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The analysts and number crunchers at Bank of America/Merrill Lynch released the findings of their latest Car Wars study, a report that tracks industry product trends. The results are surprising; market-share fluctuations are expected to remain small. But Ford and Honda are both projected to gain in the coming years with Nissan on track to lose share.
General Motors’ market share is currently below 18 percent, down from 19.6 percent in 2011 and enough to raise a few eyebrows.
Imported vehicles in the United States are selling at their highest price premium in more than a decade, as a result of a weak US dollar compared with other currencies like the Euro and Yen.
In fact, the average selling price for a new imported car reached a dizzying $31,536 in August, some $7,614 than the average domestic made vehicle during the same period, according to the US Bureau of Economic Analysis.
Automakers such as Honda and Toyota are reluctant to import smaller, cheaper offerings, which traditionally have lower profit margins, than larger, more expensive vehicles. The aftermath of the March 11 earthquake and Tsunami in Japan didn’t help matters, resulting in supply issues that further hampered both production and imports.
Other overseas brands, namely premium priced European offerings, gained a greater proportion of imported new car sales, particularly Volkswagen and Audi, according to findings from Paul Ballew, chief economist for Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. in Columbus, Ohio.
“It’s very hard to import, especially from Asia, small cars right now because of where the dollar is,” Ballew said. “If you look at luxury-car sales the last few months, they’re up double-digits from a year ago while small cars are down more than 20 percent.”
As the Yen continues its march against the dollar, Japanese manufacturers are less likely to offer incentives to move metal off dealer lots; in fact average industry wide spending on incentives fell some 9.6 percent through September, down to $2,498 per vehicle.
In an effort to counter further profit margin erosion, Japanese automakers are also looking to shift more production of vehicles overseas; Nissan is already boosting investments in plants it operates in Thailand and Mexico, in addition to constructing a new facility in Brazil, scheduled to become operational in 2014.
Toyota meanwhile, is planning to spend some 26.3 billion yen, building a second plant in Indonesia as it aims to build a robust supplier network in that country, part of its goal to not only minimize future supply problems but boost vehicle demand in emerging markets.
Even German automakers such as BMW and Volkswagen are investing heavily overseas, the former expanding operations in South Carolina, while the former has opened a new plant in Tennessee, marking the first time that VW vehicles have been assembled in the US since 1988.
According to Ballew, “import manufacturers cannot afford to do what they’ve normally done in terms of bringing in products from Asian markets. You’re looking at some temporary anomalies, but you’re also looking at some structural changes. There is some renewed energy to bring manufacturing into the US.”
[Source: Automotive News]
The damage caused by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami has affected manufacturing throughout Japan, however Nissan says that it anticipates being able to continue to gain market share from Honda and Toyota in North America.
Honda and Toyota stopped production entirely in the months following the earthquake and tsunami, however, Nissan was able to overcome parts shortages by shifting production to focus on those models it had enough parts to build. In June, Nissan sales were up 11 percent in the U.S, while Toyota and Honda were both down 21 percent. Furthermore, Nissan’s first-half momentum has seen sales increase 15 percent compared to Honda’s 2 percent gain and Toyota’s 4 percent loss so far in 2011. Nissan is also performing better than Ford which has seen sales rise 12 percent through the first six months of 2011. Nissan has accepted that it won’t pass Honda in North America this year, but this boost bridges the gap between the two longtime rivals.
[Source: Wall Street Journal]
When it comes to family sedans and smaller cars and SUVs, for the last two decades, Honda and Toyota ranked as top choices for many Americans. Not any more. It seems that more and more U.S. motorists that once drove Corollas, Civics, Accords and Camrys exclusively are now looking at alternatives.
Although supply of certain Toyotas and Hondas is still proving problematic following the March 11 earthquake and Tsunami in Japan, the decline in both automaker’s fortunes is being blamed on a lot more than just natural disasters.
According to Eric Nobel, of the Orange, California based consulting firm The Car Lab, both Honda and Toyota are losing ground, because their products haven’t been competitive in crucial market segments since the first half of the last decade. He particularly cites Toyota’s slipping quality control and the widespread recalls that have tarnished its reputation among American consumers, as well as Honda’s lack of innovation.
Although the Camry is still currently the best-selling car in America, it’s market share of the mid-size sedan segment has been dropping since 2008. Currently it’s around 9.6 percent, that contrasts sharply with 14.2 percent a couple of years ago.
Toyota’s Corolla and Honda’s Civic and Accord haven’t fared much better. Even Consumer Reports, which once championed these cars as the top of the list when it came to recommended buys, didn’t rate a single one of them as a top pick in it’s most recent findings, instead choosing cars such as the Hyundai Sonata and Nissan Altima over the former ‘favorites.’
Even domestic brands such as Ford and Chevrolet, once dismissed by many, are making a comeback. According to Edmunds.com, some 14.3 percent of people normally shopping for a Civic are looking at the new 2012 Focus as an alternative, while more than 10 percent are considering the Chevy Cruze.
Neverthless, Toyota says that it is “not going to stand still,” according to U.S. spokesman Joe Tetherow and will be “coming back with something significant.” That something will likely comprise a range of new or significantly updated models, including a next generation Camry.
Whether it will be enough to win back customers and turn the tide of flagging sales remains to be seen.
For all the skepticism surrounding the Hyundai Equus, the Korean luxury sedan appears to be doing well, even exceeding Hyundai’s own expectations.
Hyundai’s Midwestern PR head Dean Bedore gave us some insight into the success of the Equus, noting that it currently has a 5 percent market share of the luxury car segment, while Hyundai itself has the same overall market share. Bedore noted that the only thing stopping Hyundai from selling more of them was a lack of supply.
Equus sales are currently outpacing brands like Rolls-Royce, Maybach and Bentley, along with sports cars like the BMW Z4, Audi R8 and Nissan GT-R. We are well aware of the apples vs. oranges nature of these kinds of comparisons, but we still found it neat that a $58,000 Hyundai is succeeding when even 5 years ago, such a notion would have been unthinkable.
Hit the jump to see the full list
After a dismal 2009 , American automakers look set to gain market share in 2010, despite fewer brands, a drastically reduced dealer network. The last time the Big 3 gained market share was in 1995.
The strong profitability of the domestic automakers has been linked to lower manufacturing costs, a reduced debt load and careful use of incentives. Import brands like Hyundai and Subaru also fared well, while stalwarts like Toyota ended up losing market share. Analysts expect overall U.S. sales volume to hit 11.5 million vehicles in 2010, an improvement of 1.1 million over 2009. Projections for 2011 were not available at this time, but the Big Three are expected to gain even more momentum as all-new product finally hits the market.
[Source: Detroit News]
In the land of sauerkraut, lederhosen and cars that have kidney shaped grilles with propeller logos on them things have changed. For 2008 the Audi A4, not the BMW 3 Series, was the best selling premium car (based on vehicle registrations) in Germany.
Audi reclaims the top spot after the 3 Series sat atop the premium segment in 2007. The move may seem surprising at first but put of the A4′s success is no doubt linked to the fact that the 2009 model was all new.
In Germany in 2008 98,714 Audi A4′s were registered. Audi as a brand also made huge strides in 2008 with it’s share it the German marketplace increasing 0.8 percent for a total market share of 8.1 percent. In Western Europe Audi also saw an increase where the company’s market share increased by 0.4 percent to 4.8 percent.
In the U.S. Audi also made strides in market share despite overall sales loses. According to a report in The Boston Globe, Audi’s market share rose between 0-6 and 0.7 percent for a total of 6.1 percent. Audi sold 87,760units in the U.S. in 2008 compared to 93,506 units in 2007 a decrease of 6.1 percent.
What these numbers really convey is that while Audi is suffering, its competitors are suffering more.
For the record, the most popular vehicle in Germany (for as long as anyone can remember) is the VW Golf.
2009 Audi A4:
[Source: The Boston Globe]
Official release after the jump: