AD #1285 – U.S. Car Sales, Don Butler Lands at Ford, Corvette’s Performance Black Box

January 6th, 2014 at 11:59am

Runtime: 8:35

- 2013 U.S. Car Sales
- Ford Hires Former Cadillac Exec
- Corvette Gets Performance Black Box
- The Henry Ford Museum

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Hello and welcome to a brand new week of Autoline Daily. For those of you who are just getting back to work from your holiday vacation, welcome back! Now here’s the latest news to help you keep up with the latest developments in the automotive industry.

And we finally have the official tally for new car sales in the US market for all of 2013. it was quite a good year, with total light vehicle sales coming in at 15.5 million units. That was up 7.5% over the year before and represents quite a good year. For December sales hit 1.35 million units, up 4% from the year before.

Amongst the top six manufacturers, Nissan had a whale of a December, with sales shooting up 15%. Chrysler saw sales jump nearly 10%, while Honda was up nearly 6%. Ford was up just over 5%, Toyota was up a little over 2%, but GM actually saw sales drop slightly, at minus 2.6%.

The best selling truck in the country was the Ford F-series, which topped the sales charts just shy of 70,000 units, which is a jaw dropping number. The new Chevy Silverado actually saw sales go down by more than 12%, while the Ram pickup over at Chrysler was up nearly 15%. I think Ford and Ram have pulled out every sales gimmick in the book to try and steal sales from the Silverado. And as I keep saying, GM is being hurt by not having its own captive finance company.

On the car side, the Honda Accord out sold everyone else, topping the charts at more than 32,000 units, up 14.4%. And as Honda loves to brag, those are all retail sales. No fleet sales for them. The Toyota Camry came in just shy of 30,000 units, but sales fell ever so slightly. And same goes for the Honda Civic, sales were down more than 7%. The Nissan Altima had a good month, with sales up more than 7% to 24,800 cars. And the Ford Fusion had a blowout month, with sales up more than 31% to 24,400 units.

As always our sales source is WardsAuto, which calculates sales on a daily selling rate basis, which we consider a more accurate way to evaluate what’s really going on in the marketplace.

GM’s former head of Cadillac Global Strategy, Don Butler, has landed a new job across town at Ford. Butler was just named the executive director of Connected Vehicle and Services. He will be in charge of Ford’s global strategy for integrating connectivity across its vehicles lines. He will report to Raj Nair, the head of global product development. But this sure makes us wonder if at some point Don Butler is going to end up at Lincoln. I mean, he sure would know how to go after Cadillac, wouldn’t he?

We have talked a lot about the performance of the new Corvette Stingray and now you’ll be able to track that performance….at the track. Chevy is going to offer a performance data recorder as a factory option, so drivers can record their driving experience and share it with their friends. The system, which was developed by Cosworth and comes straight from the Corvette Racing Team includes a 720p HD camera mounted behind the rear view mirror, a microphone, a self-contained telemetry recorder and a slot in the glove box for an SD card. The telemetry recorder uses a GPS receiver that operates 5 times faster than the in-dash navigation system and is also hard-wired to the vehicle’s electrical system for accessing things like engine speed, gear selection and braking force. Drivers can even view the video on the Corvette’s touchscreen, when parked or download the data into Cosworth’s Toolbox software for a more in-depth look, and figure out how they can chop down their lap times. Unfortunately no word on pricing just yet.

If you had your own car museum to fill, what kinds of cars would you put in there? Coming up next, we’ll show you how the Henry Ford Museum determines what it wants in its collection.

Last week on Autoline After Hours my guest was Bob Casey, the former curator of Transportation at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. In case you didn’t catch that show, here’s a taste of what you missed.

(The AAH clip is only available in the video version of today’s show.)

As you know, the Detroit auto show is right around the corner and we’ll be bringing you live coverage from the floor thanks to our signature sponsor Chrysler. We’ll have two days of auto show broadcasts for you: Monday, January 13th and Tuesday the 14th both at 1PM eastern time. We’re following those days up with additional broadcasts from the second-annual Autoline Supplier Symposium thanks to our signature sponsor Ford. The LIVE webcasts are on Wednesday, January 15th and Thursday the 16th, both days start at 2PM Eastern Time at our website

And that’s a wrap for today’s show, thanks for watching and we’ll be back right here tomorrow.

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55 Comments to “AD #1285 – U.S. Car Sales, Don Butler Lands at Ford, Corvette’s Performance Black Box”

  1. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The pickup truck market has to be, by far, the most “brand loyalty” driven segment out there. Nearly everyone considers the F-series to now be worst-in-class for the way most people use pickups, but it continues to outsell everyone else by a significant margin.

    I suspect the powers that be at Ford are hoping that the soon-to-be introduced new truck will do as well. The probably needn’t worry, because brand loyalty is so big in that market, and Ford has it.

  2. pedro fernandez Says:

    I believe Camry sales in Dec were affected by the sales increase of the new, much improved Corolla, I have spoken to a couple of new owners and they told me they went from Camry to Corolla because of the new economic reality and it drives almost as “nice”. I would not be surprised if Corolla sales outdo Camry in 2014.

  3. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Ford pickups: Despite having a family member work for ford,(discount),and I’m on ford’s x-plan,(even bigger discount),you couldn’t give me a ford pickup.I just don’t like their engines/drivelines/styling/etc.

  4. pedro fernandez Says:

    Perhaps with the F150 its a matter of because ti’s the best selling truck so there has to be something to it and buyers just go for it w/o even looking at the competition. Partly hate for GM and distrust of any Chrysler product.

  5. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yeah, I agree. While I don’t tend to buy non-hatchback sedans, the new Corolla would be high on my shopping list if I did, while the old was just “showing its age” too much. The new Corolla is what a Camry was a couple generations ago, only better in most ways.

  6. Kit Gerhart Says:

    And most pickup shoppers don’t even seriously look at the Tundra. There aren’t nearly as many iterations of Tundra as there are with the “domestics,” but there are enough to cover most of the potential market.

  7. pedro fernandez Says:

    I had to opportunity to drive the new Corolla a bit and if memory serves me, it rides better than the 2nd gen Camry (1986) and just as spacious.

  8. Bradley Says:

    Wow! No Subaru to mention in the 2013 Car Sales numbers. I am sure Subaru stands out in a few ways.

  9. Drew Says:

    Kit and Pedro, F-Series customers are very happy with their trucks.

    G.A., you couldn’t give me a GM truck (I’m underwhelmed), Toyota (ugly Mr. Potato Head of domestic trucks), or Nissan (old and don’t trust the quality). I’d insist on a very long warranty for a Dodge… err… Ram.

  10. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ Kit:The problem with the tundra is despite the updating of the interior and a few other things,it has languished somewhat the same as the taco.Same engine/driveline/and a rep as being a real gas hog and questionable towing.I know some folks that refuse to tow their horse trailers with the tundra’s they have,opting to use their older big 3 trucks instead.Personally,I don’t much care for anything toyota,jmho.

  11. pedro fernandez Says:

    @Kit, bet my bottom dollar you’re happy to be here in Fl than your frozen tundra Indiana home! Subie continues to be a niche vehicle much like SAAB and Volvo, they extra expense of AWD keeps it from selling more samples, even though I am sure days like these in the frozen north make people think of buying one.

  12. Kit Gerhart Says:

    8, He was only talking about the top 6 manufacturers’ sales, and only in the U.S. Yeah, Subaru did very well at maintaining, and expanding their niche, while VW shrunk in the U.S., even though they are a solid number 3 globally.

  13. pedro fernandez Says:

    G.A the best thing about the Tundra, I believe, is its engine, smooth and durable, although not good in the ever important mileage dept, BTW did anyone see 60 mins and it’s green energy story? Quite shocking that they wound blame directly a Democratic administration for the waste of taxpayers money.

  14. Kit Gerhart Says:

    10, A friend has a recent Tundra and likes it, but admits that it is a gas hog, probably worse than the current “domestics.” He likes the power train with the 5.7 engine, though, and doesn’t drive many miles. It is probably the “hot rod” of the current crop.

    I know another Tundra owner, the previous generation with V6/manual trans. She is planning to replace it with a Taco soon, and doesn’t seem to mind the Taco’s datedness.

  15. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Pedro, I’m definitely glad I’m in FL. It’s supposed to get down into the 30′s tonight, but that’s a lot better than minus 14 in Indiana.

  16. Bradley Says:

    Toyota needs a true Compact truck. Perhaps bring back the nameless Toyota Truck as the compact.

    Then they can update the Tacoma offering a trim level that gets better MPG.

    Unfortunately, IMO Toyota needs to maintain the “me too” gear with the Tundra a little longer. If they could get the MPG above the competition, that would be huge. I also would like more nimble, athletic styling as opposed to the in your face testosterone look.

    Toyota Truck – New Compact
    Toyota Tacoma – Midsize Class Leader
    Toyota Tundra – Full Size MPG class Leader

  17. HtG Says:

    Off topic, I guess

    I saw today that Qualcomm is bringing out a chip for autos that will be just as capable as a phone chip. This chip will be durable enough for auto, but also have stuff like facial and gesture recognition, and wifi/bluetooth that can serve up to 8 devices, and more. Facial recognition? Huh? But gesture control might be interesting; can I point to where I want the car to go?

    OK, who wants to step up and predict the future?

  18. Duke Says:

    Kit: “Nearly everyone considers the F-series to now be worst-in-class for the way most people use pickups, but it continues to outsell everyone else by a significant margin.”

    You must be talking about ‘everyone in the Senior Citizen Community’?

    But then you are one of those (IIRC) that places any value on what CR says/review regarding vehicles. For instance, I do not know a single professional in any trade that would even consider the Ridgeline – a real pickup.

    If you want to see how a real review of a vehicle – across marque lines – should be done (unlike CR’s non-disclosure of their methodology and reliance/emphasis on subjective opinions) try out this one:

    Instead of comparing quite different vehicles (like all of the rags – MT is really good at that), the parameters are about as close as you can get. Then you have a real comparison.

    I guess that you didn’t talk with many of those 70k buyers of the F150 last month, eh? Just made a few assumptions based on a few anecdotal cases/opinions in the SCC and that was good enough to draw conclusions and make blatant statements (with no valid basis/data whatsoever) and applied it across the entire country and industry?

  19. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’m talking about everyone from C and D to CR who evaluates them,from an objective standpoint. We all know that people “like what they have,” especially brand loyalists, unless they get a real lemon.

  20. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Duke, most pickup buyers do not use them for work. They use the as passenger cars, to make a statement, or other reasons not related to heavy towing, or carrying anything very heavy.

  21. Ziggy Says:

    GM will never catch the Ford F-150 in sales with styling that mimics their previous generation truck, I know all you “true truck guys” will disagree that styling is just as important in trucks as in cars but I know of a few folks that are considering new pickups and are not impressed with the GM examples because of the carryover styling and will most likely be considering a Ram because it is the most attractive truck on the market today in their opinions.

  22. Duke Says:

    You think that C&D and CR are representative of “everybody”?

    C&D and CR evaluate from ‘an objective standpoint’? You are gullible, aren’t you?

  23. Bradley Says:

    GM needs to unplug GMC.

  24. pedro fernandez Says:

    Frankly I. growing tired of the insults being leveled at those who participate in this forum, why can’t you have your own opinion without putting down others? Civility, please!

  25. Kit Gerhart Says:

    C & D and CR evaluate them from the standpoint of THE WAY MOST PEOPLE USE THEM, not the way construction companies might us them. For true, heavy duty use, specing and equipping them properly is important, maybe more than the brand.

    I’m done with this discussion.

  26. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Styling is very very subjective so what one likes,another hates.Ain’t no thing.Ram’s styling is very good,at least to my eyes,but the real big thing that will change all the others is the diesel option for the 1500.That raises the bar by at least an order of magnitude.Most of the other oem’s are hell bent playing ‘catch-up’… they should be with one exception….GM.Sure they will offer a diesel in the new Colorado sometime in the future,but don’t feel that a diesel option is necessary for the 1/2 ton.I think they’ll regret that in the near future.

  27. pedro fernandez Says:

    I only know one guy who owns a pickup (F150) and he regrets buying it because seems like most everyone he knows is always asking him to use it for one thing or another.

  28. HtG Says:

    This weekend at a parking lot in the mall I watched a tall guy walking to his small truck. This guy was very fit, wearing a loose open coat, and wearing tight dark glasses, and bearded.He was also a little too aware of his surroundings. Total badass, and I had to stifle myself from calling him out as a Navy SEAL.

    As you can see, I have quite an imagination sometimes.

  29. Buzzerd Says:

    I work with about 200ish guys and I would guess 80% drive a truck and use them for towing, hunting, home reno… Right now it seems most are preferring the F150 but I think because the 4 door has a bigger cabin with a flat floor unlike the Silverado/Sierra, not sure about the new ones. In my opinion you can’t go wrong with any of the big three when it comes to trucks. We have a gasoline 1 ton Silverado at work and I’m amazed at how well it stops and goes with a big load.

  30. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ Pedro: Tell your friend to grow a pair and tell his friends/family to go to Penskes and rent one for a day to do whatever they need to do.I learned that lesson many years ago the hard way.

    As for people buying and driving pickups as a ‘lifestyle’ vehicle,that can be said for all performance and luxury cars etc.Look at the old land yachts that used to hog up the road.Were they necessary or just statements of opulence? Or having a car that can go from zero to sixty in a few seconds.What purpose does it serve if only to show how mant tickets one can get should they use such capabilities on a public road,or maybe over compensating for ‘short’ comings in other areas of life…

  31. pedro fernandez Says:

    G.A. You don’t know Latinos, if he says no, he will become the selfish, numero uno A-hole of the family, for sure! BTW I’ve always believed that the pickup took the place of the retired 2 door, V8, big American car!

  32. HtG Says:

    Some weeks ago Autoline viewers saw a rep from one of the big three talk about how they’re discovering the limits of what luxury appointments people will pay for. Talk about margins, I’m all for ‘em.

    On the other hand, HomeDepot rents trucks and vans to customers. And at least around here, you’ll rarely see anyone driving a truck unless it’s a contractor. Also, very few porsche sports cars.

  33. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ Pedro: LOL,in some ways that’s true about the pickups.I understand the family thing too.When needed,I would drive my own truck to wherever and help out,but won’t just let it go without me.Family gets helped,my truck survives to live another day type of thing.

    Luxury appointments I will pay for: AC/elec windows/cruise/heated seats.Unfortunately too many times the heated seats are option wise,tied into more expensive stupid things like sunroofs etc.

    Or in the case of building out the new Ram 1500 diesel the other day:I selected the options I wanted to include the comfort group,(heated seats and steering wheel).Fine,then I went next to the powertrain options and selected the 3.0L diesel…..a box pops up and said if I want the diesel option,I have to drop the comfort group option????? WTF……over? That is an instant deal breaker for me right there.Who is the retard(s) that dream this crap up? And the hell of it is,they get paid to do stupid stuff like that.I’ll never understand it……

  34. pedro fernandez Says:

    HtG those Home Depot truck rentals get to be pretty expensive I think its $19.95 per hr plus mileage, I much prefer one from U-Haul which is $20 per day plus mileage.

  35. pedro fernandez Says:

    #33 G. A. That is one stupid option choice from Dodge!! Do they assume that diesel buyers don’t care about comfort?

  36. HtG Says:

    34 sure, but if you want to haul some heavy or big stuff home? That’s pretty neat. I imagine plenty of people can at least calculate whether they need a truck, if they know they can rent. When I was doing some ‘home fun’ I found that the Civic could swallow an enormous amount of merchandise. Even the Miata was a little useful, if you put the top down.(remember the time I went home with a filing cabinet riding shotgun? Yes, you get looks)

    But dang if you don’t feel purposeful in a truck. That’s why I’d get one for daily use.

  37. pedro fernandez Says:

    That is why I would like my next car to be a hatchback, much more useful space than a 4 door sedan, although many claim that their noise level is higher and their structural rigidity suffers as well.

  38. pedro fernandez Says:

    I heard some weather woman at a local radio station telling people to wear their longjohns tomorrow morning cause it will go down to 47 degrees over here. BRRRRR! Longjohns? really who the hell has those here in So Fla.? Even in NJ I think I wore them only when I went up to the Catskills a couple of times.

  39. Steve Weintraub Says:

    Re:The Corvette black box~~Unless you will be able to erase the memory I certainly wouldn’t want this option. Can you imagine if,somehow, your insurance company was able to salvage this information after an accident? Count me as opting out for this technology!

  40. HtG Says:

    37 that’s the thing. Hatchbacks and crossovers are enormously capable for the majority of uses. Just like modest cars have huge performance envelopes, if you have some basic skills. Honda Fit is a bullseye, in both respects, if you ask me.

    It was some years ago that I heard or read that we Americans like the most extreme and technical solution to problems. The example given was people in Atlanta wearing parkas. (I think that this idea may have come from the book ‘No Brow’ that CK oftener cited.)

  41. Alexander Hamilton Says:

    Pedro-47 degrees!? Crank up those windows tomorrow morning!

  42. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ Pedro: I have no idea what they assume.Just a guess on my part,that might be their way of making you go into a higher trim level?

  43. C-Tech Says:

    Given how far behind Lincoln is in the luxury segment, D. Butler will need a lot of help turning it around.

    It is handy to have a pick-up and I do sometimes wish I kept my Ranger. On the other hand I also wish I kept my 86 Mustang.

  44. C-Tech Says:

    @ #40 Forget the people in Atlanta, you should see the people from Miami wearing Parkas in Orlando while the people getting off the planes from Wisconsin and Chicago are wearing shorts.

  45. C-Tech Says:

    If the parts were not so d$$$ expensive I would have kept my most versatile vehicle, the Audi 5000 wagon. Fun to drive, relatively easy on gas, loads of cargo space,and some luxury features.

  46. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I just pay Home Depot, Sears, or whoever to deliver the refrigerator every 25 years or so. That way, I don’t need to rent the truck.

  47. Kit Gerhart Says:

    As everyone here well knows, I really like hatchbacks and wagons. The noise level is probably a little higher than a sedan, but not much. Probably the “security panel” lowers noise level a little, but I can’t tell any, or much difference when I remove them.

  48. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ CTech: Lincoln sure as hell needs something.Hopefully maybe Mr.Butler can turn it around….IF he’s allowed to.I will say I’m happy to see Lincoln did away with that’big toothy grin’ that was just hideous to see,lol.

  49. dcars Says:

    I wonder what’s going to happen to Chrysler when Fiat raids the coffers and sends all the development money to Italy. Seams like robbery to me.

  50. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yeah, you can get some big stuff in a convertible. I remember a college friend putting the top down on his Olds 442 to load stuff, and them putting it back up to drive when it wasn’t top-down weather. Of course, you can carry much bigger items if you leave the top down.

  51. Kit Gerhart Says:

    33, 35
    The diesel isn’t even showing up in the “build and price” for Dodge, er Ram 1500 trucks on their web site, entering my zip code (32931). I’m surprised that it shows up for some, but not for other areas. I guess it is because you are in “truck country,” though I see a lot of trucks in my area.

  52. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ Kit: If you try to price out a short bed reg cab the diesel option won’t show up.You have to go to long bed for a reg cab.Why? I haven’t a clue but that’s the way it is…

  53. pedro fernandez Says:

    Cause they want to make as much money as they can from those diesel lovers out there, like G.A.

  54. RonE Says:

    Good news from Michael Schumacher’s manager.

  55. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Again, guardingly good news; hopefully Michael is still Michael (and recovers fully). Thanks for the link Ron.