Car sales continue to slip

17FusionSport_36_HR

There are several disturbing trends for the automakers. One, car sales in general are slipping after years of sustained growth for the industry. Also, sales of trucks (including SUVs and CUVs) are doing fine, while sales of traditional passengers cars are plummeting.

This trend is highlighted by Ford’s dismal sales results for April 2017 where US sales plunged 7.2%. This shows overall weakness in the market along with the troubling trend for cars versus trucks.

Carmakers have had a great run, but now we’ll see how they react to a market slowdown.

  

Cold weather depresses January auto sales

2013 Ford Ranger

The weather has been bone chilling all across the country so far in 2014, and many automakers are blaming weaker than expected auto sales on the chilly temperatures.

Four of the top five U.S. auto sellers on Monday blamed extreme winter weather for poorer-than-expected sales in January, as analysts and executives predicted a rebound in February and March.

U.S. automakers Ford Motor Co and General Motors Co as well as Japan’s Toyota Motor Sales USA and American Honda Motor Co saw auto sales plummet in January, missing analysts’ estimates for the month.

Sales results were mixed for other companies and brands, with Chrysler Group, a unit of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, and Nissan North America reporting increases and topping forecasts.

Total industry sales in January, as compiled by Reuters from the manufacturers, fell 3.1 percent to 1,011,188.

Tye folks at Chrysler took the opportunity to crow a bit that the weather only affected their competitors, but having spent some time in Ohio in January, I’m not suprised by these disappointing results. Let’s see what happens in February and March.

  

New Nissan Rogue enters growing compact CUV market

2014 Nissan Rogue

The compact CUV segment has been on fire as it has grown 60% since model year 2009. It’s projected to increase an additional 6.5% in the next year. The segment is very competitive and the OEMs are introducing updated models with more and more features. Nissan redesigned 2014 Rogue is an example as it sports a number of new interior and exterior features (see this review).

Consumers can now get more features and luxury in this space, but that means prices are creeping up. The new Rogue will range from around $22,000 up to over $32,000 for a loaded up vehicle. According to Nissan executives, that’s leaving an opening in the $20 – $22,000 range and they aim to address it by continuing production of the 2013 Rogue as a 2014 “Rogue Select” which starts at just under $20,000. It will be fascinating to see how this strategy works. Nissan has seen a nice sales spike this year with the Rogue after the company reduced prices.

  

Dodge Dart GT will hit dealerships soon

2013 Dodge Dart GT

Dodge Dart sales have been rather disappointing for the brand, so the arrival of the GT version has to be a relief to the dealers. Production started up recently and the vehicle is now available for ordering.

The vehicle debuted at the 2013 North American International Auto Show and looks pretty sharp as you can see in the photo above. Here are some additional details:

– the GT is powered by the 2.4-liter Tigershark MultiAir2 four-cylinder engine, which produces 184 horsepower and 174 lb.-ft. of torque

– premium Nappa leather

– sport suspension with frequency-sensing damping shocks, including standard 18-inch aluminum wheels

– standard class-exclusive features include racetrack LED taillamps, integrated dual exhaust, 8.4-inch touchscreen, 7-inch TFT display, and in-seat storage

– MSRP of $20,995

Let’s see if this helps raise the profile of the vehicle.

  

Car sales keep rolling

It seems like even the auto industry has gotten Black Friday fever, as auto sales were very strong in November, and they were particularly strong over the Thanksgiving Day weekend across America. The rush of car buyers enabled the automobile industry post an annual U.S. sales rate of 13.6 million vehicles this past November, the strongest performance since August of 2009 when the “cash for clunkers” program was in effect and helped to turbocharge sales.

What’s driving this in the US? The economy is definitely starting to get better. The news from Europe seems to keep holding things back, but companies seem to be hiring as well as we’ve seen from the better employment numbers. So consumers are definitely feeling better. But we also have a situation where there are fewer used cars after the slump of recent years, so now used car prices are higher. This pushes demand to new cars and also helps with trade-ins. So we’re finally in a good situation for the car industry.

We’re also in a situation where the auto companies have hit a good grove. The products are getting better as everyone has had a wake-up call and unnecessary brands and models have been cut.

In the UK the news isn’t as good, as the economy there is having a tougher time and the situation in Europe can’t be helping consumer confidence. So you have a better chance of finding new car deals over there. As usual, do your homework and read all the UK car reviews if you’re shopping in that market.

  

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