Detroit Auto Show: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly [w/ poll]

Here’s our take on the hits and misses of the Detroit Auto Show, make sure to let us know what you thought in the poll and the comments section!

BMW 5-series

BMW_5_Series-2017

Bart: Hit

Packed with new technology and undoubtedly again being one of the best driving sedans in its class, the new 5-Series will (depending on your personal preferences) either come close to or beat the standard set by the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class. But where the E-Class was mostly criticised for looking too much like its larger and smaller siblings, the 5-Series looks too much like the previous model. Did I miss the news that BMW hired a former Volkswagen designer? However, this doesn’t mean I don’t like its looks. With the right (M-Sport?) bodykit and wheels and a color a bit more inspiring than the obbligato fifty shades of grey, blue or black, this can be a very desirable looking car that will remain the obvious choice for the decreasing number of luxury buyers who still prefer a sedan over an SUV.

Kriss: So-so

I agree with pretty much everything Bart said, and yet I still can’t rate the BMW a “Hit”. Why is that? Objectively, the car has everything going for it – technology, BMW’s legendary chassis tuning, straight-six engines, and a smart and light construction (recently read a comparison test with the E-class, and saw that the 4wd 530d xDrive is 100kg lighter than the 2wd E-class 350d). However, subjectively the car is lacking that certain “want it” factor – the one that made the E34 and E39 generations so achingly desirable, no matter what specification or color they were in. While the E-class boast a stunning interior, the BMW looks too much like its predecessor inside; to me this is especially disappointing given that BMW showed us with the i3 and i8 of creating genuinely stunning interiors. Call it a case of sky-high expectations, but the new 5-series is just not a “Hit” to me.

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Look-a-like: GAC GS7/GS8 and…

GAC GS8 and its smaller brother GS7 (which made its debut in Detroit this week), are two of the more eye-catching cars to come from a Chinese manufacturer recently. What makes them stand out is that they have something that many Chinese (and, for that matter, other) cars lack – a clean and confident design that’s instantly recognizable thanks to a memorable lights and grille treatment that, with familiarity, might evolve into the “GAC family look”. That said, despite the end-product being pretty unique-looking, from the front the cars remind me more than a bit of a well-established American SUV… 

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US sales: December 2016, models

 

After discussing the US auto brand sales ranking for December, let’s zoom in on the models.… Continue Reading …

US sales: December 2016, brands

US car sales were  1,688,108  in December, a monthly record in 2016, though not one that was unexpected given that sales usually spike in the holiday season. Importantly, this marked a 3.0 percent increase on December 2015, which combined with a similar monthly increase in November managed to pull the overall sales for 2016 above those recorded in 2015 by around 56,000 cars. But before we look at how 2016 compared to 2015 (that article is coming soon), let’s look at how brands did in December 2016.
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Predictions for 2017: US

Looking ahead, even one year, can be very tricky. Last year we nominated two brands as potentially doing well in 2016, and ended up being only half right: we correctly predicted Volvo‘s growth, but thought that Buick would do better than barely out-performing the market. We did even less well when predicting the disappointments of 2016 – both Cadillac‘s and Mitsubishi‘s sales in 2016 were not great, but still better than for many of their competitors. Cadillac’s sales may have fallen by 1.9 percent compared to 2015, but the brand still did better than Lexus (down 3.9 percent), Acura (down 8.9 percent) or BMW (down 9.5 percent). Mitsubishi did even better, with sales actually rising by 1.0 percent compared to 2015, better than many more fancied brands such as Mazda (sales down 6.7 percent), Chevrolet (down 1.4 percent), Toyota (down 0.7 percent) or Ford (down 0.6 percent). Time will tell whether we do better this time around!

1. Honda: success

Honda had a very good 2016, with growth its growth of 4.8 percent handily out-pacing the decline in sales among the three brands ahead of it (FordChevrolet and Toyota). This performance came from the sales growth in two new mainstream models: the Civic (sales up 9.4 percent) and HR-V (sales up 95.5 percent). The reason we can expect the good times to continue at Honda is that for 2017 it has three new models: CR-V (revealed in the fall of 2016), Odyssey (revealed in Detroit this week) and Accord (to be revealed soon). Of the three, Civic and Accord regularly rank in the top 10 of model sales, with the Odyssey adding another 100k+ of sales each year – it should thus be reasonable for Honda’s sales to go up significantly once all of those models hit the market.

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Look-a-like Retro: 1997 Subaru Forester and…

Let me be the first to admit – I love the original Subaru Forester. I love its boxy styling, complete with a very Mini-esque upright windscreen, I love its classless appeal, and the fact that it looks just as well when covered in mud as it does just after a good scrub. And while Subaru has taken the model in a very different direction since the first generation, turning it into a pretty standard Toyota RAV4 / Honda CR-V competitor, the original Forester was quite an influential car – along with its larger Outback brother, it was one of the original “raised wagons” that are proving so popular today. And just the other day I realized that the Forester bares a striking similarity to another Japanese car from that era…

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Disappointments of 2016: US

After looking at the Success stories of 2016 in the US, Success stories of 2016 in Europe and Disappointments of 2016 in Europe, it’s time to look at who put in disappointing performances in the US in 2016. Coming soon – our predictions for 2017.

1. Mainstream and premium sedan segments

As some readers have pointed out, 2016 was definitely the year of the SUV/crossover. However, there is more to that story, as customers flocking to buy such cars abandoned the more traditional segments in droves, both for mainstream and premium brands. Overall, sales in the mainstream non-SUV sectors fell by 6 percent in the first three quarters of the year compared to 2015, while those in the premium non-SUV sectors fell by over 13 percent. Brands caught in this whirlwind include Mazda (sales down 7.2 percent through November), BMW (down 10.4 percent) and Acura (down 10.6 percent). Looking a bit closer, we see that some models which feature at the head of the segments were hit particularly hard: Toyota Camry (down 9.4 percent), Ford Fusion (down 10.2 percent), Mercedes-Benz C class (down 11.7 percent) or the ubiquitous BMW 3/4 series (down 28.2 percent). With SUVs/crossovers going from strength to strength, it’s unclear whether this trend will reverse anytime soon.

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Happy New Year 2017 from CarSalesBase.com!

To all our readers, current and future, we’d like to wish a Happy New Year 2017! On our part, we promise to continue to bring you all the good things you’ve come to expect from CarSalesBase.com, as well as do our best to bring new content: new analysis, new ways to view our data, new features, and possibly a new website design. 2017 should be a great year!

Success stories of 2016: US

For the second year, in what we hope will become an annual tradition here at CarSalesBase, we are using the incoming new year as motivation to reflect back at 2016 and look at its success stories (see here for the 2015 surprises, and here for the 2015 disappointments). Let us know in the comments below if you agree or disagree!

1. Jaguar

For the past two decades, ever since Ford decided to make Jaguar into a global competitor to luxury car brands such as Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, the British brand has suffered from false dawns and unfulfiffled promises. After doing surprisingly well in the US selling the much-derided X-Type and the uber-conservative S-type, with sales peaking at over 61,000 units in 2002, things took a turn for the worse, with sales dropping to around 15,000 a year, where they have been up until 2015.

This year, however, Jaguar is looking to sell over 30,000 cars for the first time in over a decade, more than doubling last year’s sales. The reason for this upswing is a barrage of new models, with particular success coming from the F-Pace SUV and the mid-sized XE (averaging about 1,500 and 1,000 units per month, respectively). The only bligth on the brand’s copybook is the relative failure of the new large XF to connect with the buyers, with sales in recent months substantially below the levels reached by its predecessor this time last year, no doubt hurt by cannibalization from its new stablemates.

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Look-a-like: Mercedes-Benz E-class Coupe and…

Last week Mercedes-Benz released first pictures for the new E-class Coupe, and you’d be forgiven for reacting to them with a massive shrug. After all, we’ve seen it all before – it looks like a larger C-class Coupe, which itself was a shrunken S-class Coupe. That said, the new car arguably looks best of the three – not as bloated as its big brother, but better-proportioned than its baby brother. Still, it’s not the obvious similarity to its stablemates that our regular reader Behta pointed out…

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