Auto Insider Newsbriefs

Despite Economy, U.S. on Track for 14M Auto Sales


The new 2013 Dodge Dart is one of the models bringing customers into dealers’ showrooms and helping push car sales to an expected 14 million units this year.

The new 2013 Dodge Dart is one of the models bringing customers into dealers’ showrooms and helping push car sales to an expected 14 million units this year.

Weekly and monthly new car sales trends, and other indicators, suggest that in spite of ongoing economic struggles domestically and abroad, the U.S. car market is nonetheless on track to realize a 14-million-unit year. In fact, new vehicle sales are projected to hit 14 million seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) in July, 2012, consistent with the 14.3 million average pace maintained through the first half of the year, according to Kelley Blue Book, a leading provider of new and used car information nationally.

Meanwhile, KBB says that the daily selling rate is projected to top 48,300 light-vehicle sales per day, which is better than last month’s 47,500- sales-per-day rate and nearly 19 percent above the July 2011, pace, back when sales were still suppressed by inventory shortages.

“Mid-size cars remain the top-selling segment in July,” said Alex Gutierrez, senior market analyst with KBB.

“The segment only stands to push industry sales further later this year when the hotly anticipated redesigns of the Honda Accord, Ford Fusion and Chevrolet Malibu arrive at dealerships.”

Tony Francavilla, Lansing regional plant manager, speaks to some of the plant’s 1,643 employees last week.

Tony Francavilla, Lansing regional plant manager, speaks to some of the plant’s 1,643 employees last week.

Note that new car sales are still expected to top 14.2 million units overall in 2012, despite a recent slowing in the U.S. economic recovery in recent months.

This assumes consumer demand remains strong enough to overcome the gradually worsening economic picture. But still, given that two of the Big Three automakers declared corporate bankruptcy in 2009 and that the U.S. economic recovery since then has occurred in fits and starts at best, well, the Detroit auto industry for one would sure welcome a 14-million-unit car sales year, you bet. Said Gutierrez, “Consumers had even more options to choose from last month as the highly anticipated, all-new 2013 Nissan Altima, Ford Escape and Dodge Dart went on sale for the first time. These vehicles have received favorable reviews thus far and only add to an already-robust selection of strong redesigns and introductions from nearly every manufacturer across all product categories that have hit (domestic) showrooms in the last few years.”

First Cadillac ATS BuiltCar with Big Mission’

The first 2013 Cadillac ATS compact luxury sport sedan intended for public sale was built last week at the Lansing Grand River assembly plant in Michigan, culminating a massive design and development project.

Arriving in U.S. dealerships in August, ATS is Cadillac’s all-new entry into the most significant global luxury segment, featuring a new rear- wheel-drive-based architecture targeting nimble, quick and fun driving performance. Cadillac’s Lansing Grand River plant, also the production site for the CTS Sedan, Wagon and Coupe underwent a $190 million upgrade for ATS production. A second shift was added, creating or retaining 600 jobs.

In total, the award-winning plant that opened in 2001 now has 1,643 salaried and hourly employees.

“The new Cadillac ATS rep- resents an investment in Lansing and our workforce,” said Tony Francavilla, Lansing regional plant manager.

“A successful launch needs a great process and a great product, but at the heart of it all are the people, and the care they put into each and every vehicle.”

The ATS expands Cadillac into the highest-volume category in the luxury automotive industry. Following the initial start of production in Lansing, distribution to U.S. dealer- ships will begin in August. Exports to international markets will begin later this year. “This is a car with a big mission, and it’s been comprehensively prepared for that mission,” said Don Butler, vice president of Cadillac Marketing.

“The new-from-the-ground-up ATS creates a new entryway into the Cadillac brand for luxury car drivers, and a compelling new challenger to the status quo among the top luxury sport sedans.”

The all-new ATS was custom-built using a new lightweight vehicle architecture featuring advanced materials and techniques to ensure precise driving dynamics.

ATS includes a host of exclusive advanced-tech features, including Magnetic Ride Control, the Safety Alert Seat, and CUE, a new in-car user experience for connectivity and control using industry-first capacitive touch and natural voice recognition systems. The ATS hit the airwaves during the television broad- cast of the Opening Ceremonies of the Summer Olympics last Friday.

Content provided courtesy of Detroit Auto Scene. For more auto industry news visit detroitautoscene.com.


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