BLOG: Jesse Snyder

How can 1% growth feel so good?

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, July 1
blogs Jesse Snyder is editor of the opinion page at Automotive News.
 
June turned out to be a great month for U.S. auto sales. Ignore that goofy 1 percent increase in units sold. It’s a calendar fluke. The 17 million selling rate tells the tale. And the story, for June and the first half, is a good one. First half sales rose 4 percent to 8.2 million, overcoming horrible January and February weather and putting the U.S. auto industry b ...
     Continue reading "How can 1% growth feel so good?" » Jul 1, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Ya gotta love those new models

Posted 5:38 pm U.S. ET, June 3
Jeep is hot, hot, hot. Volkswagen is cold as ice. Nothing helps like fresh product on the floor. And nothing aches quite the way that an aging lineup does. In a perfect world, every automaker would schedule product introductions so every year a new model would draw buyers into showrooms. But programs get added, scrapped, delayed, hastened, even revamped and restarted. Pr ...
     Continue reading "Ya gotta love those new models" » Jun 3, 2014 5:38 pm U.S. ET
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Playing ‘Pros & Cons’

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, May 1
I have mixed feelings about April’s sales results. Yes, volume rose 8 percent and put us on pace to reach 16 million units this year. But no, it didn’t blow the doors off. April is kinda like a Jimmy Fallon “Pros and Cons” bit on "The Tonight Show". Pro: The monthly selling pace topped 16 million a second straight month, the first time that&rsqu ...
     Continue reading "Playing ‘Pros & Cons’" » May 1, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET
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New Russian outlook: 'Slower, lower, weaker'

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, April 23
Days after Russia annexed a province of Ukraine and U.S. and European forces mobilized, hoping to prevent more regions from hoisting the Russian flag, you would expect a conference on the future of the Russian auto industry to be pessimistic. And the speakers last week at a University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute session in Ann Arbor certainly were. One ...
     Continue reading "New Russian outlook: 'Slower, lower, weaker' " » Apr 23, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET
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OK, the scary part is over

Posted 4:44 pm U.S. ET, April 1
It’s officially safe to breathe again. Most folks in the industry firmly believed the dreary January and February auto sales were caused primarily by wretched weather. But actually seeing March sales rebound confirms it. It’s good to have faith. But better to have verification. Yes, we’re back on track for a fifth straight growth year. The odds of reac ...
     Continue reading "OK, the scary part is over" » Apr 1, 2014 4:44 pm U.S. ET
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New light on the dark art of comparing warranty costs

Posted 4:01 pm U.S. ET, March 5
Today there's a bit more light in the auto industry's dark art of vehicle warranties and recalls. By dark art, I don't mean each automaker's warranty specialists don't know their costs down to the last dollar. I mean almost nobody else does.But advisory firm Stout Risius Ross has a new database on U.S. auto recalls, which it laid out today to a well attended session of the ...
     Continue reading "New light on the dark art of comparing warranty costs" » Mar 5, 2014 4:01 pm U.S. ET
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Sitting out Double Winter

Posted 3:28 pm U.S. ET, March 3
Is the growth over for U.S. auto sales? We'll find out when the weather clears.Look, auto sales are always lousy in January and February. Many buyers put purchases on hold so their shiny new vehicles don't start out with potholes and road salt. And so they can avoid the hassle of an after-work dealership visit to hunt through slushy lots in the dark.That's regular winter. ...
     Continue reading "Sitting out Double Winter" » Mar 3, 2014 3:28 pm U.S. ET
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At VW, labor is full partner -- please tell southern U.S. politicians

Posted 8:05 am U.S. ET, Feb. 21
Especially in an election year, I expect political rhetoric over UAW organizing in the South. This month's rejection of the UAW by workers at Volkswagen's Chattanooga plant certainly garnered lots of words on both sides.But, frankly, I was shocked by two Southern politicians so eager to score points with local conservative voting bases that they insulted half the board mem ...
     Continue reading "At VW, labor is full partner -- please tell southern U.S. politicians" » Feb 21, 2014 8:05 am U.S. ET
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Cold spells, snowfalls, a fluke and an asterisk

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Feb. 3
January U.S. light-vehicle sales down 3 percent? Welcome to 2014. We’re gonna have more months like this.It’s probably going to be another good sales year. But modest baseline growth can’t carry the whole industry through a month that has even one, let alone multiple, bad events.And January had a couple of doozies, plus a fluke and an asterisk. The obviou ...
     Continue reading "Cold spells, snowfalls, a fluke and an asterisk" » Feb 3, 2014 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Why economic developers love auto events

Posted 3:54 pm U.S. ET, Jan. 16
Wherever auto executives gather, so do people trying to land the next new plant location or retain the car jobs they’ve already won.The economic development folks hit Detroit in droves this week. They swarmed press and industry days at the Detroit auto show. Yesterday alone at the Automotive News World Congress, I ran into four teams: the states of Virginia and Georg ...
     Continue reading "Why economic developers love auto events" » Jan 16, 2014 3:54 pm U.S. ET
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In 2014, the auto sales game will be won in the trenches

Posted 4:24 pm U.S. ET, Jan. 13
From an industrywide perspective, U.S. auto sales look as graceful as a long completed pass to a wide receiver.But at the brand and nameplate level, it's messy. Downright lumpy, actually.And in 2014, the game is gonna get tougher. After four straight years of U.S. auto sales gains of at least 1.1 million annually, most forecasts call for growth in the mid-single digits.In ...
     Continue reading "In 2014, the auto sales game will be won in the trenches" » Jan 13, 2014 4:24 pm U.S. ET
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Black swans, canaries and coal mines

Posted 9:38 am U.S. ET, Jan. 13
Woo hoo! So we're headed for another year of rising U.S. auto sales. Fifth straight, with 2014 back to pre-recession volume. Woo hoo indeed!But if the Great Recession taught us anything, it's caution. We're suspicious of good news.So among all the 16 million-plus forecasts strewn about the Society of Automotive Analysts Outlook Conference Sunday was a menagerie of misery: ...
     Continue reading "Black swans, canaries and coal mines" » Jan 13, 2014 9:38 am U.S. ET
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3 things we learned from December sales

Posted 3:58 pm U.S. ET, Jan. 3
DETROIT -- See what a snowstorm or two can do to even a juggernaut of a sales rally?A series of powerful snowstorms through much of the country kept enough buyers away from U.S. dealerships to make December's volume gain a mere technicality -- up 2,602 units, or 0.19 percent.Oddly enough, even that little bit helps in the rounding game. In whole numbers, 2013's 15,582,136 ...
     Continue reading "3 things we learned from December sales" » Jan 3, 2014 3:58 pm U.S. ET
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December and the will to win

Posted 4:30 pm U.S. ET, Dec. 3
It's down to December. It's the sprint for the finish, the runner's bell lap, the last circuit of the track.Most yearly sales races were decided much earlier. But in the few still unsettled, it comes down to who has a kick left.The first 10 months, I watched five likely sales races. Did November change them? Yep. Some leads grew. Some races got tighter:My favorite, as usua ...
     Continue reading "December and the will to win" » Dec 3, 2013 4:30 pm U.S. ET
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Like dad, Mel Parekh is turning around a GM store

Posted 10:31 am U.S. ET, Nov. 12
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the country from which Prat Parekh emigrated to the United States. At 38, dealer Mel Parekh is rescuing his second store. But in a way, Princeton Chevrolet in Lawrenceville, N.J., is his fourth turnaround.Mel's drawing on skills he learned in childhood, first watching and then helping his father turn ar ...
     Continue reading "Like dad, Mel Parekh is turning around a GM store" » Nov 12, 2013 10:31 am U.S. ET
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Bleeding reserves today, when we'll need them tomorrow

Posted 4:47 pm U.S. ET, Nov. 1
Everybody is focusing on the positive aspects of October U.S. auto sales. Car execs and analysts are busy praising consumer "resilience" and mooning over a 10 percent sales gain.And everybody ignores the obvious: October sales ain't what they could have been without the partial government shutdown and specter of a federal debt default.I get it. Auto sales are just collater ...
     Continue reading "Bleeding reserves today, when we'll need them tomorrow" » Nov 1, 2013 4:47 pm U.S. ET
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Grading AugSept on a curve(d) calendar

Posted 4:02 pm U.S. ET, Oct. 1
Confused by cock-eyed counting in August and September U.S. auto sales? I mean, when the folks who tally up auto sales decide to move the whole Labor Day weekend out of September and into August, it messes up comparisons.We all loved it a month ago when August came in fat and sassy. Remember those huge numbers? Up 17 percent, best monthly selling rate since 2007, most unit ...
     Continue reading "Grading AugSept on a curve(d) calendar" » Oct 1, 2013 4:02 pm U.S. ET
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Is industry discipline slip-sliding away?

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Sept. 21
Today there's a new voice asking if the U.S. auto industry is losing its steely discipline and about to relapse into sin.As auto sales head toward completing a fourth straight year of robust growth since the Great Recession, everybody is bracing for a breakdown in the collective virtue of balanced production and sales, the restrained sales incentives and lean inventories. ...
     Continue reading "Is industry discipline slip-sliding away?" » Sep 21, 2013 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Automaker discipline is holding … so far

Posted 5:59 pm U.S. ET, Sept. 4
Four years into the sales recovery, we’re all holding our breath.We all hope everybody remembers the hard lessons of the Great Recession. And fear somebody will crack open a fresh can of marketing excess -- especially we graybeards who remember previous boom-and-bust cycles.So we cringe at every low-ball lease deal. Every four-digit wad of cash on the hood. Every rid ...
     Continue reading "Automaker discipline is holding … so far" » Sep 4, 2013 5:59 pm U.S. ET
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Will Labor Day push sales rate past 16 million?

Posted 2:12 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 23
Can a calendar quirk help the U.S. car sales rate crack the 16-million sales barrier?We're about to find out.This year the auto sales-rich Labor Day weekend falls in the August counting period, even though Labor Day is on Monday, Sept. 2. That gives this month five weekends, along with an extra weekday (Tuesday, Sept. 3), and it may be enough of a boost to push the seasona ...
     Continue reading "Will Labor Day push sales rate past 16 million?" » Aug 23, 2013 2:12 pm U.S. ET
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What's a good name? One on a solid vehicle

Posted 3:20 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 9
I am encouraged that General Motors will keep the names of the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon when it reintroduces the mid-sized pickups next year.It tells me that GM execs feel they don't need to apologize for the models they were making.I know the intricacies of naming a vehicle, especially one sold in multiple world markets. Over the years, I've seen great names and ...
     Continue reading "What's a good name? One on a solid vehicle" » Aug 9, 2013 3:20 pm U.S. ET
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Retail is July's hero

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Aug. 1
Don't fret for the U.S. auto recovery just because July's selling rate dropped a bit from that blowout party in June. It's fleet's fault.Could July's 15.7 million seasonally adjusted annual rate have matched June's 16 million if fleet volume had been as robust as the retail side?Maybe so.Industry fleet data are not readily available on sales day, but it looks like fleet ac ...
     Continue reading "Retail is July's hero" » Aug 1, 2013 12:01 am U.S. ET
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Auto sales headed higher (It's a hunch)

Posted 5:22 pm U.S. ET, July 2
U.S. auto sales were pretty good the first half. But the second half will be substantially better, I firmly predict.The numbers support that, starting with thumping good June volume. But my conviction is more about feel. I sense sales rising like an achy knee portends rain.And here's what my hunch is based on:Pickup sales are booming. Contractors are rational buyers. They ...
     Continue reading "Auto sales headed higher (It's a hunch)" » Jul 2, 2013 5:22 pm U.S. ET
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Special Report
Fewer bosses, Disney savvy, $2 idea lift stores

Fewer bosses, Disney savvy, $2 idea lift stores

A Chrysler Group dealership chain is stripping away layers of management to sell cars faster. A Chevrolet-Cadillac store is enchanting customers through Disney training. Mon., July 21
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