Rental Fleet Sales Pad 1Q New Sales Results

Continuing to build upon the theme of our last blog entry on the growth of Chrysler group fleet volume at auction (specifically minivan volume), analysts at NADA have taken a deeper dive into rental fleet penetration at the brand level to determine what proportion of new vehicle sales over the first quarter can be attributed to rental fleet sales.  After examining R.L. Polk registration data over the first three months of the year, we see that some brands received less support from rental sales, while others continued to push a large percentage of units into daily rental fleets.  ...

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Fleet Volume Helping to Push Down Chrysler Van Prices

Recently Chrysler Group has received a lot of attention for strong sales performances in the new car market place.  Taking a deeper look at things, Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep brands have all posted continuous year-over-year gains since July of 2011, which is especially impressive considering that they are the only domestic manufacturer during this time period to accomplish such a feat.  Not that long ago Chrysler Group was near extinction, but in what seems like almost overnight they have turned things around and have left the dark days of their bankruptcy well in the rearview mir ...

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When Will Used Supply Stop Falling?

As many in the industry know, used vehicle supply has been steadily falling over the past few years due to the substantial drop-off in new vehicle sales and lease originations.  In fact, NADA estimates that the supply of used vehicles up to five years in age was 17% lower in 2011 than it was in 2008.  The ongoing erosion in supply has been one of the primary catalysts behind the 15% increase in used vehicle prices since 2008, and NADA is forecasting that further declines will continue to pressure up used prices throughout the remainder of this year. Given its prolonged downtur ...

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2012 Model Year Used Value Spotlight: Toyota Camry & Volkswagen Passat

Over the first quarter of the year, new sales of mid-size cars have grown by 26% which is double the rate of growth for the overall market and six points better than gains made by their compact car counterparts. Certainly high gasoline prices have played a role in promoting sales for the segment, but results are also due in large part to 2012 model year redesigns of two notable models; the Toyota Camry and the Volkswagen Passat. Initial consumer reaction to a major redesign can have a deep and lasting impact on a manufacturer’s bottom line.  Well received updates contribute to over ...

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Ford Focus Electric – A No-Nonsense Technological Marvel

The future of electric vehicles is uncertain; however, the current product offerings provide a clear picture of the capabilities of this nascent powertrain.  The Ford Focus Electric vehicle is a definitive example of this.  I was able to drive the Focus last week in Santa Monica, California along with the only other full electric vehicle currently in the market, the Nissan Leaf.  Both vehicles offered the expected capabilities of a daily driver by exhibiting excellent performance in a variety of everyday situations like high speed passing, off the line performance and good ...

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How Much Are Fleet Sales Inflating New Sales Figures?

Since the beginning of the year, new vehicles sales have been booming for both import and domestic manufacturers alike.  More than 3.46M new units were sold in the first quarter, which is a result that has many analysts raising their full year forecasts. Some analysts and industry executives are cautioning against being overly optimistic however, arguing that the unseasonably warm winter and higher volumes of fleet sales helped to inflate new vehicle growth over the past three months. Exactly how many new vehicle sales can be chalked up as non-retail fleet deals?  The simpl ...

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2012 New York Auto Show Preview

We’re eagerly gearing up this week to attend the annual New York International Auto Show which kicks off April 4th at the Jacob Javits Center.  Lots of exciting new product introductions are scheduled which should make for a great event.  Looking across the press conference schedule, two models in particular stand apart in terms of their importance to their respective companies - the 2013 Nissan Altima and the 2014 Chevrolet Impala.  Let’s start with the Altima.  The importance of Nissan’s mid-size car competitor to the company’s fortunes in the States can’t be over ...

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Luxury Brand Incentive Skirmish is Developing into a Battle

February marked the fourth month in a row of an increasingly heated incentive skirmish currently being fought by luxury automakers in the U.S. Autodata data shows that beginning back in November, average luxury incentive spending across all brands surpassed the $3,900 mark, up 16.2% over the previous year.  Escalating even higher in December, incentive spending grew to almost $4,000 per vehicle, up a bloated 18.7% year-over-year.  January-February average incentive spending leveled off a bit compared to the November-December time period, but the period’s average of just over $ ...

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High Gas Prices & Spiffs Heat Up Fiat 500 Sales

While escalating fuel prices helped new compact car sales outperform the market as a whole last month (31% v. 16% respectively), sales really took off for Fiat’s subcompact 500 model. As we mentioned in this month’s edition of Guidelines, February marked Fiat’s best sales month since the brand’s U.S. launch in March of last year.  The Italian marque sold 3,227 500s which equated to a 69% boost over the prior month and exceeded the brand’s previous high recorded in August ’11 (although the margin was a narrow 100 units).  The drivers behind the recent ignition in Fiat sales are ...

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Gasoline Prices Expected to Peak at $4 per Gallon; Impact on Used Vehicle Prices Mild

In last week’s blog I discussed the factors (in a word, Iran) that are contributing the run-up in gasoline prices and offered up that NADA believed prices would reach $4 per gallon sometime in May.  Data collected over the past week has made us more resolute in our prediction.  Although President Obama stated this week that all options including military ones are on the table to address the Iranian nuclear issue, he’s repeatedly stressed the point to political foes and Israel alike that diplomacy and sanctions are the preferred mechanisms for resolving the conflict. In add ...

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