The first-quarter of 2012 ended on a strong note for automakers in the U.S. market despite higher gas prices, which began to drop slightly in the past week and in spite of the negative influence of still high unemployment rates. On a seasonally adjusted annual selling basis, the first-quarter selling rate, or SAAR, averaged 11.7 million units for retail and 14.5 million units for total light vehicles—a tempo that was ahead of our earlier retail and total sales forecast.
In fact, the selling pace in the first three months of 2012 outperformed the J.D. Power annual sales forecast for the first time since 2008, when the auto market began slipping into recession, according to Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting at LMC Automotive.*
Fiat-Chrysler and VW Groups Make First-Quarter Sales Headlines
Two multi-franchise automakers, Fiat-Chrysler and Volkswagen Groups, achieved stellar double-digit sales and share gains in the first quarter of 2012 vs. their results in the same 3-month period a year ago. In addition, two of the four smaller independents, Fuji Heavy Industries’ Subaru brand and Mazda, also posted robust, double-digit year-over-year gains vs. the same period in 2011. Continue reading ›
This week during the opening ceremonies of the New York International Auto Show, J.D. Power presented plaques to executives from Cadillac and MINI to recognize their strong improvement in the quality, dependability and appeal of their vehicle models and for the dealership experience during the past three years.*
Cadillac was singled . . . Continue Reading Cadillac, MINI Brands Recognized for Outstanding Customer Service
The Nissan Versa was the best-selling Sub-Compact in March.
Higher fuel prices helped prime sales of smaller and more fuel-efficient passenger cars, especially Sub-Compact and some Compact Conventional segment models, which boosted U.S. new-vehicle deliveries in March for nearly all automakers. The seasonally adjusted annual sales pace (SAAR) was more than 1 million units stronger than a year ago, and many automakers said March sales were their strongest since March 2008.
More than 1.4 million new vehicles were sold in the U.S. market during March, which was up 8.7% (on a selling-day-adjusted basis) from March 2011, when fewer than 1 million units were delivered, according to analysis from our Power Information Network® (PIN) and LMC Automotive.** The sales pace in March 2012 averaged 14.4 million units vs. 13 million units in March 2011.
At the segment level, Sub-Compact sales soared 36.3% and outperformed the industry, gaining nearly 1 point of share to garner 4.6% of industry sales, while Compact Conventional sales edged up only 3.1%, but still accounted for a 15.8% share of the market. Led by Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima and Ford Fusion, Midsize Conventional segment sales increased by 23.3% and the category captured 2 more points of share to end March with 18.4% of industry sales. Also noteworthy: Large Pickups, up 9.3% as a category and with the help of incentives, outperformed the industry’s 8.7% improvement as the segment garnered a 10.4% share in March 2012. Continue reading ›
In February, fuel-efficient, compact models, including new and redesigned entries from the Detroit-based automakers, were in demand in the US market. On a selling-day-adjusted basis*, February deliveries were up slightly more than 11% from a year ago, and the seasonally adjusted annual sales rate (SAAR) translated to just over 15.0 million units, based on analysis from J.D. Power’s Power Information Network® (PIN) and LMC Automotive.
The Volkswagen Group (+26.8%) and Chrysler Group LLC (+34.8%) posted the largest year-over-year increases and outpaced the industry, despite a spike in gasoline prices, which are up by as much as 45 cents per gallon since the first of the year. At the same time, smaller models were more popular this year. Sub-compact segment deliveries climbed 38% in February vs. a year ago and accounted for 4.3% of industry sales, up from a 3.46% share in the prior year.
Positive factors driving February 2012 deliveries include an improving US economy, a drop in the unemployment rate, an advance in consumer confidence, and better stock market numbers, in addition to pent-up demand from owners replacing their older vehicles. Continue reading ›
Although January often is the weakest sales month of the year in the US auto market, many automakers posted double-digit sales gains over the same month in 2010, indicating a good beginning for 2012. It appears that total light-vehicle sales might rise by more than 11% over January 2011 and that would translate to a 14.1 million-unit seasaonally adjusted selling rate (SAAR), according to J.D. Power and LMC Automotive analysis.*
All multi-franchise automakers, except for General Motors, posted increases, as did two of four independents—Mazda and Subaru. Fiat-Chrysler and Volkswagen Groups led the January gains with year-over-year increases of 48% and 44%, respectively. Not only did Chrysler Group LLC report stronger sales for its Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram brands than a year ago, but the company also said it earned a net profit of $183 million in 2011 vs. a loss of $652 million in the prior year.** VW Group sales in January were bolstered by strong demand for the Passat, now built in Tennessee. Among the independents, Mazda was a star with deliveries soaring 68%. Continue reading ›
The US auto market finished 2011 on a robust note in spite of concerns about both the domestic and global economies, as well as significant setbacks to production and inventory levels for two major Japanese automakers following the devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
Nearly 10% more new cars and light trucks were sold in the US market during the past year in comparison to 2010—12.75 million unit sales in 2011 vs. 11.56 million unit sales in 2010. The final (retail and fleet) sales tally was only slightly stronger than projected by J.D. Power’s Power Information Network® (PIN) and LMC Automotive a few weeks ago in their monthly forecast. Continue reading ›
November’s average annual selling pace (SAAR) in the US auto market reached 13.6 million units, which was the highest monthly rate this year and significantly stronger than last November’s 12.3 million-unit SAAR, based on analysis from J.D. Power’s Power Information Network® (PIN) retail transaction data and LMC Automotive. The SAAR in November also outpaced the 13.2 million-unit pace in October 2011.
Overall light-vehicle sales climbed 9.3% (on a selling-day-adjusted basis*) to 992,312 units from 871,299 units a year ago. Deliveries last month were partly bolstered by owners needing to replace their current vehicles, an early spate of holiday ads, and the upbeat mood of consumers during the post-Thanksgiving Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales events. Continue reading ›
Crossovers continued to pull their weight among major introductions at the L.A. Auto Show. A few of the introductions featured in the segment that is favored by nearly one of every four or five new-car buyers:
• Ford introduced its new 2013 Escape with sleek styling changes that take cues from its Focus sibling and simpler, enhanced telematics—Sync with MyFord Touch—and more fuel-efficient 4-cylinder engine options as well as a remote liftgate feature. A new version of the Ford Flex midsize CUV also was unveiled, featuring a slightly less dramatic front end, but new inflatable seat belts to protect children and older passengers. Continue reading ›
During a welcome address at this week’s first day of the L.A. Auto Show press previews, Mazda Motor Corp. President and CEO Takashi Yamanouchi spoke about the trials that Japan’s automakers have endured since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan and recent setbacks in obtaining parts after major floods in Thailand. He said Japan’s automakers joined together and formed a task force to work with Tier-1, -2 and -3 suppliers to share inventories of parts.
Yamanouchi also said that Mazda has been on the road to production recovery since June, and pointed to the “stylish, insightful, spirited” lineup, including the new 2013 Mazda CX-5 compact crossover (CUV) with the automaker’s new SkyActiv engine, transmission and architecture design strategy that sets Mazda apart from rivals. He said during the next 5 years, Mazda plans to introduce six new SkyActiv models, and these models will be promoted with Mazda’s next-generation version of a “sustainable” Zoom Zoom ad tagline. The new CX-5, which launches early in 2012, has a lighter-weight all-wheel-drive (AWD) system with stiffer suspension, and it will offer information and entertainment system connectivity with nine speakers. Continue reading ›
Robust light-vehicle sales in the US market during the final days of October helped push the month’s sales totals higher than anticipated, according to J.D. Power and LMC Forecasting analysis and data.* Retail deliveries averaged a 10.5 million-unit selling pace in October, which matched September’s retail sales pace. Fleet sales averaged nearly a 2.7 million-unit rate, which was up by 900,000 units from October 2010.
Total October deliveries (including retail and fleet) rose 11.5% from the same month a year ago to 1.02 million units from nearly 950,000 unit sales in the same month last year. The annual selling rate (SAAR) in October averaged 13.2 million units, which was 1 million units stronger than last October’s 12.2 million-unit pace. It was the strongest selling pace since February 2011. Continue reading ›