By on June 1, 2012

 

GM up 11 percent. Ford up 13 percent. Chrysler up 30 percent. Nissan up 21 percent. Volkswagen up 28 percent. Toyota up a whopping 87 percent. A few months ago, these numbers would have set champagne corks and fireworks flying. Today, these numbers were greeted by a communal meh and by stocks of automakers going south.

People who only read headlines may think the sky is falling. “May auto sales disappoint; demand slows,” headlines Reuters.

The numbers are great, but not good enough for high expectations, caused by optimistic forecasts and exuberant analyst notes. If you don’t meet sky-high expectations, you get slaughtered.

Ironically, falling gas prices are fingered to dissuade people from buying cars. Swiss bank UBS says that higher fuel prices in the first quarter prompted consumers to swap older, less fuel-efficient models to lock in fuel savings.

Also, there is fear that the pent-up demand is not what it was said to be. Students of car crises know that steep falls are usually followed by a sudden pop until the market finds its new groove. The fear is that sales in the past months were the pop, and that we are heading into the groove. Whatever the groove may be.

Automaker May 2012 May 2011 Pct. chng. 5 month
2012
5 month
2011
Pct. chng.
BMW Group 28,353 26,482 7% 131,003 116,806 12%
    BMW division 22,168 20,651 7% 104,779 92,068 17%
    Mini 6,153 5,801 6% 26,064 24,588 6%
    Rolls-Royce 32 30 7% 160 150 7%
BMW Group 28,353 26,482 7% 131,003 116,806 12%
Chrysler Group 150,041 115,363 30% 689,257 519,538 33%
    Chrysler Division 29,674 16,364 81% 140,891 79,539 77%
    Dodge 45,793 40,200 14% 217,263 186,497 17%
    Dodge/Ram 72,166 61,667 17% 334,636 284,048 18%
    Fiat 4,003 1,759 128% 16,702 3,141 432%
    Jeep 44,198 35,573 24% 197,028 152,810 29%
    Ram 26,373 21,467 23% 117,373 97,551 20%
Chrysler Group 150,041 115,363 30% 689,257 519,538 33%
Daimler AG 25,263 20,800 22% 117,258 97,692 20%
    Maybach 4 3 33% 20 15 33%
    Mercedes-Benz 24,556 20,305 21% 113,507 95,451 19%
    Smart USA 703 492 43% 3,731 2,226 68%
Daimler AG 25,263 20,800 22% 117,258 97,692 20%
Ford Motor Co. 215,699 191,529 13% 933,179 876,321 7%
    Ford division 208,425 184,130 13% 898,761 841,431 7%
    Lincoln 7,274 7,399 –2% 34,418 34,642 –1%
    Mercury –% 248 –100%
Ford Motor Co. 215,699 191,529 13% 933,179 876,321 7%
General Motors 245,256 221,192 11% 1,066,963 1,046,275 2%
    Buick 18,565 15,579 19% 71,347 78,731 –9%
    Cadillac 9,871 11,623 –15% 50,688 65,262 –22%
    Chevrolet 177,943 161,401 10% 781,564 747,700 5%
    GMC 38,877 32,589 19% 163,364 154,582 6%
General Motors 245,256 221,192 11% 1,066,963 1,046,275 2%
Honda (American) 133,997 90,773 48% 576,174 523,550 10%
    Acura 14,586 9,000 62% 57,566 51,972 11%
    Honda Division 119,411 81,773 46% 518,608 471,578 10%
Honda (American) 133,997 90,773 48% 576,174 523,550 10%
Hyundai Group 118,790 107,426 11% 530,237 463,647 14%
    Hyundai division 67,019 59,214 13% 292,856 263,588 11%
    Kia 51,771 48,212 7% 237,381 200,059 19%
Hyundai Group 118,790 107,426 11% 530,237 463,647 14%
Jaguar Land Rover 4,513 4,162 8% 22,865 19,161 19%
    Jaguar 1,075 1,271 –15% 5,476 5,021 9%
    Land Rover 3,438 2,891 19% 17,389 14,140 23%
Jaguar Land Rover 4,513 4,162 8% 22,865 19,161 19%
Maserati 226 206 10% 1,060 908 17%
Maserati 226 206 10% 1,060 908 17%
Mazda 20,357 17,875 14% 123,886 103,072 20%
Mazda 20,357 17,875 14% 123,886 103,072 20%
Mitsubishi 5,575 7,568 -26% 27,462 35,816 –23%
Mitsubishi 5,575 7,568 -26% 27,462 35,816 –23%
Nissan 91,794 76,148 21% 485,484 433,032 12%
    Infiniti 10,592 6,389 66% 43,941 40,986 7%
    Nissan Division 81,202 69,759 16% 441,543 392,046 13%
Nissan 91,794 76,148 21% 485,484 433,032 12%
Porsche 2,852 2,817 1% 13,448 12,996 4%
Porsche 2,852 2,817 1% 13,448 12,996 4%
Saab Cars North America 383 –100% 3,148 –100%
Saab 383 –100% 3,148 –100%
Subaru 29,724 20,036 48% 136,602 112,255 22%
Subaru 29,724 20,036 48% 136,602 112,255 22%
Suzuki 2,360 2,290 3% 10,696 11,125 –4%
Suzuki 2,360 2,290 3% 10,696 11,125 –4%
Toyota 202,973 108,387 87% 868,300 701,851 24%
    Lexus 21,463 12,305 74% 88,110 77,237 14%
    Scion 6,047 4,696 29% 26,721 23,165 15%
    Toyota division 175,463 91,386 92% 753,469 601,449 25%
    Toyota/Scion 181,510 96,082 89% 780,190 624,614 25%
Toyota 202,973 108,387 87% 868,300 701,851 24%
Volkswagen 50,361 40,783 24% 223,903 172,204 30%
    Audi 11,503 10,457 10% 52,494 45,858 15%
    Bentley 201 226 –11% 854 665 28%
    VW division 38,657 30,100 28% 170,555 125,681 36%
Volkswagen 50,361 40,783 24% 223,903 172,204 30%
Volvo Cars NA 6,246 7,359 –15% 27,511 29,203 –6%
Volvo Cars NA 6,246 7,359 –15% 27,511 29,203 –6%
Other (estimate) 262 256 2% 1,310 1,277 3%
TOTAL 1,334,642 1,061,835 26% 5,986,598 5,279,877 13%

Table courtesy Automotive News [sub]


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22 Comments on “May Sales: Great, But Not Great Enough For Spoiled Analysts...”


  • avatar
    mjz

    Chrysler sold almost 24,000 midsize Chrysler 200′s and Dodge Avengers in May. That’s really pretty amazing considering what an also-ran they were in the midsize segment. Wait until the Dart hits the dealerships in the next few weeks, that should give them another boost.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    14,410 Captiva Sports have found homes (on fleet/government/rental lots) in 2012. Not too shabby!

    With 94,319 sold, the Lambda is still a cash COW for GM. I wonder if Caddy ever gets the XTX…

    Verano is now handily out-selling the Regal, 3,609-2,550. Interesting.

    The Volt is on pace for 16,936 sales in its second full year on the market, but it will need a couple of big months to push it over the 18,000 Prii sold in its first year.

    GM’s small trucks are up big: Colorado 28%, Canyon 61%. Don’t know what that’s all about…

    With the new Eco now on sale (it does look better in person, aside from the undersized mirrors), Malibu sales are back on the rise, just 421 short of 30,000 for May.

    Sonic sales are double what Aveo sales were last year. Glad GM got the memo: Better Cars Sell Better.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      …14,410 Captiva Sports have found homes (on fleet/government/rental lots) in 2012…

      Had one as a rental in April and put 617 miles on it in a week, mostly highway driving some urban running around. We overall hated it. The interior is very dated for starters and I think sets a bad impression for GM in general. The instrument panel is so cheap, GM didn’t even bother to get the diffusion pattern right so you have light and dark spots in the back lighting. It had the steering radius of a cruise liner, couldn’t find a comfortable seating position, rear visibility was horrific, and on the inside had about as much charm as a Coleman cooler. On the other hand it had an excellent ride, despite a fair amount of lean handled much better on turns and ramps than I ever expected, was whisper quiet inside and had excellent forward visibility.

      …With 94,319 sold, the Lambda is still a cash COW for GM. I wonder if Caddy ever gets the XTX…

      LOL, agreed.

      …Verano is now handily out-selling the Regal, 3,609-2,550. Interesting…

      I’m not surprised. GM got the Verano so right – and despite the 14% decline in Cruze sales I’m left wondering how many of those were cannibalized by the Verano (admittedly the bleating dumb sheep are returning to the Toyota showrooms to over pay for an underpowered 1.8L 4-banger with only so-so fuel economy, a 4-speed automatic, drum brakes, and a cheap interior for the single reason that it is called Corolla). The Verano is extremely nice and starting at $23K is a darn good buy. Can’t wait for the turbo version with the manual to come out – could very well be my next commuter car. The Regal is over priced, under powered, and squeezed by both the LaCrosse and Verano now – it basically doesn’t have a home.

      …The Volt is on pace for 16,936 sales in its second full year on the market, but it will need a couple of big months to push it over the 18,000 Prii sold in its first year…

      I’m going to go out on a limb and say Volt sales will continue to pick up through the year. They sure aren’t going to sell 45K of them this year, but I could see them selling 25K. Curious to see if it is continuing to outsell the Prius Plug-In 2:1 or not. The “range extender” vehicles are winning over the pure plug-ins, but admittedly this remains a cripple fight.

      …GM’s small trucks are up big: Colorado 28%, Canyon 61%. Don’t know what that’s all about…

      Fleet? Incentives? Comparing against a weak May of 2011? It sure isn’t because of stellar quality, great looks and modern design! Are forlorn Ranger buyers going to GMC and Chevrolet showrooms for a small truck? (I have no idea on what Ranger inventory is like right now)

      …With the new Eco now on sale (it does look better in person, aside from the undersized mirrors), Malibu sales are back on the rise, just 421 short of 30,000 for May…

      Impressive, but I’m going to guess that the folks at Avis and Hertz are happy to have some 2013 iron to rent out. Not saying it’s all fleet sales – but the Malibu remains rather fleet dependent compared to its D-segment competition.

      …Sonic sales are double what Aveo sales were last year. Glad GM got the memo: Better Cars Sell Better…

      Exactly – the Sonic is a damn good car for the money and GM engineers did a great job of creating a spacious interior with such a small foot print. The 1.4L turbo version can do a drag racing rolling start sprint to 60 in 7.8 seconds, not shabby for a B-segment econobox. I’ve sat in one and drove a 1.8L version around (sedan) for giggles and was really shocked at how darn good the Sonic is. Ignore at your peril.

  • avatar
    mike978

    Completely agree with Bertel’s comments around the price to be paid for not meeting (unrealistic) expectations.
    But if this is a pop (with the industry at least 10% up)then I hate to see what they consider an actual decline in volume.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    I wouldn’t read much in the automotive stocks declining en masse today. The jobs report sucked (no other way to put it) and unemployment going up was not expected.

    Right now the equity markets are more oversold than they were in December of 2008. Over at Fool dot com WendyBG (blogger there) has an awesome financial dashboard that she keeps updated and is viewable on Google Docs and right now it is screaming red (it was screaming red last May also and bounced back). There is huge jitters in the market right now.

    On the other hand home mortgages are down to 3.75% and USAA is advertising new and used car loans at 1.79%.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      I’d love to get some of that Hopium you’ve been apparently smoking this morning.

      Got any left?

      The economy sucks, dude, and subprime credit dope pushing to move metal (pulling demand forward and resulting in swollen future defaults) isn’t sustainable.

      And if you truly think equity markets are “ore oversold than they were in December of 2008″ you are really out there, IMO, and should be buying Faceberg stock hand over fist.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Never mind the belittling tone of your somber e-mail – if TTAC allowed links I could connect you to a mountain of data showing the equity markets are oversold.

        But you could do a Bing or Google search for, “cnbc rally sign oversold stock market,” and you will find a link to a May 18, 2012 story that says…

        “…the S&P 500 is now three standard deviations from its 50-day moving average. A standard deviation is a measure of how far results vary from the expected average. A reading of three is not exactly the territory of Black Swans, which author Nassim N. Taleb explored in his book of the same name, but it still pushes the level of the expected.

        Bespoke says five of the S&P 500′s 10 sectors are three standard deviations from their 50-day average.

        “This is as oversold as they have been at the lowest points that the market has seen going back to even the financial crisis,” Bespoke’s Paul Hickey said. “We simply haven’t gotten more oversold than this versus the 50-day…”

        If you have further complaints about optimism, you can contact Jeff Cox of CNBC and share with him. (there are other stories but due to the lack of ability to post links – I don’t care to write more)

        As far as the snark about Facebook, they have a flawed business model that doesn’t address the transition to tablets and mobile devices well and how to monetize those form factors. I’m not surprised by the results of the IPO, although MSFT is looking rather smart in turning their $250 million investment into over $1 billion. What “is” the intrinsic value of Facebook? It’s database of user information that they are more obligated to protect than harvest for all it is worth???

        There is a lot of mixed data out there (if things are soooooooooooo bad why is everyone buying cars for example). The Case-Schiller index is at 95.5 (100 is healthy) showing the housing market is stabilizing. National home prices have bottomed out for two quarters (Case-Schiller again) and more regions are showing gains. The gain in home sales stabilizing the housing prices is due to low interest rates, and sure isn’t because of mortgages being given to anyone with a pulse. FHA/VA basement is FICO 660, which isn’t a “bad” score. The bar for good credit remains at 740 – where during the boom years if you had a 680, you could get almost anything you wanted (better rates awaited but it was incremental – I was writing mortgage paper).

        Europe is a big issue but me personally, I’m thinking Greek vacation on the cheap next year. The kidlets need to see the ruins – and I don’t mean the modern non-Euro Greek society.

        As far as the auto industry writing paper down to FICO 520 and lower – the defaults on auto loans didn’t have a material impact on the banking and finance industry. I don’t agree with it, but if you think a bunch of defaults on car loans is somehow going to collapse the US economy – well I could get snarky but I’m trying to be respectful.

        If there is any scary bubble hanging over the US economy it is inflated commodity markets and the one trillion in student loan debt that a lot of students can’t repay.

        But the economy isn’t in the toilet and it certainly is not “bad,” in the sense that it has historically, in my lifetime, been much worse (and I don’t mean 2008)

      • 0 avatar
        Hildy Johnson

        “The kidlets need to see the ruins – and I don’t mean the modern non-Euro Greek society.”

        While the Greek ruins are arguably The True And Original Ruins, they are actually just that – really pretty much rubble. The ruins you find along Turkey’s Aegean coast are better preserved; Ephesos is magnificent, more impressive than anything I saw in Greece. And in Italy, you can have lots of ruins AND lots of medieval and renaissance art and architecture. I would recommend both of those destinations over Greece.

        Anyway, whichever country you choose, enjoy your vacations!

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        If you base your analysis of the health of the economy based upon what the dog & pony show of sell-side douchebags of the financial industry have to utter on cnB[S]c, it’s no wonder you’re drinking the “all is well” kool-aid.

        After all, CNBC has such a great track record in forecasting accuracy:

        http://www.thestreet.com/funds/smarter/891820.html

        Skip to 2:15 in here to see the epic fail that is CNBC:

        http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-march-4-2009/cnbc-financial-advice

        The economy is worse now than at any time since the 30s. This isn’t a business cycle downturn, but a structural one of realignment.

        The government, through the treasury and via the Federal Reserve, has pumped trillions into the economy in the last 3 years, to create a sugar high. Sugar high crashes are epic.

  • avatar
    Charliej

    Analysts are like lawyers, they don’t produce anything but hot air. I am not in the market now, but when I was, I researched and made my own decisions and ignored the analysts. It seemed to work all right for me.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      I’ve been an auto industry analyst and advisor to my brothers’ going concern for more than 30 years and my analysis of current sales is that now is an excellent time to buy.

      I know about the VIX and the high unemployment rate, and the forthcoming foreclosures and resultant job losses, but for MOST Americans who are still employed this is a great time to buy a new car or truck.

      Most people currently employed and not in fear of losing their home know that the upcoming elections and the re-election of Obama are going to mean even more uncertainty for America and its economy for the next four years.

      After the election they may not be able to buy that new car, so they are willing to spring for it now. Once taxes increase, Obama-care kicks in, and energy costs sky-rocket, most Americans will do well just to make ends meet from pay day to pay day, even if they are employed and not in fear of losing their home.

      Most Americans do what you do, they check things out for themselves, then act on the facts that they have at that time. For many, the time is now.

      • 0 avatar
        sunridge place

        @HighDesert’s 30 years as an ‘auto industry analyst’ has given us recent insight such as:

        1. He saw in ad in a local paper from a Chevy dealer with a loss leader example like $10,000 off MSRP on stock #12345 and assumed that Chevy is offering $10,000 rebates on all Silverados.

        2. He has repeatedly stated that GM’s Mexico factories are ‘humming’ when the facts are clearly showing Mexico is a shrinking source of North American production for GM

        GM North American Production

        2010 CY
        US=1,719,541
        Canada=529,568
        Mexico=559,437 (20% of NA production)

        2011 CY
        US=1,882,854
        Canada=661,884
        Mexico=543,446 (18% of NA production)

        2012 CYTD thru May
        US=906,392
        Canada=299,074
        Mexico=205,643 (15% of NA production)

        Source: media.gm.com

        Worth noting to0 that a decent amount of Mexico production from GM is for the Aveo (Sonic) that is sold in South America and Mexico along with the Captiva which is also sold in those non- US markets and is fleet only in the US.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        sunridge, I never asked to be drafted into researching and dissecting the local, state and regional markets my brothers sold their brands in. I don’t care about national trends.

        When they got into the business in the early eighties, they asked for my help — help from someone they trusted, not someone they had to pay to get an opinion from. And I came cheap. They didn’t have to pay me.

        There was no internet in the eighties, it was all print, and they paid for my subscriptions to KBB, CR, Autoweek, WSJ, and a ton more. They didn’t have the time to do the research, and I had all the time in the world.

        By and large they did very well, and sold all the dealerships for a lot more than they had invested in them, last year. The money they split was enough for them never to have to work again.

        They sold Buick and GMC, but their biggest money makers were Ford, Toyota, and Hyundai. I used to own a lot of stock in GM, and thank my lucky stars I got out before I lost it all.

        Through it all, I called it as I saw it, and that included GM. You don’t have to agree with my comments. I get the impression that you’re one of those guys laboring under the misconception that GM is doing great, making money, and no longer government-owned, while enjoying special tax privileges.

        I’m cool with that. You see it your way, I see it mine. Don’t mistake my comments about what stuff sells for in my area as my opinions for inventory purchases. Loss leaders my ass! With many to choose from, that’s not loss leaders. Go to the El Paso Times and read for yourself. I didn’t place those ads.

        Maybe you can enlighten us with some of your insightful comments about the future of GM. One thing for sure, there are more big changes coming, and you know it too.

    • 0 avatar
      sunridge place

      @highdesertcat

      I love your comments as a local ‘analyst’ for your brothers…here they are:

      ‘When they got into the business in the early eighties, they asked for my help — help from someone they trusted’

      ‘They sold Buick and GMC, but their biggest money makers were Ford, Toyota, and Hyundai.’

      ‘I used to own a lot of stock in GM, and thank my lucky stars I got out before I lost it all.’

      Huh??? Why the hell did you own a lot of GM stock given these statements? When did you buy and sell that GM stock? Given your experience…how did you do with stock on Ford, Toyota, and Hyundai?

      I’m not knocking the efforts of your family members at owning/running any dealership. I actually believe that, while the brand a dealership sells is a factor in success of a dealership, in the long run the way they run their day to day sales and service (beyond the OEM) matters most.

      I don’t brag like you about my financial position in life, but I’ve never met too many poor Dealership owners. Those dealership owners that do fail often have themselves to blame.

      So, congrats on their investment back in the 1980′s and their ability to run a business for 30ish years and gain a return on that investment that has provided a good life. That is the American Dream.

      Now, your words:

      ‘I get the impression that you’re one of those guys laboring under the misconception that GM is doing great, making money, and no longer government-owned, while enjoying special tax privileges.’

      I don’t labor to think much..but:

      GM Making money? Yes.
      GM No longer government owned? yep, the treasury owns a lot of stock still.
      GM Enjoying special tax privileges? Sure! I thought that is the American Way for the rich people and companies…finding loopholes in the tax code! I know I try to do everything I can…do you and your family seek any legal relief from taxes?

      I live in Texas…I have a good job with a company that wants to create a ‘smarter planet’ …my girlfriend is from El Paso…I make it out there a couple times a year. You and I could probably have a beer or two and have good conversation. If we do, I’ll explain a loss leader ad in a paper versus reality in OEM incentive payments.

  • avatar
    jpcavanaugh

    I find it interesting how Chrysler keeps beating the industry by such healthy margins. This would be expected in maybe 2010 and 2011, but here we are another year removed from its meltdown and they keep building. Now the Dart is about to hit showrooms.

    I am a bit disappointed by Ford. For all of its advantages over the last couple of years, does anyone else think that the lineup is a little ho-hum? But the new Escape should do well.

    GM? Buick and Cadillac are down significantly over the 5 month time period. Cadillac’s May is not all that much better than Lincoln’s. When you are getting 40% of your sales from the aging Lambda crossover, shouldn’t some red lights be blinking?

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      At least Cadillac have cut fleet sales to something like <5% so that accounts for at least most of their decline. If declines continue YoY then they have issues – although that is unlikely with the XTS and ATS out soon.
      I noticed GM are now much more explicit on their website splitting out total sales and retail sales so % to fleet can easily be calculated.

      I await Nissan Leaf decline stories after it is outsold 3:1 by Volt continuing a poor 2012. Maybe the pent up demand for the Leaf went in 2011.

  • avatar
    Speed3

    Hey, just a few questions. Why isn’t Maserati counted as part of the “Chrysler Group”? Shouldn’t it now be called the “Fiat Group” and include Chrysler, Dodge, Ram, Jeep, Fiat, Maserati, and Ferrari, (and soon Alfa Romeo)? Maybe its just technicalities.

    I’m also assuming that niche automakers fall into the other category: Farrari, Lamborghini, Bugatti, Lotus, etc or are swallowed up in the Volkswagen group (for Lambo and Bugatti obviously).

  • avatar
    JK43123

    Mitsubishi should just give up.

    John

    • 0 avatar
      28-cars-later

      In the US? Absolutely.

    • 0 avatar
      NeonNoodle

      Mitsubishi’s numbers were one of my take away’s after seeing the chart. It doesn’t look good for them.

      My other observations:

      Is the Fiat 500 (finally) catching on? Their number looks really strong over last year. Not necessarily in sheer numbers of cars sold, but at least percentage wise.

      I am shocked that Lincoln has remained essentially flat over last year. My sense was that their sales were going to have really dwindled further.

      Hyundai continues to show strength.

      Volkswagen’s goal/dream of selling WAY more cars in the US seems to be following the right trajectory.


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