2014 was a good recovery year for the U.S. economy as indicated by new car sales. December found G.M. and Toyota posting double digit gains as consumers expressed long-term confidence in the economy and the retail price of gasoline revisited pre millennium levels.
There was no surprise at Torque News as we rifled through auto industry-wide reports of record December car and truck sales. After all, you’d be hard pressed to find a vehicle on sale in December without manufacturer underwritten discounted interest rates, sweet lease enticements and factory incentives approaching 15% on many top trimmed Ford, Chevrolet and Toyota SUV and pickup offerings.And, for December the price of gasoline hit early century lows.
Leading the economic revival of the North American auto industry is the SUV, light truck and family sedan in that order. Looking to American Honda Motors we discover a year over year sales increase of 1%. While short of the 4% once targeted by company insiders, despite unprecedented recall efforts and Fit manufacturing delays, an increase just the same.
Honda brand stand outs: 1,373,029 new Honda cars and light trucks hit the streets of North America in 2014. Looking to Honda’s December sales report we note that buyers are following the national trend as they look to the comfort, utility, performance and safety of the SUV.
Unlike in past years were Civic was the foundation of the Honda lineup, the substantially refreshed Accord 4-door(+5.9%) and CR-V SUV(+10.2%) carry Honda division with Civic taking a solid 3rd position, with a -3% in sales volume noted for the year. Looking to Civic sales: Wall Street would have you believe that Honda is in trouble, nonsense, we know better.
Torque News attributes the downtrend in Civic sales to Honda’s brilliant launch of the totally redesigned EarthDreams ™ 2015 Honda Fit; a logical choice for young Millennials looking to the utility and fun of Honda’s next big thing. As they say: “ it’s that good;” and we agree.
Accord Hybrid bucks the trend
13,977 Accord Hybrids were sold through 2014, with a 178% sales volume increase noted for December. We reviewed the 2015 Accord Hybrid in 2014, spewing well deserved accolades on the midsize sedan that had beat Toyota Prius in comfort, fuel economy and performance.
We found Accord Hybrid to be exceptional as to torque, interior quiet, safety and ride stability. For us, the hybrid characteristics of Accord is secondary to the overall driving experience afforded by Honda’s best built Accord to date.
In speaking with consumers and our dealership network, the only drawback we discovered with Accord Hybrid was a delay in production brought about by a scarcity of Japanese manufactured battery modules. In earlier articles we pondered the effect of cheap gasoline on the development and sales of hybrid cars and light trucks.
Did deep dealership discounts push Accord Hybrid sales to new highs? Or, are North American consumers accepting hybrid technology as the next(logical) step in affordable, sustainable and Eco-friendly personal transportation? After all, fuel prices will rise, as will the price of Accord Hybrid; now may be the best time to buy one.