Overall Sales Fall 37 Percent
The first month of 2009 is behind us, and for auto manufacturers the results are mixed. While the majority of carmakers saw their sales drop by an average of 37 percent, five international makes had positive news to report, including Hyundai, whose sales rose an unexpected 14.3 percent.
As a group, international manufacturers were down 26 percent, a slight improvement over December 2008 which saw sales drop 34 percent from the previous year. Despite an average incentive of $2,714 per vehicle in January, January was still the 15th straight month in which sales tumbled from the previous year.
International Brands Grow Market Share
According to numbers from Autodata Corp., international makes, more than half of which are assembled in North America, made up 57.5 percent of January’s market share with 377,445 vehicles. That’s a significant jump from December, when they accounted for 50.7 of the American market. Of the international makes, Toyota held the greatest share percentage with 15.6 percent.
Top Selling Vehicles Hold Steady
The list of top selling vehicles in the U.S. hasn’t changed much over the past 13 months. Americans continue to buy the brands they know and trust. One adjustment to note: the Honda CR-V returned to the top 10 list after occupying the number 11 slot in December. As a result, international makes now occupy six of the top 10 spots.
The only vehicle on the top ten list that did not see a double digit drop over January sales in 2008 was the Toyota Corolla Matrix. Sales for this vehicle were only down 7.2 percent compared to all other vehicles on the list that experienced anywhere from a 17.9 percent to 38.6 percent decrease in sales from a year ago. Two vehicles that saw positive sales growth and made it onto the top 20 sales list are the Hyundai Sonata, which saw an 85.5 percent increase over last year, and the Mazda3, which saw a 16.3 percent jump.
Trucks vs. Cars
In the first month of 2009, consumers continued the trend of choosing cars over trucks. In a nation known for its love affair with the pickup, it is worth noting that Asian car sales are closing in on the number of trucks sold by the Detroit Three. This month alone domestic truck sales are down nearly 99,000 vehicles over December 2008 or over 150,000 vehicles from January 2008. If this pattern remains steady Asian car sales will soon surpass Detroit Three trucks sales.
In response to total monthly industry sales of 656,976, down from 1,044,654 in January 2008, analysts dropped 2009’s seasonally adjusted annual sales rate to 9.57 million. That is its lowest level since June 1982.
See below for a complete breakdown of January 2009 monthly and year-to-date sales by international nameplate.