Haig Stoddard

Industry Analyst,
Strong May Sales Cause Healthy Paring to U.S. Dealer Inventory 
Another reason to get car stocks under control at this time of year is the sales mix, which will start to favor CUVs, SUVs, large pickups and luxury vehicles.
May U.S. Sales Surge to 7-Year High SAAR 
The prospect of a sharp rebound in second-quarter GDP helped underwrite May’s solid results, and indicates June should post a still-healthy 16 million-plus SAAR, even if some of its thunder was stolen in the prior month.
New Products, Demand to Drive Second-Half North American Production in 2014 
A red flag to watch for is extended shutdowns beyond traditional summer downtimes, especially at Ford, Fiat-Chrysler and General Motors. Other automakers could add downtime, but most likely would slow production.
April U.S. Light-Vehicle Inventory Portends Stronger U.S. Sales 
With Subaru understocked in the segment, nearly all automakers selling midsize cars, including Ford, GM, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mazda, Nissan and Toyota, could withstand some trimming to inventory in the segment.
April U.S. Light-Vehicle Sales Continue Resurgence From 2014’s Slow Start 
Large pickups, SUVs and vans combined for a 7.2% gain over year-ago, while share of the three segments increased to 15.8% and bucked seasonal trends by rising from March.
Strong North American Production Keeps Plant Utilization Above 100% 
Long-time high production is pushing forecast second-quarter capacity utilization to 101.4% and marking the first time successive quarters have topped.
Last Stand for Big Body-on-Frame Truck? 
Leading the big-truck surge will be General Motors, which has full availability of its re-engineered Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra fullsize pickups, plus redesigned SUVs now hitting the market.
March Sales Trim U.S. Inventory Healthy 1.6% 
Inventory of domestically made LVs is where most of March’s excess inventory exists. There could be some production slowdowns, but higher retail incentives in place in March are likely to continue in April, and possibly increase.
U.S. Sales Roar Back in March to Best Volume Since 2007 
GM’s March deliveries rose a respectable 8.1% from year-ago, but its share fell to one of its lowest ever for any month to 16.7%. The drop coincided with widely publicized recalls that occurred during the month.
February U.S. Inventory Highest Since 2005  1
WardsAuto estimates inventory is roughly 200,000 units above where it needs to be, even when taking into account that sales should rebound from weather-related losses in January-February.
January U.S. Light-Vehicle Inventory Spikes to 9-Year High 
WardsAuto estimates inventory is about 300,000 to 400,000 units higher than the optimum level to meet current market demand, but much of the excess appears related to January’s weather-dampened sales and to model changeovers.
Bad Weather Dumps on January U.S. Sales 
Sales of all luxury segments increased 3.7% from year-ago. Among luxury brands, only Cadillac, Porsche and Volvo posted declines.
North American Plants Zero in on 18 Million Available Production 
Forecast 2014 available production of 17.8 million is 900,000 units above 2013’s 16.9 million, and a major increase from the recession year of 2009 when the total bottomed out at 13.8 million.
U.S. Light-Vehicle Inventory Ends 2013 at 7-Year High  1
Middle CUVs are expected to buck history for the second straight year in first-quarter 2014 by meeting or surpassing the prior quarter’s market penetration.
U.S. Sales Post 4th Straight Annual Increase Despite Sluggish Growth in December  2
Incentive activity from November to December did not increase as much as in past years, and average transaction prices remained at long-time, if not all-time highs for most manufacturers.

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