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By William Maley
BMW Group U.S. Reports June 2018 Sales.
BMW Group sales increase 0.5 percent in June 2018. BMW brand sales increase 1.5 percent. MINI brand sales decrease 6 percent. BMW Group electrified vehicle sales accounted for 7 percent of total U.S. sales in June 2018. Woodcliff Lake, NJ – July 3, 2018… Sales of BMW Group vehicles (BMW and MINI brands combined) in the U.S. increased 0.5 percent in June 2018 compared to the same month last year. Year to date, BMW Group sales total 176,022 vehicles, an increase of 2.8 percent over the 171,291 vehicles sold in the first six months of 2017.
“The first half of 2018 turned out stronger than many expected with June marking the eighth straight month of sales gains for BMW,” said Bernhard Kuhnt, President and CEO, BMW of North America. “We are especially excited about the second half of the year as the new BMW X4 is now making its way into the market and the new, fourth-generation BMW X5 is about to begin production at our U.S. plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina. The BMW X models continue to be a great success story, accounting for 53% of our U.S. sales in June with even better results ahead.”
BMW Brand Sales
Sales of BMW brand vehicles increased 1.5 percent in June 2018 for a total of 29,407 compared to 28,962 vehicles sold in June 2017. Year-to-date, the BMW brand is up 2.9 percent on sales of 153,386 vehicles compared to 149,086 sold in the first six months of 2017.
BMW’s lineup of Sports Activity Vehicles accounted for 53 percent of BMW brand sales in June 2018. Most notably, the first-ever BMW X2 had its best sales month since its March launch (2,150 vehicles), sales of the BMW X5 remained strong (4,355 vehicles) and the BMW X3 had its biggest sales month of 2018 (5,366 vehicles, up 50.5 percent over June 2017).
MINI Brand Sales
For June, MINI USA reported 4,146 vehicles sold, a decrease of 6 percent from the 4,410 sold in the same month a year ago. MINI sales in June were led by the MINI Countryman (1,471 vehicles). Year to date, MINI sales remain up 1.9 percent.
BMW Group Electrified Vehicle Sales
BMW Group in the U.S. (BMW and MINI combined) sales of electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles totaled 2,253 in June 2018, an increase of 20.2 percent from the 1,874 sold in the same month a year ago. BMW Group electrified vehicles accounted for 7 percent of U.S. sales in June 2018.
BMW Group currently offers seven electrified models in the U.S., including the BMW i3, BMW i8, BMW 330e, BMW 530e, BMW 740e, BMW X5 xDrive 40e and MINI Countryman plug-in-hybrid electric vehicle.
By William Maley
Mazda Reports June Sales Results
Mazda CX-3 Posts Best-Ever Sales IRVINE, Calif. (July 3, 2018) – Mazda North American Operations (MNAO) today reported total June U.S. sales of 26,893 vehicles, representing an increase of 20.4 percent versus June of last year. Year-to-date (YTD) sales through June are up 14.2 percent versus last year, with 163,924 vehicles sold. With 27 selling days in June 2018, versus 26 the year prior, the company posted an increase of 15.9 percent on a Daily Selling Rate (DSR) basis.
Key June sales notes:
Mazda CX-3 posted top sales, with 2,332 vehicles sold in June, marking an increase of 92.3 percent YOY. This increase was led by the launch of the new 2019 CX-3. Sales of Mazda CX-3 are up 24.8 percent YTD. Mazda CX-5, Mazda’s award-winning crossover SUV, posted its best-ever June sales of 12,710 vehicles, marking an increase of 33.1 percent YOY. Sales of the Mazda CX-5 are up 1 percent YTD. Mazda’s seven-passenger crossover SUV, Mazda CX-9, had a near-record month for June, finishing up 40.1 percent YOY, with 2,381 vehicles sold. Sales of the Mazda CX-9 are up 19.9 percent YTD. Mazda6 posted sales increase of 35.8 percent year-over-year (YOY), with 3,204 vehicles sold in the month of June. Every model in the CX-line posted sales gains in the month of June. Total sales of the CX-line, including the CX-3, CX-5 and CX-9, were up 34.6 percent over June of last year, with 17,423 vehicles sold. Mazda reported 4,604 Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) vehicles sold in June, marking an increase of 18.4 percent YOY.
By William Maley
Nissan Group reports June 2018 U.S. sales
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Nissan Group today announced total U.S. sales for June 2018 of 145,096 units, an increase of 1 percent compared to the previous year. This marks a June record.
Nissan Division sales set a June record at 134,398 units, an increase of 3 percent Combined sales of Nissan crossovers, trucks and SUVs set a June record, up 12 percent. Nissan Rogue crossover set a June record with sales of 37,004 units, up 8 percent. Murano crossover sales increased 59 percent to 8,806 units, setting a June record. Armada SUV sales rose 129 percent to 5,434 units. It was Armada's best-ever month. NV200 sales set a June record with sales of 1,717 units, up 2 percent. NISSAN DIVISION
Nissan Division Total
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By William Maley
Toyota Motor North America Reports U.S. Sales for June, First Half 2018
TMNA, Toyota and Lexus divisions set light truck sales record RAV4, Highlander posted best-ever June and first half Lexus NX Hybrid recorded best-ever June PLANO, Texas (July 3, 2018) – Toyota Motor North America (TMNA) today reported June 2018 sales of 209,602 units. With one more selling day in June 2018 compared to June 2017, sales were up 3.6 percent on volume basis and down 0.3 percent on a daily selling rate (DSR) basis.
For the first half of the year, TMNA reported sales of 1,189,312 units, up 3.0 percent on a volume basis versus the same period in 2017. On a DSR basis, sales were up 1.6 percent versus last year.
Toyota division posted June 2018 sales of 185,852 units, up 4.4 percent on a volume basis and up 1.9 percent on a DSR basis.
“Record June light truck sales, led by RAV4 and Highlander, solidified Toyota as the No. 1 selling retail brand through the first half of this year,” said Andrew Gilleland, vice president of Sales Operations, Toyota division. “Strong consumer demand on Toyota Camry, the excitement of the all-new 2019 Toyota Avalon and Corolla Hatchback, paired with excellent light truck availability sets us up for continued strong sales throughout the summer.”
Lexus posted June sales of 23,750 units, down 2.6 percent on a volume basis and down 6.2 percent on a DSR basis.
“Lexus closed out the first half of the year up led by best-ever LUV sales,” said David Christ, group vice president and general manager, Lexus division. “RX is up seven percent year-to-date and remains the top-selling luxury vehicle in the industry while the NX delivered ten percent year-over-year growth. In addition to these great results, we successfully launched our flagship sedan, the all-new LS 500, and the all-new RXL. We’re looking forward to continued success in the third quarter, which will get a boost from our all-new ES sedan that goes on sale in September.”
June and First Half 2018 Highlights:
TMNA, Toyota and Lexus divisions posted best-ever light truck sales for June and the first half Camry recorded June sales of 28,215 units Corolla sedan posted sales of 25,947 units for the month RAV4 increased by 10.6 percent; best-ever June and best-ever first half Highlander increased by 20.7 percent; best-ever June and best-ever first half 4Runner sales of 11,569 units in June; a best-ever June Tacoma increased by 30.6 percent Tundra posted June sales of 9,955 Lexus LUVs posted a 7.4 percent increase, a best-ever June NX Hybrid up 270 percent, the sixth consecutive best-ever month NX combined sales up 5.8 percent in June, a best-ever June and first half RX saw gain of 5.3 percent in June GX increased 23.5 percent, a best-ever June in 13 years LS up 135.5 percent in the first half *Note: Unless otherwise stated, all figures reflect unadjusted raw sales volume
By William Maley
I found myself in a bit of quandary when it came to writing the review for the 2018 Hyundai Accent and Kia Rio. Both of these models have been redesigned recently and despite the different exteriors, under the skin they share a number of key parts such as the engine and suspension. As I was going through my notes, I realized the answer was right in front of me; talk about the differences between the two and see which one does it better.
Between the two vehicles, the Rio stands out considerably. Like the previous model, the new Rio has a fair amount of European influence with neatly proportioned body and clean lines. The front end is quite low and features a narrow top grille and deep slits in the bumper for a set of fog lights. 15-inch alloy wheels come standard on EX. Unlike the Accent, the Rio is still available in as a hatchback.
The Accent goes for the safe approach with a simple three-box sedan design. This isn’t helped by the silver color on my test vehicle which makes it become somewhat anonymous. The only real design traits are in the front with a new grille shape that is appearing on new Hyundai models and cutouts in the bumper for accent trim on our base SE tester or foglights on higher trims. One way the Accent SE stands out from the Rio LX is painted door handles and mirror caps.
There are no frills to be found in the Accent’s interior. Like the outside, Hyundai went for a simple and honest design. Material quality is what you expect in the class - hard plastics on most surfaces. But the plastics have a solid feel. All Accents feature basic front seat adjustments - fore/aft, height (driver only), and recline. I was able to find a position that worked for me quite quickly. One item to be aware of is the SE doesn’t come with a telescoping adjustment for the steering wheel; SEL models and above get that feature. Space in the back is average for the class with a decent amount of headroom, but a limited amount of legroom.
Kia added some style to the Rio’s interior with a sculpted dash featuring two-tone plastics. Hard plastics make up the majority of interior surfaces with a grain texture pattern. Like the Accent, the plastics have a very solid feel. The layout is simple with most controls in easy reach. Finding a comfortable position took no time with a basic set of seat adjustments and a tilt/telescoping steering wheel. However, I found the seats in the Rio to not be as supportive on long trips. The back seat mirrors the Accent; ok headroom and a small amount of legroom.
The Rio EX comes with a 7-inch infotainment system with Kia’s UVO infotainment system. No navigation system is offered, but you won’t need it as support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay is standard. It will not take long to familiarize yourself with UVO thanks to a well-thought out interface and dedicated buttons for various features. Performance is impressive with the system responding very quickly to inputs.
Over at the Accent SE, it comes with a 5-inch touchscreen radio. For the most part, the system was simple to use with redundant buttons for various functions, simple interface, and large touchscreen buttons. I only wished that the screen was slightly larger when I was scrolling through my iPod. One surprise was the SE getting Bluetooth as standard. Kia doesn’t offer Bluetooth on the base Rio LX.
Both the Accent and Rio use the same 1.6L inline-four engine producing 130 horsepower and 119 pound-feet of torque. What differs between the two is the transmission; the Accent SE comes with a six-speed manual while the Rio EX makes do with a six-speed automatic. Between the two, the Accent is noticeably quicker. The manual transmission allows the engine to flex what little muscle it has to get the vehicle up to speed. In the Rio, the automatic’s programming smothers the small amount of power to improve fuel economy. There is a Sport mode that holds onto gears longer, but it doesn’t make much of a difference. Neither of the transmissions can help the 1.6L on the freeway as the engine struggles to get up to speed at a decent rate.
EPA fuel economy figures are almost identical for the two models. Both return 28 mpg in the city and 37 on the highway. The difference is in the combined figure; the Rio returns 32, while the Accent returns 31. I got an average of 34 in the Rio and 33 in the Accent.
Ride and Handling
There are more similarities between the Rio and Accent when it comes to the driving experience. Both still employ struts in the front and a torsion-beam rear axle. But the body has been stiffened which helps with ride quality. Both models exhibited excellent isolation of most road imperfections. Handling is another place where the two surprised me. While not exhibiting the sporty characteristics of a Ford Fiesta, both the Accent and Rio show little body roll and feel quite nimble. The steering is light, but provides a decent amount of feedback when pushed.
The 2018 Hyundai Accent begins at $14,995 for the base SE with manual transmission and climbs to $18,895 for the Limited. Our test SE with optional floor mats came to an as-tested price of $16,005. While it does cost $1,095 more than the base Rio LX, the Accent SE comes with more features such as Bluetooth, full power accessories, and a rear USB port.
The 2018 Kia Rio kicks off at $13,900 for the LX sedan and climbs to $18,700 for the EX hatchback. The EX sedan tester came to an as-tested price of $19,425 with carpeted floor mats and destination. It is a bit hard to stomach the price tag when you can into some decently equipped compact sedans such as the Hyundai Elantra and Chevrolet Cruze for similar money. Even after you factor in the EX getting forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking, it’s still a tough sell.
Trying to decide which of the two subcompacts was the winner in this piece was very difficult as they share so much. Beginning with the Rio EX, it is a very sharp looking subcompact with a fair amount of European influence and it is available as a hatchback. But the automatic transmission suffocates what little performance is on offer from the 1.6L engine. Plus the price tag of the EX is very difficult to swallow when you can step up into a compact for similar money. If it was the midlevel S, this would have been a closer fight.
This brings us to the Accent SE. It's styling inside and out is a bit plain when pitted against the Rio. The lack of hatchback also makes the Accent a bit of hard sell to some buyers. But the list of standard features on the base model is very surprising. Plus, the manual transmission allows the engine to have some flexibility in most driving situations.
Both models are towards the top in the subcompact class. But in this comparison, the base Accent SE nips the top-line Rio EX by a hair.
Disclaimer: Hyundai and Kia Provided the Vehicles, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
Engine: 1.6L DOHC 16-valve GDI Inline-Four
Driveline: Six-Speed Manual, Front-wheel Drive
Horsepower @ RPM: 130 @ 6,300
Torque @ RPM: 119 @ 4,850
Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 28/37/31
Curb Weight: 2,502 lbs
Location of Manufacture: Nuevo Leon, Mexico
Base Price: $14,995
As Tested Price: $16,005 (Includes $885.00 Destination Charge)
Carpeted Floor Mats: $125.00
Engine: 1.6L 16-valve GDI Inline-Four
Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
Horsepower @ RPM: 130 @ 6,300
Torque @ RPM: 119 @ 4,850
Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 28/37/32
Curb Weight: 2,714 lbs
Location of Manufacture: Pesqueria, NL, Mexico
Base Price: $18,400
As Tested Price: $19,425 (Includes $895.00 Destination Charge)
Carpeted Floor Mats - $130.00
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