Despite harsh weather conditions and safety concerns faced by Toyota, international nameplate brands saw a significant 8.7 percent sales increase in February 2010 from February 2009. In the wake of Congressional hearings and public concerns over its accelerator pedals, Toyota's sales fell by only 10.6 percent, less than expected and less than the 18.8 percent drop it saw in January. Toyota's market share went from 14 percent in February 2009 to 11.1 percent last month. Domestic brands, led by Ford, were up 19 percent from February 2009. Volvo and Subaru led international brand growth with 38.3 percent increases from the same month last year.
"Major snowstorms on the east coast and the challenges faced by Toyota were supposed to bring sales down last month," said AIADA president Cody Lusk. "We were very pleased to see the opposite occur. If the market can expand in the face of even those challenges, we have to believe we are truly on the road to recovery. Dealers across the board are optimistic about spring sales."
International Brand Market Share Dips Slightly
According to numbers from Autodata Corp., international brands sold 417,013 units in February, up from 383,250 units in January but down from 558,680 units in December. Asian brands accounted for 44.8 percent of the market, down slightly from 45.7 percent in January. European nameplates had an 8.7 percent share, down from 9.2 in January. Domestic brands finished the month with 46.6 percent of the market, up from 45.1 percent in January.
Top Selling Vehicles
Five of the top 10 selling vehicles in February were international makes, consistent with January and December's sales figures. The Ford F Series pickup retained its spot atop the top 10 list. The Honda Accord leapfrogged the Chevy Silverado to the number 2 spot. The Toyota Corolla and Camry actually jumped up in the rankings from spots 5 and 7 to spots 4 and 5, respectively. The Chevy Cobalt fell off the top ten in February, and the Ford Escape moved from 12th to 9th in sales, making the list.
Once again, Americans purchased more SUVs and Crossovers than any other segment with 235,889 sold, up from 213,399 in January. The mid-size car segment registered second place with 195,676 vehicles sold during February. Overall, Asian nameplates sold 215,029 cars and 134,460 trucks, while European nameplates sold 48,770 cars and 18,754 trucks. Domestics sold 138,433 cars and 224,819 trucks.
Overall sales, including domestic brands and unadjusted for business days, were up 13.3 percent from February 2009 and 12 percent from last month. The seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) for light vehicles now stands at 10.38 million units, an improvement from 9.17 million units in February 2009.
See below for a complete breakdown of January 2010 monthly and year-to-date sales by international nameplate.