By on February 6, 2008

08accordex-l-v6_10.jpgEven before 2008 arrived, industry experts were predicting a bad, bad thing. So far, they haven't been disappointed. While January tends to be a low sales month, as everyone tries to recover from holiday overindulgence, this January was worse than expected. There were a few inexplicable bright spots (*cough* channel stuffing *cough* dealer fleet sales *cough*). Sales of the Dodge Caliber (up 25.5 percent over last January), Ford Focus (up 44.4 percent), Buick LaCrosse (up 69.3 percent) and Chevy Cobalt (up 32.9 percent) all shot up. But these four-wheeled anomalies weren't enough to salvage the month. Let's break it down… 

You'll notice we've made a few changes in the models we're tracking. Last year, we didn't include Honda because they didn't offer models in all our categories. This year we said "what the Hell" and added the Accord and Pilot to the passenger car and CUV categories. With a new crop of CUVs available, we dropped the hoary Chevrolet Equinox and DNR Chrysler Pacifica and added the ascendant GMC Acadia. We'd like to track GM's hybrid sales but, for some reason, they don't break them out of the totals. So the Toyota Prius will be our hybrid bellwether.

Pickup Trucks

As gas prices keep going up, pickup sales keep going down. The Chevrolet Silverado was down 5.9 percent from last January. The lame duck Ford F-Series continued its downward trend, ending the month 8.4 percent lower than the same month in 07. The lame lamb Dodge Ram plummeted 18.4%. The Toyota Tundra showed a 91 percent increase, but that's because the previous model was winding down in January last year. 

Passenger Cars

Instead of the Chevrolet Impala, this year we'll be tracking the new Malibu. Initial sales numbers are strong; sales are 57.9 percent above last January. Chrysler's 300 continues on slippin', slippin'; shedding 9.7 percent from last year's total. Ford Fusion sales were uncharacteristically low, dropping 12.8 percent. Camry held steady, showing a 0.4 percent increase. The Honda Accord's redesign hasn't helped it much so far; sales are down 6.8 percent from the same month last year. 

Truck-based SUVs

The mass exodus from massive SUVs continues. Chevrolet Tahoe sales dropped 12.1% from last January. The Ford Explorer ended the month 18.7 percent lower. The Dodge Durango took it on the chin, tumbling a jaw-dropping 32.8 percent. Instead of tracking 4Runner this year, we'll see if Toyota's redesign has any effect on Sequoia's numbers. For now it seems to be working. The Sequoia finished the month 15.5 percent ahead of last January.

CUVs

The current CUV poster child, the GMC Acadia, is up 335 percent from last January. That's not quite as startling as it seems. The model was introduced in January '07; production had just begun. The Ford Edge has edged the Ford Escape out of our charts. The Edge is up 94.9 percent for the same reason as Acadia. Toyota recently redesigned the Highlander, so we'll follow it instead of RAV-4. As the newish Highlander was up 19.4 percent from last January, the redesign was a good thing. Will it have legs? Honda's Pilot may not. It makes a less-than-spectacular debut on our charts, finishing the month 10.7 percent below last year's sales totals.

Prius

Is the hybrid boom going to go bust? If you assume that the Prius IS the hybrid boom– a fair assumption considering that the gas-electric sedan has no real sales competition– we're still booming. The Prius gained a whopping 37.1 percent over last January's totals. Whether sales will continue to grow remains to be seen, but this is one of the few models that's helped by rising gas prices. 

Total Sales

Anyone who looked at the business page or any automotive publication knows GM finished in the black in what was an otherwise dismal month. GM's sales were up 2.6 percent over last January's, but it must be remembered that last January was horrific for The General. Ford was down 3.9 percent and Toyota and Honda were both down 2.3 percent. Chrysler really took another head shot, starting the year 12.1 percent below last year.  

The Future

GM and Ford analysts have pretty much written off financial quarters one through three. And for good reasons: a moribund housing market killing consumer confidence, the possibility of widespread car loan defaults, rising subprime interest rates tightening consumer credit, bankrupt suppliers, rising production costs, rising gas prices and changing markets. Now more than ever, survival of the fittest are the industry watchwords. And watch we will. 

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51 Comments on “By The Numbers January ’08: A Not-So-Happy New Year...”


  • avatar
    jerry weber

    The big qestion is how low can you go? To be a full line manufacturer of anything especially cars and trucks you need size. The costs of Plants, dies, design talent, management etc. all get divided into each product you build. When you are building the same number of models at say half of the previous amount you used to build or less than your competitors present numbers your unit costs are going to skyrocket. This is the dirty little secret that the American makers are not telling anyone. However, it is taught in first year business classes in college and most people can sense it. You can’t downsize yourself to profitability in most businesses and the car business is worse because of the continual developement costs.

  • avatar
    210delray

    “GM’s sales were up 2.6 percent over last January’s, but it must be remembered that last January was horrific for The General.” [emphasis added]

    Thanks for that little tidbit — something to fire back at the fanboys in Edmunds who are gloating about GM being the only company to gain sales.

    I’ve always said one month does not make a trend, but many of the vehicles you’re following have been in free fall for quite some time (Explorer, Durango); the Prius on the other hand has been on the rising side of the sales curve.

  • avatar
    jaje

    I wish they’d break out fleet sales as that is the bellweather for success (ya know when you sell cars at a profit via retail!) This would include the revised fleet numbers b/c even they are fudged b/c dealers are now selling their own stock to fleets to get the metal off the lots. So the Big 2.8 had 30% increases in their also ran compacts – looking at the past it seems they’ve dumped them into rental car fleets (even the Focii to Ohio where the well to eat recipients don’t even want them).

  • avatar
    geeber

    In all fairness to the Honda Pilot, the current model is in its final year. Honda unveiled the next-generation Pilot at the Detroit show.

  • avatar
    SkiD666

    That had a very luke warm reception (Honda Pilot).

  • avatar
    Lichtronamo

    You think Edmunds is bad, try GMI – those fanboys hail January sales numbers as the second coming of GM. Someone even suggested that the increase in LaCrosse sales was due to it being a really nice car and not a fleet dump. As if.

  • avatar
    mikey

    Buick W up 69%? That explains the O.T.in Oshawa.
    Lichtronamo do really believe that G.M pays O.T.to sell to fleets?
    Sorry about the good news out of G.M.I know it must be hard for the import lovers to come to grips with.

  • avatar
    CarShark

    Lichtronamo:

    You can’t say something like that at GMI, or else the “moderators” (and I use the term quite wrongly) will deem you a troll. You make too much sense over time, and you’ll get banned.

    Lichtronamo do really believe that G.M pays O.T.to sell to fleets?

    Of course.

  • avatar
    Redbarchetta

    GM’s sales were up 2.6 percent over last January’s

    Sounds great, did they make a profit?
    An increase in sales is somewhat irrelivent if they are still losing truckloads of money. An increase sounds nice to all the fanboys and maybe even wallstreet but it’s not going to save them if it doesn’t come along with profit or at least breaking even without selling off the family jewels to do it.

    Lichtronamo do really believe that G.M pays O.T.to sell to fleets?
    I would say yes if you look at what they have done in the past.

  • avatar
    umterp85

    Very surprised about the new Accord—-thought it would give a big sales boost.

    Frank—any word about their inventory levels—are they ramping up production slowly thus self limiting the overall number of Accords for sale vs. last year ? Another answer could be higher overall incentive levels for other mid-size cars and no cash on the hood of the new Accord.

  • avatar

    umterp85:
    any word about their inventory levels

    Inventory levels and sales per dealer usually aren’t released until around mid month.

  • avatar
    50merc

    The big jump for LaCrosse is curious. Could it be that some of those sales came at Impala’s expense, by means of extra factory-to-dealer incentives on Buick? According to True Delta, a basic LaCrosse runs a couple thousand more than Impala. I thought they were essentially identical cars (except for engine), made on the same assembly line with just cosmetic variations. Buick talks a lot about “Quiet Tuning” but laminated glass is the only difference apparent in TD’s specs.

    Mikey, does Oshawa have different lines for LaCrosse and Impala? Buick always does better in reliability surveys, so there seems to be some difference in parts quality and/or how they’re screwed together.

  • avatar
    Bunter1

    As usual Frank, good work.
    This seems to be the only place where any sane discussion/analysis of sales trends takes place.

    Most of the “analysts”, so called, seem to look only at the raw numbers for the current month and mouth the most obvious banalities.

    A quick calc from the charts shows GM’s January about 13% below ’06. Guess one YTD number tells us very little.

    Also saw in the Edmunds incentives that GM was the only major with a big year-over jump in incentives vs. ’07.

    We’ll see about the real trend as the year progresses.

    Cheerio.

    Bunter

  • avatar
    Bunter1

    50merc-I would guess Buick owners are ultra-conservative on maintainence vs. Chevy owners and probably rarely miss a schedualed check up.
    Their demographic also suggests they probably are not trashed buy hyper-hormonal teens borrowing moms Impala (or Camry, Fusion fill in any mainstream sedan).

    Just a thought.

    Bunter

  • avatar
    Paul Milenkovic

    Bunter:

    I also wondered if there is a “nut behind the wheel” demographic effect on auto reliability.

    There are those Insurance Institute for Highway Safety states on driver fatality rate giving “real world” data on the relative safety of different cars. Predictably big cars are safer than little cars, but trucks vary and are not necessarily safer than large cars and so on.

    You see such things that a Toyota Camry (had been head of the class apart from luxury stuff like Mercedes) is way safer than a Taurus (about average), but the Taurus had been scoring better, sooner in their offset-frontal crash test than the Camry. Then there were badge twins like Prizm/Corolla where the Corolla way outscored the Prizm.

    It got me to thinking that there are strong demographic effects — do more educated people buy Toyota while the lower classes frequent the Chevy dealer when buying essentially the same car? Are more educated people more careful drivers owing to whatever factors?

    So if Buick comes out strong in reliability, perhaps it is a case of older people who keep up with the maintenance and don’t thrash the car. Sure, some of the Toyotas are nigh indestructible and last long under hard use, and there are some cars that are lemons no matter how hard you coddle them, but there might be something to it that reliability may have a “nut-behind-the-wheel” effect.

    At the risk of explaining the obvious, when Ralph Nader was initially pushing crash safety regs on to Detroit, the industry reaction was that crash safety was a misplaced emphasis and that auto safety stems from properly educated drivers or perhaps better design of roads not to make them death traps. So the joke was that the critical part of an automobile with regard to safety was the “nut behind the wheel”, not meaning that steering wheels came off on account of a lose fastener but that the human factors and attitude of the driver was more important than any kind of appliance that could be put in the car.

    The IIHS stats seem to support the nut behind the wheel idea after all, and it is interesting that people are observing a similar effect on reliability.

  • avatar
    Lichtronamo

    MIkey:

    How GM decides to schedule its production and its actual sales volumes seem to have no connection whatsoever. A relative worked 3rd shift at the GM plant in Janesville, WI where they currently build Tahoe/Yukon/Escalade. The workers would routinely be scheduled for OT even with excessive dealer inventory and on-going incentive programs. My assumption can only be that it has something to do with accounting practices involving booking “sales” and revenue receipts upon delivery to the dealers and maintaining cash flow to keep the company solvent. The actual reality would be that a normal company would schedule its work force to produce a given level of product, adjusting the rate of production to meet actual demand up to the point of overtime such that supply would be equal to or less than demand and thus avoiding the need for incentives.

  • avatar
    umterp85

    Paul Milenkovic : “So if Buick comes out strong in reliability, perhaps it is a case of older people who keep up with the maintenance and don’t thrash the car.”

    Interesting observation. Maybe that is why the Camry has strong reported reliability as the average age of the Camry owner is creeping toward 60 years of age.

  • avatar
    mikey

    50 merc: Impala and W Buick are built on the same line as of Jan 08.Though I prefer the Impala
    the Buick is a sweet ride ,for the money.

  • avatar
    PJungnitsch

    Where do these sales figures come from?

    And are they the # of vehicles produced by the factory, delivered to dealers, or actually in car buyers hands?

  • avatar
    KixStart

    umterp85, Google suggests no credible source for that statistic. What’s your source?

    But, whatever the source, a few thoughts occur to me:

    1. Young people are why Scion exists. Did they take some of Toyota’s youth?

    2. Between 1990 and 2000 the median age of Americans rose by 2.5 years (and I expect it continues to rise).

    3. The raw median doesn’t tell us much. It could be that the median age of a Camry buyer is rising at a more rapid clip than the general population because older people are finally giving up on Detroit and switching to Toyota.

  • avatar

    PJungnitsch :
    Where do these sales figures come from?

    And are they the # of vehicles produced by the factory, delivered to dealers, or actually in car buyers hands?

    The numbers come from Automotive News, which are the numbers reported by each manufacturer for the month.

    GM counts “deliveries” and the rest count “sales”. We’ve had a lot of discussions on what the differences are in the past. I think what we arrived at is that a “delivery” is when the vehicle is shipped to the dealer. A “sale” is when it’s actually placed in the hands of a customer. If anyone has a better explanation, I defer to you!

  • avatar
    Bunter1

    Paul Milenkovic (and others on demographics)

    Of course at this point we are just speculating.
    Though I have observed some of what you are saying in the IIHS crash data, 2 door versions of a given vehicle seem to run a pretty consistent twice the death rate of 4 door equivalents.

    Oddly I have heard service managers for two brands state that they thought their customers under maintain their cars.
    One was Pontiac-specifically thought GAm owners just didn’t care.

    Strangely the other was a regional service manager for Toyota, he said that the owners expected them to be bullet proof and therefore they could slack off on the service.
    I won’t claim either as a fact but I do note that with the japanese cars I own I do put stuff off because I think I can get away with it (and so far I seem to be right!).

    Personally, I would be surprised if owners of cars in a given category (family 4-doors for instance) would very that much in care of new cars. Just the fact that they are in new cares of a similar price range will eliminate a lot of the poor vs. better off mentality.

    Just some thoughts.

    Bunter

  • avatar
    Virtual Insanity

    A delivery is a sale. Its when it is delivered to the customer. When we tell our dealerships to report their deliveries, we mean their sales. We can argue the proper use of the terminology all day long, but for GM Deliveries=Sales.

  • avatar
    SMJ

    The reason for the low Accord sales can be attributed to High Dealer Markups. Every Honda dealer around the Seattle area has about $2000.00 over sticker on “Market Adjustments.” Crazy number if you ask me given the economic situation. Normal people, who usually deal starting from those numbers, have tighter pockets now and instead of paying they walk away, usually straight to Chevy dealerships where a Malibu is awaiting them. These Honda dealers have no clue of the customers they are dealing with.

  • avatar
    umterp85

    Kixstart: I’m tying to track down my source for the info—it was embedded in a Scion discussion and the strategic role of Scion to bring in younger buyers…..the example given was that the Toyota Camry average buyer is 57.

    Once I track down the link–I’ll send off. In the meantime—an interesting link on the avg buyer age http://blogs.cars.com/kickingtires/2008/01/down-economy-mo.html

  • avatar
    Pch101

    I think what we arrived at is that a “delivery” is when the vehicle is shipped to the dealer. A “sale” is when it’s actually placed in the hands of a customer.

    I believe that it was Geeber who helped to straighten us out (including myself) on this one.

    Here’s the difference: GM reports “deliveries”, which is defined as placing a vehicle into the hands of a customer (retail or fleet.) Most other automakers report “registrations”, which occur when the vehicle is registered with the DMV or equivalent by the new owner.

    The main difference is that GM’s data is self-reported, whereas registrations are verified by a third-party such as Polk. GM argues that registrations are not a fair way to report sales because not every vehicle purchased from them is registered.

    GM may or may not be right, but its method allows for more manipulation, because the figure isn’t being audited by a third party. Being that GM seems obsessed by the idea of being Number One, you might be right to suspect their motives.

    This difference also doesn’t allow for a side-by-side comparison of sales figures, given that GM is using a different definition of how to count moved metal. This difference has led to disputes, such as when Ford and Chevy both claimed to be the leading brand in the US during 2005 due to this discrepancy. Their little spat is discussed here: http://www.caranddriver.com/dailyautoinsider/10658/whos-number-one.html?selMake=CHEVROLET

  • avatar
    50merc

    SMJ, same thing here and I don’t understand it. The Honda dealer adds $1,000 to $1,200 to the factory sticker even though they’ve run out of space to park all the new cars on hand. The Hyundai dealership that just opened pads the MSRP by another $800. It has very few new Hyundais on hand, which would suggest there’s a scarcity of product except that we know nationally Hyundai has fallen well short of its sales goals. I’m sure the factory would be delighted to ship them more cars. Have dealers adapted the Marines’ motto into “The proud, the few, the deals with a huge profit”?

  • avatar
    umterp85

    Kixstart: here is a link—my memory is not as good as it need to be…Camry buyer avg age is 52 vs. 57. That said—my assertion that Camry and Buick buyers are of the same age range stands.

    http://www.automotivedigest.com/view_art.asp?articlesID=21353

  • avatar
    EJ_San_Fran

    About Toyota.

    Toyota is #1 in California and therefore California’s big auto recession has an impact on them. That explains a slight decline nationwide, while they are still gaining market share in the rest of the country.

    Toyota Tundra is now the #1 half-ton pickup truck in California. What’s good enough for California, is good enough for the country, right?

  • avatar
    KixStart

    Umterp85, AutomotiveDiges: registration required? Ugh. Just another userid/password combo to eventually forget!

    I’ll accept 52 to 57 on your word and that’s a reasonably similar range.

    But that’s just the Camry. That other link of yours is telling. By brand, Toyota is kicking Buick’s ass, with the average Toyota buyer at 47 and the average Buick buyer at 55. Well, not literally kicking Buick’s ass; it’s not nice to abuse the elderly. :-)

    A more interesting comparison would be Chevrolet to Toyota. The GM buyer’s average age is 48. Buick is low-volume, so it won’t pull up the average too much (I presume weighting by units), so Chevy could clock in very competitively with Toyota or perhaps even a little younger.

    In fact, it would be nice to see all brands broken out. Scion? Lexus? Cadillac? I’ll have to look around.

  • avatar
    umterp85

    Kixstart—I’m not sure if the avg Toyota buyers age (47) is a roll-up of Toyota + Scion (Toyota sales figures are reported this way). If Scion is included—I’m sure its younger buyer base skews the 47. Toyota branded buyers probably are at least as old as Honda (51) and probably more. That’s not far off Buicks 55.

  • avatar
    jthorner

    Rather than individual models it would seem more relevant to track classes of vehicles. For example, if GM is selling more Malibus but those sales come out of Impala, Aura, etc. then the Malibu was a waste of resources.

    Honda has made a rare mis-step with the new Accord in my view. Making an already big enough car even bigger AND going backwards on fuel economy is completely out of step with the market. I think the same product planners who cooked up the V-6 Hybrid Accord might have done the design brief for this one. Very unlike Honda to miss the market so badly.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    “But that’s just the Camry. That other link of yours is telling. By brand, Toyota is kicking Buick’s ass, with the average Toyota buyer at 47 and the average Buick buyer at 55. Well, not literally kicking Buick’s ass; it’s not nice to abuse the elderly. :-)”

    The difference in age has more to do with Toyota offering vehicles in ‘younger’ segments of the market such as the compact SUV (RAV4), midsized SUV (4Runner), subcompact (Yaris), and compact (Corolla) segments. Buick does not field any vehicles in those segments.

    If you looked at comparing Buick’s product line with similar vehicles from Toyota, the demographics are surprisingly similar. Or to put it another way, there’s a reason why the dahboard knobs and buttons on a Camry have become bigger over the years.

    If you want a ‘young’ brand, check out Hyundai or Suzuki. Toyota has pretty much decided to screw the demographic issue across the board. Even the new Scions are geared towards the middle aged and beyond crowd.

  • avatar
    SMJ

    I disagree that Scions are geared toward the middle aged crowd. Toyota have been marketing to college students very agressively. In fact, they held an event at my college recently, where I test drove their new xB and received $15 gift card, some free T-shirts and a key chain.

    I don’t know what middle aged citizens would buy Scions, but my guess is that they buy it under their name for their college-aged kids. Usually college kids don’t have enough credit under their belt to buy new cars. The end result would be skewed census toward middle age people, even though they are not the acual one’s driving Scions.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    Steven Lang, OK, Toyota makes a whole lifecycle of cars. Isn’t that what GM’s supposed to be doing?

    As I said, a comparison with Chevy would be more interesting. The median household income of a Toyota buyer, I have read, is noticeably higher than for a Chevy buyer. How does the median age look?

    Are Camry owners just growing older or is Toyota raiding Buick?

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    SMJ, nope…. sorry…. the new Xb was substantially porked up in order to become more appealing to an older demographic. Even back in 2004, the average age for a Scion buyer was 40 and fewer than 20% of them went to the 25 and under crowd.

    KixStart, GM does make a whole lifecycle of cars. They just use eight different nameplates (in North America) instead of Toyota’s three.

  • avatar
    SMJ

    Quoted from here:
    http://www.greatcarstv.com/reviews/2008-scion-xb.html

    “Scion is the vanguard-thinking, hip-marketing branch of Toyota that produces cars for the young. As a brand, Scion’s demographics are heavily into the 30-somethings, and many vehicles purchased by 50-plus buyers are really being bought for their teen-aged kids. The Scion age profile shows that 42 percent of their sales are to the 36-55 group and 38 percent are bought by the 16-35 demographic. An average age of around 30 puts the marque well under Toyota’s average buyer of 46.”

    Jan. 04, 2008

    The average buyer is around 30 now for Scion. :)

  • avatar
    phil

    @jthorner

    i don’t think honda missed the mark with the accord. as others have said dealers are marking them up (still) and a good friend of mine that sells hondas says he can sell as many as he gets. regarding gas mileage, according to fueleconomy.gov the 08 4 cyl auto gets one less mpg than the 07, whereas the 08 6 cylinder auto gets one more mpg than the 07, so it’s a wash, not a step backwards as you stated. the 07 fuel economy ratings are adjusted so that they meet the new EPA rating system and are thus comparable to the 08 numbers.

  • avatar
    geeber

    Pch101: I believe that it was Geeber who helped to straighten us out (including myself) on this one.

    It wasn’t me…I was as confused as everyone else on this question.

    KixStart: As I said, a comparison with Chevy would be more interesting. The median household income of a Toyota buyer, I have read, is noticeably higher than for a Chevy buyer. How does the median age look?

    I believe that the median age of Chevy buyers may be below that of Toyota buyers…a fair number of younger folks buy the Cobalt and Colorado as “starter” vehicles.

    jthorner: Honda has made a rare mis-step with the new Accord in my view. Making an already big enough car even bigger AND going backwards on fuel economy is completely out of step with the market.

    Around here dealer stocks lean heavily toward the fully-loaded V-6 EXL sedans that list between $27-29,000. With the previous generation, dealers seemed to stock more four-cylinder models versus the V-6.

    Not the smartest move when buyers are facing $3-a-gallon for regular, higher food prices, higher heating oil prices, a housing bust and a recession…

  • avatar
    Redbarchetta

    You aren’t going to believe this because I couln’t but the local DODGE dealer has a $1500-2000 “market correction” on just about all their cars/trucks. And there were A LOT of cars and trucks. The correction should be down not up.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    SMJ, nope…. sorry…. the new Xb was substantially porked up in order to become more appealing to an older demographic.

    SMJ is correct. Scion’s target demographic is clearly young hipsters. Scion is positioned to be a gateway brand to Toyota, targeting young buyers who perceive the main brand as being a bit frumpy for them.

    Look at the xB section of the Scion website, and you’ll find hip hop soundtracks and happy young people, sans children and grownups. The ad campaign is similar, with this as one example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=baFYr8F5shI When the xB and xD were given a market test debut to selected customers at a pre-launch in Miami, official photos of the event were notably packed with Gen Y’ers, with none including their parents.

    The problem with targeting a demographic is that in the process of targeting one group, you may end up appealing to another, whether or not you want to. As it turns out, a lot of the same features that make practical economy cars appeal to young people also make them attractive to retirees and older people. And since a lot of older folks want to feel youthful, some of them are drawn to the brand as a way to find it.

    One reason that Scion was created was that previous efforts to create a youth car, such as the Echo, failed miserably and often backfired, appealing to the hipsters’ grandparents more than the kids. So they invented an entirely new brand, instead, hiring a bunch of young Americans to figure out how to reach them. Toyota can’t bar sales to older folks, but I bet you that they would if they could.

  • avatar
    Lichtronamo

    It would be interesting to track the sales of all the Lambda crossovers vs. the Toyota Highlander/Lexus RX in reference to GM’s too many models/too many brands problems. In 2007, Toyota sold almost as many Highlanders as GM sold Lambdas before the profit heavy RXs are even added in.

  • avatar
    Sanman111

    Regarding Scion, I would love to see an break down by model. All of the younger people have seen driving scions were largely in the tC. Though I have seen some driving the first gen xB, all of the secind gen xB’s I have seen were driven my more middle aged individuals. As I have only seen one xD anywhere thus far, I cannot comment on them (except to say that they obviously aren’t as much of a sles hit as the other two).

  • avatar
    Johnson

    Lichtronamo:
    It would be interesting to track the sales of all the Lambda crossovers vs. the Toyota Highlander/Lexus RX in reference to GM’s too many models/too many brands problems. In 2007, Toyota sold almost as many Highlanders as GM sold Lambdas before the profit heavy RXs are even added in.

    Indeed. This is a point that I’ve brought up before. Now with the Chevy Traverse coming, it will only get worse. I think Acadia and Outlook sales will drop further when the Traverse hits the market. The Highlander has a chance in 2008 of outselling all of GM’s full-size CUVs *combined*. The Highlander came close for 2007, and for most of 2007 the older dated Highlander was on sale. The new redesigned model will have it’s first full sales year for 2008.

  • avatar

    RF: more excellent numbers!

  • avatar
    MPLS

    Just becasue somebody posts something here or in Edmunds that is remotely positive about GM does not make him a “fanboy.” I don’t understand how all these “fanboy” comments do not consittue flaming.

    By the way. the General’s total sales were up as well as RETAIL sales. GM continues to reduce not only rental sales but incentives as welll.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    Not true, the average of the Scion Tc buyer is 30. It’s virtually impossible to hit the high 30’s in the sports coupe market these days, and I would argue that the Tc is a far more conservative design than the last generation Celica.

    The Xb and Xd are going to be (rarely) selling to the middle-aged crowd The prior gen Xa sold to a buyer with an average age of 38, and the Xb came in at 39.

    This time Toyota intentionally went to a more SUV-styled design in order to make these vehicles more appealing to the middle aged folks and beyond. You can debate it all you like. But that’s my understanding at this point. We’ll see if I’m right.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    This time Toyota intentionally went to a more SUV-styled design in order to make these vehicles more appealing to the middle aged folks and beyond.

    You are assuming that this is the case based upon the weight of the vehicle, but a review of the marketing and promotional effort disproves this argument.

    The marketing effort is clearly aimed toward young people. Hip hop/ R&B soundtracks, launching virtual vehicles in the Second Life videogame, the “love it/ loathe it” campaign, their guerilla marketing events are all aimed at twentysomethings and younger, and none are aimed at an older crowd. Five minutes spent looking at Scion xB marketing materials make it crystal clear that oldsters are not particularly wanted or sought after — they have Toyotas to sell to those people.

    Again, there is a difference between targeting a demographic and getting the demographics who aren’t targeted to cooperate. Just as long as youth is more valued than age, there will be many products aimed at youth that will also reach older people. The manufacturer may not particularly want that outcome, but it is the consumer who ultimately decides whether or not the product is desirable, even if that is against the rules.

  • avatar
    UnclePete

    Pch101: Even if Scion is supposed to be the “young” brand, most of the original Xa/Xb models sold up here by one dealer (NH) were to people in the 45+ range.

    I was talking to my Toyota salesman about it (they also have a Scion showroom on the site), and he was telling me about that dichotomy – all the adverts, brochures, etc are for younger buyers but most of his sales of Xa/Xb models were to older buyers. This was just before the new models came out so I don’t know if that has changed.

    Again, it is one data point, but remember you are selling to a bunch of frugal New Englanders, and they must perceive more value there than in the traditional Toyota brand.

  • avatar
    Emro

    here are Canada’s January numbers for interest sake:
    http://www.canadiandriver.com/news_2008/02/04/080204-1.htm

  • avatar
    ttilley

    Regarding Scion…is median age a particularly reliable metric of their market? While I realize this is anecdotal, when I’ve seen Scions (particularly xBs) here in the SF Bay Area, the drivers have generally been either quite young or quite old…not much in-between.

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