Entries in Auto Sales (18)
Its mid month March, lets take a look at the auto sales front.
Since last week most if not all manufacturers are offering one deal or incentive piled up on top of another and it all ends on March 31, 2015. Every incentive promotion has a "marketing name" to heighten the awereness.
The end of the first quarter is only 2 weeks away, needless to mention that everyone is seeking to conquer sales along with everyone else.
Yes...the auto business is hyper competitive.
CMS (Citizen Main Street) is sitting back and watching this advertising frenzy in print, TV, radio, online.
Perhaps...getting confused by all the deals, promotions, incentives. Certainly conclcuding that its a case of dynamic pricing run amock.
Needles to mention that whoever had a strong start to 2015 is in a dramatically better position than the manufacturers seeking to conquer in the last 2 weeks of the month.
Before we forget, many dealers are piled up with new vehicle inventory, while others have vehicles temporarily stalled in snow at Autoport (Halifax).
- The "nothing down" deals are getting scarcer.
- The loan terms are extending at a faster rate than last year.
- The transaction price is higher than last year.
Although interest rates are marginally lower, the Canadian dollar is dramatically devalued (in the dumpster) compared to last year.
The manufacturers that waited till March to throttle up, are in a less favorable position that the one that did a "hole shot" in January.
Let's see what month end will bring.
You have surely noticed the various conversation, opinions, thoughts from a wide spectrum of pundits on the price of a barrel of oil, and gas at the pumps.
Lets take a look at this from a Canadian perspective:
Price of Oil:
Its not a good thing for Canada, cheap oil has more negative than positive implications for Canada. Alberta is the 3rd largest auto market after Ontario and Quebec. We all know where vehicle sales in Alberta are headed.
Lower Canadian Dollar:
The lower Canadian dollar is a minor buffer for the lower price of oil. On par $100 US was $100 Canadian now $50 US is $57 Canadian (rounded amounts). At the same time the lower Canadian dollar is increasing prices of a myriad of items that a family requires, from food, clothes, even iTunes.
Its possible that with the imminent closing of Target, other retailers will be very tempted to raise their prices to compensate for the lesser competition, and cheaper gas.
Savings at the Pump:
Agreed we are all saving at the pump, but CMS (Citizen Main Street) is astute to quickly grasp that the savings at the pump are required elsewhere with price increases from the lower Canadian dollar. Save at the pump and pay more everywhere else.
The auto market is inexorably shifting from sedans to utility vehicles, especially smaller versions. Is it the price of gas or a consumer preference? Its easy to correlate cheaper gas with increased sales of utility vehicles especially when the market is already headed in the direction of utility.
If pick up sales remain the same in 2015, we can says that cheaper gas perhaps was a motivator. At the same time how much of an influence is cheap gas on the enduring pick up love affair?
The oil sands and fracking in the US have disrupted the established order of oil. Target was a disrupter in Canada signaling its vector, strategy to the competition. The same with oil sands and fracking. The competition gets aggressive and disruptive in its own fashion.
There is not an infinite, endless supply of oil on the planet. Technology has enabled disruption. A fracking well has a life expectancy of 12 months. The oil sands have been there for centuries...in both cases they make sense at a certain price level. In the meantime oil remains a finite resource...with over time an escalating price.
Not Canada, not the Canadian consumer, not Alberta, not the Canadian oil industry, not the Canadian auto industry. Canadian retailers will win further...developing economies will win.
Usually December in Canada is a slower auto sales month since at some point everyone starts competing with Santa Claus.
This past December from the activity in online, radio, TV, print advertising one could sense that most if not all manufacturers were motivated to generate a strong month. Literally break from recent tradition, especially in light of several events, the price of oil being one.
December concludes 16% ahead of the previous year, the strongest December in the past 10 years with 131.4K units for the month.
Think of this...1.85 Million vehicles were never sold in Canada in any year.
From our perspective its gratifying to see all manufacturers throttle up, get hyper competitive. We had not seen such competitiveness in several years.
How do you power sales?
New Product: Its still the major part of the equation.
Incentives: They are a compelling motivator to finalise decisions.
Free Flowing Money: What can you say...2014 was a watershed year in money powering sales.
Pick Ups: The love affair continues, not the cheap gas, the enduring love affair with pick ups.
Chrysler and Ford were trading paint to who would finish as number 1 in Canada. December was the deciding month with Ford winning by a bumper.
The Koreans and Japanese have their ongoing scrap for market space.
When everyone gets competitive, the incentives are strong, the money flows, fascinating to see how much iron can be moved in Canada.
Its a beautiful thing...
Have you noticed when the mainstream media catches on to "something" everyone has an opinion, several did a study, and suddenly we are close to hitting the alarm button.
This past week auto loans have captured the imagination of numerous pundits, with a myriad of pedestrian opinions.
Sometime time ago we shared our thoughts on the entire auto financial services in Canada with Money for the Deal.
The picture painted today by the mainstream media is that CMS (Citizen Main Street) is highly leveraged and if interest rates increase auto loans will default before mortgages. In addition to the longer loan terms extended on auto loans.
Lets consider a few points:
Cash Flow: In the glory days of leasing in Canada over 40% of new vehicles sold were leased, and afforded on cash flow. Extended term loans are the replacement of leasing enbling CMS to still drive with cash flow.
Consumer Risk: CMS is astutute in letting manufacturers with their incentive programs relieve them of the value risk of the vehicle they "own" by trading it in on a new vehicle.
36 Months: Remains the magic number for the auto industry to function at its best. The loan might be 96 months but the trade cycle remains 36.
Loan Interest Rate: The low rates down to 0% are supported by the manufacturer, its always a cash incentive of "xyz" or a rate of 0%. In most instances CMS picks the rate.
Lender Risk: Have you noticed...since major Canadian banks are more active with auto loans more vehicles are sold in Canada. Are manufacturers supporting a "risk factor"?
Big Data: Permits manufacturers and financial service providers to calibrate the monthly offers, incentives, to maximise sales.
Dynamic Pricing + Incentives: Manufacturers and financial service providers make extensive use of dynamic pricing and incentives to increase sales and capture new customers from competing makes. This strategy will endure.
Technology: Permits the dealer and CMS to quickly and efficiently close a deal on the basis of a "monthly payment".
Maintenance: CMS has a limited appetite for performing maintenance on a vehicle beyond replacing the wear items. Yes...maintenance can quickly devour several months of payments, in addition to being unpredictable at times.
Paradigm Shift: From vehicle ownership to vehicle usage for a monthly fee. If CMS is in a "trap" of monthly payments, manufacturers are in a "trap" of constantly enabling CMS to trade, and roll over deficiencies.