Promising Indicators Seen in August Numbers
For the tenth consecutive month, U.S. auto sales were down this August. Overall sales, unadjusted for business days, were down 15.5 percent from August 2007, and 11.2 percent year to date. However, industry analysts pointed to trends that could indicate the worst is behind us. AutoData Corp. reports that August’s numbers are 10 percent higher than July’s, which reached depths not seen since 1992. In addition, falling gas prices and a slight jump in light truck and SUV sales could indicate a rebound in consumer confidence.
In August, Nissan once again saw improvement in its sales numbers. The Japanese automaker reported a 14.2 percent sales increase from the same time one year earlier. Year to date, Nissan’s sales are up 1.4 percent. Otherwise, all major automakers saw declines last month. But, as has been the case throughout 2008, international makes seem to be weathering the storm in fair condition. Honda, for example, was down 7.6 percent from August 2007, but remains in the black year to date, with a sales improvement of 3.6 percent.
International Makes Continue to Lead in Market Share
Though international nameplates saw their market share fall slightly from July’s 57.3 percent to 54.7 percent in August, they continue to sell more cars in the United States than domestic brands. Asian automakers sold a total of 591,260 vehicles while European automakers rang up 92,068 sales. Domestic brands sold a total of 566,465 vehicles.
The top ten vehicles sold in August were split evenly between domestic and international makes. The Chevy Silverado took the number one spot while Toyota’s Camry came in at number two.
Truck Sales Up
What does it mean that the Chevy Silverado, Ford F-series, Dodge Ram, and GMC Sierra all made the top ten list of vehicles sold in August? Simply put, America’s love affair with the truck isn’t over. Thanks in part to tumbling fuel prices, total light duty truck sales in August reached 620,846. That’s still down 22 percent from August ’07, but it’s up 20.3 percent from July ’08. Those numbers aren’t just a boon for domestics; Nissan says it owes its success in August primarily to sales of it Frontier, Xterra, and Rogue models.
See below for a complete breakdown of August 2008 monthly and year-to-date sales by international nameplate.