Tag Archive | "new vehicle sales"

Auto Sales to Hit 14.5 Million in 2012


A recent report from asset management firm Alliance Bernstein highlighted strong sectors in the U.S. economy, one of which is retail automotive sales.

According to the report, real personal spending by consumers increased 2.9 percent during the first quarter of 2012, and spending on big ticket items, such as cars, was up 15.3 percent. New-vehicle sales reached 14.5 million units, annualized, which beat the firm’s previous forecast of 13.75 million units for the year. The company added that auto industry analysts recently upgraded their forecast to 14.5 million units.

A range of factors are driving increased consumer spending, including an improved employment picture, improving consumer confidence and net worth, as well as stronger cash flow from record low borrowing costs.

Related to the jobs picture and the overall economy, another report from Alliance Bernstein says that despite recent lower-than-expected employment reports, the outlook on the jobs front is positive. The initial report for April 2012 showed that payroll employment rose by 115,000. Alliance Bernstein noted that the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) revises these reports two months after it issues them, and that these revisions track the business cycle. The firm said it believes the BLS will revise the April jobs number upward.

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F&I and New-Vehicle Profitability Drive Profit Gains for AutoNation


FORT LAUDERDALE – AutoNation Inc. reported increased profitability in each of its business sectors for the first quarter, with revenue up 10 percent and gross profit up 6 percent. Officials attributed the healthy profit gains to F&I performance and new-vehicle sales.

Net income from continuing operations rose almost 6 percent to $74 million for the quarter compared to the year-ago period. Revenue rose from $3.3 billion last year to 3.7 billion, with new-vehicle unit sales increasing 8 percent on a same-store basis and 10 percent overall, according to F&I and Showroom magazine.

Driven by increases in F&I and new-vehicle gross profits, overall gross profit for the dealer group increased 6 percent from the year-ago period to $603 million in the first quarter. F&I gross profit increased 7.2 percent per vehicle retailed to $1,213.

Officials also attributed the company’s gross profit gains to the $4.6 million, or $82 on a per new-vehicle retailed basis, related to additional incentives on premium luxury vehicles previously sold.

“The renaissance in auto retail is well underway, reflected in a seasonally adjusted U.S. industry annual selling rate of 14.5 million units for the first quarter of 2012,” said Mike Jackson, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “We have increased our 2012 U.S. industry new-vehicle sales forecast to mid-14 million units, as we see continued momentum in U.S. auto sales.”

During the first quarter of 2012, AutoNation repurchased 11.7 million shares of common stock, or 9 percent of the shares outstanding as of Dec. 31, 2011, for an aggregate purchase price of $405.4 million. From April 1 through April 24, 2012, the company also repurchased 2.1 million shares for an aggregate purchase price of $70.8 million. As of April 24, 2012, there were approximately 122 million shares outstanding.

By segment, AutoNation’s domestic-brand stores experienced a 16 percent increase in new-vehicle unit sales, with income ($50 million) up $7 million from the year-ago period. The group’s import stores, which income of $62 million, also increased new-vehicle unit sales by 6 percent. New-vehicle unit sales for the group’s premium luxury stores were up 14 percent. Net income for those stores increase by $1 million to $59 million.

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Selling Rate Pulls Back, Recovery Expected


WESTLAKE VILLAGE – New-vehicle retail sales in April are expected to continue the year-over-year growth trend from the first quarter, as the market heads into the spring selling season, according to a monthly sales forecast developed by J.D. Power and Associates’ Power Information Network® (PIN) and LMC Automotive.

April new-vehicle retail sales are projected to come in at 894,100 units, which represents a seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) of 10.2 million units. Volume is expected to increase by 8 percent, which is consistent with the year-over-year increase of 8 percent in the first quarter.

“The daily selling rate in April is projected at 37,000 units, which is higher than the 34,000-unit average in the first quarter,” said John Humphrey, senior vice president of global automotive operations at J.D. Power and Associates. “While April is typically a challenging month to draw comparisons with because the Easter holiday some years falls in April and other years in March, the signs of sustained growth are evident.”

Industry sales growth has been concentrated in non-luxury vehicle segments. Luxury segments share of industry retail sales in April to date is 10.8 percent, down from 12.1 percent in April 2011.

“Despite the slip in market share for the luxury market, growth in overall sales is offsetting the risk to sales volumes,” said Humphrey. “That’s not to say there aren’t risks. Improved content and features in non-luxury vehicles offer good value proposition for consumers returning to the marketplace. In addition, there are a number of new and refreshed non-luxury models, and programs such as free maintenance provide consumers with a lower total cost of ownership.”

The decline in luxury share of retail sales is one of the reasons why lease penetration is down in April, as the luxury market typically has a higher lease penetration than the non-luxury market. Through the first 15 selling days in April, lease penetration overall is 17.7 percent — the lowest level since December 2009 and down from 20.2 percent in April 2011.

Total light-vehicle sales in April are expected to come in at 1.135 million units, an 11 percent increase from April 2011. A higher fleet mix continues into April, with fleet volume expected to represent 21 percent of total sales.

Based on the robust first quarter 2012 selling pace, which was 14.5 million units total and 11.7 million units retail, LMC Automotive is raising the light-vehicle sales forecast for the full year. The current forecast is now at 14.3 million units total light vehicles (up from 14.1 million units) and 11.5 million units retail light vehicles (up from 11.4 million units). An increase in fleet sales to 20 percent of total sales for the year is expected to outpace the increase in retail volume for 2012.

“Despite the lower selling rate in April, which was expected, we have raised our overall outlook for 2012 based on the high first quarter pace, improving economic variables and credit availability, as well as consumers replacing aging vehicles at a higher rate,” said Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting at LMC Automotive. “However, automotive sales remain vulnerable, as the market faces yet another potential shock due to a fuel and brake line resin shortage caused by a plant explosion in Germany in March.”

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Auto Sales Tracking at 14.68 Million Units, Reports CNW


BANDON – Based on the first 19 days of April, the auto industry is on track to sell 1.25 million units, 7.8 percent increase vs. a year ago, according to CNW Research. That would put the True Delivery Rate at 14.68 million units for the year.

The market research firm also noted a 13 percent increase in floor traffic from a year ago, which it attributed to consumers wanting to see new arrivals inside showrooms, reported F&I and Showroom magazine. That’s why closing ratios slowed somewhat, CNW said, but remained 5.5 percent ahead of last year.

“Same store” sales were also up by more than 7 percent, excluding stores closed for major remodels and stores in the process of moving or going out of business. But CNW’s Art Spinella noted that economic concerns among potential buyers continue to persist.

“The persistent problem of climbing concerns related to home-centric economics hasn’t diminished and, in fact, rose another 2.1 percent in the first half of April,” Spinella wrote in his monthly newsletter. “That has been somewhat offset by continued higher acceptance of subprime loan approvals, which are helping drive the market.”

The share of consumers with subprime credit visiting dealerships grew by 19 percent from last year’s 7.5 percent read, indicating that shoppers with poor credit are feeling more confident about their ability to acquire a new car or truck.

As for used, the days’ supply issue continues to plaque the segment, declining by another 1.3 percent vs. a year ago. “While a smaller gain than in the past few months, it is still an important metric and clearly responsible for the increased sales prices registered in the first 19 days of the month,” Spinella wrote.

Consumers who are buying new cars are increasingly willing to pay a bit more even though discounts dipped nearly 3 percent vs. March. The average MSRP of cars purchased rose 8 percent vs. year ago, and, compared to March, MSRPs are up 1.5 percent.

Core Transaction prices were also up by 5.6 percent to $31,216 vs. April 2011 and up 2.3 percent compared to March. But those increases have come at a price, Spinella noted.

Manufacturer incentives, including special loyalty programs, dealer/salesperson enticements and regional spiffs, rose by more than 35 percent compared to last year. Spinella, however, noted that the comparison is unfair given that last April’s incentive level dropped 33 percent vs. the previous April.

“Consumers want a new vehicle, but they’ll be pushed into it just so far,” wrote Spinella. “They’re willing to spend a bit more, but not as much as the MSRP price increases. That, in turn, means returning to incentives at both the manufacturer and dealer levels.

“For manufacturers, being able to hold their grosses and not bumping up incentives too drastically slipped through 2011 and the opening days of 2012,” Spinella added. “But competition and a smaller-than-expected pool of new-car buyers forced their hand. While smarter about which types of incentives to use and where to provide them, the overall cost is still up, and will probably be higher for the rest of this year.”

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Industry Sales Pace at 15 Million Annual Rate


A recent uptick in gas prices pushed consumers toward fuel-efficient vehicles rather than back to the sidelines, with the annual sales rate jumping to 15.1 million vehicles, according to Autodata. This was the best monthly showing since February 2008. Volkswagen led the way with a 42 percent sales surge year over year, followed by Chrysler’s 40 percent increase.

Audi: Audi of America reported 8,531 luxury vehicles sold in February, surpassing the prior February record set in 2011. The company’s year-over-year vehicle sales increased 10 percent while it’s year-to-date growth increased 14.9 percent compared to 2011. Three Audi models recorded year-over-year sales increases of 15 percent or more, including the Audi A3, Audi A6 and Audi TT models.

BMW/MINI: BMW Group reported February sales of 26,184 vehicles, a 31.5 percent increase from the 19,919 vehicles sold during the year-ago month. Sales of BMW brand vehicles increased 29.2 percent from a year ago to 21,204 in February. MINI USA reported sales of 4,980 units, an increase of 42.2 percent from the 3,503 sold in February 2011.

Chrysler: Chrysler Group LLC recorded its best February sales month since 2008 with 133,521 units sold, a 40 percent increase from February 2010. The Chrysler brand recorded a 114 percent year-over-year increase, while the FIAT brand finished its first year of sales with its best month ever. Sales of the Fiat 500 were up 69 percent compared to the previous month. Both the Jeep and Dodge brands posted year-over-year sales increases in February as well.

Ford: Ford Motor Company experienced a 14 percent increase in sales vs. the year-ago month, with 179,119 vehicles sold. Retail sales alone increased 19 percent. The Ford brand was up 14 percent, while Lincoln posted a 16 percent increase vs. a year ago. Ford’s F-Series posted a 26 percent increase, totaling 47,273 pickups. Focus sales totaled 23,350 units.

GM: General Motors Co. announced total sales of 209,306 vehicles in February, up 1.1 percent compared to a year ago. Year-over-year sales of the Chevrolet Silverado HD and GMC Sierra HD were up 28 percent and 20 percent, respectively. Other sales highlights for February include double-digit sales increases for the Buick LaCrosse, the Chevrolet Equinox and Camaro, and the GMC Terrain.

Honda/Acura: American Honda Motor Co. posted sales of 110,157 units, an increase of 7.8 percent vs. February 2011, based on the daily selling rate. The Honda Division posted February 2012 sales of 98,899, an increase of 8.8 percent year over year. The Acura Division’s February sales totaled 11,258, up 0.1 percent compared to February 2011, with the TL and TSX models registering strong sales increases.

Hyundai: Hyundai Motor America announced record February sales of 51,151 units, up 18 percent vs. 2011. Overall retail sales rose 29 percent year over year, while sales of the Sonata, Elantra and Accent increased by 11 percent, 12 percent and 29 percent, respectively. Combined sales of the Genesis and Equus models were up five percent over 2011 as well.

Mazda: Mazda North American Operations recorded its February sales month since 1994 with 25,651 units sold, representing an increase of 32.3 percent vs. last year. Mazda2 sales totaled 2,701, marking a 210.5 percent year-over-year increase, while Mazda3 sales totaled 11,275 vehicles for a 39.6 percent increase. Mazda 6 reported its best month since March 2008 with 5,101 vehicles sold, a 79.7 percent increase over 2011.

Mercedes-Benz: Mercedes-Benz USA reported February sales of 19,679 vehicles, a 21.7 percent improvement over February 2011 and the highest February volume on record. Sales for the month of February were led by the C-, E-, and M-Class model lines. The C-Class led the way with sales of 5,240, up 17 percent over February 2011. The E-Class came in right behind with sales of 4,206 and the M-Class rounded out the top three with sales of 3,408, up 77.1 percent compared to February 2011.

Nissan/Infiniti: Nissan North America Inc. posted February U.S. sales of 106,731 units vs. 92,370 units a year earlier, marking an increase of 15.5 percent. Nissan Division posted a record February with 97,492 sales, an increase of 17.1 percent over the old record of 83,226 units set in 2011. Infiniti delivered 9,239 vehicles in February, an increase of 1 percent vs. 9,144 units a year earlier.

Toyota: Toyota Motor Co. reported monthly sales of 159,423 units in February, a 7.9 percent year-over-year increase on a daily selling rate basis and 12.4 percent on an unadjusted raw volume basis. Led by sales of the Camry and Camry Hybrid and the Prius family, the Toyota Division recorded February sales of 142,745 units, an increase of 7 percent vs. the year ago month. The Lexus Division reported sales of 16,678 units, up 15.9 percent over last February.

Volkswagen: Volkswagen of America Inc. realized its best February since 1973 with 30,577 units sold. The company’s performance also represented a 42.5 percent increase vs. a year ago. Sales of the Passat totaled 8,189 units for the month of February, while the Jetta sedan remains the volume leader for Volkswagen with sales totaling 11,694 — its best February ever. The 2012 Beetle sold 1,303 units while the Tiguan sold 2,280 units.

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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

Manufacturer

Feb-12

Feb-11

YOY%

Feb-12

Feb-11

General Motors

195,000

207,028

-5.8%

18.5%

20.8%

Ford Motor Company

165,000

156,232

5.6%

15.6%

15.7%

Toyota Motor Corp.

147,000

141,846

3.6%

13.9%

14.3%

Chrysler Group

119,000

95,102

25.1%

11.3%

9.6%

American Honda

100,000

98,059

2.0%

9.5%

9.9%

Nissan North America

93,000

92,370

0.7%

8.8%

9.3%

Hyundai-Kia

88,000

76,339

15.3%

8.3%

7.7%

Volkswagen

40,000

29,315

36.4%

3.8%

3.0%

Total

1,056,000* 

993,535

6.3%

*Includes projections for manufacturers not shown

 

 

 


Subcompact Cars to Lead Sales Gains in February

 

Sales Volume

Market Share

Segment

Feb-12

Feb-11

YOY%

Feb-12

Mid-Size Cars

188,000

172,081

9.3%

17.8%

Compact Car

148,000

146,282

1.2%

14.0%

Compact Crossover

121,000

113,556

6.6%

11.5%

Full-Size Pickup Truck

118,000

109,677

7.6%

11.2%

Subcompact Car

63,000

48,714

29.3%

6.0%

Total

1,056,000* 

993,535

6.3%

*Includes projections for segments not shown

 

 

 

 

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