March Sees 12.1 Percent New Car Sales Surge Amid Market Adjustments

First Up 03/26/24

March Sees 12.1 Percent New Car Sales Surge Amid Market Adjustments

In March 2024, new car sales are poised to make a big leap. Analysts forecast 1,525,700 units sold, a 12.1 percent increase from the previous year, according to the latest joint forecast from J.D. Power and GlobalData. This surge in sales is matched by an equally strong seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) of 16.4 million units. The first quarter of 2024 is expected to keep this up, reports CBT News. Projected sales will reach 3,830,500 units, a 4.5 percent increase from last year when adjusted for selling days. Retail sales are also showing strength, with an anticipated 10.7 percent growth in March 2024, reaching 1,225,000 units. This performance reveals that demand from consumers is still outstripping supply. This is true despite the market’s adjustment to changing economic conditions. Overall, the first quarter shows vibrant retail activity.  Yet, the automotive market is facing pressures. The evolving dynamics of retail and manufacturer profitability against a backdrop of increasing inventory levels is keeping dealers on their toes. For example, retail inventory is set to end at about 1.7 million units in March. This is a big rise from the previous year. Click here for the full story.

New EPA Rule Provides Clarity, Flexibility for the EV Transition, Suppliers Say

Auto suppliers say revisions the EPA made to its vehicle emission standards provide clarity on where the market for electric vehicles and hybrids is headed while giving the industry enough leeway to make the targets feasible. The EPA finalized a rule on March 20 setting emissions standards for vehicles for the 2027-32 model years, projecting that battery-electric vehicles will account for between 30 and 56 percent of light-duty sales in the U.S. during the 2030-32 model years, reports Automotive News. That would be a considerable gain in BEV sales from today's levels, but the projection is also down from the estimate of 67 percent the EPA published in its original rule proposal in April 2023. The new rule provides a "clear regulatory path" and is "achievable but challenging" for the industry, said Ann Wilson, MEMA's executive vice president of government affairs, representing more than 1,000 companies in the automotive supply chain. She said MEMA is pleased with the ramp-up of the new rule targeting less aggressive greenhouse gas emissions reductions in the first few model years before they become more stringent after 2030. Click here for the full story.

Porsche Panamera Turbo E-Hybrid: Poetry in Motion

Turn one of the 2.7-mile -long Monteblanco circuit near here is a tricky right-hander. With two apexes and a slight change in camber on the exit, it is a corner that challenges even the most dynamically adept of road cars, not to mention their drivers. Not today, though. On WardsAuto’s third lap in the ’24 Panamera Turbo E-Hybrid, we run to the end of the main straight and continue to scythe through the turn at great pace, the body of the big Porsche remaining incredibly flat. Despite the high cornering speed, the new 671-hp gasoline-electric-powered sedan feels marvelously secure and well within its limits. There’s no unruly body lean or pitch as we get back on the power after a confidence-settling dab on the brakes, just tremendously calm qualities that help to ensure grip and traction remain high. This is our first chance to sample just how effective the ’24 Panamera and its new Porsche Active Ride suspension is. The answer? Mind-blowing. Even Porsche, with all its engineering expertise, admits it didn’t quite anticipate just how radically its latest suspension development would alter the dynamic properties of the third-generation model. Click here for the full review.

Genesis Neolun Previews Future of Genesis and a Flagship SUV

One of the last holes in the Genesis lineup has been a large SUV, likely with three rows of seating, but it seems it won't be a hole for long. Among several Genesis debuts in New York is the Neolun concept, reports Autoblog. It's a large, flagship luxury SUV, and it previews both a production model, as well as offering hints at where Genesis design is headed. The exterior is very simple, consisting of an upright, two-box SUV shape and clean panels. The only real detailing comes in the gently curved corners, large wheels, the two-tone paint scheme and the signature dual lighting. The latter of which clearly takes after the multiple Genesis X concepts with the suggested grille shape. Luc Donkerwolke, the Genesis chief creative officer, said the design takes after moon-shaped jars made in Korea. The Neolun also features rear coach doors, similar to those on the Lincoln Continental Coach Door Edition. And Genesis notes that this might be a feature that actually makes it to production. Opening those doors reveals a far more exciting interior. Click here to learn more about the Genesis Noelun.

2025 Nissan Kicks Gets SUV-Like Redesign

Nissan is kicking up its entry crossover game with a redesign this summer. The second-generation Kicks subcompact crossover gets more power, optional all-wheel drive and a boxy, SUV-like design. The Kicks' overhaul broadens the baby crossover's appeal. Nissan did not disclose pricing. All-wheel drive gives the Kicks more practicality in cold-weather Northeast and Midwest metro areas. "Along with similar moves by Toyota, Nissan's recent additions of awd versions of the Altima, and now the Kicks, put the brand in front of buyers who would have automatically sought out a Subaru but now have choices in fast-growing awd markets," said Sam Fiorani, vice president at AutoForecast Solutions. The Kicks, which went on sale in the U.S. in 2018, is a vital model for Nissan. According to the Automotive News Research & Data Center, the subcompact group was the fastest-growing crossover segment last year, up 26 percent from the previous year. Nissan has consolidated its entry crossover lineup around the Kicks, ditching the similarly marketed Juke and Rogue Sport crossovers. Click here for the full story.

Economic Factors Impact Dealers’ Participation Accounts

Drastic increases in parts costs, ever-changing labor rates and significant challenges with the supply chain – not to mention rising counts and severity of warranty and service contract claims – are impacting dealers. Tune in to a free, on-demand webinar featuring CNA National’s assistant vice president of sales and reinsurance programs, Casey Lytle, discussing how the current market is affecting dealers’ participation programs and ways to bolster profitability. A short form must be completed to access the video. Learn how CNAN can help you maximize your income potential and long-term success by calling (800) 345-0191 x450 or visiting our reinsurance webpage.

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