The Los Angeles Business Journal honored Edmunds, the leading car information and shopping platform, as one of the Best Places to Work in Los Angeles.
The Santa Monica-based company officially placed 14th in the large company category (250+ employees), and the honor marks the eighth year in a row that Edmunds has been recognized by LABJ as a top workplace in Southern California.
Edmunds recently celebrated the one-year anniversary of the opening of its corporate offices in Santa Monica, a 143,000-square-foot space located two miles from the beach. Employees enjoy amenities including free breakfasts and lunches, a frozen yogurt bar, a game room, on-site yoga and meditation, and bright, colorful, open workspaces and informal meeting places that encourage collaboration.
Interest rates on new-vehicle loans fell to a six-month low in July as automakers ramped up summer zero-percent finance deals, according to a new analysis from Edmunds.
The annual percentage rate on new financed vehicles averaged 4.77 percent in July, down from 4.96 percent in June. And 11.3 percent of purchasers who financed took advantage of zero-percent financing, up from 9.47 percent in June and 10.2 percent a year ago.
Overall, interest rates on auto financing have been higher in 2017 than in recent years. July's average APR is up 5.6 percent year over year, and is 14.2 percent higher than it was five years ago.
Auto leasing dropped for the first time in four years, according to new study by Edmunds.
Leasing made up 31.1 percent of retail new-vehicle sales in the first half of 2017, down from a record high of 31.9 percent set in 2016.
The number of vehicles that were leased in the first half the year fell 4.4 percent. That is twice the rate of decline for overall sales, which are down 2.2 percent year over year.
Declining residual values are also forcing automakers to inflate incentives to keep lease deals attractive. Lease incentives averaged $4,445 for the first six months of the year, up from $3,722 for the same period in 2016.
The average auto loan length reached an all-time high of 69.3 months in June, according to Edmunds.com.
That is up 6.8 percent from five years ago.
The average amount buyers financed recorded the biggest uptick for the year, hitting $30,945 (up $631 from May), also leading to the highest monthly payments for the year, now averaging $517 (up from $510 in May).
Edmunds also finds that the APR dipped just below 5 percent for the first time since February, averaging 4.96 in June. The APR has increased 5.7 percent from a year ago and 13.6 percent from five years ago.
Used-car sales are expected to come in slightly lower in May.
Edmunds estimates that 3.3 million used vehicles will be sold in May, compared to 3.4 million in April.
Edmunds forecasts that 1,527,363 new cars and trucks will be sold in the U.S. in May for an estimated seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 16.8 million. This reflects a 7.5 percent increase in sales from April and a 0.3 percent increase from May 2016.
Edmunds estimates that retail SAAR will come in at 13.5 million vehicles in May, with fleet transactions accounting for 19.6 percent of total sales.
Edmunds has unveiled voice-enabled access to its automotive content through Amazon Alexa.
Using Alexa, Amazon's cloud-based voice service, Edmunds' new Alexa Skill provides both high-level overviews and in-depth reviews of specific vehicles, including safety, driving and powertrain information. Alexa also answers questions about a wide variety of vehicle specifications, including miles per gallon, cargo space, horsepower, basic warranty information, etc.
The Edmunds Alexa Skill also provides the MSRP for any vehicle and gives information on local inventory and current lease deals for shoppers ready to buy. Alexa also makes it easy for car owners to keep track of their current vehicle, including recall information and maintenance schedules.
Edmunds' Alexa Skill will work with any Alexa-enabled device including Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Amazon Tap, Amazon Fire TV and Fire. The English-only version is free and available now.
Edmunds predicts that while a record number of off-lease vehicles will fill dealer lots, a declining number of older trade-ins will put significant upward pressure on the late model used-car market this year.
The average used vehicle trade-in is six-years-old, and Edmunds predicts the number of trade-ins will dip below six million this year for the first time since 2012.
In 2016, 38.5 million vehicles were sold in the used market, an increase of 0.6 percent from 2015. Thanks to the rise in leasing, the average used vehicle sold by a franchise dealer in 2016 was 4.1 years old, setting a new record low age and helping push the average used vehicle transaction price up to a record $19,189.
Sales of certified pre-owned vehicles hit a new record as well in 2016 – reaching 2.6 million units and encompassing 22.8 percent of all used vehicles sold by franchise dealers. However, the year-over-year growth in CPO sales was only 3.5 percent.
Edmunds.com named the vehicles that were the most researched on its site in 2016, showing that SUVs and passenger cars both have solid spots in the automotive market.
The Honda CR-V was the most researched vehicle on Edmunds for the second year in a row, followed by the Honda Accord, Honda Civic, Toyota RAV-4 and Honda Pilot. While the order of popularity shifted a bit, the list of the top 10 most researched vehicles was unchanged from 2015. Edmunds determined its list of "most researched" vehicles by calculating which vehicles had the most monthly unique visitors to the new car research and inventory pages for that model on both Edmunds' desktop and mobile sites.
Edmunds analysts predict that the Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado, Toyota Camry, Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla will be the best-selling vehicles of 2016, in that order. This represents a slight shift from 2015, when the Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado, Toyota Camry, Toyota Corolla and Honda CR-V were the top five best-selling vehicles. Despite the fact that market share of passenger cars is down 10 percent during the first 11 months of 2016 compared to the same period last year, the list of top 10 best-selling vehicles is expected to remain evenly split between trucks/utilities and passenger cars.
The average new vehicle transaction price will hit an all-time high in 2016 at $34,077 per vehicle, a 2.7 percent increase from 2015 and a 12.6 percent increase from 2011, according to Edmunds.com.
In 2017, Edmunds predicts that the average vehicle transaction price will further increase to $35,000.
Edmunds attributes this rise in prices primarily to the recent sales growth in light trucks, which currently comprise 62 percent of the market. Light trucks are generally more expensive and have more options than passenger cars, and leasing is making these higher-priced vehicles more accessible. Coming off of a record year in 2016, leasing is 31 percent of the new car market and is expected to continue to grow in 2017. Longer finance terms and historically low interest rates are also helping more car shoppers stretch their budgets to lease more expensive vehicles.
Edmunds.com estimates 3.2 million used cars will be sold in October.
That is flat with September.
Edmunds.com forecasts that 1,356,250 new cars and trucks will be sold in the U.S. in October for an estimated Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR) of 17.8 million. This will be a 5.2 percent decrease from September and a 6.8 percent decrease from October 2015.
Edmunds.com projects that 14,464,835 new cars and trucks will be sold this year in the U.S. through the end of October, down 0.2 percent from the 14,500,744 sales recorded through the first 10 months of 2015's record-breaking year.