One analyst told the Detroit News that the market is simply running out of people to buy cars. Another said shoppers are simply taking a breather. They were commenting on the 1.8 percent decline in new vehicle sales last month, something that was pretty much in line with expectations.
Cars continued to be a tough sell to an audience that continues to tend toward crossovers, SUV’s, and pickups.
There was a rather large 11.3 percent setback in Toyota sales due to what the experts said was a car heavy lineup. Yet sales were up for the RAV4.
Honda, on the other hand, saw a 5.9 percent sales gain led by the CR-V and the HR-V. Acura sales dropped 10.2 percent.
On the rebound was Volkswagen with a 17 percent increase, with Hyundai, Mazda and Subaru also reporting higher sales. Kia was the exception here with 7 percent fewer vehicles leaving dealer showrooms.
May I call your attention to an interesting story about the “Worst Cars Ever Produced?” Here’s a link and see if you agree.
And before you even ask, yes, the Pontiac Aztek is on the list.
Foreign exchange losses hit Mazda hard. The company said operating profit fell 71 percent in Mazda’s third quarter more than offsetting a small increase in sales. The Japanese yen is increasing in value against the dollar and other currencies.
Things were brighter for Mercedes parent company as Daimler reported its best ever figures for unit sales, revenue and net profit. Looking ahead, the company said the world economy is continuing along a path of steady, if rather moderate, growth. Daimler assumes that growth will accelerate slightly as the year progresses.
The technology behind self-drive cars is not ready to be deployed without humans behind a steering wheel who can take control when the tech fails, according to a report released by the California Department of Motor Vehicles. The group, Consumer Watchdog, cited mandatory reports filed by those testing self-drive cars in the state. Waymo, Google’s autonomous unit, showed the technology had problems dealing with others on the road, construction zones, and correctly perceiving their surroundings. But the number of disengagements was relatively small in the 635,868 miles of testing last year to 0.2 per 1,000 miles.
The national average price for regular unleaded is now $2.27 per gallon, down four cents versus a week earlier, according to AAA. Gas prices have now declined for 21 consecutive days. It said we aren’t driving as much these days while the industry is picking up oil production in the U.S. The top five markets with the most dramatic monthly decreases in gas prices include: Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois and Kentucky. In the continental U.S., the most expensive petrol is in California at $2.80 a gallon on average. Here in the Washington, D.C. suburbs I have seen premium unleaded at more than $3 a gallon and that is before the summer driving season.