A disappointing jobs report and falling consumer confidence are being blamed for weaker than anticipated July auto sales. Even so, international brands managed to gain ground during the month. Sales for all brands, unadjusted for business days, were down 10 percent from June, but rose 8.9 percent compared to July 2012 and 14.8 percent year-over-year.
Domestic brand sales dropped 1.4 percent from July 2011, due in part to falling fleet sales. General Motors reported that sales to rental car companies fell 41 percent and Ford saw overall fleet sales fall 16 percent. International brand sales grew 18.9 percent in July. Honda, now fully recovered from last year’s natural disasters, led the pack with an improvement of 46.4 percent, followed closely by Toyota with 26.1 percent and Volkswagen with 27.3 percent.
“There’s a lot of uncertainty in the market right now,” said AIADA President Cody Lusk. “Customers are looking for real value on big ticket purchases, and many are finding it in international branded dealerships.”
Market Share Remains Steady
International brands gained ground in the market, selling 656,584 units and capturing 56.9 percent of the market, up from 53.6 percent in June.
Asian automakers sold 541,239 vehicles and occupied 46.9 percent of the market, up from 44 percent last month and 42.8 percent a year ago. Year-over-year, Asian brands have experienced a 19.2 percent improvement. European automakers sold 115,345 units, up from 123,492 units last month and 101,481 last July, and experienced a 13.7 percent year-over-year improvement. Domestic brands finished the month with sales of 497,098 units and 43.1 percent of the U.S. market. They are down 1.4 percent since last July when they held 47.6 percent of the U.S. market.
Internationals Maintain Strong Presence in Top 10
International brands held five of the top selling vehicles in July, up from four in June. With the exception of the Chevrolet Silverado and Ford Escape, all vehicles on the list maintained an average year-over year improvement of 23.3 percent.
The Toyota Camry once again moved into the second position behind the Ford F-Series Pickup, up from number three last month, followed by the Chevrolet Silverado. The Honda Accord moved up one position into fourth place, with sales up 70.2 percent over last July. In fifth position, the Nissan Altima once again joined the top ten; sales are up 24.7 percent. The Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla/Matrix – both frequent members of the top ten list – finished the month at numbers six and eight, respectively.
The van segment experienced the biggest improvement of all vehicles segments with a 23.1 percent increase in sales. The small car segment trailed in second place, with a 20.1 percent improvement. The large car segment saw the biggest drop-off; with sales of just 754 vehicles, it was down 88 percent since last July.
Although it was up just 2.4 percent, in terms of sales, the SUV/crossover segment led the pack in July; it sold 351,078 units. In second place, the mid-size car segment sold 282,061 vehicles and was up 15.3 percent over last July.
AutoData Corp. estimated the seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) at 14.09 million units, versus 12.4 million units a year ago.