July Auto Sales Strong for Imports, Weaker for Domestics
Honda and Toyota come back strong, GM and Ford are hampered by fleet sales.
In what could be seen as an inverse of the past few months, sales for import automakers were relatively strong in July, while the two largest domestics saw sales declines. Last month, almost every automaker saw a growth in sales, with increased year-to-date sales figures for all but General Motors and Ford.
After rebounding from supply problems caused by the devastating earthquake last year, Japanese automakers in particular had a good month. Honda sales jumped 45.3 percent to 116,944 vehicles, Toyota sales increased 26.1 percent to 164,898 vehicles, and Nissan sales climbed 16.2 percent to 98,341 vehicles. Other import brands also showed growth: Sales at Volkswagen, including the Audi brand, rose 27.5 percent to 48,941. Hyundai sales were up 4.1 percent to 62,021.
Chrysler was the only domestic automaker to gain ground in July, with sales rising 12.6 percent to 126,089. GM's overall U.S. sales fell 6.4 percent to 201,237, while Ford sales dropped 3.8 percent to 173,482 vehicles. Much of the decline for the two largest Detroit-based automakers resulted from the timing of sales to rental fleets, as GM and Ford try to reduce their reliance on that part of the business.
Even though some see auto sales as still sluggish at current levels, they continue to be a bright spot in the economy.
"As the federal, and state and local governments have had budget issues, we have seen the pullback in their purchases," said Ken Czubay, Ford's sales chief. GM said that by taking a more "disciplined" approach in its sales to rental car companies, the company believes it will eventually improve profits and support the resale value of its vehicles.
Overall, the industry sold almost 1.2 million vehicles in the U.S. last month, up 8.9 percent from July of last year. This results in a sales pace of a little more than 14 million units and is in line with most analyst estimates for the month and the year.
Any sluggishness in the auto market resulting from fewer fleet sales is not a big worry at this point, said Peter Nesvold, a Jefferies & Co. analyst. "It generally is favorable when the mix moves from fleet to the retail part of the business,” he said.
While auto sales are slightly up across the board, that's better than going the other direction -- and better than many other sectors of the economy. "Automotive sales are essentially moving in a direction that is not consistent with the general economic news," Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting for LMC Automotive, told the Detroit Free Press.
One reason for the continuing rise in auto sales is that many people put off buying a new car because of the recession. "Today's rebound is driven by pent-up demand from consumers who delayed their purchase during the downturn," Kelley Blue Book's senior market analyst Alec Gutierrez told CBS News. "In our survey, 30 percent of consumers said the primary reason they are shopping for a new vehicle is because their existing vehicle's mileage is too high."
[Source: Los Angeles Times]
"Sales reflect this"
If this were true, by your own statement, then people prefer the US automakers over the Japanese ones, or any other brand, in America. Sorry but the total unit sales of GM, Chrysler and Ford all, individually mind you for Ford and GM, (Not sure on Chrysler at this moment) outsell Toyota and Honda. I myself hold neutral to the entire import vs domestic arguments as I prefer to look at a free market and even enjoy my fair share of imports.
Quoted from article:
Honda sales jumped 45.3 percent to 116,944 vehicles, Toyota sales increased 26.1 percent to 164,898 vehicles, and Nissan sales climbed 16.2 percent to 98,341 vehicles.
Chrysler was the only domestic automaker to gain ground in July, with sales rising 12.6 percent to 126,089. GM's overall U.S. sales fell 6.4 percent to 201,237, while Ford sales dropped 3.8 percent to 173,482 vehicles.
Domestic vehicle sales have fallen by percentage, yes... but overall, they have still sold MORE vehicles than the imports, even with the decline.
You can make statistics say anything you want, but the fact is that "The Big 3" sold 9,663 more units than Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Volkswagen, Audi, and Hyundai combined - according to this article, of course. Until that becomes the other way around, domestics still win in sales. Period.
@ ricers_stink, as a business owner you have no idea what's going on in the market. It's the large corporations and the US government that's bringing the economy down. Right now a lot of us are hanging on to the money we have because we don't really know what's going to happen with the economy yet. That's why me and many others have held off on hiring more people because it's still very unstable. The debt problem in EU is another factor. Until we get a clear picture on what's going on people are going to hold off on things because we just don't know. Yes, I have the funds to hire someone but, I don't think NOW is a good time until I see a true positive change.
@ NonGoggle Guy,
If losing in sales means that you have the #1 and #3 most sold models in the world and the #1 most sold sedan in the U.S., yup, Toyota is certainly a loser LOL!!
Then will come the Government Motors rant...even though Toyota is subsidized by the Japanese government and has also take US Federal Reserve loans.
And last but not least, those who will claim, "my Toyota had 1 bajillion miles on it and I've never changed the oil."
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