The first quarter is complete, March is a done deal. The tactics of holding back, getting aggressive, then seeing what the market will do, persist into 2011.
A brief reminder from the Toronto Auto Show press day. Ford made it crystal clear that they anticipated a 2% increase in sales for 2011 and had every intention of upholding, and improving their position. GM countered with their intention to take advantage of every opportunity, while regaining lost business. Chrysler reiterated their commitment to be a player of note in the market.
MerBimAu is not resting, and continues as a force to be reckoned with in their market segments. You could say that the Koreans continue to have strong momentum.
The market in 2011 is competitive and compressed compared to 2010...lets take a quick look: March 2011 is 5% ahead of March 2010 which was 14% ahead of March 2009.
The first quarter (YTD March) of 2011 is 2% ahead of the first quarter of 2010 which was 15% ahead of the first quarter of 2009.
If you conclude that incremental sales are "challenging" you would be correct. If you conclude that incremental sales above 5% for the month come out of another manufacturer you would be correct again.
When the dust from the fuel economy talk settles,even in March with increasing gasoline prices truck sales continued their inexorable upward trend. Having peace of mind is a higher priority than fuel economy!
What caught our attention in March 2011:
<> Fiat sold 417 cars in Canada, and 500 in the US go figure.
<> Ford was #1 in March (+16%), and #1 year to date in Canada.
<> GM "got the memo" and sold vehicles in March (+26%)...yes it was concerning at the end of February.
<> Chrysler keeps on moving "Imported from Detroit" iron in Canada (+5%)
<> MerBimAu is increasing their lead in the segment, although BMW had a stumble this month with a (-6%), while Audi had a (+6%), and Mercedes (+14%) for the month...yes...car wars continue!
<> The Koreans maintain their momentum Hyundai at (+6%) for the month, Kia (+21%) for the month.
<> Honda too "got the memo" with a (+9%) for the month.
<> Lexus...yes Lexus at (+8%) for the month...wow!
<> Subaru continues with its game plan at (+7%) for the month.
<> VW is holding its momentum with the Jetta at (+6) for the month.
Sales were 5% ahead in March...who lost business?
<> Toyota is in a delicate position at (-12%) for the month.
<> Mazda miscalculated "something" at (-29%) for the month....
<> Acura had a wow moment of their own with a (-23%) for the month.
<> Nissan broke even with a (0%) for the month
<> Infiniti struggled with a (-6%)....
<> Volvo lost momentum with a (-6%)....
In March 2011 the Canadian Market (sales) increased by 8,000 vehicles compared to the previous year. Chrysler, Ford, GM among themselves sold an additional 9,500 vehicles...yes there are manufacturers in delicate positions, giving up sales, momentum, and increasingly squeezed in a corner.
Its April Fools, its Friday, its the Vroom Room...come in make yourself comfortable, we have cappuccino and biscotti.
We are heading for another election in Canada on May 2, hopefully it will clear the air in the Canadian Parliament, while getting rid of a stalemate that has engendered increasing animosity. In the meantime do keep in mind that folks in other areas of the planet have demonstrated, been killed, to have the privilege to vote.
We urge you to vote! It will be interesting to see the role and effect of Social Media during the campaign.
If you are a fan of Canadian Air Farce a tribute to Roger Abbott...here.
Perhaps you heard that David E. Davis Jr. passed away, one of the many eulogies is...here. What is so special about some 80 year old guy that was writing about cars during a different time.
Lets turn to The Colonel who has a better recollection of that time.
At one time the only source of automotive information for enthusiast were the "buff publications", and depending on one's inclination and preferences some publications became "de rigeur" monthly reading material. In my case Hot Rod, Car and Driver, and Road and Track were the monthly must read. Lets focus on Car and Driver, and David E.Davis Jr. in the early 1960's these guys were ahead of their time, with views that were thought provoking, irreverent, and often opened different, and fresh perspectives.
Those were the days of automotive writers that could write a story to ignite your imagination through the printed word. The days were manufacturers formed unofficial allegiances through their PR departments with various publications. They were the days when publications could literally get a vehicle or a model go viral (to use a modern term) within a targeted customer base.
At that time Car and Driver made it a point to publish stories that captured the attention, and imagination, be it the early Cannonball Runs, the infamous rigged GTO comparison, the Repo Man story, technical features and a myriad of others.
David E. Davis Jr. was the conductor at Car and Driver that kept the monthly irreverence coming. Will there ever be another like him? Probably not, times have changed, everyone can be a publisher, information is much easier to find. In many ways David E understood 50 years ago, what we understand today as the social autosphere, its the people, the experience, the passion that make a compelling difference. A fascinating read by Jean Jennings on the start of Automobile magazine and David E...here.
We started our Dealers section several months ago...here surprising the velocity of time. Last week we attended a Corvette tech session...here, and today is the last day of the Catch a Mazda 2 promotion...here.
As you may have noticed in March we shared our thoughts and experiences on a few 12 cylinder cars, just scroll down....yes David E, was one individual that would mention that a true enthusiast should ideally own, or at least experience a 12 cylinder car.
Just an old car...if you remember a Triumph TR3....here.