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Auto Market Likely to Maintain Near-Record Momentum

But shift to utes could accelerate, forecasts Toyota autos chief.

by on Dec.02, 2016

The Toyota RAV4 may soon be Toyota's best-seller.

After several tenuous months, U.S. new car sales slipped back on their record track in November, and while it’s likely the industry has hit the peak of the current economic cycle, demand is likely to remain strong for several more years, forecast the U.S. head of automotive operations for Toyota.

What consumers will be buying is another matter, according to Senior Vice President Bob Carter, who stressed that the shift from conventional passenger cars to utility vehicles and other light trucks “is going to continue to accelerate in the future.”

Barring a sudden slowdown of the American market, sales should just nip past last year’s all-time record of around 17.5 million, said Carter, during a meeting with journalists in Detroit. “By anyone’s estimation,” he said, “that’s fantastic.”

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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.

Your Auto Insider!

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.

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The Sky Isn’t Falling, Says GM President

Batey counters concerns raised by Ford CFO that auto sales have peaked.

by on Aug.02, 2016

GM North America Pres. Alan Batey introduces the 2017 Chevy Cruze Hatchback at the NAIAS.

It’s been a great ride for the U.S. auto industry. After crashing into the worst recession in decades, it rebounded to record sales of 17.5 million vehicles last year and, until recently, seemed poised to top that number again in 2016.

But there’s been a growing chorus of concern in recent weeks, industry insiders like Ford Motor Co. Chief Financial Officer Bob Shanks warning that the ride is over, and that U.S. car sales are about to start the inevitable slide. Just don’t count General Motors North America President Alan Batey among those who says the downturn is about to begin.

Perspective!

“We think the industry will plateau at some time, but everything we see says that into the near future the industry will remain strong,” Batey told reporters.

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Despite Solid July Sales, Ford CFO Sees US Auto Recovery at an End

Sedan, coupes already signal a slowdown, but trucks holding momentum.

by on Jul.29, 2016

Ford may see a weakening of the U.S. market but its F-Series is still delivering solid numbers.

U.S. auto sales have been taking some uncertain detours in recent months, May numbers tumbling before the industry showed signs of rebounding in June. Preliminary estimates, meanwhile, suggest the market will look good for July, the industry back on track for another record year.

But senior Ford officials say that we may be at the end of the line for the current recovery, with sales likely to begin another cyclical slide in the near-term.

The Last Word!

“The growth is over,” Ford Chief Financial Officer Robert Shanks told the Reuters news service. The executive separately told analysts and reporters that, “We see the second half being softer than the first half. Looking into 2017, we think we will see further softness.”

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US Auto Sales Set to Hit Yet Another Record in 2017

The current, torrid pace of sales "cannot be sustained."

by on Nov.18, 2015

In some cases, dealers have been struggling with supply shortages as sales hit records.

The torrid pace of sales that should see the U.S. auto industry set a record this year is likely to continue into 2016, but next year could see the end of an unprecedented recovery after the worst downturn the industry has experienced since the Great Depression.

Sales are likely to begin “gently” leveling off next year after hitting an all-time peak of 17.7 million cars, trucks and crossovers, forecasts Steven Szakaly, the chief economist at the National Automobile Dealers Association.

Sales News!

“The industry remains healthy and continues to grow,” said Szakaly, during a media conference call ahead of the start of the 2015 L.A. Auto Show. But he went on to warn that, “We’re also seeing the beginning of the end of what has been a tremendous amount of pent-up demand for light vehicles.”

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US Car Market Could End Year With All-Time Sales Record

Down to a photo-finish

by on Nov.16, 2015

Ford's F-150 has led the sales charts again and helped push the industry towards a new record.

Just six years after plunging into its worst downturn since the Great Depression, the U.S. auto industry has staged an unexpected and unprecedented rebound, one that could see 2015 end with an all-time sales record.

And with fuel prices at their lowest level this decade, consumers are shifting back to pickups, SUVs and other higher-profit products that could also translate into a strong, if not record, year for earnings, as well.

A Unique Perspective!

“It will be a photo-finish,” to see if 2015 beats the previous record set during the first year of the new millennium, said Stacey Boyle, an analyst with data tracking firm TrueCar, “but it will definitely be the second-highest year.”

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Auto Sales Slip a Bit, but Beat Expectations

Prices continue to push upwards.

by on Sep.01, 2015

Keep on trucking. Vehicles like the new Renegade helped Jeep score some of the industry's biggest gains in August.

Despite Wall Street’s shake-up, China’s sliding economy – and a fluke of the calendar – the U.S. auto industry did a bit better than anticipated in August, with far less of a downturn than some had predicted and a number of manufacturers managing to eke out strong gains.

While some brands, such as Toyota, saw sharp declines, others pushed into record sales numbers. And carnakers continued to see average transaction prices rise again last month, prices running at or near record levels for most of them, according to industry analysts.

Industry News!

“In spite of a tough 2014 comparison and extreme stock market volatility, our dealer’s competitive spirit kicked in and propelled us to our 65th-consecutive month of year-over-year sales increases,” said Reid Bigland, Head of U.S. Sales. “Our Jeep brand turned in a double-digit increase while eight individual models, including four Jeep brand vehicles, set sales records.”

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Growth of Global Car Market Slowing Down

“Cyclicality has not been repealed.”

by on Jun.23, 2015

U.S. car sales could be reaching their cyclical peak in the next year or two, according to study.

Led by the U.S. and China, global auto sales have been on a tear in recent years, reaching all-time record numbers despite the poor performance in markets like Europe and Latin America. But a new study warns that demand is going to soften – and soon.

Worldwide, sales will continue to increase, according to the annual automotive outlook produced by Detroit-based turnaround specialist AlixPartners. But the rate of growth will slip to an annual 2.6% for the next seven years, down from 3.1% between 2007 and 2014.

Stay in the Fast Lane!

The U.S. and China will likely see the sharpest slowdowns, the study warns, emphasizing that “cyclicality has not been permanently repealed.”

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Automakers Regain Momentum in April – Market Looking at Best in Decade

Power forecast sees industry making up ground after cold winter.

by on Apr.24, 2015

Trucks, like this Ford F-150 shown with CEO Mark Fields, continue to gain momentum in the US market.

Consumer demand for new vehicles during April is the best it’s been in 10 years, according to a new analysis by J.D. Power and LMC Automotive.

With the warmer, spring weather finally settling in across the U.S., total light-vehicle sales are projected to reach 1,463,700, a 5% increase compared with April 2014 and the highest level for the month since April 2005.  The total seasonally adjusted annual rate of sales, or SAAR, is expected to hit 16.6 million units.

The Last Word!

“The industry continues to outperform prior-year levels with respect to retail sales and transaction prices,” said John Humphrey, senior vice president of the global automotive practice at J.D. Power. “The average new-vehicle transaction price so far in April is $30,680, on pace to achieve a new record for the month.” The current record was set in April 2014 when transaction prices averaged $29,948,” he said.

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China May be World’s Largest Car Market – But it Still Lags Behind the U.S. in One Key Metric

American motorists still spend 19% more for their vehicles, according to new analysis.

by on Mar.11, 2015

A Chinese Ford Focus. Motorists there buy more cars than Americans - but spend less for them.

Chinese car sales unexpectedly slowed down last month but, barring a Russian-style meltdown of the Asian nation’s economy, it is forecast to remain the world’s largest automotive market. From a unit sales standpoint, anyway. But the U.S. retains its lead in at least one critical metric.

Measured by the value of the new vehicles sold last year, the States had a $161 billion lead over China, according to a study by data tracking service TrueCar Inc. That reflects the fact that Americans tend to buy larger, more lavishly equipped vehicles.

Your Reliable Source!

“While the growth of China’s new vehicle market over the last decade has been impressive, the total value of that market remains considerably lower than the U.S. and will remain so for some time,” said John Krafcik, president of TrueCar.

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