Posted by Dale Buss on May 17, 2012 05:53 PM
How far away is Mexico from the United States? It might as well be on the other side of the world as far as many Walmart shoppers in America are concerned. When they're hunting bargains in the store, the allegations of bribery against Walmart executives as they built their operation in Mexico are about as pertinent to U.S. shoppers as the won-loss record of the 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers.
Walmart executives have been saying as much since the New York Times broke the news on April 21 about the Mexican bribery scheme, as the company said the investigation wasn't expected to have a material impact on its business. But today, those executives acknowledged that the scope of the bribery scandal could widen — and that it had taken a hit on its reputation.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on May 4, 2012 12:02 PM
It's fitting that Honda's Facebook page is touting brand enthusiasts' stories, because the automaker is in the middle of its own comeback story. Yes, it finally seems good to be Honda again.
The brand posted April U.S. sales of 122,000 vehicles today, which was down by about 2 percent from a year ago in absolute-unit numbers. But on a "selling-day" average for the month, Honda sales were up 9 percent over a year ago.
Honda U.S. is now fully restocked with vehicles after last year's disasters, and many of its most important models are moving briskly again off of U.S. dealership floors. Even its long-suffering Acura luxury brand showed some spark during the month, with a 5-percent sales increase over last April.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on May 2, 2012 02:33 PM
Kia Motors America has been the fastest-growing car company in the United States over the last five years, and that vibe continued in April: Kia sales were up 1 percent for the month over a year earlier for its best ever April sales, even though, like all auto brands, it had three fewer "selling days" during the month.
Yet like every other month, Kia's accomplishment probably won't get as much attention as another fact from the April sales reports: Hyundai, its sibling brand, also posted a 1-percent increase for the month.
That's just the way it is for Kia, whose biggest shareholder (and competitor) is Hyundai. The Seoul-based brands share a chairman and much of the guts of their vehicles. Both Hyundai and Kia also sell mostly small, fuel-efficient cars. But from those commonalities, the two brands diverge sharply.Continue reading...
sip on this
Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 21, 2012 03:01 PM
Soda makers have continued to expand their offerings over the past few years, which has been a smart move for business since soft-drink sales in America fell yet again in 2011, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. That marks seven consecutive years where the numbers have spiraled downward.
While the market has slumped to 1996 levels, Coca-Cola continues to ride atop with Coke and Diet Coke topping third-place Pepsi, AJC notes.
Beverage Digest has it that “volume for the carbonated drinks segment was down 1 percent in 2011,” which follows a “0.5 percent drop in 2010,” according to the paper. This sets industry volume back to where it was in 1996 at about 9.3 billion of 192-ounce cases.
Don’t shed a tear for the beverage giants, however. Non-carbonated drinks are doing just fine.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on February 1, 2012 04:44 PM
U.S. auto sales continued their nice recovery in January overall, by 11 percent over a year earlier, as a number of brands extended their own surges — and some fell back a bit.
The biggest winners when industry sales were announced today were Volkswagen, whose January sales were a whopping 48% ahead of last January, and Chrysler, which reported a 44% year-over-year gain. Chrysler credited its recent spate of 16 all-new or significantly refreshed products, while Volkswagen of America CEO Jonathan Browning pointed out that the brand's "growth strategy continues to take root."
Also posting healthy double-digit gains were brands including Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Hyundai.
Perhaps more interesting, though, is that Nissan, Honda and Toyota all reported significant increases in sales for January over a year earlier: 10 percent, 9 percent and 8 percent, respectively. While those numbers don't seem very impressive per se, what is significant is that they represent gains over the brands' pre-tsunami performances. So these are very positive indicators for the Japanese brands as they complete their comebacks from the March 11 natural disaster of last year.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on January 5, 2012 12:06 PM
You'd think they were electing a new pope, the way BMW and Mercedes-Benz brand executives stretched out the resolution of their mano a mano battle for leadership in U.S. luxury autos for 2011, as a tantalized global automotive press and many others wondered what the holdup was.
The two teasing German brands finally released their December sales results this morning, about 24 hours later than usual for a monthly sales report and many hours after every other brand in the U.S. market released their December and year-end sales reports on Wednesday.
And when the black smoke actually appeared, the expected winner became the confirmed winner: BMW edged out an aggressive December effort by Mercedes-Benz to sell more of its brand of vehicles in the United States for all of last year, with BMW edging out MBUSA's 2011 tally by 247,907 to 245,192.
Inventory-challenged Lexus — the US luxury winner for each of the last 11 years — finished a distant third, with 198,552 sales, and a promise to compete for the title again in 2012.
Overall, the Ford brand was the volume leader in the U.S. market last year, with 2,057,210 sales.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on January 4, 2012 06:01 PM
Less than 24 hours after Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney attempted to out-wait each other — and the results — before Romney was designated winner of the GOP Iowa caucuses by a razor-thin margin, BMW and Mercedes-Benz played their own waiting game on Wednesday, delaying the announcement of their 2011 sales figures in a stand-off to see which one could claim the U.S. luxury sales crown.
Which brand sold more vehicles in the U.S. market during 2011 and therefore claimed, for the first time, a segment sales crown that Lexus had owned for more than a decade? BMW entered December more than 1,000 units ahead of Mercedes-Benz, but the latter had closed a bigger gap during November with a furious surge of sales promotions and incentives. Auto industry observers are projecting that BMW will take the luxury sales crown for 2011 until the companies release the actual figures.
The rest of the industry closed out 2011 in relatively fine fashion, riding a surge of stronger U.S. sales that slowly built beginning in the third quarter and allowed the auto business to turn about 13 million sales for the year. That was up about 10 percent from a year earlier.
Considering all that the brands had to fight through during the year — including $4-a-gallon gasoline, an earthquake and tsunami in Japan and floods in Thailand, and consumers made queasy by global fiscal turmoil from Brussels to Washington, D.C. — brand executives were pleased with that performance.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on December 2, 2011 03:02 PM
It turns out that on-sale winter apparel and Christmas gifts weren't the only things propelling a torrid Black Friday. U.S. auto sales also came in strong last weekend, helping the industry post satisfying results for the entire month of November. Sales were up 14 percent over a year ago.
And more than that, automakers solidified their status as one of the few genuinely rosy sectors of the U.S. economy, with some car-brand executives suggesting that their industry could actually help lead America out of its current economic doldrums. J.D. Power just announced that car buyers in the U.S. are considerably more satisfied than they were a year ago.
"[Auto] dealers enjoyed the same uplift as other merchants" last weekend, Ken Czubay, Ford's U.S. vice president of sales, told journalists on a conference call. "That included a strong Saturday." Ford's retail sales were up 20 percent for last month over a year earlier, and the company's largest dealer, Galpin Ford in Southern California, experienced its largest single sales day in history on the day after Thanksgiving.Continue reading...