Sales in September dropped 41 percent from August 2009. The government’s popular Cash for Clunkers program is credited with driving sales up in August, and creating September’s post-clunkers hangover. “These numbers aren’t unexpected, but they also aren’t what we hoped for,” said AIADA Chairman and Wisconsin dealer Russ Darrow. “The focus now is on finishing out 2009 as strong as possible. Growing inventory and gradually rising consumer confidence will work to the dealer’s advantage.”
International Brands Build Market Share
According to numbers from Autodata Corp., international brands sold 419,080 vehicles in September, down from 747,689 in August and 460,182 in September 2008. Asian brands accounted for 46.5 percent of the market, down from 52.3 percent in August 2009, and European nameplates had a 9.6 percent share, up from 6.9 percent in August. Domestic brands finished the month with 43.8 percent of the market, up from 40.8 in August.
Top Selling Vehicles
Six of the top ten selling vehicles in September were international makes, down from seven in August. The Ford F Series pickup reclaimed its number one spot from the fuel-efficient Toyota Camry, which had benefited in August from Clunkers sales. The Ford Focus fell out of the top ten to the 16 spot, and the Hyundai Elantra, last month at the ten spot, fell out of the top 20 all together.
International vehicles held 10 of the top 20 vehicles slots for the month of September.
Trucks vs. Cars
While small cars are still well-liked, their popularity fell significantly from August, when they were in high demand for the Clunkers program. In September, consumers purchased more Asian cars than domestic light trucks by a difference of 20,628 units. In August, the difference was 146,026 units. Purchases of small cars, like the Hyundai Accent and Audi A3, accounted for 29.5 percent of total car sales in September, down from 43.7 in August.
Overall sales, including domestic brands and unadjusted for business days, were down 22.7 percent compared to September 2008 and down 27.4 percent for the year. The seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) for light vehicles now stands at 9.22 million, compared to 12.57 million units in September 2008.
Some bright spots for the month include Lexus (up 12 percent), Volvo (up 16 percent), Hyundai (up 27 percent), and Kia (up 24 percent). Along with Subaru, Hyundai and Kia are the only brands to see a year over year improvement from 2008.
See below for a complete breakdown of September 2009 monthly and year-to-date sales by international nameplate.