This Week in Car Buying: Top June deals; Inventories dip; 2017 Chevy Cruze, Nissan 370Z priced; Fleet sales surge
Another sign that the market is hitting its peak are the number of deals now available on crossover SUVs. Some of the models are nearing the end of their product cycles, while others are on a new breed of subcompact crossovers that have just recently hit the market.
“Low gas prices and changing tastes are pushing SUV sales to record numbers, so for this month’s list of standout deals, we focused squarely on these versatile vehicles,” said Jack R. Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book’s KBB.com. “Our group includes subcompact, compact and midsize SUVs, running the gamut from two-row off-roaders to three-row luxury models. Shoppers looking for more cargo flexibility, added ground clearance or just a better view of the road ahead will find a variety of options on this month’s list. To top it off, many of these SUV deals are available through Fourth of July holiday weekend, which typically is a great time for consumers to snag a deal on a new car.”
In the compact segment, the deals are led by the 2016 Nissan Rogue, which can be leased for 3 years at $189 per month with $1,899 cash down. Three-year leases are available on the 2016 Kia Sorento for $239 per month and the 2016 Toyota RAV4 for $219 per month. Both require an upfront payment of $1,999. The 2016 Ford Escape, which has just been replaced by the facelifted 2017 model, is being offered with a $1,000 rebate and 0-percent financing, while buyers of the 2016 Jeep Cherokee are eligible for a $3,500 rebate.
In the hot subcompact crossover segment, the 2016 Buick Encore and Chevrolet Trax siblings can be leased for 39 months at $199 per month. The Buick requires $2,179 up front, while the Trax calls for a $1,619 down payment. The newly introduced 2016 Jeep Renegade is being offered with $1,000 cash back and 0-pecent financing.
In the large 3-row category, the 2016 Buick Enclave’s lease deal is for 39 months at $349 per month with $2,968 down, while the 2016 Ford Flex carries a $500 rebate and 0-percent financing.
Inventories dip in May
Despite seeing sales decline over 6 percent for the month, the auto industry managed to keep the cars in inventory from piling up by adjusting production schedules. As a result, the June 1 days’ supply (which is the number of days it would take to move all the cars in stock at the current sales rate) stood at 59 days, according to Automotive News. A 60-day supply is considered ideal.
All automakers, except for Volvo (which saw its days’ supply increase by two to 82), trimmed inventories, the largest drops coming from Mitsubishi (from 116 to 82 days) and VW (100 to 65) over the Feb. 1 to June 1 time period.
Subaru continues to run the tightest pipeline with just 23 days’ supply of cars on hand. Among the mainstream makers, Ford has the highest inventory at 73 days, followed by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles at 71. GM has a 67-day supply of vehicles on the ground.
Among the individual nameplates with high supplies are the Honda CR-Z with 205 days’ inventory on hand and the Acura RLX with 189 days. Those numbers are more of a reflection of the fact that the sales rate is so slow that the respective 2,000 and 1,000 unit inventories translate into the high supplies. Honda recently announced that with the introduction of the new Accord Hybrid, it will discontinue production of the slow-selling CR-Z Hybrid. Over at Buick, the Verano, which will be discontinued after the a short 2017 mode year run, has a 122 days’ supply, while the Regal and LaCrosse has respective inventories of 134 and 135 days.
2017 Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback, Nissan 370Z priced
Typically, hatchbacks represented the entry level model in an automaker’s lineup, but when the 2017 Chevrolet Cruze LT Hatchback bows this fall it will be priced at $22,190 including destination, or $1,495 more than the comparable sedan. The difference is that the Hatchback, aimed more towards enthusiasts, will have an independent rear suspension as opposed to the sedan’s torsion beam rear axle. In addition to the LT trim, the Cruze Hatchback will also be available in Premier trim that starts at $24,820 and with an optional RS package. The car is powered by a 153-horsepower 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine mated to a choice of 6-speed manual or automatic transmission.
Nissan has announced pricing for the 2017 Nissan 370Z and it basically remains unchanged over the 2016 model year. The 2-seat sports coupe starts at $29,990 with a manual transmission, while the higher-performance 370Z Nismo opens at $41,990. The Roadster version has a base price of $41,820. The most expensive model in the line is an automatic equipped 370Z Roadster Touring Sport model that retails for $49,400. Destination and handling is $835 extra.
Fleet sales surge
One of the reasons the 6-percent drop in May sales wasn’t larger was the fact that the industry increased its shipments to fleet customers during the month, according to a report in Automotive News. During the month, the retail share of deliveries dropped 9 percent while fleet volume grew 5.4 percent. Among the major makes, Hyundai-Kia saw a 61-percent increase in fleet shipments from 22,600 to 36,500 units, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles fleet sales were up 45 percent to 53,400 while Nissan was up 36 percent to 28,600. By sheer volume, Ford had the highest fleet sales at 76,500, while GM continued to emphasize retail over fleet, cutting their fleet shipments by nearly 32 percent to 49,800 units.
The 2016 Buick Envision, a 2-row crossover built in China is going on sale this summer. Check out our First Review here.
As it increases production to 2,000 units a week, Tesla has introduced a more affordable version of its flagship sedan in the form of the 2017 Tesla Model S 60 and 60 D. Prices start at $67,200.
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