The Earth Quakes, Japanese Sales Fall

Overall, auto sales were down a bit in May, though there certainly were a few bright spots in the industry. For instance, the Chrysler Group, which consists of Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep vehicles, posted a 10-percent sales gain for the month when compared to the same period a year ago, led by strong sales of its Jeep brand. Grand Cherokee sales were up 192 percent, while the Compass (up 92 percent) and Patriot (up 80 percent) also made big gains.

The star of the Chrysler show, however, is undoubtedly the Dodge Durango. Sales of the reborn 'ute shot up 217,800 percent... though that's not terribly enlightening since Dodge only sold two Durangos in May of 2010.

Chrysler's strong sales, combined with an extremely poor showing (albeit not entirely its own fault) from Toyota allowed the Pentastar brand to slip into the number three sales spot behind General Motors and Ford.

The Korean conglomerate of Hyundai and Kia similarly performed very well, knocking Honda out of the fourth spot. Projections that the Korean duo would outsell Toyota, however, fell short by less than a thousand units.

Volkswagen sales are hitting their stride as well, with the new 2011 Jetta (16,671) leading the way.

Japanese brands took the brunt of the sales hit in May, due in large part to fallout from the earthquake and tsunami that hit the island nation hard in March. Of the three major Japanese automakers, Toyota was hit the hardest, down over 30 percent. Lexus, Toyota's luxury brand, fared ever worse, down nearly 45 percent from May of last year.

Fuel efficiency continues to sell cars like the Ford Focus (22,303), Chevrolet Cruze (22,711) and Hyundai Elantra (20,006). What's more, Eco editions accounted for about 15 percent of all Cruze sales, and Volkswagen reports that its TDI diesels managed to snag 22.2 percent of its share.

And finally, the Ford Explorer earned 13,318 sales, its highest tally in nearly four years, proving what a genuinely good redesign can do for a neglected nameplate.

Brand/Company Vol. % May-11 May-10 DSR %* May-11 May-10
Saab 121.26 385 174 139.70 16 7
Mitsubishi 59.76 7,568 4,737 73.08 315 182
Scion 59.63 5,710 3,577 72.93 238 138
Volvo 57.95 7,359 4,659 71.12 307 179
Jeep 55.02 35,573 22,948 67.93 1,482 883
Kia 53.39 48,212 31,431 66.17 2,009 1,209
Porsche 50.40 2,817 1,873 62.93 117 72
Mini 37.04 5,801 4,233 48.46 242 163
Jaguar 32.12 1,271 962 43.13 53 37
Volkswagen 27.85 30,100 23,543 38.51 1,254 906
Buick 23.82 15,579 12,582 34.14 649 484
Hyundai 20.73 59,214 49,045 30.80 2,467 1,886
Suzuki 20.34 2,290 1,903 30.36 95 73
BMW 15.63 20,651 17,859 25.27 860 687
Audi 13.60 10,457 9,205 23.07 436 354
Ram 13.40 21,467 18,930 22.85 894 728
Suzuki 9.33 2,132 1,950 18.44 89 75
GMC 8.05 32,589 30,160 17.06 1,358 1,160
Land Rover 6.72 2,891 2,709 15.61 120 104
Mercedes-Benz 5.89 20,306 19,176 14.72 846 738
Ford 5.32 184,703 175,370 14.10 7,696 6,745
Chevrolet -3.49 161,401 167,235 4.55 6,725 6,432
Lincoln -4.59 7,399 7,755 3.36 308 298
Dodge -4.83 40,200 42,242 3.10 1,675 1,625
Cadillac -5.72 11,623 12,328 2.14 484 474
Nissan -7.82 69,759 75,673 -0.13 2,907 2,911
Subaru -15.34 20,036 23,667 -8.29 835 910
Mazda -20.92 17,875 22,605 -14.33 745 869
Chrysler -20.94 16,364 20,699 -14.35 682 796
Infiniti -21.04 6,389 8,091 -14.46 266 311
Honda -22.42 81,773 105,407 -15.96 3,407 4,054
Acura -23.51 9,000 11,766 -17.13 375 453
Smart -29.21 492 695 -23.31 21 27
Toyota -31.66 96,082 140,597 -25.97 4,003 5,408
Lexus -44.61 12,305 22,216 -40.00 513 854
Fiat NA 1,759 0 NA 73 0
COMPANIES
BMW Group 19.74 26,452 22,092 29.71 1,102 850
Jaguar Land Rover NA 13.38 4,162 3,671 22.82 173 141
Chrysler Group 10.06 115,363 104,819 19.23 4,807 4,032
Ford Mo Co -0.08 192,102 192,253 8.25 8,004 7,394
GM -1.18 221,192 223,822 7.06 9,216 8,609
Nissan NA -9.09 76,148 83,764 -1.52 3,173 3,222
American Honda -22.53 90,773 117,173 -16.08 3,782 4,507
Toyota Mo Co -33.43 108,387 162,813 -27.88 4,516 6,262

*Brands and companies are displayed in descending order according to their percentage change in volume sales. There were 24 selling days in May 2011 versus 26 selling days in May 2010, so the change in monthly sales volume will be different than the change in average daily sales rate (DSR) for each brand/company. Also, brands are combined and reported as companies only if their sales figures are released jointly.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 86 Comments
      black republican
      • 4 Years Ago
      At least Chrysler is doing well. Love my 300cSRT8. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JCDX6m_jjk
      peter1dav
      • 4 Years Ago
      there are 2 Suzuki on your list with different sales numbers.
      • 4 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        NightFlight
        • 4 Years Ago
        The Mazda3 is a great car, but supplies are seriously constrained here in the US after the disaster. Four local dealerships don't have a lot to choose from, and are doing DXs with dealers farther and farther away to get customers their vehicles.
        tagg8019
        • 4 Years Ago
        Because Mazda imports 90% of its sales volume from Japan. The only car not built in Japan is Mazda 6.
      Alluster83
      • 4 Years Ago
      Not surprising considering there were no cars for the Japanese automakers to sell. Want proof, look at Japan auto sales for May and you will see sales drop for all brands. American automakers are up for that sole reason, and not on their own merit. May ’11 May ’10 Change Daihatsu 107 495 -78.4% Hino 1,078 1,878 -42.6% Honda 21,294 32,524 -34.5% Isuzu 1,648 3,066 -46.2% Lexus 1,789 1,889 -5.3% Mazda 8,510 13,539 -37.1% Mitsubi 4,059 4,266 -4.9% Nissan 28,037 33,406 -16.1% Subaru 5,622 4,775 17.7% Suzuki 5,434 4,267 27.3% Toyota 48,733 112,174 -56.6% Other 14,626 13,893 5.3% Total 142,154 228,514 -37.8%
      mikemaj82
      • 4 Years Ago
      glad to see that people are finally realizing that Toyota isn't all that.
      • 4 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        billfrombuckhead
        • 4 Years Ago
        We will see, I bet those cars are quite delayed and all being boring appliances won't cause much excitement anyhow. Meanwhile over on the American side, new products are also on the way, 2012 Wranglers, Rams and Liberty's will soon have industry leading Pentastar V6's to fight the zaibatsu. Exciting rear wheel drive Chargers and 300's will soon have industry leading ZF 8 speeds to hit 30mpg. The remodeled Japanese cars will still be behind the Koreans in styling and behind Mopar for capability.
          Zoom
          • 4 Years Ago
          @billfrombuckhead
          Boring cars sell by the bucketloads. You have hundreds of thousands of Camry owners who can't wait for the next model to come out and will line up to buy the latest and greatest. Sure some will defect, but the majority will hang on so long as its not a radical (read: attractive to the nuts on here) departure from what they're used to. People DONT LIKE RADICAL CHANGE. The new Camry will be subtly different, encompassing new technology, better efficiency, and representing mainstream values. It will be the #1 seller when it comes out.
          ROB
          • 4 Years Ago
          @billfrombuckhead
          Zoom: The Camry will still sell well but not at the levels it used too. With the Koreans doubling sales of Elantras and Sonatas with this current model and the domestics showing major increases it is going to eat into Toyota and Honda marketshare. This trend has been going for for a few months now...before the earthquake.
        carfan
        • 4 Years Ago
        your an idiot ...toyota is part of the past, was washed out into the see by the tsunami. Move on moron
          • 4 Years Ago
          @carfan
          [blocked]
      The Other Bob
      • 4 Years Ago
      Estimated Market Share GM : 20.68% Ford Mo Co: 17.96% Chrysler Group: 10.79% Toyota Mo Co: 10.13% Hyundai/Kia: 10.04% American Honda: 8.49% Nissan NA: 7.12% VW/Porsche/Audi: 4.06% BMW Group: 2.47% Subaru: 1.87% Jaguar Land Rover NA: 0.39% Other: 5.99% TOTAL: 100.00% I don't think Toyota can blame the earthquake for its entire market share collapse. Not all Japanese brands are doing so bad. Honda and Nissan are not down all that much. For all of 2010 the market share of: Toyota was 15.21 Honda was 10.61 Nissan was 7.84 Toyota lost a third of its share, but not so for the other Japanese big 3.
        mkivtrd
        • 4 Years Ago
        @The Other Bob
        Toyota imports from Japan a larger percentage of their cars than both Nissan and Honda, so YES the earthquake is to blame.
          mkivtrd
          • 4 Years Ago
          @mkivtrd
          Toyota imports more cars (percentage wise and total vloume) than both Nissan and Honda. This is a one of the reasons why their profits were hurt more than Nissan's and Honda's with the strong yen.
          Healthy Chap
          • 4 Years Ago
          @mkivtrd
          Guys, it's not only the assembly sites, but the parts as well. Nissan's North American assembly portfolio is pretty strong, I don't know where most of their parts are sourced from though. Honda has a good NA mix. Toyota goes as far as producing its 1.8s in China, so I don't know, we'd need actual statistics.
          Mike K
          • 4 Years Ago
          @mkivtrd
          Nissan imports way more then Toyota does. IMO Nissans are better cars these days too. My brother just got a 2011 Altima and its better overall then the camry and accord.
          The Other Bob
          • 4 Years Ago
          @mkivtrd
          mkivtrd : Maybe you are right, especially compared to Honda, but I am not sure Toyota imports more compared to Nissan.
      Alluster83
      • 4 Years Ago
      C Segment: Chevrolet Cruze: 22,711 Ford Focus: 22,303 Hyundai Elantra: 20,006 Honda Civic: 18,341 Toyota Corolla: 16,985 VW Jetta: 16,671 Midsize: Chevrolet Malibu: 25,600 Nissan Altima: 25,525 Ford Fusion: 24,666 Hyundai Sonata: 22,754 Toyota Camry: 18,830 Honda Accord: 18,185 B-Segment Ford Fiesta: 7,120 Honda Fit: 5,921 Nissa Versa: 4,793 Chevrolet Aveo: 4,538 Kia Rio: 2,519 Toyota Yaris: 1,690 Compact Crossover : Escape Equinox CR-V Rav-4
        The Other Bob
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Alluster83
        Great stats. Thanks. It really is an amazing change, even if caused by supply/earthquake.
      Jesus follower!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Good to see the Focus and Cruze doing well. It's a good time to buy a small car! I like the majority of the new Explorer, but all the unpainted plastic, a lack of a real tan interior, and no Eddie Bauer model keeps me away. I can't believe how far Toyota and Lexus fell, actually makes Lincoln not look so bad...that an Cadillac isn't too far ahead of them either.
      billfrombuckhead
      • 4 Years Ago
      Between Marchionne Motors and the Korean Government Motors chaebol, the Honda zaibatsu will never be in 5th place again. i predict a lot more cars are going to be "Imported from Detroit" this summer. With the Koreans and Mighty Mopar pulling into the lead pack, I can't imagine GM and Ford not going after the fading Japanese auto industry with a lot more gusto next month. These results also puts to rest the myth about much American contents are in Japan Inc's automobiles.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @billfrombuckhead
        [blocked]
          • 4 Years Ago
          [blocked]
          • 4 Years Ago
          [blocked]
          • 4 Years Ago
          [blocked]
      • 4 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        Renaurd
        • 4 Years Ago
        Hyundia/KIA has hit a bases loaded homer with their new products.
      Mike
      • 4 Years Ago
      Umm I know it reads slow sales for Toyota because of the earthquake, but here in SoCal all the dealerships i see are full. Am i missing something here? Other states have empty lots or what?
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Mike
        [blocked]
        Renaurd
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Mike
        Here in the South the dealers have no shortage of cars, the lots are full, especially Camry's, a friend bought a Prius this week.
        Prestige
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Mike
        It's the same in Arizona there's been a huge selection of Toyota's here. I'd be willing to bet if you randomly searched Toyota dealership websites in different cities you would find the exact same thing everywhere.
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