[Oeva-list] Fw: Machine shop

Greg Long greglongoregon at gmail.com
Thu Apr 5 20:43:21 PDT 2012


http://wardsauto.com/sales-amp-marketing/march-us-light-vehicles-raise-fuel-efficiency-bar

[Plain text paste. -GL]

March U.S. Light Vehicles Raise Fuel-Efficiency Bar

John Sousanis, WardsAuto
Apr. 4, 2012 3:00pm

Shifts in auto makers’ shares and the segment mix last month
accompanied a record fuel-economy rating for light vehicles sold in
the U.S., as measured by the WardsAuto Fuel-Economy Index.

U.S. new light vehicles achieved record fuel-efficiency for the third
month in a row in March, according to the WardsAuto Fuel-Economy
Index.

Cars and light trucks sold in the month had a combined 24.1 mpg (9.75
L/100 km) rating, a 1% improvement on the record set in February. It
was the first time the index has risen above 24 mpg (9.79 L/100 km).

The new benchmark represents a 15% increase in fuel efficiency over
the index’s base rating of 20.9 mpg (11.2 L/100 km), established in
fourth-quarter 2007.

March LV sales signified a continued movement toward smaller
fuel-efficient vehicles that dominated the first quarter.

Midsize cars, which averaged 27.1 mpg (8.7 L/100 km), comprised 23.5%
of all LV sales, an 11-year high that put the segment ahead of Cross
Utility vehicles, 22.5 on the index, for the second straight month.
CUVs topped the market in the 28 months prior to February.

Small cars enjoyed increased market share as well, accounting for
20.9% of LV sales, while averaging a segment-record 29.7 mpg (7.9
L/100 km).

Light-truck deliveries made up just 46.6% of the market, the vehicle
type’s lowest non-Cash-for-Clunkers related share since July 2007.

Changes in the segment mix were accompanied by shifts toward more
fuel-efficient vehicles within individual segments.

In addition to the Small Car segment, CUV and Sport Utility Vehicle
(17.1 mpg [13.7 L/100 km] segments achieved record index ratings,
while Midsize cars enjoyed their second highest rating to date, just
below prior month.
Vehicles averaging more than 20 mpg (11.8 L/100 km) accounted for
72.2% of the market, up nearly 50% over the base period, when vehicles
getting 20 mpg or more comprised just 48.5% of LV sales.

On the flip side, light vehicles getting 15 mpg (15.6 L/100 km) or
less accounted for less than 1% of March deliveries, compared with
3.2% just a year ago and 9.4% in the base period.

While consumer demand, fueled by fear of rising gas prices, would
appear to be at the core of the current spike in the index, OEMs
played a key role in the overall rating rise.

Auto makers continue to make technological strides in powertrain
efficiencies that raise the index rating independent of consumer
behavior.

Car companies have rolled out an increasingly large selection of small
and midsize vehicles, including a growing number of hybrid and
alternate-power vehicles that provide consumers interested in fuel
economy greater choice than ever.

Indeed, vehicles rated higher than 30 mpg (7.8 L/100 km) on the index
accounted for 11.8% of sales in March, up from 4.3% year-ago. The 270%
increase was made possible, in part, by the increasing number of
vehicles available in that category.

The market also likely is seeing a bounce in demand of small and
midsize vehicles that had been in short supply for most of 2011, after
Japan’s March earthquake and tsunami disrupted global production.

Whether the bump is sustained or not, the current rise of more
fuel-efficient vehicles is accompanied by a shift in share between
auto makers.

General Motors, while earning its best index rating to date of 21.4
mpg (11 L/100 km), saw sales dip for some of its less fuel-efficient
vehicles, earning the company its smallest share (16.5%) of the U.S.
market ever.

Toyota set a new index rating record for a single company of 28.3 mpg
(8.3 L/100 km), while earning its highest share in 15 months and
selling 200,000 vehicles for the first time since August 2009.

Honda may have experienced a short-term supply issue last month, but
Nissan at 25 mpg (9.4 L/100 km) saw its highest volume month ever. The
auto maker accounted for 9.74% of all March LV sales, 1/100th of a
share point less than its best-ever share.

Hyundai took the No.2 index spot in March with a 27.2 mpg (8.6 L/100
km) rating followed by Kia with 27.1 mpg (8.7 L/100 km) and Volkswagen
with 26.9 mpg (8.7 L/100 km), both of which established company
records.

Domestic-built light vehicles broke February’s previous all-time high
with an average score of 23.1 mpg (10.2 L/100 km) but lost more ground
to imported cars and trucks, which collectively scored 27.2 mpg (8.6
L/100 km), also a record.

The year-to-date WardsAuto Fuel Economy Index rating for the industry
rose to 23.9 mpg (9.8 L/100 km), marking a 4.5% gain on first-quarter
2011 and the single-highest quarterly rating to date.
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