Study Finds Heavy-Duty Diesel Engine Emission Law Changes Increase Problems

Brent Gruber

The complex changes in engine technology to reduce emissions in heavy-duty truck powertrains to meet stricter 2010 regulations enacted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are creating more engine problems for heavy-duty commercial truck owners and also lowering overall powertrain satisfaction, according to our 2012 U.S. Heavy-Duty Truck Engine and Transmission Study.

Nearly one-half (46%) of the respondents in our study, who are the primary maintainers of one-model-year-old Class 8 heavy-duty trucks, experience some type of engine problem, up from 42% in 2011. In addition, the average number of engine- and fuel-related problems increases to 81 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100) vs. 71 PP100 a year ago. Continue reading ›

Corporate, Brand, Model-Level Performance: U.S. Auto News in the First Half

Most domestic, European and Asian-based automakers improved their car and light-truck sales in the U.S. auto market during the first six months of 2012 in comparison to the same period in 2011. A few highlights about the market during  the first half of 2012 are summarized below:

• Among the three Detroit-based automakers, Fiat-Chrysler boasted the best share gain, as market share increased by 1.36 percentage points to 11.49% from 10.13% a year ago.

• General Motors Company was still the largest automaker in the U.S. market, although its share of industry sales fell by 1.84 points to 18.13% from last year’s mid-year industry share of just under 20%.

• Detroit-based Ford Motor Co. also lost more than a point of market share this year—its first-half share was 15.55% vs. 16.76% a year ago. However, Ford’s corporate share was slightly higher than Toyota Group’s share.

• Toyota’s three brands gained more than 1.5 points of share to end the first half with 14.41% of industry sales. Toyota’s sales and share gain is based on their recovery from last year’s disastrous challenges with the March 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami and Thailand flooding issues that limited supply through much of the year, according to Dave Cutting, senior manager of North American Forecasting for LMC Automotive.**

• Transplants and imports both gained sales in the first six months of 2012 vs. the same period in 2011. Continue reading ›

A Recipe for AutoNation: Considering Different Franchises

Mike Jackson, chairman and CEO of AutoNation, and moderator of a panel discussion at our recent J.D. Power International Automotive Roundtable, gave a quick appraisal of whether AutoNation would consider acquiring franchises belonging to three automakers, whose executives participated in the event’s panel discussion.* Below are Jackson’s comments about Chevrolet; Chrysler Group brands, including Fiat; and Hyundai:

“When it comes to Detroit products, our portfolio strategy is basically one-third Detroit; one-third Asian; and one-third—premium luxury—overweighted very much to the Germans.

“When I look at General Motors, I say, there will always be a Chevrolet and I absolutely am in the market for Chevy stores in metro markets. We’re a metro player. Continue reading ›

An Encouraging Note: US Sales Stay Strong in September

US light-vehicle year-over-year sales gains in September trumped news about uncertainty in the global economy, concern about the volatility of the stock market, and reports of lower consumer sentiment.

In September, retailers sold nearly 10%* more new vehicles in the US market than in the same month last year, based on J.D. Power analysis. September sales totaled nearly 1.051 million units compared with 956,639 unit sales a year ago.

J.D. Power’s analysts predicted that the pace for total US light-vehicle sales (retail and fleet) in September would hit 13.0 million units—which it did. In fact, the sales pace averaged nearly 13.1 million units in September. Continue reading ›

US Auto Industry Gets a Sales Boost in January

Despite a number of winter storms, US consumers turned out in January to lease or purchase 17.2% more new cars and light trucks than in the same month of 2010—slightly higher than already upbeat forecasts earlier in the month from J.D. Power and Associates.

Retail deliveries were strong in January 2011—up 25.3% from January . . . Continue Reading US Auto Industry Gets a Sales Boost in January