Category Archives: Auto News

DECEMBER 2014 U.S. AUTO SALES BY THE NUMBERS

 

DECEMBER 2014 U.S. AUTO SALES BY THE NUMBERS

 

Automaker

Dec. 2014

Dec. 2013

Pct. chng.

12 month
2014

12 month
2013

Pct. chng.

BMW division

41,526

37,389

11%

339,738

309,280

10%

Mini

6,615

6,592

0%

56,112

66,502

–16%

Rolls-Royce

75

72

4%

900

854

5%

  BMW Group

48,216

44,053

9%

396,750

376,636

5%

Maybach

–%

6

–100%

Mercedes-Benz

37,297

35,837

4%

356,136

334,344

7%

Smart USA

973

855

14%

10,453

9,264

13%

  Daimler AG

38,270

36,692

4%

366,589

343,614

7%

Alfa Romeo

67

–%

91

–%

Chrysler Division

30,930

20,270

53%

308,785

302,492

2%

Dodge

46,578

47,689

–2%

574,155

596,343

–4%

Fiat

3,784

3,745

1%

46,121

43,236

7%

Jeep

63,274

53,275

19%

692,348

490,454

41%

Ram

48,628

36,028

35%

469,139

367,843

28%

  FCA U.S.

193,261

161,007

20%

2,090,639

1,800,368

16%

Ferrari

175

172

2%

2,100

2,053

2%

Maserati

1,412

1,053

34%

12,943

4,768

172%

  Fiat Group

1,587

1,225

30%

15,043

6,821

121%

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles†

194,848

162,232

20%

2,105,682

1,807,189

17%

Ford division

209,679

208,608

1%

2,376,841

2,403,542

–1%

Lincoln

9,690

7,984

21%

94,474

81,694

16%

  Ford Motor Co.

219,369

216,592

1%

2,471,315

2,485,236

–1%

Buick

20,357

15,379

32%

228,963

205,509

11%

Cadillac

16,150

18,165

–11%

170,750

182,543

–6%

Chevrolet

184,938

153,493

20%

2,033,442

1,947,125

4%

GMC

53,038

43,120

23%

501,853

450,901

11%

  General Motors

274,483

230,157

19%

2,935,008

2,786,078

5%

Acura

17,809

15,751

13%

167,843

165,436

2%

Honda Division

119,472

119,504

0%

1,373,029

1,359,876

1%

  Honda (American)

137,281

135,255

2%

1,540,872

1,525,312

1%

Hyundai division

64,507

63,005

2%

725,718

720,783

1%

Kia

45,587

33,631

36%

580,234

535,179

8%

  Hyundai Group

110,094

96,636

14%

1,305,952

1,255,962

4%

Jaguar

1,683

1,544

9%

15,773

16,952

–7%

Land Rover

5,754

5,764

0%

51,465

50,010

3%

  Jaguar Land Rover

7,437

7,308

2%

67,238

66,962

0%

  Mazda

24,808

22,964

8%

305,801

283,946

8%

  Mitsubishi

6,545

6,423

2%

77,643

62,227

25%

Infiniti

12,007

13,232

–9%

117,330

116,455

1%

Nissan Division

105,311

96,526

9%

1,269,565

1,131,965

12%

  Nissan

117,318

109,758

7%

1,386,895

1,248,420

11%

  Subaru

49,923

40,172

24%

513,693

424,683

21%

  Suzuki*

–%

5,946

–100%

  Tesla*

2,200

760

190%

26,400

21,090

25%

Lexus

39,879

34,757

15%

311,389

273,847

14%

Scion

3,817

4,323

–12%

58,009

68,321

–15%

Toyota Division

171,361

151,763

13%

2,004,373

1,893,874

6%

Toyota/Scion

175,178

156,086

12%

2,062,382

1,962,195

5%

  Toyota

215,057

190,843

13%

2,373,771

2,236,042

6%

Audi

19,238

17,013

13%

182,011

158,061

15%

Bentley

412

442

–7%

3,003

2,964

1%

Lamborghini*

59

58

2%

708

690

3%

Porsche

3,275

3,246

1%

47,007

42,323

11%

VW division

34,058

34,015

0%

366,970

407,704

–10%

  Volkswagen

57,042

54,774

4%

599,699

611,742

–-2%

  Volvo Cars NA

4,920

4,888

1%

56,366

61,233

–8%

Other**

117

114

3%

1,396

1,360

3%

TOTAL

1,507,928

1,359,621

11%

16,531,070

15,603,678

6%

 

 

Led by double-digit sales increases at Fiat Chrysler, General Motors, Hyundai-Kia, Toyota Motor Corp. and Subaru, the U.S. auto industry closed out a stellar 2014 with a blockbuster December as U.S. consumers took advantage of year-end deals, lower fuel prices and an improving economy.

Light-vehicle sales rose 11 percent in December — slightly above forecasts — and 6 percent to 16.53 million for the year. The annualized pace of sales hit 16.92 million units, the third-fastest sales rate of the year.

It is the fifth consecutive year U.S. deliveries have increased after hitting a 27-year low of 10.4 million in 2009 during the Great Recession.

Thirteen brands — Honda, Nissan, Subaru, Porsche, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Maserati, Land Rover, Hyundai, BMW, Audi, Jeep and Ram — established U.S. sales records in 2014.

“Everything you need to have a great month was in place,” said Kurt McNeil, head of U.S. sales operations for GM. “Consumers felt good about the direction of the economy, interest rates and fuel prices were low, and our dealers did a great job introducing customers to our … new and redesigned vehicles.”

Among major automakers, Daimler AG, FCA, Nissan Motor and Toyota gained U.S. market share in 2014 while the BMW Group, Ford, GM, Honda, Hyundai-Kia and Volkswagen Group lost ground. Subaru and Mazda also captured additional share.

BMW retakes luxury title

The BMW brand reclaimed the luxury-sales crown from Mercedes-Benz in 2014 by a 9,347-vehicle margin: 339,738 vs. 330,391. No. 3 Lexus, which was the luxury leader from 2000 to 2010, is quickly closing the gap on its top two rivals, passing 300,000 in annual sales for the first time since 2007.

Meanwhile, Audi (182,011) outsold Cadillac (170,750) for the first time, jumping to the No. 4 luxury brand.

Sales at FCA, formerly the Chrysler Group, rose 20 percent in December, capping a year that saw overall volume advance 16 percent. The company posted the biggest gain in U.S. market share among major automakers on robust demand for Ram pickups and Jeeps.

Deliveries at GM, helped by heavy promotions, rose 19 percent, with retail volume increasing 23 percent and fleet shipments advancing 6 percent. Sales rose 21 percent at Chevrolet, 23 percent at GMC and 32 percent at Buick, while Cadillac dropped 11 percent.

For all of 2014, GM’s sales advanced 5 percent.

At Toyota, sales of Lexus, Toyota and Scion models totaled 215,057 last month, a 13 percent increase. The company’s 2014 volume advanced 6 percent. Toyota brand deliveries rose 13 percent and Lexus volume hit a December record of 39,879, up 15 percent.

The Camry, with sales of 428,606, ranked as the top-selling car in the U.S. for the 13th straight year.

“The industry finished last year on a high note thanks to a strong economic tailwind,” said Bill Fay, general manager of the Toyota division. “That momentum should continue in 2015 and combined with continued strong replacement demand, boost sales further.”

Caution

Still, some executives and analysts caution that growth will slow in 2015 after five years of rapid recovery.

“U.S. auto sales are dancing to a very different, and we believe unsustainable, beat,” Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas warned in a report Monday.

Jonas suggested demand for new light vehicles has outpaced U.S. economic, wage and housing growth rates, thanks largely to easy credit access and extended loan terms that are keeping monthly payments manageable for many consumers.

Toyota executives said they conservatively expect 2015 sales of 16.7 million vehicles, while others, including LMC Automotive, expect deliveries to hit 17 million.

“Any way you slice it, whether it’s 16.7 [million vehicles] or slightly below or above, it’s still a very healthy industry,” Jeff Bracken, head of Toyota Motor Corp.’s Lexus brand in the U.S., said of the coming year.

For some automakers, December and 2014 was a time to celebrate.

At FCA, sales last month rose 19 percent at Jeep, 35 percent at Ram, 53 percent at the Chrysler brand and 1 percent at Fiat. Volume slipped 2 percent at Dodge. The company’s U.S. deliveries have now increased 57 consecutive months.

For the year, FCA’s sales hit nearly 2.1 million on a 28 percent surge in light-truck deliveries.

FCA is particularly well positioned as America rekindles its fondness for SUVs and pickups. For the year, Jeep volume surged 41 percent to 692,348. Ram pickup deliveries surged 24 percent in 2014 to 439,789.

Through November, FCA’s U.S. market share stood at 12.7 percent, up from 11.5 percent through November 2013. Jeep’s U.S. market share climbed 1.1 percentage points to 4.2 percent through November.

Ford dinged

Ford Motor Co. sales rose 1 percent in December and slipped nearly 1 percent for the year, reflecting lower F-150 volume as the company transitions to the redesigned 2015 model. Deliveries last month rose 0.5 percent at the Ford brand and 21 percent at Lincoln

Honda Motor Co.’s sales edged up 1.5 percent. Despite a slight drop in volume at the Honda brand in December, U.S. sales at the division set an annual record of 1,373,029. Acura volume rose 13 percent last month and 1.5 percent for the year.

Honda — describing the truck market as “fast-paced” — said it set December and full-year records for crossovers and other light trucks. Deliveries of the CR-V crossover rose 13 percent in December to a record 32,369 units, and 10 percent for the year to a record of 335,019.

Sales of the Honda Pilot, helped by incentives, surged 28 percent to 11,479 in December.

“Despite the price of gasoline dropping well below $3 a gallon in many markets, Honda’s strong, balanced lineup of cars and trucks helped us achieve record sales in 2014,” said Jeff Conrad, general manager of the Honda division. “We will build on this momentum with some great new products coming in 2015.”

Core models drive Nissan

Deliveries at the Nissan brand rose 9 percent while volume slipped 9 percent at Infiniti last month. For the year, U.S. sales rose 12 percent to a record 1,269,565 at the Nissan division and 1 percent at Infiniti.

Fred Diaz, Nissan’s senior vice president for U.S. sales, marketing and operations, credited the company’s core models — Altima, Sentra, Versa and Rogue, as well as the Leaf — for the results.

Even with gasoline prices falling in recent months, U.S. deliveries of the Leaf topped 30,000 in 2014 — the first time any plug-in vehicle has reached that milestone in a single year, the company said.

Overall, Nissan’s car sales rose 12 percent while truck volume slipped 1 percent last month. For the year, the company’s car volume rose 13 percent, outpacing the 9 percent increase in truck demand.

“We expect low gas prices and high consumer confidence to be the magic formula that continues to bring more buyers into dealer showrooms,” Diaz said.

Subaru shattered the 500,000 annual sales mark in the U.S. for the first time on a 24 percent gain in December deliveries.

Mazda reported December volume of 24,808, a gain of 8 percent, and the company’s annual sales topped 300,000 units for the first time since 1994. The company said it retailed 278,880 units last year, the highest total since 1994 as part of a plan to reduce reliance on fleet deliveries.

Volkswagen sold 34,058 vehicles last month, essentially flat compared with Dec. 2013, while the brand’s full-year sales fell 10 percent to 366,970.

Positive factors

Numerous factors are playing out to support robust auto sales heading into 2015. Favorable financing terms, improving household finances, employment gains, new or redesigned models and the plunge in gasoline prices are all combining to attract buyers to U.S. showrooms.

“The momentum the economy carried through 2014 accelerated in the fourth quarter,” said Mustafa Mohatarem, chief economist for GM. “Car-buying fundamentals remain strong and we expect higher industry sales in 2015.”

A steady wave of recalls — the industry set a record in 2014 — also hasn’t deterred shoppers.

“December sums up what we’ve seen all year for automakers, and it’s a fitting finish to a comeback year for the industry,” said John Krafcik, president of TrueCar. “Sales volume growth and the popularity of highly profitable vehicle segments — pickups, utilities and luxury vehicles — has been immensely beneficial to automakers’ revenue and we expect more good news in 2015.”

To end the year on a high note, there were plenty of deals promoted throughout the month and many dealers extended showroom hours between Christmas and the New Year holiday weekend to handle additional volume.

Analysts at Edmunds.com estimate about 33 percent of the month’s sales happened in the last week of December. 

 

With gasoline prices falling below $2 a gallon in large swaths of the country, automakers and dealers sweetened discounts on hybrids. Tom Wood Lexus near Indianapolis dangled a $299 a month lease for 27 months and $1,099 due at signing on the 2015 CT 200h. The dealership also threw in a $250 Amazon.com gift card for customers who bought or leased any new vehicle through Jan. 3.

Other deals:

• BMW offered up to $3,500 off select 2015 models nationwide.

• Buick and GMC extended a deal started in November that provided buyers cash back equal to 20 percent of MSRP on older 2014 and 2015 inventory. Chevrolet ran a similar deal on select cars.

• Chrysler pitched a $239 a month lease for 39 months on the Chrysler 200 midsize sedan with zero down, no first payment and zero security deposit for buyers with top-notch credit.

Honda offered several lease deals with no down payment or security deposit on popular or older models. The first lease payment was also waived:

• $320 monthly lease on the 2015 Pilot LX with two-wheel drive for 36 months.

• $270 monthly lease on the Accord LX sedan for 36 months.

• $230 monthly lease on the 2015 Civic LX sedan for 36 months.

Trucks, prices shift higher

Kelley Blue Book said light-vehicle transaction prices rose nearly 3 percent year-over-year to $34,367 in December — making it the highest month on record for average transaction prices.

Pricing was strong across most of the industry with the exception of hybrids and electric vehicles, KBB said.

It was also the year of the light truck for most automakers. Buyers purchased more pickups, minivans, crossovers and SUVs than cars every month in 2014. That’s something automakers haven’t enjoyed since 2004 when a barrel of oil sold for less than $40.

Milan, Italy paying residents not to drive “Park Your Car and Go Public!”

Milan, Italy paying residents not to drive “Park Your Car and Go Public!”

Milan Italy paying residents not to drive

Some European struggle to accommodate their current traffic volumes. Often narrow, bumpy streets are downright ancient, and not exactly laid out with efficiency in mind. We’ve seen cities across the Old World take different approaches to addressing this issue – London instituted congestion charging, while Hamburg is actively working to ban cars by the mid 2030s. Milan, meanwhile, is taking an all-together different approach.

Rather than charging car owners every time they drive into the city, the Milanese government is teaming up with the public transport department, insurance agency Unipol and Octo Telematics, a manufacturer of “black boxes” and onboard telematics systems for a new campaign called “Park Your Car and Go Public!” With the telematics systems installed in the cars of Unipol customers, city officials know how often a car is left at home and will reward customers if the car remains parked from 7:30 AM to 7:30 PM.

It’s not a huge reward – only 1.50 euros per day or $1.84 – but it covers the cost of a ticket on public transport and is easily delivered via text message. The new campaign, according to Octo Telematics, proves the appeal of connected car systems.

“Previously, the connected car has been all about navigation, infotainment and insurance,” Jonathan Hewett, chief marketing officer at Octo Telematics, told The Financial Times. “What we’re seeing with this project is organizations from public and private spheres can get together and make life better for Europe’s citizens.”

What do you think? Would you agree to let your insurance company monitor the use of your car? Would a daily rail pass in exchange for not using your car be enough, or would you need a bigger incentive? Have your say in Comments.

 

Source: Financial Times via Autoblog.com

N.Y. Department of Financial Services subpoenas 2 banks over subprime auto lending

N.Y. Department of Financial Services subpoenas 2 banks over subprime auto lending

sb_dept_financial_services

NEW YORK (Reuters) — New York state’s financial services regulator has subpoenaed financing divisions of automakers including Ford, Honda, Nissan and Volkswagen, along with banks Santander and TD Bank, as part of a probe of possible consumer abuses in subprime auto lending, a person familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

The investigation by the New York Department of Financial Services probe includes potentially discriminatory practices, the person said.

U.S. regulators are asking banks for more detail on their autos financing exposure, as rapid growth in the lending has prompted officials to seek to better assess the risks.

The companies could not be immediately be reached for comment.

Banking regulators fear that reckless lending may be at least helping to fuel that growth, and there are early signs that delinquencies are increasing in the sector.

Companies like GM Financial and Santander Consumer USA Holdings had also disclosed earlier this year that the Department of Justice is looking into their auto finance practices.

In October, No. 2 U.S. auto lender Ally Financial Inc. had said that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating its subprime auto lending and securitization practices.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau had said in September that it is taking steps to oversee auto lenders that have previously been less regulated.

The probe was first reported Thursday by the New York Post.

NOVEMBER 2014 U.S. AUTO SALES BY THE NUMBERS

NOVEMBER 2014 U.S. AUTO SALES BY THE NUMBERS

US auto sales

Automaker

Nov. 2014

Nov. 2013

Pct. chng.

11 month
2014

11 month
2013

Pct. chng.

 

 

BMW division

31,019

31,752

–2%

298,212

271,891

10%

Mini

5,009

4,575

10%

49,497

59,910

–17%

Rolls-Royce

75

72

4%

825

782

6%

  BMW Group

36,103

36,399

–1%

348,534

332,583

5%

Maybach

–%

6

–100%

Mercedes-Benz

37,110

36,388

2%

318,839

298,507

7%

Smart USA

815

959

–15%

9,480

8,409

13%

  Daimler AG

37,925

37,347

2%

328,319

306,922

7%

Chrysler Division

27,243

21,024

30%

277,855

282,222

–2%

Dodge

42,108

41,506

1%

527,577

548,654

–4%

Fiat

3,111

3,075

1%

42,337

39,491

7%

Jeep

57,489

45,415

27%

629,074

437,179

44%

Ram

40,864

31,255

31%

420,511

331,815

27%

  Chrysler Group

170,815

142,275

20%

1,897,354

1,639,361

16%

Alfa Romeo

24

–%

24

–%

Ferrari

175

171

2%

1,925

1,881

2%

Maserati

1,203

887

36%

11,531

3,715

210%

  Fiat Group

1,402

1,058

33%

13,480

5,596

141%

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles†

172,217

143,333

20%

1,910,834

1,644,957

16%

Ford division

178,221

182,978

–3%

2,167,162

2,194,934

–1%

Lincoln

8,113

6,727

21%

84,784

73,710

15%

  Ford Motor Co.

186,334

189,705

–2%

2,251,946

2,268,644

–1%

Buick

19,143

15,072

27%

208,606

190,130

10%

Cadillac

13,148

16,172

–19%

154,600

164,378

–6%

Chevrolet

149,673

145,089

3%

1,848,504

1,793,632

3%

GMC

43,854

35,727

23%

448,815

407,781

10%

  General Motors

225,818

212,060

6%

2,660,525

2,555,921

4%

Acura

14,857

14,599

2%

150,034

149,685

0%

Honda Division

106,957

101,948

5%

1,253,557

1,240,372

1%

  Honda (American)

121,814

116,507

5%

1,403,591

1,390,057

1%

Hyundai division

53,672

56,005

–4%

661,211

657,778

1%

Kia

44,936

45,411

–1%

534,647

501,548

7%

  Hyundai Group

98,608

101,416

–3%

1,195,858

1,159,326

3%

Jaguar

1,253

1,446

–13%

14,090

15,408

–9%

Land Rover

3.644

4,601

–21%

45,711

44,246

3%

  Jaguar Land Rover

4,897

6,047

–19%

59,801

59,654

0%

  Mazda

21,242

20,754

2%

280,993

260,982

8%

  Mitsubishi

6,534

6,071

8%

71,098

55,804

27%

Infiniti

11,398

13,152

–13%

105,323

103,223

2%

Nissan Division

91,790

93,376

–2%

1,164,254

1,035,439

12%

  Nissan

103,188

106,528

–3%

1,269,577

1,138,662

12%

  Subaru

45,243

36,621

24%

463,740

384,511

21%

  Suzuki*

–%

5,946

–100%

  Tesla*

2,200

1,300

69%

24,200

19,130

25%

Lexus

27,472

25,611

7%

271,510

239,090

14%

Scion

3,907

4,968

–21%

54,192

63,998

–15%

Toyota Division

151,967

147,465

3%

1,833,012

1,742,111

5%

Toyota/Scion

155,874

152,433

2%

1,887,204

1,806,109

5%

  Toyota

183,346

178,044

3%

2,158,714

2,045,199

6%

Audi

16,640

13,636

22%

162,773

141,048

15%

Bentley

323

323

0%

2,591

2,522

3%

Lamborghini*

59

58

2%

649

632

3%

Porsche

4,699

3,966

19%

43,732

39,077

12%

VW division

31,725

30,727

3%

332,911

373,689

–11%

  Volkswagen

53,446

48,710

10%

542,656

556,968

–3%

  Volvo Cars NA

3,623

4,233

–14%

51,446

56,345

–9%

Other

117

114

3%

1,279

1,246

3%

TOTAL

1,302,655

1,245,189

5%

15,023,111

14,243,037

6%

Numbers in this table are calculated by Automotive News based on actual monthly sales reported by the manufacturers and may differ from numbers reported elsewhere.
Source: Automotive News Data Center
Note:
†Fiat completed the merger with Chrysler Group under holding group Fiat Chrysler Automobiles on Oct. 12, 2014; Fiat Group and Chrysler Group sales totals for 2013 and 2014 are combined under Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.
*Estimate
**Includes estimates for Aston Martin and Lotus

 

 

Light trucks, holiday discounts drive volume up 5%

Spurred by a 20 percent gain at Chrysler Group and aided by Black Friday discounts and light-truck demand, U.S. light-vehicle sales jumped 5 percent last month, pushing the annualized pace of deliveries above 17 million for the second time this year.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of 17.2 million fell shy of August’s 17.5 million. But it showed that demand remains robust as the industry winds up its fifth year of recovery since the recession.

Some analysts, however, warned that November’s surge could steal some sales from December.

Sales of cars, crossovers, minivans, SUVs and other vehicles totaled 1.3 million in November, the highest tally for the month since 2001. Light-truck volume jumped 9 percent while car deliveries slipped 0.1 percent.

“Automakers were keen marketers in November, tapping early into Black Friday magic to boost sales to levels not seen in more than a decade,” said John Krafcik, president of the TrueCar online car-buying service. “While the deals were good, automakers held the line on incentives.”

Subaru led all automakers with a 24 percent gain. General Motors, helped by strong truck and SUV deliveries, rebounded from a soft October with a 6 percent advance. American Honda Motor Co. set a November record with combined Honda and Acura sales of 121,814 units, an increase of 5 percent.

Toyota Motor Corp. and the VW brand each rose 3 percent. Volumes at Ford Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Corp. declined. Kia and Hyundai also fell.

Among GM brands, sales rose 27 percent at Buick, 23 percent at GMC and 3 percent at Chevrolet. Volume dropped 19 percent at Cadillac. GM’s retail deliveries edged up 5 percent and fleet volume jumped 11 percent.

Edmunds.com estimated GM’s incentives rose 23 percent in November to $3,505 from a year earlier.

“The buzz around Black Friday helped drive strong showroom traffic but there was a lot more at work in the market,” Kurt McNeil, vice president for U.S. sales operations at GM, said in a statement. “More people have jobs and job security, their wages are starting to increase, household wealth is growing and low pump prices look like they’re here to stay through 2015.”

At Ford, it was the third month in a row U.S. volume has fallen as the company retools U.S. plants that build the F-150 pickup — the nation’s top-selling vehicle. Deliveries slipped 3 percent at the Ford division but jumped 21 percent at Lincoln.

Nissan’s results ended a streak of 13 consecutive monthly sales increases.

At Toyota, deliveries rose 3 percent for the Toyota brand and 7 percent at Lexus, but slipped 21 percent at Scion. The automaker said its light truck and Lexus volumes set November records.

Subaru’s record-breaking run continued with the company posting its best November with sales of 45,273. Subaru has recorded 36 consecutive periods of month-over-month U.S. sales gains and remains on track in 2014 to surpass the 500,000 mark for the first time.

“Traffic to our retailers remains very strong,” said Jeff Walters, senior vice president of sales for Subaru of America.

Deliveries rose 2 percent at Mazda but slipped 4 percent at Hyundai, which cited “challenges in certain segments.” Sales also dropped 13 percent at Jaguar, 21 percent at Land Rover and 14 percent at Volvo.

Alfa’s official return

The Ram brand led the way for the Chrysler Group with deliveries rising 31 percent, while Jeep volume jumped 27 percent to 57,489 — a November record. Ram pickup sales advanced 21 percent to a November record of 35,865, Chrysler said. Sales rose 1 percent at Dodge and Fiat and 30 percent at the Chrysler brand.

The company also reported sales of 24 Alfa Romeo 4C coupes last month — marking the brand’s official return to the U.S. market.

Fiat Chrysler’s U.S. incentives in November averaged $3,027 per vehicle, up 3 percent from November 2013, but down 2 percent from October, TrueCar estimated.

At Bob Moore Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in Tulsa, Okla., buyers could get up to $7,000 off a 2014 Chrysler 300 sedan, $4,000 off a Dodge Dart and $7,000 to $10,000 off a 2014 Ram 1500 pickup, based on deals advertised on the dealership’s website Monday. Discounts on a 2014 and 2015 Jeep Cherokee were as high as $4,700.

Overall, Chrysler Group’s light-truck deliveries increased 18 percent and car volume jumped 26 percent last month. The company’s U.S. sales have now increased 56 consecutive months.

“We had 11 vehicles last month that set new sales records,” Reid Bigland, head of U.S. sales for Chrysler, said in a statement.

Audi record rolls on

Audi said it surpassed — over the Thanksgiving weekend — its previous full-year U.S. sales record of 158,061 vehicles set in 2013. The Volkswagen Group’s luxury brand has established annual sales records in each of the past five years. The VW brand’s 3 percent gain, to 31,725 units, was its second consecutive increase after 18 monthly declines.

The November results were better than forecast. Industry-wide light-vehicle sales were predicted to rise 2.5 percent from a strong November 2013 to about 1.28 million, according to the average of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. The SAAR was projected to climb to 16.8 million.

The November tally easily topped the 16.3 million sales pace of a year earlier and October’s 16.5 million rate. The November 2013 figure was last year’s highest.

For the year, U.S. light-vehicles sales have advanced 5.5 percent to 15 million, with truck volume rising 10 percent and car deliveries edging up 1 percent

Dealers flooded airwaves, newspapers and the web over the Thanksgiving holiday with deals, with many of the best offers coming on cars — a weak spot for the industry this year. On Monday, Maita Toyota in Sacramento, Calif., advertised $3,577 off a 2015 Corolla LE Plus and $2,677 off a 2015 RAV4 XLE, according to the dealership’s website.

“Dealer commentary suggests the month may be shaping up to be one of the strongest Novembers on the books with the Thanksgiving weekend expected to add an additional spark to floor traffic and sales,” Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas said in a report Monday. He added that gasoline prices — which average below $3 a gallon in most parts of the country — will be “especially positive for light truck sales.”

Among the best offers in late November tracked by Kelley Blue Book:

• Cadillac ATS leases for 36 months at $299 a month with $749 down.

• A Mazda6 lease for 39 months at $189 a month with $1,989 due at signing.

• Zero-percent financing for 60 months on a 2014 Volkswagen Passat.

• $3,000 off a 2014 Ford Fusion

Looking ahead

Guy Cesario, general sales manager at Mike Anderson Chevrolet of Chicago, said the Illinois store’s new-vehicle sales rose 6 percent compared with November 2013. Top sellers last month were the Sonic, Cruze and Equinox.

“Vehicle availability and incentives from the manufacturer” drove the boost in volume, Cesario said. “I’m just looking forward to a great December, which I think we’re going to have.”

Some analysts said the sales momentum enjoyed in October continued with an even stronger month spurred by the auto industry’s continued reliance on aggressive deals and financing tactics such as extended-term loans and subprime leasing.

“Clever advertising from a handful of automakers planted the seed in shoppers’ minds that rather than standing in Black Friday lines at retail stores to save tens of dollars, they could instead pocket hundreds and even thousands by taking advantage of deals on cars,” said Jeremy Acevedo, an analyst for car-shopping website Edmunds.com. “This message seems to have resonated, particularly for GM’s Buick and GMC brands that offered 20 percent off sticker prices for all models.”

Attitudes about buying a new vehicle are also the most favorable since 2005, according to the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers.

The average transaction price for light vehicles sold last month was $32,482, up 0.6 percent from a year ago, while average incentive spending per unit declined $6 to $2,660, TrueCar estimated.

OCTOBER 2014 U.S. AUTO SALES BY THE NUMBERS

 

OCTOBER 2014 U.S. AUTO SALES BY THE NUMBERS

 

OCTOBER 2014 U.S. AUTO SALES BY THE NUMBERS

 

 

Automaker

Oct. 2014

Oct. 2013

Pct. chng.

10 month
2014

10 month
2013

Pct. chng.

 

BMW division

30,602

27,574

11%

267,193

240,139

11%

Mini

5,300

5,700

–7%

44,488

55,335

–20%

Rolls-Royce

75

71

6%

750

710

6%

  BMW Group

35,977

33,345

8%

312,431

296,184

6%

Maybach

–%

6

–100%

Mercedes-Benz

30,733

32,109

–4%

281,729

262,119

8%

Smart USA

585

513

14%

8,665

7,450

16%

  Daimler AG

31,318

32,622

–4%

290,394

269,575

8%

Chrysler Division

27,546

23,452

18%

250,612

261,198

–4%

Dodge

41,512

45,314

–8%

485,469

507,148

–4%

Fiat

3,725

3,674

1%

39,226

36,416

8%

Jeep

55,198

36,379

52%

571,585

391,764

46%

Ram

42,499

31,264

36%

379,647

300,560

26%

  Chrysler Group

170,480

140,083

22%

1,726,539

1,497,086

15%

Alfa Romeo

–%

–%

Ferrari

175

171

2%

1,750

1,710

2%

Maserati

1,203

587

105%

10,328

2,828

265%

  Fiat Group

1,378

758

82%

12,078

4,538

166%

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles†

171,858

140,841

22%

1,738,617

1,501,624

16%

Ford division

179,014

184,136

–3%

1,988,941

2,011,956

–1%

Lincoln

8,883

7,131

25%

76,671

66,983

15%

  Ford Motor Co.

187,897

191,267

–2%

2,065,612

2,078,939

–1%

Buick

18,699

17,555

7%

189,463

175,058

8%

Cadillac

13,615

14,792

–8%

141,452

148,206

–5%

Chevrolet

155,965

155,214

1%

1,698,831

1,648,543

3%

GMC

38,540

38,841

–1%

404,961

372,054

9%

  General Motors

226,819

226,402

0%

2,434,707

2,343,861

4%

Acura

15,427

14,296

8%

135,177

135,126

0%

Honda Division

105,745

100,242

6%

1,146,600

1,138,424

1%

  Honda (American)

121,172

114,538

6%

1,281,777

1,273,550

1%

Hyundai division

50,081

53,555

–7%

607,539

601,773

1%

Kia

44,694

39,754

12%

489,711

456,137

7%

  Hyundai Group

94,775

93,309

2%

1,097,250

1,057,910

4%

Jaguar

1,007

1,515

–34%

12,837

13,962

–8%

Land Rover

3,643

4,286

–15%

42,067

39,645

6%

  Jaguar Land Rover

4,650

5,801

–20%

54,904

53,607

2%

  Mazda

18,798

19,737

–5%

259,751

240,228

8%

  Mitsubishi

6,199

4,752

31%

64,564

49,733

30%

Infiniti

9,045

9,152

–1%

93,925

90,071

4%

Nissan Division

94,072

81,866

15%

1,072,464

942,063

14%

  Nissan

103,117

91,018

13%

1,166,389

1,032,134

13%

  Subaru

43,012

34,483

25%

418,497

347,890

20%

  Suzuki*

–%

5,946

–100%

  Tesla*

1,400

1,302

8%

19,530

18,024

8%

Lexus

23,355

22,719

3%

244,038

213,479

14%

Scion

4,182

4,940

–15%

50,285

59,030

–15%

Toyota Division

153,043

141,317

8%

1,681,045

1,594,646

5%

Toyota/Scion

157,225

146,257

8%

1,731,330

1,653,676

5%

  Toyota

180,580

168,976

7%

1,975,368

1,867,155

6%

Audi

15,150

13,001

17%

146,133

127,412

15%

Bentley

282

340

–17%

2,268

2,199

3%

Lamborghini*

59

58

2%

590

574

3%

Porsche

3,667

3,562

3%

39,033

35,111

11%

VW division

30,313

28,129

8%

301,187

342,962

–12%

  Volkswagen

49,471

45,090

10%

489,211

508,258

–4%

  Volvo Cars NA

3,972

3,919

1%

47,823

52,112

–8%

Other**

117

114

3%

1,162

1,132

3%

TOTAL

1,281,132

1,207,516

6%

13,717,987

12,997,862

6%

 

Numbers in this table are calculated by Automotive News based on actual monthly sales reported by the manufacturers and may differ from numbers reported elsewhere.
Source: Automotive News Data Center
Note:
†Fiat completed the merger with Chrysler Group under holding group Fiat Chrysler Automobiles on Oct. 12, 2014; Fiat Group and Chrysler Group sales totals for 2013 and 2014 are combined under Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.
*Estimate
**Includes estimates for Aston Martin and Lotus

 

 

OCTOBER U.S. SALES

SAAR remains healthy at 16.5 million; GM volume up 0.2% but Ford deliveries slip

 

DETROIT — U.S. light-vehicle sales, led by double-digit increases at Chrysler Group and Nissan Motor Corp., rose 6 percent to 1.28 million in October, matching forecasts, with crossovers and light trucks fueling much of the industry’s gains.

The seasonally adjusted annual sales rate, a broad measure of the industry’s health, hit 16.5 million, slightly above projections and up 7 percent from 15.4 million a year earlier.

The SAAR has now topped 16 million every month beginning with March. In August, the SAAR surged to 17.5 million, the highest since January 2006.

“The U.S. economy has steadily improved all year and now we are poised for a stronger expansion backed by an improved job market, higher consumer confidence and lower fuel prices,” said Kurt McNeil, General Motors’ head of U.S. sales.

Chrysler Group’s U.S. sales rose 22 percent while Nissan group sales were up 13 percent.

Toyota Motor Sales sold 180,580 Toyota, Scion and Lexus models last month, an increase of 7 percent. The results reflected record October demand for the Toyota RAV4 and Highlander, strong Camry shipments, as well as robust SUV volume.

“October vehicle sales were the best for the month in 10 years as an improving economy and lower gas prices drove strong SUV sales,” Bill Fay, Toyota division general manager, said in a statement. Lexus volume rose for the 12th consecutive month.

Sales edged up 0.2 percent at General Motors, with Buick volume rising 7 percent and Chevrolet deliveries up 1 percent. Sales slipped 1 percent at GMC and 8 percent at Cadillac. The company’s retail volume dropped 2 percent, on lower consumer incentives, while fleet shipments rose 6 percent.

GM’s car deliveries slipped 1 percent while truck volume rose 6 percent. GM said its crossover deliveries declined 8 percent on the discontinuation of the Chevrolet Captiva Sport which has been sold to only rental and fleet operators.

At Ford Motor Co., volume declined 2 percent as the company retools U.S. plants to build the redesigned F-150 pickup. The F series is Ford’s top-selling nameplate. Sales fell 3 percent at the Ford division but climbed 25 percent at Lincoln.

55 consecutive monthly gains

Chrysler Group’s U.S. sales continue to be buttressed by strong demand for the Jeep lineup and Ram pickups. The latest results extended the company’s streak of year-on-year U.S. sales increases to 55 consecutive months.

Volume surged 52 percent at Jeep and 36 percent at Ram, with Ram pickup deliveries advancing 33 percent to nearly 40,000.

Sales rose 1 percent at Fiat and 18 percent at Chrysler Division but slipped 8 percent at Dodge. Overall, Fiat Chrysler’s light-truck deliveries rose 28 percent and car demand edged up 4 percent.

“Chrysler is on a streak of growth that’s virtually unheard of for American auto manufacturers,” Edmunds.com senior analyst Jessica Caldwell said. “The company’s renewed focus on SUVs comes at a perfect time when gas prices are plummeting and shoppers are falling back in love with large vehicles.”

The strategy is undeniably successful, she added, but it’s not invincible.

“If there is a spike in gas prices, Chrysler’s weak small-car lineup may not be able to fully absorb the blow,” Caldwell said.

Aided by strong crossover and small-car demand, sales at the Nissan division rose 15 percent to 94,072 — an October record — but volume slipped 1 percent at Infiniti, the company said today.

Overall, Nissan group’s car deliveries rose 15 percent and light-truck volume climbed 11 percent. Demand for the Nissan Rogue compact crossover increased 14 percent while sales of the Murano midsize crossover jumped 38 percent.

Nissan division’s U.S. sales have now set records in 13 consecutive months.

Fred Diaz, senior vice president for Nissan U.S. sales & marketing and operations, credited “high consumer confidence and low gas prices” for the company’s results and predicted those factors “will continue to boost auto sales for the last two months of 2014.”

Nissan said deliveries of the Versa subcompact and Leaf electric vehicle each rose 29 percent, and Sentra compact volume jumped 56 percent.

The Leaf set an October sales record of 2,589. Nissan said the Leaf has set a record for most U.S. sales in a year by an EV at 24,411 — with two months to go.

Core models lift Honda

American Honda posted sales of 121,172 vehicles, an increase of 6 percent vs. October of last year. Honda Division set an October record on volume of 105,745 vehicles, a gain of 6 percent for the month. At Acura, sales rose 8 percent to 15,427.

Honda cited higher demand for three core nameplates — the CR-V compact crossover, Accord midsize sedan and redesigned Fit subcompact — for the results, though deliveries of the Civic compact dropped 12 percent.

Sales of the Fit rose 83 percent to 6,851 — an October record for the nameplate.

“The success of the new Fit is an important step in re-establishing small cars as a pillar in the Honda lineup,” Jeff Conrad, Honda Division general manager, said in a statement.

Subaru’s sales jumped 25 percent to an October record of 43,012. The company has posted 35 consecutive months of year-over-year growth and is on track to produce its sixth successive annual sales record. Subaru said today it expects to surpass its 2013 annual volume record of 424,683 vehicles sold in the coming weeks.

VW ends losing streak

Volkswagen broke a string of 18 consecutive monthly sales declines with an 8 percent rise in October volume.

Mark McNabb, COO of Volkswagen of America, credited a refreshed Jetta and all-new 2015 Golf and Golf GTI for “attracting customers and enthusiasts” and driving “increased traffic in our showrooms.”

Audi posted its 46th consecutive month of record sales, with October volume rising 17 percent to 15,150. The company said strong demand for SUVs, despite lean stockpiles, and the revamped A3 spurred the gains.

“We can confidently predict that 2014 will end as the fifth-consecutive record year for Audi sales in the U.S.,” said Mark Del Rosso, COO of Audi of America. “Our annual Season of Audi year-end sales event will bring a strong finish” to the year.

Sales rose 31 percent at Mitsubishi, 12 percent at Kia — helping set an October record of 44,694 units sold — and 1 percent at Volvo.

“Declining gas prices are bringing a steady supply of customers into the market,” said Michael Sprague, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Kia Motors America.

At the BMW Group, BMW brand sales rose 8 percent to 35,977 but Mini volume slipped 7 percent.

Land Rover posted sales of 3,643 units, down 15 percent, and Jaguar’s October volume slid 34 percent to 1,007 units. The company blamed low availability of three popular models — the Range Rover Sport and LR4, and Jaguar XF sedan — for the drop in volumes.

‘Crossover sales are booming’

Light-truck demand, which has propelled the market this year, received another boost from falling gasoline prices. Overall, light truck volume rose 9 percent last month, easily outpacing the 3 percent increase in car deliveries.

“Crossover sales are booming,” said Nissan’s Diaz.

In many parts of the country, average gasoline prices have dropped below $3 a gallon.

J.D. Power said last week that falling gasoline prices were prompting owners of big pickups to remain in the segment when it came time to trade in — a development that bodes especially well for the Detroit 3.

In March 2013, when gasoline prices averaged $3.71 a gallon, J.D. Power said nearly 32 percent of large-pickup owners trading in their vehicles decided to switch to another segment that offered higher fuel economy. In November and December 2013, when U.S. gasoline prices averaged $3.26 a gallon, the defection rate among large pickup owners dropped to a low of 26.2 percent.

When gasoline prices have been high, J.D. Power said large-pickup owners tended to abandon the segment and choose a compact SUV, midsize SUV or midsize car instead.

“As large pickup owners experience these low fuel prices each time they fill their tank, fewer of them are defecting from the segment,” Thomas King, vice president of the Power Information Network, said in a statement.

Solid economic growth, expanding payrolls, pent-up demand, low-rate financing and higher incentives also continue to spur industry sales.

Strongest month in a decade

TrueCar estimated average incentives among major automakers edged up 2 percent from October 2013 to $2,629 last month, but fell 12 percent from September levels.

Larry Dominique, executive vice president of TrueCar, described the market in October as well-balanced. Incentives as a share of average transaction prices, he noted, were a “manageable” 8 percent.

The industry has to be pleased with the overall consumer shift to light trucks, he added, which means lower incentives and higher transaction prices.

Kelley Blue Book estimated the average transaction price for light vehicles in the U.S. was $33,361 in October 2014, an increase of $246, or 0.6 percent, from October 2013, and a gain of $185, or 0.7 percent, from September 2014.

“Car and truck sales have settled into a groove,” Caldwell of Edmunds.com said. “Dealers are welcoming a consistent flow of shoppers into their showrooms, and the pace will likely remain steady through the end of the year. With declining gas prices and strong truck and SUV sales, the industry is poised for a very busy holiday season.”

GM Delivers Best Third Quarter Sales Since 1980 – 2.4M vehicles sold

GM Delivers Best Third Quarter Sales Since 1980 – 2.4M vehicles sold

General-Motors-Logo-1024x1024

 

GM Delivers its Best Third Quarter Global Sales Since 1980
2014-10-15

Chevrolet up 9 percent in North America
Cadillac up 63 percent in China
Buick global sales up 7 percent

DETROIT – General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) sold 2,449,595 vehicles around the world in the third quarter of 2014, up 2 percent compared with a year ago. It was the company’s best third quarter since 1980. In the first nine months of 2014, GM sold 7,371,743 vehicles, up 2 percent.

Third quarter sales in the United States and China, the company’s two largest markets, were up 8 percent and 14 percent, respectively. Year to date, sales in the United States and China were up 4 percent and 12 percent, respectively.

GM is on track to surpass sales of 3 million vehicles in China for the second consecutive year and the company expects to top last year’s record sales of 3.16 million vehicles. During September, GM’s cumulative sales in China surpassed 20 million vehicles.

“GM delivered its best third quarter global sales in 34 years thanks to solid growth in the United States and China, and steady improvement in Opel’s market share,” said GM CEO Mary Barra. “We have launches now underway, including the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon in North America, the Opel/Vauxhall Corsa in Europe, and the Buick Envision and Cadillac ATS-L in China, that will keep our momentum going.”

Highlights (vs. 2013)

Chevrolet had record sales in China in the third quarter, up 13 percent to 169,830 units. For the first nine months of year, the brand is up 7 percent to a record 505,316 units. September was Chevrolet’s best month ever in China.
Calendar year to date, Chevrolet sales in South Korea are at record levels.
The success of the new Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra helped GM increase its estimated share of the U.S. retail market for large pickups from 32.7 percent in the first quarter of 2014 to 34.7 percent in the second quarter and 35.6 percent in the third quarter.
Buick’s global sales were up 7 percent in the third quarter to 284,540 units and they are up 11 percent calendar year to date to 858,046 units, driven by strong growth in the United States and China. Buick’s China sales were up 8 percent in the quarter to 220,578 units and they were up 11 percent to 670,999 units in the first nine months of the year.
In China, combined, sales of small SUVs – the Buick Encore, Chevrolet Trax and Captiva – were up 90 percent in the third quarter. In the United States, the Buick Encore has been the best-selling vehicle in its segment for six months in a row. The Chevrolet Trax will launch in the United States in early 2015.
Cadillac’s global sales were up 4 percent in the third quarter and they are up 9 percent year to date, driven by strong growth in China. Cadillac’s China sales were up 48 percent in the quarter to 18,665 units and they were up 63 percent to 52,425 units in the first nine months of the year.
Opel/Vauxhall gained market share in 11 European countries in the first nine months of this year, including Germany, where the brand earned 7 percent of the market, up 0.3 points.

General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM, TSX: GMM) and its partners produce vehicles in 30 countries, and the company has leadership positions in the world’s largest and fastest-growing automotive markets. GM, its subsidiaries and joint venture entities sell vehicles under the Chevrolet, Cadillac, Baojun, Buick, GMC, Holden, Jiefang, Opel, Vauxhall and Wuling brands. More information on the company and its subsidiaries, including OnStar, a global leader in vehicle safety, security and information services, can be found at http://www.gm.com.

September 2014 U.S. AUTO SALES BY THE NUMBERS

September 2014 U.S. AUTO SALES BY THE NUMBERS

September 2014

Automaker

Sept. 2014

Sept. 2013

Pct. chng.

9 month
2014

9 month
2013

Pct. chng.

 

 

BMW division

25,586

23,568

9%

236,591

212,565

11%

Mini

4,219

5,306

–21%

39,188

49,635

–21%

Rolls-Royce

75

71

6%

675

639

6%

BMW Group

29,880

28,945

3%

276,454

262,839

5%

Chrysler Division

28,781

25,251

14%

223,066

237,746

–6%

Dodge

44,020

48,576

–9%

443,957

461,834

–4%

Dodge/Ram

82,518

77,145

7%

781,105

731,130

7%

Fiat

3,360

3,157

6%

35,501

32,742

8%

Jeep

55,231

37,464

47%

516,387

355,385

45%

Ram

38,498

28,569

35%

337,148

269,296

25%

Chrysler Group†

169,890

143,017

19%

1,556,059

1,357,003

15%

Maybach

–%

6

–100%

Mercedes-Benz

29,523

26,851

10%

250,996

230,010

9%

Smart USA

748

625

20%

8,080

6,937

17%

Daimler AG

30,271

27,476

10%

259,076

236,953

9%

Ford division

172,261

177,999

–3%

1,809,927

1,827,820

–1%

Lincoln

7,257

6,453

13%

67,788

59,852

13%

Ford Motor Co.

179,518

184,452

–3%

1,877,715

1,887,672

–1%

Buick

17,466

15,623

12%

170,764

157,503

8%

Cadillac

13,829

13,828

0%

127,837

133,414

–4%

Chevrolet

153,873

127,785

20%

1,542,866

1,493,329

3%

GMC

38,269

29,959

28%

366,421

333.213

10%

General Motors

223,437

187,195

19%

2,207,888

2,117,459

4%

Acura

13,832

11,648

19%

119,750

120,830

–1%

Honda Division

104,391

93,915

11%

1,040,855

1,038,182

0%

Honda (American)

118,223

105,563

12%

1,160,605

1,159,102

0%

Hyundai division

56,010

55,102

2%

557,458

548,218

2%

Kia

40,628

38,003

7%

445,017

416,383

7%

Hyundai Group

96,638

93,105

4%

1,002,475

964,601

4%

Jaguar

1,142

1,313

–13%

11,830

12,447

–5%

Land Rover

3,106

3,387

–8%

38,424

35,359

9%

Jaguar Land Rover

4,248

4,700

–10%

50,254

47,806

5%

Maserati

1,318

379

248%

9,125

2,241

307%

Mazda

23,980

22,464

7%

240,953

220,490

9%

Mitsubishi

5,558

4,001

39%

58,365

44,981

30%

Infiniti

7,837

9,040

–13%

84,880

80,919

5%

Nissan Division

95,118

77,828

22%

978,392

860,197

14%

Nissan

102,955

86,868

19%

1,063,272

941,116

13%

Subaru

41,517

31,755

31%

375,485

313,407

20%

Suzuki*

–%

5,946

–100%

Tesla*

1,300

1,139

14%

18,130

16,714

9%

Lexus

21,852

19,522

12%

220,683

190,760

16%

Scion

4,154

5,131

–19%

46,103

54,090

–15%

Toyota Division

141,273

139,804

1%

1,528,002

1,453,329

5%

Toyota/Scion

145,427

144,935

0%

1,574,105

1,507,419

4%

Toyota

167,279

164,457

2%

1,794,788

1,698,179

6%

Audi

14,917

13,065

14%

130,983

114,411

15%

Bentley

236

253

–7%

1,986

1,859

7%

Lamborghini*

59

58

2%

531

516

3%

Porsche

3,607

3,093

17%

35,366

31,549

12%

VW division

25,996

31,920

–19%

270,874

314,833

–14%

Volkswagen

44,815

48,389

–7%

439,740

463,168

–5%

Volvo Cars NA

4,667

4,188

11%

43,851

48,193

–9%

Other**

292

285

3%

2,620

2,557

3%

TOTAL

1,245,786

1,138,378

9%

12,436,855

11,790,337

6%

Numbers in this table are calculated by Automotive News based on actual monthly sales reported by the manufacturers and may differ from numbers reported elsewhere.
Source: Automotive News Data Center
Note: *Estimate
†Fiat S.p.A. purchased the remaining 41.46% stake in Chrysler Group from the UAW’s VEBA Trust on Jan. 20, 2014.
**Includes estimates for Aston Martin, Ferrari, and Lotus

 

SEPTEMBER U.S. AUTO SALES

GM, Nissan, Chrysler gains propel market to 9% increase

U.S. light-vehicle sales — paced by truck-fueled gains at General Motors, Chrysler Group and Nissan Group — rose 9 percent in a September marked by sharp brand advances and a few steep declines.

The results were just below forecasts and cooler than the scorching rate set in August. Still, they reflect a market coasting toward its fifth straight year of recovery following the 2007-09 recession.

“Auto sales remained strong in September and rounded out an excellent third quarter, the best for the industry since 2006,” said Bill Fay, Toyota Division general manager. “SUVs and crossovers continue to be the industry’s hot spots.”

Fay’s remarks came as parent Toyota Motor Corp. tallied a 2 percent gain, one of its weakest performances in months. Ford Motor Co. again trailed the industry, this time with a 3 percent decline.

In a reporting quirk, GM, Chrysler and Nissan each chalked up 19 percent gains, while the Volkswagen brand and Toyota’s Scion tumbled 19 percent.

Subaru, which has passed VW in the brand sales rankings this year, was up 31 percent. It extended its U.S. sales streak to 34 months after raising its volume target for 2014 to 500,000 units.

The seasonally adjusted annual sales rate hit 16.4 million, just below analysts’ forecasts in the 16.5 million range. September’s SAAR was up sharply from 15.4 million a year earlier and well below August’s 17.5 million, the strongest pace since January 2006.

SAAR streak

Swings aside, the SAAR has now topped 16 million for six straight months.

Honda Motor Co. had a 12 percent gain in September on a 19 percent rise at the Acura brand and 11 percent jump at Honda. Two Honda models — the Fit and CR-V — set September sales records, the company said.

GM said it delivered 223,437 vehicles last month, with retail volume up 17 percent and fleet shipments jumping 30 percent. Sales rose 28 percent at GMC, 20 percent at Chevrolet, and 12 percent at Buick. Volume was flat at Cadillac.

Overall, it was GM’s strongest gain since the company’s sales rose 20 percent in September 2011. The company’s light truck sales surged 42 percent last month, while car volume rose 6 percent and crossover deliveries increased 9 percent.

Another month of robust demand for Ram pickups and Jeeps, combined with some of the industry’s highest discounts, spurred Chrysler Group’s 19 percent September advance.

Toyota said it sold 167,279 Scion, Toyota and Lexus models last month. Sales rose 1 percent at the Toyota division and 12 percent at Lexus.

Fleet dents Ford

Deliveries at the Ford brand slipped 3 percent while volume rose 13 percent at Lincoln. Ford said its retail sales totaled 137,297, a gain of 2 percent, while fleet deliveries fell 14 percent to 42,878.

The VW brand’s 19 percent drop marked its 18th straight month of decline. A freshened Jetta arrived in showrooms late last month as the car was on its way to a 23 percent fall for the month.

Audi deliveries rose 14 percent to 14,917 as the German luxury brand’s winning streak rolled along for the 45th consecutive month. The new A3 compact buoyed Audi’s performance, with sales of 2,340, offsetting declines in A4 and A6 volumes.

Jaguar Land Rover also posted a decline in September volume, with Jaguar off 13 percent and Land Rover down 8 percent.

Volvo ended a four-month sales skid with an 11 percent gain in September.

At Chrysler, Jeep sales rose 47 percent and Ram pickup volume increased 30 percent to 36,612 units, the company reported. Chrysler Group’s U.S. sales totaled 169,890, edging past Toyota, and have now increased 54 consecutive months.

“Almost no one noticed last month Chrysler sold more than Toyota in the U.S. market,” Chrysler Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne said Thursday at the Paris auto show. “I think it is relevant, considering where this company was five years ago, to do better of the world’s largest automaker, at least in the U.S. market.”

Volume rose 35 percent at the Ram brand, 14 percent at the Chrysler brand, and 6 percent at Fiat, while sales skidded 9 percent at Dodge.

Chrysler brand deliveries were driven by the redesigned 200 midsize sedan and the Town & Country minivan. Sales of the 200 rose 15 percent last month to 10,995, its best showing ever in September, the company said.

Overall, Chrysler Group’s light truck deliveries jumped 30 percent while car sales slid 7 percent.

Chrysler spiffs

Reid Bigland, head of U.S. sales for Chrysler Group, credited “continued consumer demand” for the 200, Jeep lineup and Ram pickup for the company’s latest results.

TrueCar.com estimates the company’s incentives averaged $3,644 in September, up 16 percent from a year earlier. Edmunds.com pegged Chrysler’s average spiff per vehicle sold at $3,281, an increase of 22 percent from September 2013.

Nissan Group’s advance was spurred by its namesake division, up 22 percent. The Versa and Sentra small cars and Rogue compact crossover were among the standouts. Sales at the Infiniti luxury brand fell 13 percent. The Nissan Group’s light trucks rose 27 percent, easily outpacing the 13 percent gain in the company’s car volume.

Hyundai reported sales of 56,010, an increase of 2 percent for the month, on strong demand for the Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport.

“Following a red-hot August, sales cooled a bit in September as we held the line on our incentive spending in a very aggressive market,” said Bob Pradzinski, vice president of national sales for Hyundai Motor America.

Mazda and Kia each posted gains of 7 percent, while Mitsubishi continued its comeback with a 39 percent increase.

U.S. light-vehicle demand has climbed 6 percent through September and is on track to hit 16.4 million for the year, analysts say.

Light trucks are propelling the market higher this year, with combined sales of pickups, crossovers, SUVs and vans rising 10 percent, compared to a 1-percent gain for cars. In September, light truck demand jumped 17 percent while car deliveries rose just 2 percent.

Forecasts raised

Several forecasters raised their outlook for 2014 industry sales after the final August tally blew past projections.

“It’s been a while since the auto industry enjoyed such a strong quarter. It’s clear that the American public feels better about buying new cars,” said Jessica Caldwell, senior analyst for Edmunds.com. “Automakers have struck the right chord by putting more emphasis on leases and opening credit to a larger cross-section of buyers. Expect the same trends to continue through the end of the year.”

Across the industry, discounts on new cars and light trucks averaged $2,801 in September, according to TrueCar. Edmunds estimates industrywide deals last month averaged $2,423.

In addition to attractive lease deals and steep discounts on 2014 models, steady economic growth and falling gasoline prices are helping entice Americans to showrooms.

“The U.S. economy keeps getting better,” said Steven Szakaly, chief economist for the National Automobile Dealers Association. “The story of the last few months has been pent-up demand. Consumers that delayed purchases are becoming more comfortable and moving back into the market.”

Szakaly said the decline in gasoline prices will also aid consumer confidence and auto sales in coming months.

GM prices advance

GM, citing J.D. Power and Associates data, said strong demand for trucks and crossovers helped the company generate average U.S. transaction prices of about $34,600 last month, the highest ever. Average transaction prices were up about $1,200 per unit compared with August, and up about $2,500 per unit from Sept. 2013, GM said.

Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas expected a pullback after an especially strong August but noted in a report on Tuesday that “dealer commentary has been upbeat on sales, particularly in the second half of September.”

“Floor traffic should remain elevated with GM and other [automakers] stepping up incentives as part of their annual promotion campaigns,” Jonas wrote in a report to investors, noting GM offered special deals on trucks in September.

On Monday, top Ford executives predicted U.S. light vehicle sales will probably rise for a rare sixth straight year in 2015 and may exceed 17 million for the first time since 2001.

Deliveries of new cars and trucks will rise to 16.8 million to 17.5 million, including about 200,000 medium- and heavy-duty trucks, Ford told investors.

U.S. light-vehicle sales haven’t exceeded 17 million since 2001, when automakers, led by GM, lured consumers to showrooms with no-interest loans following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Peugeot Quartz Concept 500-HP Hybrid Crossover

Peugeot Quartz Concept 500-HP Hybrid Crossover

peugeot-quartz-concept-007-1

 

PEUGEOT Quartz concept: an exceptional crossover that is a thrill to drive

PEUGEOT has been building on its lead in the crossover market since 2009. With the Quartz concept, it has unveiled a new vision for the segment, blending the heightened expression of a next-generation SUV with the punch of its more high-performance models. There is an original athletic air about both the exterior and the cabin, both of which boast an outstanding design and innovative materials, featuring basalt, digitally woven fabric and chiné leather. The Quartz i-Cockpit is fully focused on driver needs while helping to harness the potential of the PEUGEOT Sport-developed 500 hp drive train and intelligent running gear.

With the Exalt and Quartz concepts, the brand is showcasing its vision of the high-end automotive market. PEUGEOT is committed to developing exclusive concepts for its customers through outstanding design, innovative materials and unparalleled sensations.

Maxime Picat, PEUGEOT Brand CEO

PEUGEOT’s style strength lies in its prowess in tackling a sedan or hatchback just as effectively as a crossover to create the kind of stylish car that people would really love to own.

Gilles Vidal, PEUGEOT Style Director

An ultra-athletic crossover

The strong, powerful, sporty style of the PEUGEOT Quartz is clear from the outset. Its shapely design combines the body of an SUV with the cabin of a sedan.

Its road-holding capability is immediately evident in the front end, which spans 2.06 metres in width, sitting on broad, 305 mm tyres. The lighting system features LED units for improved efficiency. The lens-free headlamps are enhanced by a light guide that emerges from the side of the body to divide the air flow. The lion logo stands in the centre of the grille, brought to life by a checked pattern that shifts depending on the angle of view.

In profile, the sleek lines ably convey the dynamic feel of the concept. The 23-inch alloys and Continental tyres sit inside generously rounded wheel arches. The overhangs are extremely short to ensure that as much as possible of the 4.50 m body length is used for the vehicle’s occupants. The engine is nonetheless given pride of place under a long bonnet enhanced by louvres that improve air intake. The electronically retractable step adds to a flank inspired by styles found in the textile industry, with fitted pleats fastening the material taut to the structure while lending volume to the wheel arches.

The upper section of the cabin gives the impression of a single block in which the various functions have been carved. The metallic arches encase and attach the polycarbonate windows to the body, enhanced by a sculpted body form that captures the light. They also add to the vehicle’s silhouette by lending a mineral look to the overall finish.

peugeot-quartz-concept-003-1peugeot-quartz-concept-004-1

peugeot-quartz-concept-001-1peugeot-quartz-concept-002-1

As it flows towards the rear wings, the glass roof moulds into two spoilers that further enhance the aerodynamic design. These are aligned with the separator between the two Quartz finishes: mineral grey at the front-inspired by rock crystal-and matt black for the rear wings, offset by occasional splashes of red.

The Quartz’s efficiency is underscored by the precision of each feature and component. The spokes on the 23-inch alloys have been kept to the bare minimum made possible by the strength of the materials, and are covered by composite flaps. In addition to their style, these flaps also optimise aerodynamic flow and cooling for the brakes, via the air intakes, to ensure improved heat resistance.

The PEUGEOT Quartz is a single block into which an SUV bottom and sedan upper have been seamlessly carved. Styling reflects the function of each part. The Quartz’s sculpted body and innovative materials pack a punch while ensuring efficiency.

Matthias Hossann, PEUGEOT Quartz Style Manager

The cabin showcases innovative, efficient materials

A new manufacturing process was used to remove the need for a central pillar and create scissor doors to enable easy access. The Quartz is based on an EMP2 platform with a composite structure and bonded panels. In addition to weight savings, this solution offers excellent stiffness, which makes it possible to remove the structural support provided by the central pillar.

A retractable step adds to the comfort of all four passengers. Inside, a range of unexpected materials from both natural and recycled sources contribute to the sensory experience and create an impressive visual and tactile effect.

peugeot-quartz-concept-011-1peugeot-quartz-concept-012-1

Image converted using ifftoanypeugeot-quartz-concept-006-1

The Quartz has a contrasting interior and exterior. The cabin is designed to convey a sense of warmth through its sophistication and refinement. Yet the overall feel is undeniably sporty, with an i-Cockpit dedicated to the driver’s every need.

Sébastien Floutier, PEUGEOT Quartz Colour & Trim Designer

The strength and lightness of basalt symbolises the Quartz itself and features strongly in the centre console. Basalt is formed when magma is quickly cooled once it comes in contact with the elements. It has the same properties the world over, making sourcing for target markets much easier. In this case, the basalt is left in its raw form to contrast with the other materials used.

The Quartz is the first-ever vehicle to feature digitally woven textile. This innovative process can create large and complex parts that can be used as soon as they come off the machine. No cutting is required, meaning there is no waste. The textile is woven with polyester fibre obtained by recycling the kind of plastic used to make water bottles. The process can also produce parts of significant thickness, making them softer and reducing the need for the foam normally used.

Leather is of course present, in keeping with the greatest automotive traditions. To create a sportier feel, the floor pan, sides and roof are trimmed in black leather, with contact points such as seat cushions and backs trimmed in tawny leather. This fawn-coloured trim is sourced from old furniture and clothing.

To complete the look, the door frames are milled in a block of a composite material, with a red hue used to fill the grooves left by the machine. The resulting pattern of lines creates a sense of movement, which constantly changes the appearance.

A driver-dedicated i-Cockpit

Inside, each of the four passengers has a bucket seat providing optimal interior space. The seat structure is left exposed and features a four-point retractable harness, with floating cushions and backrests trimmed in tawny leather to ensure excellent comfort.

The driver’s seat has a solid wraparound fit to match the car’s high-end performance, with the PEUGEOT i-Cockpit keeping everything at the driver’s fingertips. The compact steering wheel with embedded controls is borrowed from competition models and offers the utmost efficiency, allowing the driver to use the indicators, change driving mode and shift gears with ease. The head-up display provides a large, configurable screen with a central 45-degree polycarbonate strip to show additional information and create added depth.

The instrument panel is found on both sides of the small steering wheel and head-up display and is angled toward the driver to ensure easy access to the toggle switches. On activating one of these controls, the driver sees the information travel along the relevant optical fibre.

peugeot-quartz-concept-009-1peugeot-quartz-concept-010-1peugeot-quartz-concept-008-1

A high-performance drive train

The Quartz concept’s sculpted styling requires an outstanding engine. Developing a total of 500 hp, the full-hybrid plug-in drive train comprises a combustion engine and two electric motors.

The evocatively embossed bonnet houses the 1.6L THP 270 power plant developed by PEUGEOT Sport. Mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, the four-cylinder engine delivers torque of 330 Nm, with a specific output of nearly 170 hp per litre, making it one of the world’s top performers. The front axle is also driven by an 85 kW electric motor with direct drive. This charges the 400 V battery during deceleration phases and assists the combustion engine with gear changes. The rear axle also features an 85 kW electric motor for propulsion and battery charging. A specific ESP handles braking distribution between the four wheels to ensure both vehicle stability and optimise battery charging.

There are three driving modes: ZEV can cover up to 50 km on a single battery charge using the plug-in battery; in Road mode, the combustion engine and front electric motor work together to enhance driving pleasure and maximise battery charging during deceleration; Race mode harnesses the power of the engine and both electric motors to get the most out of the chassis and running gear equipped with limited-slip differentials. This makes it possible to divide torque between the wheels based on the individual grip of each.

To use the system to its full potential, the Quartz front axle employs bespoke McPherson struts, with a multi-arm arrangement on the rear, including on-board electric motor. The pneumatic suspension automatically adjusts ground clearance between 300 and 350 mm. This function is controlled by an optical system that literally reads the road, using cameras linked to a navigation system to anticipate changes in the road surface.

The Quartz concept delivers an outstanding drive. Performance, responsiveness and intuitiveness ensure unparalleled enjoyment behind the wheel. The Quartz showcases a novel PEUGEOT approach to high-end sports models.

AUGUST 2014 US AUTO SALES BY THE NUMBERS

AUGUST 2014 US AUTO SALES BY THE NUMBERS

 

PJB-Hodges-v-Taylor

 

Automaker

Aug. 2014

Aug. 2013

Pct. chng.

8 month

8 month

Pct. chng.

2014

2013

BMW division

27,214

24,523

11%

211,005

188,997

12%

Mini

5,006

6,023

–17%

34,969

44,329

–21%

Rolls-Royce

75

71

6%

600

568

6%

BMW Group

32,295

30,617

6%

246,574

233,894

5%

Chrysler Division

29,762

28,678

4%

194,285

212,495

–9%

Dodge

49,895

52,858

–6%

399,937

413,258

–3%

Dodge/Ram

96,489

86,445

12%

698,587

653,985

7%

Fiat

3,362

4,190

–20%

32,141

29,585

9%

Jeep

68,766

46,239

49%

461,156

317,921

45%

Ram

46,594

33,587

39%

298,650

240,727

24%

Chrysler Group†

198,379

165,552

20%

1,386,169

1,213,986

14%

Maybach

–%

6

–100%

Mercedes-Benz

28,958

26,151

11%

221,471

203,157

9%

Smart USA

1,334

993

34%

7,332

6,312

16%

Daimler AG

30,292

27,144

12%

228,803

209,475

9%

Ford division

213,227

212,212

1%

1,637,666

1,649,821

–1%

Lincoln

8,146

8,192

–1%

60,531

53,399

13%

Ford Motor Co.

221,373

220,404

0%

1,698,197

1,703,220

0%

Buick

22,143

24,650

–10%

153,298

141,880

8%

Cadillac

16,650

20,255

–18%

114,008

119,586

–5%

Chevrolet

185,930

187,740

–1%

1,388,993

1,365,544

2%

GMC

47,700

43,202

10%

328,152

303,254

8%

General Motors

272,423

275,847

–1%

1,984,451

1,930,264

3%

Acura

15,487

17,051

–9%

105,918

109,182

–3%

Honda Division

151,551

149,381

2%

936,464

944,267

–1%

Honda (American)

167,038

166,432

0%

1,042,382

1,053,449

–1%

Hyundai division

70,003

66,101

6%

501,448

493,116

2%

Kia

54,667

52,025

5%

404,389

378,380

7%

Hyundai Group

124,670

118,126

6%

905,837

871,496

4%

Jaguar

1,184

1,723

–31%

10,688

11,134

–4%

Land Rover

4,489

4,938

–9%

35,318

31,972

11%

Jaguar Land Rover

5,673

6,661

–15%

46,006

43,106

7%

Maserati

1,233

326

278%

7,807

1,862

319%

Mazda

31,305

28,106

11%

216,974

198,026

10%

Mitsubishi

6,786

5,281

29%

52,807

40,980

29%

Infiniti

9,164

11,844

–23%

77,043

71,879

7%

Nissan Division

125,224

108,614

15%

883,274

782,369

13%

Nissan

134,388

120,498

12%

960,317

854,248

12%

Subaru

50,246

41,061

22%

333,968

281,652

19%

Suzuki*

–%

5,946

–100%

Tesla*

1,800

2,300

–22%

16,830

15,575

8%

Lexus

32,809

29,792

10%

198,831

171,238

16%

Scion

6,186

7,698

–20%

41,949

48,959

–14%

Toyota Division

207,105

194,047

7%

1,386,729

1,313,525

6%

Toyota/Scion

213,291

201,745

6%

1,428,678

1,362,484

5%

Toyota

246,100

231,537

6%

1,627,509

1,533,722

6%

Audi

17,101

14,005

22%

116,066

101,346

15%

Bentley

241

239

1%

1,750

1,606

9%

Lamborghini*

59

58

2%

472

458

3%

Porsche

4,540

3,327

37%

31,759

28,456

12%

VW division

35,181

40,342

–13%

244,878

282,913

–13%

Volkswagen

57,122

57,971

–2%

394,925

414,779

–5%

Volvo Cars NA

4,960

5,518

–10%

39,184

44,005

–11%

Other**

291

284

3%

2,328

2,272

3%

TOTAL

1,586,374

1,503,665

6%

11,191,068

10,651,957

5%

Numbers in this table are calculated by Automotive News based on actual monthly sales reported by the manufacturers and may differ from numbers reported elsewhere.
Source: Automotive News Data Center
Note: *Estimate
†Fiat S.p.A. purchased the remaining 41.46% stake in Chrysler Group from the UAW’s VEBA Trust on Jan. 20, 2014.
**Includes estimates for Aston Martin, Ferrari, and Lotus

 

 

SAAR soars to 17.5 million; Ford, GM are flat; VW slump continues

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly described the number of selling days in August 2014.

U.S. light-vehicle sales, led by double-digit increases at Chrysler Group and Nissan Motor Corp., rose 6 percent in August, helped by generous Labor Day holiday deals and continued demand for pickups, SUVs and crossovers.

The results easily eclipsed projections that volume would be flat in comparison to a particularly strong August 2013.

The seasonally adjusted annualized pace of sales — a key barometer of the industry’s health — soared to 17.5 million, nearly 1 million units above the 16.6 million estimate from analysts tracked by Bloomberg.

The U.S. auto industry last saw a 17 million light-vehicle SAAR in July 2006 and a 17.5 million SAAR in January 2006.

“Sales continued to gain momentum as the month progressed, and we finished the Labor Day holiday weekend strong,” said Bob Pradzinski, vice president of national sales for Hyundai Motor America. Hyundai posted a 6 percent gain for the month and was among the automakers that tallied August records.

The August results included Tuesday Sept. 2, providing 27 selling days in the month, or one fewer than August 2013. A year earlier, the SAAR came in at 16.1 million and the July SAAR hit 16.5 million – the fifth straight month above the 16 million mark.

Light truck demand rose 9 percent last month, fueling much of the industry’s gains, while car volume edged up 2 percent. In all, 1.59 million vehicles were sold, up from 1.50 million a year earlier.

Records, streaks

Chrysler posted a 20 percent increase amid surging sales of the Ram pickup and Jeeps. Nissan advanced 12 percent, as a 15 percent increase for the namesake brand offset a 23 percent decline for Infiniti luxury models.

Toyota Motor Corp. had its sixth consecutive monthly gain, up 6 percent overall, on a 16 percent surge in light truck volume.

Deliveries slipped 1 percent at General Motors and were up slightly at Ford Motor Co. The Volkswagen brand continued to slump, down 13 percent, but sibling Audi gained 22 percent.

Honda Motor Co.’s sales edged up 0.4 percent and the company said the Honda Accord set an all-time monthly sales record of 51,075, up 33 percent. It was the eighth-straight monthly gain for Accord, which outsold Toyota’s Camry to rank as the best-selling car in the nation.

Overall, deliveries rose 2 percent at the Honda division but fell 9 percent at Acura.

Nissan and Chrysler had been expected to be the only major automakers to tally August increases.

“The industry had its best August in over a decade with sales topping 1.5 million vehicles,” Bill Fay, Toyota division general manager, said in a statement. The Toyota brand edged Ford for the second straight month.

Strong season ahead

Kurt McNeil, GM’s U.S. sales chief, said the company sees “a strong fall selling season ahead for GM and the industry.”

GM, which has been dogged by a record wave of recalls this year, said its retail sales fell 4 percent while fleet shipments rose 9 percent. GMC was the only GM brand to post a gain last month, with volume up 10 percent. Sales dropped 1 percent at Chevrolet, 10 percent at Buick and 18 percent at Cadillac.

But trucks proved a bright spot for GM, with volume up 18 percent.

While the Volkswagen brand fell for a 17th straight month, the A3 helped propel sibling Audi to its highest monthly U.S. sales tally in company history: 17,101 vehicles.

At Chrysler, Jeep deliveries rose 49 percent and Ram brand sales climbed 39 percent on a 33 percent jump in Ram pickup volume. Ram pickup deliveries, aided by higher discounts, analysts say, totaled 43,775 for its best August since 2003.

At Ford, sales edged up 0.4 percent at the Ford division and fell 0.6 percent at Lincoln. Ford said it car sales rose 2 percent, utility deliveries increased 5 percent and truck demand slipped 5 percent.

Ford had its best August sales in eight years, with the Fusion sedan and Escape crossover setting records for the month. F-Series pickup demand slipped 4 percent as Ford closed one of two plants that makes the truck last month to begin preparations for a new, aluminum-bodied model. Ford said it also trimmed discounts on its pickups by $650 in August for an average transaction price of about $41,000.

U.S. sales rose 5 percent at Kia, 11 percent at Mazda, 29 percent at Mitsubishi, and 22 percent at Subaru.

Ford had its best August sales in eight years, with the Fusion sedan and Escape crossover setting records for the month. F-Series pickup demand slipped 4 percent as Ford closed one of two plants that makes the truck last month to begin preparations for a new, aluminum-bodied model. Ford said it also trimmed discounts on its pickups by $650 in August for an average price of about $41,000.

U.S. sales rose 5 percent at Kia, 11 percent at Mazda and 29 percent at Mitsubishi.

At Subaru, one of the hottest brands in the industry, sales rose 22 percent to 50,246 units on demand for the redesigned Legacy sedan and revamped Outback. It marked the 33rd straight month of gains for Subaru and the first time monthly volume topped 50,000.

But deliveries fell 31 percent at Jaguar, and a 9 percent decline for Land Rover ended the luxury SUV brand’s streak of 10 consecutive monthly gains.

In the race among luxury brands, Audi surpassed Cadillac last month to rank No. 4 year-to-date behind BMW, Mercedes and Lexus. BMW’s lead over Mercedes stood at 5,111 at the end of August.

Chrysler rolls on

It was Chrysler Group’s best August sales since 2002 and the 53rd consecutive month, starting with April 2010, that the company’s U.S. sales have grown year over year.

“This is an impressive streak for a company that was all but left for dead five years ago,” said Edmunds.com senior analyst Jessica Caldwell. “Chrysler’s been able to keep it going by diving into the subprime market more aggressively than other automakers and by jumping into the leasing game after it barely stepped onto the playing field while it worked its way out of bankruptcy.”

Overall, Chrysler Group’s light truck volume rose 28 percent while car deliveries skidded 3 percent.

Chrysler and its dealers cited “tremendous Labor Day weekend sales” on top of a “very solid month” for the results.

Sales rose 4 percent at the Chrysler brand but slipped 6 percent at Dodge and 20 percent at Fiat. Chrysler blamed Fiat’s drop on a 500L recall in the U.S. and Canada. Chrysler said it temporarily halted sales of the 500L while it replaces the knee air bags in about 29,500 units.

Chrysler’s average U.S. incentives per vehicle sold last month were estimated at $3,167 by Edmunds.com and $3,476 by TrueCar.com, among the highest of all major automakers.

Deals, deals, deals

Automakers and dealers filled the airwaves with summer, clearance and Labor Day holiday promotions as August progressed.

Edmunds.com says new-vehicle discounts averaged $2,387 last month, up about 2 percent over July but down slightly from August 2013.

TrueCar estimated incentives averaged $2,772 per unit sold in August, up 9 percent from August 2013 but down 2 percent from July.

TrueCar President John Krafcik described August as a tale of two industries. Automakers with a strong, fresh lineup of trucks, crossovers and SUVs “are dancing on the table,” he said in an interview on Tuesday.

But for automakers overly dependent on compact and midsize cars, “it’s tough out there,” Krafcik said.

Through July, U.S. car sales have advanced just 1 percent while light truck deliveries have jumped 10 percent.

Pricing “pressure” in family sedans helped to lower Ford’s average transaction prices by $450 per vehicle to about $31,000 in August, Erich Merkle, the company’s sales analyst, told analysts and reporters today.

“As baby boomers continue to become empty nesters, they seem to naturally flow into these small” SUVs, Merkle said. “Unfortunately, it pulls something from cars, and that’s where you’re seeing some of the weaker pricing.”

Krafcik discounted the recent rise in incentives because the increase has been more than offset by higher transaction prices and profits on many pickups, SUVs and crossovers, producing “a net positive” for most full-line automakers.

“The industry continues to show incredible discipline when it comes to incentives,” Krafcik said. “While we continue to keep close tabs on inventories and incentives, we remain upbeat about auto industry sales, segment mix and profitability.”

Transaction prices in August averaged $32,495, driven by strong sales of pickups and fullsize SUVs, Kelley Blue Book said.

Incentive outlays were restrained in the first part of the year but have inched up in recent months.

Growth slows

Analysts say much of the pent-up consumer demand that has driven industry volumes in recent years has been tapped, prompting automakers to sweeten some deals in search of incremental sales.

Brian Johnson, an analyst with Barclays, said Tuesday in a research note that “the pace of sales for the industry has likely plateaued, leading to increased jostling for share.”

Among major automakers, GM, Ford, Honda, Hyundai-Kia and the VW Group have lost U.S. share through August, while Toyota, Chrysler and Nissan have gained ground.

For the full year, analysts estimate U.S. sales of new cars and light trucks will rise to at least 16.3 million, the highest since 2006, when 16.6 million units were sold.

It will also be the fifth straight year U.S. industry sales have advanced. Sales are up 5 percent now through August. Improved household finances and favorable financing conditions are helping drive the gains.

“There’s no question buyers are flocking to dealerships,” Jeff Schuster, an analyst with researcher LMC Automotive in Southfield, Mich., told Bloomberg today. “We continue to see the market in a very strong position, beating expectations. As the auto industry pulls the economy along with it, we would expect to see this kind of performance for the remainder of the year.”

Daihatsu Copen Resurrected With Configurable

Daihatsu Copen Resurrected With Configurable

2015-diahatsu-copen-001-1

By Chris Bruce

It was a little bittersweet when the original Daihatsu Copen ended production in 2012. Granted, we never got the tiny roadster in the US, but knowing that it was out there somewhere just made the automotive landscape a little better. It didn’t take the Japanese automaker long to see the error of its ways, because concepts for a new version, now called Kopen, showed up at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show. Finally, the all-new generation of the only Diahatsu you’ve ever wanted (okay, okay – some of us really still want a Rocky) has been unveiled in Japan.

2015-diahatsu-copen-002-1

The new Copen (dropping the K from the concept) ditches the original’s Audi TT-inspired curves in favor of being a touch more angular and aggressive. The front and rear lights both dip way down towards the road to make the little convertible look like it has overgrown tusks. Its real party piece, though, is a two-piece folding hardtop that looks pretty slick on a car this size.

2015-diahatsu-copen-003-1

The front-wheel-drive Copen adheres to Japan’s kei class regulations, which means stated power is somewhat modest. It uses a 660cc turbocharged three-cylinder engine making 63 horsepower and 68 pound-feet of torque with the choice of either a five-speed manual or a continuously variable transmission with seven ‘speeds.’ However, the roadster’s oddest feature is its chassis. It uses a monocoque that Daihatsu ‘D-Frame,’ an architecture that allows most of the car’s body panels to bolt up to it. It should make any damage easy to repair, though, and it ought to make it easy to customize as well.

Prices in Japan start at 1,798,200 yen ($17,613) for the basic CVT model or 1,819,800 yen ($17,825) for the five-speed. Scroll down to watch a video of the live unveiling, and if you want to learn more Diahatsu, has a dedicated page for the new Copen.

2015-diahatsu-copen-008-12015-diahatsu-copen-004-12015-diahatsu-copen-005-12015-diahatsu-copen-006-12015-diahatsu-copen-007-12015-diahatsu-copen-003-1

News Source: Daihatsu Copen, Car@niftyTV via YouTube