By on June 1, 2011


Analyst forecasts for Maywere perhaps a little bearish on Ford and a little too bullish on GM, as the two remaining American automakers saw their volumes drop by 3% and 1% respectively (year-over-year) last month. Pickups seem to have been the highest hurt by high gas prices, as GM’s full-sizers dropped 14%, while Ford’s F-Series dropped 15% despite a 55% mix of Ecoboost V6-powered F-150s. But the real losers in May’s downturn were probably the Japanese automakers, whose numbers are just starting to come in, while the biggest winners appear to be the luxury brands, with Porsche up 50% and Maserati up 36%. Check back often as we update our developing table of US auto sales in May.

Automaker May 2011 May 2010 Pct. chng. 5 month
2011
5 month
2010
Pct. chng.
BMW Group* 26,496 22,135 20% 116,876 98,465 19%
BMW division 20,651 17,859 16% 92,068 81,450 13%
Mini 5,801 4,233 37% 24,588 16,804 46%
Rolls-Royce 44 43 2% 220 211 4%
BMW Group 26,496 22,135 20% 116,876 98,465 19%
Chrysler Group LLC 115,363 104,819 10% 519,538 434,737 20%
Chrysler Division 16,364 20,699 –21% 79,539 90,233 –12%
Dodge 40,200 42,242 –5% 186,497 163,471 14%
Dodge/Ram 61,667 61,172 1% 284,048 238,464 19%
Fiat 1,759 –% 3,141 –%
Jeep 35,573 22,948 55% 152,810 106,040 44%
Ram 21,467 18,960 13% 97,551 74,993 30%
Chrysler Group LLC 115,363 104,819 10% 519,538 434,737 20%
Daimler AG** 20,802 19,877 5% 97,708 90,775 8%
Maybach 4 5 –20% 24 28 –14%
Mercedes-Benz 20,306 19,177 6% 95,458 87,975 9%
Smart USA 492 695 –29% 2,226 2,772 –20%
Daimler AG 20,802 19,877 5% 97,708 90,775 8%
Ford Motor Co.*** 191,529 196,671 –3% 876,321 805,662 9%
Ford division 184,130 175,129 5% 841,431 703,327 20%
Ford/Lincoln/Mercury 191,529 192,012 0% 876,321 782,451 12%
Lincoln 7,399 7,755 –5% 34,642 37,444 –8%
Mercury 9,128 –100% 248 41,680 –99%
Volvo 4,659 –100% 23,211 –100%
Ford Motor Co. 191,529 196,671 –3% 876,321 805,662 9%
General Motors**** 221,192 223,410 –1% 1,046,275 882,885 19%
Buick 15,579 12,582 24% 78,731 56,899 38%
Cadillac 11,623 12,328 –6% 65,262 52,997 23%
Chevrolet 161,401 167,023 –3% 747,700 639,981 17%
GMC 32,589 29,960 9% 154,582 122,616 26%
Hummer 1,290 –100% 2,626 –100%
Pontiac 181 –100% 815 –100%
Saab –% 608 –100%
Saturn 46 –100% 6,343 –100%
General Motors 221,192 223,410 –1% 1,046,275 882,885 19%
Honda (American)† 90,773 117,173 –23% 523,550 487,282 7%
Acura 9,000 11,766 –24% 51,972 50,278 3%
Honda Division 81,773 105,407 –22% 471,578 437,004 8%
Honda (American) 90,773 117,173 –23% 523,550 487,282 7%
Hyundai Group†† 107,426 80,476 34% 463,648 342,740 35%
Hyundai division 59,214 49,045 21% 263,588 204,577 29%
Kia 48,212 31,431 53% 200,060 138,163 45%
Hyundai Group 107,426 80,476 34% 463,648 342,740 35%
Jaguar Land Rover 4,162 3,671 13% 19,161 16,407 17%
Jaguar 1,271 962 32% 5,021 4,233 19%
Land Rover 2,891 2,709 7% 14,140 12,174 16%
Jaguar Land Rover 4,162 3,671 13% 19,161 16,407 17%
Maserati 206 152 36% 908 732 24%
Maserati 206 152 36% 908 732 24%
Mazda 17,875 22,605 –21% 103,072 97,481 6%
Mazda 17,875 22,605 –21% 103,072 97,481 6%
Mitsubishi 7,568 4,737 60% 35,816 22,292 61%
Mitsubishi 7,568 4,737 60% 35,816 22,292 61%
Nissan††† 76,148 83,764 –9% 433,032 375,762 15%
Infiniti 6,389 8,091 –21% 40,986 38,996 5%
Nissan Division 69,759 75,673 –8% 392,046 336,766 16%
Nissan 76,148 83,764 –9% 433,032 375,762 15%
Porsche 2,817 1,873 50% 12,996 8,842 47%
Porsche 2,817 1,873 50% 12,996 8,842 47%
Saab Cars North America‡ 385 174 121% 3,150 520 506%
Saab Cars North America 385 174 121% 3,150 520 506%
Subaru 20,036 23,667 –15% 112,255 104,359 8%
Subaru 20,036 23,667 –15% 112,255 104,359 8%
Suzuki 2,290 1,903 20% 11,124 9,514 17%
Suzuki 2,290 1,903 20% 11,124 9,514 17%
Toyota‡‡ 108,387 162,813 –33% 701,851 705,938 –1%
Lexus 12,305 22,216 –45% 77,237 90,098 –14%
Scion 4,696 4,112 14% 23,165 17,262 34%
Toyota division 91,386 136,485 –33% 601,449 598,578 1%
Toyota/Scion 96,082 140,597 –32% 624,614 615,840 1%
Toyota 108,387 162,813 –33% 701,851 705,938 –1%
Volkswagen‡‡‡ 40,783 32,882 24% 172,204 145,372 19%
Audi 10,457 9,205 14% 45,858 39,839 15%
Bentley 226 134 69% 665 572 16%
VW division 30,100 23,543 28% 125,681 104,961 20%
Volkswagen 40,783 32,882 24% 172,204 145,372 19%
Volvo Cars North America‡‡‡‡ 7,359 –% 29,203 –%
Volvo Cars North America 7,359 –% 29,203 –%
Other (estimate) 244 241 1% 1,220 1,204 1%
TOTAL 1,061,841 1,103,043 –4% 5,279,908 4,630,969 14%
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71 Comments on “May Auto Sales: Growth Hits The Brakes...”


  • avatar
    SVX pearlie

    If you go to GM’s press release, the big difference is in Fleet sales:

    2010 = 37% (82,814) fleet / 63% (141,008) retail sales
    2011 = 32% (70,139) fleet / 68% (151,053) retail sales
    Y/Y = -15% (-12,675) fleet / +7% (+10,045) retail sales

    Good job at cutting back on those fleet sales!

    GM brands:

    -700 Cadillac
    +3,000 Buick
    +2,400 GMC
    -5,800 Chevy
    = -2,600 net loss

    GM notes that the Caddy & Chevy saw retail gains of 8-9%, so the fleet cut translated into a volume cut.

    GM Models:

    Cadillac took big (fleet) hits on STS, DTS, Escalade sales, but grew CTS & retail.

    Buick saw small shrink in LaCrosse & Enclave, but say large net growth driven by Regal sales.

    GMC traded Yukon sales for net gain in Terrain & Acadia sales.

    Chevy lost ground on Avalanche, HHR, Impala, Silvy, Suburban & Tahoe, but saw very good sales of Aveo, Cruze, Malibu, Equinox & Canyon.

    GM lost large SUV / Truck sales across the board, but gained car & wagon sales. GM cut way back on fleet sales, and net gained on the higher-margin lines (i.e. not Chevy).

    Apparently, $4+ gas moves smaller cars at GM.

    GM Overall

    On net GM seems to have done reasonably well, tho I wonder what their incentives look like month over month. I’m assuming the net reduction in volume, and lack of fleet sales suggests that GM didn’t open the incentives spigot, as they have sufficient cars on hand.

    I suspect that GM adjusted to market conditions of reduced Japanese competition, and took profit this month.

    • 0 avatar
      HoldenSSVSE

      Beat me to the post. According to the GM spin doctors fleet sales dropped 21%.

      Retail sales up 9% from same month last year. Incentive spending down 10% from last month.

      So if they really did slash fleet sales, and continue to move away from the teat of low value rental lot sales (the Impala is the new police/taxi fleet queen with the death of Panther) while increasing retail sales even with cut incentives.

      Hey, that’s a good month.

      • 0 avatar
        SVX pearlie

        I didn’t see the TrueCar incentives note, but I saw now that it’s out. GM’s incentives are down, and transaction prices are up, so that’s presumably more profit being taken.

    • 0 avatar
      SV

      Ford’s more or less a similar story, with retail sales up 5% and fleet sales down 8% (daily rental down 13%)

      The Focus did really well, up 31.7% to 22,303 units, while the Fusion also had a strong month. The Fiesta’s doing decently but it’s down from the previous 2 months 9,000+ units to about 7,000 (I think the new Focus may have something to do with that). Overall Ford car sales were up 18.8%.

      The Escape did strongly (I still don’t get it) and the Explorer’s posting huge gains, enough to offset decreases in Flex, Edge, and Expedition sales for a 12.7% increase in SUV sales.

      Overall Truck sales were down, although the Transit Connect was up a little.

      Ford’s real weakness remains Lincoln, which was down 4.6 percent. But, considering Ford sold nearly as many Fiestas as they did Lincolns in total, they’re probably content to stay focused on the Ford brand for the time being.

      I’m not concerned with the sales performances of either GM or Ford right now. There’s weakness in their older stuff but the new products are doing well. I’m especially interested to see how the Cruze and Focus – both having sold about 22,000 units last month – did compared to the Corolla and Civic. Although the Tsunami supply aftermath is doubtless influencing things by now, we may see a big disruption in the small car order in May.

      • 0 avatar
        SVX pearlie

        Ford is down because Buick seems to have captured all of the ex-Mercury buyers who didn’t want a Ford badge, instead of seeing those sales shift to Lincoln.

        The Japanese are down big time, so the Cruze & Focus are going to shine.

      • 0 avatar
        SV

        Sure enough, Cruze and Focus were tops in their segment this month. In fact I looked through all the major companies’ sales statements and compiled numbers for subcompacts and compacts:

        Subcompacts:
        1. Kia Soul – 11,157
        2. Ford Fiesta – 7,120
        3. Honda Fit – 5,921
        4. Nissan Versa – 4,793
        5. Chevrolet Aveo – 4,538
        6. Kia Rio – 2,519
        7. Fiat 500 – 1,759
        8. Toyota Yaris – 1,690
        9. Hyundai Accent – 1,529

        Compacts:
        1. Chevrolet Cruze – 22,711
        2. Ford Focus – 22,303
        3. Hyundai Elantra – 20,006
        4. Honda Civic – 18,341
        5. Toyota Corolla – 16,985
        6. VW Jetta – 16,671

        Ford did rather well, all things considered. The Fiesta is still doing strongly for the class (although the Kia Soul is dominating the B-segment right now) and the Focus looks to be a hit right out of the gate, even taking Toyota and Honda’s temporary weakness into consideration.

      • 0 avatar
        Ubermensch

        “The Escape did strongly (I still don’t get it)”

        I don’t get it either. A friend recently bought one and riding in it is like getting in a time machine to the 1990s. Hard cheap plastic everywhere and it rides like a BOF truck.

      • 0 avatar
        dwford

        Ford is selling plenty of 2012 Focus to the rental market. The Enterprise store down the road from me always has a few sitting there. I wonder what the percentage is.

      • 0 avatar
        Norma

        “The Focus did really well, up 31.7% to 22,303 units”

        May be you miss this, it is reported that “Ford’s total Focus sales rose 32 percent and retail sales rose 9 percent.”

        So how much of Ford’s Focus sales is retail? How much is fleet sales?

    • 0 avatar
      HoldenSSVSE

      Chevy sold 22,711 Cruze for the month, the sales sure are proving out the doubters wrong.

      Volt did another 481 units – ehhh – waiting until October to see the national rollout numbers but beginning to really question on how thinks they will sell 10K units in calendar year 2011, the math isn’t adding up given sales velocity.

      Impala and HHR sales down (hello rental lot fleet sales) 31% and 11% respectively.

      Malibu was up 18% to 25,600 units.

      The spectre of $4 gasoline hurt Chevrolet truck sales specifically, but GMC buyers seemed to have ignored the pain at the pump.

      Over at Buick, even if you took away the now defunct Lucerne sales, the brand is up from 2010 with Enclave, LaCrosse and Regal sales (not sure who the 4000+ Regal buyers are, I wouldn’t buy one).

      The thing that jumps out to me is that compared to the old GM, they actually had cars to sell – and the newer models have momentum.

      • 0 avatar
        SVX pearlie

        GMC buyers traded down from Yukon / Yukon XL down to Terrain / Acadia, respectively.

      • 0 avatar
        wsn

        “Chevy sold 22,711 Cruze for the month, the sales sure are proving out the doubters wrong.”

        Dodge also sold a shit load of Neon at introduction. Let’s whether the Cruze name plate can last any longer than Neon.

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        At launch the Neon was a competitive car. Chrysler has always had a killer styling/design department, a willingness to bring concept cars to life with less adulteration than many other brands, and some flashes of sheer brilliance for predicting the future (K-Cars, popularizing the minivan, having one of the most successful retro-mobiles with the PT Cruiser, bringing out the great Hemi V8 when fuel prices were low and buyers were power-hungry, etc).

        Chrysler’s biggest failing in modern times has been letting competitive and innovative products whither away without updating them or addressing whatever problems do come up. Granted, the ‘Merger of Equals’ and the Cerberus fiasco did a number on the company from a product planning POV, but even with the exigent circumstances it seems that keeping product fresh hasn’t been a priority of Chrysler’s management.

        Imagine if the Neon had been given as much engineering time and money over the years as the Civic has received. I’m very inclined to think the car we would have today would be a hell of a lot better than the Caliber.

      • 0 avatar
        Norma

        Neon sales dropped off a few years after launch. Any connection to the (almost) endless recalls? Numerous consumer reliability issues?

    • 0 avatar
      Norma

      Why GM refused to release its fleet sales in April ’11?
      Seems just sticking its head in sand.
      I guess a better metric would be for GM to release its fleet sales component so everyone can see what are the changes month by month by month, not just whenever in its favour.

      • 0 avatar
        SVX pearlie

        @Norma: It would be good if you bothered to do some fact-checking before you post something easily-refuted. According to GM’s press release on 5/3 for April 2011 sales:

        Fleet sales for GM’s four brands were 75,868 for the month, a 31-percent increase for the month, with sales to commercial customers increasing 21 percent – the 13th consecutive month of commercial fleet sales gains. Fleet accounted for 33 percent of GM total sales during the month.

        But then, when we look at retail, GM also said:

        Retail sales, those to individual customers, rose 25 percent versus last April with cars and crossovers up 49 percent and 28 percent, respectively. Retail sales for the Cruze were 180 percent higher than the Chevrolet Cobalt it replaced. The Equinox and Terrain also posted retail sales records, up 53 and 61 percent respectively.

        source available on GM.com:

        http://media.gm.com/content/media/us/en/gm/news.detail.html/content/Pages/news/us/en/2011/May/0503_gmsales

  • avatar
    PenguinBoy

    When you talk about the “two remaining American automakers”, I presume you are counting Chrysler as an Italian firm now.

    Is Nissan counted a Japanese or French? Nissan seems to be a similar case, rescued by a European automaker after a near death experience, 40%+ owned by its European partner, shared CEO.

    • 0 avatar
      jj99

      On the east coast, “two remaining American automakers” means Toyota and Honda.

      GM, Ford, and crysler are considered wards of the state. If the government stops pumping money into metro Detroit auto suppliers, stops buying massive numbers of Detroit vehicles, and cuts the so called subsidized loans, GM, Ford, and Chrysler will collapse.

  • avatar
    snabster

    Hmm. Just eyeballing the numbers, I’d say SAAB is the largest percentage gainer. 121% from last year. Or better yet, the 5 month trend is up 500% from last year. I guess having some inventory to sell — 4000 as opposed to 700 is ok.

    If they can sell the 4000, that would be about 10K sales in the US. weak? Yes, but that isn’t factoring in the 9-4X. A SRX and it will be discounted. I’d say somewhere between 10-15 in the US.

    Thanks again to Ed and Bertel for constantly reminding us SAAB is still around. I’ll call off the Kazakhs, for now.

    • 0 avatar
      SVX pearlie

      Actually, Saab has been on a 2-month slide:

      830 Mar
      696 Apr
      385 May

      Jan & Feb were about 600, so May is a bad month for Saab. I suspect the factory shutdown may have hit them. If not, June will be even worse.

  • avatar
    SVX pearlie

    Toyota had a brutal month, down 28% overall (-27% Toyota / -40% Lexus).

    What surprised me was that US production was down -26%.

    Their supply chain is killing them because they can’t get Japanese-sourced parts to US plants. If Toyota had been able to keep the US plants running, they’d have cut their losses by more than half.

    • 0 avatar
      PenguinBoy

      I’m really surprised they don’t seem to do business continuity planning, qualify second sources for critical components, etc.

    • 0 avatar
      snabster

      Hmm. Didn’t I read yesterday that a Toyota is more American than a Fiesta? If so, why are they having problems…

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Aside from hybrids like the CT, Toyota had enough inventory.

      What killed their sales was Toyota slashing their incentives at the beginning of the month.

      And b/c of that, and despite the supply crunch really starting to hit now, Toyota reinstated their incentives.

      • 0 avatar
        HoldenSSVSE

        Bingo. Toyota is learning the hard way once you put cash on the hood, it is very, very difficult to take it away.

        Without incentives on offerings like the Corolla, it simply can’t compete against Focus, Cruze, or Elantra.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        Yep – at the end of May, Toyota had a 35 day supply of Corollas.

      • 0 avatar
        Roundel

        Stop using facts BD, its quite clear that it was ONLY a supply issue and nothing else which hurt sales.
        These products are perfect and should be sold at sticker only to help glorify their existence.

  • avatar
    Steven02

    I think Ford did a decent job considering Volvo and Mercury were cut. GM did pretty good too with gas prices being so high. It will be interesting to see how everyone else did as the numbers come out.

  • avatar
    jaje

    Honda Element sales up 7.5%. Pretty good considering Honda is letting it rot on the vine when its competitors are reinventing the efficient box concept.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    So Ford logs another month as the top selling brand in the US.
    I expect that once the final totals are in for 2011 Ford will be the #1 brand and #2 MFG while GM will be the #1 MFG and it’s Chevrolet brand #2. So come 2012 we should see both US based Automakers advertising that they are #1.

  • avatar
    mike978

    VW had another good month. I haven`t seen the break out of the figures but I assume the Jetta did well again. I wonder if the Passat will do as well (say 15K+ sales a month) when it is released later this year.

  • avatar
    SVX pearlie

    Buick (78.7k YtD) is about 1500 units ahead of Lexus (77.2k YtD).

    The numbers are very close, only 2% difference, but with the continued disruption in Japan, I think Buick should outsell Lexus this year.

    I think it’ll be an interesting horse race to watch, unlike the rest of the luxury / premium segment which seems to be pretty stable.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      The big battle in the luxury arena (how ever that is defined) was BMW vs Mercedes vs Lexus – all three were close. Now it is a BMW vs Mercedes horse race.

      The bigger point though is that it is the quality of the sale (i.e. profit generated per unit) rather than the number that really matters. I would hope the car companies would prefer 5 profitable sales than 10 loss making sales, rather than getting bragging rights to #1 in volume which is really meaingless.

      • 0 avatar
        SVX pearlie

        I think the “big battle” is automatically won by Benz, as long as you count Sprinter van sales as part of their volume. Benz reports the Sprinters as part of their “grand total”, whereas BMW doesn’t get to count separately-branded MINI as part of theirs.

        I think all of them are doing well in terms of profit, especially Lexus. Those leather-optioned Avalon / Camry / Camry wagon sales have to drive absolutely *massive* profits for Toyota.

    • 0 avatar
      jaje

      Lexus competes with Cadillac, BMW, Mercedes and Audi. Buick competes with Acura and other low price near luxury brands. Aside from their #s being close – the profit margins on a value near luxury brand (Buick) compared to a real luxury brand (Lexus) are leagues apart, thus not a really useful statistic or measure.

      • 0 avatar
        SVX pearlie

        It is laughable how you put Lexus on a pedestal relative to Buick.

        Lexus is no different from Infiniti or Acura or Lincoln or Buick: a soft car with a soft ride. Their reliance on tarted up Camry and Camry wagon sales makes them the same as the other platform-sharers.

        Caddy is like Audi, BMW & Benz: an Autobahn-rated car with good handling at speed. Lexus doesn’t even have a car to compete with the RS6 / M5 / AMG E63 / CTS-V. What a joke.

        And the idea that Buick doesn’t drive massive profit for GM is the height of cluelessness.

      • 0 avatar
        MikeAR

        I don’t particularly like GM but I’m not a Toyota fan either. But looking at them from a neutral view, Buick isn’t competing against Lexus in the minds of most buyes. Cadillac does but not Buick, fairly or not. To me they’re comparable in that neither is a brand I would ever consider for lots of reasons.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        Acuras are not noted for their soft ride. And please note that, when it comes to brand reputation and prestige, Buick simply does not compete with Lexus, or even Acura. A Lexus still garners respect at the country club or dinner party; a Buick, not so much.

        Cadillac isn’t nearly in the same league as Audi, BMW and Mercedes when it comes to prestige and brand clout. It offers one car that is competitive with models offered by those brands, and that is about it. Aside from the Escalade, the rest of the line-up is neither prestigious nor remotely competitive with anything from Audi, BMW and Mercedes (or even Lexus).

      • 0 avatar
        SVX pearlie

        @geeber: Like Caddy (CTS & SRX), BMW & Benz are might as well be 1-model brands as well. 3-series / X5 & E-class / S-class are the definitive cars for each. The rest is window dressing in search of “exclusivity”

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        SVX Pearlie – I agree with you that some Lexus product does compete with Buick – such as the HS and ES (ES is US only as well). But the GS, LS and higher SUV’s compete higher up than Buick. Lexus will also be a higher profit per unit (maybe towards Audi/BMW/Mercedes level).
        That is fine for Buick, they have some great product like the LaCrosse and are increasing sales and re-establishing themselves.

        I agree with MikeAR that Lexus is a notch above Buick.

        As I said in a previous comment volume is not that important, profit is. The domestics sold many more cars back in 2006-2008 and made losses. They sell many less cars (and a smaller market share) but make a profit. I know which situation is preferable.

      • 0 avatar
        SVX pearlie

        Mike: points well-taken, and very fair response. I note that Buick is supposed to be a more mass brand, by design, and naturally goes after the meat of the market, which is where Lexus plays strongly (and makes money) with the ES and RX. I also note that GM has a 3-pronged approach with GMC Denali and Caddy complementing Buick, whereas Lexus as to do it all. I’m not sure Lexus actually drives much more profit than GM does.

        The unique platforms like the GS & LS have higher development costs against lower sales volumes. While those cars might have higher margin of price vs production cost, amortizing the development cost probably eats a lot of that higher margin. The GS doesn’t sell that well, and it’s not at all obvious what its point is sitting between the ES and LS, so I suspect Lexus will lose money on that model when a full accounting is done.

        I mostly see Lexus as ES & RX, which are the same as Buick & GMC, respectively. The LS is more exclusive than the Camry twins, but seems to lack imagination given that similar money buys a more prestigious S-klasse, a more dynamic 7er, an all-weather S8, or the rarely-seen XJ.

        I completely agree that repeatable, ongoing profit should be the key metric for both GM and Toyota. How they get their profit doesn’t matter.

        Thanks again, mike.

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        To me Buick just doesn’t have a natural competitor anymore. The closest thing to Buick was Mercury, and now that Mercury is gone, Buick is the only brand that’s sandwiched between the mass market brand (Chevy) and the real luxury brand (Cadillac).

        I wouldn’t consider Buick at the same level as Acura, Lexus or Infiniti, but it does sit above Chevy, Toyota, and Honda. It’s just in a weird place, but hey, people are buying them, so that’s all that matters.

        Geeber –

        Cadillac has some room to go, but has been making some good strides. The CTS is certainly competitive with the 3 Series and C class (plus it’s almost as big as the 5 series and E class, so it has value). The Escalade and the SRX aren’t world beaters, but they’re competent and not embarrassing for the segments they play in.

        The opinions for anyone vapid and shallow enough to buy a car for the image it brings at the Country Club shouldn’t be worth considering here.

      • 0 avatar
        jaje

        Though Lexus may sell a couple cars that may compete with Buick – they are far from competitors in image, luxury, profit, lineup – you name it. To help you understand this here’s the lineup from Lexus with starting MSRP:

        LFA – $375k+
        LS 600h L – $112k+
        LX 570 – $80k+
        LS 460 – $67k+
        IS F – $60k+
        GS 450h – $58k+
        GS 460 – $55k+
        GX 460 – $53k+
        GS 350 – $47k+
        IS 350c – $46k+
        RX 450h – $45k+
        IS 250c – $41k+
        IS 350 – $39k+
        RX 350 – $39k+
        ES 350 – $36k+
        HS 350h – $36k+
        IS 250 – $33k+
        CT 200h – $29k+

        Buick has 4 models – Lacrosse, Lucerne, Regal and Enclave with a 5th coming called the Verano. Only the ES 350 and RX 350 can be considered competition. However the LFA, LS, LX, GS, IS, HS, and CT series vehicles have no Buick counterpart. Selling one LS 600h L for $135k fully loaded probably brings the profit margin Buick needs to sell 20-30 cars.

      • 0 avatar
        SVX pearlie

        @jaje: As I noted, Toyota only has Lexus, they don’t have GMC Denali or Caddy or a 911-fighter in their main line.

        Also, if you were to weight final transaction prices (not starting MSRPs for base models) against actual sales volume, I’ll bet you dollars to donuts that Buick and Lexus end up at about the same number.

        That is, the few extra bucks Lexus makes on the occasional LS or LFA has to balance off against roughly 1/3 of Buick sales being $40-50k Enclaves.

        Actually, come to think about it, there’s a fairly decent chance that Buick leads Lexus in average per-vehicle transaction pricing…

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        “Only the ES 350 and RX 350 can be considered competition.”

        Otoh, the ES and RX make up the bulk of Lexus sales.

      • 0 avatar
        jaje

        @SVX…Let’s sum up the debate thus far.

        My statement that Buick is not a direct competitor with Lexus though they may have a car (ES) or SUV (RX) that you can honestly cross shop. Similar # of sales does not make you competitors. Following this logic gives Buick competition with Subaru, Mazda and Ram as laughable as that seems.

        I then post up a laundry list of Lexii (sp?) models. Your counter is to add in sales of GMC and Cadillac and GMC after the fact. Neither of these are sub brands of Buick.

        However, now you are making the opinion that both Buick’s weighted sales transaction prices and that Buick’s average transaction price is higher than Lexus. Can you prove any of these claims?

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        SVX pearlie: @geeber: Like Caddy (CTS & SRX), BMW & Benz are might as well be 1-model brands as well. 3-series / X5 & E-class / S-class are the definitive cars for each. The rest is window dressing in search of “exclusivity”

        Can’t buy it. The Mercedes S-Class is the definitive “mass market” luxury car (as opposed to exotics such as Rolls-Royce and Bentley) in this country and the rest of the world, and is very important to Mercedes’ image.

        GM has admitted that Cadillac is a non-player in the true luxury leagues by constantly flirting with the idea of bringing out a Cadillac to compete with the S-Class. Cadillac competes in one segment with Mercedes in the passenger car field with one entry – the CTS – and that is in the upper-medium price segment.

        BMW’s 5-Series are very popular as well, and burnish BMW’s image. The 3-Series gets a double boost – it has an excellent reputation as the definitive “sports luxury” driver’s car, and it benefits from the association with the BMW 5-Series and 7-Series.

        Nullo Modo: The opinions for anyone vapid and shallow enough to buy a car for the image it brings at the Country Club shouldn’t be worth considering here.

        In which case, we wouldn’t be considering why all of those Cadillacs were sold in the 1950s and 1960s.

        Image and snob appeal are based on tangible attributes – build quality, performance, luxurious, well-trimmed interiors, etc. Cadillac had those qualities in the 1950s and 1960s, which is why it was the default choice among luxury car buyers, and carried clout when you drove it to the country club or nice restaurant. When buyers started noticing that the attributes were no longer there, Cadillac lost its fabled image, and has never really regained it.

        Today, BMW, Mercedes and Lexus have the reputation, although word is getting around that the first two have some reliability issues. The reason that they have the right image, and Cadillac doesn’t, is that they have done a far better job of making cars that offer tangible qualities not found in the mass-market entries. Those qualities translate into snob appeal and clout at the country club, so, yes, it is important what those people think.

      • 0 avatar
        SVX pearlie

        @jaje: The largest bulk of Lexus sales (ES & RX) are overlapped by Buick. Therefore, they are direct competitors.

        Lexus top 3 sellers were:
        5647 RX 1000 units last month.

        Buick sold:
        4774 LaCrosse ~ES
        4324 Enclave >RX
        4247 Regal ~IS
        2235 Lucerne
        These were 100% of Buick sales, with nothing selling <2000 units.

        Head-to-head, Buick killed Lexus on cars, and sells a better CUV at smaller volume.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        Sorry, but no matter how it’s sliced and diced, Buick simply does not have the prestige and clout of Lexus. Based on what I see, people driving LaCrosses are not potential Lexus customers, and vice versa.

        LaCrosse drivers look like the type who would have bought a Park Avenue or a LeSabre if they had been available, while most Lexus drivers appear to be at least one or two notches higher up on the income scale.

        I’m not saying that the new Buicks are bad vehicles. They are not – the LaCrosse and Enclave are dramatic improvements over what Buick was selling just a few years ago. But Cadillac is the GM marque that really competes (or, should be competing) with Lexus, not Buick.

      • 0 avatar
        jaje

        Hmmm – b/c Buick is on a tear right now b/c its lineup is entirely refreshed (finally) and GM’s got its act together. GM and Buick no longer relay on $5k in rebates slapped on the hood of a poorly out of date or mockingly rebadged Chevy to sell it.

        However, by claiming Lexus and Buick are brand competitors and tp support this outrageous theory by then ignoring every single other Lexus model up to a $400k supercar built with a F1 inspired v10 is simply ignorant at best. You even make the stretch to say the Regal and IS are competitors – I’m not sure if you know that the IS is a RWD platform where no Buick has such (every model they sell is FWD based).

        Now, if you think Buick as a brand competes with Lexus – then you must consider Buick also competing with Porsche b/c we’ll ignore the rest of its product line b/c the Cayenne (4 door SUV) and the Panamera (4 door sedan – actually a hatchback) are their big sellers so they must compete with Buick’s 4 door SUV and sedans (RWD be damned). Now, as soon as Buick has a coupe to sell we’ll have the logic to start comparing Buick sales with Lamborghini, Aston Martin, Ferrari on volume.

        I know you dislike Toyota from reading your past posts and comments about them. There’s a definite bias going on here. Buick has come 180 degrees in 2 years from its dead brand walking. It is hot right now so great. I don’t consider Buick a Lexus competitor b/c their true competition is the now defunct Mercury, Lincoln, Chrysler and I’d say Acura too.

    • 0 avatar
      wsn

      “Buick (78.7k YtD) is about 1500 units ahead of Lexus (77.2k YtD).”

      So what? Toyota is far ahead of Buick.

      • 0 avatar
        SVX pearlie

        “So what? Toyota is far ahead of Buick.”

        So what? Chevy is far, far ahead of Toyota.

        Buick & Lexus are competitors, so it’s a valid race to watch.

  • avatar
    jpcavanaugh

    Chrysler deserves a pat on the back. The Grand Cherokee continues strongly (as does Jeep as a whole.) The Chrysler 200 is doing a lot better than Sebring did last year.

    300 and Charger are down some, but they are still in ramp-up mode and are big cars in a month of $4+ gasoline. Ram trucks are up, bucking a trend in lower big pickup sales.

    Chrysler is doing a bit better than GM on a YTD comparison, and is doing way better on a May 2011/May 2010 basis. This is a lot better than I expected for Chrysler with the gas prices that we have.

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      The numbers for the 200 are indeed promising, but the 300 has to be a disappointment. Despite the facelift, YTD sales are down 36%, May was down 28%. Charger isn’t much better. The competition for these two cars is substantially stronger now, and they may never again see the kind of numbers they used to.

      I am curious about the 500, though, and whether it’s still supply-constrained — looking forward to seeing where the sales number settle after the supply is sufficient and the initial pent-up demand has been sated.

      • 0 avatar
        iNeon

        We can’t get enough 300s in Birmingham. They leave as soon as we get them. The supply is indeed limited.

        200s are selling very well for us.

      • 0 avatar
        th009

        Why is the 300 supply still limited, months after launch, and with sales volumes 30% below last year? Is the Brampton plant having production problems? It seems there should be much more production capacity than the current sales volumes.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        What stronger competition? There is the Taurus, Avalon, Maxima (all have been around a few years). Maybe LaCrosse (not too sure size wise).

      • 0 avatar
        th009

        Not significantly stronger competition than last year (hence I think the sales numbers are disappointing) but much stronger than when the current-gen 300 was launched.

    • 0 avatar
      jj99

      Grand Cherokee is a great product. The rest, not so much.

      • 0 avatar
        Roundel

        The 300 was the last car for launch, and that was only 2 months ago. I have no idea why, but dealers are only just getting in 300’s in numbers. But it was also announced that there is going to be a short 11 model year for Chrysler.

  • avatar
    mazder3

    Isn’t that image from the March 1969 issue of Motor Trend that has a bright orange Boss 302 on the cover? Or possibly an issue of Sports Car Graphic? I remember that image from somewhere. It was part of a comparison test of pony cars with ~350ci engines. Javelin 343. Hmm….

  • avatar
    obbop

    I wonder if that data would still make sense if Star Trek star dates replaced the numbers.

  • avatar
    Joss

    2012 Hyundai Accent out this month might shuffle things a bit in June… TTAC review ASAP please.

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      We got our first 2012 Accent in on Tuesday night. What a nice car. It is now nice enough that I won’t be embarrassed to try and switch a cost conscious customer down from the Elantra. The Accent GLS sedan max’s out at $17,800 with every accessory Hyundai makes – cloth, no sunroof, but the regular GLS will be right at $16k with a 1.6L GDI motor, 6 speed automatic, power windows locks and mirrors, cd stereo, ABS, ESC, traction control and 6 airbags and 40mpg highway. The value is unbelievable.

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