By on August 3, 2011

Despite solid gains at most brands, losses at tsunami-afflicted Honda and Toyota were sever enough to reduced the July bottom line of U.S. auto sales to a tepid 1 percent gain. The seasonally adjusted annual sales rate (SAAR) for July stands at 12.24 million units. The pent-up demand is still in hiding, but automaker have not given up the hope for its return:

“There are people who put off vehicle purchases because of uncertainty about fuel prices, vehicle availability and the economy,” said Don Johnson, head of U.S. sales for GM, told Automotive News [sub].  “As these conditions improve in the latter half of this year, many of these buyers will return to the market.”

Others take a more cautious stance.

“The auto industry is having a difficult time shaking off adversity,” Jeff Schuster, executive director of global forecasting at J.D. Power and Associates, said.

“The recovery is clearly in a stall mode,” Paul Ballew, the chief economist at Nationwide Insurance and a former sales analyst at GM, told The New York Times. “It’s hard to see sales sprinting forward without some help on job and income growth.”

Some carmakers have a different problem. According to The New York Times, the fuel efficient Ford Focus and Chevrolet Cruze, have become scarce. “We’re shipping everything we can to meet consumer demand,” said Ken Czubay, Ford’s vice president for United States marketing, sales and service. “But consumers are telling us they want two more than we can produce. We’re running flat out.”

U.S. New Car Sales, July 2011

Automaker July July Pct. 7 month 7 month Pct.
2011 2010 chng. 2011 2010 chng.
BMW Group 26,164 23,433 12% 169,949 145,272 17%
BMW division 21,409 19,064 12% 135,114 119,696 13%
Mini 4,711 4,326 9% 34,527 25,279 37%
Rolls-Royce 44 43 2% 308 297 4%
Chrysler Group LLC 112,026 93,313 20% 751,958 620,532 21%
Chrysler Division 15,427 14,692 5% 111,495 122,818 –9%
Dodge 33,653 30,916 9% 263,551 231,383 14%
Dodge/Ram 54,870 52,155 5% 404,866 344,477 18%
Fiat 3,038 –% 7,982 –%
Jeep 38,691 26,466 46% 227,615 153,237 49%
Ram 21,217 21,239 0% 141,315 113,094 25%
Daimler AG 21,069 18,614 13% 141,674 128,969 10%
Maybach 4 5 –20% 32 38 –16%
Mercedes-Benz 20,738 18,049 15% 138,759 125,022 11%
Smart USA 327 560 –42% 2,883 3,909 –26%
Ford Motor Co. 180,315 170,208 6% 1,250,051 1,151,560 9%
Ford division 172,501 153,400 13% 1,199,986 1,011,854 19%
Ford/Lincoln/Mercury 180,315 165,889 9% 1,250,051 1,119,035 12%
Lincoln 7,814 5,586 40% 49,817 49,348 1%
Mercury 6,903 –100% 248 57,833 –100%
Volvo 4,319 –100% 32,525 –100%
General Motors 214,915 199,602 8% 1,476,525 1,277,203 16%
Buick 16,873 16,799 0% 110,472 86,831 27%
Cadillac 11,119 14,919 –26% 87,241 79,704 10%
Chevrolet 149,005 139,858 7% 1,053,543 920,864 14%
GMC 37,918 27,766 37% 225,269 178,600 26%
Hummer 210 –100% 3,139 –100%
Pontiac 20 –100% 947 –100%
Saab –% 608 –100%
Saturn 30 –100% 6,510 –100%
Honda 80,502 112,437 –28% 687,944 706,346 –3%
Acura 9,402 13,017 –28% 70,082 74,134 –6%
Honda Division 71,100 99,420 –29% 617,862 632,212 –2%
Hyundai Group 105,065 89,525 17% 672,966 515,376 31%
Hyundai division 59,561 54,106 10% 382,358 309,888 23%
Kia 45,504 35,419 29% 290,608 205,488 41%
Jaguar Land Rover 3,795 3,808 0% 27,497 24,623 12%
Jaguar 984 1,516 –35% 7,394 7,367 0%
Land Rover 2,811 2,292 23% 20,103 17,256 17%
Maserati 199 156 28% 1,296 1,068 21%
Mazda 20,783 20,732 0% 143,162 136,451 5%
Mitsubishi 7,972 5,648 41% 52,087 32,138 62%
Nissan 84,601 82,337 3% 589,574 522,669 13%
Infiniti 7,410 9,764 –24% 54,678 57,064 –4%
Nissan Division 77,191 72,573 6% 534,896 465,605 15%
Porsche 2,768 2,703 2% 18,310 13,687 34%
Saab Cars 384 471 –19% 3,855 1,209 219%
Subaru 21,730 23,983 –9% 153,779 149,943 3%
Suzuki 2,447 1,952 25% 15,849 13,501 17%
Toyota 130,802 169,224 –23% 943,590 1,015,766 –7%
Lexus 14,539 18,595 –22% 102,549 126,025 –19%
Scion 3,499 4,653 –25% 30,120 25,660 17%
Toyota division 112,764 145,976 –23% 810,921 864,081 –6%
Toyota/Scion 116,263 150,629 –23% 841,041 889,741 –6%
Volkswagen 38,354 31,753 21% 249,231 206,893 21%
Audi 9,146 7,817 17% 65,055 56,257 16%
Bentley 142 56 154% 985 744 32%
VW division 29,066 23,880 22% 183,191 149,892 22%
Volvo Cars 5,595 –% 41,898 –%
Other (estimate) 244 241 1% 1,708 1,686 1%
TOTAL 1,059,730 1,050,140 1% 7,392,903 6,664,892 11%

Data courtesy Automotive News [sub]

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21 Comments on “July New Car Sales: Tepid Growth While Some Cars Get Scarce...”

  • avatar

    “Some carmakers have a different problem. According to The New York Times, the fuel efficient Ford Focus and Chevrolet Cruze, have become scarce”

    Ford? yes.

    Government Motors? Not so much

    • 0 avatar

      That Cruze link’s first listing is a Cruze LTZ for $258238. Are dealers marking them up THAT much because of their supposed scarcity? I’ll take a high-end Audi for that much. :)

      But scarcity of models is a better problem than having vehicles sit on lots. And Suzuki sold almost 2500 cars in July. Amazing!

    • 0 avatar

      Just went to my Ford dealer to hopefully take a look at a Focus Titanium in the flesh. Not even 1 on the show room floor. I find a sales guy, says they don’t have any. I find a sales manager, says he thinks he has one SEL waiting for pickup. Says if you want to buy now, it is a 6-8 week wait. John Q. Public is snapping them up because of the ads hawking the 38mpgs and there was significant paint job damage to a giant fleet of them after a Michigan hail storm which is making things worse.

  • avatar

    As to whether or not the FIAT 500 is a sales dud. It outsold the ENTIRE YEAR of Smart sales, and was only about 400 units behind the ENTIRE LINE of Scions for the month.

    • 0 avatar

      I noticed the July sales of Fiat…July alone nearly doubled the YTD sales going into July. Reads to me like a combination of ramping-up volume and insufficient market awareness. It remains to be seen if that one-month spike will become a trend, but unless it does the 2011 calendar year target of 50k units won’t be hit.

    • 0 avatar

      Smart is practically dead. Some dealers still have 2010 models in inventory. The jury is still out on the Fiat. They’ve been on the market for 5 months and have sold 8,000 cars rather than the 21,000 they’d need to be on pace to meet their sales goal. Even in their best month to date they were 28% off of what they need to average. Having cars in inventory might not help. From what I’ve heard, the Fiat is much more likely to sell to someone who doesn’t get a test drive before they sign a purchase order.

      • 0 avatar

        Keep in mind, most Fiat showrooms have not been open the entire year. In fact, if you take a look you’ll see that many have been open for no more than 3-4 months and others have yet to open. I don’t think you can really get a good read on Fiat sales until late 3rd early 4th quarter when their dealer network is fully functional.

        In other news, anyone notice that Fiat sales (2 body styles) isn’t that far behind Mini?

      • 0 avatar

        I thought the dealers were operating in March, when they were delivering the ‘500 Edition’ cars. Mini does have far too many models for not so many sales, although they do average over 4,900 sales a month.

        This graph shows that Fiat 500 sales are paralleling those of the Mini Cooper when it was introduced in the US:

        The Mini Cooper was more expensive though, even without adjusting for almost a decade of dollar devaluation. Bringing it here also didn’t involve a new production facility. Time will tell if bringing the 500 here was worthwhile. Maybe its success is actually going to be measured in whether or not it counts as Chrysler’s 40 mpg compact so Fiat gets more taxpayer ‘equity.’

      • 0 avatar

        I looked at the Seattle Fiat dealer’s website…it doesn’t seem as though they have any actual cars available.

    • 0 avatar

      Fiat is selling the 500 to the rental fleets. I wonder how many are going to actual customers.

  • avatar

    That is not light at the end of the tunnel.
    2011 will not see a recovery, and 2012 doesn’t appear to be the year the US economy turns around either.

    I still see some roadkill ahead among the weaker players.

  • avatar

    +1 VanillaDude

    The rest of 2011 looks bleak-for consumers and Suzuki/Saab/Smart.

    I’m in the market for a CUV but I’m not feeling so warm and fuzzy about my income streams. Much to my wifes chagrin, I’m begining to hoard cash.

    Used prices for 2007-2010 CUVs are outrageous. Maybe the used car bubble will deflate a bit come 2012.

  • avatar

    I guess if the toyo/honda lovers wanna try and rationalize their brands horrid sales this year with the quake argument then they must admit that IN FACT the mexico built fusion, SRX, etc are much more American after all than the Kentucky-built Camry or Ohio-built Accord. Otherwise, the Japan quake wouldn’t have had such a huge impact on sales.

    Or it could just be that nobody just wants toyo/honda garbage any more……

    • 0 avatar

      The Camry is in fact #1 on the list of vehicles with the most American content. Very sad but true.
      Yes, Toyota and Honda are no doubt slipping, but how can anyone honestly say they build garbage.

      • 0 avatar

        Well which one is it? If the Camry is so American an earthquake in Japan should have no more impact on it’s sales than say the Fusion. Simple logic. Therefore, the only explanation is that people aren’t buying camcords because they are inferior/undesirable vehicles.

      • 0 avatar

        IMHO the Camcords are less desirable due to the great vehicles now available from the Koreans and Detroit. Toyota and Honda are getting lazy.

        Pch101 also has some good points in his post below.

  • avatar

    Sales are being hurt by the lack of inventory. At my Hyundai store, right now I have NO Accents, Elantras, Tucsons, Genesis sedans, or Genesis coupes. I have 4 Sonatas, 9 Santa Fes, 2 Veracruz’s and one Azera. People are coming in every day, but it is kind of hard to sell air. Nearby, the Toyota store’s back lot is totally empty, as it the Honda lot. Normally we all would have 200-300 new cars in stock.

    • 0 avatar

      I don`t doubt you but when I see an advert right next to your post on TTAC saying the 2011 Corolla is available with 1.9% APR for 60 months, $500 bonus cash and complimentary maintenance (Toyota Care) I do doubt. If they had such a limited stock why would they be offering more incentives than they typically do.

      I can understand Hyundai being short of supply because they are selling very well and deservedly so.

      I agree with ttiguy – if Toyota Camry’s have the highest domestic content why are they so short of supply. I know it could be chips but surely that would effect Fusions, Malibus etc which have less domestic content. Does sound like the tsunami is unfortunately being used a little as an excuse especially since all the manufacturers are bouncing back months quicker than expected and Nissan was minimally affected.

      • 0 avatar

        if Toyota Camry’s have the highest domestic content why are they so short of supply.

        Because the bits that aren’t domestic come mostly from Japan, and they’re short of parts. Even if the car has 90% domestic content, the car can’t be assembled without 100% of the parts.

        Japan literally got slammed with an earthquake, a massive tidal wave and a nuclear meltdown. Unless we’re going to dwell on the plausibility of fake moon landings and the like, it’s reasonable to expect that there are genuine supply chain disruptions as a result of this trifecta of catastrophe.

        That being said, what the incentives suggest is that Toyota may be losing its ability to maintain a price premium above its competitors, at least in certain segments. The incentives, while still below those of its Detroit rivals, would appear to reflect some softness. That would suggest that the brand halo may be fading and/or that their customers just don’t have the money and credit that they used to have.

      • 0 avatar

        Pch101 – I understand your points. It just struck me as odd that a company that can produce between 6 and 8 million vehicles a year (lower due to earthquake issues) has trouble producing more than say 15-20,000 Corolla’s and Camry’s a month. The US is an important market for them (more so that Europe) and you would have thought they would have had commonalities so say some of the computer chips in the Camry would be shared with the Avensis in Europe (the mid-size equivalent). I thought they liked globalised, common parts. The other thing, as previously mentioned, is that if they are having such trouble producing (and other manufacturers who rely on some Japanese components are not) then why off large (for them) incentives.

        Anyway this will be resolved before the end of the year so during 2012 we can finally see if the compact and midsize order has been upended by Hyundai, GM, Ford and VW. We will be finally away from bankruptcies, bailouts, earthquakes, unexpected gas price hikes and other “anomolies” that prevent the truth from being clearly seen.

      • 0 avatar

        The US is an important market for them

        It is. But about three-quarters of their market is outside of North America, and they’re not going to prioritize the US at the expense of every other market.

        The other thing, as previously mentioned, is that if they are having such trouble producing (and other manufacturers who rely on some Japanese components are not) then why offer large (for them) incentives.

        Toyota’s incentives are below the industry average, and a fair bit below those of Detroit. The incentive spend is certainly moving in the wrong direction for Toyota and in the right direction for the domestics, but GM (which you seem to like) is still shelling out $1,000 more than is Toyota.

        I would agree, though, that Toyota’s issues are not caused solely by the tsunami aftermath. The competition is more intense, and TMC’s branding strength has taken a bit of a bullet. The main beneficiary is clearly Hyundai, although Ford is making noteworthy gains and GM seems to be making progress.

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