Report: Strong US auto sales in August on pace to top 15.5M in 2013

Filed under: Car Buying

ford dealership lot

August sales will be announced next week, but early numbers say that it has been an exceptionally good month for new-car sales so far with two days left to go – including the kickoff to Labor Day weekend. Automotive News is reporting that forecasters are expecting this month to be the strongest single month since 2006 with retail sales projected to be around 1.27 million units.

Factoring this into the known 9.13 million sales through July, many experts are saying that annual sales in 2013 could be in the mid-15-million unit range including one estimate pushing this year’s totals past 16 million units – a mark the US industry hasn’t seen since 2007. The article states that sales could be even higher if automakers like Hyundai, Ford and Subaru were able to keep supply up with the demand of some of their popular models. Stay tuned as we’ll know for sure when we put together our usual By The Numbers post next week.

Strong US auto sales in August on pace to top 15.5M in 2013 originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 29 Aug 2013 17:33:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue reading “Report: Strong US auto sales in August on pace to top 15.5M in 2013”

Report: Daimler to resume French sales per court ruling

Filed under: Europe, Government/Legal, Safety, Mercedes-Benz, Luxury

Mercedes-Benz badge

France’s highest administrative court said yesterday that authorities must resume registering Daimler vehicles, which were formally banned in late July, Automotive News reports, even though they are still equipped with R134a air-conditioning refrigerant.

The refrigerant is illegal in the European Union and is the reason for this legal battle, which has restricted the registration of Mercedes-Benz A-, B-, CLA- and SL-Class vehicles in France. But it turns out that the French government’s use of an EU “safeguard” provision to ban registration of the Mercedes-Benz vehicles, which allows countries to block sales of vehicles that would “seriously harm the environment,” wasn’t justified. Why? Because the use of R134a doesn’t appear to be an immediate danger to the environment, the Paris-based court said.

The new chemical, R1234yf, was made the EU’s standard for a/c systems because it emits fewer greenhouse gases into the environment. Daimler says it continues to use R134a because it found R1234yf to be flammable in testing. The German automaker also argues that approval of the use of R134a by the German Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) should be good enough permission for it to sell cars in Europe.

The current state of the situation prompted Daimler to say it expects French authorities to start registering its vehicles tomorrow.

Daimler to resume French sales per court ruling originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 29 Aug 2013 13:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue reading “Report: Daimler to resume French sales per court ruling”

Official: Mazda reports strong Skyactiv sales, plans to boost output 25%

Filed under: Budget, China, Japan, Plants/Manufacturing, Technology, Mazda

Skyactiv Technology logo

Mazda is set to expand production of its Skyactiv engines after critical and commercial acclaim for the fuel-sipping powerplants. The Japanese manufacturer has a number of plans in the works to bump up production, with the first being a 25-percent increase in output from its Hiroshima, Japan engine facility.

Besides adding a new line, Mazda will modify the line that built MZR engines, a family of mills that includes the 2.3-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder found in the Mazdaspeed3 and the 2.0-liter found in the MX-5 Miata. The bump in production is just part of Mazda’s goal of selling 1.7 million vehicles globally by 2016, with 80 percent of those vehicles expected to wear a Skyactiv badge.

Mazda also builds Skyactiv engines at a joint-venture facility with Ford, in Changan, China, while a Mexican facility will go online by March of 2014. Skyactiv engines currently power the Mazda3, Mazda6 and CX-5.

Continue reading Mazda reports strong Skyactiv sales, plans to boost output 25%

Mazda reports strong Skyactiv sales, plans to boost output 25% originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 27 Aug 2013 17:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue reading “Official: Mazda reports strong Skyactiv sales, plans to boost output 25%”

Report: Porsche has doubled US sales to women [w/videos]

Filed under: Car Buying, Etc., Marketing/Advertising, Videos, Porsche, Luxury

Porsche sales to women have doubled in the past two years, contributing to a year-to-date sales increase of 31 percent.

Porsche is having a good sales year in the US, with 25,129 vehicles delivered year-to-date coming off the automaker’s best July sales ever. That’s a 31-percent increase over the same period last year (19,253 deliveries). With year-to-date Panamera sales a surprising 36 percent lower than last year, what possibly could be driving Porsche’s sales surge? If you answered Cayman and Boxster sales, you’re right. But dealerships are noticing another factor: more women are coming in to buy Porsches, CNBC reports, the bulk of whom picked up new Cayenne SUVs. The German automaker’s sales to women in the US have more than doubled in the past two years, increasing from 7 percent to 15 percent. This has helped year-to-date Cayenne sales reach 11,082 – 31 percent higher than the same time last year.

Porsche executives have been trying to tap into the women’s market, as evidenced in part by the company’s move to pick professional tennis player Maria Sharapova as a brand ambassador. Porsche maintains it has not moved to dramatically change its brand image, but it has shown a number of ads in recent years that uncharacteristically emphasize its vehicles’ practicality under the “Engineered for Magic. Everyday” banner – some featuring female drivers.

Be sure to watch CNBC‘s video report on Porsche’s female movement below – you’ll also find one of the aforementioned Engineered For Magic ads as well as an interesting case study video on the campaign from ad agency Cramer-Krasselt.

Continue reading Porsche has doubled US sales to women [w/videos]

Porsche has doubled US sales to women [w/videos] originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 21 Aug 2013 20:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue reading “Report: Porsche has doubled US sales to women [w/videos]”

Report: Ferrari reports fewer sales, more profit to prove strategy is working

Filed under: Earnings/Financials, Ferrari

Ferrari badge

Ferrari’s angle of emphasizing exclusivity by limiting deliveries is appearing to bear fruit. The company posted a 7.1-percent increase in revenues to 1.7 billion Euros ($2.2 billion at today’s exchange rates) during the first half of 2013. Net profits, meanwhile, saw a jump of 20 percent to 116.2 million Euros ($153.5 million). The Prancing Horse delivered 3,767 cars, which, while an increase of 2.8 percent, represents a rate of growth that’s slower than in the first quarter of 2013.

While Ferrari may be actively trying to slow its sales down to below 7,000 in 2013, it’s seen increased numbers in the US, Great Britain and Germany, along with double-digit growth in the Middle East and Japan (39 percent and 28 percent, respectively).

The move to limit sales should have a greater impact on the numbers that come in later this year, which we told you about back in May. Ferrari’s controversial move has already seen a drop in sales to China, which saw 50 fewer Prancing Horses than this time last year.

Still, the early stages of Ferrari’s new plans have been a success, as the Chairman said, “An increase of just over two percent in volumes has been matched by 20 percent growth in EBIT which is and will remain our primary objective along with maintaining the exclusivity and value of our cars over time.” We love seeing automakers do well, but somehow, the world just seems a sadder place with fewer Ferraris in it.

Continue reading Ferrari reports fewer sales, more profit to prove strategy is working

Ferrari reports fewer sales, more profit to prove strategy is working originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 01 Aug 2013 19:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue reading “Report: Ferrari reports fewer sales, more profit to prove strategy is working”

Official: Honda reports $1.9 billion profit in first quarter despite sales lag at home

Filed under: Honda, Earnings/Financials

2013 Honda Civic badge

Ford, General Motors and Chrysler have been living in a world of sunshine and buttercups after their April-through-June financials hit the newswire, and Toyota is doing pretty good as well. Honda? Not so much.

While Japan’s third-largest manufacturer saw $1.9 billion in profits, the 5.1-percent jump was lower than expected thanks to a drop in its home-market sales. US sales also took a sting, as Honda hasn’t been able to match the SUV and truck demand that are currently permeating the American market, despite an uptick in Accord sales.

Honda’s initial forecasts targeted a take of 209.3 billion yen ($2.1 billion at today’s rates), and while a $200 million shortfall is nothing to sniff at, we’d hardly take this as Honda being in trouble. And even with the dip, Honda hasn’t adjusted its forecast for the fiscal year, which remains at 780 billion yen ($7.9 billion).

Still, the cause of the problem for Honda isn’t one that’s easily solvable. Accord sales were strong, helping the brand move 745,578 vehicles during the first half of 2013, which is a six-percent improvement in year-over-year sales. Yet, Honda’s market share shrunk by 0.1 percent, and the Japanese manufacturer’s lack of competitive SUVs and pickups is worrying. In the short term, though, the arrival of the new Acura MDX in North American dealerships should deliver a small shot in the arm.

Honda’s home-market issues are also troubling, with Reuters reporting a 24-percent drop in sales, thanks to the discontinuation of government subsidies. All told, this isn’t the rosy outlook we’ve gotten used to since the latest batch of earnings came out.

Continue reading Honda reports $1.9 billion profit in first quarter despite sales lag at home

Honda reports $1.9 billion profit in first quarter despite sales lag at home originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 31 Jul 2013 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue reading “Official: Honda reports $1.9 billion profit in first quarter despite sales lag at home”

Report: Audi to blitz 1.5M sales goal two years ahead of schedule

Filed under: Audi, Earnings/Financials

2013 Audi Q5 front three-quarter

Audi doesn’t seem to be having any trouble of hitting its relatively audacious sales goal of two million units by 2020 – it’s already on pace to eclipse 1.5 million sales two years ahead of schedule. According to Reuters, the Volkswagen-owned brand rode a wave of sales in China and the US to pace the early goal, with 780,500 deliveries at the halfway point of 2013. Particularly hot models include the Q5 crossover seen above and A4 sedan. Unless things go poorly in the second half of the year, 1.5 million sales shouldn’t be an issue.

That leaves it trailing BMW by just 24,000 units for the global luxury sales crown. If sales trends keep up, Audi will succeed in hitting its goal of two million units and besting its cross-country rival in Munich. Audi CEO Rupert Stadler smells blood, telling German newspaper Handelsblatt, ”We have overtaken Mercedes-Benz and we are now closer to BMW than ever before.”

Audi to blitz 1.5M sales goal two years ahead of schedule originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 25 Jul 2013 15:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue reading “Report: Audi to blitz 1.5M sales goal two years ahead of schedule”

Official: Renault-Nissan zero-emissions car sales whir past 100,000 [w/video]

Filed under: Car Buying, Nissan, Renault, Electric

2013 Nissan Leaf - maroon - front three-quarter view

The electric vehicle has gone gold at Renault-Nissan, clocking 100,000 sales in a three-year period that began with the first Nissan Leaf being sold in Silicon Valley, California in 2010. Since then, the Leaf has become the EV champion of the world, selling more than 71,000 units so far, the majority of those in the US. The 100,000th EV sold by the Alliance was also a Leaf and also sold in the US, but on the other side of the country, in Georgia.

By comparison, Renault has sold 30,000 electric vehicles since late 2011, looking after other segments of the EV market with the Kangoo Z.E., Zoe, Twizy and Fluence Z.E. The alliance estimates that its efforts have been driven 5.2 million ion-powered miles and saved 14 million gallons of oil since they appeared. For a bit of sobering context, the US averaged 18.83 million barrels of oil per day in 2011, which is almost 791 million gallons. Per day.

So we’re getting there, albeit slowly. Quietly. There’s a press release and a video below with more details on the achievement.

Continue reading Renault-Nissan zero-emissions car sales whir past 100,000 [w/video]

Renault-Nissan zero-emissions car sales whir past 100,000 [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 23 Jul 2013 17:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue reading “Official: Renault-Nissan zero-emissions car sales whir past 100,000 [w/video]”

Report: Slumping VW rolls back US sales targets

Filed under: Etc., Volkswagen, Earnings/Financials

After three years as one of the fastest-growing car brands in the US, Volkswagen has hit a sales rut, and it can’t get out. In response, Volkswagen Group of America downgraded VW’s 2013 US vehicle sales target to 440,000, from the original target of about 486,000, reports Automotive News. The stair-step incentive program under which dealerships earn bonuses also was restructured early this month, yet VW USA remains committed to its goal of producing 800,000 cars annually by 2018.

Many VW dealerships rely on bonuses earned from an incentive program to make a profit, and the program was built around sales targets. But the reality of VW sales in 2013 had a number of dealers resorting to sales tactics that strained relationships with customers and other dealers in an attempt to meet the targets. This was reflected in a recent National Automobile Dealerships Association’s survey that ranked VW’s dealer policies last.

Volkswagen of America COO Mark McNabb has indicated that, through lowering US sales targets, simplifying bonus calculations and giving the incentive program clearer goals and more predictable monthly payments, VW is trying to ease the pressure on dealerships that rely on the bonuses, Automotive News reports.

Dealers are confident that sales will pick up when new models roll in, but VW dealership owner and chairman of the company’s national dealership council, Jim Ellis, admits that right now VW is “getting kicked around a little bit here,” reports Automotive News, by stronger-than-expected competition in the compact and midsize sedan segments.

Slumping VW rolls back US sales targets originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 23 Jul 2013 10:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue reading “Report: Slumping VW rolls back US sales targets”

Report: Holden SS V Redline a sales smash

Filed under: Sedan, Performance, Holden, Australia

2014 Holden VF Commodore SS V Redline Front three-quarter

Holden has a hit on its hands. That wouldn’t be much of a surprise were the hit a small, affordable, fuel-efficient car that everyone thought looked like Kate Upton in car form. It’s surprising because said hit has a 6.0-liter V8 with 351 horsepower and 391 pound-feet of torque, sends its power to the rear wheels, and costs 51,490 Australian dollars ($47,365 at today’s rates). And it doesn’t look anything like the lovely Ms. Upton.

Yes, we’re talking about the new VF Commodore SS V, and in particular, the Redline models. According to Aussie car site Motoring, Holden can’t build the darn things fast enough, with wait lists going into 2014.

This news tells us something about Australian motorists. There’s still a market for big, powerful sedans in Oz, which is a fact that Ford has seemingly forgotten. The VF Commodore, particularly the SS V Redline, is a vehicle that people want, rather than one they need. It’s a shame Ford doesn’t see such a market for its Falcon, rather than killing the historic nameplate. We wonder if Ford could have taken Holden’s approach – rather than killing a big sedan, export it to America. We’d much rather have a rear-drive Falcon than the Taurus. Instead, Ford is basically giving away sales to Holden.

Want further proof that Holden is making the Commodore work? The SS V trim is handily outdoing the standard SS, making up 80 percent of SS sales. People aren’t only buying these big sedans, they’re actively buying the very best versions. We can only hope Chevrolet’s new SS sedan, which is essentially a more powerful Commodore SS V, receives such a warm reception.

Holden SS V Redline a sales smash originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 22 Jul 2013 10:03:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue reading “Report: Holden SS V Redline a sales smash”