Tag Archive | "Toyota"

GM’s U.S. Sales in January Top Estimates; Toyota Bounces Back

General Motors Co.’s U.S. sales in January rose more than analysts’ estimates, aided by bigger discounts, pickups and new models, and Toyota Motor Corp. rebounded from a year ago when a recall halted deliveries.

GM sales in the month gained 22 percent to 178,896 vehicles, topping four analysts’ average estimate for a 9.2 percent increase. Toyota’s sales rose 17 percent to 115,856 vehicles, beating the average estimate for a 16 percent gain, Bloomberg reported.

Industrywide deliveries may have reached the second-fastest pace in 17 months with a seasonally adjusted 12.4 million vehicle annual rate in January, the average estimate of six analysts. GM’s discounts and sales incentives last month rose 28 percent from a year earlier to an average of $3,762 per vehicle as the company sought new buyers, according to Edmunds.com.

“GM was very aggressive with some of its incentive spending,” Jessica Caldwell, an analyst with Santa Monica, California-based Edmunds, said in a telephone interview. “They had some loyalty programs in the market.”

Toyota’s sales climbed from January 2010, when the Toyota City, Japan-based company temporarily halted sales of eight U.S. models after recalling millions of vehicles for unintended acceleration.

Ford Motor Co.’s light-vehicle sales rose 9.2 percent to 126,981, the company said in a statement. That trailed the average of four analysts’ estimates for an 18 percent gain.

GM fell 10 cents to $36.39 at 3:53 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. Through yesterday, the Detroit-based company’s shares had gained 11 percent from the $33 initial public offering price. Dearborn, Michigan-based Ford was unchanged at $15.95.

Incentive Spending

GM’s incentive spending increased “modestly,” and its sales gains were fueled by more advertising and strong new models, Don Johnson, GM’s vice president of U.S. sales operations, said today.

“We’re not going to return to the days of driving production with incentives,” Johnson said on a conference call. “We know that is not going to be a recipe for success for us.”

Chevrolet deliveries gained 19 percent to 125,389 vehicles, GM said today in a statement. Sales of the Equinox small SUV climbed 35 percent to 12,847. Deliveries of the new Chevrolet Cruze compact, which is replacing the Cobalt, rose 25 percent from December to 13,631 in January.

Retail customers accounted for 88 percent of Cruze sales in the month, compared with 40 percent for the Cobalt in January 2010, said Alan Batey, vice president of Chevrolet sales.

‘Tremendous’ Momentum

“For GM, the new products are pulling consumers into showrooms,” said Rebecca Lindland, an analyst with IHS Automotive, a researcher in Lexington, Massachusetts. “They have a tremendous amount of momentum.”

GMC Sierra pickup sales increase 46 percent to 10,627, and Chevrolet Silverado deliveries rose 24 percent to 28,172.

Buick sales climbed 32 percent to 13,269, led by the Enclave sport-utility vehicle. GMC deliveries gained 30 percent to 27,658.

Cadillac sales rose 49 percent to 12,580. Deliveries of CTS sedans, coupes and wagons increased 70 percent to 4,362.

Since filing for bankruptcy in 2009, GM has closed Hummer, Pontiac and Saturn and sold Saab to focus on Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC. Sales of GM’s four remaining brands rose 23 percent from January 2010, the company said.

Sales of Ford’s Explorer SUV surged 73 percent to 7,351, the company said today in a statement. Overall deliveries for the namesake brand climbed 22 percent, tempered by a decline in sales of the Focus compact car.

‘Out of Their Caves’

“Consumers are coming out of their caves and spending money again,” George Pipas, Ford’s sales analyst, said yesterday during a briefing with reporters in Dearborn.

Deliveries of the Lincoln luxury brand declined 21 percent in January to 5,558.

Chrysler, the automaker controlled by Fiat SpA, said January sales rose 23 percent to 70,118 vehicles. The average estimate of four analysts was for a 27 percent gain.

Car sales dropped 22 percent to 11,425, driven by declines for the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Avenger sedans, the Auburn Hills, Michigan-based company said today in a statement. Jeep Grand Cherokee deliveries more than doubled to 7,612.

U.S. consumer confidence rose more than forecast in January to the highest in eight months, the Conference Board reported last week, while the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan final index of consumer sentiment fell less than analysts estimated. Gross domestic product grew at a 3.2 percent annual pace in the fourth quarter, the Commerce Department reported.

Nissan Tops Estimates

Nissan Motor Co., Japan’s second-largest automaker, increased sales of Nissan and Infiniti brand vehicles by 15 percent last month, Al Castignetti, Nissan’s vice president of U.S. sales, said in an interview. The average estimate of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was for a gain of 14 percent.

Honda Motor Co., Japan’s third-largest carmaker, increased U.S. sales of Honda and Acura brand autos 13 percent last month to 76,269, said Chris Martin, a company spokesman.

The average estimate of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was for a rise of 24 percent for Tokyo-based Honda.

Kia Motors Corp., the second-biggest South Korean automaker, said in a statement today its U.S. sales rose 26 percent in January.

Posted in Auto Industry NewsComments (0)

Group 1 ‘Won’t Be Deterred’ from Buying Toyota Stores

Despite a spat over an acquisition attempt this summer, Group 1 Automotive Inc. still wants to add Toyota stores to its network, Automotive News reported.

“If we find a Toyota dealership that meets our requirements, we won’t be deterred,” Group 1 CEO Earl Hesterberg said.

Acquisitions are how Group 1 executives would prefer to invest the company’s cash and grow, Hesterberg said. But no deals for a dealership representing any brand are under contract at the time. Though a “significant number” of dealerships are available for sale, Group 1 hasn’t found anything recently that meets its return-on-investment criteria, he said.

In late June, Group 1’s attempt to buy Gene Reed Toyota-Scion and Lexus of Charleston was blocked after Toyota filed a lawsuit objecting to the sale because Toyota had not approved the deal. But Gene Reed quickly came to an agreement to sell the dealerships to another buyer, and Toyota dropped the lawsuit.

Group 1, the nation’s fourth-largest dealership group, hasn’t had any further discussions with Toyota on acquisitions since the Gene Reed deal was rejected, Hesterberg said this week.

“But, by the same token, we didn’t have the chance to defend ourselves in court because the seller got a $5 or $10 million better offer within a day,” he said. “So we didn’t get a chance to prevail in court, which we believe we would have.”

Posted in Auto Industry NewsComments (0)

Honda Odyssey Owners Report Transmission Troubles, Inconsistent Response from Maker

Toyota vehicles are dominating headlines lately with recalls and rebuttals, but just as annoying to Honda Odyssey owners are the transmission problems they are experiencing – problems some owners believe Honda is unwilling to acknowledge or address, Edmunds Auto Observer reported.

Since October 2006, members of Edmunds’ CarSpace Forums have contributed more than 1,400 individual posts to a thread called Honda Odyssey Transmission Problems that details not only their Odyssey transmission issues but also the action – or inaction – they’ve seen from Honda dealers and parent company, American Honda, in response.

Owners of some 2007 and newer models are reporting a distinct “judder” from their Odysseys when driving between 20 and 45 mph — an issue that Honda addressed in a 2009 technical service bulletin and is repairing under warranty. However, by far the largest group of transmission complaints involves Odysseys from model years 1999 through 2004.

According to Edmunds.com’s recent analysis of complaints to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), consumers cited transmission-related problems with 2001 through 2004 Odysseys more than five times as often as they did for the Toyota Sienna or the Chrysler Group’s Caravan, Grand Caravan and Town and Country minivans during the same model years.

In the typical experience, drivers of these Odysseys notice erratic shifting, a flashing “D” light in the gauge cluster and sometimes the illumination of the traction control light and/or the check engine light. One owner describes it as a rather harrowing experience: “It gave us just a few minutes of funny noises and then locked up. It was a very curvy road, hilly road — a dangerous and scary place to have a car just stop. We were lucky we weren’t rear-ended at high speeds.”

Dozens of different owners report repeat failures of the transmission, some coming as soon as 30,000 miles after a complete replacement of the unit.

Honda spokesman Chris Martin told AutoObserver.com the automaker believes the percentage of a second transmission failure versus the high volume of Odyssey models sold is likely relatively small.

Martin said the customer has the option — and should exercise that option — to request financial assistance — “goodwill” from the dealer or from Honda directly — for a fix.

Posted in Auto Industry NewsComments (0)

Auction Companies Stop Selling Toyotas; Rental Fleets Park Cars

DETROIT – The largest used-vehicle auto auction association in the United States today recommended that its member auctions temporarily stop selling Toyota cars and trucks that are being recalled because of sticking accelerator pedals, reported Automotive News.

In addition, several major car-rental companies temporarily have removed the vehicles from their fleets, as fallout from the massive recall spreads.

“The safety of our customers and employees is our utmost priority, and in that regard, the suspension should continue until the issues have been resolved,” the National Auto Auction Association said in a statement. Manheim, the nation’s largest auction company, said it is complying with the recommendation of NAAA and immediately halted sales of the recalled Toyota vehicles at its 81 auction sites in the United States and Canada and on its OVE.com electronic sales channel.

Auction company ADESA Inc. said it, too, has halted sales of recalled vehicles. ADESA is the second-largest auction company in the United States, with about one-fifth of the market.

Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. instructed its franchised dealers on Tuesday not to deliver the affected cars to customers.

On Tuesday, Toyota said it would halt sales and temporarily suspend production of 2.3 million U.S. vehicles recalled last week for sticking accelerator pedals.

Posted in Auto Industry NewsComments (0)

Regulators Investigate Toyota Engine Stall Claims

Federal regulators are investigating complaints of engine stalling on certain Toyota Corolla and Matrix models, the latest in a series of safety issues faced by the Japanese automaker.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it has received 26 complaints of engine stalling on 2006 Corollas and Matrixes equipped with 1ZZ-FE engines. Some complaints say vehicles stall randomly while driving, including some on highways and in intersections.

Toyota spokesman John Hanson says Toyota is complying with the government’s request for information from the automaker.

The investigation follows Toyota’s largest recall ever earlier this year in which it agreed to replace the gas pedals on 4 million vehicles.

Posted in Auto Industry NewsComments (0)

Toyota Recall Leaves Dealers Scrambling

Toyota retailers were caught off guard by a decision to recall 3.8 million vehicles linked to incidents of sudden acceleration. Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. told dealers of the campaign today – after it was announced to the public. The timing has led to some confusion, according to reports by Ward’s Dealer Business.

“We haven’t received any notification,” said Earl Stewart, owner of Earl Stewart Toyota of North Palm Bay, FL. “This has been one of the most confusing situations to the dealers and customers, and a little embarrassing.”

Bob Moran, owner of Acton Toyota in Littleton, MA, told Ward’s that he, too, was not told of the situation until an announcement already was made.

Normally, Toyota would notify its dealers first. But given the severity of the situation, there was no time to do so, a spokesman says.

“We thought this was important enough to get out early,” Bryan Lyons says, noting all dealers now should be informed about the recall.

Under conditions of the recall, dealers will be trained and receive the necessary components to trim three-quarters of an inch off the accelerator pedals.

Additionally, dealers will receive instructions on how to reconfigure floors in the Toyota ’07-’10 Camry, ’05-’10 Avalon and ’07-’10 Lexus ES, says spokesman John Hanson, noting all models implicated in the recall eventually will be eligible for footwell modifications.

Posted in Auto Industry NewsComments (0)