Sales Fall as Second-Half Slowdown Takes Root

First Up 10/03/18

Sales Fall as Second-Half Slowdown Takes Root
Major automakers, with the exception of Fiat Chrysler, posted lower U.S. sales last month behind the ongoing slump in the car market and softer retail demand, even amid elevated incentive levels, signaling an anticipated second-half slowdown continued in September, reports Automotive News. U.S. light-vehicle deliveries last month fell about 5.6 percent, slightly better than analysts' forecast for a 7 percent decline compared to September 2017, when sales spiked as consumers replaced vehicles destroyed by Hurricane Harvey. Yet by another measure, the September numbers were stronger. The seasonally adjusted, annualized rate of sales rose above 17 million for the seventh time this year after two months below that level. Autodata Corp. estimated the SAAR totaled 17.44 million vehicles last month – the highest sales pace since November 2017. And Jack Hollis, Toyota’s North America brand chief, said on a conference call Tuesday that the SAAR for September was tracking at 17.2 million. Read more here. 

5 Hottest-Selling Vehicles: Honda, Jeep, Lincoln SUVs Attract Buyers in September
Shoppers continued to flock to SUVs, crossovers, and pickup trucks in September as American preferences shift amid sustained low gasoline prices and a desire for roomier rides. The Detroit Free Press notes that passenger cars are suffering as a result. Stalwart cars offered by Toyota, Nissan, Ford, Honda, and others are struggling mightily. But buyers haven't left the showroom empty-handed. They've just upgraded in size. Click here for five of the hottest-selling vehicles in the U.S. in September, based on a subjective assessment of sales, momentum and buzz.

For U.S. Automakers, NAFTA Overhaul Won't Eliminate Tariff Risk
Automakers in the U.S. got a break when President Trump's renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) exempted Canada and Mexico from the duties his White House has threatened on vehicle imports, reports the Washington Examiner. Under an addendum to the renamed U.S, Mexico, Canada Agreement, America's next-door neighbors can each ship up to 2.6 million vehicles a year to the country – more than they do currently – without paying a tariff, said Chris Krueger, an analyst with Cowen Washington Research Group, which has tracked federal policy for four decades. Tariffs as high as 25 percent would still be assessed on auto parts from Japan and Europe if Trump moves ahead with a plan to impose levies under national security grounds, noted Colin Langan, an analyst with Swiss lender UBS. It's a plan largely opposed by the auto industry, which has warned the duties would curb profits, potentially cause layoffs, and drive up consumer prices. Read more here. 

Aston Martin Skids on Market Debut
Shares in Aston Martin fell as much as 6.5 percent during its market debut in London on Wednesday after investors and analysts raised concerns that it may find it hard to deliver on an ambitious rollout of new models. According to Automotive News, the luxury automaker, which last year made its first profit since 2010 and has gone bankrupt seven times, had priced its shares at 19 pounds each, giving it a market capitalization of 4.33 billion pounds ($5.63 billion). The shares fell to as low as 17.75 pounds and were down 3.16 percent at around 8 a.m. GMT. Aston Martin had initially set a range of 17.50 pounds to 22.50 pounds per share, but on Monday narrowed this to 18.50 to 20 pounds saying it had sufficient bid interest to cover all the shares being sold. Investors and analysts were concerned, however, about the execution risk related to its plans for rolling out new models. Aston Martin plans to launch a new core model every year from now until 2022. Read more here. 

Honda Joins GM Cruise to Build Self-Driving Car
Honda is joining General Motors Co.’s autonomous vehicle unit, with plans to develop a self-driving car for mass deployment with a $2.75 billion investment. According to The Detroit News, Honda is making an immediate $750 million equity investment in GM Cruise LLC to take a 5.7 percent stake in the GM division. The Japanese automaker has also committed to contribute about $2 billion over 12 years to fund and develop a “purpose-built autonomous vehicle for Cruise that can serve a wide variety of use cases and be manufactured at high volume for global deployment,” GM said in a Wednesday statement. Honda’s total $2.75 billion investment comes after Japanese investment firm SoftBank Investment Advisers invested $2.25 billion in Cruise earlier this year, bringing the post-money valuation of GM’s AV unit to $14.6 billion. Read more here. 

CNA National Adds Sport Package Coverage
CNA National has offered top-of-the-line service contracts for vehicle buyers since 1982. The company has enhanced its latest VSC to give your customers even more value by including a sport package that provides reimbursement for repairs due to the mechanical failure of parts unique to SUVs, crossovers, vans and trucks. This coverage includes body and four-wheel accessories, convenience and utility components, and trailering mechanisms as well as components that were not installed by the manufacturer or dealer – and those added after the time of sale. To learn more, call 800-345-0191 x 450 or connect with CNA National online.

Around the Web

What's the Best Cheap Used Luxury Car You Can Buy? [Road and Track]

2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback, Volvos Earn IIHS Safety Pick Rating [Autoblog]

BMW Says Rivals Are Interested in Joining Forces on Self-Driving Cars [Reuters

Volkswagen Dumps Jailed Audi CEO Amid Emissions Probe [CNN Money]

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