By The Numbers: May 2011 – As The Earth Quakes Edition

Filed under: By the Numbers

The Earth Quakes, Japanese Sales Fall

By The NumbersOverall, auto sales were down a bit in May, though there certainly were a few bright spots in the industry. For instance, the Chrysler Group, which consists of Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep vehicles, posted a 10-percent sales gain for the month when compared to the same period a year ago, led by strong sales of its Jeep brand. Grand Cherokee sales were up 192 percent, while the Compass (up 92 percent) and Patriot (up 80 percent) also made big gains.

The star of the Chrysler show, however, is undoubtedly the Dodge Durango. Sales of the reborn ‘ute shot up 217,800 percent… though that’s not terribly enlightening since Dodge only sold two Durangos in May of 2010.

Chrysler’s strong sales, combined with an extremely poor showing (albeit not entirely its own fault) from Toyota allowed the Pentastar brand to slip into the number three sales spot behind General Motors and Ford.

The Korean conglomerate of Hyundai and Kia similarly performed very well, knocking Honda out of the fourth spot. Projections that the Korean duo would outsell Toyota, however, fell short by less than a thousand units.

Volkswagen sales are hitting their stride as well, with the new 2011 Jetta (16,671) leading the way.

Japanese brands took the brunt of the sales hit in May, due in large part to fallout from the earthquake and tsunami that hit the island nation hard in March. Of the three major Japanese automakers, Toyota was hit the hardest, down over 30 percent. Lexus, Toyota’s luxury brand, fared ever worse, down nearly 45 percent from May of last year.

Fuel efficiency continues to sell cars like the Ford Focus (22,303), Chevrolet Cruze (22,711) and Hyundai Elantra (20,006). What’s more, Eco editions accounted for about 15 percent of all Cruze sales, and Volkswagen reports that its TDI diesels managed to snag 22.2 percent of its share.

And finally, the Ford Explorer earned 13,318 sales, its highest tally in nearly four years, proving what a genuinely good redesign can do for a neglected nameplate.

Brand/Company Vol. % May-11 May-10 DSR %* May-11 May-10
Saab 121.26 385 174 139.70 16 7
Mitsubishi 59.76 7,568 4,737 73.08 315 182
Scion 59.63 5,710 3,577 72.93 238 138
Volvo 57.95 7,359 4,659 71.12 307 179
Jeep 55.02 35,573 22,948 67.93 1,482 883
Kia 53.39 48,212 31,431 66.17 2,009 1,209
Porsche 50.40 2,817 1,873 62.93 117 72
Mini 37.04 5,801 4,233 48.46 242 163
Jaguar 32.12 1,271 962 43.13 53 37
Volkswagen 27.85 30,100 23,543 38.51 1,254 906
Buick 23.82 15,579 12,582 34.14 649 484
Hyundai 20.73 59,214 49,045 30.80 2,467 1,886
Suzuki 20.34 2,290 1,903 30.36 95 73
BMW 15.63 20,651 17,859 25.27 860 687
Audi 13.60 10,457 9,205 23.07 436 354
Ram 13.40 21,467 18,930 22.85 894 728
Suzuki 9.33 2,132 1,950 18.44 89 75
GMC 8.05 32,589 30,160 17.06 1,358 1,160
Land Rover 6.72 2,891 2,709 15.61 120 104
Mercedes-Benz 5.89 20,306 19,176 14.72 846 738
Ford 5.32 184,703 175,370 14.10 7,696 6,745
Chevrolet -3.49 161,401 167,235 4.55 6,725 6,432
Lincoln -4.59 7,399 7,755 3.36 308 298
Dodge -4.83 40,200 42,242 3.10 1,675 1,625
Cadillac -5.72 11,623 12,328 2.14 484 474
Nissan -7.82 69,759 75,673 -0.13 2,907 2,911
Subaru -15.34 20,036 23,667 -8.29 835 910
Mazda -20.92 17,875 22,605 -14.33 745 869
Chrysler -20.94 16,364 20,699 -14.35 682 796
Infiniti -21.04 6,389 8,091 -14.46 266 311
Honda -22.42 81,773 105,407 -15.96 3,407 4,054
Acura -23.51 9,000 11,766 -17.13 375 453
Smart -29.21 492 695 -23.31 21 27
Toyota -31.66 96,082 140,597 -25.97 4,003 5,408
Lexus -44.61 12,305 22,216 -40.00 513 854
Fiat NA 1,759 0 NA 73 0
COMPANIES
BMW Group 19.74 26,452 22,092 29.71 1,102 850
Jaguar Land Rover NA 13.38 4,162 3,671 22.82 173 141
Chrysler Group 10.06 115,363 104,819 19.23 4,807 4,032
Ford Mo Co -0.08 192,102 192,253 8.25 8,004 7,394
GM -1.18 221,192 223,822 7.06 9,216 8,609
Nissan NA -9.09 76,148 83,764 -1.52 3,173 3,222
American Honda -22.53 90,773 117,173 -16.08 3,782 4,507
Toyota Mo Co -33.43 108,387 162,813 -27.88 4,516 6,262

*Brands and companies are displayed in descending order according to their percentage change in volume sales. There were 24 selling days in May 2011 versus 26 selling days in May 2010, so the change in monthly sales volume will be different than the change in average daily sales rate (DSR) for each brand/company. Also, brands are combined and reported as companies only if their sales figures are released jointly.

By The Numbers: May 2011 – As The Earth Quakes Edition originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 01 Jun 2011 17:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Long Term: 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI joins Autoblog’s Long-Term Garage

Filed under: Sedan, Volkswagen, Diesel, Long-Term Garage

2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI

2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI – Click above for high-res image gallery

If you had told us last year that this year’s most controversial redesign would be the 2011 Volkswagen Jetta, we would’ve politely walked away and laughed at your outrageous claim behind your back. We’re like that. But here we are, and the 2011 Volkswagen Jetta is, arguably, the most controversial redesign of the year.

2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI

The reason is not so much how the designer’s hand has changed the car’s look, but rather how the bean counters and product managers have completely changed what the Jetta is. It’s no longer a premium compact sedan with a price to match. Now it’s a near-mid-size four-door with an ultra-competitive base price.

Jetta fans and auto journalists have been less than enthused with the changes. Buyers, however, apparently disagree. Sales of the new Jetta through April are up 68.8 percent. So which camp is right?

After the untimely demise of our last long-term Jetta (follow the jump for the whole story), a 2010 model year TDI Cup Street Edition, we were offered a 2011 model to take its place. Driving these two diesel Jettas back-to-back will help us craft a before-and-after snapshot of what the car has gained and lost with this latest redesign.

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2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI joins Autoblog’s Long-Term Garage originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 31 May 2011 14:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Review: 2011 Bentley Continental GT

Filed under: Coupe, Performance, Bentley, Reviews, Luxury

Updated Best-Selling Coupe Doesn’t Err From Its Luxury Mission

2011 Bentley Continental GT

2011 Bentley Continental GT – Click above for high-res image gallery

Somewhere around the world, floating amid a sea of crystal-clear water, is a Hatteras 100 Motor Yacht. It is hardly an ordinary boat.

Built for long passages, with a sturdy sea-keeping fiberglass hull, the Hatteras offers unparalleled engineering, meticulous craftsmanship and immense power. Its staterooms feature exquisite wood cabinetry, double bullnose moldings, and polished natural stone countertops. The main salon is equipped with plasma video screens and multi-channel surround sound for entertainment, while the pilot house features state-of-the art digital electronics for monitoring systems and navigation. And under the stern deck, there are twin 16-cylinder turbo diesel powerplants generating 2,400 horsepower each. It’s enough propulsion to move the 270,000-pound yacht through the water at speeds approaching 30 mph.

On open water, the 100-foot Hatteras is the ultimate expression of luxury and sport unequalled in its ability to project wealth and prestige. However, thirty percent of the world is land – with many a mile of paved road. All of which begs the question: What does an uncompromising Hatteras owner motor about in when they come ashore?

They drive their new Bentley Continental GT, of course.

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2011 Bentley Continental GT originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 31 May 2011 11:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2011 Monaco Grand Prix is as tight as it gets [spoilers]

Filed under: Motorsports, Europe

2011 Monaco Grand Prix

2011 Monaco Grand Prix – Click above for high-res image gallery

The funny thing about speed is that it’s relative, at least in a cognitive sense. Sure, you can measure the pace at which a moving object travels over ground, water, air, or even space. But place a Formula One race car on a wide-open track-say, Turkey’s Istanbul Park, for example-and it doesn’t look or feel like it’s going nearly as fast as the same car does along the tight, winding streets of Monte Carlo. That’s what makes the Monaco Grand Prix so exciting. This year’s especially, packed as it was with nail-biting action. Follow the jump to read how it went down.

Gallery: 2011 Monaco Grand Prix

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2011 Monaco Grand Prix is as tight as it gets [spoilers] originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 29 May 2011 13:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Long Term: 2011 Hyundai Equus Ultimate, May 2011 [w/video]

Filed under: Sedan, Videos, Hyundai, Luxury, Long-Term Garage

2011 Hyundai Equus

Long-Term 2011 Hyundai Equus Ultimate – Click above for high-res image gallery

The long-term 2011 Hyundai Equus Ultimate made its way into my driveway a few weeks ago, and since being handed the keys, I’ve added 1,900 miles to the odometer, putting our total distance traveled at just over 5,400 miles since the car’s March arrival at Autoblog Towers.

Like us on Facebook to see all of our long-term vehicle updates

Like both editor-in-chief John Neff and editor/test fleet manager Steven J. Ewing, I’ve been bombarded with compliments and curious questions about the Equus – and that’s before I tell them that they’re looking at a $65,000 Hyundai. It helps that the Equus looks like almost nothing else on the road, with its alien grille, massive proportions and over-the-top headlamps.

So far, I’m really enjoying my time with the Equus, and I’ll have a full rundown of specific pros and cons next month. Over the course of my 1,900-mile stint, I’ve averaged 20 miles per gallon flat – besting the 19.1 mpg that Ewing and Neff saw last month. But while the month of May has been mostly all stars, there was one service hiccup that reared its ugly head…

Continue reading 2011 Hyundai Equus Ultimate, May 2011 [w/video]

2011 Hyundai Equus Ultimate, May 2011 [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 27 May 2011 15:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: Kia prices 2011 Soul Hamstar special edition at $20,295*

Filed under: Car Buying, Marketing/Advertising, Hatchback, Kia

2011 kia soul hamstar special edition

2011 Kia Soul Hamstar special edition – Click above for high-res image

You can get with this… for $20,295. Kia has officially announced that you’ll need that much dough (*plus $695 for delivery) if you want to purchase a 2011 Soul Hamstar special edition. An ode to the award-winning hip-hop hamsters seen in Kia commercials, the four-speed auto-equipped Hamstar becomes the sixth special edition Soul that Kia has offered up for sale.

The limited-production box on wheels wears Molten Red pain, which is offset with a pair of black stripes across the front doors and black trim. Black is also the color of choice for the 18-inch wheels, fender vents and fuel-filler cap. A Hamstar logo sits on the hood, and can also be seen throughout the interior.

That interior space can be filled with music thanks to the Audio Upgrade Package. A 315-watt amp pumps sound out through the speakers, but it’s kicked up a notch thanks to the center speaker and subwoofer.

The full press release on the Soul Hamstar is posted after the jump. You can check out the concept version shown off at the 2010 SEMA show, by clicking through the gallery below.

Continue reading Kia prices 2011 Soul Hamstar special edition at $20,295*

Kia prices 2011 Soul Hamstar special edition at $20,295* originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 26 May 2011 16:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Dale Earnhardt Intimidator Camaro returns for 2011 [w/video]

Filed under: Aftermarket, Coupe, Performance, Videos, Chevrolet, Specialty

Dale Earnhardt Chevrolet Intimidator Camaro

Dale Earnhardt Intimidator Chevrolet Camaro – Click above for high-res image gallery

Just when you thought you’d seen every special-edition Chevrolet Camaro out there another model comes along. Dale Earnhardt Chevrolet of Newton, NC has pulled the sheets back on a new Intimidator Camaro. The model follows in the footsteps of the 2001 Intimidator Camaro SS, by throwing a heap of extra horsepower at the already formidable muscle car. Under the hood, a supercharged V8 churns out 704 horsepower and 695 pound-feet of torque, while the rest of the vehicle has received suitable upgrades to cope with the increased performance. The suspension now wears one-inch drop rate springs, adjustable sway bars and new subframe connectors, along with a set of cross-drilled rotors help bring the vehicle down from speed.

A custom, single-piece aluminum shifter is part of the package indoors, as well as suede seat inserts, white-face gauges and an Intimidator logo embroidered into each headrest. Outside, the Intimidator Camaro can be distinguished from its non-NASCAR name-checking counterparts by its cowl hood, race-inspired spoilers and chrome wheels. Hit the jump to check out a video of the car under construction.

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Dale Earnhardt Intimidator Camaro returns for 2011 [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 24 May 2011 16:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: Mini and Dsquared² present the Cooper S “Red Mudder” at Life Ball 2011

Filed under: Aftermarket, Hatchback, Mini, Design/Style, Off-Road

Mini Cooper S Red Mudder

Mini Cooper S “Red Mudder” by Dsquared² – Click above for high-res image gallery

If you’re looking for an off-road Mini, the Countryman is your best bet. But Mini’s always toying with new bodystyles, and the Countryman’s All4 traction system may expand to other models as well. Could this be our first look at the next off-road Mini?

Well, we never know what the future might hold for the BMW division, but what you’re looking at here is the result of Mini’s latest fashion collaboration. Called the Red Mudder, this Mini Cooper S hatchback has been retrofitted by Canadian fashion designers Dean and Dan Caten.

Previewed in renderings earlier this month, the one-off features a raised suspension, brush guard, rally lights, tinted windows, knobby tires (including a spare mounted to the tailgate) and an interior fitted with aluminum plating and a compass on the dashboard. The Caten twins also applied their signature maple leaf logo to the door panels and to the headrests.

It’s the latest product of Mini’s 11-year sponsorship of the Life Ball – Europe’s largest HIV/AIDS fundraiser – that has seen such designers as Versace, Diesel, Kenneth Cole and Calvin Klein create their own interpretations of the Mini, each year auctioned at the event with the proceeds going towards the cause. Follow the jump for the full press release and scope out the images in our high-resolution gallery.

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Mini and Dsquared² present the Cooper S “Red Mudder” at Life Ball 2011 originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 23 May 2011 13:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2011 Spanish Grand Prix goes down as a game of leap frog [spoilers]

Filed under: Motorsports, Europe

2011 Spanish Grand Prix

2011 Spanish Grand Prix – Click above for high-res image gallery

Ferrari. McLaren. Renault. Williams. The past few decades of Formula One racing have seen each of these teams at the top of their game, claiming championships and dispatching the others along the way. But after watching Brawn GP – having started out as the humble BAR-Honda team and emerging as Mercedes’ own factory squad – claim the titles just a couple of years ago, are the years of domination behind us? Or was Brawn’s victory merely a hiccup before things return to “normal”? Will Red Bull’s championship prove another exception, or will the Anglo-Austrian team emerge as the new force to be reckoned with?

It may take another year or two to watch the pattern unfold, but after winning both titles last year, Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull have come back strong in 2011. The team has converted pole position to the checkered flag at every race but one so far this season. Would this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix further gird Vettel and Red Bull in the defense of their titles, or would a new challenger draw blood around the corners and down the straights of Barcelona? Continue reading for a recap of today’s action.

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2011 Spanish Grand Prix goes down as a game of leap frog [spoilers] originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 22 May 2011 12:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Fiat and Ferrari dominate 2011 International Engine of the Year Awards

Filed under: Etc., Europe, Audi, BMW, Volkswagen, Ferrari, Fiat

fiat 857cc twinair

Fiat 875-cc TwinAir engine – Click above for high-res image gallery

Italy knows how to put an engine together – at least, according to the International Engine of the Year voting committee. The votes have been tallied, and Fiat has taken home four out of 12 awards. The company’s 875-cc TwinAir mill has earned the title of Best New Engine of 2011, Green Engine of the Year, Sub 1.0-liter Engine of the Year and International Engine of the Year. Ferrari helped Italy earn two more awards, with the 458’s 4.5-liter V8 unit being crowned Best Engine Above 4.0-liters and Best Performance engine. All told, Italian powerplants claimed half of the awards handed out.

BMW was no slouch, however, with the German automaker acquiring four awards in the competition. Audi and Volkswagen also earned recognition. A great showing, but the Italians earn the win thanks to Fiat taking the top prize. Click past the jump to read the full press release and learn more about the International Engine of the Year awards.

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Fiat and Ferrari dominate 2011 International Engine of the Year Awards originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 18 May 2011 19:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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