Rising sales tide lifts new-vehicle grosses
ORLANDO -- Dealers at three-fourths of the auto industry's brands are experiencing improved new-vehicle grosses as sales return to pre-recession volumes.
Lexus has seen the biggest percentage increase since 2010, with Honda and Toyota outperforming other mass-market brands, an industry analysis by J.D. Power and Associates found.
"Most of the brands are seeing higher new-vehicle grosses in absolute dollar terms for several different reasons," said Dave Sargent, J.D. Power vice president for global automotive product development. "The biggest factor is that industry sales are up from where they were. Dealerships are seeing more throughput and they're selling vehicles more profitably."
Sargent did not provide specific data, but described the trend on Friday to an audience of retail executives during the J.D. Power International Automotive Roundtable prior to the start of the NADA convention. Power presents an annual off-the-record analysis of the performance of 32 vehicle brands, rating their retail performance, product quality and sales outlook.
Sargent said that reduced industry incentives also are part of the equation for better new-vehicle grosses, and at least in a small way, so is the reduction in dealer headcount since 2010.
The improving economy has additionally fanned flames for a stronger mix of vehicles, with more content and higher transaction prices, he said.
The industry closed 2012 with new-car and truck sales of 14.5 million, up from 12.8 million in 2011 and 11.6 million in 2010, a three-year increase of nearly 3 million vehicles.
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