International brands experienced mixed results in Mayas a result of interruptions in production caused by March’s Japanese earthquake and subsequent cuts in incentives. International brands last month were down 0.9 percent from May 2010 but up 12.2 percent year to date – the first drop since August 2010. The average transaction price among all automakers rose 2.1 percent in May to hit an all time high of $29,817. Some of the biggest gains last month were seen by Korean automakers Hyundai (up 20.7 percent from a year ago) and Kia (up 53.4 percent), and Germany’s Volkswagen (up 27.9 percent). Japanese automakers saw sales drop across the board, with the world’s largest automaker, Toyota, down 31.7 percent.
“Falling sales caused by inventory issues are a temporary setback,” said AIADA President Cody Lusk. “Demand for new cars remains high, and dealers expect both production and sales to return to normal levels very soon.”
Despite Supply Issues, International Brands Hold Majority Market Share
International brands finished May with 50.4 percent of the market, down from 53.5 percent in April and 56.6 percent in March. Asian brands held 40.5 percent of the market, down from 44.9 percent last month and 43.3 percent in March. European automakers captured 9.9 percent of the market, up from 8.6 percent in April and 8.1 percent in March. Asian nameplates sold 430,503 vehicles and were down 13.4 percent from May 2010, while European brands sold 104,891 vehicles and were up 22.7 percent. Domestic brands sold 526,325 units, finishing May with 49.6 percent of the market, which represented a 1.2 percent increase over May 2010.
Due to supply shortages of several models, international brands occupied two of the top ten selling vehicle spots in May, down from the six they held in the previous three months. The Nissan Altima, with sales up 16.3 percent over last May, occupied the fourth spot, while the Hyundai Sonata was in seventh place with sales up 104.5 percent since last May. The Ford F-Series remained the top selling vehicle, although sales were down 15 percent. The Toyota Camry – typically the top selling car – fell to number 12. Six of the top ten selling vehicles were cars, suggesting a strong buying trend toward fuel-efficient vehicles. Seven of the top ten vehicles experienced year-over-year sales improvements by an average of 16.2 percent.
Americans continued to prefer vehicles from the SUV/crossover segment, which occupied a 61.8 percent share of all vehicles sold in May. The segment was down by .9 percent, however, with sales of 318,359 units. All vehicle segments were down from May 2010, with the exception of the small car segment which sold 196,498 units and was up 2.5 percent. Asian nameplates sold 267,006 cars and 163,497 trucks, while European brands sold 75,824 cars and 29,067 trucks. Domestic nameplates sold 203,857 cars and 322,468 trucks.
Overall sales, including domestic brands and unadjusted for business days, were down 3.7 percent from May 2010 but up 14 percent year to date. Sales were down 8.3 percent from April 2011. The seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) for light vehicle sales in May was estimated by AutoData Corp. at 11.8 million units, up from 11.64 million units in May 2010.
See below for a complete breakdown of May 2011 monthly and year-to-date sales by international nameplate.