America’s auto industry has now reported year-over-year sales declines in three consecutive months. The size of the market was 3.5 percent smaller in the August-October period of 2016 than during the same stretch in 2015.Yet during the same period, U.S. sales of General Motors’ six full-size SUVs jumped 39 percent, a rate of success that throws pie in the face of an industry that’s now fading.In October, however, the market’s fade became much more apparent. Industry-wide sales slid 6 percent, year-over-year, the worst monthly downturn since the recession. Yet at the same time, General Motors reported a 59-percent surge in full-size SUV volume worth nearly 12,000 additional sales. BACKGROUNDThe auto industry’s seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 18 million units was the highest of any month this year and higher than all but three months last year. The quirky auto sales calendar — “October 2015” extended two days into … [Read more...] about What Market Slowdown? GM Full-Size SUV Sales Jumped 59 Percent In October
The skyrocketing popularity of utility vehicles in the U.S. marketplace has left Honda scrambling to catch up with the rapid change in consumer demand.Production doesn’t turn on a dime just because more Americans want to option of transporting four kids, their stuff, and their sister’s dog. So, as it trims its sales forecast due to a car-heavy product mix, Honda has rolled out a plan to give buyers more of what they want.It’s also prepared to use boats, if necessary.According to Reuters, Honda is prepared to start importing some of its best-selling vehicles in order to boost volume. Rivals Toyota and Nissan have already taken this step to meet SUV demand that its domestic facilities just couldn’t meet.Honda’s main focus is the best-selling CR-V. Production of the crossover should start up at its Greensburg, Indiana plant next year, boosting volume of a vehicle already in production in Alliston, Ontario and East Liberty, Ohio. The latter plant should … [Read more...] about Honda Frantically Cobbles Together a Plan to Get More SUVs into Buyers’ Hands
U.S. sales of utility vehicles increased 16 percent last year. Amidst the modest decrease in volume reported by the industry in January 2016, U.S. sales of SUVs and crossovers jumped by more than 6 percent.Yet even with drivers enjoying truly low fuel prices, we have not seen a return to the days of full-size, truck-based, body-on-frame SUV dominance in the modern SUV/crossover sector. In fact, U.S. sales of the 10 full-size SUVs which use full-size pickup truck platforms as a foundation collectively declined 2 percent as America’s auto industry soared to record highs in 2015.And 2016 begins similarly. Two Chevrolets, two GMC, two Cadillacs, and individual nameplates from Ford, Lincoln, Nissan, and Cadillac tumbled 9 percent in January.Of course, we’ve long since passed the days in which we expected General Motors to sell 200,000 Tahoes per year plus another 150,000 Suburbans, nearly 90,000 Yukons, 70,000 Yukon XLs, and 50,000 Escalades thrown in for good measure. In 2015, … [Read more...] about Full-size SUVs Aren’t Taking Part in the SUV Boom
Mark LaNeve, Ford Motor Company vice president of Marketing, Sales and Service, told attendees of a media breakfast at the 2016 Chicago Auto Show that his company will be introducing four completely new SUVs to its global portfolio.The new SUVs will compete in market segments where the automaker currently has no product.LaNeve based Ford’s enthusiasm about truckers on two demographic groups, baby boomers and millennials, and not on current low gasoline prices.It turns out that as millennials age, they actually do buy (and personally value) cars. Baby boomers like ease of entry, or so Ford thinks.My older friends dislike climbing up as much as they don’t like stooping down. … [Read more...] about CHICAGO: Ford Will Introduce Four All-new SUVs
Canadians purchased and leased nearly 43,000 SUVs and crossovers in January 2016. At the same time, fewer than 34,000 passenger cars made their ways to Canadian driveways.This wasn’t an anomaly. Canadians also registered more utility vehicles than cars in January 2015, and over the course of 2015, only 2 percent more cars were sold than utilities, a margin of only 14,000 sales.No, it wasn’t an anomaly, but the gap in demand was exceptional. For every passenger car acquired by a consumer, business, fleet, or governmental agency, the industry also recorded 1.3 SUV/crossover sales.How soon before the U.S. auto industry makes the same claim? In January, as car volume plunged 9 percent and utility vehicle sales jumped 6 percent — despite an abbreviated sales month and an overall volume decrease — cars outsold utilities by just 1.1-to-1. That’s down from a 1.25-to-1 gap a year ago.In other words, it’s about to happen.CORRELATIONSduring a particularly … [Read more...] about SUVs And Crossovers Will Outsell Cars In America, But When?
Alfa Romeo, the company that has had repeated difficulties getting the Giulia into North America, is planning to launch nine new models over the next five years.How it actually plans to do this is anybody’s guess.“Our goal is absolutely to go toe to toe with the Germans, but that’s not a two-year plan,” Alfa’s Reid Bigland explained in an interview with Autocar. “We’re just not going to get there that quickly. They’re in every segment and spinning derivatives off those segments.”He specified SUVs being a large portion of Alfa Romeo’s plan to take on the Germans. The Giulia-based Stelvio SUV is already scheduled to arrive at dealerships in summer 2017 to compete with the likes of the Audi Q5 and BMW’s X3. But Autocar hinted there might also be a performance-oriented competitor for the F-Pace and Porsche Macan, possibly using the Kamal crossover concept’s name.Bigland also suggested that … [Read more...] about Alfa Romeo Plans to Beat Germany by Tapping Its Proud SUV Heritage
Burying its loathed “shield”-style grille in the deepest depths of history’s dustbin is a big part of Acura’s plan to reverse falling sales, but product seems to be at least as big a problem as design.The automaker, which has seen its U.S. sales fall 10.5 percent so far this year, is in the midst of a design pivot, though many feel that the brand needs a bigger shake-up then just a “diamond pentagon” grille.According to The Columbus Dispatch, Acura is all too aware of its slipping standing.“Of course, we’re never content with things,” said Acura public relations manager Matt Sloustcher. “This is a long-term game. Over the past year, we’ve put into place long-term, fundamental building blocks.”What Sloustcher is referring to is the design elements borrowed from Acura’s Precision Concept, unveiled in Detroit in January. That sharp-edged sedan sported a wholly new face, which Acura claimed would be the new look … [Read more...] about Acura’s SUVs Can’t Compensate for Sinking Sedans; Will a New Beak Help?
Is it possible to apply Colin Chapman’s lightness philosophy to SUVs? Lotus believes it could, should the storied automaker enter the game.According to Reuters, Group Lotus chief Jean-Marc Gales said that his company’s next model may indeed be an SUV. However, unlike Jaguar, Aston Martin, Bentley and other high-end luxury brands considering the same, Lotus doesn’t intend to follow the leader, instead opting to “reinvent” the SUV in its image: We’d do an SUV that is very light, very fast on the track and has outstanding handling. I’m a bit torn between an SUV and a four-door sports car — but in the end I can see that the SUV has the bigger market. An SUV would likely help turn things around for Lotus — now under ownership by Malaysian automaker Proton — having lost $108 million in FY 2014 as Gales, who also handled marketing for Volkswagen and was second-in-command at Peugeot, began to right the ship toward a return to … [Read more...] about Gales: Lotus SUV Under Consideration
Per inside sources, Hyundai is planning to increase SUV production in the United States in an effort to capture more consumers amid low fuel prices.Reuters reports the automaker’s sales of the Elantra and Sonata have slowed as some consumers in the U.S. spend their money on SUVs and crossovers, prompting the company’s shift toward more SUVs. The expansion would come in the form of a new assembly line in Alabama, augmenting the line in Kia’s Georgia facility where the Santa Fe is assembled, and exports of the Tucson from Hyundai’s factories in South Korea.Korea Investment & Securities auto analyst Suh Sung-moon adds that, aside from Hyundai’s need for a second U.S. plant, Santa Fe production could be moved to Alabama, with the Tucson and a truck — possibly in the vein of the Santa Cruz concept from the 2015 Detroit Auto Show — joining the former. Overall production is expected to be 300,000 units annually, with the first vehicles to leave … [Read more...] about Sources: Hyundai Expanding SUV Production In US Market
Get used to seeing this Mitsubishi Lancer for a long time to come, as the automaker has shelved its updates to its iconic sedan.According to CarAdvice.com.au, Mitsubishi president and COO Tetsuro Aikawa explained at the 2015 Geneva Auto Show the reasons behind the decision not to update the Lancer or its other sedans:While I’m the president probably no introduction of the next-generation Lancer… we will continue to sell current Lancer.There are two reasons for that. One of the reasons is because, concerning the investment on development, we’d like to concentrate on SUV, PHEVs and EVs. That’s one reason.The second reason is because sedan, in the world, is a very high competition at the moment and it’s very difficult to come up with a profit.As for the Evo, the badge may be worn by a PHEV SUV with enough firepower to earn the honor to take up where the Lancer Evo will leave off this year.The decision to freeze sedan development follows a failed attempt to … [Read more...] about Aikawa: Updated Mitsubishi Lancer Shelved For SUVs, Electrification