By on August 23, 2012

With only a week to go for August, Kelley Blue Book predicts a surprising 18.7 percent increase in new car sales for the month, and sees the seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) to hit 14.4 million units.

Says Kelley Blue Book chief analyst Alec Gutierrez:

“Although economic jitters remain top-of-mind for many, those consumers seeking replacement vehicles continue to opt for new cars with used-car values remaining high, Savvy consumers are likely opting to pay an extra $20 or $30 per month to buy or lease a new car than settle for a used vehicle with 20,000 miles or more.”

If the month comes in anywhere as predicted, there will be back-slapping in Germany, grins in Asia, and demure nods from Detroit. Volkswagen is seen adding on a whopping 50 percent in sales. Toyota and Honda are expected to improve 31 and 51 percent in August from soft sales one year ago due to inventory shortages stemming from the earthquake in Japan.

Toyota and Honda are winning the hearts to the retail customer, while Detroit is restocking rental fleets. “Toyota outsold General Motors three out of the seven months so far in 2012 in terms of retail sales volume,” said Guiterez. “The resurgence of Toyota and Honda is especially impressive when we consider that they have been able to regain market share without relying on fleet sales.”

In August, Kelley Blue Book expects Toyota and General Motors to be neck-and-neck for the retail sales crown, while Ford will likely beat Honda by 14,000 units or more. All three Detroit makers are expected to lose market share, with GM taking the most radical haircut.

August Forecast By Kelley Blue Book
Sales Volume Market Share
Manufacturer 12-Aug 11-Aug YOY% 12-Aug 11-Aug YOY%
General Motors 225,950 218,479 3.40% 17.70% 20.40% -2.60%
Ford Motor Company 191,600 174,800 9.60% 15.10% 16.30% -1.20%
Toyota Motor Company 176,950 129,482 36.70% 13.90% 12.10% 1.80%
Chrysler Group 142,600 130,119 9.60% 11.20% 12.10% -0.90%
American Honda 129,450 82,321 57.30% 10.20% 7.70% 2.50%
Hyundai-Kia 119,662 99,693 20.00% 9.40% 9.30% 0.10%
Nissan North America 105,000 91,541 14.70% 8.20% 8.50% -0.30%
Volkswagen 53,500 35,557 50.50% 4.20% 3.30% 0.90%
Total 1,273,000 1,072,379 18.70%

Please keep in mind that these are projections only. The final numbers can and will change, especially due to the influence of fleet sales which are hard to predict. Please also watch this space for forecasts by Edmunds and TrueCar.

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14 Comments on “Kelley Blue Book Projects Strong August, Weak Detroit Market Share...”

  • avatar

    at General Motors the results don’t change, only the excuses. decades of decline are not about to alter course when the current crop of marketing mavens are clones of the ones they replaced. no matter what else Akerson and company does, there is no hope possible without radically instituting effective and proven techniques. meanwhile market share will end the year at 15% as predicted by your friendly…

    Return to Greatness

    • 0 avatar

      Among “instituting effective and proven techniques” should be the folding of GMC into Chevrolet and dumping Buick on their China affiliates, aka cutting one’s losses.

      GM needs to focus on their two core brands, Chevrolet and Cadillac. Some models sparkle, most are duds.

      If Chevrolet wants their trucks to continue as the profit center they should put an all-aluminum, 32-valve, DOHC, 350ci (5.7L) V8 under the hood of the half-ton Silverado mated to an Allison transmission, with disc brakes all-around.

      Reverse-engineering the best-selling Camry would go a long way to make their Malibu competitive.

      Detroit iron was once great, a long, long time ago. They won’t win back any old customers they lost to the better foreigners and transplants, but putting their products ahead of their unionized labor force may go a long way to getting a lot more potential customers to look at their products again.

      A market share of ~15% for GM at this year’s end may actually come about at the rate things are going. Never fear! Uncle Barack is here, and he stands ready with the US Treasury.

      The point here is that if GM is just barely squeaking by now with all its financial distress tugging at North American profits, a further reduction in market share is not helpful.

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    That picture is just too friggin’ creepy….

  • avatar

    I was hoping someone at the new GM would really shake things up. But it sounds like more of the old GM this time with Obama making sure the bills are paid, regardless of whether they make products consumers really want to buy.

  • avatar

    “The resurgence of Toyota and Honda is especially impressive when we consider that they have been able to regain market share without relying on fleet sales.”

    – Eh?

    For the 1st 5-6 months, Toyota was doing something like 16% to fleet, but they cut back sharply in July.

    That’s one reason Camry sales dropped from 42.5k and 39.5k in March and May to under 30k in July.

    And according to one industry study, GM’s operating margins are higher than Toyota’s for the 1st half of the year – 5.2% vs. 4.2%.

    (The highest is BMW with margins of 11.6% followed by Hyundai at 11.4%.)

    • 0 avatar

      The so called “operating margin” is an abstract accounting term that has no physical meaning. I.e. it doesn’t mean GM made money.

      Cost to support UAW benefits is a huge component of GM’s cost, it occurs every second, and yet GM never lists that as an operating cost item. It’s legal to do so in accounting, but they can have $1000B operating profit per day and still go bankrupt.

      • 0 avatar

        GM has $2.5 billion in net income for the year thus far.

        And if we are going to talk about the costs of UAW benefits, Ford has has a bigger issue than GM.

        Labor costs at GM are lower than for Ford which is why GM is able to build the subcompact Sonic in the States while Ford builds the Fiesta in Mexico.

    • 0 avatar


      Do you happen to know Toyota’s fleet sales for the first two quarters of last year?

      • 0 avatar

        kix –

        Sorry, I don’t have those figures on hand since Toyota isn’t as up front about fleet sales as other automakers (usually have to get Toyota’s fleet nos. from a 3rd party source).

        While I’m sure Toyota’s fleet sales dropped due to the effects of the tsunami in 2011, the Corolla which did about 440k in total volume last year did not make the 400k retail sales club.

  • avatar

    No surprise here.

  • avatar
    Mike Kelley

    Here are a couple good GM articles:

  • avatar

    Hyundai-Kia has recently passed Nissan in the US; Honda is next in line.

    Only H-K and VW don’t have the tsunami to credit for their great YOY gains.

  • avatar

    If you think about the company as a person, which you can, you can think of the company as a crazy person. Have you ever dealt with a crazy person?

    Does GM exist just to exist? Because they still call it a going concern? Beucause we’re better than Chrysler? As long as GM makes just a little bit of money it will continue to exist and be propped up into existence and GM would like to STAY THE COURSE. It just wants to STAY THE COURSE. That’s it, always.

    Chrysler has Jeep, Fiat and Chrysler all going for it, plus minivans. Ford is cool in North America. GM is less cool is North America and will be the budget, cheap brand. There’s no doubting it. What a pathetic path. We’re all just hoping for someone who won’t STAY THE COURSE but GM will get squeezed out though. This is what the road to nowhere looks like. The transplants will steal marketshare and rule us…

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