US Light Duty Vehicle Sales Fall 15.5% for August 2008 Year-on-Year; Light Trucks Increase Their Market Share
|The new sales market share of passenger cars and trucks, plotted against the average US price of gasoline (green line). Click to enlarge.|
Total sales of light duty vehicles in the US in August 2008 fell 15.5% to 1,249,793 units from 1,478,274 units in August 2007, according to data provided by Autodata. Passenger car sales dropped 7.7% to 628,947 units from 681,130, while light truck sales plunged 22.1% to 620,846 units from 797,144 the year before.
Although the August results mark the sixth straight month that sales of passenger cars exceed sales of light trucks, the gap between the two was the narrowest of those six months—cars 50.3%, light trucks 49.7%.
GM. GM reported sales of 308,817 vehicles in August, its best monthly total in 2008, although still down 20.4% from August 2007. GM attributed the strong results to its incentive program offering employee discounts for everyone. The automaker has extended the program through the end of September. Total car sales were down 13.9% to 124,441 units, while total truck sales were down 24.1% to 182,844 units.
Chevrolet Silverado, Avalanche and GMC Sierra pickups had their strongest total sales month since last August, with more than 80,000 vehicles sold. Chevrolet Tahoe, Suburban and GMC Yukon full-size utilities had their best performance of the year. Overall, GM August truck sales (excluding crossovers) declined 25.6% compared with a year ago.
Chevrolet retail car sales were up 18%, Pontiac retail car sales increased 11% and Cadillac retail car sales were up 10% compared with last August. Cadillac CTS dominated the mid-car luxury category with retail sales increasing 87% compared with the same month a year ago.
GM’s midsized crossovers—Buick Enclave, GMC Acadia and Saturn Outlook—together accounted for more than 14,600 vehicle sales in the month, with a retail sales increase of 29% compared with a year ago.
GM hybrid vehicles continue to gain sales, with 530 hybrid Chevrolet Tahoe, 267 GMC Yukon and 1 Cadillac Escalade 2-mode SUVs delivered. There were 388 Chevrolet Malibu, 26 Saturn Aura and 417 Vue hybrids sold in August. For the month, a total of 1,629 hybrid vehicles were delivered, with 7,096 hybrids sold so far this year.
Toyota. Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), USA reported August sales of 211,533 vehicles, a decrease of 9.4% from last August. Total passenger car sales (Toyota and Lexus) were down 4.3% to 129,622 units. Total light truck sales were down 16.4% to 81,911 units.
Toyota Division passenger car sales (down 3.4% from last August) were led by Camry and Camry Hybrid, which posted combined sales of 44,064 units, up 3.3% over August 2007. Corolla recorded sales of 29,443 units for the month. With limited availability, the Prius mid-size gas-electric hybrid posted August sales of 13,463 units, down 4.2% from August 2007. Yaris reported sales of 9,474 units for the month, up 20.5% over the year-ago month.
TMS posted August sales of 19,529 hybrid vehicles, down 3.7% from August 2007. TMS calendar-year-to-date hybrid sales totaled 185,051 units, down 2.6% from the same period in 2007.
Ford. Ford, Lincoln, Mercury and Volvo sales were down 26.6% in August 2008 year-on-year to 155,690 units. (Volvo was down 48.8% to 4,669 units.) Sales of Ford’s SUVs were down 53% to 10,852 from 23,087; trucks and vans were down 38.5% to 54,565 units; cars dropped 8.9% to 52,677; crossovers dropped 1.3% to 32,927. Total light-duty truck sales were down 32.3% to 98,344 units.
However, Ford Focus sales were up 23% and Escape sales were up 17% versus a year ago.
Honda. American Honda Motor posted August total vehicle sales of 146,855, a decline of 7.3% compared to record-setting August 2007 results. Total car sales were down 5.1% to 86,827 units; total truck sales were down 10.l% to 60,028 units.
Honda models showing increased sales included the all-new Pilot, up 18.6% to 11,276; Civic, up 5.3% to 30,052; and the Civic Hybrid, up 47.7% to 3,105. The MDX was Acura’s top-selling model, posting 5,180 units while sales of the TL sedan increased 0.2 percent to 5,000.
Nissan. Nissan North America, Inc. (NNA) once again countered the trend, with a 13.6% in August 2008 sales to 108,493 units. Total car sales (Nissan and Infiniti) decreased 0.8% to 56,476 units, while total truck sales jumped 34.8% to 52,017 units.
Chrysler. Chrysler sales dropped 34% year-on-year to 110,235 units in August. Total car sales were down 39% to 26,016 units while total truck sales dropped 33% to 84,219. The Dodge Grand Caravan posted sales of 9,422 units, nearly flat when compared with August 2007 sales. The all-new Chrysler Town & Country posted increased sales of 10,182 units in August, up 15% compared with August 2007 sales.