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USA July 2015: Chevy Silverado and Nissan Rogue shoot up

August 7th, 2015 No comments

Chevrolet Silverado USA July 2015Discounted before the facelifted 2016 model arrives, the Chevy Silverado is up 34%…

* See the Top 15 groups, Top 40 brands and Top 276 All-models by clicking on the title *

The U.S. light vehicle market starts the second semester in a very strong manner with sales up a solid 5% year-on-year to 1.510.941 units, lifting the year-to-date total above the 10 million mark at 10.033.999, up 4.5% or over 400.000 deliveries on 2014. The seasonally adjusted annual sales rate (SAAR) shoots up to 17.55 million, the second-highest tally in a decade, and has now cracked the 17 million bar during 4 out of the last 7 months. Light trucks (a U.S. appellation combining pickup trucks and SUVs) once again are the sole responsible for the market gain with sales up 13% just as passenger cars dropped 3%, a picture also reflected in the year-to-date results where their respective evolutions are +13% (trucks) and -2% (cars). This turnaround is here to stay: July is the 23rd consecutive month where light trucks outsell cars, also driving  the average transaction price up which is great news for manufacturers.

Ford F150 USA July 2015. Picture courtesy motortrend.com…just as the Ford F-Series posts its first year-on-year gains since January.

Among the Top 10 groups, only Toyota Motor Co (+1%) and BMW (stable) registered gains below the market, with Subaru (+11%), Volkswagen Group (+9%), Honda Motor and Nissan Motor (both at +8%) faring the best. In the brands ranking, Ford is slightly under the market at +4% but remains #1 by far with 212.478 deliveries above Chevrolet at 188.790 (+8%) and Toyota at 183.500 (stable). In fact the entire Top 12 best-selling brands are identical to the year-to-date ranking, with Honda (131.409) keeping Nissan (120.439) at bay, Jeep (+23%) the best performer in the Top 20, Buick (+18%), Audi (+21%), Acura (+20%), Infiniti (+22%), Lincoln (+21%) and Mitsubishi (+24%) also posting healthy year-on-year increases.

Nissan Rogue USA July 2015. Picture courtesy motortrend.comNissan Rogue sales are up 51% in July.

Over in the models ranking, the Ford F-Series may now be out of the woods, lodging its first year-on-year increase since January at +5% to 66.288 sales. This means its year-to-date total is now just 1% below the same period in 2014 at 423.468, a comfortable 91.000 above the Chevrolet Silverado on fire this month at +34% to 56.380 units. Despite sales down 4%, the Toyota Camry holds onto the #3 overall spot and #1 passenger car title with 38.435 sales, distancing the Ram Pickup (+1%) and Honda Accord (-2%) while the Nissan Altima surges 27% to 33.842 sales, the Honda CR-V is up 11% to #7 and the Ford Escape up 10% to #10.

Toyota Tacoma USA July 2015While we await the 2016 model (above), the Toyota Tacoma is up 29% in July.

The three nameplates we said were game changers last month for our 1st Half 2015 US report continue to shake things up in July: the  Nissan Rogue posts the largest gain in the Top 20 (+51%) to its best July ever at 25.081 units and #13, the Chrysler 200 is up 85% to #28 and 15.108 sales and the Chevrolet Colorado is up 10 spots on June to #63. Other impressive gainers this month include the Ford Explorer up 23% to #15, Toyota Tacoma up 29% to #22, Chevrolet Traverse up 32% to #33, Hyundai Santa Fe up 35% to #35, GMC Acadia up 32% to #39 and Subaru Impreza up 39% to #41.

Jeep Renegade USA July 2015. Picture courtesy motortrend.com6.320 Jeep Renegade found a buyer in the U.S. in July.

Three compact SUVs launched in the past few months hit their highest ever U.S. ranking this month: the Jeep Renegade is up 17 spots on June to #71 with 6,320 sales, the Chevrolet Trax is up 5 to #72 and 6.111 units and the Lexus NX breaks into the U.S. Top 100 for the very first time at #95 with 4.337 sales. Meanwhile the Honda HR-V is down 14 ranks to #74 and 5.909 deliveries, the Volvo XC90 sees its sales grow 3-fold on July 2014 thanks to the new generation now hitting U.S. dealerships at #179 with 1.176 sales and the Fiat 500X is up 38 spots on last month to enter the Top 200 at #193 and 962 units.

Previous post: USA 1st Half 2015: Nissan Rogue, Chrysler 200 & Chevy Colorado game changers

Previous month: USA June 2015: Chevrolet Silverado closest to Ford F-Series in 6 years

One year ago: USA July 2014: Toyota RAV4 at all-time record in market up 9%

Full July 2015 Top 15 groups, Top 40 brands and Top 20 models belowFull models data upcoming

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USA 1st Half 2015: Rogue, Chrysler 200 and Colorado game changers

July 11th, 2015 No comments

Chevrolet Colorado USA April 2015. Picture courtesy motortrend.comThe Chevrolet Colorado is reviving the mid-size pickup truck segment.

* Click on title to see the Top 15 groups, Top 40 brands and Top 280 models *

The U.S. new light vehicle market hasn’t stopped exceeding expectations over the First Half of 2015 with sales up 4% year-on-year to 8.523 million units whereas mosts analysts had anticipated the market would flatten up after five consecutive years of growth. But the market still has legs, with low interest rates, favourable credit terms and rising employment combining to keep U.S. sales in positive territory and now on track to hit 17 million sales this year for the first time since 2001 and only the third year ever. The National Automobile Dealers Association has just increased its forecast for the Full Year 2015 to 17.17 million from 16.94 million previously, and NADA is also projecting 2016 at 17.62 million sales, beating the record of 17.4 million established in 2000, reports Automotive News.

Nissan Rogue USA May 2015. Picture courtesy of motortrend.comThe new Rogue has put Nissan on the compact SUV map…

General Motors widens the gap with Ford Motor over the period, lifting it from 190.511 units to 212.526 thanks to sales up 3% to 1.5 million vs. +2 and 1.29 million for Ford. Toyota Motor remains in third place above FCA Fiat Chrysler Automobiles with both group outpacing the market at +6%. Honda Motor (+2%) is under threat from Nissan Motor (+5%) at 753.000 sales vs. 736.500, both keeping Hyundai-Kia at a distance at 682.000 units. Subaru (+14%) is catching up fast on Volkswagen Group (+2%) and the BMW Group holds onto its luxury leadership thanks to sales up 10% vs. +9% for Daimler AG.

Chrysler 200 USA June 2015. Picture courtesy of motortrend.com…while the 200 finally makes Chrysler a true contended in the mid-size sedan battle.

Brand-wise, Ford (+2%) keeps its crown at 1.24 million sales above Chevrolet (+3%) but Toyota (+5%) is now lagging less than 6.000 units below the American brand. Nissan is already reaping the dividends of its keenness to reproduce its unbelievable Mexican success north of the border: it historically distances Honda thanks to sales up 4% to 672.000 units vs. 666.000 (+1%). Jeep is unstoppable and breaks the 400.000 sales milestone in just 6 months for the first time in the brand’s 80 years existence, up 21% year-on-year. BMW leads the luxury race so far at 169.000 sales vs. 165.000 for Mercedes (ex-Sprinter) and 159.000 for Lexus (+15%). Notice also Audi up 11%, Acura up 12%, GMC up 14% to break into the Top 10, Chrysler up 21%, Land Rover up 23% and Mini and Mitsubishi both up 25%.

Ford Mustang USA January 2015. Picture courtest motortrend.comThe Ford Mustang almost slices its ranking in two vs. H1 2014 at #34.

The Ford F-Series is headed towards a 34th consecutive year as U.S. #1 vehicle despite stock shortages for the new aluminum-bodied F-150 resulting in sales down 2% to 357.000. The Chevrolet Silverado, at its closest to the F-Series in 6 years in June, still has a lot of ground to cover: up 15% to 276.000. The Toyota Camry (216.000) and Ram Pickup (213.000) remain close, while the Toyota Corolla at #5 (+2) and Honda CR-V at #7 (+3) are the big movers in the Top 10.

Jeep Cherokee USA June 2015. Picture courtesy of motortrend.comJeep Cherokee

Outside, three relaunched nameplates are redefining their respective segments. The Nissan Rogue is up 36% to #14 and 135.000 sales, now threatening the Chevrolet Equinox (146.000) and Toyota RAV4 (144.000) for the #2 spot in the compact SUV segment. Nissan is at maximum Rogue capacity in its U.S. plants and announced this week that an additional 100.000 annual units will be produced in its Kyushu, Japan plant in 2016 to be exported exclusively to the U.S. With the Rogue predicted to reach at least 275.000 U.S. sales this year, this means it could potentially aim at 375.000 in 2016-2017, placing it right at the same level as the segment leader, the Honda CR-V. In other words, the new gen Rogue has put Nissan on the compact SUV map.

The mid-size sedan segment remains the most popular but is down 4% year-on-year halfway through 2015 at 1.76 million sales. Strikingly, the Top 5 best-sellers in the segment all lose volume year-on-year: the Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima (-3%), Honda Accord (-13%), Ford Fusion (-7%) and Chevrolet Cruze (-12%). In this depressing context, Chrysler has finally cracked the mid-size equation with the redesigned 200, up a stunning 136% to burst into the Top 20 at #19 and 107.000 units vs. #58 a year ago, albeit still a fair distance from the Ford Fusion and the Top 10 at 153.000 sales.

The last game changer over the First Half of 2015 in the U.S. is the Chevrolet Colorado, relaunched last year and responsible with its twin the GMC Canyon for the mid-size pickup segment revival. The Colorado shoots up to #66 with just under 42.000 units, already above the Nissan Frontier (#74), with the Canyon up to #125 with 15.000 sales. The segment leader, the Toyota Tacoma, is juiced up by its newfound competition, up 18% to #27 and 89.000 deliveries. Quite separately and finally, notice also the Cherokee becoming Jeep’s best-seller thanks to sales up 31% to 105.426 vs. +19% and 102.450 for the Wrangler, the Honda Pilot up 36% to #33, Ford Mustang up 54% to #34 and the Ford Transit breaks into the Top 50 at #44.

Previous post: USA June 2015: Chevrolet Silverado closest to Ford F-Series in 6 years

Q1 2015 Report: USA 1st Quarter 2015: Trucks lift market up 6%

FY 2014 Report: USA Full Year 2014: Podium 100% pickup trucks for the first time in 11 years

One year ago: USA 6 months 2014: Top two pick-ups pause growth

Full H1 2015 Top 15 groups, Top 40 brands and Top 280 models below.

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USA June 2015: Chevy Silverado closest to F-Series in 6 years

July 5th, 2015 1 comment

2015 Chevrolet Silverado LTZ 3500HDThe Chevrolet Silverado is nipping at the Ford F-Series’ heels.

* See the Top 15 groups, Top 40 brands and Top 278 models by clicking on the title *

The U.S. new light vehicle market is up a satisfying 4% year-on-year in June to 1.476.472 registrations, lifting the H1 2015 result to 8.523.058 units, also up 4% on 2014. The seasonally adjusted annual rate stands at 17.16 million in June, down from the 17.78 million it reached it May but above the 16.91 million from June 2014. Once again, trucks pull the market up at +11% and 800.048 sales vs. -4% and 676.627 units for passenger cars. Pickup trucks are up 10%, crossovers up 19% and SUVs up 2%. The market is on track to hit 17 million units for the first time since 2001 and the third time ever by the time 2015 comes to an end. To finish painting the rosiest picture the U.S. market has seen in years, the average sale price is also up 2.5% year-on-year to $33.340 according to Kelly Blue Book.

Honda HR-V USA June 2015. Picture courtesy motortrend.comThe HR-V (7.760 sales) helps Honda reach an all-time record light truck sales month.

General Motors is the only auto group to lose ground year-on-year in June at -3%, and their excuse is unhealthy: “GM blamed its decline on a 45% drop in fleet shipments to daily rental operators” says Automotive News. Reversely, Ford Motor is up 1%, Toyota Motor up 4% (light trucks up 18%), FCA posts its 63rd consecutive month of year-on-year gains at +8%, Honda Motor is up 4% (light trucks are up 18% to an all-time record thanks to the HR-V), and Nissan Motor up a very impressive 13% on the back of stunning Rogue sales. Subaru for its part is up 7% to lodge its 43rd consecutive monthly increase and Mitsubishi is up 32%.

BMW 3 Series M3 USA June 2015. Picture courtesy motortrend.comBMW now leads the U.S. luxury race.

Brand-wise, Ford (+1%) dominates ahead of Chevrolet (-3%), Toyota (+4%) and Honda (+1%). Nissan is up 13% and although it ranks 5th in June it maintains its 4th spot year-to-date, Jeep is up a splendid 25%, Hyundai is up 1% to post its best June ever, GMC (+8%) is the only GM brand to post year-on-year gains this month, Dodge signs its 5th straight double-digit decline at -14% and Chrysler surges 28% thanks to sales of the 200 sedan up 153%. In the battle for the 2015 luxury crown, BMW overtakes Mercedes year-to-date thanks to sales up 7% to 32.176 in June vs. 28.044 (+6%) for Mercedes (excluding Sprinter sales), 26.121 (+11%) for Lexus and 18.262 (+8%) for Audi – the brand’s 68th consecutive year-on-year gain. BMW totals 168.623 sales so far in 2015 vs. 164.970 for Mercedes, once again ex-Sprinter.

Ford Edge USA June 2015. Picture courtesy motortrend.comThe Edge (+30%) helps Ford stay afloat in the U.S. this month.

This month more than any in the past year that the transition has started, Ford F-Series sales are suffering from the new aluminium-bodied F-150’s supply issues, falling 9% year-on-year to 55.171 units. That’s only 3.623 more than the Chevrolet Silverado (+18%), the smallest gap between America’s two best-selling nameplates since May 2009, in the midst of recession, when only 1.918 sales separated the two models. Despite dropping 8% year-on-year, the Toyota Camry remains #3 and overtakes the Ram Pickup to now also rank #3 year-to-date. The Nissan Altima is back up one spot to #6 (+13%), followed by three Hondas: the Civic (-11%), CR-V (+8%) and Accord (-15%).

Toyota Tacoma USA June 2015. Picture courtesy motortrend.comThe Toyota Tacoma (#24) still dominates the mid-size pickup segment.

Stunning month for the Hyundai Elantra breaking into the overall Top 10 for the second time in 4 months at #10 with sales up 55% to 26.613, the nameplate’s 2nd best monthly result ever, below just the 28.794 reached last March. The Nissan Rogue is up 54% to #14, the Ford Explorer up 30% to #16, the GMC Sierra up 21% to #20, Jeep Cherokee up 39% to #22, Toyota Tacoma up 31% to #24, Ford Edge up 30% to #32 and the Ford Transit is up to a record #33 and 12.134 deliveries exactly one month after launching in the U.S. Further down, notice the Honda HR-V up a further 10 spots to #60, the Jeep Renegade up 6 to #88 and the Fiat 500X up 38 to a still very timid #231 and 324 sales.

Previous month: USA May 2015: Highest ever May volume and 17.8 million annual pace

One year ago: USA June 2014: Toyota Corolla and Hyundai Sonata lead gainers

Full June 2015 Top 15 groups, Top 40 brands and Top 278 models below.

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USA May 2015: Highest ever May volume and 17.8 million annual pace

June 9th, 2015 2 comments

Jeep Wrangler USA May 2015Jeep sets an all-time volume record in May at 79.652 units.

* Now updated with the Top 20 groups, Top 40 brands and Top 275 models *

Whereas the totality of analysts had predicted a slight year-on-year decline due to less selling days in May this year than in 2014, the U.S. customer has shown them wrong with May 2015 up 1.6% year-on-year to become the best ever May score in U.S history at 1.634.952 registrations. The year-to-date total is now up 4.5% on 2014 to 7.046.586 units and now on track to top 17 million units this year for the first time since 2001. In fact, the seasonally adjusted sales rate (SAAR) soared to 17.78 million, up from 16.52 million in April and 16.73 million in May 2014. This is the highest recorded SAAR since the 20.64 million of July 2005, when the Big 3 manufacturer simultaneously had employee-pricing deals in market. Even more impressive: U.S. car buyers are spending more money on each car they buy: an average of $33.363 according to Kelley Blue Book, or $1.363 more than in May 2014.

The Chrysler 200 breaks the 20.000 monthly sales milestone for the first time in May.

The market continues to be lifted by light trucks up 7% year-on-year to 870.393 units while passenger cars are down 4% to 764.697. The best performing segments are crossovers (+15%), Luxury SUVs (+10%), pickups (+7%) and mid-size SUVs (+6%), whereas all categories of cars are consistently down: small (-3.5%), midsize (-4%) and luxury (-3%). Group-wise, GM improves 3% to 293.097 deliveries ahead of Ford down 1% to 250.086 and Toyota down 0.3% to 242.579. FCA clocks in its 62nd consecutive month of year-on-year gains at +4% to 202.227 units, with Jeep lodging its all-time monthly sales record at 79.652 (+14%), Chrysler up 32% and Ram up 12% more than compensating for harsh declines at Dodge (-21%) and Fiat (-19%). Thanks to an almost 20.000 sales advantage, Honda Motor reclaims the 5th place overall off Nissan Motor this month.

Chevrolet Equinox USA May 2015The runout model pushes the Equinox to a 2nd consecutive record month.

In the brands ranking, Ford dominates with just under 241.000 sales, Toyota overtakes Chevrolet for #2 at 208.102 units vs. 207.970 while Honda passes Nissan for #4 at 137.551 vs. 124.305. Jeep takes a definitive advantage over Hyundai for 6th place, Kia hits an all-tome record at 62.433 units, GMC, Subaru (42nd consecutive month in positive), Ram and Mercedes all gain 12% on May 2014, Audi lodges its 67th consecutive month of year-on-year gains at +11%, Lexus is up 10%, Acura up 16%, Maserati up 17%, Land Rover up 19% and both Mitsubishi and Chrysler post the biggest increase at +32%. Finally, notice the Volkswagen brand posting a rare improvement at +8% mainly thanks to the new Golf tripling its sales year-on-year.

Nissan Rogue USA May 2015. Picture courtesy of motortrend.comNissan Rogue U.S. sales are up 38% on May 2014.

Restricted by production problems for the all-new aluminium F-150 resulting in inventory shortages, the Ford F-Series slides 10% in May to 61.870 units but remains 10.000 sales above the Chevrolet Silverado up 11% to 51.602 deliveries, its 2nd biggest month since December 2007. If we remove the F-Series, pickup truck sales are up 17% year-on-year in May, and mid-size pickup sales take off at +69% to 34.741 with the return of the Chevrolet Colorado (8.881 deliveries – best since August 2006) and GMC Canyon (2.901 – best since July 2005) and a very strong month of the Toyota Tacoma up 26% to 17.520 units.

Honda HR-V USA May 2015. Picture courtesy motortrend.comInstant blockbuster: the Honda HR-V

The Toyota Camry snaps the overall third spot off the Ram Pickup despite sales down 12% on a year ago just above the Toyota Corolla comfortably establishing itself in 5th position. Meanwhile four nameplates post all-time volume records inside the Top 25: the Chevrolet Equinox for the 2nd month in a row at 29.456 units (+30%), the 9 year-old Jeep Wrangler at 22.324 sales also breaking its ranking record at #18, the Chrysler 200 at 20.007 and the Jeep Cherokee at 19.669. Notice also the Toyota RAV4 up 23%, Nissan Rogue up 38% and Toyota Highlander up 25%. Instant blockbusters: the Honda HR-V landing directly at #70 with 6.381 sales and the Jeep Renegade at #94 and 4.416 units.

Previous post: STRATEGY: The growing power of Hispanic buyers in U.S. sales

Previous month: USA April 2015: Chevrolet Equinox hits best ranking and volume ever

One year ago: USA May 2014: GM up 13% despite recalls, Hyundai & Jeep break all-time records

Full May 2015 Top 20 groups, Top 40 brands and Top 275 models below.

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STRATEGY: The growing power of Hispanic buyers in U.S. sales

May 24th, 2015 1 comment

hispanic-ad

Lindsay Chappell this week published a fascinating article on Automotive News USA about the growing power of Hispanic buyers in the U.S. market. I summarise it below, you can read the full article here: “Sales to Hispanics outpacing the market”

What’s the weight of Hispanic buyers in the U.S. market?

  • 54 million Hispanics are now living in the United States or 17% of the total population, predicted to grow to 130 million by 2060 or 30% of the total population.
  • Hispanic car buyers in the U.S. are driving overall market growth and could well be the auto industry’s leading growth engine for the next 20 to 30 years. In 2014 retail sales to Hispanic consumers rose 15% vs. 6% for the overall market (Source IHS).
  • Hispanic growth is now increasingly happening in the Midwest, not just traditional powerhouses California, Texas and Florida. The states with the fastest-growing Hispanic populations in the last decade were Alabama, Kentucky, South Carolina and Tennessee. U.S. cities of more than 200,000 people with the fastest-growing Hispanic populations were Charlotte NC and Raleigh NC.

Toyota Corolla USA January 2015. Picture courtesy of motortrend.comToyota has ranked as the top-selling brand among Hispanic consumers for the past decade.

Which brands are winning with Hispanic buyers?

  • The “Big Three” brands of Hispanic-market sales are Toyota, Nissan and Honda. Chevrolet, Ford and Kia follow.
  • Toyota has ranked as the top-selling brand among Hispanic consumers for the past 10 years and has created a dedicated corporate department to this population: the Hispanic Business Strategy Group. Hispanics purchased one of every 4 Corollas sold in the U.S. in 2014 one out of every 5 Lexus IS sold.
  • Nissan brought 3 of its successful Mexico dealership groups to the U.S. to operate stores in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Houston and improve the brand’s ties to Hispanic consumers. Nissan is market leader in Mexico with 26.2% market share, and hopes that retailers from there will strike a chord of familiarity and trust among U.S. residents who moved here from Mexico in recent years.
  • Honda is the No. 1 brand among Hispanic buyers in New York City and Los Angeles.
  • Among Hispanic buyers, the Chevrolet Silverado outsells America’s biggest-selling pickup, the Ford F series.

Hispanic market data

The challenges that come with the growing power of Hispanic car buyers

  • Many Hispanics need – or prefer – to speak Spanish. Many perceive themselves as Hispanic or Latino even after several generations of U.S. heritage, and they look for products and services that specifically address their Hispanic identity. This means additional language and cultural training for salespeople is required for regions not used to a strong Hispanic presence.
  • Last year, 21% of Hispanic vehicle purchases were for a “first vehicle.” For the U.S. as a whole, the figure was just 5%. This means brands get more chances to make first impressions, but dealers must woo uncommitted new buyers.
  • The average age of Hispanics today is 30, compared with 42 for non-Hispanic Americans, meaning a different approach is required to close the sale.
  • The perception of Hispanic consumers seeking entry-level vehicles is becoming out of date. Last year, 24% of Hispanic U.S. households earned more than $75,000, up from 14% in 2000.
Categories: STRATEGY, USA

STRATEGY: Will self-driving cars trigger the doom of automobile?

May 24th, 2015 No comments

Mercedes Self Driving CarThe self-driving car as imagined by Mercedes-Benz

Recently Barclays’ auto analyst Brian Johnson forecast in “Disruptive Mobility” that self-driving cars will eliminate most multicar households, reduce the number of cars on American roads from 250 million to below 100 million and cut U.S. annual auto sales by 40% to just 9.5 million units over the next 25 years. That’s almost one million less than the rock-bottom 10.4 million hit in the midst of the Global Recession in 2009. According to the Detroit Free Press, in these predictions Brian Johnson is in agreement with researchers Brandon Schoettle and Michael Sivak at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI).

These findings don’t mean the end of private ownership, but rely on the fact that families with 3 or more vehicles in the household rarely use more than one at a time. According to UMTRI, 84% of households have no trips that overlap or conflict on a typical day. In only 2% of those households were there enough overlapping trips to require three or more vehicles. Johnson says self-driving cars will travel many more miles than personally owned vehicles because they will be used throughout the day for multiple trips.

And this is where I disagree.

Traffic jam. Picture courtesy fastcompany.netCar sharing? What car sharing?

If nowadays families feel the need to own 3 or more vehicles while almost never using more than one at a time, that’s because most car owners cherish the notion of being able, if need be, to go anywhere, at anytime, with whoever we choose. That this option may be unsused and waiting in the garage isn’t the point. It’s there for us to grab, and that’s what we want. It is the very core of private vehicle ownership. Nothing proves that this comfort-habit will change with the arrival of self-driving cars. The fact that the car can drive itself home and be used by someone else while we are busy at work will not mean we will be happy to give it up for the day. What if we suddenly need it? What if all ‘public’ self-driving cars are unavailable at the time because it’s rush hour – like trying to find a free taxi on a rainy day. It’s this anxiety that we are refusing by owning a private vehicle and having it at our disposal, not anyone else. Selfish? Yep. Aren’t well all?

To me, it’s a little similar to saying back in the 1960s that people would lose their private car ownership desire once petrol becomes too expensive. We have not. Granted, ownership rates are falling with millenials that put more emphasis on usage rather than ownership. But let’s pause for a moment to spare a thought for car sharing. In Europe it is starting to show *relative* success, but in the U.S. – the subject of this forecast – no way. We want to go anywhere anytime and not depend on anyone doing so.

Categories: STRATEGY, USA

USA April 2015: Chevrolet Equinox hits best ranking and volume ever

May 11th, 2015 No comments

Chevrolet Colorado USA April 2015. Picture courtesy motortrend.comThe Chevrolet Colorado is the fastest-selling pickup truck in the country in April (10 days on lot).

* See the Top 15 groups, Top 40 brands and Top 274 models by clicking on the title *

U.S. new light vehicle sales are up a solid 4.6% year-on-year in April to 1.454.951 registrations, bringing the year-to-date total to 5.409.495 deliveries, up 5.4% on 2014. The seasonally adjusted sales rate (SAAR) was down to 16.52 million from 17.12 million in March, but up from 16.06 million in April 2014. Automotive News quoted Bill Fay, Toyota Division general manager, as saying “The industry is off to its best start since 2001, the last time it sold 17 million vehicles.” Once again light trucks are pulling the market up: +10.5% vs. -1.5% for cars, with trucks accounting for 54% of total sales in April and outselling cars for the 20th consecutive month. Crossovers and SUVs re purely and simply on fire: +19% and +9% respectively, with pickup trucks up 8%.

Chevrolet Equinox USA April 20152016 Chevrolet Equinox. The outgoing gen in runout mode is up to a best-ever #7.

All Top 10 manufacturers bar Honda Motor Co (-2%) register year-on-year gains, with General Motors (+6%), Ford Motor (+5%), Toyota Motor (+2%) and Fiat Chrysler (+6%) in line with the industry. Brand-wise, below Ford (+5%), Chevrolet is back above Toyota both this month (187.837 vs. 173.144) and year-to-date (664.393 vs. 659.606), Jeep (+20%) is ahead of Hyundai (+3%) for 6th place overall, Subaru jumps 18% but remains at #9 and GMC soars 20% to crack the Top 10 for the 5th time in the past 6 months. Notice also Lexus up 12%, Mercedes up 13%, Cadillac up 14%, Lincoln up 20%, Mini up 25%, Mitsubishi and Chrysler both up 26% and Porsche up 28%. Thanks to 29.188 sales in April (excluding Sprinter), Mercedes reclaims the title of #1 premium brand in the U.S. so far in 2015 but just: 107.344 deliveries in 4 months vs. 105.444 for BMW and 103.056 for Lexus.

Chrysler 200 USA April 2015. Picture courtesy motortrend.comThe redesigned 200 (+358%) helps push Chrysler sales up 26% in April.

Over on the models charts, below an unchanged Top 5 (F-Series, Silverado, Ram Pickup, Camry and Corolla), the compact crossover craze is clearly apparent: the Honda CR-V tops the brand’s lineup at #6 and 29.452 units, the Chevrolet Equinox is up a smashing 42% year-on-year to post its best-ever month and ranking at #7 and 28.856 deliveries thanks to runout prices for the outgoing generation, the Ford Escape is up two spots on March to #10, the Toyota RAV4 is up 22% on April 2014 to #12, the Nissan Rogue is up 44% to #15 and the Jeep Cherokee is up 27% to a record 19.072 sales, also equalling its best-ever ranking at #17 – also hit last October and November. Overall the compact crossover segment is up 22% to 222.007 sales in April, accounting for over 15% of the overall market and outselling both pickups and midsize cars (207.452 and 210.897 units respectively).

2015 Ford EdgeThe new Ford Edge only stays an average of 15 days on dealers lot before being purchased.

Other fantastic growth rates inside the Top 100 include the completely redesigned Chrysler 200 up 348% to #18 and 18.850 deliveries, the Ford Mustang up 81% to #31, the Ford Edge up 78% year-on-year and 18 spots on March to #32, the VW Golf up 3-fold to #77 and the Subaru Legacy up 69% to #78. The new Chevrolet Colorado advances to #62 and 7.010 units, taking a clear advantage over other mid-sized pickup the Nissan Frontier (#73 and 5.827 sales) while the segment leader, the Toyota Tacoma, is still a fair way ahead at #27 and 15.656 units. The Colorado is the fastest-selling pickup truck in the country for the third month in a row, only staying an average of 15 days on dealer lots in April before being snapped up by customers. Only the Ford Edge does better among light trucks: 10 days.

Jeep Renegade USA April 2015. Picture courtesy motortrend.comThe Jeep Renegade is already within the 100 most popular nameplates in the U.S.

The Jeep Renegade is headed straight towards blockbuster status, breaking into the U.S. Top 100 for its first full month of sales at #91 and 4.214 units, while we welcome two new nameplates in the ranking this month: the Mercedes AMG GT at #238 with 205 sales and the Land Rover Discovery Sport at #247 with 147 deliveries. Notice also the Ford Transit up a further 7 spots to #41, the Acura TLX up 13 ranks to #97, the Chevrolet Trax at #109, Lexus NX at #111, GMC Canyon at #132, Mercedes GLA at #143, Lincoln MKC at #147 and Porsche Macan at #164.

Previous post: USA 1st Quarter 2015: Trucks lift market up 6%

Previous month: USA March 2015: Hyundai Elantra, Nissan Rogue, Chrysler 200 and Jeep Cherokee hit all-time record volumes

One year ago: USA April 2014: Jeep up 52% to break record thanks to Cherokee

Full April 2015 Top 15 groups, Top 40 brands and Top 274 models below.

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USA 1st Quarter 2015: Trucks lift market up 6%

April 29th, 2015 No comments

Chevrolet Colorado USA March 2015. Picture courtesy of motortrend.comThe reintroduction of the mid-sized Colorado is helping keep the US market in gear.

* See the Top 274 All-models, Top 40 brands and Top 15 groups by clicking on the title *

It’s time for our Quarterly update of the US new light vehicle market. A lot of actors in the industry were bracing for a soft landing of the market in 2015, in fact so far it has turned out better than expected, thanks mainly to very strong truck sales – in the US trucks include SUVs and pickups. US sales are up 5.7% year-on-year to 3.956.760 registrations which is actually a much better yoy gain than at the same time last year when Q1 2014 was up just 1.4% on 2013. Moreover, April is expected to be the best in a decade, so there is still a lot of momentum and growth potential left in the American market, seemingly engaged in a virtuous circle: the economy is strong, financing rates are low, consumer confidence is high, and the neighbour just bought a new car…

Jeep Renegade USA March 2015. Picture courtesy of automobile-magazine.frJeep is now the #6 brand in the USA, and the Renegade has just arrived.

The proof of this strength is in the automotive groups ranking: all bar two have seen their sales increase year-on-year and the ones that lose ground lose very little ground: the Volkswagen Group is down 2% and Mazda is down 0.02%. If the Top 7 remains unchanged, GM (+5%) is increasing the gap with #2 Ford Motor Co (+2) while Toyota Motor Co (+10%) is catching up thanks to strong Lexus sales (+19%). Subaru (+17%) edges out Volkswagen for two units, while the BMW Group (+12%) takes a clear advantage over Daimler AG (+7%). Mitsubishi and Jaguar Land Rover, at the tail end of the ranking, both gain 20%.

Toyota Corolla USA March 2015. Picture courtesy of motortrend.comThe Toyota Corolla is up 17% to 5th place overall.

In the brands ranking, Ford remains leader but underperforms (+2%) while Toyota (+10%) snaps the 2nd spot away from Chevrolet (+5%). Jeep continues to post indecent growth rates (+23%), overtaking Hyundai to #6 overall and gearing up for another string of record months with the arrival in March of the Renegade (943 sales). Kia (#8) and Subaru (#9) both pass Dodge (-15%), now threatened of being toppled out of the Top 10 by GMC (+15%) and Ram (+9%).

BMW 3 Series USA March 2015BMW is the #1 luxury brand in the US so far in 2015, but just.

The race for #1 luxury brand is getting very heated indeed: BMW is the new leader so far this year with 78,492 sales above Mercedes (ex-Sprinter) at 78.156 and Lexus catching up very fast at 77.180 deliveries (+19%). Mini (+48%), Land Rover (+30%), Mitsubishi (+20%), Audi (+14%) and Chrysler (+13%) also shine.

Chevrolet Silverado USA March 2014. Picture courtesy of caranddriver.comThe Chevy Silverado takes advantage of the Ford F-150 changeover: +18%.

Despite supply restrictions due to the F-150 model changeover, the Ford F-Series remains by far the most popular nameplate in the country with 177,312 deliveries over 3 months (+2%), however the Chevrolet Silverado is in a world of its own with sales up a splendid 18% year-on-year to 126,694. The Ram Pickup manages to salvage its third position above the Toyota Camry at 101,511 units vs. 100.505 while the Toyota Corolla is up 17% to crack the Top 5, dislodging the Nissan Altima (-3%).

Chrysler 200 USA March 2015. Picture courtesy of motortrend.comThe new model puts the Chrysler 200 on the map: +61% to #20.

The Honda CR-V remains the best-selling SUV in the States, improving 4 spots on a year ago to #7 and becoming the brand’s best-seller above the Accord (-10%) and Civic (-6%) which both outsold it in Q1 2014. The CR-V is under attack in its segment from the Toyota RAV4 (+26%), Chevrolet Equinox (+17%), Nissan Rogue (+28%) and Ford Explorer (+27%), all posting very solid results.

Ford Mustang USA March 2015. Picture courtest motortrend.comFord Mustang sales are up 52% on 2014.

In fact, 13 of the 20 biggest gainers in the Top 50 are trucks, with the Honda Pilot (+67%), Jeep Patriot (+45%) and Chevrolet Traverse (+38%) lodging the largest increases. On the passenger car side, the Chrysler 200 (+61%), Dodge Dart (finally unlocked somewhat at +56%) and Ford Mustang (+52%) are the best performers.

GMC Canyon USA March 2015. Picture courtesy of motortrend.comGMC sales are up 15% year-on-year, partly thanks to the Canyon.

We count just two all-new nameplates in the Top 100 (vs. 19 in China): the Ford Transit replacing the E-Series lands at #54 with 22,881 sales and the new generation Chevrolet Colorado ranks #66 just 24 units above another mid-siez pickup, the Nissan Frontier. New entrants are more frequent further down the sales chart: the Acura TLX is #103, the Chevrolet Trax #104, the Lexus NX #108, new GMC Canyon #123, Mercedes GLA #141 and the Lincoln MKC at #151.

Previous post: USA March 2015: Hyundai Elantra, Nissan Rogue, Chrysler 200 and Jeep Cherokee hit all-time record volumes

One year ago: USA 1st Quarter 2014: Nissan Rogue and Subaru Forester hit record

Full Q1 2015 Top 274 All-models, Top 40 All-brands and Top 15 groups vs. full Q1 2014 figures below.

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USA March 2015: Hyundai Elantra, Nissan Rogue, Chrysler 200 and Jeep Cherokee at all-time best

April 15th, 2015 No comments

Hyundai Elantra USA March 2015. Picture courtesy motortrend.comThe Hyundai Elantra sold a record 28,794 units in the US this month.

* See the Top 274 All-models, Top 40 All-brands and Top 15 groups by clicking on the title *

At +0.5% to 1.545.710 sales, the year-on-year gain may be small for the US new light vehicle market this month, but don’t get fooled by this result: March was exceptionally strong, for a few reasons. First, the 17.1 million seasonally adjusted annual selling rate was the third best monthly SAAR since July 2006. Second, last year March benefited from good weather, generous automaker deals and a five-weekend calendar. This March had one fewer selling day and one fewer weekend. SAARs of 16.7 million in January and 16.2 million in February were below most analysts’ predictions of annual 2015 sales of 16.9-17 million units, so March’s 17.1 million selling pace gets us back on track somewhat. But the true sign that the US market is not only growing for the 6th consecutive year, but also doing so on very sound foundations, is the fact that not all manufacturers were chasing volume this month. Overall incentives are down 1.3% year-on-year and average transaction prices are up 2.2%…

2015 Chrysler 200CA record 19,033 Chrysler 200 sold helped FCA hit 60 consecutive months of year-on-year gains.

Only Toyota Motor, FCA US and Hyundai-Kia increased their incentives and saw their March sales frankly rise, but their average transaction prices fell. Let’s look at it in more detail. Toyota’s incentives rose 16%, resulting in a 5% sales increase to 225,959 units, but this is the traditional as Toyota always offers deals in March, the closing month of its Japanese parent’s fiscal year. FCA US had a target to reach: 60 consecutive months (five full years) of year-on-year gains. The US manufacturer saw incentives spike by 10% and sales rise by 2% to 197,261. Finally Hyundai-Kia used massive incentive increases to generate a 10% year-on-year gain to hit 133,790 sales, enough to outsell American Honda.

Nissan Rogue USA March 2015. Picture courtesy caranddriver.comNissan has hit the bullseye with the new Rogue: up to #10 overall this month.

Now let’s look at the opposite strategy. General Motors (-2%), Ford Motor Co. (-3%) and Nissan North America (-3%) all significantly reduced incentives, resulting in sales drops but a rise of 4% in transaction prices for all 3 manufacturers. These two very distinct approaches are evidence of a healthy market. Automotive News quotes TrueCar President John Krafcik: “In a stable market, brands are free to either buy some share or take profits. Those are tactical moves to make the most of their situation.” Automotive News says Ford Motor cut incentives 17% from a year ago but transaction prices jumped almost $1,200 a unit to $32,974. Ford is so short of pickups during model changeover that it is deferring fleet orders to feed dealers. Its overall retail sales rose 1% but fleet plunged 13%.

Toyota Corolla USA March 2015. Picture courtesy of motortrend.comThe Toyota Corolla hits its third best monthly volume in 6 years.

These two opposite strategies have a significant impact on the sales charts this month. The Ford F-Series is down 5% but still extremely solid overall at 67,706 units. It is followed by the Chevrolet Silverado up 7% to 45,193 deliveries and the Ram Pickup down 2% to 41,595. The Toyota Camry remains the best-selling passenger car in the country at #4 and 40,800 units and the Toyota Corolla rounds up the Top 5 thanks to sales surging 20% on a year ago to 35,532 – the nameplate’s third best monthly score in the past 6 years below August 2009 (43,061) and May 2014 (36,611).

Jeep Cherokee USA March 2015. Picture courtesy motortrend.comRecord sales this month for the Jeep Cherokee…

Below, the Hyundai Elantra jumps 34% to post the nameplate’s all-time record monthly volume of 28,794 units and the Nissan Rogue is up 41% to break into the monthly US Top 10 for the first time at #10 and lodge a record 27,418 sales, smashing its previous best of 21,419. Further down, the Chrysler 200 is up a stunning 155% thank to the new model to also break its volume record at 19,190 (previous best: 16,229 last December) while the Jeep Cherokee is the 4th nameplate in the Top 25 to evolve at all-time record highs, up 38% year-on-year to 19,033 (previous best for this generation is 18,235 last August).

2015 Jeep® Renegade Trailhawk…and promising start for the Jeep Renegade.

Other great gainers include the Toyota RAV4 up 28% to #14, the Chevrolet Equinox up 22% to #15, BMW 3/4 Series up 47% to #30, Ford Mustang up 36% to #35, Honda Pilot up 34% to #37, Jeep Patriot up 41% to #38 and the Dodge Dart up (at last!) 56% to #49. Has the Chevrolet Colorado already plateaued? It is down 9 spots on February to #69 and back below the Nissan Frontier (#66) while its twin the GMC Canyon is down 18 ranks to #134. One new entrant in the ranking this month: the Jeep Renegade landing at #191 with 943 sales. According to Cars.com, there are more than 4700 Renegades currently in stock at the moment, so except it to rise up the ladder over the coming months.

Previous month: USA February 2015: Toyota above Ford, Nissan Rogue & Chrysler 200 shine

One year ago: USA March 2014: Ram Pick-up up to 2nd place for the first time

Full March 2015 Top 274 All-models, Top XX All-brands and Top 15 groups below.

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USA February 2015: Toyota > Ford, Nissan Rogue & Chrysler 200 shine

March 6th, 2015 1 comment

2015 Chrysler 200SThe Chrysler 200 is up to #17 overall in the US in February.

* UPDATED – See the Top 271 All-models, Top 40 brands & Top 15 groups *

Particularly severe wintry weather will finally have had an impact on US light vehicle sales: whereas the average forecast for February was an 8% year-on-year increase to 16.6 million SAAR (seasonally adjusted annual sales rate), the market has to settle for 5% growth and 16.24 million SAAR (the lowest since last April) at 1.258.570 sales, bringing the year-to-date total to 2.411.050 deliveries (+9%). If a 6th consecutive year of increased volume seems certain, the US market may be running out of gas in 2016 at this rate. Cars drop 1% while SUVs gain a huge 27% and pickups are up 13%.

Toyota Tundra USA February 2015. Picture courtesy motortrend.comToyota Motor Corp outsells Ford Motor Co in the US for the first time in 6 months.

The big news in the group ranking is Toyota Motor Corp outselling Ford Motor Co for the first time in 6 months thanks to sales up 13% to 180,467 vs. 179,673 (-2%), bolstered by Lexus registering its best February ever (+22%). General Motors keeps the lead at 231,378 deliveries (+4%), mainly due to GMC (+19%) which just announced a (justified) doubling of its marketing spend over the next 5 years. Chevrolet (+4%), Buick (-9%) and Cadillac (-13%) are morose. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles lodges its 59th consecutive month of year-on-year gain (we are approaching 5 years!), led by Jeep (+21%), Chrysler (+13%) and Ram (+12%) whereas Dodge (-15%) and Fiat (-5%) are not helping.

Nissan Rogue USA February 2015. Picture courtesy of motortrend.comNissan Rogue

Nissan Motor Co has declared it wants to beat Japanese rival American Honda “consistently” and it has been the case so far this year with 118,436 units in February vs. 105,466 and 222,453 vs. 207,650 year-to-date. As is the case with the biggest Japanese manufacturers, the luxury divisions of both Nissan and Honda outpace the mainstream brand: Infiniti is up 22% vs. +1% for Nissan and Acura is up 13% vs. +4% for Honda. Though extremely strong at +19%, February marked the first time since June that Subaru failed to advance at least 20%. Mercedes (25,291), BMW (25,201) and Lexus (22,995) are once again very tight in the premium brand race.

Lexus NX USA February 2015. Picture courtesy motortrend.comLexus lodges its best-ever February sales in the US.

Tight inventories of the aluminum-bodied 2015 F-150 have plagued Ford F-Series sales in January: down 1% to 55,236 units, and both the Chevrolet Silverado (+24% to 45,395 sales), Ram Pickup (+7% to 31,298 deliveries) and GMC Sierra (+6% to 15,157 units) have rushed to fill the gap. Meanwhile the Chevrolet Colorado continues its progression at 6,563 sales (#60 and +10% on January) and will break into the monthly Top 50 over the coming months. The Toyota Camry (+14%) is back to the #1 passenger car spot it traditionally holds, followed by the Nissan Altima (-8%) and Toyota Corolla (+10%) while the Toyota RAV4 (+33%) threatens the Honda CR-V (+7%) for the SUV crown.

Subaru Outback USA February 2015. Picture courtesy motortrend.comThe Outback (+30%) is Subaru’s best-seller in the US for the 2nd straight month.

Outside the Top 10, the Nissan Rogue takes advantage of sales up a plump 25% year-on-year to smash its monthly US ranking record, lifting it to #12 (previous best: #15 in February 2014), while the Chrysler 200 is slowly but very surely getting closer to the best-selling passenger cars in the country, up another 3 spots on January to hit a record-breaking #17 thanks to 15,805 sales, up 30% on February 2014. Notice also the Ford Explorer up 34% to #15, the Nissan Sentra up 24% to #19, Hyundai Sonata up 25% to #3, Honda Pilot up 83% to #27, Subaru Outback up 30% to #30, Toyota Sienna up 48% to #34, Jeep Patriot up 59% to #38 and the Ford Mustang up 32% to #47.

Previous month: USA January 2015: General Motors strong in market up 14%

One year ago: USA February 2014: Nissan Altima shoots up to third place

Full February 2015 Top 50 models, Top 40 brands and Top 15 groups below.

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Categories: USA