Tuesday, November 15, 2005

DULY NOTED: Significant Quotes, Facts and Trends From the Auto Industry

Days Supply on Hand Shows Depth of Truck Oct. Sales Collapse

Big Three retail sales in October took a plunge, declining by more than 20 percent, with trucks taking the biggest hits.

To appreciate the depth to which sales of Detroit's most profitable trucks plunged in October, take a look at these month-to-month changes in days supply on hand inventories. Dodge's Dakota went from 106 on Oct. 1 to 209 on Nov. 1, virtually doubling the available supply, according to data compiled by Automotive News.

Dodge's Ram full-size pickup went from 88 days supply on hand to 136. Not all of the inventory on hand news was bad for Dodge trucks, though, as supplies of the Caravan minivan actually decreased from 83 days to 79.

Ford's F-Series took a plunge, too, though not as severe as the mid-size Dakota, with an increase from 78 days to 122 days. The compact Ranger went from 61 days to 120. Over at Lincoln-Mercury, supplies of the Navigator went from 109 to 142.

On the General Motors side of the ledger, Chevrolet's Avalanche showed an increase from 93 days on hand to 204. The Chevy Equinox was at 62 days Oct. 1 and was up to 122 days by Nov. 1. Silverado? From 70 days to 158 days.

Nissan Ad Director Wonders Why Chevy Not Sold as Icon

Ask Rob Schwartz, executive creative director of TBWA/Chiatt/Day where he heads creative advertising programs for Nissan and Infiniti, isn't the most diplomatic guy in the industry. Asked by Automotive News if domestic and import automakers approach advertising differently, Schwartz goes into a riff about Chevy:

"What kills me as an American is to see GM not live up to its promise. You have a magic brand in Chevrolet. It should be iconic as Jack Daniel's, Coco-Cola and Levi's. Yet GM is forcing everybody to think about employee pricing. It's a waste of agency and client resources.

"They think that somehow the price number is sexier than the Silverado. I don't think so.

"I think people are more apt to fall in love with the Marlboro cowboy image that Chevy has done so brilliantly for so long. That brand image is still relevant. In my humble, deadly accurate opinion, they got it all backward."

What I would give to see Bob Lutz when he reads those words for the first time.

Audi Confirms Plans for R8

The Car Connection says Audi has confirmed plans to build the R8, a production version of the LeMans Quattro concept:

"In production the car will be known as the R8, and the new model will issue forth from Audi's Neckarsulm plant starting in the winter of 2006. U.S. sales are expected by 2007. As TCC has previously reported, the R8 is based on the Lamborghini Gallardo.

"The V-10 engine from the Gallardo has been de-powered to 450 hp, and the two-seater will be available with a six-speed manual transmission. The basic model will be equipped with a V-8 engine, the same one already being used in the Audi RS4. Stay tuned for more pictures and information on the R8."

Want to see some spy shots? Go here.