’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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The Blurred Line: Luxury & Mainstream Vehicle Technology

Not too long ago there was a clearly defined line between luxury and mainstream vehicle technology, but recently this line has become almost nonexistent as content historically found only in high-end luxury vehicles has spilled over to the mainstream side. Why now?  The ubiquity of advanced technology in everyday life – there is seemingly a “smart” version for every consumer electronic product out there – has raised consumer expectations as to what should be available in a new car or truck.  In addition, demand and production growth have made previously cost-prohibitive technologies ...

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The Volkswagen Phaeton to Attempt Successful Rebirth in U.S. Market

  Ten years ago, in 2003, a non-premium brand from Germany began selling its flagship sedan in the United States with aspirations to compete on the level of its premium German counterparts in the luxury market. However, after a few lackluster sales years, the experiment had failed and the product ceased to exist in the American market. That brand was Volkswagen and the car was the Phaeton. Undeterred, the Wolfsburg, Germany-based automaker has announced plans to re-launch the sedan in its latest attempt to become the world’s largest carmaker. During the Phaeton’s first foray into the U. ...

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Another Mild Month - Used Prices Decline By 1.3% So Far In July

After falling by 1.1% in June, depreciation for used units up to eight model years in age crept to just 1.3% over the first few weeks of July.  Although July’s month-to-date figure is a bit higher than June’s rate, depreciation (at least so far) is slightly better than what has historically been recorded for the month.  As a result, NADA’s seasonally adjusted used vehicle price index fell slightly to 123.2 which was 0.1% less than June’s figure of 123.4. Across segments, losses for the month are predominantly level with what was observed in June.  Through the first few weeks ...

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The Honda Accord: A Business Model of Efficiency

  New car sales in the United States have been on quite a roll over the past few years as manufacturers have looked to gain market share while the auto industry expands and overall sales volumes grow. Increased consumer demand has pushed production volumes and sales expectations upward, but that also means amplified pressure on OEMs to deliver on various sales and profit targets. Whereas some automakers may choose to stretch for sales goals at the expense of profitability however, Honda has proven that while it is certainly concerned about its sales success, its primary focus is on being ...

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Is Lincoln Losing Steam or Coming on Strong? YTD Sales Down 8.8% Through June

With half of 2013 already in the books, things aren’t looking great for Lincoln as the brand’s current year-to-date sales tally of 38,288 units is an 8.8% decline compared to last year.  Every single vehicle that Lincoln produces is currently depressed compared to their respective position last year. Out of Lincoln’s entire model line-up, sales of the MKS have slid the most.  Sales of the flagship sedan fell by 24.9% over the first half of this year, and there is nothing to suggest a turnaround over the remaining months of 2013.  Things haven’t fared much better for the rest of ...

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Ford Focus EV Struggles to Find its Niche in Fledgling Electric Car Market

Ford Motor Co.’s latest iteration of its Focus compact car was launched in 2010 and has been a commercial success over the last few years.  The successful release of the third-generation Focus was followed-up with the introduction of the electric Focus EV and the performance Focus ST versions to round out its stable of models. Whereas the gasoline-powered offerings have found their way into hundreds of thousands of homes, however, the electric model has struggled to establish a presence in the marketplace. With competition tightening, jostling for position in the electric car market, questions linger regarding Ford’s strategy for the Focus Electric, going forward.

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The Release of the New Mazda3 Comes with Higher Expectations than Ever

  With last week’s unveiling of the new Mazda3 sedan, the small automaker from Hiroshima, Japan will soon begin its truest test of whether it can succeed in its efforts to be a mainstream player in the automotive landscape. The Mazda3, offered as a 4-door sedan or 5-door hatchback, as well as a turbocharged Mazdaspeed3 performance model, has been the brand’s highest-selling vehicle since replacing the Protegé in 2003. After 10 years and two model generations, the latest version of the brand’s most popular car comes with an all-new “Kodo: Soul in Motion” design language, “SKYACTIV®” techn ...

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Plug-in EVs: Retention Revisited

We recently released a report on plug in EVs entitled “Plug-in Electric Vehicles:  Market Analysis and Used Price Forecast”, and in the report we discussed how PEVs such as the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf have fared in the areas of new vehicles sales and used value depreciation and retention. Among other things, we explained how concerns over limited range and new technology and how the application of federal tax credits negatively affect used plug-in EV. Regarding tax credits, we stated: “Substantive tax credits can certainly help promote more new sales than would have been achieve ...

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