• Aug 3rd 2010 at 4:58PM
  • 93
Domestics do well again, Toyota and Honda falter

Many automakers had a positive month of sales in July, particularly the domestics, with Ford Motor Company up 3.11 percent, Chrysler Group up 4.96 percent and General Motors topping the charts with its four core brands up an impressive 24.58 percent to lead all automakers. Even with the loss of four marques (Saturn, Pontiac, Hummer and Saab), GM managed to outsell the company's entire portfolio of eight brands from last July by 5.41 percent. Of course, The General's sales weren't exactly setting the charts on fire last summer (they were down 19 percent compared to July 2008), so the bar was set low.

Something you can't see in our table below is what appears to be a developing shift away from small and mid-size cars to trucks and CUVs in the marketplace. Blame the shift in consumer tastes to pent-up demand for utility vehicles, higher used car prices and, as always, lower gas prices. Still, we can't help but cringe at the site of large vehicles, be they trucks, SUVs or CUVs, selling well, knowing that gas prices are cyclical and another spike in the price of oil could be right around the corner.

Interestingly, this shift comes as America's small car segment is enjoying more new products than any time in recent memory, with a raft of compelling fresh models from Ford, Chevrolet, Mazda and others hitting the marketplace. These brands would appear to be well-placed to meet the demand for small cars if fuel prices rise precipitously, but any automaker in the business of selling economy cars is going to need strong, steady demand if it hopes to make money on what are historically very low (or no) margin models.

UPDATE: A few of you have reminded us that July 1, 2009 was the beginning of the U.S. government's Car Allowance Rebate System, or Cash for Clunkers program as the people called it. One side effect of the program was that sales of smaller, more fuel efficient cars was artificially boosted while the program was running. While we still don't discount the steady price of gasoline and other factors contributing to increased sales of larger vehicles like trucks and SUVs, the Cash for Clunkers program helps explain why sales of many popular small cars appear to have taken a nose dive last month.

Here are just a few examples that illustrate the shift that might be happening in consumer taste towards larger vehicles:

Honda Civic: -25.5% (23,231)
Honda Pilot: 45.4% (9,570)

Toyota Prius: -29.2% (14,102)
Toyota Sequoia: 50.5% (1,233)

Ford Focus: -29.4% (15,417)
Ford F-Series: 38.9% (50,449)

Nissan Cars: -3.7% (44,343)
Nissan Trucks/SUVs: 51% (28,230)

Honda Odyssey: 37.8% (9,711)
Toyota Sienna: 41.5% (10,381)
Chrysler Town & Country: 18% (8,083)

Brand/Company Vol. % July 2010 July 2009 DSR* % July 2010 July 2009
Cadillac 141.76 14,919 6,171 132.81 553 237
Buick 136.64 16,799 7,099 127.87 622 273
Porsche 75.06 2,703 1,544 68.58 100 59
Acura 50.28 13,017 8,662 44.71 482 333
Infiniti 37.60 9,764 7,096 32.50 362 273
GMC 27.16 27,798 21,860 22.45 1,030 841
Mitsubishi 25.87 5,648 4,487 21.21 209 173
Audi 22.01 7,817 6,407 17.49 290 246
Kia 20.70 35,419 29,345 16.23 1,312 1,129
Jeep 18.81 26,466 22,276 14.41 980 857
Hyundai 18.78 54,106 45,553 14.38 2,004 1,752
BMW 16.38 19,064 16,381 12.07 706 630
Volkswagen 15.97 23,880 20,591 11.68 884 792
Nissan 12.08 72,573 64,751 7.93 2,688 2,490
Chevrolet 11.98 139,916 124,948 7.83 5,182 4,806
Ram 10.86 21,239 19,158 6.76 787 737
Subaru 9.82 23,983 21,839 5.75 888 840
Mazda 8.93 20,732 19,032 4.90 768 732
Ford 8.07 153,603 142,135 4.07 5,689 5,467
Mercedes-Benz 7.02 17,367 16,228 3.06 643 624
Lexus 0.42 18,595 18,517 -3.30 689 712
Dodge -0.00 30,916 30,917 -3.71 1,145 1,189
Toyota -3.66 150,629 156,355 -7.23 5,579 6,014
Honda -6.23 99,420 106,028 -9.71 3,682 4,078
Mini -11.21 4,326 4,872 -14.50 160 187
Chrysler -11.22 14,692 16,549 -14.51 544 637
Lincoln -16.28 5,586 6,672 -19.38 207 257
Mercury -31.18 6,903 10,031 -33.73 256 386
Volvo -32.95 4,319 6,441 -35.43 160 248
Suzuki -44.39 1,952 3,510 -46.45 72 135
Smart -60.51 560 1,418 -61.97 21 55
(Hummer) -73.72 210 799 -74.69 8 31
(Saturn) -99.50 30 5,968 -99.52 1 230
(Pontiac) -99.91 20 22,024 -99.91 1 847
(Saab) -100.00 0 574 -100.00 0 22
GM (Core) 24.58 199,432 160,078 19.97 7,386 6,157
Nissan North America 14.60 82,337 71,847 10.36 3,050 2,763
BMW Group 10.06 23,390 21,253 5.98 866 817
General Motors 5.41 199,692 189,443 1.51 7,396 7,286
Chrysler Group 4.96 93,313 88,900 1.08 3,456 3,419
Ford Motor Company 3.11 170,411 165,279 -0.71 6,312 6,357
American Honda -1.96 112,437 114,690 -5.60 4,164 4,411
Toyota Mo Co -3.23 169,224 174,872 -6.81 6,268 6,726
*Brands and companies are displayed in descending order according to their percentage change in volume sales. There were 27 selling days in July 2010 versus 26 selling days in July 2009, so the change in monthly sales volume will be different than the change average daily sales rate (DSR) for each brand/company.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think Ford has to be a least slightly concerned. For one they have put all their eggs into the Ford brand basket.

      More importantly the Fusion came in last in sales this month among the majors. Camry way in front, with Accord #2, then #3 Chevy Malibu. #4&5 Nissan Altima and Hyundai Sonata each about 1k more in sales than the Fusion.

      Not a good sign for Ford.

      The Fiesta seems to be under performing at just 3300. Hopefully that picks up. I think GM is in better shape productwise and what they have in the pipeline.

      The biggest Ford error though is the sale of Volvo. Why get rid of the only other international brand? Lincoln is North America only. And Volvo has one great new product (S60) along with a fine lineup. One that has a premium, if not true luxury rep?

      With Mercury getting the axe, the money saved could go to Volvo marketing. Combine Lincoln into Volvo dealers makes more sense to me than combining Lincoln into Ford dealers (waters them down).

      It will be interesting to see what they do over then next few months and years.... if Saab can hang on - who knows maybe they'll be a takeover target for a a stonger Ford....
        • 5 Years Ago
        The new Fiesta isn't widly available yet though is it? I'm in the DFW area and I've yet to see one on the roads around here.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I noticed that too, I was quite surprised to see the Fusion so low on the sales charts, well below the Malibu even which is a few years older and about ready for a redesign. It's not just a 1 month thing either, last month's sales had the Malibu ahead as well(though this month the spread was greater).

        • 5 Years Ago
        For buying Saab/Spyker? That would be completely bizarre!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Last year L+M did 16k, and now they're doing barely 10k combined. I can understand Mercury dropping 30+%, because Ford finally announced they're pulling the plug on the brand, but Lincoln dropping over 16+%? Lincoln should be getting those Mercury sales! What's going on over there?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Ford has been cannibalizing Mercury sales by moving Ford up, but the point of Mercury was that people would get something that's better & different from a Ford. Logically, that should be Lincoln in the new calculus. So, at least, Lincoln should have held sales steady, even if *all* Mercury sales defaulted to Ford. And more reasonably, Lincoln should have gained some percentage of the Mercury sales. So Lincoln not gaining, nor even holding just doesn't make any sense to me.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I'm thinking Mercurys are a lot closer in price to Fords then they are Lincolns. A lot of people are turned off completely by a brand going away and some of those might actually believe a Mercury is better then a Ford and leave the brand entirely. Buick might actually be benefiting from Mercury's demise.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Probably just pent-up demand for the SUVs and pick-ups. The economy is perhaps better for some people and gasoline prices have held steady so people are getting that SUV that they've been wanting.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Go Chrysler (Brand)!I take what we can get and it can only get better from here!!!!
        • 5 Years Ago
        Um, Chrysler dropped over 11%...

        Are you glad that they didn't drop as much as they could have?
        • 5 Years Ago
        He wrote "Chrysler (Brand)", which lost ground..
        • 5 Years Ago
        He probably meant Chrysler Group, not brand.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I hate disagree with you especially when it makes it look like I am agreeing with gua, but Honda fans will know it is a new car. I sold them for a while and a lot of their most loyal owners are extremely fanatical about the most mundane of things. A slight bumper change, a new color, a change of texture in the interior will be enough to make many of them think they have the latest and greatest of Honda-ness. So basically a mid cycle refresh gets many of them in a tizzy - a whole new model upgrade will definitely light their fire.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Saab sold 470 cars in July of 2010 down from 574 cars sold in July of 2009. All of that loss was due to the 9-7X being discontinued and the new 9-5 not being on the lot yet. 9-3 sales were actually up 8% from last July to 456 from 421.

      So to sum up

      470 cars for July of 2010 vs 574 cars for July of 2009. June 2010 sales were 216 and CYTD 10 1,816 which is down 70% from CYTD 09.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Did Saab not report their sales numbers in time for this report? Saab sold 470 cars last month in the U.S. and is not out of business, why the "0" AutoBlog?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Because GM reported 0 SAABs sold. Spyker-Saab has not reported any sales.
      • 5 Years Ago

      The reason we went "back to trucks" this year is because the CARS program, which started 7/1/09, favored fuel efficient vehicle purchases more heavily. Which is why they sold better then.

      Their numbers were artificially high last year.
      • 5 Years Ago
      When that new 9-5 comes out, Saab is going to be way up there!
        • 5 Years Ago
        They should do at least 5 times better!
      • 5 Years Ago
      LOL Saab
      • 5 Years Ago
      Lincoln needs to get its act together quick. Cadillac is kicking their butt.

      I used to love the Lincoln Town Cars and the Mark series before they got
      bloated and droopy.

      Now there is not one car in their lineup that I really want. Also,
      their car naming convention is really confusing. I cannot tell which car
      is which.

      • 5 Years Ago
      This is why we should've enacted a price floor for gas at $3/gallon. CAFE or no CAFE, if gas is cheap(er) people will buy bigger, more guzzlier cars.

      It doesn't matter how many awesome small cars there are out there if gas costs $2/gal.

      What AB fails to mention is that last summer Toyota and Honda were riding high on C4C, and their efficient models were breaking records. Now their sales are back down to earth, yet still up compared to June 2010.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "... it was people with small cars with very little money that got hit the most."

        Or as the Washington post would say "The poor/women/minorities and children hurt the most".
        • 5 Years Ago
        hokieman: if more people bought more efficient vehicles gas would stay at $3/gal longer since society would use less. Not to mention the benefit we'd all experience with fewer Expeditions/Sequoias et. al. on the road and more hot hatchbacks with turbo 4 engines and lighter weight.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Screw that idea. I drive a midsized car that gets decent mileage and even though I could afford to pay $3.00 minimum for gas that doesn't mean I should have to so people will buy more efficient vehicles. I don't want to pay more for gas because the government wants people to buy smaller cars. People keep forgetting that the people that were most effected by the high gas prices weren't middle class families with a suburban, it was people with small cars with very little money that got hit the most. and now your are going to tell them that they have to pay more for gas and potentially drastically change their lifestyle because the government wants people that can afford the cars they can't to buy smaller. I am not saying CAFE is the right way to go, I am saying that neither is.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "This is why we should've enacted a price floor for gas at $3/gallon. CAFE or no CAFE, if gas is cheap(er) people will buy bigger, more guzzlier cars."

        This is why Luis doesn't set policy. And if you do, don't ever propose this to your constituents...
        • 5 Years Ago
        I love being downrated for stating a fact. Typical ostriches in here
        • 5 Years Ago
        "hot hatches" As far as I am conserved there is no such thing. And if sales are any indicator most Americans don't give a crap about them either. This is America people are allowed to like and buy whatever they want even if you want to see more pint sized go casts on the road. I will take an adult sized vehicle please.
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