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Carmakers Blame Sales Declines on Bad Weather

February 6, 2014

As expected, harsh weather in late January impacted sales for automakers across the board, with total light vehicle sales falling 3.1% from a year ago to 1.01 million units, according to Autodata Corp. The seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) stood at 15.24 million units, down from 15.40 million in December. The following is a breakdown of sales performance by manufacturer:

BMW: January sales for BMW’s North American operations rose 3% from a year ago to 20,796 units. Sales of BMW brand vehicles jumped 10.5 percent from a year ago to 18,253 units, while sales of MINI brand vehicles dropped 30.9% to 2,543 units. The group’s best performing vehicles included the BMW 3 ad 4 Series segments, which realized a 34.4 percent increase in sales from a year ago.

Chrysler: The domestic OEM realized its best January since 2008, scoring an 8 percent sales increase from a year ago for a total of 127,183 units sold. This was the 46th-consecutive month of year-over-year sales gains for the OEM. Leading the way was the Jeep brand, which realized a 38 percent sales increase from a year ago.

Ford: Sales for the domestic automaker dipped 7.5 percent from January 2013, with company officials attributing the decline to difficult weather conditions. In total, Ford sold 153,494 units. However, the Ford Mustang and Lincoln managed 8% and 43% sales increases, respectively, from a year ago.

General Motors: The domestic automaker delivered 171,486 vehicles in the United States in January, a 12% decrease from a year ago despite a slight uptick in retail deliveries. Officials blamed the drop off to winter storms that hit much of the country.

The Chevrolet Cruze was one of the OEM’s top selling vehicles for the month, with sales of the compact car increasing 16 percent from a year ago to 16,828 units. But the top seller for the month was the Silverado. Despite an 18 percent decrease from a year ago, sales of the pickup truck totaled 28,926 units.

Also moving off of dealer lots at a brisk pace were the Chevrolet Corvette, with sales more than doubling from a year ago to 2,261 units, and the Buick Encore, with sales of the small SUV growing by nearly 7% to 2,366 units.

Honda: January sales for the Japanese automaker fell 2.1% from a year ago to 91,631 units sold, with officials blaming the decline on winter storms that struck parts of the United States. Despite cold weather conditions in Honda’s Eastern and Midwestern markets, the Civic (21,824 units sold) and Accord managed to top 20,000 units in January, while the Odyssey (up 16% to 7,879 units) posted a double-digit increase. In total, the Honda Division recorded sales of 80,808 units.

The Acura Division posted a 14.1% sales increase from a year ago, with sales totaling 10,823 units in January. Leading the way were light truck sales, which increased 37.1% behind a record sales month for the MDX. Sales of the SUV rose 64%, while RDX sales increased for the 21st consecutive month by 16.6%. CR-V sales were up 2.4% from a year ago.

Hyundai: The Korean automaker reported a slight uptick in sales from a year ago, with total sales inching up 0.7% to 44,005 units sold. Despite the small increase, the OEM realized its best January in company history. Leading the way were the Accent, Elantra and Santa Fe, which posted sales increases of 21%, 26% and 12%, respectively.

Mazda: Sales for the OEM fell 11.8 percent from a year ago to 18,813 units. Despite the dip, the Mazda6 realized a 47.7% sales increase from a year ago, with sales totaling 3,172 units in January.

Mitsubishi: Mitsubishi realized a 4.5% increase from a year ago, with sales totaling 4,867 units. This marks the automaker’s best January in three years. Company officials noted that the 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage was recently named to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy's prestigious "Greenest Vehicles" list.

Nissan: January sales for the Japanese automaker were robust, with the OEM reporting that sales increased 11.8% to 90,470 units sold — the company’s best ever January performance. Officials noted that sales of the all-electric Nissan LEAF realized a 92.6% sales increase from a year ago.

Toyota: The Japanese automaker reported a 7.2% decrease in January sales vs. a year ago, with sales totaling 146,365 units. Officials noted that the company was off to a solid start in January before winter storms slowed industry sales in key markets in the latter part of the month. They also noted that the company expects sales to pick up in February.

Sales for the OEM’s Toyota Division fell 9% from a year ago to 128,728 units — both on a daily selling rate and raw-volume basis. Despite the decrease, the new Corolla recorded a record monthly sales total of more than 22,700, while the RAV4 realized its best January ever with a 45% sales increase.

Lexus reported January sales of 17,637 units, an 8.8% increase from a year ago. Leading the way were the all-new Lexus IS, which posted triple-digit gains, RX, up nearly 4%, GX, up nearly 97%, and LX, up more than 7%.

Volkswagen: The German automaker reported a 19% decrease in January sales from a year ago, with sales totaling 23,494 units. The Volkswagen Routan lead the way with a 49% sales increase vs. a year ago.

The company also issued sales reports for its Porsche and Audi brands. The latter realized its 37th consecutive monthly sales record with a 0.4% increase over last January. With sales totaling 10,101 units, the brand continued its longest running monthly record streak in the premium car market.

Sales of Porsche totaled 3,096 vehicles, an 8% decrease from a year ago. Officials attributed the decline to low inventory numbers of the most popular Porsche model, the Cayenne. Porsche plans to ramp up inventory in the coming months and is hopeful of a gain in sales, officials said.

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