Filed under: Car Buying , Minivan/Van , Chrysler , Ford , GM , Honda , Hyundai , Kia , Toyota , Earnings/Financials Residual values for last year’s minivans are higher than they were in 2000. Much like the station wagon was the shuttle of Baby Boomer generation, the minivan has been the primary means of transport for Generations X and Y. Just as the boomers abandoned the Country Squire, though, those kids that were toted around in Grand Caravans and Windstars are adults, and they certainly don’t want to be seen in the cars their parents drove. So why, then, are there still some brands holding out in the minivan market? Chrysler has already announced that a new Town & Country will arrive in the next few years, the Kia Sedona has just been given a massive redesign and both the Toyota Sienna and Honda Odyssey remain strong products despite being in the middle of crossover-heavy lineups. The simple answer? It’s all about the money. “They’re good moneymakers,” George Girjel, owner of Toyota of Cool Springs in Tennessee, told Automotive News . “And the more loaded they are, the faster they sell. The Sienna Limited retails for about $49,000, and we can’t keep any in stock.
Filed under: Car Buying , Ford , GM , Hyundai , Kia , Toyota , Earnings/Financials The annual “Car Wars” report by Merrill Lynch analyst John Murphy predicts that, despite their seizing of U.S. market share over the last few tumultuous years, Korean brands Hyundai and Kia will give it all back and then some to companies like Ford , General Motors and Toyota by 2016. Murphy bases his predictions not on tea leaves or crystal balls, but rather the rate at which automakers launch new products. Ford will replace 26 percent of its product line over the next four years, a number that represents 46 percent of its volume, while General Motors will replace 25 percent and Toyota 24 percent. On account of these new product launches, Murphy says Ford can expect to add 0.8 percentage points of market share, General Motors will recover 0.5 points and Toyota will add another 0.3 points. Other automakers that won’t be so aggressive in turning over their lineups with new models include Chrysler , Honda , Nissan and the European brands, which Murphy surmises will all remain flat in terms of market share. Hyundai and Kia, meanwhile, will be introducing fewer new models than the rest and therefore, Murphy predicts, will see a 0.5 decline in U.S. market share. Of course, these are all just predictions and can be blown to bits with the next unforeseen economic crisis or natural disaster, just like the last three years were. And there are other factors that might affect market share for each automaker during the next three years, including the availability of raw materials, exchange rates, union contracts, recalls and a million another minor things that might grow to become big things, not the least of which is consumers deciding they actually like all those new products being launched.
Filed under: Car Buying , Japan , Hyundai , Kia , Lexus , Toyota If forecasts from TrueCar.com are accurate, Hyundai and Kia will be the only automakers to post sales gains in the month of May. Mildly interesting news in itself, but the real shocking nugget is that the Korean conglomerate is expected to pass Toyota (including its Lexus luxury brand) as the third-best-selling automaker in the United States. Surely there are multiple reasons why Toyota and Lexus sales are expected to drop in May (when compared to April, 2011 and May of 2010), but parts and inventory shortages stemming from the devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan are front and center. Credit also goes to Hyundai and Kia for the dramatic gains they have made on their Japanese and American competitors in the last few years, both in sales and in consumer perception. That said, Toyota seems likely to rebound in the coming months, so it will be an interesting exercise to follow the sales charts. When all the numbers finally come in, TrueCar.com expects the month of May to show an eight-percent drop in sales from April. As you would expect, shortages of cars imported from Japan is partly to blame, but lowered incentives from all automakers is also cited as a contributing factor. Hyundai/Kia will likely top Toyota/Lexus for No. 3 sales spot in May originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 31 May 2011 16:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds .