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US LDV Sales Down 33.7% in May; SAAR Up to 9.91M; Reported Hybrid Sales Down 28.5%; Hybrid New Vehicle Share of 2.8%

New vehicle SAAR. Data: Autodata. Click to enlarge.

Total sales of light-duty vehicles in the US decreased 33.7% by volume year-on-year in May 2009 to 925,824 units, according to figures compiled by Autodata. Although still a significant decrease compared to the prior year, the May 2009 results were the highest of the year so far, and raised the Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR) to 9.91 million units—its highest level yet in 2009.

Sales of passenger cars declined 38.6% to 488,045 units; sales of light trucks declined 27.2% to 437,779. The car:truck ratio for new vehicle sales for the month was 52.7:47.3. OEM-reported sales of hybrids in the month dropped 28.5% to 25,693 units; hybrids thus held a 2.8% share of new vehicle sales, the best monthly result so far this year.

Us hybrid sales 2009.05.01
Reported US sales of hybrids. Click to enlarge.

There were 26 selling days in May 2009, compared with 27 in May 2008. All comparisons here are based on sales volume, and not adjusted for selling days in the period.

General Motors. Despite the public speculation on a bankruptcy outcome for GM during the month of May, GM outpaced the performance of the overall market by posting 190,881 light-duty vehicle sales, a decrease of 29% by volume. Car sales were down 37.7% to 81,009 units; light trucks were down 20.8% to 109,872 units.

Us hybrid sales 2009.05.02
Hybrid monthly new vehicle market share. Click to enlarge.

The company gained share for the second consecutive month, and saw the third consecutive month of monthly sales increases led by its four core brands—Chevrolet, GMC, Buick and Cadillac—which were up 18% collectively compared with April.

A total of 1,739 GM hybrid vehicles were delivered in the month, a 39% increase compared to May 2008. Hybrids represented 0.9% of GM’s total sales for the month. So far in 2009, GM has delivered 6,895 hybrid vehicles.

(With the May results, GM stopped providing a breakout of hybrid sales by model.)

Us hybrid sales 2009.05.03
Hybrids as a percentage of light vehicle sales. Click to enlarge.

Ford. Ford maintained its number two spot in the US market in May 2009, with Ford, Lincoln and Mercury reporting sales of 155,954 units, down 24.3% year-on-year.

Those results were sufficient to yield Ford’s highest market share in three years. Sales were up 20% compared to April 2009, and were the highest monthly tally since July 2008.

Sales of cars were down 25.5% to 63,697 units; sales of crossovers were down only 9% to 35,582 units; sales of SUVs were off 37.4% to 9,657 units; and sales of trucks and vans were down 28.7% to 47,018 units.

Sales of the Ford Fusion were 19,786, Ford Flex sales were 4,305 and sales of the company’s hybrid vehicles totaled 3,906—setting three new sales records. In addition, Lincoln’s new sedans, the MKZ and MKS, helped the luxury brand post a 2% sales increase.

Combined sales for the Fusion and Milan hybrids and the Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner hybrids totaled 3,906—a new company record for hybrid sales in a single month. The previous record was set in April 2006, with 3,420 hybrids.

Hybrids represented 2.5% of sales in the month.

Toyota Motor Sales, USA. Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc., reported that May vehicle sales dropped 40.7% by volume to 152,583 units. Car sales were down 43% to 96,650 units; light truck sales were down 36.8% to 55,933 units.

Camry and Camry Hybrid remained Toyota’s volume leader in May, posting combined monthly sales of 31,325 units, down 39%. The Prius mid-size gas-electric hybrid posted May sales of 10,091 units, down 32.8%.

Overall, TMS posted May sales of 14,846 hybrid vehicles, down 43% year-on-year. Hybrids represented 9.7% of Toyota sales in May 2009.

American Honda Motor Co., Inc., posted May total vehicle sales of 98,344, a decline of 41.5% by volume year-on-year. Total car sales dropped to 49.5% to 57,957 units; total truck sales dropped 24.1% to 40,387 units.

Accord remained the volume leader, with a 48.3% drop to 22,597 units. Combined sales of the Civic and Civic Hybrid dropped 61% to 20,273 units. Sales of the Civic Hybrid were down 55.6% to 2,077 units.

The all-new Insight hybrid posted sales of 2,780, helping drive an increase in total Honda hybrid sales of 3.5% by volume despite the decline in Civic Hybrid sales. Hybrids represented 4.9% if Honda’s total sales for the month.

Chrysler LLC. Chrysler LLC reported May US total sales of 79,010 units, a 47% decrease by volume from May 2008. Car sales were down 57% to 18,046 units, truck sales were down 43% to 60,964 units. Compared to May 2008, retail sales decreased 30%. During the month of May, Chrysler LLC did not produce any vehicles for fleet sales which resulted in a fleet sales reduction of 90% year-over-year for the same period.

Nevertheless, May was the best retail sales month of 2009 for Chrysler, with 74,741 retail units sold. Chrysler’s retail market share is higher than May of last year and also stronger than in April.

Nissan. Nissan North America, Inc. (NNA) reported sales for May of 67,489 units, a decrease of 33.1%. Sales of cars were down 39.8% to 42,831 units; sales of trucks were down 17.2% to 24,658 units.

The Altima remained the volume leader, with a 46.5% drop in sales to 18,408 units. Sales of the Altima Hybrid dropped 78.5% to 345 units. The Altima Hybrid represented 0.5% of Nissan sales.


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