Economic uncertainty kept consumers away from dealerships once again this April. Carmakers saw their U.S. sales drop by an average of 34 percent, about what has been seen throughout 2009. These numbers have prompted some analysts to suggest that bottom of the market has been reached – good news for struggling dealers.
International Brands Hold Market Share Edge
According to numbers from Autodata Corp., international brands sold 442,124 vehicles in April, down from 656,034 in April 2008. Asian brands accounted for 45.5 percent of the market, up from 44.7 percent in April 2008, and Europeans had an 8.5 percent share, up from 7.5 percent. Domestic brands finished the month with 46 percent of the market. While Ford’s sales were down 32 percent, it grabbed a larger share of the market, overtaking Toyota for the first time in more than a year.
Top Selling Vehicles Hold Steady
The Honda Accord overtook the Ford F Series Pickup Truck for the first time this year. The Ford pickup was positioned in the number one spot since January of this year. The Hyundai Sonata is the only international vehicle in positive territory, holding the 14th spot, selling 11,815 vehicles, up 7.4 percent over this time last year. International vehicles hold 10 of the top 20 vehicles slots for the month of April.
Trucks vs. Cars
Consumers purchased more Asian cars in the month of April over the domestic light truck by a difference of 4,964 vehicles. This trend began in March of this year and is expected to grow as international vehicle shares continue to rise.
April’s weak numbers were particularly discouraging in light of some analyst predictions for a spring recovery. The seasonally adjusted annual sales rate (SAAR) now stands at 9.5 million vehicles. A silver lining: consumer confidence rose in April, from 26.9 to 39.2 percent – its highest level in 2009.
See below for a complete breakdown of April 2009 monthly and year-to-date sales by international nameplate.