AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
November saw the highest automotive sales in almost seven years with the seasonally-adjusted annual rate reaching 16.4 million.
Don’t tell Audi that car sales are supposed to be stagnant this year. The German automaker might just laugh at you after not only having a record month, but its best first quarter ever.
Audi closed the first quarter 2012 books at 346,100 sales, an increase of 10.8 percent over last year. March was also the best single month in the company’s history, moving 143,500 vehicles worldwide. This is no doubt boosted by the emerging Chinese market, where 40 percent of the A8 global sales take place. In total, VW Group’s premium brand saw a 40.5 percent growth in China with a total of 90,063 sales.
While Toyota celebrated all-time record Prius sales and Camry had its best March ever, luxury division Lexus enjoyed “a solid month” according to Mark Templin, Lexus Division group vice president and general manager.
A total of 20,140 Lexus vehicles were sold in the month of March with 2,558 of those being the new GS.
“The new GS continues to exceed our expectations,” Templin said. The astonishing thing is that the new-style GS has already sold more units in the first quarter of 2012 than its predecessor sold all of 2011.
It’s obvious that the former GS model never really caught on. The styling was a bit mundane, even for a luxury sedan, and seemed entirely out of place compared to the other Lexus models. The change in styling and aggressive design of the new GS won us over, and it’s no surprise that it’s a hit with the general public.
The new GS 450h hybrid will arrive into dealership showrooms this month, which could further boost GS model sales for the rest of 2012. The 2013 GS was recently named a ‘Top Safety Pick’ by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) based on its crash test performance.
According to a statement by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM), China’s monthly sales of passenger-vehicles suffered its steepest decline in more than seven years due to a Lunar New Year holiday season hiatus that deprived dealers of a week’s worth of sales. Figures indicated that sales fell to 1.16 million units in January, a 24 percent decrease from the year before. According to five analysts from Bloomberg News, sales were projected to drop 18 percent.
Great Wall Securities Co. analyst Ran Fei said, “Even though the actual holidays were five working days, some dealerships took the opportunity to close their stores for a longer time. The numbers are disappointing.” Compounding the auto sales slump in the Chinese market, the Chinese government also estimated that holiday sales at the nation’s main retailers and restaurants rose at their slowest pace since the 2009 financial crisis.
Are these signs an indication that the world’s largest and fastest growing automotive market is showing economic resistance? Despite these statistics, Ran Fei insists that “Car demand is stable. There’s no indication of any changes on that front.” China’s Passenger Car Association also believes that the Chinese economy is fundamentally sound and interprets the auto sales number as a mere holiday season distortion. The Passenger Car Association expects a 30 percent rise in sales for February.
Huatai Securities Co. analyst Chen Liang adds, “Demand is still there and consumers in the smaller, less developed cities will still have a growing need for cars. These numbers don’t change my outlook for the year.”
In January, GM reported an 8 percent decline in China sales, its first Chinese sales decline in six months. Chevrolet sales suffered a 20 percent hit to 54,399 units. According to Ford, its China sales fell a staggering 42 percent last month. Bucking the trend, Luxury German brands BMW and Audi both posted higher sales, enjoying a 30 percent and 23 percent gain respectively.
IHS Automotive Shanghai analyst Namrita Chow provided this explanation, “Prior to the Chinese New Year, Chinese consumers who are looking to enhance their prestige and status symbol have chosen high-end luxury brands.”
The Chevrolet Volt ended the last month of 2011 with its best month of sales to date. Having sold 1,529 Volts in December, GM ended its full year of Volt sales at a total of 7,671 units for 2011.
While this figure is significantly lower than its 10,000 sales goal, Fox News noted that the Volt’s sales performance for its first year easily trump the sales performance of the Toyota Prius on its first year, which only managed to sell 5,600 units all the way back in the year 2000. Today, the Prius is the best-selling hybrid in America and Toyota has sold 136,463 units of Prius models in 2011.
Going forward, Chevrolet aims to sell 45,000 Volts for 2012 and reach a round 60,000 total units worldwide. An ambitious goal, Chevrolet will have to sell a lot more Volts for every quarter of 2012 than the total number of Volts it sold for all of 2011.
[Source: Fox News]
Rolls Royce Motor Cars has experienced tremendous success, enjoying a record half-year in 2011. The British automaker has seen an increase of sales by 64 percent worldwide, compared to the same period in 2010. Within the first six months of 2011, 1592 cars have been delivered to customers, and there is continued strong demand for both the Phantom and Ghost.
Rolls Royce is experiencing growth in all regions, but there is a particularly strong demand in Asia, with sales up over 170 percent. Sales are also growing in the Middle East, up by over 40 percent and the US is also growing by a similar amount. There has also been an increase in Europe with German sales up by 60 percent.
Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Executive Officer for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, said, “This is an excellent half-year result and demonstrates the confidence that our customers have in our company and our products. The first six months of the year have also seen Rolls-Royce celebrate our unique heritage, with the centenary of the Spirit of Ecstasy, and demonstrate our innovation, with the Phantom Experimental Electric, 102EX. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars continues to operate as the world’s foremost ultra luxury car manufacturer.”
But a look at the registration numbers of mid-size sedans sold in America, shows that the Ford Fusion is now the second most popular sedan in America, trailing the Toyota Camry. The ever popular Honda Accord has slipped down to third place.
However, the Accord is available in two body-styles, coupe and sedan, and when you combine these two, you’ll find that the Accord is still in second place. If you concentrate just on sedans, the Fusion, an American car built on a Japanese car platform (the Fusion is based on the old Mazda6) has taken the first runner-up spot.
The top-five sedans are as follows:
1. Toyota Camry = 108,629 units
2. Ford Fusion = 87,945 units
3. Honda Accord = 83,965 units
4. Nissan Altima = 80,957 units
5. Hyundai Sonata = 77,444 units