Tag Archive | "Kelley Blue Book"

KBB Sees Auto Sales Pacing at 13.8 Million SAAR

IRVINE — Kelley Blue Book (KBB) said yesterday that it expects new-vehicle sales to surpass 1.05 million units this month, which means the industry would be pacing at a 13.8 million seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) — a 6.4 percent improvement from the year-ago period.

Bolstering the vehicle information site’s outlook are increased inventory levels, improved access to credit, attractive finance offers available to consumers and one additional selling day due to the leap year, officials said. New-vehicle sales have remained above 13.6 million SAAR since November 2011, but KBB said that it believes the annualized sales pace will slow after April, as pent-up demand is satisfied from Toyota and Honda’s inventory shortfalls.

“From a pure volume perspective, in the months ahead sales will continue to exceed last year’s figures, but there may be more volatility this year from month to month than in 2011,” said Alec Gutierrez, senior market analyst of automotive insights for KBB. “Sales were remarkably flat from May through November 2011, due to the production woes faced by Toyota and Honda. Now that they are producing vehicles at full capacity, a return to traditional seasonal patterns is likely through 2012.”

Consumers shopping in February and March will find an improved selection of vehicles available as a result of increased production in January, according to KBB. Manufacturers ramped up production in anticipation of President’s Day sales promotions and the onset of the spring selling season beginning in March.

As of Feb. 1, there were nearly 2.5 million vehicles available for sale on dealer lots — equivalent to a 66 days’ supply of vehicles overall, an improvement from the 52 days’ supply of vehicles available as of Jan. 1. The most significant inventory gains came from General Motors, Ford and Chrysler, each with greater than 80 days’ supply of vehicles available for consumers.

Touting a 50 days’ supply are Toyota, Honda and Nissan, while Hyundai and Kia only have a 30 days’ supply of vehicles overall, according to KBB. In the next month, car shoppers are expected to be able to negotiate savings by focusing on domestic vehicles, given the abundant supply currently available for sale. According to Autodata, domestic manufacturers spent more than $1,000 per unit more on incentives in January compared to their Japanese and Korean counterparts, a trend KBB expects will continue in February.

In terms of year-over-year growth, KBB said that it projects subcompacts to lead all other segments, especially with fuel prices surpassing $3.50 per gallon nationally.

“Although traditionally viewed as a budget segment reserved for those consumers willing to accept fewer amenities, cheaper materials and less than an awe-inspiring driving experience, today’s subcompacts compare favorably to many compacts or mid-size sedans,” said Gutierrez. “The Nissan Versa, Chevrolet Sonic, Ford Fiesta, Hyundai Accent, Honda Fit and Toyota Yaris all are excellent examples of either all-new or redesigned products that many consumers would be happy to call their own.”

The mid-size category was a strong performer in January, and KBB said that it anticipates February will be another solid month for the Camry-led segment. The Toyota Camry topped sales gains in January on the strength of its 2012 redesign.

Rising fuel prices and a slow economic recovery both stand as potential road blocks to continued improvements in new-vehicle sales, KBB noted. Oil prices closed at a nine-month high of nearly $105 on Feb. 20, while fuel prices have continued to climb for the past 60 days. Gas prices are up nearly 40 cents per gallon year-over-year and have increased steadily since late December. Although fuel prices remain high, current projections by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) place average fuel prices in 2012 only slightly above the highs experienced in 2011.

If conflict in Iran is avoidable, KBB said that it is hopeful that fuel prices will remain below the $4 highs of last year. In the worst case scenario, high fuel prices could slow the pace of the economic recovery and vehicle sales along with it.

The pace of the U.S. economic recovery remains very slow, and according to a recent forecast published by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the United States can expect much of the same through at least 2013. According to CBO estimates, the official unemployment rate, currently at 8.3 percent, will increase to 9.2 percent by the fourth quarter of 2013. In terms of overall economic output, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is expected to show an annual increase of 2.2 percent in 2012, while 2013 will bring an even smaller 1.1 percent gain in GDP overall. Given the expectations for weak economic growth during the next several years, KBB said that it expects the pace of the new-vehicle sales recovery to slow.

Chrysler and Volkswagen Expected to Dominate Sales Gains in February


Sales Volume

Market Share







General Motors






Ford Motor Company






Toyota Motor Corp.






Chrysler Group






American Honda






Nissan North America






















*Includes projections for manufacturers not shown




Subcompact Cars to Lead Sales Gains in February


Sales Volume

Market Share






Mid-Size Cars





Compact Car





Compact Crossover





Full-Size Pickup Truck





Subcompact Car









*Includes projections for segments not shown





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KBB.com Names New Porsche 911 ‘Best Redesigned Vehicle’

IRVINE — Kelley Blue Book’s Kbb.com announced that the 2012 Porsche 911 was named the 2012 Best Redesigned Vehicle, giving the iconic sports car high marks for its exterior and interior design, enhanced performance, improved economy and clever engineering.

“Porsche’s designers and engineers were faced with the very difficult task of redesigning an icon while keeping all the aspects that made it an icon intact,” said Jack R. Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst, Kbb.com. “They accomplished that task and more, creating a car that looks and handles better than its predecessor and is more fuel efficient to boot.”

The Best Redesigned Vehicle accolade honors the vehicle that best demonstrates improvement and superiority relative to its predecessor and competitors, according to the Website. In judging, the Kbb.com editors consider exterior and interior styling, technology, comfort and convenience features, performance/capability, driving dynamics, safety, fuel economy, overall refinement, and value, reported F&I and Showroom magazine.

Other vehicles making Top 10 list were the 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class (No. 10), the 2012 Ford Focus (No. 9), the 2012 Toyota Camry (No. 8), the 2012 Honda Civic (No. 7) and the 2012 BMW 6 Series (No. 6).

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KBB Sees Used-Vehicle Values Rising Early Next Year

IRVINE — Kelley Blue Book is encouraging visitors of its site who are in the market for a used car to buy before the end of the year, as it expects values for used vehicles to jump 4 to 6 percent in early next year.

Used-vehicle values dropped 2.6 percent overall in October, marking the fifth consecutive month of declines. And since peaking in June, used-vehicle values overall have dropped 10 percent, with values for fuel-efficient vehicles experiencing a significant 20 percent decline, reported F&I and Showroom magazine.

Analysts at the vehicle information site added that the car market has experienced a substantial cooling now that new-vehicle inventory levels, especially for Japanese automakers, have started to return to normal levels and fuel prices have dropped.

“Considering the already significant declines in used-car values since June, Kelley Blue Book predicts that values will decline an additional 3 to 4 percent by the end of the year,” said Alec Gutierrez, manager of vehicle valuation for Kelley Blue Book. “Used-car values typically decline through the fourth quarter due to a seasonal drop in demand that lasts through the holiday season. We believe sales volume also will decline through the remaining fourth quarter, similar to years past, and as a result values will likely remain soft through year-end, with few exceptions.”

Although values are expected to decline in the fourth quarter, Kelley Blue Book analysts predict sales will pick up early in 2012. Projections for 2012 show values bouncing back in the first quarter of the year.

“Since 2009, used-vehicle registrations in the first quarter have increased by 15 to 20 percent on average from the preceding fourth quarter, and since we expect a similar increase in demand in 2012, a lack of supply will likely put upward pressure on values early in the year,” said Gutierrez. “Since we expect fewer leases and trade-ins replenishing supply, values will likely increase across the board as supply struggles to keep pace with demand.”

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Toyota Wins KBB’s Best Resale Value Brand Award

IRVINE — Kelley Blue Book’s 2012 Residual Analysis Report showed that Toyota’s entire lineup for 2012 is expected to retain the greatest amount of its original value after five years. The results of that analysis led KBB to name Toyota and its Lexus brand as 2012 winner of the site’s

Both brands regain the titles they claimed from Kelley Blue Book back in 2010. Across its fleet, Toyota improved its 60-month average residual value by 2 percentage points compared to its 2011 average, allowing the company to best last years’ winner, Subaru, and a few others for KBB’s award, reported F&I and Showroom magazine.

“Despite Toyota’s success in the 2012 residual rankings, the company lost market share in the U.S. due to its supply shortage following the earthquake and tsunami in March 2011. The challenge for Toyota next year will be to regain this share without depressing its residual values,” said Eric Ibara, director of residual consulting, Kelley Blue Book. “A number of actions that could quickly increase sales and market share also could jeopardize its residual value crown, including over incentivizing and increasing daily rental volume. Clearly, Toyota’s actions through the next year will be pivotal in shaping its future direction.”

Based on vehicle sales and overall economic factors, Kelley Blue Book’s 60-month residual values for 2012 model-year vehicles are forecasted to average 35.5 percent of their original MSRP after five years of ownership, up just 1.5 percentage points from last year. The 60-month residual value increased by 0.9 percentage points for the light-car segment and 3.0 percentage points for the truck segment.

With the exception of vans and hybrid utilities, the average segment residual value for all truck segments, including SUVs and full-size trucks are projected to be higher than the average residual value in every car segment, except for high-performance cars, according to Kelly Blue Book. The truck segment is projected to maintain 38 percent of its value after 60 months, while the car segment is expected to maintain just 34 percent. Only two segments, the near-luxury segment and the sports-car segment, declined on a year-over-year basis.

Gas prices and catastrophic natural disasters played a significant role in new-vehicle sales and strong swings in vehicle segment preference throughout the year, according to Kelly Blue Book. Other key factors affecting the future values of 2012 model-year vehicles include unemployment, a stagnant housing forecast and some of the lowest consumer confidence numbers seen in decades.

The unemployment rate remains at 9 percent heading into 2012, but forecast have the rate dropping to 8.7 percent next year. Those that are out of work are finding it more difficult to find jobs, with an average 41 weeks unemployed, according to the company.

Kelley Blue Book projects that 2011 will close with 12.5 million vehicles sold, a one million-unit increase from 2010. A similar increase is projected for 2012.

As the Japanese get back into full production in the new year, KBB said it expects a pickup in sales activity as consumers waiting on the sidelines get back into the game. With an expectation for some increased consumer spending, Kelley Blue Book is forecasting 13.5 million in vehicle sales for 2012.

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Hyundai Maintains Top Spot for Brand Loyalty on Kbb.com

IRVINE — Kelley Blue Book reported that Hyundai upheld its No. 1 spot for brand loyalty in the third quarter on Kbb.com for, marking its second consecutive quarter on top.

Hyundai’s brand loyalty was at 48 percent, with Toyota nearly closing in at 47.9 percent and Subaru at 45.9 percent, according to Kbb.com. Rounding out the top-five brands for the quarter were Kia in the fourth spot at 45.3 percent and Ford in fifth at 45.2 percent.

While Hyundai continues its lead in brand loyalty, it dropped 4.4 percentage points from the previous quarter. KBB analyst attributed the decreased to cooled interest in the Sonata and Elantra models.

For the first time since Kelley Blue Book began tracking loyalty, Honda didn’t make it into the top five, sitting in the sixth spot at 44.2 percent. Analyst attributed Honda’s absence from the top 5 to a lukewarm reception of the 2012 Civic. Honda’s perceived supply issues also have influenced shopper activity in the third quarter.

While the majority of automakers still show declines in year-over-year loyalty, a quarter-over-quarter shift into the black reveals that consumers may be taking notice to seasonal blowout deals and loyalty incentive offers. Manufacturers also have released the majority of their 2012 models, potentially narrowing consumers’ shopping choices as they become familiar with the options available in the marketplace.

“The latter half of the year tends to draw interest toward sport utility, crossover and other large vehicles due to weather conditions and seasonality,” said Arthur Henry, market intelligence manager for Kbb.com. “Since Hyundai’s flagship vehicles are its compact and mid-size sedans, it is natural that it suffers in this regard.”

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Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra Win Kelley Blue Book Test

Detroit’s automakers are finding it hard to dislodge the Asians from the top ranks of the compact sedan segment, according to a comparison test by Kelley Blue Book, the car pricing experts.

The compacts available in the United States are all significantly better, more fuel-efficient and more pleasant to drive than they were even five years ago, said KBB analyst Jack Nerad.

In a test of comparably equipped Hyundai Elantra, Honda Civic, Ford Focus and Chevrolet Cruze sedans, the Civic and Elantra tied for first place, the Focus was third and Cruze fourth reported The Detroit News.

“If this were a beauty contest, or a price war, the 2011 Hyundai Elantra would win it hands down,” KBB said Wednesday.

But the Civic matched the Elantra — with a 7.5 score out of 10 — because of its superior showing in the performance and value categories. “They pretty much got everything right — the seating position, ergonomics, fit and finish, driving dynamics and ride quality,” Nerad said. “It’s a very well-balanced, good package.”

The Civic has been one of the top sellers in this segment for years. But the redesigned car’s launch was severely disrupted by the March earthquake in Japan, and it has drawn mixed reviews, including a poor write-up of the Civic LX by Consumer Reports.

Detroit’s automakers are fielding strong contenders now in the segment. The Ford Focus won praise from KBB as the most exciting car to drive of the four, while the Cruze gives passengers “the sense that they’re in a larger car, when they’re in a small fuel-efficient car,” Nerad said.

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