Following news from the National Bureau of Economic Research that the United States economy has officially been in a recession since December 2007, U.S. auto sales plunged. In November, vehicle sales hit their lowest level since January 1982. Overall sales, unadjusted for business days, were down 36.7 percent from November 2007, and 16.3 percent year to date. International sales are down 9.9 percent year to date. While analysts had predicted a grim November, few expected to see such a substantial drop.
International Makes Retain Market Share Majority
According to numbers from Autodata Corp., international makes, more than half of which are assembled in North America, made up 52.3 percent of November’s market share with 390,658 vehicles. Year to date, international nameplates hold 52.6 percent of the market. Of the international makes, Toyota held the greatest share percentage with 15.3 percent.
Toyota (including its Lexus brand) is the number two automaker with 17.4 percent of the market next to GM’s 20.4 percent. Ford has15.8 percent, and Chrysler 11.4 percent of the market. American Honda Motor Company, Inc. remains in the close fifth position with a 10.2 percent share, selling just 9,027 fewer vehicles than Chrysler for the month of November.
Top Selling Vehicles Hold Steady
The continued popularity of international makes was reflected in the list of America’s top-selling vehicles. International’s continue to hold six of the top 10 slots and 10 of the top 20 slots for November 2008 sales. All ten of the best selling vehicles were in the top ten in November 2007, indicating that while consumers may be buying fewer vehicles, their tastes have not changed.
Trucks vs. Cars
Domestic automakers continue to rely heavily on trucks for the bulk of their sales - 67.5 percent - while the opposite is true for their international counterparts. Trucks contributed only 37.7 percent to international sales in November. International makes sold more than twice as many cars (243,309) over the domestic brands (115,767).
Detroit Three CEOs will testify before Congress tomorrow armed with the worst sales data seen in 26 years. From November 2007, domestic nameplates saw a 39.5 percent decrease, Asian nameplates saw a 34.6 percent decrease, and Europeans saw a 30.3 percent decrease. In response to these numbers, the seasonally adjusted annual rate was once again lowered, this time to 10.2 million, significantly below the 16.1 million sold in 2007.
See below for a complete breakdown of November 2008 monthly and year-to-date sales by international nameplate.