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The latest round of new vehicle registration data has been good for Honda - three of the Japanese brand's models are retail sales leaders and the Accord was the most registered car built in America in 2013, according to the data compiled by Polk. In fact, 360,089 units of the family sedan were purchased by individual consumers last year, an increase of 12.2 percent.

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Fleet sales are a way of life in the automotive industry. There are many non-retail customers that need vehicles, but going too far can reduce brand image and vehicle resale value. While some of its competitors have fleet sale that account for up to 20 or 30 of overall sales, Honda is bragging that it has the lowest fleet sales of all mainstream automakers for the first five months of 2013.

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A sale is a sale, right? Well, at least in the automotive world, that's not entirely true. A sale to a regular consumer is, generally speaking and for a number of reasons, much more attractive to an automaker than a sale to a fleet company (sales to companies or the government, for instance).

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Most everyone at Ford is grinning from ear-to-ear these days, as the company is enjoying profits as well as a vastly improved product portfolio and public image. Sales are up, the product pipeline is full, and market share grew last year. You can almost imagine Ford CEO Alan Mulally saying, "What, me worry?"

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Third quarter automotive sales figures were the best the industry has seen in just over a year. How are the automakers managing such numbers in light of a puffed-up 2009 third quarter filled with C4C transactions? Fleet sales.

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