From the category archives: Market Analysis and Forecasts

Credit Update: Times Are Good Now, But What About Tomorrow?

Credit availability and new and used vehicle sales are basically joined at the hip. After all, automaker captive finance companies were created with the mission to provide credit to consumers so more new vehicles could be bought and produced. Among many things, the Great Recession and the years since reaffirmed the lesson that as credit availability goes, so go new and used sales. Prices are also affected by access to lender cash. The incredible interest rate wave the market has been riding for the past few years combined with ever-increasing loan terms have allowed consumers to buy more richly contented vehicles with only nominal changes in monthly payments.

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Used Price Update: Wholesale Prices Spring Into Spring

After increasing by 0.8% on a prior month basis in February, wholesale prices for used vehicles up to eight years in age grew by 1.9% through the first half of March. This month’s preliminary results are right in line directionally with NADA’s forecast, although slightly higher than originally anticipated. The month’s sharp increase can be attributed toward pent-up demand stemming from February’s tepid weather-afflicted performance.

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Which Green Cars are Worth the Most Greenbacks?

Every year, the Washington Auto Show, also known as the nation’s “Public Policy Show,” holds a number of events that focus on the policies and developments influencing the direction of the automotive industry in America. As the health of the environment plays an ever more prominent role in the determining of emissions standards and related government regulations, green vehicles and technologies are becoming increasingly recognized for their positive impact on society. Consequently, the Green Car Journal holds its annual Green Car Awards program at the D.C. Auto Show to celebrate automobiles that best epitomize environmental performance.

While driving an environmentally-friendly car certainly has its merits, the question remains whether purchasing one makes for a sound financial decision. Knowing that money doesn’t grow on trees, we analyzed the second-hand market performance for the award nominees to help environmentally-conscious buyers identify the winners and losers in green car value retention.

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Ford F-150: “The Future of Tough” May Cost You More than the Competition

Ford Motor Company officially launched the new aluminum bodied 2015 F-150 late last year and sales have been strong. That said, we’re not just talking about overall sales volume but, actual transaction prices. According to J.D. Power data, roughly 65 percent of new 2015 4WD Crew Cab Ford F-150 3.5L EcoBoost-equipped models sold have carried transaction prices above $56,000 since January this year (J.D. Power data does not include cash incentives).

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Consumer Reports’ 2015 Top Picks Surprised Everyone, Almost

Consumer Reports recently released its 10 Top Picks of 2015, and while the Tesla Model S won the overall best car award for the second consecutive year, some of the other winners might really surprise you. After years of mediocre product offerings, depressed sales and recall woes, American automaker General Motors saw two of its cars mixing it up with the best of the best.

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Part II: Practicality Abound at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show

For 2016, the refreshed RDX received more technology, an improved powertrain and enhanced interior treatments.  By adding optional fog lights as well as new LED headlights, the updated lighting design keeps with the illumination scheme seen on the rest of the brand’s lineup. Powertrain improvements include a 3.5-liter V6 engine producing 279 horsepower and 252 lb-ft of torque. Engineers were able to raise the fuel economy of the RDX by utilizing cylinder deactivation technology. The 2016 front-wheel drive model is capable of achieving 20 mpg city and 29 mpg highway. All-wheel drive versions see one mpg less in both city and highway driving.

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The 2015 Chicago Auto Show in Pictures

Focusing more on the interests of the mainstream buyer, the Chicago Auto Show is the preeminent consumer event of the auto show season. Consequently, automakers were keen on showcasing products that are most impactful for everyday consumers. Crossovers and SUVs from Honda, Acura and Chevrolet stood out from the pack, while concept vehicles from Kia and Mitsubishi hinted at what may be to come in their utility vehicle lineups. Of course, the stars of the recent major auto shows in Los Angeles and Detroit came in full force as well, and we were sure to get another look at some of the most exciting models.

While not the flashiest auto show, Chicago plays an important role for consumers and we were sure to capture the event for you through the digital lens. Be sure to check out our Facebook photo album and Twitter feed to revisit all that transpired.

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Part I: Practicality Abound at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show

Arguably the most anticipated press conference in Chicago, Honda took center stage and showcased its all-new Pilot. Last redesigned in 2009, the current boxy look of Honda’s SUV fell behind the style trend as competing crossovers moved toward more fluid, sleeker design language.  Shifting sales within the segment reflected consumer affinity for less utilitarian styling, with Pilot deliveries falling by 14 percent year-over-year in 2014, while the industry exhibited 6 percent growth. For a model that realized 1.4 million sales in North America since its 2002 introduction, its recent performance has been uncharacteristic of a vehicle that has contributed to roughly 25% of Honda’s light truck deliveries over the past dozen years.

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Used Price Update: Wholesale Prices Nearly Frozen

Wholesale prices for used vehicles up to eight years in age remain essentially unchanged through the first half of February with average prices increasing by only 0.2%. This month’s sluggish preliminary results can certainly be attributed to brutal winter weather and frigid temperatures throughout most of the country, especially parts of the northeast―like Boston.

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Get ‘Em While They’re Cheap: Cadillac’s Blowing Out 2014 ATS and CTS Sedans

According to AutoTrader.com, a nicely equipped 2014 CTS can be purchased for as much as $17,000 off of MSRP. A 2014 ATS can be had for as much as $13,000 off, assuming the purchaser qualifies for all available incentives currently offered. The two biggest problems Cadillac faces are that the CTS and ATS are overpriced and overproduced. While they’re great driving cars, higher MSRP’s have kept potential buyers out of showrooms.

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