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Ford Focus is World’s Best-Selling Automobile

Ford nudges past Toyota, lands three in Top 10.

by on Apr.09, 2013

The Ford Focus toppled the long-running global best-seller, the Toyota Corolla.

Ford Motor Co.’s increasing focus on global small cars apparently is paying off. Make that the Ford Focus which was the world’s best-selling automobile overall last year, according to new data from R.L. Polk & Company.

The Detroit maker’s compact model rang up more than 1 million sales last year, almost 17% more volume than Toyota recorded for its traditional sales leader, the compact Corolla model. Ford also scored at the other extreme, its big F-Series pickups collectively coming in third on the global sales list. In all, Ford landed three different models in the Top 10, including the sixth-ranked Fiesta subcompact.

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Toyota and Honda each had two models on the Polk chart, while Volkswagen and General Motors’ Chevrolet brand each had one. But the Top 10 list also included a new name likely not recognizable to most Westerners: China’s Wuling Zhiguang which generated 768,870 sales, landing just behind the F-Series in fourth place.

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Clearing the Cliff: Automakers See Boom Ahead

Profits likely to reach record – even though sales will fall short of past highs.

by on Jan.02, 2013

Sign on the dotted line...dealers are seeing a steady increase in traffic, a trend expected to continue in 2013.

The last-minute Congressional compromise that kept the country from going off the so-called fiscal cliff is good news for the U.S. economy and great news for the auto industry, for as the old adage goes: when the economy catches cold the auto industry gets pneumonia.

The resolution in Washington sidestepped some key issues that must yet be worked out in the coming months. But barring some later hitch that generates a new crisis, most industry analysts and insiders are confident that the U.S. car market is finally back on track after its worst downturn since the Great Depression.

A new study by R.L. Polk is forecasting new vehicle registrations will reach 15.3 million in the U.S. this year and “We see it getting into the 16 million range by 2015,” Tom Libby, Polk’s lead analyst for North American forecasting, tells TheDetroitBureau.com.

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That would be a roughly 50% increase in 2013 from the bottom of the automotive market collapse during the depths of the downturn, and a 6% to 7% rise from the anticipated final sales numbers for 2012 – which are likely to reach near 14.5 million when year-end figures are reported by the industry tomorrow.

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Americans Keeping Cars Longer Than Ever

But that could depress new car sales.

by on Feb.21, 2012

Gotta make the old jalopy run just a little bit longer.

Credit better quality – or blame a bad economy, if you prefer – what’s hard to disagree with is that Americans are keeping their cars longer, according to a new report by automotive research firm R.L. Polk.

The typical owner will hold onto their new car, truck or crossover for just less than six years, according to the report.  For those who purchased a previously-owned vehicle, the typical length of ownership is just over four years.  That works out to an average, for both new and used vehicles, of 57 months, a figure that has increased 23% since the third quarter of 2008.

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On the downside, longer ownership cycles translate into fewer cars sold.  The flipside is that this could be translating into a significant bubble of pent-up demand that could fuel a surge in sales over the next several years.  Indeed, dealers suggest they’ve already begun seeing many buyers return to their showrooms in recent months as the economy has begun to improve.

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U.S Auto Fleet Older than Ever

Nearly quarter-billion vehicles on U.S. roads.

by on Jan.18, 2012

Americans are keeping their old cars longer, says a new study.

Blame rising prices, a weak economy, improved quality or simply the desire to add more vehicles to the household fleet.  Whatever the reason, the typical vehicle on U.S. roads is now older than ever  – and the number of vehicle has grown by more than 35 million since the start of the Millennium.

If the car, truck or crossover parked in your driveway is typical, it’s now 10.8 years old, according to a new study by the suburban Detroit-based research firm Polk.  That’s up a full year compared to 2007, just before the U.S. economy spun into the ditch.  At the same time, the data tracking firm reports that there are now 240.5 million vehicles in operation in the country, down about a half percent since the start of the Great Recession.

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“The increasing age of the vehicle fleet, together with the increasing length of ownership, offers significant business growth opportunity for the automotive aftermarket,” said Mark Seng, global aftermarket practice leader at Polk. “Dealer service departments and independent repair facilities, as well as aftermarket parts suppliers, will see increased business opportunity with customers in need of vehicle service.”

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