With the top seven automakers reporting sales, the industry is on track to end December 2013 about flat with December 2012. Don't call it a sputter just yet. Recall that December 2012 was a decent month — and that 2013 still ended well. Toward that end, each automaker charted its own course to the finish line.
Shoppers gave Toyota the indifferent shoulder as the automaker fell 1.7 percent in December. Three of Toyota's four best-sellers — the Camry, Corolla/Matrix, RAV4 and Prius family — saw lower sales versus year-ago figures. Nissan, by contrast, chalked a 10.5 percent rise on strong Sentra and Rogue sales. And Honda gained 1.9 percent in December as dealers began the month with Accords and CR-Vs aplenty, and shoppers lined up for both. Despite a similar inventory situation, however, the Civic fell 12.4 percent.
Vehicles Affected: Chrysler is voluntarily recalling 4,194 model-year 2013 Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger full-size sedans, and Ram 1500 pickup trucks all equipped with all-wheel drive, an eight-speed automatic transmission and a V-6 engine.
The Problem: Output shafts installed in some vehicles were shaped using a two-stage forging method employed during early production; the resulting components may be subject to fracture in rare circumstances, according to Chrysler. The automaker said the forging process has been replaced by a single-stage method and that it is unaware of any associated injuries or accidents.
The Fix: Owners will be notified of the recall, and dealers will inspect and test the transmission output shafts and, if necessary, replace the transmission assemblies for free. The notification schedule is not yet specified.
What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Chrysler at 800-853-1403, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's vehicle-safety hotline at 888-327-4236 or go to www.safercar.gov for more info.
With the top seven automakers reporting numbers, November auto sales have gained some 10 percent versus November 2012. Honda was the lone automaker to post a loss, and just -0.1 percent at that. Auto execs can toast with eggnog heading into the holidays, especially if they're at GM or Chrysler.
Buoyed by strong sales from its Jeep and Ram brands, Chrysler posted a 16.1 percent sales gain. Higher purchase incentives fueled the Ram pickup truck's 21.8 percent gain, outpacing increases from its competitors, the Ford F-Series and Chevrolet Silverado. Still, Detroit's full-size pickups gained 15.4 percent as the pickup wave keeps rolling. Jeep's increase was all about the Cherokee. November's numbers should assuage any doubts over the SUV's controversial styling. Chrysler moved 10,169 Cherokees last month, the crossover's first full month of sales. It's the fifth best-selling model among the automaker's cadre of brands — Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep, SRT and Ram — not too shabby for a model hampered by production delays with a nameplate that's been absent from the U.S. automotive landscape since 2001.
GM sales chief Kurt McNeil said in a statement that the economy "bodes well for future growth" as the General tacked on 13.7 percent last month. Ford added a modest 7.2 percent on the F-Series (up 16.3 percent) and Fusion (up 51 percent).
It's another truck-tastic week on our list of most-watched videos. Last week's No. 4 — in which PickupTrucks.com Editor Mark Williams gets the scoop on the Ford's 2015 Power Stroke engine from technical specialist David Ives at the 2013 State Fair of Texas — motors into first place. Meanwhile, the week's only non-truck offering, our 2013 Toyota RAV4 Limited all-wheel-drive exhaust-note video, makes itself heard at No. 5. Check out what else was popular:1. 2015 Power Stroke Will Make More Power
OK, we're going to level with you: If you're not into trucks or don't care to mess with Texas, you can stop reading now. In a rare total turnover of our roster of most-watched videos, all five feature either pickup trucks or full-size SUVs, and four of them were shot at the 2013 State Fair of Texas. Each of the Detroit Three automakers is well-represented as PickupTrucks.com Editor Mark Williams and Cars.com Editor-in-Chief Patrick Olsen get a look at new truck offerings from Chevrolet, Chrysler and Ford — with the 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 Heavy Duty leading the pack at No. 1. Check out what was popular:1. 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD
In a recurrent chorus, GM said it had its best month since September 2008. Chrysler said it had its best August since 2007 while Honda says it had its best August ever.
Chrysler's gains were thanks to August records for Jeep's Wrangler, Compass and Patriot, plus a 30.9% sales increase for the automaker's popular Ram pickup. (Chrysler's U.S. umbrella includes Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram and Fiat.) It marks the automaker's 41st month in a row of year-over-year sales increases.
Honda sold nearly 40,000 Civics in the last full month of summer. Purchase incentives remained steady with year-ago levels — when the maligned 2012 Civic was still in showrooms — but sales were anything but steady. The popular compact surged 58.5% in August, edging out the Accord to become Honda's best-seller. It would have been America's best-selling car in August, but the Toyota Camry piled on 21.8% in sales to keep the spot.
It's already late summer, and increasingly your day revolves around trolling sports websites for the latest news on training camps, preseason college football power rankings, alma-mater rivalries and so on. Alabama or LSU? Steelers or Ravens?
The season of pigskin bliss is upon us, and the truly serious fans have tickets, and many of those serious ticket holders tailgate. Which brings us to Cars.com's annual Top 10 Tailgaters — our top picks for cars to hit the stadium lots and pregame 'til the brats run out.
As always, please tailgate responsibly, and check out our list below.
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