BMW Sales Surge in August: Up 46%, But Why?

U.S. sales for BMW jumped by 46% last month, making the brand’s August performance one of the best in both the mainstream and luxury sectors, second to only ultra-low volume Jaguar, which posted an even more impressive increase of 67% for the month.  BMW’s large increase in year-over-year sales was made possible by a strong display from the brand’s volume-leading 3 and 5 Series models, which saw extremely lofty gains of 67 and 158 percent, respectively. Now for the question on everyone’s minds… What caused such a large YoY increase for the brand, and even more importantly, what exactly ...

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Geely Prepares for Entry into U.S. Market; Other Automakers Hold Same Aspirations

With the U.S. auto industry riding a wave of momentum and many automakers achieving new levels of sales and profitability, it is understandable how foreign companies, looking in from the outside, would be salivating at the prospect of also making their mark in America, the land of opportunity. So perhaps it should have come as no surprise that Gui Shengyue, CEO of Geely Automobile, revealed to Bloomberg last month that the Chinese automaker is working with Volvo on product development with the intent to begin exporting cars to the States by 2016. Whi ...

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Fuel for Thought: August Proves another Great Month for Used Car Prices

Good news! Used vehicle prices remain at a historically high level with only a small drop of 1.1% in August, matching the average rate of loss in June and July. This comparatively light drop in August (prices fell 1.5% and 2.3% for the month in 2012 and 2011, respectively) lifted NADA’s seasonally adjusted used vehicle price index to 124.8, the highest level recorded so far in 2013. In Guidelines, our monthly automotive market report on new- and used-vehicle sales trends and used-vehicle price movement, we explored the biggest question for this trend: why?  In a sentence, an ongoing ...

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NADA Spring 2013 Car Shopper Preference Survey: Quality and Dependability Trump Fuel Economy

In NADA’s Spring 2013 Car Shopper Preference Survey, both car and truck buyers unanimously selected “Quality & Dependability” as the most important factor considered when determining which new vehicle to purchase. While both car and truck buyers placed “Quality & Dependability” well above any other trait, truck buyers placed slightly higher weight on it, with 80% of respondents considering it either important or very important versus 78% for car buyers. “Fuel Economy”, the factor cited as being most important in NADA’s fall 2012 survey, was selected as the second-most important facto ...

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2014 Mercedes-Benz E Class: Don’t call it a Facelift

 Last month I had the opportunity to log several hundred miles behind the wheel of Mercedes’ updated 2014 E Class during a full-line media review of the model (sans AMG variants) held outside of Portland, Oregon.  While the 2014 model is technically a mid-cycle refresh, it’s tough to discern this from the E Class’ heavily revised exterior.  In fact, if it weren’t for a few unchanged details and a slightly more informed eye, one could easily mistake the updated design for an all-new one. Starting with the exterior, all E Class body styles were given more modern – and decidedly m ...

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From Rally Stage to Center Stage: Fast-Rising Subaru Holds its Future in its Hands

  This year, Subaru of America, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Japanese conglomerate, Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., celebrated its 45th anniversary in the United States market since its arrival in 1968. Known for its distinctly quirky styling, unique Boxer® engines, and its symmetrical all-wheel drive system, a product of the company’s successful efforts in the World Rally Championships, Subaru has always distinguished itself from other automakers through its penchant for unconventionality. As a result, the carmaker has fostered somewhat of a cult-like following for itself among Americ ...

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No Vacation for the Chevrolet Cruze: GM Continues Production Next Week

The week of August 26th was supposed to be a vacation for the Chevrolet Cruze plant in Lordstown, Ohio, but GM officials report that they have canceled the planned lull in production due to a recent spike in demand for the Cruze.  Plant workers will be reporting to work as normal next week as GM continues to crank out the hot-selling sedan. We know that Cruze sales have been good, but just how good?  To get a better understanding, let’s take a quick look at the compact car segment performance of the Cruze along with two of its closest direct competitors, the Ford Focus and Honda Civ ...

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The All-New Jeep Cherokee Faces Adversity As Issues Mount Ahead of Launch

  Last month, Fiat S.p.A. exercised a third option to increase its stake in Chrysler Group LLC above its current 58.5% and move closer to fully absorbing its American partner in a bid to form a company with sufficient scale and scope to compete in an increasingly competitive automotive landscape. While such news is evidence of how far the Fiat-Chrysler partnership has come in its turnaround since the Italian automaker took over a bankrupt Chrysler, the newly formed company’s journey to this point has had its fair share of hurdles. The sluggish first-year sales of the all-new Dodge Dart, ...

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’13 Ford Fusion and Honda Accord Tops in Used Value Retention

This year has been a notable one for mid-size cars, or the segment that perhaps most embodies the characteristics of practicality, versatility, and “every-day driver”. Considering the significant number of new mid-size cars sold each year – the segment accounted for 16% of all new deliveries in 2012, second only to the 19% share assumed by compact cars – having a viable competitor is an essential element in any mainstream manufacturer’s well-rounded product portfolio. While profit margins on cars are substantially less than on most trucks, the imbalance per unit can be made up in volume, and ...

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Chevrolet Juices the Volt: Can GM Goose Sales with a $5k Price Cut?

 In April’s edition of Guidelines we ran a special feature on the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf which highlighted the sales performances of the two most well-known and best-selling plug-in electric vehicles in the U.S. market today.  It’s been a few months since the last article, so let’s take a brief look at how things have changed in the interim for each model. Starting with the Leaf, back in January of 2013 Nissan announced that they would lower the entry MSRP of the Leaf by $6,400 to take the base price from roughly $35,200 down to $28,800 (not including destination).  Sub ...

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