Last year, at the end of July, the start of the government-funded Cash for Clunkers program jumpstarted the weak auto retail market. This year, automakers saw mixed results. International brands last month were led by Hyundai (up 18.8 percent from July 2009), Nissan (12.1 percent), and Volkswagen (16 percent). Toyota and Honda both saw sales drop from July 2009, when the Clunkers program drove demand for their small, fuel efficient vehicles. Even so, Toyota sold the most of any international nameplate brand in July, moving 150,629 vehicles. General Motors led all U.S. sales with 199,601 units, 50,000 of which went to fleets.
"In 2009, the Cash for Clunkers program provided a welcome boost to auto sales," said AIADA president Cody Lusk. "This year, manufacturers and dealers are working together to build a lasting recovery. Improvement may be gradual, but it is founded in real market conditions and consumer confidence in our vehicles."
Internationals Increase July Market Share
According to numbers from Autodata Corp., international brands sold 591,297 vehicles during the month of July, up from 525,845 in June and 582,658 in May. Overall, they occupied 56.3 percent of the market - second only to 56.9 percent in March - up from 53.4 percent in June and 52.9 percent in May. Asian brands accounted for 48.2 percent, their second-highest share of the year, up from 44.8 percent in June. European automakers occupied 8.1 percent, down slightly from 8.6 percent in June. Domestic brands finished the month with 43.7 percent of the market, down from 46.5 in June and 47.2 percent in May.
Top Selling Vehicles
Consistent with the previous four months, six of the top ten selling vehicles in July were international nameplates. Announcing that for the first time ever, during the second quarter, it had built more vehicles in the U.S. than in Japan, Honda occupied three spots on the top ten list (Civic, Accord, and CR-V), more than any other automaker. The Toyota Camry displaced the Chevrolet Silverado Pickup to move into the second slot for the month, retaining its title as the top selling car in the U.S. The Toyota Corolla moved into the fourth position, up from sixth in June, while the Honda CR-V moved one spot into ninth place. The Nissan Altima rounded out the top ten. Of the internationals on the top 10 list, the Toyota Camry (up 3.2 percent) and the Honda CR-V (up 4.7 percent) experienced year-over-year sales improvements.
Americans purchased 307,909 crossovers and SUVs during July, more than any other vehicle segment. Sales for the segment were up 17.1 percent over July of 2009. As usual, the midsize segment landed in second place, with sales of 257,666 vehicles and up 1.8 percent over last July. The luxury segment experienced a 9.1 percent sales increase, selling 78,106 units during July. Overall, Americans purchased 1,050,101 vehicles during the month of July. Of those, 527,673 were cars, while 522,428 were trucks. Asian nameplates sold 309,723 cars and 196,115 trucks, while European nameplates sold 309,723 cars and 196,115 trucks. Domestics sold 154,479 cars and 304,325 trucks.
Overall sales, including domestic brands and unadjusted for business days, were up 5.2 percent from July 2009 and 14.8 percent for the year. They improved 6.7 percent from June 2010. The seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) for light vehicle sales is estimated at 11.55 million, the third highest of the year.
See below for a complete breakdown of July 2010 monthly and year-to-date sales by international nameplate.