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April Showers Bring Sales Power
After one of the worst winters in recent memory America’s northern extremities are finally starting to thaw out. In addition to longer days, spring is also bringing warmer temperatures as the sun wakes up from hibernation. But were April car sales as nice? Did better weather get more people in the mood… to buy a car, that is?
All told automakers sold nearly 1.4 million new vehicles in April, an increase of about 8 percent compared to the same month last year. The change was modest but headed in the right direction, and that’s what matters.
For the first four months of 2014 deliveries have topped 5.1 million units. That’s approximately a 3 percent increase compared to the same time period last year. Again that’s small but really there’s nothing to complain about. Here’s a list of top-performing brands along with the companies that didn’t do as well.
Among a relatively mundane sales month across the board, there were still a few big winners riding high above the pack.
Strong August sales spurred on by a resilient market meant that automakers across the board enjoyed sales growth last month with few exceptions.
The Volt set its best sales month yet, with 2,289 units sold in March 2012. That’s more than double what they sold in February 2012. Before March, the most Volts Chevy had sold in a single month was back in December 2011, when it sold 1,529 units.
In comparison, the Volts biggest competitor, the pure-electric Nissan Leaf sold just 579 models in March. That is an increase from their February numbers, but is a far cry from their best selling month back in June 2011 when they sold 1,708.
Hopefully if sales of the Volt keep climbing, perhaps Chevy could consider canceling that extra week off in the summer at their Volt plant.
Since the 2007-2009 economic recession, the automotive retail market displayed a drop in new car-sales and the increased demand for used vehicles. For 2012, data indicates that it will be more of the same.
Jonathan Banks, Executive Auto Analyst for the NADA Used Car Guide, explained, “The average trade-in value of a 3-year-old used car is 8 percent higher in January 2012 compared to last January. We expect this trend of higher trade-in values to continue throughout the year.”
Essentially, Banks noted there were two reasons for the ongoing trend in used car value. First, NADA analysts predict a 7 percent decline in used vehicle supply for 2012. The off-lease supply, which accounts for a large number of pre-owned vehicles, is estimated to have fallen by 22 percent for 2012.
“Banks says, “The depreciation rate of used vehicles this year will be slower than it has been at any other time in recent history because of reduced inventory, which will keep prices on used models in demand at a premium.”
The second factor attributing to the value of used vehicles is the continuing demand for them. The average age of vehicles currently on the road are at nearly 11 years old. However, Jonathan Banks believes the demand for both new and used cars will increase for 2012.
“Strong consumer demand for late-model used vehicles and a continued reduction in supply will drive up prices this year. For many car buyers who are concerned about cost and economic uncertainty, the used-vehicle market will remain a viable option.”
From the months of spy photos and leaks, the many Frankfurt previews, to finally the warm reception during its Frankfurt Auto Show official unveiling, the brand new Porsche 911 was destined to be an icon.
But more than that, according to a Porsche source the German sports car maker aims for the new 911 sales to reach an average of 40,000 units a year for the extent of the model’s lifecycle. This yearly average number, if achieved, effectively doubles the number sold in 2010.
Initially, Porsche CEO Matthias Mueller projected a humbler 30,000 units for the new model– a sales number that would still make the new 911 the most successful in history.
Porsche has not confirmed this target but sales and marketing chief Bernhard Maier is, “…Confident that the 911 will continue to take a strong position in the Porsche sales mix. The vehicle is the icon of the brand.”
The 911 begun accepting customer orders since September 1, and will reach showrooms across United States, Porsche’s largest market, by December.
GALLERY: 2012 Porsche 911
Hyundai is celebrating its first ever year in which it sold 500,000 vehicles, with the Sonata leading the charge, moving over 183,000 units. The Elantra and Santa Fe were second and third, respectively.
The company’s previous record was 467,009 units in 2007, but Hyundai expects to sell about 537,000 units this year. The record year also coincides with the 25th anniversary of Hyundai’s entry into the American market, and we offer our congratulations on this occassion.
Hit the jump to read the official press release