By The Numbers: July Sizzles, Sales Fizzle

Frank Williams
by Frank Williams
by the numbers july sizzles sales fizzle

Just as American automakers were trying to wean themselves off of fleet sales, just as The Big 2.8 were looking to reduce incentives and bounce back from a slow June, July. In July, practically every U.S. economic indicator took a downturn, from housing starts to the stock market. While American auto sales didn't plummet, they took a major hit. Even Toyota was not immune from the fallout; the numbers rolling in proving that ToMoCo's not invulnerable to a bad market. Damage report Spock.

Passenger Cars

After climbing steadily since October of last year, Chevrolet Impala sales sank back down to their pre-sales spurt level, 20 percent below where they were last year. Ford Fusion sales dropped 31 percent from last year. Thanks to robust sales earlier this year, it's still four percent higher year-to-date than last year. Sales of Chrysler's 300 decreased 15 percent for the month, 14 percent for the year. The Toyota Camry dropped about one percent from July 2006, but it's still up over eight percent year-to-date. None of these models are heavily discounted at the moment; if sales continue to fall, incentives are sure to rise.

Pickup Trucks

Chevrolet Silverado sales rose by about 2K units from June. Comparing July '07 to July ‘06, sales of GM's erstwhile turnaround tiger took a beating, down almost 30 percent. Year-to-date, they shrank by almost seven percent. Perpetually buoyed by incentives, sales of the Dodge Ram pickup fell 10 percent from last July, but less than one percent for the year. Ford isn't offering big incentives on the F-Series ; sales are down 18 percent from last year and 23 percent year-to-date.

Taking a page from their competitors' playbooks, Toyota continued and even increased incentives on the Tundra . It worked. Tundra sales were up a whopping 125 percent from July of last year and 56 percent year-to-date. Based on the first seven months' sales, Toyota will have no problem reaching their first-year sales goal of 200K new Tundras. Still, it'll be interesting to see if sales drop as they start backing off on the rebates.

Truck-based SUVs

As more drivers make the switch from gas-guzzling trucks to slightly less thirsty CUVs and cute utes, the market for traditional SUVs continues to evaporate. The Chevrolet Tahoe showed a slight increase (500 units) from June, but sales are running 12 percent below last July. Year-to-date, the Tahoe's down 16 percent.

The Ford Explorer is lost in the wilderness. Sales are down 30 percent month-to-month and 23 percent year-to-date. Ye Olde Dodge Durango took the biggest hit, with July's sales less than half of June's. The Durango took a 26 percent hit both from last July and overall year to date. Toyota 4Runner's sales were actually up a bit from June, but down 29 percent from last July and 21 percent for the year.


CUV sales were down– with one surprising exception. After dropping steadily since March, the Chevrolet Equinox enjoyed a 50 percent increase from June. Unfortunately, it's still nowhere near last year's sales levels, dropping 42 percent on the month and 29 percent on the year.

The Ford Escape didn't. It experienced a sharp drop from June's sales. Still sales remain slightly ahead of last year, up two percent for the month and three percent for the year. The Chrysler Pacifica didn't [sea] fare nearly as well. Sales were down from June, from July '06 (35 percent) and year-to-date (25 percent).

Although the redesigned Toyota RAV-4 's sales year-to-date are up 13 percent, they were down almost two percent from last July.

New Models

The brand new models weren't immune to the pressure drop. The Jeep Compass shed about 800 units from June, the GMC Acadia was down 1400 units, and the Ford Edge fell 3000 units. GM has yet to offer incentives on their Lambda CUVs. Ford and Chrysler have small rebates on the compass and Edge. Again, if sales don't pick up, deal sweeteners are a-comin'.

Total Sales

Total vehicle sales in the U.S. market were down in July. Not only were they reduced from June, they were also down from July of last year. Toyota showed a seven percent drop from last July, Chrysler Group dropped eight percent, Ford was down 19 percent and GM was off 22 percent. It's not quite as bad year-to-date. Ford is off 12 percent for the first seven months of the year, GM is down nine percent and Chrysler is only down two percent. Toyota is six percent ahead of last year.

The Future

Over the past few weeks, Chrysler has announced an extended warranty, GM ramped-up the rebates and Ford is offering low interest rates. It'll be interesting to see if any of this will help sales recover over the next few months, or if the downward spiral will continue.

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2 of 16 comments
  • AuricTech AuricTech on Aug 08, 2007

    Meanwhile, Suzuki's US sales were down only one percent from July 2006. YTD sales for Suzuki are up one percent over last year.

  • MgoBLUE MgoBLUE on Aug 10, 2007

    Frank, Thanks for the insight. In regards to the "New Models" section, as an example, it would be helpful to add some context in that paragraph. "The Acadia was down 1400 units for the month." I found myself wondering, '1400 units off of how many? 3k/month? 6k? 12k? Just a suggestion. Thanks again.

  • Ollicat I have a Spyder. The belt will last for many years or 60,000-80,000 miles. Not really a worry.
  • Redapple2 Cadillac and racing. Boy those 2 go together dont they? What a joke. Up there with opening a coffee shop in NYC. EvilGM be clowning. Again.
  • Jbltg Rear bench seat does not match the front buckets. What's up?
  • Theflyersfan The two Louisville truck plants are still operating, but not sure for how much longer. I have a couple of friends who work at a manufacturing company in town that makes cooling systems for the trucks built here. And they are on pins and needles wondering if or when they get the call to not go back to work because there are no trucks being made. That's what drives me up the wall with these strikes. The auto workers still get a minimum amount of pay even while striking, but the massive support staff that builds components, staffs temp workers, runs the logistics, etc, ends up with nothing except the bare hope that the state's crippled unemployment system can help them keep afloat. In a city where shipping (UPS central hub and they almost went on strike on August 1) and heavy manufacturing (GE Appliance Park and the Ford plants) keeps tens of thousands of people employed, plus the support companies, any prolonged shutdown is a total disaster for the city as well. UAW members - you're not getting a 38% raise right away. That just doesn't happen. Start a little lower and end this. And then you can fight the good fight against the corner office staff who make millions for being in meetings all day.
  • Dusterdude The "fire them all" is looking a little less unreasonable the longer the union sticks to the totally ridiculous demands ( or maybe the members should fire theit leadership ! )