This Week in Car Buying: Inventories up; Audi to pass Chrysler; Lexus rebates; 2018 Subaru Impreza priced
Inventories are beginning to pile up as major manufacturers swing into their summer shutdown periods. Automotive News reports that stocks are up 354,200 units, although 272,700 of those vehicles are in the GM pipeline. The automaker said it was going to fatten up its vehicle supply to tide it over an extended plant shutdown that may go as long as 10 weeks for retooling of several critical facilities.
GM has 105 days’ supply of vehicles on hand, surpassed only by Mitsubishi’s 123 days’ supply. That figure represents the number of days it would take for a make to sell all the vehicles in inventory at the current sales rate.
Overall, the industry has a 74-day supply on hand, up from 66 days a year earlier and 5 days’ more worth over June 1. Subaru, which traditionally has one of the tightest inventories in the industry, saw its supply go up by 8 days to 50 and fell to third behind BMW (37 days) and Audi (47 days). Among individual brands, Buick has the largest supply, 140 days. Its slowest moving models include the Regal, which has 213-day supply and Enclave, which clocks in at 200 days. GM has built stocks of both in anticipation of new versions of both models that ramp up slowly for introductions later this year. Volkswagen, which has seen its sales increase, is also seeing a rise in stocks from 124 to 137 days’ supply. That number matches the inventory level of Fiat.
There are plenty of vehicles to choose from in dealer inventory. Automotive News puts the number at 4,197,800 units, which is the largest number recorded for July 1 since 2004. In addition to ramped up production in anticipation of plant shutdowns, a market that has seen sales drop 2.1 percent have contributed to the numbers.
Audi to pass Chrysler
In the first half of the year, Audi has sold about 900 more cars than Chrysler, a pace that if it holds up will mark the fifth brand that the German automaker has surpassed in volume since 2009, according to Automotive News. The luxury brand has a wide range of vehicles including a growing stable of hot crossover SUVs, while Chrysler has seen its core model range contract. Chrysler is currently selling the new Pacifica minivan, the 300 full-size sedan and the 200 midsize 4-door. The latter will be phased out at the end of the model year.
The attempt by Lexus to inject some new life into the brand by taking an edgier approach to styling and offering more high performance cars in its lineup is meeting with mixed results as the Japanese luxury division walks a tightrope between attracting a younger, hipper crowd without alienating its older, more established owners. Two models designed to bolster its performance cred are the Lexus GS F sedan and RC F coupe. However, it appears both need a little help in the marketplace with rebates on 2017 models hitting the $4,000 mark. By contrast, the standard GS 200t and GS 350 carry only $2,000 cash back, while the hybrid GS 450h is eligible only for subsidized interest ranging from 1.9 to 2.9 percent.
The only other model in the line with higher incentives is the flagship LS 460, which is offering $5,000 cash back. Lexus is looking to move its remaining supply of these large 4-door sedans in anticipation of the launch of the next generation LS this fall.
More modest rebates of $1,500 are being offering on the CT 200h hatchback, RC 200t, 300 and 350 coupes; the NX and RX crossover SUVs and the IS 200t, 300 and 350 sedans. The midsize ES 300h and 350 are eligible for up to $3,000 cash back.
2018 Subaru Impreza priced
Subaru has announced pricing on its redesigned Impreza lineup which will go on sale at dealerships this fall. Built off an all-new platform and offering new features, the 2018 Subaru Impreza will start at $18,495, just $100 more than the previous generation.
Impreza is offered in four trim levels, 2.0i base, Premium, Sport and Limited. The base model comes with a 6.5-inch multimedia touchscreen, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, power windows with automatic up/down on driver and passenger sides, 60/40 split folding rear seat, power door locks and side mirrors and tilt/telescoping steering column.
The Premium model beings at $21,295 and adds automatic headlamps, Subaru Starlink safety and security features, 16-in alloy wheels, heated front seats and standard roof rails. The Impreza 2.0i Sport has a more performance oriented suspension, 18-inch alloy wheels, a short- throw shifter on the manual versions and Active Torque Vectoring. This model is priced at $22,095. At the top end, the 2018 Subaru Impreza Limited has LED running lights, 17-inch machined alloy wheels, leather seating, 6-way power driver’s seat, keyless access with push button start and an 8-inch color touchscreen. Prices for the Limited start at $24,195. Destination charges are $860 on all models.
The 2018 Honda Fit has been updated with new trim, equipment and features. Prices start at $16,190 plus $875 delivery.
Buick has taken the wraps of its next generation Regal. Topping the line is the high performance 310-horsepower 2018 Buick Regal GS. Get more details in this First Look.
The much anticipated 2018 Dodge Demon with more than 800 horsepower has been launched and we get a chance to get behind the wheel in this First Review.
In the market for a new car? Explore these useful tips on how to get the best deal: