Toyota, Subaru Sports Cars Remain Industry's Quickest Sellers
The limited-volume FR-S and BRZ, which are entry-level, rear-drive sports coupes priced around $25,000, share underpinnings, were jointly developed by Toyota and Subaru and are built by Subaru.
They have been at or near the top of the fastest-sellers list since they went on sale in the spring. In August, the FR-S and BRZ sold in about 11 days, according to Edmunds.com's calculation of days-to-turn; that is, the number of days a vehicle sits at a dealership before it is sold. The industry average days-to-turn crept up in August — as it typically does as the new model year gears up — to 58 days, from 53 days in June and 57 days in July. Another affordable sports car, the Hyundai Veloster, (http://www.edmunds.com/hyundai/veloster/) which competes against the FR-S and BRZ, also continues to be high on the fastest-selling vehicle list.
And another Subaru — the Subaru Impreza — was right behind the FR-S and BRZ in flying out dealership doors with a days-to-turn of a mere 14 days. The Impreza was redesigned for 2012 to be more mainstream in styling and, most significantly, with a hefty boost in fuel economy. Like every newly introduced Subaru in recent years, sales of the Impreza have soared, leading the brand to what is likely to be a fifth consecutive year of record sales. Subaru executives predict company sales will surpass the 320,000-unit mark this year. That would result in a whopping 75-percent in sales in five years.
On the tailgate of the Impreza among fastest-selling vehicles is another fuel-sipper -- the Chevrolet Spark, which was the fastest seller in July when is on sale in 18 markets; it goes national by year-end. General Motors has been selling the Chevrolet Spark in markets around the world, including China, but it is the first time the South Korean-built Spark has been sold in North America. Already the Spark is outselling the Toyota Yaris; Chevy sold 2,630 Sparks in August, Toyota sold 1,458 units of the Yaris.
Two other new models from Detroit automakers made the fastest-selling list, which often is void of any vehicles from domestic manufacturers. The new flagship Cadillac XTS that just went on sale in June is near the top of the list again in August; it tied for first in June with the Subaru BRZ. The XTS is selling in a skimpy 17 days. The supply could be diminished further if the Canadian Auto Workers union decides to strike GM and the other Detroit automakers when its contract expires on Monday. The XTS is built at GM's plant in Oshawa, Ontario.
From Chrysler, the new Dodge Dart is also selling in an average of 17 days. Having just gone into production in June at Chrysler's Belvidere, Ill., plant, the Dart is a critically important vehicle for the Detroit automaker. It is the first offspring of the Chrysler-Fiat merger, with the Dart springing forth from the basic architecture of the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, albeit with plenty of modification. It fills a long-time gaping hole in Chrysler's model lineup as an entry in the growing small car segment, replacing the long-ago defunct Dodge Neon.
The August list of fastest-selling vehicles continues to show the capacity constraints of South Korean automakers Kia and Hyundai. As seems always the case, the Kia Soul is on the lowest days-to-turn list, at a teensy 16 days, and that's as Kia launches yet-another ad campaign starring the singing and dancing hamsters. Kia sold a hefty 10,191 Soul models in August, far surpassing its competitors, the closest being the Scion xB, which had sales of under 2,000 units last month.
Ditto for Audi on being capacity constrained. The entry-level Audi A3 was near the top of the fastest-sellers list followed by the Audi Q7 SUV and newly launched Audi allroad station wagon. All have days-to-turn at 20 days or less. Audi recently announced the location in Mexico where it will build a new plant to build the also popular Audi Q5, which typically makes the top 20 fastest-sellers list.
The Toyota Prius C remains in short supply and high demand, selling in about 18 days. It was No. 1 on March's quickest-selling vehicle list. The Prius C is the smallest, least-expensive member of the Prius hybrid family. Toyota nailed the formula of size and price (approximately $20,000) for the hybrid.
Also making the top 10 list of fastest-selling vehicles in August — again — was the Mazda CX-5, the automaker's first vehicle with its new fuel-saving Skyactiv technology. Mazda has said it is doubling production of Skyactiv, but the CX-5 remains in short supply and high demand.
Likewise, the newly revamped Honda CR-V, which hit the market last December and has been see-sawing with the Ford Escape for sales leadership in the compact SUV segment; the Escape, the new version of which is just hitting the market, took the No. 1 spot in August.
The top 20 list of fastest sellers was rounded out by the limited-volume Mercedes-Benz SL-Class, the niche-player BMW X6 SUV, the full-size Lexus LX 570 SUV and the newly revamped Porsche Boxster sports car.