said Dave Sullivan, a senior automotive analyst with the consulting firm AutoPacific, Inc. There are signs that much of the market has “already” leveled off, said Sullivan. (more…)

Auto Sales Outlook is Strong for Second Half

Despite positives, some traditionally strong players suffered losses.

by on Jul.05, 2016

Nissan is enjoying a nice surge in sales during the first half of 2016, in part due to its new ads and in part due to an improving economy.

A full range of manufacturers such as Ford, Fiat Chrysler, Volvo, Jaguar Land Rover, Nissan, Kia and Honda posted strong results for the first and while the year-over-year sales increases have slowed dramatically overall, the industry is still expected to set a new all-time sales record by the end of the year.

Stephanie Brinley, an analyst of IHS Automotive, said IHS has seen no reason to change its forecast of total sales for 2016. IHS expects sales of 17.64 million units, which would be a new all-time record.

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At the same time, average transaction prices continue to creep upwards despite an increase in incentive activity, which was evident during the Fourth of July Holiday as manufacturers such as Mercedes-Benz and Buick advertised deals. (more…)

Shoppers Could Be in For Bargains: Slow Sales Mean Rising Incentives

Chevy promotions aimed at regaining lost market share, building demand.

by on Jun.06, 2016

A sluggish May for automakers may have kickstarted a rush of incentives to keep the good times rolling.

Bad news for the auto industry could mean good news for U.S. car buyers.

With only a few exceptions, automakers took an unexpected tumble in May, and Chevrolet is rolling out big new incentives aimed at rebuilding momentum and regaining lost market share. Industry analysts are expecting to see even more givebacks as the industry fights to retain the record sales pace set early this year.

Sales News!

The goal is to “get dealers and customers excited,” said General Motors spokesman Jim Cain. The new Chevy incentives will cover the big Silverado pickup, as well as most of the brand’s passenger cars. The announcement follows a weak May for GM that continued the steady decline in market share it has seen all year. (more…)

US New Vehicle Sales Soar to Near-Record Levels

Makers still blowing trucks and utes out dealership doors.

by on May.03, 2016

Ford's SUV sales in April were red hot with the Explorer up 22% for the month.

Any concerns about a possible weakening for new vehicle sales this year have been set aside by strong demand for trucks and utility vehicles at near record levels last month.

Hungry buyers helped boost sales and transaction prices in April with Fiat Chrysler, Ford, Nissan, Toyota and Audi all posting sales increases for the month. Unsurprisingly, Volkswagen sales continued to slide, but General Motors’ drop overall sales was a surprise.

The Journal of Record!

Ford reported its sales increased 4% versus a year ago and retail sales also grew 3%, driving the company’s best April retail results since 2006.  (more…)