Spurred by overall economic improvements and the onset of the holiday shopping season, November auto sales experienced a successful month. Though unemployment remains high, consumer confidence is on the rise and retailers are reporting a higher than hoped for holiday bump. Last month international brands were up 16.5 percent from November 2009 and 8.9 percent for the year. Some of the biggest gains were seen by Korean automakers Hyundai (up 45.2 percent from November 2009) and Kia (48.2 percent). Toyota was down 3.6 percent.
"The American auto retail industry has a long way to go in terms of recovery, but we are on the right path," said AIADA President Cody Lusk. "Dealers report that international brand vehicles are making gains by offering customers the value they are looking for in these still-tough times."
International Market Share Remains Consistent
Figures provided by Autodata Corp. demonstrate that international brands sold 483,545 units and occupied a combined 55.3 percent market share, up from 54.6 percent in November. Asian automakers held 45.8 percent of the market, down slightly from 45.9 percent last month. European automakers took 9.5 percent of the U.S. auto retail market, up from 8.7 percent in October. Asian nameplates sold 400,358 vehicles, up 15.8 percent from November 2009, while European nameplates sold 83,187 vehicles, a 20.2 percent year-over-year improvement. Domestic brands occupied 44.6 percent of the U.S. auto market, selling 389,778 vehicles for a 17.4 percent improvement over November 2009.
Consistent with October, six of the top ten selling vehicles in November were international nameplates, although there was a significant shift in the top vehicles sold. The Ford F-Series and Chevrolet Silverado pickups continued their reign at the top of the list. The Toyota Camry also maintained its standing as the top-selling car in America, although sales were down by 24.3 percent from last November. The Honda Accord fell from the fourth slot in October to the eighth slot, while its popular CR-V moved into the fifth position, up from number seven last month. The Nissan Altima moved stealthily up one spot into fourth place, while the Hyundai Sonata - which has been featured on the top ten list for the past three months - slipped to number 14. Eight of the top ten experienced year-over-year sales improvements, although the Dodge Ram PU - at number five - was the most dramatic with sales up 86 percent. With sales up 30.9 percent on renewed demand for crossovers and SUVs, the Honda CR-V had the second highest improvement.
Crossovers and SUVs again reigned supreme in American showrooms, with Americans purchasing 295,224, down from the 299,235 they purchased in October. Of those, 158,073 vehicles were international nameplates, while 137,151 were domestic. The mid-size car segment sold the second greatest volume with sales of 198,347, down from 220,998 in October. Overall, Americans purchased 873,323 vehicles in November, down from the 950,165 they purchased in October. Of those, 406,299 were cars, while 467,024 were trucks. Asian nameplates sold 225,755 cars and 174,603 trucks, while European nameplates sold 57,503 cars and 25,684 trucks. Domestic brands rounded out November with sales of 123,041 cars and 266,737 trucks.
Overall sales, including domestic brands and unadjusted for the number of business days, were up 16.9 percent from November 2009. Sales were up 11.1 percent for the year. The seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) for light vehicle sales is estimated by AutoData Corp. to be 12.26 million - the same prediction from last month. As of November 30, 10,444,044 vehicles were sold in the United States, 15,000 more than the total number of vehicles sold in 2009.
See below for a complete breakdown of November 2010 monthly and year-to-date sales by international nameplate.