New-Car Shoppers Out in Droves in First Half of 2014


nissan altima (select to view enlarged photo)
2015 Nissan Altima: Nissan saw a significant increase in sales over last year.

CHICAGO - July 23, 2014: For the first time since before the Great Recession, new-vehicle sales hit an annualized rate of nearly 17 million at the mid-year mark. Despite extreme weather conditions, which weakened consumer demand at the start of the year, the first half of 2014 finished with a strong 4.5 percent year-over-year increase in total new-car sales. Additionally, the number of searches for new vehicles on Cars.com increased nearly 50 percent compared to the first half of 2013.

"After a slow winter, the pace of new-vehicles sales sped up to push mid-year numbers to near-record levels," said Jesse Toprak, chief analyst for Cars.com. "Low interest rates, attractive lease specials, better availability of auto loans and improved macroeconomic conditions, as well as a great lineup of vehicles, created very healthy sales for the industry."

Nissan and Fiat-Chrysler saw the strongest year-over-year increases, each finishing the first half with total sales up more than 12 percent, compared to the first half of 2013. Toprak projects the industry will see 8.1 million more new-vehicles sold throughout the remainder of 2014. As a result, his forecast for total light new-vehicle sales for 2014 has increased from 16.1 million to 16.3 million units.

Cars.com reports complementary new-car growth, with total site traffic up 11 percent over the first half of 2013. The company is seeing historic traffic, with 30 million visits per month, on average – 50 percent of which arrive via a mobile device.

"Modern car shoppers continue to count on third-party marketplaces to research vehicles and gather unbiased information to help make decisions at the dealership," said Greg McGivney, vice president of strategy for Cars.com. "Mobile traffic now accounts for half of our total site visits, and we see this growth continuing. Consumers often view their smartphones and tablets as trusted shopping companions, and we know they depend on Cars.com to help ensure they're getting a fair price from a reputable dealer, verifying information on mobile while at the dealership."

In addition to an uptick in overall site traffic, the total number of new-car searches for the Big 8 manufacturers on Cars.com grew by 49.5 percent, year-over-year, during the first half of 2014. Nissan, Fiat-Chrysler, GM and Toyota each saw more than 50 percent year-over-year increases in new-car searches on the site.

"We're seeing a significant increase in overall activity on our site, but especially from new-car shoppers," said McGivney. "The research shows improved consumer confidence, and with more new-car intenders in the marketplace, vehicle sales should remain strong throughout the year."

Company

H1 2013 Sales

H1 2014 Sales

YoY Change (Sales)

YoY Change

(New-Car Searches on Cars.com)

Fiat Chrysler

907,791

1,020,123

12.4%

55.9%

Ford

1,289,736

1,265,357

-1.9%

29.9%

GM

1,420,346

1,455,868

2.5%

66.2%

Honda

745,576

739,436

-0.8%

38.8%

Hyundai/Kia

638,361

661,847

3.7%

38.2%

Nissan

624,709

704,477

12.8%

55.7%

Toyota

1,108,791

1,165,607

5.1%

55.8%

Volkswagen Group

302,379

286,412

-5.3%

45.3%

    

Company

H1 2013 Mkt Share

H1 2014 Mkt Share

YoY Change (Mkt Share)

H1 2013 % Share of New-Car Searches (Big 8)

H1 2014 % Share of New-Car Searches (Big 8)

YoY Change  Share of New-Car Searches (Big 8)

Fiat-Chrysler

11.6%

12.5%

0.9%

14.2%

14.9%

0.6%

Ford

16.5%

15.5%

-1.0%

15.1%

13.1%

-2.0%

GM

18.2%

17.8%

-0.3%

17.9%

19.9%

2.0%

Honda

9.5%

9.1%

-0.5%

9.6%

8.9%

-0.7%

Hyundai/Kia

8.2%

8.1%

-0.1%

7.2%

6.6%

-0.5%

Nissan

8.0%

8.6%

0.6%

8.8%

9.1%

0.4%

Toyota

14.2%

14.3%

0.1%

14.3%

14.9%

0.6%

Volkswagen Group

3.9%

3.5%

-0.4%

12.9%

12.5%

-0.4%

*New-Car Searches include all makes within each manufacturer's portfolio (e.g. reported Fiat Chrysler searches are inclusive of Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram and Fiat).


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