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Sales of Full-Size SUVs Continue to Erode in April; Cars Increasing as Percentage of Sales

2 May 2006

Fullsizesuvsalesapr061
April sales of full-size SUVs.

Sales of full-size SUVs continued their downward trajectory, dropping below a combined 100,000 units in April to 91,615, a decrease of 24.7% year on year. Combined sales in the segment for the first four months of the year were down 18.8% year on year to 393,262 units.

Overall, sales of full-size SUVs represented 6.4% of the total sales of light-duty vehicles in April 2006, down from 8.1% of total sales in April 2005.

Although total sales of light-duty vehicles declined in April 2006 from the year prior by 5.6%, cars suffered less than light-duty trucks and SUVs—in other words, the ratio between cars and light-duty trucks is shifting—in general—in the favor of cars.

In April 2006, cars represented 49% of all light-duty vehicle sold, up from 47.4% in 2005. (Absolute numbers, not adjusted for the day-sales rate (DSR)—the average volume sold per sales day in the month, which can vary from year to year.)

Ldv_changes_apr061
Changes in car and truck sales, April 2005 to April 2006. Click to enlarge.

However, there is a sharp difference between what is happening at GM and what is happening at Ford and Chrysler. While GM’s car sales dropped 21.1% from April 2005 to April 2006, Ford’s car sales increased 8.3% and Chrysler’s increased a whopping 32%.

While GM’s truck sales were down 2.3% from April to April (large drops in some brands offset by ongoing strength in the new full-size SUV Tahoe, Yukon and Escalade), Ford’s truck sales dropped 14.6% and Chrysler’s dropped 18.9%.

Ldv_changes_apr062
Percentage-point changes in cars as a percentage of total LDV sales.

From having the highest ratio of cars as a percentage of total LDV sales among the Detroit-3 in April 2005 (44.8%), GM has now dropped 5.2 percentage points to 39.6%. By contrast, Ford gained 5.6 percentage points to hit 40.4%, and Chrysler climbed 9.3 percentage points to hit 30.7%.

In the context of the overall decline in full-size SUV sales, GM is increasing its share of this segment. In April, GM sold 61.3% of all the full-size SUVs, up from a 52.4% share in April 2005.

May 2, 2006 in Sales | Permalink | Comments (26) | TrackBack (2)

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Comments

Congratulations to GM for dominating a dying segment.

Yes, congrats to GM. They designed the GMT900 platform to be cheaper to produce and yet the selling price is up. They are making more profit then ever on this vehicle then they did at the height of the suv rage.

I dont like SUV's and wish GM was selling real hybrids but this vehicle is helping then financially.

The GMT900 gets better mpg then Toyota or Fords comparable models.

Woopty do. GM gets a bigger slice of a smaller pie. That is not a good plan for recovery.

GM has more 30 mpg cars than toyota or honda now.They are builing flex fuel cars now.Thet are coming out with hybrids.They have put a fortune into hydrogen research.They are selling a profitable suv that people want.We can demonize them but we{unions,politicians,car buying public}created this beast to some extent.But if it makes you feel better,GM execs eat babies!!!!.

GM may have a lot of +30MPG vehicles but few that people want. But they put no thought or effort into them. They make them only to comply with the law and to punish those consumers who buy them. They want all consumers who buy a car to be disappointed so that we feel we should have bought an SUV. We are the monster, created by Detroit and our own arrogance and greed.

Oh, and the babies thing is just a rumor. It's puppies they're after.

What vehicle(s) led to the large increase in Chrysler sales - the 32% mentioned in article?

GM is heavily investing in hydrogen. That's really going to help the bottom line for the next ten years, isn't it?

re Chrysler sales: Chrysler says the Dodge Caliber and the Chrysler 300 are responsible for that 37% increase.

http://comnet.chrysler.com/comnet/ComnetControllerServlet?start=0&count=10&contentId=4964&view=E&expanddate=&year=2006&total=58&MODULE_ID=PRDOCS&ACTION_ID=VIEW_PR_CONTENT&publicationId=PR&publicationName=Press+Releases

But, reading their press release a little, here's an interesting sentence:

"The flagship vehicle for the Chrysler brand, the Chrysler 300, posted sales of 12,804 units in April 2006, an increase of 4 percent over April 2005 sales of 12,837 units."

How is 12,804 a 4% increase over 12,837?? I must be missing something..

Looks to me like their auto sales increase is primarily due to the new Caliber, which replaces the Neon, and the fact that they are selling a car, the Charger, that didn't exist last year.

They also increased sales of the Crossfire and the Stratus. Meanwhile, sales of the PT Cruiser, Sebring, Pacifica and Magnum were down. Is the Charger taking sales from the Magnum?

GM has more 30 mpg cars than toyota or honda now.They are builing flex fuel cars now.Thet are coming out with hybrids.They have put a fortune into hydrogen research.They are selling a profitable suv that people want.We can demonize them but we{unions,politicians,car buying public}created this beast to some extent.

This message was brought to you by General Motors - saving lives, making apple pie, and defending baseball since 1908.

"How is 12,804 a 4% increase over 12,837?? I must be missing something.."

They adjust for the number of selling days of which there were 26 in Apr 06 and 27 in Apr 05.

"GM has more 30 mpg cars than toyota or honda now"

I do like apple pie (without the agribusiness pesticides), but am curious, how many 30 mpg cars does GM offer and what % of their fleet does this represent? I can't imagine more than 1/4 of their fleet is comprised of 30 mpg cars.

GM has more 30 mpg cars than toyota or honda now.

And I'd like to deal with that one, which is poppycock.

GM has exactly 2 vehicles with combined EPA ratings of 30 or more -- the Saturn Ion (30) and the Pontiac Vibe (31-33), with the latter a car that is a REBADGED TOYOTA.

Ford, Mercury, and Mazda also have exactly 2 vehicles with combined EPA ratings of 30 or more -- the Escape/Mariner/Tribute (31-33) and the Mazda 3 (31).

Toyota has 7 - the Prius (55), Yaris sedan and hatchback (36), Corolla (33-36), Scion xA (34), Matrix (31-33), Scion xB (31), and the Hihglander Hybrid (30).

Honda has 4 - Insight (56-63), Civic Hybrid (50), Fit (33-35), and Civic (33-34).

In terms of sales-weighted fuel economy, the latest CAFE report (March 2005) has
the following:

domestic passenger vehicles (DP)
====================
Honda - 36.7
Toyota - 34.3
GM - 28.8
Ford - 28.2

light trucks
=======
Honda - 24.8
Toyota - 23.1
Ford - 21.5
GM - 21.5

imported passenger cars
===============
Toyota - 35.1
Honda - 31.5
GM - 29.3
Ford - 28.4

In sum, GM does slightly better overall than Ford in CAFE results, is beaten handily by Honda and Toyota, and has exactly 1 model that it produces itself which meets or exceeds 30 mpg combined in EPA ratings -- getting the bare minimum of 30 mpg. By contrast, Toyota has 7 (ranging from 30 to 55 mpg) and Honda has 4 (ranging from 33-63 mpg).

GM has more 30 mpg cars than toyota or honda now.
Part of GM's problem is that they have too many cars and too many models - and not enough managers with the big ones to do the necessary culling. JW disproved this statement, I believe.

They are builing flex fuel cars now.
WHOOPPEE! Now we just need to plough under the country to produce the ethanol for this to make any meaningful difference.

Thet are coming out with hybrids.
Thanks to their great strategic thinking and timely entry, they will have to sell at rock bottom prices to gain a toe-hold in this competitive market.

They have put a fortune into hydrogen research.
And they believe they are going to be selling these in five years. It's more likely Santa Claus will save them, than hydrogen fuel cell cars.

They are selling a profitable suv that people want.
OK, they are dominating the large SUV market. They will soon own 100% of this sinking ship. And they call that progress!

We can demonize them but we{unions,politicians,car buying public}created this beast to some extent.
I am blaming GM management. Their inability to apply logic is simply staggering.

But if it makes you feel better,GM execs eat babies!!!!.
I guess that's what happens when Toyota eats your lunch!

The tragidy is that our companies do not seem to recognize what is happening and cannot correlate the rising fuel prices with the decreased demand for the SUV. As the oil prices go up, the SUV becomes a vehicle basically for the rich and not for the common people.

They should be concentrating on the next generation vehicles such as PHEV's and not be bogged down with trying to justify selling SUV's as the basis of their profit because much of the profits have already been made. If our car companies are to survive, they must come up with vehicles that can outperform the imports. If they cannot leap-frog the imports in performance with mpg, they will be closing more of their factories in the years to come.

If our country produces auto companies that cannot adapt to changes, then we cannot expect these companies to survive. Past performance has no effect on future success.

[email protected]

Joe,did you forget Chevy?Impala,Cobalt,Aveo?No not brought to you by GM I read it in the N.Y. times.Plow the country under?As an engineer you do know about the various sources of ethanol being developed right?
I would like to be able give gm constructive criticism rather than vitriol because I know a large number of American families and retirees will go through economic hell if gm tanks.
P.S. Joseph,I believe it was you that said you saved eighty percent on energy usage.I would be interested in a post on some of your methods.I have used compact flourescents,hung laundry etc. and I hope someday to be able to be grid independent.

GM is about profit maximization. That means finding enough customers who will buy something that you can make the best profit on. If large SUVs are really going upmarket (which is not clear) then that would be a reasonable strategy: get the biggest piece of the most profitable segment of the market. I'm sure they've modelled consumer behavior in the face of rising gasoline prices. Question is whether the models are working. Long term it seems likely they'll need to change strategy... but US companies can't often be blamed for worrying about the long term.

Joe,did you forget Chevy?Impala,Cobalt,Aveo?

No, I didn't. None of those gets a combined 30 mpg. Here's the EPA datafile for MY2006 vehicles, if you want to check the accuracy of my numbers:
http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/epadata/06data.zip

I would like to be able give gm constructive criticism rather than vitriol because I know a large number of American families and retirees will go through economic hell if gm tanks.

What you were saying wasn't exactly "constructive criticism" - it was the same PR that GM puts out all the time. I'm sure we've all seen the commercials which make the same claims. I just wanted to set the record straight that GM isn't being honest about their MPG claims.

I don't wish them ill will, either, but when I read the following (c. March 2005):
"Lutz dismissed concerns that volatile gas prices would mean that large SUVs might not be the savior they have been in the past.

'Everybody thinks high gas prices hurt sport utility sales. In fact they don't,' he said, adding that buyers of big SUVs like the Suburban, GMC Denali and Cadillac Escalade were well-off enough to be insulated from rising gas prices.

'Rich people don't care,' he said.
http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20050324/news_1b24gm.html

then my sympathetic energy is challenged with respect to the well-being of that company.

P.S. Joseph,I believe it was you that said you saved eighty percent on energy usage.

Something like that.

I would be interested in a post on some of your methods.I have used compact flourescents,hung laundry etc. and I hope someday to be able to be grid independent.

Well, the two biggest things are that

1) My girlfriend commutes to work by bus (which uses little in the way of marginal energy consumption) and I work at home. The two vehicles we have each average 33 mpg.

2) We zone heat in the winter with the whole house thermostat usually set to 50 degrees (which we usually bump to 55 late in the winter) -- something that definitely takes getting used to. We have no central air, so we use zone cooling in the summer. The rest of the year we moderate temperatures with passive solar and ventilation.

I haven't run the numbers, but it's possible we increased our primary energy consumption over last year by relying more on electric heaters and pulling down the whole house thermostat. Our central heating uses old-style water radiators and the furnace uses natural gas. I made the tradeoff since it would save us money, one, and also because we have the 100% wind option via our utility, which actually went down in net cost because of an extra charge they put on to users of normal grid power (which is partly from natural gas plants).

Other than that, we have compact fluorescents in pretty much all of our indoor, non-enclosed light fixtures, and are very good about turning off anything running on electricity that we're not using, though I'm not as religious about it as I used to be.

We also dial back the natural gas water heater to around 120 degrees when it's colder, and lower when it's warmer outside. We also put it on its lowest setting when we're away on vacation.

We try not to use the dryer (natural gas) from spring to fall, and I suppose we could do the same in winter (since the humidity levels are lower), but handling wet clothes in a 50 degree house pushes my tolerance level, so we use the dryer most of the winter season.

We live by a lake, parks, cross country skiing, and bike trails, so we can get our exercise and nature time just by walking or biking to it. We're near the lake's only swim beach, so that helps cool us down on the hotter days of summer.

Our house is a little over 1,000 sq feet of finished space, so there's a reasonable base heating requirement when keeping it at 50 degrees.

We compost and recycle everything we can, burn any non-toxic, non-recyclable combustibles whenever we have a fire, and the wood we use from the fire comes from a huge tree in the back yard which keeps dropping branches and such, and we get bigger pieces when we have it trimmed every few years. Our garbage output is so low that we pay our neighbors a couple bucks a month to use their garbage can. I'd say we waste about 1 plastic shopping bag full with non-compressed garbage once every 3 or 4 weeks.

Our lawn mower is a Brill reel mower and our bikes and cars are all quite old.

I could make the analysis more complex by looking at things like where our food comes from and so forth, but I kind of just eyeball that one. We definitely try to source mainly from the Farmers Market during its 6 main months of operation, and all of the produce there is coming from within 50 miles, with things like fish and meats coming from either Minnesota or Wisconsin, but usually from pretty close by as well. We reuse plastic and paper bags for shopping, too.

I'm sure I could think of other things, but you get the gist of it. The transportation setup and HVAC strategy for the house are definitely the biggest things, though, in terms of energy consumption, and using wind power for electricity cuts down on the environmental impact of the energy we do consume.

Hopefully we'll be taking it to a whole other level with a comprehensive real estate project I'm working on.

Gerald, you're using exactly the same flawed argument as many others do.

If GM tanks, and thus affects the economy, many people's lives, who's fault do you think it will be? The competition? Give me a break. The only ones to blame will be GM management. Isn't this what America is all about? The wonderful world of capitalism, and competition?

Yes, there are a lot of things wrong with the world, and the world is unfair, but certain other automakers seem to be doing fine.

just a very minor point, Joseph W., you said earlier the insight gets 56/63 miles/gallon. I couldn't open up the EPA data site. But I have a feeling you are using old data on the insight, the mileage has inched up over the years. For example, internetautoguide.com lists the 06 insight as getting EPA 60/66 mpg in city/freeway. I know the freeway mileage is right acc. to Honda, I think the city is too, but I can't find it at present...

This would alter the averages you posted somewhat.

just a very minor point, Joseph W., you said earlier the insight gets 56/63 miles/gallon. I couldn't open up the EPA data site. But I have a feeling you are using old data on the insight, the mileage has inched up over the years. For example, internetautoguide.com lists the 06 insight as getting EPA 60/66 mpg in city/freeway. I know the freeway mileage is right acc. to Honda, I think the city is too, but I can't find it at present...

This would alter the averages you posted somewhat.

The numbers I put up were ranges - that's why I used a dash instead of a forward slash. For the Inisght, the lower number is for the model with a CVT and the higher number is for the model with a manual transmission.

I was trying to simplify the GM claim as people would normally interpret it. I counted distinct models and didn't double count when a given model had different configurations which each averaged more than 30 mpg combined. That's why you see ranges next to some of the models and just one number next to others.

My guess is that GM counts all models in all brands in all configurations and is definitely referring to highway, not combined, mileage. I'm sure they also count vehicles like the Vibe, even though it's a rebranded Toyota. Ironic, since the point of the claim is to say that GM is the one with the most high mileage vehicles, even though it's completely the opposite.

Thanks Joseph,Im going to look up amory lovins article in one of my old MIT Technology Review mags.
My strawberry plants kept growing into my lawn so I turned the lawn over.I now have a large strawberry patch and toss in flowers here in there.No mowing,lawn chemicals,and less work.
As for the heating system I think my best savings would come from breaking the kids fingers {thats a joke}.Im considering getting the hes system through keyspan this fall at which time I can have an efficient zone system put in also.
I drive an Impala {22 miles to work}but my next vehicle will be the most efficient commuter car availlable.
Im on board with the whole conservation deal its just taking a little time to get up to speed.
thanks again

"GM is heavily investing in hydrogen"
GM spends $3 billion a year on advertisement.
I'm certain they're not stupid enough to believe their
own bullshit about hydrogen.

GM is heavily investing in hydrogen if this is true then they are in more trouble than i thought the hydrogen fool cell in a joke it can never become a mass market system in cars
its a waste of time and money, if they had any brains they would produce a battery ev or a plugin hybrid
if you bet on the fool cell for cars you will lose

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