By on March 26, 2010

Car researcher Edmunds sees an exceptionally strong March rebound in U.S. car sales. They expect new vehicle sales to come in 31 percent higher than March 2009.  The most muscular comeback kid? Would you believe it, Edmunds expects sales of the already counted out Toyota to explode in March. They also see the Detroit 3 solidly overwhelmed by the furriners, Ford’s heroic efforts notwithstanding.

The predictions would translate into a Seasonally Adjusted Annualized Rate (SAAR) of 12.4m, solidly up from 10.3m in February 2010. Edmunds doesn’t want to call this the end of the SAAR crisis just yet. Their press release couches the good news in the appropriately cautionary terms:

“Although this SAAR sounds promising, it’s too early to wave the flag and say that the economy has turned the corner,” said Edmunds’ CEO Jeremy Anwyl. “Incentives drove sales this month, but those were defensive moves in response to Toyota stepping up incentives and are unlikely to last because inventories are simply not high enough to justify them in the long term.” We are running out of cars!

Edmunds sees Toyota up by a whopping 82 percent over February, and to sell 37.1 percent more than in March 2009. That thanks to generous incentives, and what Jessica Caldwell, Director of Industry Analysis at Edmunds calls “more balanced headlines.” The debunking of James Sikes and the suburban New York housekeeper definitely toned down the shrillness of the reporting. Edmunds predicts Toyota to quickly regain lost market share and customer confidence.

If the media frenzy and the hearings on the hill were intended to boost the fortunes of domestic name plates, well, it did not work out. Edmunds sees the combined monthly U.S. market share of Chrysler, Ford and GM shrink to 44 percent in March, down from 45.1 percent for the same month in the prior year, and down from 47.1 percent in February 2010. Strong Ford is seen as the only domestic maker to gain market share.

Edmunds expects individual car makers to close out the month of March as follows:

Chrysler: down 6.5 percent, market share 8.4 percent (11.8 percent in March 2009)

Ford: up 55.5 percent, market share 18 percent (15.1 percent in March 2009)

GM: up 27 percent, market share 17.6 percent (18.2 percent in March 2009)

Honda: up 21.5 percent, market share 9.6 percent (10.3 percent in March 2009)

Hyundai: up 40.0 percent, market share 8.2 percent in March 2010 (7.7 percent in March 2009)

Nissan: up 48.7 percent, market share 8.9 percent (7.8 percent in March 2009)

Toyota: up 37.1 percent, market share 16.3 percent (15.5 percent in March 2009)

Disclaimer: These are predictions, and March ain’t over yet. But the March tunes sound inspiring. Anchors aweigh!

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8 Comments on “March Madness: Sales Explode, Dealers Short Of Cars, SAAR Soars...”

  • avatar

    Well, when you’re giving away vehicles with 0% interest, $500 to $3000 rebates and 24 months of free service (which is really nothing more than a couple of oil changes and tire rotations oooooooohhh) it’s not hard to inflate sales.

    I thought the name of the game was to make money on what you sold, not play the same game that has driven other car companies to the brink. Not to mention what those incentives do to the resale value for existing owners.

    Glad to see that the overall market is improving, but all of the car makers are giving their products away. I just saw an ad run by one of the local BMW dealers advertising 0.9% financing on USED models. It is still very rough out there.

  • avatar

    This is what happens when carmakers realistically price their products to meet market demand. Artificially inflated wish-prices don’t work, no matter what the backroom marketers and consultants say.

    These products are still extremely expensive, and prices are still high. Sales are still way down from their peak because of this.

    But as the makers continue to downprice their product, the overall price deflation continues, and they will sell more product. The same goes for used cars.

    Prices were raised high because of the credit bubble. Now they are just leveling out to realistic levels.

  • avatar

    Amazing what incentives will do…

  • avatar

    I will believe it when I see it.

    Who among the growing working-poor class can afford a new vehicle?

    Who among those that will be compelled to purchase health insurance by a shotgun-wielding IRS agent (well, at least the implicit threat will be present at some stage of the game) will be able to afford the cost of a new vehicle or consider the cost to be justified?

    I live in Missouri, the land of meth and hillbillies and slack-joweled yokels and in-bred families stretching back generations and a dearth of that thar’ book-larnin’ stuff and high-falutin city-slicker shenanigans and there’s an old saying hereabouts stretching way back to even before grand-pappy’s time that y’all just gonna’ have to SHOW ME for me to be belivin’ y’all but that should be obvious you gotta’ be showin’ me since the odds of any one Missourian being able to decipher the written word ain’t all that great but granny sure knows how to cook up a proper possum and us younguns’ scamper out to the local paved road where the moonshiners skeedaddle at night lookin’ for fresh roadkill for the kettle before we traipse across the holler headed for school where us younguns’ll get the hang of that cipherin stuff some day.

    • 0 avatar

      Who among those that will be compelled to purchase health insurance by a shotgun-wielding IRS agent (well, at least the implicit threat will be present at some stage of the game) will be able to afford the cost of a new vehicle or consider the cost to be justified?

      I’d like to point out (especially since it’s “no holds barred” day) that those who would be forced to purchase such insurance would be even more screwed if they got catastrophically sick under the current system.

      But yeah, the new system sucks, just slightly less. Pity single-payer was off the table early in the game and that Kucinich caved.

  • avatar

    It seems Chrysler can’t even buy a break. Everyone-else is posting healthy double digit gains, yet Chrysler still manages a 6.5% drop.

  • avatar

    Toyota made 2 sales in my company last month and 3 more to friends of mine. The deals are sweet and Toyota gets to move some inventory bringing it back in line with normal demand.

    If you want a yota product, now is the best time to buy because once this witch hunt becomes old hat, Toyota will be back to commanding its premium pricing structure.

    I might make a move on a new fourunner myself.

  • avatar

    Ford passed GM? That’s historic isn’t it? Shouldn’t they be making a big deal out of that?

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