In order to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday, the analysts at Edmunds.com, KBB.com and TrueCar.com released their predictions for November light vehicle sales on Tuesday. Cars.com left theirs until Wednesday so Allpar is updating the forecast.
With the addition of Cars.com’s predictions, the outlook for Fiat Chrysler improved slightly. When November numbers are released next Tuesday, all four predict a 56th consecutive month of sales growth for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Forecasts range from KBB.com’s 11.8% to TrueCar.com’s 19.7% with the average coming in at 15.8%, the highest percentage of any of the major manufacturers and well ahead of predicted growth of 2.9% for the industry.
TrueCar sees FCA sales volume hitting 171,300 cars and trucks, nearly a thousand more than were delivered in October. The others were more modest in their predictions: KBB.com is looking for 159,000 sales; Edmunds.com says 163,486 and Cars.com forecasts 165,400. The average is about 164,800.
|NOVEMBER LIGHT VEHICLE SALES – AVERAGE PREDICTIONS
|Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
|Ford Motor Company
|Toyota Motor Sales
|Nissan North America
Manufacturers are still pumping the incentives. TrueCar.com estimates Fiat Chrysler will spend an average of $3,027/vehicle on incentives, up 3.4% from November 2013 but down 2.3% from October. Ford and GM will both spend more: $3,217 for Ford; $3,304 for the General. Both of those figures are down from last November but up from last month.
Foreign manufacturers are getting into the game in a big way: Honda estimated November spending is up 4.5% from October and Toyota has added 2.5% to its average incentive. Volkswagen Group is spending an average of $2,573, just $454 less than Chrysler and Nissan isn’t far behind at $2,567. Kia’s incentives increased 24.4% from last November to $2,495.
Thanksgiving is a time to appreciate all the good things in our lives: family, friends, Mopar and everything that makes our days better.
Of course, there are certain things that stand out such as meeting the love of your life; welcoming a new child into the world, 707 horsepower SRT Hellcat engines and so forth.
We thought we’d share a few of the good things for which we’re grateful . . .
Above all, we’re grateful for you. Your readership, knowledge, comments, tips, kudos and brickbats make Allpar a better place.
Have a Happy and safe Thanksgiving!
A regular Allpar reader has put no less than four brand new Shelby Dodges, never registered, for sale on eBay. The cars are two Shelby CSXs — essentially hot-rodded Dodge Shadows — a Shelby Dakota pickup, and a Shelby Lancer.
High Performance Mopar once took the somewhat tamer CSX-T stoplight racing and trounced numerous V8 muscle cars with it; while not quite at the Spirit R/T level, it had impressive performance for a five-passenger four-cylinder. Both the Shelby CSX and Lancer had intercooled, turbocharged four-cylinder engines. Visit the sale page now.
Since the Dodge Viper’s price was cut by $15,000, sales returned to normal, and customers can now custom order the newly equipped 2015 ½ Dodge Viper GTS and TA 2.0 Special Edition, which join the SRT and GT.
Tim Kuniskis, President of Dodge and SRT, said, “Today, we’re expanding the Viper lineup by offering the track ready Viper TA 2.0 and GTS models with even more content. This limited-production hand-built super car is the flagship of the Dodge brand, and we will continue to show our commitment to its future.”
Adjusting for inflation, the 2015 model year Viper is priced competitively with the first generation 1992 Dodge Viper, which sold for $50,700 — around $86,130 in today’s dollars. The car now gets up to 20 miles per gallon, highway.
All Vipers now have a 645 horsepower V10 with 640 lb-ft of torque, with a Tremec six-speed manual transmission.
Viper SRT is the base model, starting at $84,995 plus destination. It has polished “Rattler” wheels, four-wheel Bremo brakes, stability control, automatic HID headlamps, LED and running lights and tail-lamps. Inside, buyers get a seven inch custom gauge display, UConnect 8.4, backup camera, navigation, Performance Pages, Launch Control, 12-speaker stereo, keyless entry and pushbutton start, and power adjustable pedals.
The $94,995 2015 Viper GT adds Nappa leather with Alcantara inserts, two-mode sport suspension, five-mode stability control, GTS hood, two-piece StopTech slotted rotors, red Brembo brake calipers, and a power six-way driver seat
The $101,995 the TA 2.0 Special Edition has an aero package, with a rear spoiler and front lower dive planes for increased downforce and improved handling on the track. It also has two-piece Brembo rotors, 18/19-inch Matte Black Sidewinder wheels, Pirelli P Zero Corsa Tires, dual-mode suspension, five-mode stability control, black Brembo brakes with orange lettering, performance brake pads, carbon fiber structural X-Brace, rear carbon fiber appliqué, special front splitter and aero wing assembly kit, TA markings, and a car cover.
The $107,995 Dodge Viper GTS adds many preferred options as standard content: Laguna leather seats, Alcantara headliner, and Harman Kardon 18-speaker sound system, Nappa leather trim, console and doors, 18/19-inch polished aluminum Venom wheels, and power six-way driver and passenger seats. There is also now a GTS Ceramic Blue Special Edition with black stripes, orange calipers, and rear carbon fiber appliqué. High-impact Y’Orange and Stryker Orange paint will start arriving at dealers in early 2015.
Production of 2015 model year Vipers began at the Conner Avenue Assembly Plant in Detroit in this month, with cars arriving in dealerships in the first quarter of 2015.
Photos provided by Chrysler are marked as 2015.5 but appear to have been taken in 2012.
Congress or the NHTSA may end the “convertible exemption,” which allows automakers to have less rollover protection in open-top cars and trucks. This has direct implications for the Jeep Wrangler, which is on a long refresh/replacement schedule, and is already facing possible changes in engine, transmission, suspension, and the greater use of aluminum in the body.
Suspension engineer Bob Sheaves, who has worked on past Jeep Wranglers, provided some answers to tough questions about how Jeep can prepare for this issue, and how likely it is that law changes might result in the Jeep Wrangler getting a fixed roof — and how the company could work around the problem. For more, see the full article.
The editors of KBB.com recently announced that the new Ford F-150 pickup is the “Best Buy” for 2015.
It’s a bit of a mystery how a truck that isn’t yet available for purchase and has no track record at all could be called a best buy. In addition, the specifications, capabilities and prices of the basic models would indicate there are better buys, including the Ram 1500.
When it comes to pricing, there would appear to be some adjustments being made by the folks in Dearborn. Pickups are normally among the more profitable vehicles sold in the U.S., but Ford alarmed financial markets in October when it said it wouldn’t know margins on the new F-150 until the second half of next year.
What is certain is that the new F-150 has higher costs. Aluminum currently sells for about $2,200/ton, compared to $630-$750/ton for sheet steel and $300/ton for recycled scrap steel. Due to the different processes needed to weld aluminum, Ford has switched its body building to a more costly method using of thousands of different-sized rivets and special adhesives.
Yet, with these increased costs, the new F-150 with a base 3.7-liter V6, regular cab and eight-foot bed, is priced just 1.6% higher than its 2014 predecessor. This means Ford either cut some content or is eating a portion of those costs. If the latter is the case, fleet sales and incentives, if they’re offered, could be painful.
That might be a short-term bonus for buyers but the F-150 accounts for such a huge portion of Ford sales – 30% of total Ford Motor Company sales through the end of October – and profits that Ford either needs for the new F-150 to generate larger sales volumes than ever or it will need to raise prices to a more sustainable level, opening even more doors for the less-costly Ram.
In September, Morgan Stanley downgraded Ford stock to “underweight” and cut the target price a dollar to $16 — mostly due to Ford’s ongoing European issues, but partly due to uncertainty about the new F-150. According to a report in the Financial Times, Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas made the changes because he expects margins to be lower because of upfront costs and competition from Ram and Chevrolet.
Another payoff for Ford buyers is supposed to be better fuel economy and, compared to previous F-150s, the new truck delivers. But other than the highly-touted 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6, the engines don’t yield significantly better mileage than competing gasoline-engine trucks from FCA and GM (and don’t come close to the Ram diesel). The 3.5-liter EcoBoost does have more horsepower and torque than competing V6s, but doesn’t have better standard towing or payload capacities. Ford’s “best-in-class” claims depend on specific configurations and the addition of optional equipment.
It’s likely that the F-150 supplied to KBB.com was a typical review vehicle: top-of-the-line Platinum SuperCrew with all the bells and whistles and a sticker price in excess of $50,000. General Motors and Ram typically do the same thing. Getting a real-world basic pickup in a press fleet is far less common.
But a best buy has to start with a good base, and when it comes to good bases, the Ram 1500 Tradesman is a formidable competitor – especially equipped with the Pentastar V6 and the 8-speed transmission.
Since neither Ram nor General Motors sell turbocharged gasoline engines and the Ford EcoBoost engines are expensive options, Allpar compared the Ford F-150 XL with the naturally-aspirated 3.7-liter Ti-VCT V6 and 5.0-liter Ti-VCT V8 engines to the Ram 1500 Tradesman and the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 WT. All trucks were configured with the standard automatic transmission, regular cab, and 8-foot box. Rear axle ratios were selected to be competitive. None of the trucks had any options other than the engine, box size, and axle ratio. No incentives were factored in to manufacturer suggested retail prices and destination charges are included.
|2015 HALF-TON FULL-SIZE V6 PICKUPS
|Brand, Model & Engine
|Chevrolet Silverado 1500 WT 4.3-liter V6
|Ford F-150 XL 3.7-liter Ti-VCT V6
|Ram 1500 Tradesman 3.6-liter V6
|2015 HALF-TON FULL-SIZE V8 PICKUPS
|Brand, Model & Engine
|Chevrolet Silverado 1500 WT 5.3-liter V8
|Ford F-150 XL 5.0-liter Ti-VCT V8
|Ram 1500 Tradesman 5.7-liter Hemi V8
As can be seen, the Ram 1500 Tradesman V6 is competitive in horsepower, torque, payload and towing capacity while coming in at a lower price. Furthermore, as Allpar has reported previously, the Ram’s body is going to be less costly to repair which could mean lower insurance costs.
On top of everything else, the Ram has a track record: twice Motor Trend Truck of the Year and the winner of the magazine’s recent half-ton pickup comparison; twice Truck of Texas and recipient of a shelf-full of other awards and recommendations.
Yes, the F-150 is shiny and new but “tried and true” usually trumps “shiny and new” when it comes to a credible “best buy.”
The 2015 Dodge Charger squad has been tested in police trim for the first time, but since it kept the five-speed automatic, it has turned in numbers similar to past years. While the eight-speed V6 Charger does 0-60 in 6.6 seconds, the five-speed was timed at 8.05 seconds by the Michigan State Police. The civilian 2015 Charger gained acceleration from the eight-speed, [...]
Months after unconfirmed reports made it to Allpar’s pages, the power of Automotive News, in the person of reporter Larry Vellequette, pried a key fact from Chrysler executives — that they cast and build “Ferrari” engines for Maserati. As our sister site pentastars.com reported, the engines are actually cast in Kokomo, and machined in the Trenton Engine plant, using a mixture of [...]
The Ram 1500 faced down the aluminum-bodied Ford F-150 and new Chevrolet Silverado in Motor Trend’s half-ton truck shootout. The three contenders were put through a broad array of testing, including a 260-mile drive through California and Arizona. Measurements included: Testing without load: 0-60 mph and 1/4-mile acceleration, 60-0 mph braking, and maximum lateral grip (Ram was Limits-handling without load: closed-course cornering, braking, [...]