By on November 3, 2009


We’re a little short-staffed right now (always?), the boss is on the road, and I’m a little bleary from my first day at the helm, so instead of staying up all night building spreadsheets,I’m going to give all you number junkies the links to the various companies’ press releases and their own detail tables and charts. Please share your thoughtful analysis with the rest of us lazy bums.

GM Ford Chrysler Toyota Honda Nissan Hyundai Subaru Mitsubishi SuzukVW Daimler BMW

Update: here’s an excellent set of charts and data at WSJ

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33 Comments on “Homework Assignment: Analyze October sales details (Links provided)...”

  • avatar

    You have Chrysler’s Canadian sales… with no breakdown
    Here’s the US with model breakdown

  • avatar

    Don’t need to do a deep dive on this data, Chrysler is in deep doodoo. Taking a quick glance at the data, larger and midsize vehicles are rebounding. Chrysler is in trouble, because they are still a few months (or longer if the Fiat intervention rumors are true) before the restyled charger/300 hits the market. Profit is not made on small cars, never has been, and unlikely every will be.

  • avatar

    These numbers are all compared to October ’08, which was a horrible month.

    GM is still structurally unsound (down 34 percent year-to-date and offering $1k more incentives than Chrysler), Chrysler is still deader than dead and Ford is still in serious trouble (David Cole says their debt equals $1500 per car – post to follow).

    The industry went into this downturn with roughly 40 percent more capacity than they needed. The annual selling rate is FAR below the peak. The reckoning continues.

  • avatar

    GM had the “Employee Pricing” incentive in September 2008.

    That may have impacted October 2008, which had terrible numbers:

    When comparing October 2009 to October 2008, it helps to remember that 2008 was terrible.

    GM admits that October 2009 is being driven by new releases. There often is a lift in sales when new models are released. The true test is whether those increases will be sustainable.

  • avatar

    GM’s 21% market share… isn’t that a little bit lower than the early forecasts (Edmunds, among others) were hoping for? Up’s better than down, though Pch101 is correct to note that new models help.

    They need that number to go up a bit more (and have the overall market recover) in order to stop the cash burn.

  • avatar

    Comparing October 2009 to October 2008 for Toyota, overall sales were about the same. The year-to-date numbers tell a very different story — Toyota has not had a great year so far. (No surprise there.) Still, things may be stabilizing here, albeit with more incentives now than last year.

    Month-to-month, overall Toyota passenger car sales would have been down were it not for the Venza. Prius is up strongly, Camry is hanging in there, Corolla is down, Avalon is fizzling, and the Scions are off a cliff.

    Oddly enough, the Lexus RX appears to be a hot product, and the ES remains the bread and butter car of the lineup. Both gained in the October comparison. Lexus was up on the whole, although much of the increase can be attributed to the addition of the HS in the lineup, which contributed to a large chunk of the increase.

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    Chrysler link corrected; thanks for the heads up.

  • avatar

    Here’s my take on a model-by-model Ford sales analysis from a dealer POV (minus Volvo).

    Crown Vic – Slight improvement, but statistically irrelavent, as it is a fleet only model perhaps a couple extra townships needed new police cruisers this year.

    Taurus – Very nice sales gain, and the predominantly retail nature of those sales is a big plus. Supply of ’09 units was limited at this time last year, but ’10 models are still in short supply at a lot of dealers (we currently have one on the lot, and it’s black, which makes it twice as hard to sell in this area). The redesign is a big hit amongst customers, look for Taurus sales to keep climbing as supply catches up with demand.

    Focus – Slight drop, but again statistically meaningless. C4C wiped out virtually all of the ’09 inventory, and the ’10 models don’t have huge incentives yet. Value shoppers still dominate the market in the compact class, so a small drop is better than expected given the lack of heavily discounted outgoing year models to entice buyers.

    Mustang – Another virtual tie, year on year. Inventory has pretty much caught up for Mustangs, but the savvy buyers are waiting for the ’11 models with improved powertrains, the the fashionistas are buying Camaros while they are new and fresh.

    Flex – An 8% gain is a modest improvement, and the new wheel designs make the vehicle look a lot nicer. The EcoBoost option makes it more appealing for those looking for power, but relatively low gas prices have removed one big reason to buy vs the Explorer or Expedition. The styling is still the biggest obstacle to overcome for customers, and I fear that the Flex may be relegated to niche vehicle status or even discontinued if this keeps up, a huge shame because it is IMO the best Ford badged vehicle on the lot.

    Edge – I can’t explain the huge sales boost, as the year over year improvements were modest (rated fuel economy up to 18/25, blind spot mirrors standard, and the new Sync upgrades including turn by turn directions). The Edge had a pretty decent lease program introduced for October, which could explain some of the bump.

    Escape – The best domestic cute-ute got the same basic upgrades as the Edge, fuel economy bumps, blind spot mirrors, and a better Sync system. The ’10 Hybrids include the electric steering and AC upgrades introduced in the ’10 Fusion Hybrid, which makes them more attractive, and the active park assist is pretty cool. Overall, a lot of the bump seems to be due to the huge popularity of the Escape during C4C and those new owners spreading word of mouth testimonials to their friends and family.

    Taurus X – Dealers still have these on their lots?

    Expedition – Pretty big sales decline, but the Expedition hasn’t been lighting up the charts for a while. Compared to the Suburban and Yukon XL it wins in some areas, loses in others, and due to GM’s huge relative incentives, the sales decline isn’t hard to explain.

    Explorer – A nice sales bump I can’t explain, I haven’t sold one of these in nearly a year. Not a bad vehicle overall I suppose…

    F-Series – Only an 8% drop is pretty good considering that last year there was the perfect storm of ridiculously huge rebates on ’08 models, and brand spanking new ’09s on the lots. Incentives for outgoing ’09s aren’t bad, but aren’t incredible, so the sales being made on them are probably more profitable than those a year ago.

    Ranger – Virtually identical sales proves that fleets have pretty steady demands. As of right now ’09 models come with an incredibly $5000 rebate. You can get a brand new 4 cylinder Ranger for under $14K, so, if you own a pool company, pest control service, lawn service, or any other business that needs fuel efficient light duty trucks, now is the time to buy up.

    Econoline – Sales fell off due both to the Transit Connect offering a better alternative to some classic E-Series customers, and the fact that commercial vehicle sales are still in the toilet with the poor economy. You can buy a lightly used one or two year old E-Series for not much more than half the price of a new one, so, until business picks up even the best full size van on the market will hurt in sales.

    Transit Connect – Sales are still great, and if they keep up, Ford will likely set up a North America production facility.

    Low Cab Forward – Again, dealers still have these on their lots?

    Heavy Trucks – See comments regarding E-Series vans.

    MKS – There is a hard to explain sales decline. Perhaps the new Taurus took some sales, or the price increase (with added equipment) of the base model scared away some buyers. The MKS was also fresh an new last year, while now it is more established, still not bad sales figures for a full size luxury sedan though.

    MKZ – Sales improved, buy are still lower than I would expect. The ’10 redesign greatly improved the interior (the steel grey leather with the wood trim is gorgeous). We’ve been getting a ton of extra MKZ interest on the lot in the past few weeks, look for November sales to increase even more compared to October.

    Town Car – Even though this isn’t officially a fleet only model, it might as well be. Limo companies bought up more last year than this year.

    MKX – New interior trim options and exterior styling packages have helped the luxo-Edge make a modest sales increase.

    MKT – Still very supply limited, but customer excitement over the model is very high. If Ford could combine the appealing styling of the MKT with the pricing of the Flex, the resulting car would be a real winner in sales.

    Navigator – Not a lot of change in the model vs last year, except for a pretty much ‘all or nothing’ options packaging setup. Perhaps the extra money being made off of making people take all the options if they want any of them offsets the drop in sales.

    Mark LT – Congrats to the single dealer who finally sold their last Mark LT.

    Grand Marquis – A 10% bump out of nowhere. The Grand Marquis isn’t really a fleet queen, and seasonal snowbird demand shouldn’t vary too much year on year.

    Sable – Dealers are just clearing out leftover ’09s.

    Mariner – See comments on Escape.

    Mountaineer – People finally realized the Explorer looks better.

    Overall there are a lot of positive things going on with Ford, and sales being up year on year combined with considerably lower incentives will lead to a much larger profitability increase than the 3% sales gain would imply.

    Compared to last year there are far far less outgoing model year vehicles on the lot, and profits per vehicle are up. Ford also rolled out a fairly aggressive lease program on most models for November, so look for sales to jump even more in the next round up.

  • avatar

    Lexus HS at 1527 units, not bad. Interested to see if that holds up. “Strong” sales of hybrids as people rightly hedge on increasing fuel prices.

    Hybrids are now nearly 13% of Toyota sales, which is a full 3% ahead of where they said they’d be in 2010 when launching the Camry Hybrid. (Sorry can’t find the release).

    I’m told that a further 10+ orders were taken for the LF-A at the recent Abu Dhabi Formula 1. That fills the first two production runs of 25 each.

    “Get in quick, production run #3 filling fast!”

    BTW, if you’ve ever wondered what happens to all those petro-dollars the US is so pleased to give away, check out the Yas Marina Circuit. US$1.3b.

  • avatar

    Are Edmunds’ incentive roundups accurate? If so, GM’s relative “success” is no surprise.

    Edmunds on Incentives

    GM – $4277
    Toyota – $1338
    Honda – $508 (incredible)
    Ford – $2909

  • avatar

    @ KixStart

    Wow, that is a damning.

    “In October 2009 ….. incentive spending …. totaled approximately $2.04 billion, down 1.9 percent from September 2009. Chrysler, Ford and General Motors spent an aggregate of $1.3 billion, or 64.9 percent of the total; Japanese manufacturers spent $418 million, or 20.3 percent; European manufacturers spent $215 million, or 10.5 percent; and Korean manufacturers spent $87 million, or 4.3 percent.”

    “… premium sport cars had the highest average incentives, $8,826 per vehicle sold, followed by premium luxury cars at $6,395.”

    Camaro? Mustang? (Are they “premium”)

    “Cadillac spent the most, $7,398, followed by HUMMER at $6,051 per vehicle sold.”


  • avatar

    All the spreadsheets show is that current cars suck.

    Japanese and e36 BMW cars from 1996 to 2000, cars with OBDII, dual airbags, and side impact door beams, are becoming collectible.

    Seriously collectible – recession proof. Unlike a nosediving Roadrunner or ‘Cuda.

    Find a good price on a S14 240SX, on an SC300 or SC400, on a post ’96 e36, hell even on a pre-OBDII MR-2 or Supra.

    You can’t, because these cars were the pinnacle of automobile production.

    The Hyundai Genesis Coupe is the best everyman’s car ever made. Power everything, six airbags, RWD, a 6 speed manual and a 200 HP+ turbo I4 for $22K. Plug that into an inflation calculator and see if there was ever a better deal on an entry level sports car.

    There wasn’t.

    And the Koreans aren’t like the Chinese, they are unionized people living in a democracy, and they will burn a fu****g plant down if they don’t get what they want. But, unlike the UAW (which has never had good management to work with), the S. Korean unions will also work with good managers, like Hyundai, to build the most amazing cars ever available in the US.

  • avatar

    Looking at the sales data, its doubtful that Suzuki and Mitsubishi will be around for much longer:

    YTD 08: 77,995
    YTD 09: 35,270
    Y/Y -55%

    YTD 08: 87,591
    YTD 09: 46,706
    Y/Y -47%

    Time for a Mitsuzuki deathwatch series?

  • avatar

    Gentlemen, if you pay us some fee, my wife can crunch that stuff and come with some awesome analysis/charts/tables.

    She did market analysis for an automotive company some years ago, so she knows a bit about it.

    Just a thought. Let me now if interested. Send an email if interested.


  • avatar

    I’m going to make one observation on the Chrysler numbers. And this is not based on the reports, but on observations @ local dealers. Since their bankruptcy & the Cars for Clunkers, I have not seen almost ANY small Chrysler or Dodge cars in dealership lots. Trucks, Challangers, Jeeps, yes. But Avengers, Calibers, sebrings, etc no. I checked some of my local dealers (detroit area) online and at best they might have one or two showing. Maybe that explains the drop, there just isn’t alot of cars available ? (Negative comments are sure to follow!)

  • avatar

    I would have to agree with you.
    I haven’t seen a 10 Caliber, maybe a few avengers and sebrings.
    A couple (precious few) 10 Compatriot twins
    What there is a glut of is 10 minivans and trucks./
    If you look at Autonews’ production data, they say they are making them, they surely aren’t being shipped to the east coast.
    What I have noticed though is that all my local dealer have drastically reduced inventory and they aren’t stocking back up either.

  • avatar

    Since automakers are horrible, horrible investments, but since we all presumably like cars and buy them (cheap, since they only go down from there), the really important information, especially coming up to the November-February months where dealers particularly need to deal (nobody is shopping or has money (Christmas and Chrismas presents) and the ’09s are about to become or are calender year outdated), is days supply/inventory. Sales data matters to investors, days supply matters to buyers.

    Anyone willing to pay for AutoNews (not me anymore) can get the production and sales numbers. Production – Sales = cars left in inventory. It would be good to see those numbers for some desireable cars.

    Especially now that Cash-4-Clunkers (i.e. bad-credit/no-money people going to dealers and bending over on new cars that they shouldn’t be buying, screwing up the fire-sale pricing that taxpayers should be getting for bailing out the asshole dealers and automakers (yes asshole dealer*, your floorplan loans were bailed out and/or insured, costing taxpayers billions, which is why I’m going to leave when you whine about losing money on the deal, because you aren’t losing enough until you call me back and lower the price some more)) is over.

    *New car dealer, not Steve Lang, a valuable TTAC contributor and not well enough politically represented to get government “stimulus” used car dealer.

  • avatar

    Looking at the WSJ “Hot off the Lots” chart, the first thing that screams out is the 40% jump in large SUV sales? That qualifies for a double WTF? Are Americans really that Pavlovian in terms of lower gas prices driving big-assed vehicle sales?

    Looking at the concurrent decline in small car and small SUV sales does suggest Americans are that Pavlovian. Maybe helped along by price drops and incentives for the vehicles themselves.

    Alas, there’s no Subaru data by state.

  • avatar

    GM’s total sales for October 2008: 170585

    New GM’s (Chev, GMC, Buick & Cad) total sales for October 2009: 162514

    I calculate this as a 4.7% drop from 2008.

    Pontiac, Saab, Saturn and Hummer are not part of GM anymore. GM walked away from these brands in a bankruptcy, and left them with the old GM, renamed Motor Liquidation Company. At some point, GM is going to have to acknowledge that it is a new company with 4 brands. These 4 brands did not sell enough to make up for the loss of the other 4 brands. Maybe at some point the 4 current brands that make up GM as it is now (and not as it used to be) will outsell the former 8 brands, but this did not happen in October.

  • avatar

    Average incentives aren’t a particular good measure of a manufacturers health.

    Brand A has a vehicle with a MSRP of $50,000 with a potential profit of $15,000. They sell the vehicle with a $5000 incentive. They sell 20,000 units.

    Brand B has a vehicle with a MSRP of $20,000 with a potential profit of $2000. They sell the vehicle with a $500 incentive. They sell 100,000 units.

    Does anyone here think that Brand B is better off because their $500 incentive is a lot lower than Brand A?

    In the end the only number that matters is if they are making a profit.

  • avatar

    And the Koreans aren’t like the Chinese, they are unionized people living in a democracy, and they will burn a fu****g plant down if they don’t get what they want. But, unlike the UAW (which has never had good management to work with), the S. Korean unions will also work with good managers, like Hyundai, to build the most amazing cars ever available in the US.

    Having spent a fair amount of time in Korea and working with them, that’s a great way to describe the management/worker relationship. However, it only goes so far. Yes, fights between management and labor can be brutal and would make what the UAW does these days seem semi-pro baseball by comparison.

    But there’s a heavy cultural element that plays into this. Once management and labor come to an agreement, they have this amazing ability to put that behind them and focus outwards. Much of this has to do with a Korean “us against the world” world view based on the fact that for much of the last 100 years, they’ve been brutally crushed and dominated by foreign imperialist powers. So they take pride in trying to “beat those bastards at their own game” and thus, they very easily come together to work for what they see as a common national good. And since they are a homogeneous people, that makes the whole “we gotta cooperate or we’ll die” mentality much easier to foster.

    When have we seen that here? I’d posit you don’t even get that type of attitude at the transplants. The workers there are cowed, glad to have a job. In Korea, it goes far beyond that.

    I once told a group of assembled Korean military officers that I’d felt like I was working in a country full of used-car salesmen (this was in 1987). They all nodded in agreement and took that as a very astute observation of how they operated. Thus, it’s no wonder a company like Hyundai is doing so well.

  • avatar

    Average incentives aren’t a particular good measure of a manufacturers health.

    This is wrong. The degree of incentives reflects the unwillingness of the market to support the retail prices of the cars. The fact that GM needs substantially higher incentive spend than Honda or Toyota goes directly to the bottom line, and illustrates the problem.

    If the market doesn’t want to support the pricing, then there is an issue with demand. And sure enough, demand is exactly what has been problematic for the domestics.

    If the only way to sell vehicles is to bribe the customers to buy them, then there is clearly a branding problem at work. The brands are supposed to prevent massive discounting, but in this case, the brands create negative value and force discounting.

  • avatar

    Toyota thoughts:
    – it appears Venza’s eating into Highlander sales.
    – based on Corolla/Matrix’s sales numbers in Canada (about 8k) and US (about 26k), there’s going to be a 150k/y shortage of Corolla production capacity after shutting down NUMMI. Toyota needs to come up with a solution shortly.
    – RAV4 sales are quite good and only about one third are North America made. I expect the new Woodstock/Ontario plant will go 2 shifts starting January.
    – even after Highlander’s introduction TMMI will be Toyota’s only underutilized plant. Current production cap is 350k/y and the combined Highlander, Sequoia, Sienna sales only amount to 200k/y.

  • avatar

    Average incentives aren’t a particular good measure of a manufacturers health.

    This is wrong. The degree of incentives reflects the unwillingness of the market to support the retail prices of the cars. The fact that GM needs substantially higher incentive spend than Honda or Toyota goes directly to the bottom line, and illustrates the problem.

    If you read the post you’re citing, Pch101, you’ll see that SkiD666 is right, at least in the example given. If one company has a higher MSRP with more profit built in, but always has huge sales, but another company has a lower MSRP with less profit at MSRP but doesn’t discount, then the size of the discounts alone isn’t dispositive. This happens in all sorts of products– Panasonic’s LCD front projectors always have a high MSRP but street price is always hundreds or thousands less than the supposed MSRP, whereas Epson has a lower MSRP but they tend to street for that MSRP. That doesn’t mean that Panasonic is losing tons of money; they (and their customers) expect that discount to happen.

    Sometimes customers even think that a $4000 item selling for $2000 must be better than a $2000 product selling for full price. It isn’t necessarily so, though. The proper measure, as the post said, is profit.

    However, while that’s completely plausible in theory, in the real world example of cars, I don’t think that happens. I don’t think that anyone believes that GM and Ford set their MSRPs so that they would make much higher profits than Honda if all cars were sold at MSRP, and that the incentives only bring GM and Ford down to the same level of profit as Honda.

  • avatar

    re: grog:

    Since South Korea is an underdog that has been rather heavily beaten in the past I root for it. And Samsung and Hyundai seem to be taking over the world.

    China poses a threat, but South Korea makes good and cheap stuff, and I think that China will only ever be able the later.

  • avatar

    # KixStart :
    November 4th, 2009 at 1:05 am

    Are Edmunds’ incentive roundups accurate? If so, GM’s relative “success” is no surprise.

    Edmunds on Incentives

    GM – $4277
    Toyota – $1338
    Honda – $508 (incredible)
    Ford – $2909

    Is it coincidence that Honda is the only big one that’s still making money?

  • avatar

    GM on the rebound. Chrysler needs to turn things around quickly. Ford holding steady. Toyota trending downward. Hyundai/Subaru darlings for now. I suspect Hyundai (due to poor quality) is a flash in the pan.

  • avatar

    johnthacker: “If you read the post you’re citing, Pch101, you’ll see that SkiD666 is right, at least in the example given.”

    Skid666 has the advantage of being able to arbitrarily assign numbers to his thought experiment.

  • avatar

    If one company has a higher MSRP with more profit built in, but always has huge sales, but another company has a lower MSRP with less profit at MSRP but doesn’t discount, then the size of the discounts alone isn’t dispositive.

    Not true, because spreads between MSRPs and invoices are fairly consistent.

    In any case, when the consumer is conditioned to buy based upon price, the brand is degraded and prices are more difficult to support.

    The entire point of a brand is to use the reputation of the brand to justify higher prices and generate sales volumes. A product brand that generates sales solely based upon discounting does precisely the opposite of this.

    The correlation between high incentive spend and profitability is clear. Ditto the correlation between high incentive spend and brand reputation.

    High incentives are symptomatic of underlying branding problems. A company should not need to have high incentives. When high incentives are provided consistently through all economic cycles, the problem is unmistakable.

  • avatar

    KixStart +1

    Anyone can concoct an illustration with bogus numbers to illustrate their point.


  • avatar

    It sure would be interesting to see how many US manufactured cars were imported into Japan and Korea over the past several years or so. To me anyway, those figures seem hard to find.
    I did hear that the Korean auto workers went on strike a while back when the (Korean) government gave permission to import some American beef products into the country. “We have to protect our own” they demanded.

  • avatar

    I think all car companies have to have the msrp be close or they won’t sell. People can go price cars now at each car companies website to compare against different brands. All i hear from some on here is how Fords prices were way out of line. Yet when i go price them against the competition like Toyota they are cheaper. A Fusion sport v6 was over a thousand cheaper then a comparably equipped camry. The new Taurus priced out cheaper then the Avalon and the Fusion and Taurus both had some options on them not available from Toyota.

  • avatar

    Bridge2farr-Some items to consider.
    Last October sales
    GM -45%
    Ford -30%
    CryCo -35%
    Toy -23%
    Honda -28%

    GMs numbers only appear up because last October was a disaster, far worse than anyone else, and they piled more cash on the hood.
    In the real world they had an awful month, this is no rebound.

    Toyotas market share is steady with last year, GM off over 2% YTD. Ford is up nearly a full point YTD. Who’s sinking? (Source: WSJ monthly statistics page).

    Hyundia’s quality poor? Hey, the 90s are over. These guys passed GM and Cryco long ago. They are even ahead of Ford. In the latest CR survey only two Hyundia/Kia models were below average in reliability (GM put about 56% below that line). They are knocking on Toyondas numbers.
    Toyota even admits this is the one company that worries them.

    Never thought I would say it but Hyundia is on the threshold of being a great company.

    Well take it easy, but don’t put any big bets on the General.

    Best regards,


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