Toyota and Honda Outperform Against Backdrop of Earthquake-Related Shortages

Without context, one might think that sales for the U.S. automotive industry in May were off-the-charts good. Look at brands like Toyota and Honda, sales of which were up an astonishing 88.9 and 46.0 percent, respectively. Or look at Chrysler, up an equally incredible 82.34 percent. We're back, baby! Right? Not quite.

The performance of Toyota and Honda, as well as luxury brands Lexus and Acura, can be explained by the fact that one year ago coincides with two months after Japan was rocked with earthquakes and tsunamis that knocked out most of the country's domestic automobile production. By May, Japanese automakers, particularly Toyota and Honda, were running out of inventory to sell that couldn't be replaced. Toyota sales in the U.S. fell nearly 32 percent in May 2011 and Honda by 22.4 percent. Thus, both these automakers are about to put together a string of months that show industry-leading sales increases, but only because those sales are being compared to last summer's drought.

Likewise, Chrysler and Dodge just hadn't hit their sales stride yet at this time last year when sales of all of Chrysler Group were up only 10 percent, buoyed by solid performances from Ram and particularly Jeep. With all of four of its brands now operating on all cylinders, the Chrysler Group finished last month up over 30 percent from May 2011.

And yet, despite all of these positive numbers, despite even General Motors and Ford posting solid increases of 10.9 and 12.6 percent respectively after both experienced dips in April, the industry as a whole is not performing as well as analysts would like. With only a couple brands left to report, it's looking like the seasonally adjusted annualized rate of sales will fall well below analysts' estimates of 14.4 million units, settling somewhere in the range of 13.8 million units, the worst estimate so far this year.

Check out how the entire auto industry did in the monthly sales chart below, and visit our By the Numbers section to see all past months.



*Brands and companies are displayed in descending order according to their percentage change in volume sales. There were 26 selling days in May 2012 versus 24 selling days in May 2011, 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
  • 85 Comments
      wicketr
      • 2 Years Ago
      Just for reference, a lot of companies block Google Docs because it's a data storage website. I can't see that chart above because of it. Not sure how many other people are in the same boat.
      Willie
      • 2 Years Ago
      I swear if I worked at a Mitsubishi dealer I would be looking for another job. What's odd is that just a few months ago not far from my house, a Mitsubishi dealership opened up in a empty Chrysler dealership (closed during the bailout). I'm not sure it relocated or literally is new but either way I never see a very busy lot. The same can be said for another Mitsubishi dealership in the area that also has a lot of product collecting dust. Enterprise actually operates a location inside their dealership, I bet more people come there for rental than for sales. It's kinda sad because Mitsubishi actually use to be a very credible brand with good competitive products. It's like in the past 5 years they just "stopped" trying.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Willie
        [blocked]
      throwback
      • 2 Years Ago
      What's going on with Cadillac? Their sales have been tanking. The XTS and ATS can't get here soon enough.
        vince
        • 2 Years Ago
        @throwback
        CTS and SRX were only down slightly, Escalade was down about 10% but its old and is not a big volume seller. They dropped from 11,623 to 9871, and 1550 of that was from the DTS/STS being phased out. I bet with the XTS and ATS coming out will more then make up for that, then the new CTS and Escalade for 2014 will help even more.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @throwback
        [blocked]
      Mchicha
      • 2 Years Ago
      What is wrong with Americans? Buying sooo many Toyotas while they could buy better Fords and Chevrolets?
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Mchicha
        [blocked]
        Yang Xi Gua
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Mchicha
        because of higher domestic contents in Toyotas. plus GM dodges tax which hurts the US economy
          MAX
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Yang Xi Gua
          TOYOTA DOES NOT HAVE HIGHER DOMESTIC CONTENT THAN GM, MOST OF THEIR MODELS ARE MADE IN JAPAN INCLUDING EVERY SCION, PRIUS, 4RUNNER, REAR WHEEL DRIVE LEXUS, YARIS, IQ, LAND CRUISER. BTW, GM SELLS A LOT OF CARS IN CANADA AND MEXICO WHILE NOT EVEN HYUNDAI CAN SELL CARS IN JAPAN SUCCESSFULLY.
        GO MUSTANG
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Mchicha
        According to the chart, they ARE buying more American brands Ford+GM+Chevy > Everyone Else...there is a big enough market here for everyone to have good sales numbers and having competition only benefits the buyer...
          Yang Xi Gua
          • 2 Years Ago
          @GO MUSTANG
          not necessarily. Toyota + its subsidiary Subaru combined has more sales than Ford does. don't forget the Germans and Italians
        sirjaysmith
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Mchicha
        Over 50% of the total cars on the road in the US (new and used) today are still of an American make. so.....yea, and unlike most people, I personally don't let some shmuck sipping a latte 1 thousand miles away sway me with a blog paragraph, but rather rely on my personal experience, which says American cars are very good automobiles; albeit not the most efficient, but the amount of 10, 20, and 30 year old American iron I still see on the road these days is a testament.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        Sean Conrad
        • 2 Years Ago
        Sorry, can't take anyone seriously when they call GM Government Motors, it's like calling Microsoft "Micro$oft".
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Sean Conrad
          [blocked]
        gary
        • 2 Years Ago
        So by your logic, GM can never claim a sales gain until they eclipse to the 50% market share they had in the 1962?
          lne937s
          • 2 Years Ago
          @gary
          For 1Q 2012, GM's US market share hit its lowest since 1922. Not since the Model T was a US sales leader has it been this low. In China, however, they are still doing well in sales. http://www.forbes.com/sites/michelinemaynard/2012/04/10/as-market-takes-off-gms-share-hits-a-90-year-low/
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      johnb
      • 2 Years Ago
      Chrysler continues to surprise me. It's taking a while to shake off the stink of Daimler, but they are doing it!
        throwback
        • 2 Years Ago
        @johnb
        Good product will do that. If the Dart is as good as the early drives indicate, Chrysler should have one of their best sales years in a long time.
        High
        • 2 Years Ago
        @johnb
        Me as well. A few years back I was a pretty big hater of Chrysler's products but since the introduction of the new 300, Charger, Durango and especially the Cherokee I've come around. Really, if I had the money to buy any type of SUV I would choose the Cherokee over everything else besides the Evoque I like it so much.
        Justin Campanale
        • 2 Years Ago
        @johnb
        You can blame the crappy management at MB like Shremmp and Dr.Z for the "stink of Daimler".
          lasertekk
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Justin Campanale
          Nope, watching now as they're holding the rest of Europe hostage and preventing any recovery.
          gtv4rudy
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Justin Campanale
          Is it true MB ripped off Chrysler's employees' pension plans and almost drove Chrysler into the ground?
      Yang Xi Gua
      • 2 Years Ago
      I smell.... with my little nose.......a new generation Honda Ridgeline coming!
        sirjaysmith
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Yang Xi Gua
        and it will fail miserably just like the first one did.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Yang Xi Gua
        [blocked]
      Yang Xi Gua
      • 2 Years Ago
      so in other words GM + Ford that two American automakers left have about a quarter of the domestic US market?
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Yang Xi Gua
        [blocked]
          • 2 Years Ago
          [blocked]
          lne937s
          • 2 Years Ago
          Actually, you are both wrong. There 1,334,686 cars sold last month (you have to add up the top chart, not just the "companies" chart). That means that GM+Ford= 34.5% Market share GM+Ford+Chrysler= 45.8% Also, as there were 1,061,531 sold in May 2011, every automaker that gained less than 25.7% this month lost market share.
      MacProMan
      • 2 Years Ago
      Thanks for the post, BTW, Mini is not Mini it's MINI
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        Sir Duke
        • 2 Years Ago
        Cadillac is going to be just fine. However, there is little hope (2013 MKZ) for Lincoln.
        l9t8z
        • 2 Years Ago
        In addition to the ATS and XTS, they really need the new CTS as well. GM , please dont screw up the CTS in its transition to a slightly larger car, please.
          montoym
          • 2 Years Ago
          @l9t8z
          Based on GM's recent vehicle introductions, I wouldn't be too concerned.
        Justin
        • 2 Years Ago
        Mitsubishi is not imploding. They recently discontinued several of their models as they realign themselves in the US - - dropping several models means lower sales in the short term.
          Essende
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Justin
          They stopped a production of Endeavor/Eclipse/Galant so that's pretty much 50% of their car lineup from last year. Right now all they have left is the Lancer/Outlander/Outlander Sport family and the iMIEV which I suspect is not really selling and I don't think Mitsu expected it to sell in large numbers.
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Justin
          [blocked]
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Justin
          [blocked]
      Rick
      • 2 Years Ago
      Go FIAT !!
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