Toyota Group, GM Models Receive Most Segment-Level VDS Awards

2010 Lexus RX Series  The Toyota Group earns seven segment-level dependability awards in the J.D. Power and Associates 2013 U.S. Vehicle Dependability StudySM (VDS), which is based on responses from owners of 3-year old vehicles (2010 model year). General Motors follows with four segment-level model awards.

Toyota Motor Corp.’s three brands—Toyota, Lexus and Scion—had a total of seven models that received awards for the lowest problems per 100 vehicles (PP100) scores in the 18 award-eligible segments.* One of these models, the Lexus RX, achieves the lowest PP100 score in the industry—57 PP100. This is the first time in the history of the VDS that a crossover or SUV has achieved this distinction, and a 41% improvement in reported problems in comparison to the model’s performance in J.D. Power’s Initial Quality Study (IQS) for 2010. Continue reading ›

US November Sales Strike Upbeat Pace; Toyota Posts Small Gain

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 ›

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 ›

September US Retail Light-Vehicle Sales Show Surprising Strength

Jeff Schuster

Solid Labor Day sales in the first week of September and stronger-than-expected retail sales during the second week of the month boosted US retail light-vehicle sales in the first half of September to much stronger levels than in the prior month of August, despite continued anxiety about the US and European economies and stock market volatility.

Sales were primed by recovering inventory levels bringing buyers back to dealer showrooms. In news reports, Toyota Group said its production was back to 100% after setbacks following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. However, it should be noted that the retail sales pace in the second half of September may give up some of the month’s early strength as the economy remains a concern. In addition, J.D. Power analysis indicates that incentive levels remain flat compared with August. Continue reading ›

Fiat-Chrysler Group Gains Most Share Among 11 Corporations

Fiat-Chrysler Group posted the best year-over-year sales percentage gain among the 11 multi-franchise automakers in August—sales improved by 25.6%* from last year, according to J.D. Power’s Automotive Forecasting Division. Also, Chrysler’s Jeep brand posted one of the strongest year-over-year increases at the brand level, as Jeep sales climbed 51.9% from August 2010. For the . . . Continue Reading Fiat-Chrysler Group Gains Most Share Among 11 Corporations

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 ›

US Sales in July Helped by Strong Demand for Compact, Midsize CUVs

July was the fifth consecutive month this year in which automakers sold more than 1 million new cars and light trucks in the US market. Nearly 1.06 million light vehicles were sold in July in the United States, which was up nearly 4.8% on a selling-day-adjusted basis* from July 2010, when there was one . . . Continue Reading US Sales in July Helped by Strong Demand for Compact, Midsize CUVs

Japan Situation Improves; Shortfalls Remain in World’s Regional Markets

Jeff Schuster

Through May, the major effects from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan and continuing crisis at the Fukushima nuclear power plant on the auto industry remain concentrated in that country, but there has been an increase in lost production volume in China, India, and in North America, as parts sourced from Japan are in short supply. The impact on markets in Europe and South America are less severe since the Japanese OEM volume in these regions is not as significant.

Globally, J.D. Power has raised its estimate of lost volume through the second quarter to 2.2 million units from 2.1 million units, although we now expect more than 70% of the volume to be made up during the balance of 2011. Overall, the global risk to 2011 production volume remains at 860,000 units, with additional risk of further reduction concentrated in Asia.

The impact of the Tohoku earthquake disaster on our short-term production outlook through June 2011 calls for a loss of 1.6 million units in production in the Asia Pacific region. In North America, production will be about 450,000 units lower, while Europe may lose about 100,000 units and South America’s production will be diminished by only 11,000 units. Continue reading ›

Japan OEM, Supplier Production to Revive in Second Half

Mike Omotoso

Recent automaker and supplier production shutdowns in Japan have had some impact in US plant output, due to the fact that some engines, transmissions and smaller components for vehicles produced in the United States come from Japan.

Cars and trucks consist of thousands of parts. In some cases, all it takes is a minor supply disruption for one of those parts to cause a stop in production of a particular vehicle line. Continue reading ›