Tag Archive | "Sales"

Audi Edges Past BMW to Lead Luxury-Car Sales Race in April


Audi was the world’s biggest seller of luxury cars in April, edging out BMW AG’s namesake brand and fast-growing Mercedes-Benz, reported Bloomberg.

Bolstered by U.S. demand for the Audi Q5 and Q7 sport utility vehicles, the Volkswagen AG unit’s deliveries rose 2.5 percent to 152,850 cars last month, compared with BMW’s 5.6 percent increase to 148,896 autos. Daimler AG’s Mercedes remained the fastest growing of the world’s three biggest luxury-car brands, posting an 11 percent gain to 148,072 cars.

“We’re seeing growth at a good pace,” Audi Chief Executive Officer Rupert Stadler told reporters on Tuesday at a presentation of the revamped Q7 sport utility vehicle in Verbier, Switzerland. “We started the year with a very decent first quarter.”

BMW has vowed to defend its annual lead in global premium car sales, even as key models such as the 7-Series sedan age. The three German luxury-car brands are adding all-new models to widen their appeal and gain an edge over rivals. BMW is rolling out the van-like Gran Tourer this year, and Mercedes plans a pickup truck by the end of the decade.
Through the first four months of 2015, BMW held onto its No. 1 ranking, with sales up 5.5 percent to 600,473 cars. Audi’s deliveries increased 5.2 percent to 591,050 vehicles, while Mercedes demand jumped 14 percent to 577,674 autos.

Audi will expand its SUV offerings with the new subcompact Q1 next year and the full-size Q8 by 2019, Stadler said. The Ingolstadt-based carmaker expects SUVs to account for about 40 percent of total vehicle sales in 2020 compared with 32 percent now.

Those new additions could be critical. Competition in China, the manufacturer’s largest market, is set to intensify as growth moderates. Stadler forecast industrywide demand in the country to rise about 8 percent this year, which is still faster than many other major markets.

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GM Expects to Fall Short of 2017 Electric Vehicles Target


General Motors Co said it will fall short of its goal of having 500,000 GM vehicles on U.S. roads by 2017 that are powered by some form of electricity, reported Reuters.

The No. 1 U.S. automaker said in its annual sustainability report that lower gasoline prices and a “surge” in model offerings from all automakers contributed to the lower-than-expected sales for electrified products, including plug-in hybrids, pure electric vehicles and vehicles with the eAssist system that boosts fuel efficiency in gas-powered cars.

“For our commitment to electrification, our forecasted outlook currently projects us, along with the broader automotive industry, falling short of expectations for 2017,” GM said in the 2014 report released on Thursday.

“GM is committed to electrification … but consumer demand for these vehicles has not kept up with our initial projections,” it added.

The company said it counted 180,834 electrified GM vehicles on U.S. roads last year, up from 153,034 such vehicles in 2013.

GM Chief Executive Mary Barra outlined its 2017 target in November 2012 when she was the automaker’s global product chief. At the time, Barra said the company’s plans called for the eAssist system, which boost fuel efficiency as much as 25 percent in some gas-powered vehicles, to be on “hundreds of thousands” of vehicles annually by 2017.

GM, like other automakers, needs more fuel efficient cars as the industry pushes toward more stringent U.S. requirements that will be in place by 2025.

Electric vehicles have failed to catch on with consumers due to high prices, disappointment with electric driving range and an under-developed charging infrastructure. Low gas prices have fueled consumer demand for larger vehicles, including full-size pickup trucks and SUVs.

In 2013, The U.S. Department of Energy backed off President Barack Obama’s goal of putting 1 million electric cars on U.S. roads by 2015.

GM is developing an all-electric vehicle, the Chevrolet Bolt, with an electric driving range of 200 miles and production is expected to start in 2016. It will sell for about $30,000 after a federal tax rebate.

The automaker also this fall is introducing a redesigned version of its Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid that has an increased electric driving range of 50 miles and sells for almost $1,200 less than the current version of the car.

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Toyota Flags Third Year of Record Profit on Strong U.S. Sales, Cost Cuts


Toyota Motor Corp said it will crank net profit up to a third straight record this year as cost cuts and rising U.S. sales offset weaker business elsewhere, building on bumper earnings last year powered largely by foreign-exchange gains, reported Reuters.

Reporting net income jumped 50 percent in the quarter ended March, the world’s top-selling automaker said on Friday it expects net profit to rise 3.5 percent to 2.25 trillion yen ($18.75 billion) in the year that began in April.

The forecast assumes the dollar will be worth 115 yen on average this year. That’s conservative compared with 120 yen currently, implying Toyota’s net profit for the year may yet come closer to the 2.44 trillion yen average estimate of 27 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.

For the past few years, President Akio Toyoda has called an “intentional pause” for the company founded by his grandfather. The strategy seeks to ensure sales growth stays at a sustainable pace, free of the overcapacity and quality problems that plagued the company in previous years.

“I think we are at a stage where we can move on to putting into practice what we have been preparing during the intentional pause,” Toyoda said at a news conference in the capital.

Toyota is looking to overhaul the way it designs and manufactures cars under a new initiative called Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA), which aims to slash development and production costs and allocate part of the savings to making its cars more appealing. Advanced safety devices would be among features it plans to add to cars.

The first car developed under TNGA specifications – widely expected to be the next-generation model of the Prius sedan – is due for launch later this year. The first full-scale “simple and slim” TNGA factory will be built in Mexico in 2019.

The forecast for earnings growth this year came as Toyota projected overall vehicle sales will drop 0.8 percent to 8.90 million. But it expects lucrative sales in North America to grow 4.2 percent to 2.83 million, cushioning the blow of weaker sales in Asia, as well as Russia and the Middle East, which have been hit by falling oil prices.

Toyota expects operating profit to edge up 1.8 percent this year to 2.80 trillion yen, giving an operating margin of 10.2 percent – among the highest in the industry.

It expects cost cuts to contribute 265 billion yen, while currency losses will knock off 45 billion yen as a weaker Brazilian real and Russian rouble offset windfalls from a stronger dollar, which boosts the value of U.S.-based earnings when converted back into yen.

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VW’s Audi Sales Up 2.5 Percent in April to 152,850 Cars


Volkswagen’s Audi luxury division said on Friday sales increased 2.5 percent in April to 152,850 cars and sport-utility vehicles, the highest-ever level recorded for any month in the carmaker’s history, reported Reuters.

Sales in Europe edged up 0.9 percent as gains in Italy and Spain offset a 42 percent slump in deliveries in Russia to 2,116 vehicles, Ingolstadt-based Audi said.

In the Americas, sales were up 12.7 percent, bolstered by a two-thirds increase in Brazil to 1,856 cars and a 37 percent jump to 3,219 cars in Canada.

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Being Productive at Work? It’s a Key to Your Success!


Great question, because being more productive is your key to success. There are primarily two things that control your productivity at work each day:

  1. Your activities (what you do)
  2. Your skills (how well you do them)

Your daily goal is to stay busy doing productive things your entire shift. Continuous activity keeps your momentum going, and that means more success.

Whether it’s making prospecting calls and getting more appointments, doing your follow-up and getting referrals or appointments, talking to Service customers and showing them a new vehicle and getting a demo or sale, or talking to a walk-in customer and demonstrating and closing another sale – it’s ‘staying busy’ doing productive activities that increases your sales and income.

Again, it’s your activities plus improving your skills at each of those activities.

Most people need to improve their work habits and their skills, and you can easily do this in just a few minutes each day. Plus there’s a side benefit to improving your skills and habits; your attitude dramatically improves and that affects everything you do, too.

Start Here … To start making improvements in your work day and in your skills, first you have to find out exactly what you’re doing now so you can measure your actual improvements.

Keep a ‘work log’ each day for 30 days, and you’ll quickly find out how many hours of your shift you’re actually doing something productive that will affect your sales and income.

‘Waiting’ Isn’t ‘Working’

When we remind salespeople that waiting isn’t working, the average person in class and in our surveys admit they only work about 3 hours of a 9-hour shift, and that’s probably pretty accurate.

On improving your skills, even if you aren’t using our VSA® to track everything, just pay attention. After each sale and attempted sale, replay everything that happened and write things down.

If you will, you’ll quickly start seeing where you lost control, got trapped talking price, or missed an opportunity to handle an objection or close the sale.

Not sure you can see yourself going from wasting most of your day to becoming super productive by tomorrow?

That’s OK, let’s look at two plans on how to break the habit and become more productive a few steps at a time.

Let’s assume you’re only really working 3 hours, too. In those 3 hours you’re talking to customers, chasing paperwork on deals, etc – you’re busy doing something to sell a car.

To improve, starting tomorrow, if you prefer the slow route…

  1. Take 5-10 minutes to train on selling every day on prospecting or unsold follow-up.
  2. Make just five 5-minute phone calls (actual contacts) every day to prospect or follow up someone who didn’t buy.

The math on your productivity improvement:

With the training and the calls, adding some time to log your contacts and put your notes into the system, you’ve added another 45 minutes or so to your productivity each day!

But wait – there’s more great news. If you make those five actual contacts (dials don’t count), that’s 25 contacts the first week. Plus, because you’ve been training on improving your prospecting and follow-up skills, you’re getting more referrals, more appointments, and more be-backs.

If those 25 contacts were to unsold customers, 1/3 of them will come back into the dealership and 67% will buy on the spot. That’s 8 more people next week on the lot to talk to than you had this week. Plus, these 8 will be 5 times easier to close than your regular walk-in prospects.

The Productivity Math … You were already working 3 hours, you added another 45 minutes, and next week you have another 8 people to talk to. That means your actual productive time at work will dramatically improve.

Not even counting the extra time you’ll spend with those other 8 be-backs, by the end of next week, you’ll be working 50% more each day. And guess what happens to your sales and income when you are 50% more productive? Exactly!

Your sales and income will soon go up 50%, too.

Take the fast track (a more serious commitment)…

  1. Keep training and learning how to sell in the next 30 days.
  2. Make 10 of those 5-minute contacts, and also go meet just 3 people in service each day and use the referral script.

Changing habits takes a continuous effort until the new, more productive habits replace the old ineffective habits. Most people figure it takes about 30 days to do that, but in our workshops we always recommend you spend 60 to 90 days of focus instead, just to be sure a new habit sticks. Go for it!

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Detroit Automakers Face Speed Bumps as Sales Growth Slows


Detroit’s automakers, on track for their best sales year since 2006, may want to brace themselves for rockier times ahead, reported Reuters.

Auto executives say the industry is as healthy as it’s been since being restructured in 2009. But judging by the recent stock performance of General Motors Co, Ford Motor Co and Fiat Chrysler Automotive, investors have a less robust view.

Over the past year, GM and Ford share prices have lagged the overall market, in spite of moves by those two companies to give more cash back to shareholders. Fiat Chrysler prices plunged last week as Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne made increasingly overt efforts to drum up interest in a merger with one of his rivals.

“The party may be starting to wind down,” said Charles Chesbrough, senior principal economist for IHS Automotive. “We’re still looking at a good couple years of strong demand, but the days of big sales increases are behind us.”

Optimists include Kurt McNeil, head of GM’s U.S. sales operations, who said Friday that the industry is on track to have its best sales year since 2006. U.S. sales of cars and light trucks are estimated to reach 17 million in 2015, compared with about 10 million in 2009.

U.S. consumer confidence is up, house prices are recovering and gasoline costs less than $4 a gallon in most parts of the country, supporting sales of the big trucks and SUVs that drive profits for the Detroit Three, just as they did before the financial crisis crash in 2008-2009.

But there are warning signals. Sales growth is slowing in the home market, demand for small cars and family sedans is falling, revenues have declined, profits outside North America and China are virtually nonexistent and share prices have flattened.

All three Detroit automakers missed analysts’ expectations for first-quarter earnings. After reporting healthy April U.S. car sales on Friday, stocks fell again at all three.

U.S. sales growth this year has slowed to 6 percent from double digits in 2010-2012. As demand slows, and more companies add production capacity in North America, competition from Asian and European rivals using cheap currencies will intensify. GM’s share of the North American market in the first quarter slipped to 16.4 percent in the first quarter from 16.5 percent a year earlier.

“Over the next couple years, we expect to see the industry cycle down — not next year, but 2017,” said John Hoffecker, managing director and global vice chairman of operations at AlixPartners. Detroit automakers have had “a good strong, long run,” but “there will be a correction from where we are today.”

Before the next downturn, the U.S. carmakers “need to find long-term solutions to sustainable profitability and cost competitiveness,” said Xavier Mosquet, global automotive practice leader for the Boston Consulting Group. “That may be their biggest challenge.”

Part of that solution may be to reduce their dependence on the U.S. market.

The companies need to reduce excess production capacity overseas, especially in Europe and South America, said Matthew Stover, auto analyst with Susquehanna Financial Group. And as U.S. demand slows, they need to generate a higher return on their overseas investments.

Ford and GM are losing money in Europe even after restructuring efforts that included plant shutdowns. GM has said it expects to return to profitability in Europe in 2016. In Latin America, GM and Ford are losing money as the Brazilian economy slows and economic turmoil wracks Venezuela, where Ford earlier this year took an $800 million pre-tax writedown. GM has signaled it could stop Venezuelan production in July. In China, GM’s profit margins fell to 9.9 percent in the first quarter from 11.2 percent a year earlier.

“GM and Ford earn terrific rates of return in North America, but they’re getting killed in Europe and South America,” Stover said.

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