PSA outlines global mobility strategy | Automotive Industry Analysis

PSA sees Free2Move as an essential element in its mobility strategy and a first step into the US market (with MaaS rather than actual vehicle sales)

PSA sees Free2Move as an essential element in its mobility strategy and a first step into the US market (with MaaS rather than actual vehicle sales)

Newly enlarged Groupe PSA faces challenges on a number of fronts as it looks to integrate Opel and Vauxhall to its operations. Like other OEMs, it also needs a strategy for a rapidly changing urban mobility landscape. Chris Wright was in Paris to hear more.

Aggregation is a key word in PSA Group’s new wide-ranging global mobility strategy which covers everything from buying a new or used car, through repairs and fleet management to mobility services which include car, bike and scooter sharing.

PSA is not limiting its strategy to its own products. Its mobility service Free2Move, used car and vehicle repair apps are open to other brands and independent businesses. To help achieve this, the group has been sweeping up new partners and start-ups.

With the Carventura.com and Aramisauto.com platforms PSA is tapping into a massive 150m global used car market. It is a multi-brand, multi-channel online platform that is able to manage the customer-to-customer transactions that make up more than 50% of the market.

Frederick Lecroat, chief executive of Carventura.com said the aim is to give people security and confidence. The service provides:

  • Advice on the value of a vehicle
  • Pre-sale inspection
  • Six month warranty
  • All the paperwork
  • Home delivery
  • Secure payments

Marc Lechantre, PSA senior vice president for used car business said the service is already available in France and will now be rolled out across Europe and eventually globally. “China is a priority and so is Latin America. Brazil is in the top three used car markets in the world.”

MisterAuto.com and the auto repair shop on the online quote platform, Autobutler.fr, give PSA access to an international network of more than 3,000 garages maintaining vehicles of all brands.

Auto repair shops will be able to browse the best selection of replacement parts onthe market for all brands through PSA’s new retail brand, DISTRIGO.

Autobutler is an app designed to shift power from the companies to the consumers. It was started in 2016 by Peter Zigler with the aim of getting better vehicle repair services by effectively putting the jobs out to auction – finding the right part and the best repairer online.

Zigler said: “The hardest part has been changing the mindset of the old established mechanics. The app allows people to post theirproblem and the repairers can then come back with a price and timescale. This way the customers shops around for the best price while the benefit for the repairer is that they can reach customers from further afield who they otherwise might not get.

“There has been some reluctance from repairers but we are trying to change what has been happening for decades.” PSA dealers and authorised repairers are allowed to bid although aftermarket chief Christophe Musy said it was important that the site remains impartial.

Free2Move 

A vital part of the mobility strategy is Free2Move. It is not just a mobility app, it spearheads PSA’s return to the US market where it has been launched in Seattle and is being rolled out across the country. The app covers car-sharing as well as motorised scooters and bikes. Brigitte Courthoux, senior Vice President for connected services and new mobility, said it already has 1.5m customers. The app lets them know where the nearest ride-share car, bike or scooter is located and again covers other brand apps, such as Daimler’s Car2Go.

She added: “It is a service that allows people to move around and we are looking at the mobility space as a big opportunity in Europe and the US.”

Will this disruption eventually mean the end of car ownership as we know it, or, indeed, the car rental business?

“The reality is that we will still sell cars, people still want freedom and many will still want to own their own vehicle.”

Courthoux said: “The reality is that we will still sell cars, people still want freedom and many will still want to own their own vehicle. There will still be rental fleets, after all, car-sharing is a form of vehicle rental. But lifestyles are changing and mobility is evolving every day.”

Currently public transport as an alternative is not available on the app but she added there are plans to add this later.

Central to all of these solutions is digital technology, which makes it possible to deliver new services adapted to individual needs in line with usage patterns. With cars becoming part of the Internet of Things (IoT) there is a requirement to organise and manage car data security.

PSA is developing a global IoT platform in partnership with Huawei, one of the world leaders in information and communication technologies, whose expertise will ensure compliance with the highest regulatory and data security standards.

The new platform, known as the Connected Vehicle Modular Platform (CVMP), will ensure that all digital interactions between the car and the cloud are managed securely while at the same time guaranteeing data integrity, authenticity and confidentiality.

CVMP will make it possible to introduce new services such as remote on-demand car diagnostics and remote control solutions such as battery charging and pre-heating; over-the-air car software updates, traffic information and navigation; car-sharing and corporate fleet management; and customised on-board services such as personal assistant solutions.

The first applications of the new platform will be launched for customers in Europe and China in 2018 and subsequently in the rest of the world. New services adjusted to customer needs will be rolled out gradually.

America’s SUV thirst hits luxury brands behind the scenes

Mercedes extended its U.S. sales lead among luxury brands in October, with the German brand’s total deliveries rising 1 percent, excluding van models or Smart small cars.

Luxury automakers benefiting from red-hot demand for lucrative SUVs and crossovers are dealing with a behind-the-scenes headache because of just how swiftly consumer demand has shifted away from their sedans.

The glut of vehicles being returned after their leases expire disproportionately affects premium brands such as Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Lexus and Audi, because they rely more on leasing than mainstream brands. Sales for luxury manufacturers’ car models have dropped dramatically the last few years, leaving them in a bind with both too much supply and falling demand.

“It’s not necessarily the overwhelming amount of vehicles, it’s the mix of those flood of vehicles,” Scott Keogh, president of Audi of America, said in an interview last week at Bloomberg’s New York headquarters. “You’re throwing all these cars into the marketplace a couple years after it has evaporated and jumped into SUVs.”

Luxury automakers reported fresh figures this week showing just how pronounced the preference for sport utility vehicles has become. Demand surged last month for models like the Audi Q5, Mercedes GLE and Lexus GX, and slumped for sedans including the Mercedes S-Class, Audi A4 and Lexus GS.

Mercedes extended its sales lead for the year, with the German brand’s total deliveries rising 1 percent, excluding van models or Smart small cars. With a 9.6 percent sales gain in October, Audi continued to narrow its gap with Lexus, which reported a 7.7 percent drop. BMW — which delayed reporting sales 24 hours following an IT issue — saw October deliveries fall 3.4 percent.

The surplus of luxury coupes and sedans returning after leases poses obvious challenges to the used-car market. Significantly more passenger cars were leased a few years ago than there’s appetite for now — SUVs and crossovers have surged to 56 percent of luxury sales this year through September, compared with just 42 percent three years ago, according to car-shopping website Edmunds.

Costlier leasing

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Ford pickup, fleet sales drive second straight monthly gain

F series sales were up 16% for its best October since 2004.

DETROIT — Ford Motor Co.’s U.S. light-vehicle sales rose 6.4 percent in October behind strong F-series sales and a double-digit rise in fleet sales related to order timing. It was Ford’s second consecutive monthly gain.

Brands: Ford up 6.8%, Lincoln down 1.8%.

Notable nameplates: F series up 16% for its best October since 2004, with 51% of those sales being the three most expensive trim levels; Focus up 7.8% for its fourth-straight monthly gain; Mustang down 3.3% as freshened 2018 models began arriving in showrooms.

Incentives: $4,443 per vehicle, up 9.4% from a year earlier, according to ALG.

Average transaction price: $35,981, up 1% from a year earlier, according to ALG.

Fleet mix: 26%. Fleet sales up 15% in October.

Inventory: Ford’s gross stock at the end of October was 636,907 vehicles, representing a 79-day supply, up from a 72-day supply a month earlier.

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Nissan, Ford sales rise behind strong truck volume

U.S. sales of the Edge increased 37 percent to 11,036 last month — its best October performance since its launch in 2007, Ford said. Photo credit: DAVID PHILLIPS

UPDATED: 11/1/17 10:11 am ET

Ford and Nissan posted higher U.S. sales in October as the industry looked to maintain momentum after a strong September. General Motors projected a seasonally adjusted annual sales rate of 18 million. That would be the second-strongest month of the year and much higher than most projections.

Forecasts from LMC Automotive, Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds call for a 2 percent to 4 percent decline in industry sales in October. The U.S. new-vehicle market, after seven straight annual gains capped by a record 2016, was off 1.7 percent through September.

Here’s a rundown of how each company fared in October, followed by forecasts for the month, the incentive climate, and other context.

Ford

Ford posted a 6.2 percent gain in October sales on stronger truck, crossover and fleet deliveries. Volume rose 6.6 percent at the Ford division but fell 1.8 percent at Lincoln.

Ford said truck sales increased 11 percent and SUV volume rose 5.3 percent, offsetting a 2.4 percent dip in car volume. Retail volume rose 3.5 percent and fleet deliveries rose 15 percent.

GM

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GM sales fell 2.2 percent behind a drop of 3.8 percent at Chevrolet. Volume slipped 4.5 percent at Buick and 0.1 percent at Cadillac, but rose 4.6 percent at GMC.

While GM’s truck and crossover sales were strong, car volume skidded 24 percent to 52,800 units last month.

Nissan

Strong truck and crossover demand helped Nissan Motor Co. sales rise 8.4 percent last month to 123,012 — an October record — with a 10 percent gain at the Nissan brand offsetting an 8.1 percent decline at Infiniti.

FCA US

Lower fleet sales — 23,220 units, down 43 percent in October — continue to undermine overall results at FCA US, which reported a decline of 13 percent. Five of FCA’s six major brands — Jeep, Chrysler, Dodge, Ram and Fiat — posted declines.

October predictions

Analysts expect October to produce the year’s second-best month for new-vehicle sales, on a SAAR basis, partly due to surging demand in states recovering from hurricane damage, though volume is projected to fall slightly from the same month last year.

Forecasts from LMC Automotive, Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds call for a 2 percent to 4 percent decline in industry sales in October. The U.S. new-vehicle market, after seven straight annual gains capped by a record 2016, was off 1.7 percent through September.

SAAR forecasts

Analysts polled by Bloomberg expect the seasonally adjusted sales rate for October to come in at 17.6 million, one of the highest rates of the year, but down from September’s torrid 18.58 million pace and just below October 2016’s 17.85 million rate. A SAAR of 17.5 million or higher would be well above the industry’s sales pace in the first eight months of the year. GM today pegged the October SAAR at 18 million.

Company outlook

Ahead of today’s reports, analysts polled by Bloomberg expected only three major automakers to post-year-over year gains: Ford Motor Co., up 1.4 percent; Toyota Motor Corp., up 4 percent; and Volkswagen/Audi, up 10 percent.

October volume was projected to fall 1.5 percent at General Motors, 12 percent at Fiat Chrysler, 2.2 percent at Honda, 5.7 percent at Nissan Motor Co. and 10 percent at Hyundai-Kia.

Spiffs

Incentives averaged $3,901 per vehicle in the first 17 days of October, J.D. Power says, topping the month’s previous record set last year, by $66. Power says average transaction prices across the industry also set an October record, rising $615 from a year ago to $32,185, suggesting that rising discounts are not putting a dent in profits. For the month, ALG estimates new-vehicle incentives averaged $3,820, up 8.4 percent from October 2016 but down 1.7 percent from September. Among major automakers, GM and Nissan offered the biggest deals last month, ALG says. (See chart below.)

Odds & Ends

Automakers are struggling to move lagging 2017 inventory off dealer lots. In October, 72 percent of new vehicles sold were 2017 models, Edmunds said, while last October, 60 percent of new vehicles sold were 2016 models … There were 25 selling days last month compared with 26 in October 2016 … U.S. consumers had four weekends to shop for vehicles last month compared with five in October 2016 … Among major automakers, only Fiat Chrysler is still looking for its first monthly sales gain this year. Among major brands, Jeep and Hyundai have yet to post a monthly sales advance … Retail sales are expected to account for 82.7 percent of industry volume in October, down from 83 percent in October 2016, Kelley Blue Book says.

Notable & quotable

Kelley Blue Book estimates average transaction prices for light vehicles in the United States came in at $35,263 for October, $101 higher than October 2016 and $128 higher than September 2017.

“Transaction prices continue to rise at a slower pace than we’ve seen recently. Prices in the third quarter were up just 1 percent after averaging 3 percent gains in the first half of the year. While Kelley Blue Book expects solid sales in October 2017 with a 17.9 million SAAR, flat transaction prices combined with ever-growing incentive spending signal headwinds for the new-vehicle market as 2017 nears its end.”

    — Tim Fleming, analyst for Kelley Blue Book

October incentive outlays for U.S.

Manufacturer Oct. 2017 incentive forecast Oct. 2016 Sep. 2017 Percent change vs. Oct. 2016 Percent change vs Sept. 2017
BMW (BMW, Mini) $5,028 $6,472 $5,273 -22% -4.6%
Daimler (Mercedes-Benz, Smart) $4,882 $4,770 $5,002 2.3% -2.4%
FCA (Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, Fiat) $4,631 $4,185 $4,635 10.7% -0.1%
Ford (Ford, Lincoln) $4,443 $4,060 $4,473 9.4% -0.7%
GM (Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC) $5,105 $4,456 $5,215 15% -2.1%
Honda (Acura, Honda) $2,023 $1,899 $1,958 6.5% 3.3%
Hyundai $2,802 $2,467 $2,843 14% -1.4%
Kia $3,915 $3,133 $3,883 25% 0.8%
Nissan (Nissan, Infiniti) $4,428 $4,236 $4,471 4.5% -1%
Subaru $1,084 $1,097 $1,077 -1.2% 0.6%
Toyota (Lexus, Scion, Toyota) $2,684 $2,429 $2,783 10.5% -3.6%
Volkswagen (Audi, Porsche, Volkswagen) $3,597 $3,855 $3,657 -6.7% -1.7%
Industry $3,820 $3,525 $3,885 8.4% -1.7%
Source: ALG

Nissan, Ford, Toyota sales rise behind strong truck volume

U.S. sales of the Edge increased 37 percent to 11,036 last month — its best October performance since its launch in 2007, Ford said. Photo credit: DAVID PHILLIPS

UPDATED: 11/1/17 10:33 am ET

Nissan, Ford and Toyota posted higher U.S. sales in October as the industry looked to maintain momentum after a strong September. General Motors projected a seasonally adjusted annual sales rate of 18 million. That would be the second-strongest month of the year and much higher than most projections.

Forecasts from LMC Automotive, Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds call for a 2 percent to 4 percent decline in industry sales in October. The U.S. new-vehicle market, after seven straight annual gains capped by a record 2016, was off 1.7 percent through September.

Here’s a rundown of how each company fared in October, followed by forecasts for the month, the incentive climate, and other context.

Ford

Ford posted a 6.2 percent gain in October sales on stronger truck, crossover and fleet deliveries. Volume rose 6.6 percent at the Ford division but fell 1.8 percent at Lincoln.

Ford said truck sales increased 11 percent and SUV volume rose 5.3 percent, offsetting a 2.4 percent dip in car volume. Retail volume rose 3.5 percent and fleet deliveries rose 15 percent.

GM

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GM sales fell 2.2 percent behind a drop of 3.8 percent at Chevrolet. Volume slipped 4.5 percent at Buick and 0.1 percent at Cadillac, but rose 4.6 percent at GMC.

While GM’s truck and crossover sales were strong, car volume skidded 24 percent to 52,800 units last month.

Toyota

A 19 percent surge in light truck volume — an October high — helped Toyota Motor Co. post a 1.1 percent gain in volume last month. Deliveries rose 2.5 percent at the Toyota division but slid 7.7 percent at Lexus. Combined car demand at Toyota and Lexus skidded 15 percent.

“The first month of the final quarter of 2017 saw sustained strong sales for the industry, and we expect that momentum to continue through the last two months of the year,” said Jack Hollis, group vice president and general manager of the Toyota division.

Nissan

Strong truck and crossover demand helped Nissan Motor Co. sales rise 8.4 percent last month to 123,012 — an October record — with a 10 percent gain at the Nissan brand offsetting an 8.1 percent decline at Infiniti.

FCA US

Lower fleet sales — 23,220 units, down 43 percent in October — continue to undermine overall results at FCA US, which reported a decline of 13 percent. Five of FCA’s six major brands — Jeep, Chrysler, Dodge, Ram and Fiat — posted declines.

October predictions

Analysts expect October to produce the year’s second-best month for new-vehicle sales, on a SAAR basis, partly due to surging demand in states recovering from hurricane damage, though volume is projected to fall slightly from the same month last year.

Forecasts from LMC Automotive, Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds call for a 2 percent to 4 percent decline in industry sales in October. The U.S. new-vehicle market, after seven straight annual gains capped by a record 2016, was off 1.7 percent through September.

SAAR forecasts

Analysts polled by Bloomberg expect the seasonally adjusted sales rate for October to come in at 17.6 million, one of the highest rates of the year, but down from September’s torrid 18.58 million pace and just below October 2016’s 17.85 million rate. A SAAR of 17.5 million or higher would be well above the industry’s sales pace in the first eight months of the year. GM today pegged the October SAAR at 18 million.

Company outlook

Ahead of today’s reports, analysts polled by Bloomberg expected only three major automakers to post-year-over year gains: Ford Motor Co., up 1.4 percent; Toyota Motor Corp., up 4 percent; and Volkswagen/Audi, up 10 percent.

October volume was projected to fall 1.5 percent at General Motors, 12 percent at Fiat Chrysler, 2.2 percent at Honda, 5.7 percent at Nissan Motor Co. and 10 percent at Hyundai-Kia.

Spiffs

Incentives averaged $3,901 per vehicle in the first 17 days of October, J.D. Power says, topping the month’s previous record set last year, by $66. Power says average transaction prices across the industry also set an October record, rising $615 from a year ago to $32,185, suggesting that rising discounts are not putting a dent in profits. For the month, ALG estimates new-vehicle incentives averaged $3,820, up 8.4 percent from October 2016 but down 1.7 percent from September. Among major automakers, GM and Nissan offered the biggest deals last month, ALG says. (See chart below.)

Odds & Ends

Automakers are struggling to move lagging 2017 inventory off dealer lots. In October, 72 percent of new vehicles sold were 2017 models, Edmunds said, while last October, 60 percent of new vehicles sold were 2016 models … There were 25 selling days last month compared with 26 in October 2016 … U.S. consumers had four weekends to shop for vehicles last month compared with five in October 2016 … Among major automakers, only Fiat Chrysler is still looking for its first monthly sales gain this year. Among major brands, Jeep and Hyundai have yet to post a monthly sales advance … Retail sales are expected to account for 82.7 percent of industry volume in October, down from 83 percent in October 2016, Kelley Blue Book says.

Notable & quotable

Kelley Blue Book estimates average transaction prices for light vehicles in the United States came in at $35,263 for October, $101 higher than October 2016 and $128 higher than September 2017.

“Transaction prices continue to rise at a slower pace than we’ve seen recently. Prices in the third quarter were up just 1 percent after averaging 3 percent gains in the first half of the year. While Kelley Blue Book expects solid sales in October 2017 with a 17.9 million SAAR, flat transaction prices combined with ever-growing incentive spending signal headwinds for the new-vehicle market as 2017 nears its end.”

    — Tim Fleming, analyst for Kelley Blue Book

October incentive outlays for U.S.

Manufacturer Oct. 2017 incentive forecast Oct. 2016 Sep. 2017 Percent change vs. Oct. 2016 Percent change vs Sept. 2017
BMW (BMW, Mini) $5,028 $6,472 $5,273 -22% -4.6%
Daimler (Mercedes-Benz, Smart) $4,882 $4,770 $5,002 2.3% -2.4%
FCA (Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, Fiat) $4,631 $4,185 $4,635 10.7% -0.1%
Ford (Ford, Lincoln) $4,443 $4,060 $4,473 9.4% -0.7%
GM (Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC) $5,105 $4,456 $5,215 15% -2.1%
Honda (Acura, Honda) $2,023 $1,899 $1,958 6.5% 3.3%
Hyundai $2,802 $2,467 $2,843 14% -1.4%
Kia $3,915 $3,133 $3,883 25% 0.8%
Nissan (Nissan, Infiniti) $4,428 $4,236 $4,471 4.5% -1%
Subaru $1,084 $1,097 $1,077 -1.2% 0.6%
Toyota (Lexus, Scion, Toyota) $2,684 $2,429 $2,783 10.5% -3.6%
Volkswagen (Audi, Porsche, Volkswagen) $3,597 $3,855 $3,657 -6.7% -1.7%
Industry $3,820 $3,525 $3,885 8.4% -1.7%
Source: ALG

Nissan, Ford, Toyota sales rise behind strong truck volume

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Automaker Oct. 2017 Oct. 2016 Pct. chng. 10 mos.
2017
10 mos.
2016
Pct. chng.
BMW of N.A.
    BMW
    Mini
    Rolls-Royce*
  BMW of N.A.
FCA US 153,373 176,609 -13.2% 1,732,511 1,890,969 -8.4%
    Alfa Romeo 1,205 23 5139.1% 8,557 441 1840.4%
    Chrysler 11,018 14,181 -22.3% 154,827 200,678 -22.8%
    Dodge 24,476 41,514 -41.0% 390,266 436,454 -10.6%
    Fiat 1,769 2,622 -32.5% 23,021 27,721 -17.0%
    Jeep 67,074 68,826 -2.5% 689,316 775,932 -11.2%
    Ram 47,831 49,443 -3.3% 466,524 449,743 3.7%
  FCA US 153,373 176,609 -13.2% 1,732,511 1,890,969 -8.4%
    Maserati
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles 153,373 176,609 -13.2% 1,732,511 1,890,969 -8.4%
Ford Motor Co. 199,698 187,692 6.4% 2,124,085 2,164,985 -1.9%
    Ford 190,789 178,623 6.8% 2,032,454 2,075,481 -2.1%
    Lincoln 8,909 9,069 -1.8% 91,631 89,504 2.4%
  Ford Motor Co. 199,698 187,692 6.4% 2,124,085 2,164,985 -1.9%
General Motors 252,813 258,626 -2.2% 2,448,311 2,471,023 -0.9%
    Buick 19,142 20,046 -4.5% 178,972 189,813 -5.7%
    Cadillac 13,931 13,948 -0.1% 127,777 133,234 -4.1%
    Chevrolet 175,110 181,964 -3.8% 1,691,298 1,713,876 -1.3%
    GMC 44,630 42,668 4.6% 450,264 434,100 3.7%
  General Motors 252,813 258,626 -2.2% 2,448,311 2,471,023 -0.9%
Honda Motor Co. 127,353 126,161 0.9% 1,358,956 1,354,541 0.3%
    Acura 12,698 12,869 -1.3% 126,824 132,596 -4.4%
    Honda 114,655 113,292 1.2% 1,232,132 1,221,945 0.8%
  Honda Motor Co. 127,353 126,161 0.9% 1,358,956 1,354,541 0.3%
Hyundai-Kia
    Genesis
    Hyundai
    Hyundai Motor America
    Kia Motors America
  Hyundai-Kia
Jaguar Land Rover N.A.
    Jaguar
    Land Rover
  Jaguar Land Rover N.A.
Mazda N.A. 20,811 22,711 -8.4% 241,108 246,978 -2.4%
  Mazda N.A. 20,811 22,711 -8.4% 241,108 246,978 -2.4%
McLaren Automotive 115 58 98.3% 762 647 17.8%
  McLaren Automotive 115 58 98.3% 762 647 17.8%
Mercedes-Benz USA
    Mercedes-Benz
    Smart USA
  Mercedes-Benz USA
Mitsubishi Motors N.A. 7,381 7,637 -3.4% 86,576 81,988 5.6%
  Mitsubishi Motors N.A. 7,381 7,637 -3.4% 86,576 81,988 5.6%
Nissan North America 123,012 113,520 8.4% 1,319,253 1,296,544 1.8%
    Infiniti 10,296 11,208 -8.1% 124,010 107,983 14.8%
    Nissan 112,716 102,312 10.2% 1,195,243 1,188,561 0.6%
  Nissan North America 123,012 113,520 8.4% 1,319,253 1,296,544 1.8%
  Nissan/Mitsubishi** 130,393 121,157 7.6% 1,405,829 1,378,532 2.0%
Subaru of America 54,045 53,760 0.5% 532,893 500,647 6.4%
  Subaru of America 54,045 53,760 0.5% 532,893 500,647 6.4%
Tesla Motors* 4,900 3,400 44.1% 44,720 34,000 31.5%
  Tesla Motors* 4,900 3,400 44.1% 44,720 34,000 31.5%
Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. 188,434 186,295 1.1% 2,019,913 2,008,756 0.6%
    Lexus 22,894 24,803 -7.7% 242,553 260,996 -7.1%
    Scion 2 376 -99.5% 199 11,756 -98.3%
    Toyota 165,538 161,116 2.7% 1,777,161 1,736,004 2.4%
    Toyota/Scion 165,540 161,492 2.5% 1,777,360 1,747,760 1.7%
  Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. 188,434 186,295 1.1% 2,019,913 2,008,756 0.6%
Volvo Car USA
  Volvo Car USA
VW Group of America 47,433 42,899 10.6% 463,267 428,601 8.1%
    Audi 19,425 17,721 9.6% 180,339 169,900 6.1%
    Bentley 188 312 -39.7% 1,860 1,787 4.1%
    Lamborghini* 88 87 1.1% 880 867 1.5%
    Porsche
    VW 27,732 24,779 11.9% 280,188 256,047 9.4%
  VW Group of America 47,433 42,899 10.6% 463,267 428,601 8.1%
Other*** 255 252 1.2% 2,550 2,508 1.7%
Total 1,179,623 1,179,620 0.0% 12,374,905 12,482,187 -0.9%

Numbers in this table are calculated by Automotive News based on actual monthly sales reported by the manufacturers and may differ from numbers reported elsewhere.
Source: Automotive News Data Center
Note:
*Estimate
**Renault-Nissan acquired controlling interest in Mitsubishi Motors on Oct. 20, 2016.
***Reflects Aston Martin, Ferrari and Lotus sales.

U.S. sales of the Edge increased 37 percent to 11,036 last month — its best October performance since its launch in 2007, Ford said. Photo credit: DAVID PHILLIPS

UPDATED: 11/1/17 12:45 pm ET – adds more results

Ford, Nissan, Honda and Toyota posted higher U.S. sales in October as the industry looked to maintain momentum after a strong September.

FCA US and General Motors fell, but GM predicted a seasonally adjusted annual sales rate of 18 million. That would be the second-strongest month of the year and much higher than most projections.

Forecasts from LMC Automotive, Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds saw a 2 percent to 4 percent decline in industry sales in October. The U.S. new-vehicle market, after seven straight annual gains capped by a record 2016, was off 1.7 percent through September.

Here’s how companies fared in October, followed by forecasts for the month, the incentive climate, and other context.

COMPANY RESULTS

Ford

Ford posted a 6.4 percent gain in October sales on stronger truck, crossover and fleet deliveries. Volume rose 6.8 percent at the Ford division but fell 1.8 percent at Lincoln.

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Ford said truck sales increased 11 percent and SUV volume rose 5.3 percent, offsetting a 2.4 percent dip in car volume. Retail volume rose 3.5 percent and fleet deliveries rose 15 percent.

GM

GM sales fell 2.2 percent behind a drop of 3.8 percent at Chevrolet. Volume slipped 4.5 percent at Buick and 0.1 percent at Cadillac, but rose 4.6 percent at GMC.

While GM’s truck and crossover sales were strong, car volume skidded 24 percent to 52,800 units last month.

Toyota

A 19 percent surge in light truck volume — an October high — helped Toyota Motor Corp. post a 1.1 percent gain in volume last month. Deliveries rose 2.5 percent at the Toyota division but slid 7.7 percent at Lexus. Combined car demand at Toyota and Lexus skidded 15 percent.

“The first month of the final quarter of 2017 saw sustained strong sales for the industry, and we expect that momentum to continue through the last two months of the year,” said Jack Hollis, group vice president and general manager of the Toyota division.

Nissan

Strong truck and crossover demand helped Nissan Motor Co. sales rise 8.4 percent last month to 123,012 — an October record — with a 10 percent gain at the Nissan brand offsetting an 8.1 percent decline at Infiniti.

FCA US

Lower fleet sales — 23,220 units, down 43 percent in October — continue to undermine overall results at FCA US, which reported a decline of 13 percent. Five of FCA’s six major brands — Jeep, Chrysler, Dodge, Ram and Fiat — posted declines.

Honda

Strong demand for cars helped counter weaker light-truck volumes at Honda Motor Co., which posted a 0.9 percent overall gain in October volume. Sales rose 1.2 percent at the Honda division but dropped 1.3 percent at Acura. American Honda’s car sales, led by the Honda Civic and redesigned Accord, rose 5.9 percent while light truck demand slid 3.6 percent. All of the Honda brand’s light trucks, except the Pilot, posted declines last month.

OCTOBER PREDICTIONS

Analysts expect October to produce the year’s second-best month for new-vehicle sales, on a SAAR basis, partly due to surging demand in states recovering from hurricane damage, though volume is projected to fall slightly from the same month last year.

Forecasts from LMC Automotive, Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds call for a 2 percent to 4 percent decline in industry sales in October. The U.S. new-vehicle market, after seven straight annual gains capped by a record 2016, was off 1.7 percent through September.

SAAR FORECASTS

Analysts polled by Bloomberg expect the seasonally adjusted sales rate for October to come in at 17.6 million, one of the highest rates of the year, but down from September’s torrid 18.58 million pace and just below October 2016’s 17.85 million rate. A SAAR of 17.5 million or higher would be well above the industry’s sales pace in the first eight months of the year. GM today pegged the October SAAR at 18 million.

COMPANY OUTLOOK

Ahead of today’s reports, analysts polled by Bloomberg expected only three major automakers to post-year-over year gains: Ford Motor Co., up 1.4 percent; Toyota Motor Corp., up 4 percent; and Volkswagen/Audi, up 10 percent.

October volume was projected to fall 1.5 percent at General Motors, 12 percent at Fiat Chrysler, 2.2 percent at Honda, 5.7 percent at Nissan Motor Co. and 10 percent at Hyundai-Kia.

SPIFFS

Incentives averaged $3,901 per vehicle in the first 17 days of October, J.D. Power says, topping the month’s previous record set last year, by $66. Power says average transaction prices across the industry also set an October record, rising $615 from a year ago to $32,185, suggesting that rising discounts are not putting a dent in profits. For the month, ALG estimates new-vehicle incentives averaged $3,820, up 8.4 percent from October 2016 but down 1.7 percent from September. Among major automakers, GM and Nissan offered the biggest deals last month, ALG says. (See chart below.)

ODDS & ENDS

Automakers are struggling to move lagging 2017 inventory off dealer lots. In October, 72 percent of new vehicles sold were 2017 models, Edmunds said, while last October, 60 percent of new vehicles sold were 2016 models … There were 25 selling days last month compared with 26 in October 2016 … U.S. consumers had four weekends to shop for vehicles last month compared with five in October 2016 … Among major automakers, only Fiat Chrysler is still looking for its first monthly sales gain this year. Among major brands, Jeep and Hyundai have yet to post a monthly sales advance … Retail sales are expected to account for 82.7 percent of industry volume in October, down from 83 percent in October 2016, Kelley Blue Book says.

NOTABLE & QUOTABLE

Kelley Blue Book estimates average transaction prices for light vehicles in the United States came in at $35,263 for October, $101 higher than October 2016 and $128 higher than September 2017.

“Transaction prices continue to rise at a slower pace than we’ve seen recently. Prices in the third quarter were up just 1 percent after averaging 3 percent gains in the first half of the year. While Kelley Blue Book expects solid sales in October 2017 with a 17.9 million SAAR, flat transaction prices combined with ever-growing incentive spending signal headwinds for the new-vehicle market as 2017 nears its end.”

    — Tim Fleming, analyst for Kelley Blue Book

October incentive outlays for U.S.

Manufacturer Oct. 2017 incentive forecast Oct. 2016 Sep. 2017 Percent change vs. Oct. 2016 Percent change vs Sept. 2017
BMW (BMW, Mini) $5,028 $6,472 $5,273 -22% -4.6%
Daimler (Mercedes-Benz, Smart) $4,882 $4,770 $5,002 2.3% -2.4%
FCA (Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, Fiat) $4,631 $4,185 $4,635 10.7% -0.1%
Ford (Ford, Lincoln) $4,443 $4,060 $4,473 9.4% -0.7%
GM (Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC) $5,105 $4,456 $5,215 15% -2.1%
Honda (Acura, Honda) $2,023 $1,899 $1,958 6.5% 3.3%
Hyundai $2,802 $2,467 $2,843 14% -1.4%
Kia $3,915 $3,133 $3,883 25% 0.8%
Nissan (Nissan, Infiniti) $4,428 $4,236 $4,471 4.5% -1%
Subaru $1,084 $1,097 $1,077 -1.2% 0.6%
Toyota (Lexus, Scion, Toyota) $2,684 $2,429 $2,783 10.5% -3.6%
Volkswagen (Audi, Porsche, Volkswagen) $3,597 $3,855 $3,657 -6.7% -1.7%
Industry $3,820 $3,525 $3,885 8.4% -1.7%
Source: ALG

Ford to be more tight-lipped with Wall Street, Bill Ford says

“You want to give Wall Street enough information, but you also don’t want to telegraph exactly where you’re going,” Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford said during a speech in Detroit.

DETROIT — Ford Motor Co. may have been too forthcoming with Wall Street in the past and will guard against tipping its hand on future plans, Executive Chairman Bill Ford said.

“In the past, maybe we said too much,” he said Tuesday. “This is a very competitive world we’re in. You want to give Wall Street enough information, but you also don’t want to telegraph exactly where you’re going. And I think that’s a balance that we are going to continue to work on.”

Analysts at Barclays and RBC Capital Markets downgraded their ratings on Ford stock days after CEO Jim Hackett’s address to investors earlier this month, citing the time it’ll take him to turn around the company. Others said Hackett’s presentation was lacking details. Only five analysts recommend buying the shares, while 19 tracked by Bloomberg rate them a hold and two advise selling.

“We are trying to provide clarity without being so open that we tip our hand in some areas that we think are very key for competitive advantage,” Bill Ford said after a Detroit Economic Club event. “The key is providing clarity when we’re ready so that investors can make an informed decision.”

Kia highlights access to Malaria treatment

In a new ad titled, “A Brighter Future for Everyone,” Kia Motors aims to improve mobility and access to healthcare.

The commercial opens with scenes from a sun-kissed African village with cattle scurrying across a field, as a female local narrates.

“Our village is a peaceful one. However, there is something that we are all afraid of,” she says. “It’s the Malaria mosquito.”

The commercial cuts to moving sketches which display the narrator’s solemn tale of walking great distances to obtain Malaria medicine for her sick child.

The sketches depict a woman trudging through the rain with a newborn in her arms. She eventually falls to her knees in despair — but much like the light at the end of a grim tunnel — a Kia mobile clinic arrives to save the day.

“Ever since that day, our family’s life has changed completely,” the woman says cheerfully.

The Kia mobile clinic teams up with local health centers to provide consultations, treatment and transportation to centers or hospitals nearby.

The commercial, which debuts in fifth place with 1,405,970 views, stems from Kia’s Green Light Project. Founded in 2012, the program provides resources to improve mobility and quality of life in developing regions in Africa.

1

Head to Head Ford
NA
This week
(True Reach): 4,309,621

Last week: 2

 

2

#A5BratPack Audi
NA
This week
(True Reach): 3,022,278

Last week: 4

 

3

16%

The Heismans Are Back

The Heismans Are Back Nissan
NA
This week
(True Reach): 2,480,511

Last week: 8

 

4

Beauty Mazda
NA
This week
(True Reach): 2,408,394

Last week: 9

 

5

Green Light Project Kia
NA
This week
(True Reach): 1,405,970

Last week: NEW

 

6

Tucson Intellimatic Hyundai
NA
This week
(True Reach): 1,329,165

Last week: 5

 

7

Returnee

2018 Honda Fit Sport

2018 Honda Fit Sport Honda
RPA
This week
(True Reach): 1,290,993

Last week: Returnee

 

8

Returnee

Celebrating a Century of Dependability

Celebrating a Century of Dependability Chevrolet
NA
This week
(True Reach): 890,455

Last week: Returnee

 

9

2016 Mazda CX-9 Mazda
NA
This week
(True Reach): 873,303

Last week: Returnee

 

Kia spolights access to Malaria treatment

In a new ad titled, “A Brighter Future for Everyone,” Kia Motors aims to improve mobility and access to healthcare.

The commercial opens with scenes from a sun-kissed African village with cattle scurrying across a field, as a female local narrates.

“Our village is a peaceful one. However, there is something that we are all afraid of,” she says. “It’s the Malaria mosquito.”

The commercial cuts to moving sketches which display the narrator’s solemn tale of walking great distances to obtain Malaria medicine for her sick child.

The sketches depict a woman trudging through the rain with a newborn in her arms. She eventually falls to her knees in despair — but much like the light at the end of a grim tunnel — a Kia mobile clinic arrives to save the day.

“Ever since that day, our family’s life has changed completely,” the woman says cheerfully.

The Kia mobile clinic teams up with local health centers to provide consultations, treatment and transportation to centers or hospitals nearby.

The commercial, which debuts in fifth place with 1,405,970 views, stems from Kia’s Green Light Project. Founded in 2012, the program provides resources to improve mobility and quality of life in developing regions in Africa.

1

Head to Head Ford
NA
This week
(True Reach): 4,309,621

Last week: 2

 

2

#A5BratPack Audi
NA
This week
(True Reach): 3,022,278

Last week: 4

 

3

16%

The Heismans Are Back

The Heismans Are Back Nissan
NA
This week
(True Reach): 2,480,511

Last week: 8

 

4

Beauty Mazda
NA
This week
(True Reach): 2,408,394

Last week: 9

 

5

Green Light Project Kia
NA
This week
(True Reach): 1,405,970

Last week: NEW

 

6

Tucson Intellimatic Hyundai
NA
This week
(True Reach): 1,329,165

Last week: 5

 

7

Returnee

2018 Honda Fit Sport

2018 Honda Fit Sport Honda
RPA
This week
(True Reach): 1,290,993

Last week: Returnee

 

8

Returnee

Celebrating a Century of Dependability

Celebrating a Century of Dependability Chevrolet
NA
This week
(True Reach): 890,455

Last week: Returnee

 

9

2016 Mazda CX-9 Mazda
NA
This week
(True Reach): 873,303

Last week: Returnee

 

Panasonic says Gigafactory battery output to increase for Tesla Model 3

UPDATED: 10/31/17 8:07 am ET — new story

Panasonic on Tuesday said output at the $5 billion battery Gigafactory it runs with Tesla could soon increase as the causes of bottlenecks that have hobbled production are now understood.

Panasonic Corp., the world’s largest automotive lithium ion battery manufacturer, makes battery cells to which Tesla adds electronics to make battery packs for its cars.

Tesla Inc. earlier this month blamed manufacturing bottlenecks for limiting quarterly production of its mass-market Model 3 sedan to 260 vehicles rather than its 1,500 goal.

Panasonic CEO Tsuga said at an earnings briefing that delays to the automation of the battery pack production line meant some stages had to be completed manually.

“This process [for battery packs] will be soon automated, and then the number of vehicles to be produced will rise sharply,” Tsuga said. He declined to comment to what extent Model 3 production would be behind its targeted schedule.

The comments came as Panasonic on Tuesday said automotive demand helped July-September operating profit rise 6 percent, beating analyst estimates. It maintained its 335 billion yen ($2.96 billion) forecast for the year ending March.

Analysts have said Panasonic’s massive Gigafactory bet makes the firm highly sensitive to Tesla’s strategy. On Tuesday, Tsuga acknowledged the bottlenecks could impact earnings, but said the contract with Tesla was designed to hedge various risks. He also said battery businesses with other clients are profitable.

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