By on September 1, 2010

Subaru and Hyundai/Kia have been two of the strongest-growing brands in America over the past year or so, but even their momentum wasn’t enough to prevent “uh-oh” moments this month. Subaru sales fell 23 percent, despite another strong showing from Outback (+37%, 8,053). Forester and Impreza, which launched Subaru to a 52% sales jump last August, were down  39 and 42 percent respectively. Hyundai was another big winner in last year’s C4C sales glut, and its volume was down considerably by comparison last month. Accent and Santa Fe were down by 50 percent or more, but the redesigned Sonata did manage to nearly double its August 09 volume. Even Genesis was up (as was Tucson), but Hyundai still ended the month with a 11 percent overall sales decline. The biggest contributor: Accent, which sold 3,844 compared to 10,099 in August 2009. Kia fell about 23 percent, as Forte, Sorento, Sedona and Soul gains were offset by huge declines in Rio, Spectra, Optima and Sportage. Full numbers after the jump…

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16 Comments on “Momentum Interruptus: Subaru Drops 23 Percent, Hyundai Falls 11 Percent, Kia Sheds 23 Percent...”

  • avatar

    C4C hangover, nothing really to see here…move along…congrats to the Sonata though, it outsold both the Fusion and Malibu.

  • avatar
    Da Coyote

    I’d not go into any dept right now considering what’s leading us.

  • avatar

    Everyone’s August 2009 numbers should have a CFC star next to them. H/K is still up nearly 10% for 2010 over 2009.

    And Subaru’s stellar leap of 52% last August couldn’t be matched this August – so what?

    I’d hardly call this “momentum interruptus”. Both companies have shown significant momentum from 2008 through 2010; their competitors, not so much.

  • avatar

    When will the business world realize that the destruction of the middle class will also destroy their businesses?

    Thanks to a combination of toxic politics, relentless business cost-cutting, layoffs, off-shoring of jobs, “free-trade” agreements, and rising health-care costs the middle class is tapped-out.

    Even cheap wheels are nowhere to be found. Cash 4 clunkers removed lots of viable old cars from the roads. That drove up the cost of old cars, and it’s only a matter of time until that pushes up the cost of new cars as well.

    None of these car companies, hell…any companies, will see robust growth until the middle class is healthy again. That “health” can not be fueled by cheap credit, only by well-paying plentiful jobs.

    But hey, keep off-shoring jobs to countries with no environmental or worker protections. In the long run we all suffer.

    (By the way, I’m a college graduate with a good job in the IT field, but I’m smart enough to know that if no one can afford your products eventually you close up shop).


    • 0 avatar

      HEAR HEAR!

    • 0 avatar

      Wasn’t that one of Henry Ford’s key insights? That the industrial revolution wasn’t just about reducing costs, but enabling employees to be paid enough to afford the products they were making?

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve got dozens of picutres from various dealers that show there weren’t very many “viable old cars” out of any of the heaps that were traded in under C4C. Many were north of 200K miles and clapped out. C4C may have been villified because it was a government program, but its clear that it did more good than harm, especially in terms of getting polluting, gas guzzling and unsafe old vehicles off the road.
      Now thats not to say that you haven’t got the right idea about the destruction of middle class. But C4C was a little bone thrown to the middle class and to those that were able to get rid of these wrecks and buy a decent new car.

  • avatar

    So you mean if wealth is continued to be concentrated in the top 1% that it won’t “trickle down”? Come on now

    • 0 avatar

      When that top percentage of wealthy pay a huge amount of the total tax burden to support those too lazy, stupid or whatever to support themselves, that’s some form of “trickle down” don’t you think? When you demonize and punish the wealth earners, the risk takers, they will crank up their tax avoidance machines and we all suffer. Many of the wealthy don’t have to earn anything, they can live on the riches… when they don’t earn they don’t pay tax and Obama has to print the $$ he gives away. What’s all this have to do with cars anyway?

  • avatar
    NJ Pilot

    Dumb question: are the manufacturers’ reported sales retail deliveries or deliveries to dealers?

  • avatar

    Since when does any carmaker post positive growth every single month, ad infinitum? This is MSM reporting.

    The only useful take-away here is that the economy is far from out of the woods. Taxpayer-funded delusions might feel good for awhile, but they are never the final chapter.

  • avatar
    Dr Strangelove

    That would be ‘momentum interruptum’.

    In Latin, the suffix of the adjective varies with the gender of the noun that it belongs to. The noun ‘momentum’ is neutral, and so is the adjective (or rather, past participle, which goes like an adjective) ‘interruptum’. As it stands, ‘interruptus’ would go with a masculine noun, such as in ‘coitus’.

    Or just say it in English – it’s much easier, since it comes with a dumbed down version of German grammar.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    Last year’s Subaru run up can largely be explained by a number of formerly SUV buyers figuring out that a Subaru would meet their particular needs and cost less to operate. This year, SUV sales have picked back up off the floor. Its no surprise that Subaru is feeling the downside.

    Subaru’s strategic problem is that they are a one-trick (AWD) pony with an aging technology base, minuscule volumes in their home market and a “quirky” at best image elsewhere. They have sort of replaced Saab and/or Volvo as the go to brand for something a little different. A nice niche business, but not a great long term strategy.

  • avatar

    @Horner: hear, hear.

    The Hyundai numbers are pretty easy to explain… the Accent and Elantra are old models that are on the cusp of being replaced… I wonder why they haven’t given America the i20 and i30 yet… while the Santa Fe is getting long in the tooth. What they have that is new or has been recently facelifted is showing positive growth. But they really should get those diesels to the US… and soon.

    The Kia numbers… I guess playing Robin to Batman isn’t going to cut it in the long run?

  • avatar

    I agree that too much hype out there about month-to-month comparisons.  YTD numbers are a better way to view them.
    Regarding Subaru [I own a ’99 Forester and still love the noisy little bugger], they are a successful niche company who’d make a big mistake in trying to get to the size of a Honda/Toyota/Nissan.  Here in the northeast, they are quite popular.  The recent updates to appeal to a larger audience seem to be working to some extent.  Mr. Horner is correct in that they are off the mark in terms of their technology.  Who’s bright idea was it to have the smaller Forester get less mpg than the larger Outback (27 vs. 31 hwy)?  They’ve been very slow in updating the engines and transmissions in their bread and butter vehicles.  The STI and WRX seem to get all the attention, but they sell so few.  They are going to have a tough time meeting the 2015 CAFE numbers if they don’t bring over the diesel from Europe.  Maybe they’ll have their act together by the time I’m finnished with my Subie.

  • avatar

    I think what Hyundai will do is buy Subaru and make it their affordable niche brand, because they want to move Hyundai upmarket.  Today the Equus, tomorrow the Bentleymus?

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