Monthly Archives: April 2012

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How Much Are Fleet Sales Inflating New Sales Figures?

Posted @  4/10/2012 12:02 PM  NADA

Since the beginning of the year, new vehicles sales have been booming for both import and domestic manufacturers alike.  More than 3.46M new units were sold in the first quarter, which is a result that has many analysts raising their full year forecasts.

Some analysts and industry executives are cautioning against being overly optimistic however, arguing that the unseasonably warm winter and higher volumes of fleet sales helped to inflate new vehicle growth over the past three months.
Exactly how many new vehicle sales can be chalked up as non-retail fleet deals?
The simple answer is, a lot.
Per CNW data, almost 1.3M or 37% of all new vehicles sold have been designated for fleet duty year-to-date.  This is a 5 percentage point increase over the same period of time last year.
Through the end of March, four of the six manufacturers that CNW tracks fleet sales on have a fleet penetration rate averaging 23% or more (this is the total number of fleet sales divided by the total number of all sales).  Topping the list are GM and Nissan at 27 and 26 percent, respectively.
Interestingly, Chrysler group’s fleet penetration figure is second lowest at 21% (Honda is the most fleet independent at 14%).  This is curious considering that Chrysler’s individual brands of Chrysler and Dodge (cars) placed about 32% of all vehicles sold last year into rental fleets.  Jeep on the other hand only put an average of 14% of its vehicles into rental fleet.
Historically the sheer volume of fleet units returning to the used market over a concentrated period of time has had a detrimental effect on used vehicle values.
Analysts here at the NADA Official Used Car Guide will continue to monitor the growing number of new fleet sales and will forecast the anticipated return to the secondary market using NADA’s proprietary used vehicle supply forecast.  Make sure to check out future issues of Guidelines and our used vehicle blogs, as we’ll be taking a closer look in the coming weeks at new fleet sale trends at the model level.

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High Gas Prices Drive Car Sales: “Fuel Economy Is Top of Mind,” Ford Exec Says

By Morgan Korn

By Morgan Korn | Daily Ticker – Fri, Apr 6, 2012 1:32 PM EDT

 

 

Consumers are buying new cars at record rates this year, even as gasoline prices creep upward and the economic recovery remains uncertain. Ford Motor (F), the No. 2 U.S. automaker, posted it strongest sales numbers for March in five years. The company sold a total of 223,418 cars last month, up 11 percent from February.

The success of the top-selling fuel-efficient Focus hybrid has proved a surprise for the car maker best known for its gas-guzzling trucks. Nearly 95,000 Focuses have been sold since January and Focus sales increased 78 percent in the first quarter alone. Ford continues to nip at the heels of Toyota (TM), maker of the popular Prius hybrid.

At this week’s New York International Auto Show at the Javits Center, Ford’s electric vehicles and fuel-efficient technologies dominate its showcase space, an obvious move by Ford brass to emphasize the company’s intention to woo and seduce eco-friendly consumers. Visitors can touch, sit in and pretend to drive five hybrid and electric cars, including the Fusion plug-in hybrid and the 2013 C-Max hybrid.

Mark Fields, president of Ford Americas, says “fuel economy is top of mind for consumers” and Americans have been dumping their aging cars in favor of new vehicles that offer better fuel mileage. In an interview from the auto show, Fields points out that one-third of Ford vehicles get at least 40 miles per gallon and the Detroit automaker’s strategy over the past few years has been to “be the best or among the best in fuel economy [in] every segment that we’re in — from small cars all the way up to large trucks.”

Climbing gas prices may compel some consumers to pull back on big-ticket spending, but Fields says the pain at the pump has actually helped the company deliver stronger-than-expected sales. Even demand for its F-Series truck, which according to Ford is America’s top-selling truck for the past 35 years, has jumped 14 percent in the first quarter.

With the national price for a gallon of unleaded gasoline just a few cents shy of $4, hybrid cars could be expected to fly out of showroom floors. That may have been the case in 2008, when the price of oil hovered near $150 a barrel and record-high gas prices showed no signs of abating. Hybrid sales have surged 60 percent this year but their overall market share is relatively unchanged from a year ago.

Hybrids make up less than three percent of the total auto market and accounted for just 300,000 of the 1.4 million cars sold last month. Hybrids save consumers money at the pump, but those savings could take years to materialize as manufacturers charge a premium for the fuel-efficient technology. For example, hybrid Ford Fusion owners may not break even on their purchase for six and a half years at $5 gas, according to data from TrueCar. The number jumps to eight years at $4-a-gallon.

Fields says Ford offers a range of hybrids and electric cars to appeal to a broader base of consumers. “Different strokes for different folks,” he quips.

“We’re not using a dedicated technology for a dedicated plan,” he says. “We’ll be able to be flexible and follow the consumer.”

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Cadillac Expanding XTS Production to China

2013 Cadillac XTS sedan live reveal in Los Angeles

By Chris Paukert -Autoblog.com

Posted Apr 23rd 2012 2:30PM

Cadillac’s new XTS isn’t just headed to China, it will be built there. The forthcoming full-size luxury cruiser had already been earmarked for production in General Motors’ Oshawa, Ontario Assembly Plant, but the automaker has just announced in Beijing that it will also be built in China with its joint venture partner Shanghai General Motors.   Cadillac is still a relatively small player in China’s premium segment, with just 68 dealers and 30,000 sales last year. However, it’s growing quickly, with March sales up more than 35 percent year-over-year to 2,745 units. Better still, General Motors says Cadillac’s average buying age is very young – just 35 – and it expects to have 120 dealers online by the end of this year to meet growing demand.
The idea of local XTS production strikes us as a smart one, as China is enjoying a swell in demand for luxury cars, and it has always maintained a strong demand for vehicles with large rear seats. Cadillac already has a solid track record building in the communist nation, as it first began assembling the China-only SLS Executive Sedan – essentially an extended wheelbase STS– back in 2006.

Cadillac Expands in China 2013 XTS production marks new stage in brand’s global growth 2012-04-23
DETROIT – Cadillac announced at this week’s Beijing Auto Show that it will build the all-new XTS luxury sedan in China in conjunction with joint venture partner Shanghai General Motors (SGM). The production expansion for the Chinese market is a major landmark in the brand’s global growth.
The new 2013 Cadillac XTS launches in North America later this spring with production beginning in the coming weeks at the Oshawa, Ontario Assembly Plant. XTS production will begin in China this fall. The XTS is a new approach to the luxury sedan, blending traditional Cadillac spaciousness with advanced technologies, some of which are industry and segment firsts.
“China is the second-largest market for Cadillac, and of course is one of the largest and strongest markets in the world for luxury cars, so it is a core part of our vision as a brand,” said Don Butler, Cadillac vice president of marketing. “It is projected that by the end of the decade half of all luxury purchases in the world – all categories, not just cars – will occur in China.”
Cadillac’s expansion in China in 2012 is the result of impressive growth for the brand. Since its small-scale debut in China in 2005, Cadillac has steadily earned a solid position. Cadillac sold a record 30,000 vehicles in China in 2011, compared with 17,000 in 2010.
XTS is not the first Cadillac assembled in China. That distinction belongs to the SLS Executive Sedan, an extended-length luxury car exclusive to China that began production in 2006. However, the expansion of XTS production to China marks the biggest step in Cadillac’s growth in the world’s largest automotive market.   All of the brand’s core product lines are sold in China, with the CTS Sedan and Coupe, SRX crossover and Escalade imported from North America. The SRX is Cadillac’s top seller in China. In March Cadillac sales set a monthly record of 2,745, an increase of 35.2% over the same period in 2011.   The average age of a Cadillac buyer in China is 35, signifying the explosive growth of the luxury marketplace and consumer perceptions of Cadillac.   “We’re very encouraged by the positive response Chinese luxury consumers have to Cadillac,” said Butler. “Qualities like innovation and entrepreneurship are admired by many luxury consumers in China, which aligns well with Cadillac. The American spirit of Cadillac creates a distinct and compelling position in the luxury marketplace.”
Cadillac’s dealer network has grown to 68 locations with projected growth to 120 dealers by the end of 2012. “Our dealers in China are experiencing strong growth, with some of them quickly becoming among the largest and best we have in the world,” said Butler.   Cadillac has been a leading luxury auto brand since 1902. In recent years, Cadillac has engineered a historic renaissance led by artful engineering and advanced technology. More information on Cadillac can be found at media.cadillac.com.

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