Sonic’s Stand-Alone Pre-Owned Program: Another Factor to Support Used Vehicle Prices

There are numerous factors currently helping to sustain used vehicle prices at historically high levels: economic improvements, relatively tight supply, greater certified pre-owned awareness and an extremely favorable credit environment. But an often overlooked factor is the increased focus that dealers have on improving used vehicle operations. Sonic Automotive’s announcement this week that they will be opening numerous stand-alone pre-owned stores exemplifies this trend. Once considered something of a nettlesome by-product of new vehicles sales, used vehicle operations have assumed a more ...

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Subaru to Cease Tribeca Production in January; Contemplating New Three-Row Crossover

It is without a doubt that Subaru is on a roll these days. As mentioned in a previous blog post, the company is mulling expanding the brand and becoming a volume automaker or maintaining its niche player status. The automotive landscape has changed greatly this decade and smaller brands like Subaru have stood out by realizing incredible growth since the U.S. recession shook up the market. Parent company Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. made a number of successful moves that spurred significant growth in demand for Subaru vehicles and now have put the competition on its heels. Sales of the automak ...

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More Driving Impressions: A Day at the WAPA 2013 Rally

As a follow-up to my fellow analyst Joseph Choi’s post, “So Many Cars, So Little Time: A Day at the WAPA 2013 Rally” published last week, I wanted to highlight a few more vehicles of which we had the opportunity to get behind the wheel and test out. As Joseph mentioned previously, there were over 30 vehicles on hand and only a couple hours of actual seat time available to us, meaning we had to pick and choose our testers carefully to ensure we had the opportunity to sample the hottest new vehicles on the block. Since Joseph already brought you up to speed on his three favorites of the day, I’d ...

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Plug-in EVs: ABC News Leans on NADA Data for Guidance

As reported recently by ABC News, automakers have sweetened deals in recent months for plug-in electric cars to help boost sales and move vehicles off dealer lots as the year comes to an end. General Motors knocked 13% off the sticker price for the Chevrolet Volt this summer, while earlier this year Nissan dropped the price of its electric Leaf, offering a three-year lease at $199 a month. Leasing offers mutual benefits for the lender, consumer, manufacturer and dealer: lenders can get a federal tax credit, which they cannot do in a loan arrangement. This helps to reduce monthly payments ...

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So Many Cars, So Little Time: A Day at the WAPA 2013 Rally

On October 11, we attended the Washington Automotive Press Association (WAPA) 2013 Rally in Potomac, Maryland. Area journalists, automotive analysts and brand representatives came out to look at some of the best vehicles the automotive market has to offer. WAPA and the OEMs put together an impressive event; with such a plethora of vehicles on hand from nearly every segment and limited time available, we had to be selective with which cars or trucks we chose to drive. Having never taken part in such an event, the experience for me was akin to being a kid in a candy store and I was sure to get ...

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Fiat’s Sluggish Sales and Stalled Merger with Chrysler Could Spell Trouble

Italian automaker, Fiat, returned to the U.S. market in March 2011 and began sales of its small Fiat 500 hatchback. Despite a 27 year absence in the United States, the company set ambitious targets early on and predicted that its small four-passenger car would generate annual sales of 50,000 units. However, Fiat has yet to deliver on that prognostication while the patience of franchisees is tested in the face of tepid demand and a limited product portfolio. Meanwhile, much discussion continues to take place regarding Fiat S.p.A.’s product plans across the group’s brands as well as its ongoin ...

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Subaru Used Retention Update: Values Remain Strong

Earlier this year we posted a blog on Subaru titled, From Rally Stage to Center Stage: Fast-Rising Subaru Holds its Future in its Hands, where we examined the recent year-over-year sales success of the brand and its growing opportunity to escape the shadows of its larger peers in the hopes of becoming a major player in the mainstream segment. In the aforementioned article it was mentioned that ten years ago Subaru fit the profile of a small automobile manufacturer with a product portfolio consisting of only four models, total yearly sales of nearly 189k units, and total market share of 1.1% ...

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September Marks Highest Rate of Used Vehicle Price Decline since October 2012

The average price of used units up to eight model years in age fell by 2.6% in September, marking the highest rate of decline recorded since the 2.9% tumble in October 2012 and ending a three-month period in which depreciation averaged an uncharacteristically low rate of 1.2%, according to the most recent issue of Guidelines. While the drop high compared to the previous 10 months, it was less severe than the 2.7% average rate of depreciation recorded for the month of September from 2005 to 2012, excluding the recession years (2008 and 2009). As a result, NADA’s seasonally-adjusted used ve ...

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Mercedes-Benz Dives Head First Into Uncharted Waters: 2014 CLA250 Hits the Streets

Last month, I had the opportunity to put the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 and CLA45 AMG 4-door coupes through their paces for about 200 miles around the busy streets of our nation’s capital and on to the winding back roads of Virginia’s wine country during a press drive celebrating the launch of the all-new model. The route couldn’t have been more fitting for the sport coupe and really highlighted the city, highway, and rural strengths of each unique version. For those unfamiliar with the CLA, it follows the same 4-door coupe design language as the hot-selling higher-end CLS, the only main dif ...

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Despite Small Stature, Kia Soul’s Potential Is Enormous

By the time the Kia Soul made its U.S. debut in 2009, Kia Motors America, founded in 1992, had already achieved an incredible 15 consecutive years of improved sales. With the company determined to continue climbing the ranks of the most prominent automotive brands, however, the organization set out to revamp its product portfolio, which included the release of its all-new Kia Soul compact MPV. Although it has only been in production for a few years now, the urban crossover has contributed greatly to the company’s rapid ascension as an up-and-coming player in the auto industry. Making its app ...

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