Midsize Vans—A Slight Revival?

Midsize vans are one of four segments (including sub-compacts, midsize conventional cars and compact crossovers) that posted year-over-year gains of more than 22% in August, based on J.D. Power’s (retail and fleet sales) transaction data.* In August, midsize van sales climbed 22.5% from a year ago and year-to-date sales were up by nearly one-fifth (+19.5%) from a year ago on a selling-day adjusted basis.**

In a comparison of retail transaction data during the past 3 months (June-August 2012 and 2011), midsize vans averaged a week longer on dealer lots before being sold—54 days—than in the same time frame of 2011 (47 days). However, that was about half as long as during the first months of the recession in 2009, when midsize vans averaged 97 days on dealer lots before being sold.***

Fiat-Chrysler Group Remains a Dominant Midsize Van Player

Among automakers, Fiat-Chrysler Group remains the dominant player in the midsize van segment. In August, the best-sellers were, respectively: Dodge Grand Caravan, Honda Odyssey, Chrysler Town & Country and Toyota Sienna. Chrysler Group’s two entries garnered more than half of the midsize van deliveries in August. Continue reading ›

May U.S. Retail Sales Volume was Second-Strongest This Year

May was another month of year-over-year sales growth in the U.S. auto market, even though the impact of Memorial Day weekend sales at the end of the month was weaker than anticipated, according to analysis by J.D. Power’s Power Information Network® (PIN) and LMC Automotive.*

May’s seasonally adjusted annual sales pace of 13.7 million units (SAAR) slipped below 14.0 million units, which has been a benchmark in each of the prior four months of 2012. Still, retail sales were the second-highest this year and totaled more than 1.07 million units, up 18.5% from a year ago on a selling-day-adjusted basis.** Fleet sales rose 6.9% to more than 261,200 units.

Most Multi-Franchise Automakers Post Retail Sales Gains

All multi-franchise automakers, except for the BMW Group, posted year-over-year retail and total U.S. sales gains in May. Toyota Group outperformed all other automakers with sales up 73% from a year ago, when inventories were hindered by production setbacks after the March 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami disaster. Continue reading ›

Toyota Group Models Earn Most Long-Term Dependability Awards

At the corporate level, Toyota Motor Corporation continues to perform well in long-term dependability and garners eight segment-level model awards—more than any other automaker this year, according to our 2012 Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS), which is based on responses from more than 31,000 original owners of 2009 model-year vehicles after three years of ownership.

The Japanese automaker’s models with the fewest problems in their respective award segments are: the Lexus ES 350 (in a tie with the Lincoln MKZ); Lexus RX 350; Scion tC; Scion xB; Toyota Prius; Toyota Sienna; Toyota Tundra; and Toyota Yaris. Continue reading ›

Compact Crossovers, Not Minivans, are Favorites with Female Buyers

Grace Hamulic

Compacts, especially compact crossovers (CUVs), which are small, car-based utilities, are even more popular with female new-vehicle buyers and lessees this year than they were a year ago, according to J.D. Power research.

During the first 8 months (January-August) of 2011, six of the 10 new-vehicle models with the highest percentages of female purchasers or lessees were compact CUVs, and the other four were compact car models, according to our Power Information Network® (PIN) retail transaction data. During the same time period a year ago, the 10 models with the highest percentages of female buyers/lessees also were compacts, but only five of the 10 were compact CUVs. Continue reading ›