Edmunds: Spring For U.S. Car Sales, Winter For GM

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

Edmunds has handed in its predictions for February sales. Its bottom line is similar to the forecast made by Kelley Blue Book a few days ago: More than a million cars sold, GM the big loser of the month. Edmunds has better news for Ford. And much better news for Chrysler, if that is at all possible.

Sales Volume12-Feb11-FebYOYYOY adjGM196,742207,030-5.0%-8.8%Ford184,812156,23818.3%13.6%Toyota149,780141,8465.6%1.4%Chrysler125,99095,10232.5%27.2%Honda103,18398,0595.2%1.0%Nissan97,97192,3706.1%1.8%Industry1,095,059993,00910.3%5.9%

Looking at a few more days of data than Kelley, Edmunds predicts that somewhere around 1,095,059 new cars will be sold in February, for a Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR) of 14.4 million units. This would be a 5.9 percent increase over February 2011. Edmunds.com figures that retail SAAR will come in at 11.3 million vehicles in February, with fleet transactions accounting for 21 percent of total sales. Edmunds Senior Analyst Jessica Caldwell sees a veritable spring for U.S. auto sales:

“There’s a rising tide of excellent buying conditions right now that is really driving auto sales momentum. Between surprisingly strong sales over Presidents Day weekend, optimistic economic news, and unseasonably mild weather conditions across the country, things seem to be breaking the right way for both car buyers and dealers.”

Edmunds agrees with Kelley that GM will get it on the chin, and predicts even more hurt: Unadjusted for sales days, Edmunds foresees a 5 percent decrease in GM sales. Ford (+18%) and Chrysler (+32.5%) are doing much better on the Edmunds spreadsheet than predicted by Kelley.

Market Share12-Feb11-FebYOYGM18.0%20.8%-2.9%Ford16.9%15.7%1.1%Toyota13.7%14.3%-0.6%Chrysler11.5%9.6%1.9%Honda9.4%9.9%-0.5%Nissan8.9%9.3%-0.4%

If Edmunds’ predictions pan out, then GM will suffer a huge hit to their year-over-year market share, dropping almost three percentage points from February of last year. According to Edmunds, “GM’s year-over-year decline is a direct result of its aggressive incentives push that pumped up sales in early 2011.”

Pretty much all of that lost market share will be snapped-up by the cross-town rivals. Edmunds has Ford gaining 1.1 percent in share, and Chrysler a very respectable 1.9 percent.

Join the conversation
5 of 12 comments
  • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Feb 25, 2012

    Again we're looking at huge gains by Chrysler. Last year they were behind Honda and Nissan, and Hyundai-Kia was gaining on them. Now, they've passed both Honda and Nissan and are leaving H-K in the dust, making Chrysler the number four maker in America. How are they doing it with their line-up, and can they bring enough new models online in time to keep the momentum going? More importantly, how is Fiat going to afford to buy out the UAW VEBA's 42% and merge Chrysler and Fiat?

    • See 2 previous
    • Highdesertcat Highdesertcat on Feb 27, 2012

      @highdesertcat windswords, I wouldn't post it if I didn't get my info from reputable sources. I attended NADA meetings during 2009, 2010 and 2011, and the view from the floor is very different than your view. You are entitled to your interpretation of the facts but I prefer to believe what actual owners of Chrysler dealerships have told me. If you want to spread misinformation around that's your business. But the people who are actually vested in making a living selling Fiatsler products tell a different story. Chrysler cannot do anything unilaterally without seeking permission from Fiat and the board. Fiat, OTOH, does not have to consult with Chrysler about anything to include kicking off the UAW members on the board. Chrysler cannot tap into Fiat's money where Fiat owns ALL of Chrysler's money. That should tell you a lot. One thing we could possibly agree on and that is that the Chrysler division of Fiat has a bright future ahead if the boys and girls employed by them in the US of A can keep a low profile and not get caught drinking, smoking and toking during their lunch hour. Look for Fiat products built elsewhere to be sold in the US under a Chrysler label starting in 2013. Sounds to me like Fiat is calling all the shots here. Not the other way around.

  • Lokki Lokki on Feb 26, 2012

    So, can it be objectively said that Chrysler is taking significant market share from GM, Honda, and Toyota? One thing I keep thinking with Chrysler's numbers is that if one only sold 3 or 4 cars last year, it's not very hard to show an impressive percentage increase in sales. Additionally can anyone comment as if to any of these sales are impacted by access to, or lack of access to, captive financing arms? I seem to recall the GM was forced to divest itself of GMAC at one point, and I can't recall if they got it back although I believe that they did. As always, it's a big benefit in bad financial times if you can set your own credit standards. However, I don't honestly know enough to even guess and while noting what's been said above, I think that GM's line-up looks as good as it ever has. I'm a still a bit puzzled as to why their sales are down. By the way, my financial adviser braced me for the idea that the economy is going to stay down for 3 or 4 years (note to political commentators -regardless of who wins the election, so please just don't go there, OK?).

  • 3SpeedAutomatic And this too shall pass.....Ford went thru this when the model T was introduced. It took the moving assembly line to make real money. As time progressed, it got refined, eventually moving to the Model A. Same kind of hiccups with fuel injection, 4 speed automatic, Firestone tires, dashboards with no radio knobs, etc, etc, etc. Same thing with EVs. Yep, a fire or two in the parking lot, espresso time at the charging stations, other issues yet to be encountered, just give it time. 🚗🚗🚗
  • Art Vandelay 2025 Camaro and Challenger
  • Mike Beranek Any car whose engine makes less than 300 ft-lbs of torque.
  • Malcolm Mini temporarily halted manual transmission production but brought it back as it was a surprisingly good seller. The downside is that they should have made awd standard with the manual instead of nixing it. Ford said recently that 4dr were 7% manual take rate and I think the two door was 15%.
  • Master Baiter It’s hard to make predictions, especially about the future. It will be interesting to see if demand for Ford’s EVs will match the production capacity they are putting on line.