Compact CUVs Continue to Gain Momentum with US Consumers

Grace Hamulic

Nearly one of every four new vehicles purchased or leased in the US market during 2011 was a crossover (CUV), which can be defined as a car-based utility vehicle. The four CUV segments, including non-premium and premium categories, accounted for nearly 24% of new-vehicle sales, which was up 1.37% from 2010, when 22.61% of new-vehicle purchases or leases were CUVs.

Compact CUVs were the most popular among CUV models, accounting for 11.3% of industry sales in 2011, which was up nearly 1 percentage point from the previous year’s 10.4% share. Total (retail and fleet) deliveries of these smaller CUVs climbed by nearly one fifth (+19.42%) in 2011 from 2010.

Among the four CUV segments, only the midsize premium CUV segment, which includes the segment sales leader Lexus RX Series, experienced a decline, as deliveries for the segment dipped a fraction of a point (-0.73%) from a year ago, largely due to Lexus RX production setbacks and shortages following Japan’s devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami. Continue reading ›

Crossovers Bolster US Light-Vehicle Sales Market This Year

Dave Cutting

Consumer demand for crossovers (CUVs) in the US market was especially strong during the first 8 months of 2011. In fact, nearly one of every four new vehicles purchased or leased this year was a CUV. Combined sales of all four CUV segments, including compact and midsize models, increased by nearly 326,400 units from sales in the same 8-month period a year ago. More than 2 million CUVs have been sold so far this year, representing nearly one-fourth (23.71%) of industry sales, which was up 1.78 percentage points from a 21.93% market share in the same period of 2010.

Compact CUVs, including mass-market and premium compact models, significantly outperformed the industry’s nearly 10% year-to-date sales gain from last year. Continue reading ›

July US Retail Sales Slow as Month Progresses; Fleets Advance

Dave Cutting

Retail light-vehicle sales in July were up only 5.5% from a year ago. Although the month’s sales began on a strong note following the July 4th holiday weekend, the sales pace slowed as the month progressed. The retail seasonally adjusted annual selling pace (SAAR) in July averaged 9.5 million units vs. 9.2 million units a year ago. Fleet sales were up 1.0% in July this year vs. last July and finished with a 2.6 million-unit selling rate, up from 2.3 million units in July 2010. However, fleets accounted for just 15.6% of total sales in July vs. 16.2% a year ago. Also, seasonality factors were recently revised by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, resulting in some monthly SAAR changes for each month this year.

In July, total new-car and light-truck (retail and fleet) sales rose 4.8% from last year on a selling-day-adjusted basis.* (Unadjusted totals were up by less than 1% from July 2010.) Automakers delivered 1,057,172 cars and light trucks in July 2011—only 9,457 more unit sales than in July 2010. However, since July 2011 had one less selling day than in July a year ago, the total light-vehicle SAAR represented a 12.2 million-unit pace vs. 11.5 million units in July of 2010.

New Vehicles Remain Slightly Longer on Lots before Being Sold

On an encouraging note, the credit environment in the US auto industry appears to be steadily improving. Based on analysis of our Power Information Network® (PIN) retail transaction data, retail finance sales were up 1.7 percentage points from last July and lease penetration was up 0.7 points. Yet, at the industry level, cars and light trucks remained on retailer lots four days longer before selling than in June, and the retail turn rate averaged two days longer than a year ago. Continue reading ›

Hyundai Group Gains Nearly Two Points of Share in U.S. Market

David Cutting

Among all 11 multi-franchise automakers, Hyundai Group reported the largest year-over-year sales increase*—deliveries soared 41.5% from a year ago and the group’s share of industry sales in April advanced by nearly 1.8 percentage points to 9.4% vs. 7.6% a year ago. The Hyundai Elantra, the third-best-selling compact conventional segment car in April, also made the top 10 best-selling models list. The brand’s Sonata was the fourth-best-selling midsize conventional segment car and No. 8 among the 10 best-selling models, while the Kia Sorento dominated the midsize CUV market in April.

General Motors (+22%) posted the second-best sales gain in April. The largest-volume automaker in the US market garnered a 20% share of industry sales in April, up from 18.7% a year ago. In light of concern about higher gas prices, the Chevrolet Cruze achieved a stellar performance and was the second-best-selling compact conventional segment car in April. The Chevrolet Equinox was among the top three best-selling compact CUVs. In addition, both the Malibu and Camaro were among the best sellers in their categories. Continue reading ›

Compact CUV Demand Up Despite Compact Super-Segment Sales Dip

Demand for compact crossovers (CUVs) outpaced the industry in September 2010 and through the first 9 months of the year, according to Power Information Network® (PIN) retail transaction data and analysis by the Automotive Forecasting Division at J.D. Power and Associates. In fact, during the first 9 months of 2010, more than one of . . . Continue Reading Compact CUV Demand Up Despite Compact Super-Segment Sales Dip