From the category archives: Market Analysis and Forecasts

Nissan Altima’s 2015 Sales Performance Delivers, at a Cost

As we make our way through the second half of 2015, Nissan has much to be excited about from a sales standpoint regarding its mid-size Altima model. With nearly 206,000 deliveries through July, the Altima has a 15,631 unit sales lead over the Honda Accord after a 17,244 unit sales deficit just a year ago. The Nissan Altima’s 1.4% year-over-year sales improvement puts the model squarely in second place within the mid-size car segment. Now behind the Toyota Camry, Nissan sedan finally surpassed the Accord, which had sold more often than the Altima for years. Notably, the Accord’s 14% sales drop versus last year contributed to its current third place status. After taking a deeper look into the factors with the greatest effect on these sales trends, it appears the Altima’s sales performance is not as great as it seems at face value.

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August Mid-Month Used Vehicle Price Update

Through the first half of August, wholesale used prices for vehicles up to eight years in age dropped by 3% relative to July. The month’s preliminary result is nearly identical to last August’s month-end figure of 2.9%.

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August 2015 Gasoline Report: Pump Prices Set to Fall

The average price of regular unleaded gasoline reached $2.79 per gallon in July, down one cent from June. Gasoline prices averaged $2.51 per gallon over the first seven months of the year, which is 29% below last year’s $3.55 average. After rising by a combined 25.7% between February and May, crude oil prices ticked lower over the past two months. 

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Honda S660 Roadster a Hit with Brand Aficionados

With the long-lasting success of Honda's S2000 roadster in mind, the automaker has begun to get its groove back by means of its new, Japan-only S660 model. The market, however, is not reacting exactly how the company anticipated.

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Ford F-150 SuperCab Falls Short In Crash Test

The all-new aluminum-bodied 2015 Ford F-150 crew cab recently received the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s 2015 Top Safety Pick award; however, the extended cab version struggled in an important small overlap crash test. While crew cab versions of the F-150 earned solid ratings for occupant protection in all five IIHS crashworthiness evaluations, extended cab versions earned good ratings in four out of five assessments, but only managed a marginal rating in a key small overlap front crash.

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Ford Focus’ Struggles Lead to Departure from Michigan Assembly

Due to tepid demand within the U.S. small car market Ford Motor Company recently announced their Focus compact would cease production at its Michigan Assembly Plant in 2018. With the factory suffering from underutilization, the Blue Oval may possibly move future production to another country. Formal labor talks are scheduled to commence between the automaker and the United Auto Workers union on July 23, yet there is speculation the announcement is merely a negotiating tactic employed by Ford to improve its bargaining position. Time will tell whether the announcement is a legitimate factor or not, but a look into the Focus’ manufacturing and market performance suggests the company has concerns ― especially with regards to opportunity cost ― when deciding to produce its compact car in the United States or elsewhere.

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California Pulls the Plug on EV Incentives for the Wealthy

Over the past several years, rebates and tax credits have been an effective tool used by automakers to sell electric vehicles (EVs) to lower the MSRP potential consumers face. The use of these incentives has helped narrow the price gap between EVs and comparable internal combustion engine (ICE) models, ultimately getting more buyers into the seats of EVs.

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General Motor’s Gamble on Mid-Size Pickups is Paying Off

General Motor’s reentry into the mid-size pickup segment, which materialized in the form of the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, was greeted with a modicum of skepticism. The eyebrow-raising wasn’t without merit, as the once thriving small pickup market that had routinely toyed with 1 million sales per year had been gutted by the shift toward crossover utilities (mid-size pickup sales were roughly 250,000 in 2014). 

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While Summer Heats Up, Vehicle Depreciation Cools Off

Used vehicle depreciation improved considerably over the first half of June compared to the substantial rate recorded in May. Used vehicle prices through the first two weeks of the month have fallen by 2.3% compared to all of May, which is nearly a percentage-point better than last month’s 3.2% decline. While May’s fall was the fourth worst showing for the month since 1995, June’s month-to-date drop is fairly typical for the period.

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Resuscitated: 2016 Nissan Maxima

After a one-year hiatus, and a near-death experience, Nissan is set to launch an all-new version of its longest running U.S. nameplate, the Maxima. 

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