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Cash for Clunkers Buoys US Auto Sales; Hybrid Sales Up 31.8% for Monthly New Vehicle Share of 3.55%

Us hybrid sales 2009.08-1
Monthly new vehicle market share for hybrids. Click to enlarge.

Buoyed by the US government’s CARS (“Cash for Clunkers”) program, US auto sales slowed their decline in the US in July, dropping on 12.1% to 997,824 units, according to summary figures from AutoData. Passenger car sales dropped 10.6% to 554, 527 units, while light truck sales dropped 14.1% to 443, 297 units. All comparisons are by volume. As a result, the SAAR for July surged to 11.24 million units; US SAAR had been below 10 million since January.

Hybrids had an especially good month, with reported sales jumping 31.8% year-on-year to 35,429 units, representing a 3.55% new vehicle sales market share for the month—the highest monthly share yet. Hybrid gains were largely due to an increase in Prius sales (up 29.7% to 19,173 units) and Ford hybrids (up 323% to 5,353 units).

According to the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, CARS sales reflected demand for more fuel-efficient vehicles:

  • Ford reported a 9 mpg increase from trade-in vehicle to new vehicle purchase;
  • GM reported a 54% increase in small car sales since the CARS program was launched;
  • 57% of Mazdas sold so far under the program were fuel-efficient Mazda 3’s;
  • 78% of Toyota’s CARS sales volume consists of Corolla, Prius, Camry, RAV 4 and Tacoma, which average a combined 30 mpg;
  • Volkswagen reports more than 60% of its CARS sales are clean diesel Jetta TDIs which get an EPA combined 34 mpg.
Us hybrid sales 2009.08-2
Monthly sales of hybrids. Click to enlarge.

General Motors. GM dealers delivered 189,443 total vehicles in July, a 19.4% decline year-on-year by volume. Retail sales were down 9% while fleet sales declined 47%. However, the July results were the largest in ten months. Compared to June 2009, volume was up nearly 12,000 vehicles. Large pickup retail sales began to recover in July with a 16% increase compared with June, driving total GM truck retail sales improvements of 12% when compared with the prior month.

GM delivered a total of 1,487 hybrid vehicles were delivered in the month, up 36.3% year-on-year.

GM total truck sales in July were down 18%, and car sales of 83,736 were off 21% compared with a year ago. However, GM total crossover sales of 39,937 were up 6%, driven by the performance of Chevrolet Traverse which contributed more than 6,600 sales.

Compared with June:

  • Chevrolet Aveo, Cobalt, Impala and Malibu contributed to a Chevrolet car retail increase of 8%.
  • Chevrolet truck sales increased 27%, led by increases by Silverado, Suburban, Avalanche, Colorado, HHR and Equinox.
  • GMC sales increased 8%, led by Sierra, Canyon and Yukon XL.
  • Cadillac Escalade ESV sales increased 32% while Escalade sales increased 3%.
  • Non-core brand sales declined when compared with June as Pontiac dipped 7%; Saturn was down 21%, and HUMMER and Saab declined 26%.

Ford. Ford posted the first year-on-year 2009 sales gains of any major OEM in the US market in July, with total sales climbing 2% to 158,838 units. Ford, Lincoln and Mercury retail sales increased 9% versus a year ago.

Ford’s fuel-efficient vehicles pace July sales results. Ford had an exceptionally strong month with hybrid sales, up 323% year-on-year to 5,353 units. Other results included:

  • Ford Fusion sales totaled 17,610, a July record and up 66% versus a year ago, and Mercury Milan sales were up 60%.
  • Ford Escape sales totaled 20,241, a July record and up 94% versus a year ago, and Mercury Mariner sales were up 71%. The 2009 model Escape Hybrid and Mariner Hybrid are the most fuel-efficient utility vehicles in America.
  • Ford Focus sales totaled 21,830, up 44% versus a year ago.
  • Ford Ranger sales totaled 7,695, up 65% versus a year ago.
  • Ford Flex sales totaled 3,631, up 65% versus a year ago.

The first new 2010 Ford Taurus sedans were delivered at the end of July, as well as the first Transit Connects.

Toyota. Toyota Motor Sales, USA (TMS) reported July sales of 174,872, down 11.4% year-on-year. However, sales were up 27.7% compared to June 2009. TMS posted July sales of 24,295 hybrid vehicles, up 19.3% from the same period last year.

TMS passenger car sales dropped 12.1% to 112,569 units. Light truck sales were down 10.1% to 62,303 units. Light truck sales were led by the RAV4 compact SUV with best-ever July sales of 15,912 units, up 32.5% over the same period last year. Some highlights:

  • The all-new redesigned Prius mid-size gas-electric hybrid posted best-ever July sales of 19,173 units, up 29.7% from the year-ago month.
  • Camry and Camry Hybrid remained Toyota’s volume leader in July, posting combined monthly sales of 33,974 units, down 19.4% from last year. Camry hybrid posted 2,509 units, down 5.1%.
  • Highlander and Highlander Hybrid posted combined sales of 9,407 units, up 39.1% over July 2008. Highlander Hybrid sales were down 14.6%.
  • The RX and RX Hybrid luxury utility vehicle posted combined July sales of 7,811 units, up 10.0% over last July. RX Hybrid sales were down 4.9%.
  • The Tacoma mid-size pickup reported sales of 12,552 units for the month, up 7.6% over July 2008. The Tundra full-size pickup recorded July sales of 6,313 units, down 52.9%.

Honda. American Honda Motor Co., Inc., posted total July vehicle sales of 114,690, a decline of 17.3% compared to July 2008 results. Nevertheless, July was Honda’s highest volume month so far this year. Total car sales were down 15.6% to 76,724; total light truck sales were down 20.6% to 37,966.

  • Total sales of the fuel-efficient Honda Civic increased 3.1% to 30,037. Sales of the Civic Hybrid, however, plunged 71.8% to 969 units year-on-year.
  • The new Honda Insight hybrid posted 2,295 units.
  • Honda CR-V, a best-seller in the crossover utility vehicle segment, increased sales by 9.9% to 19,151.

Chrysler. Chrysler Group LLC reported total US sales for July 2009 of 88,900 units, a decrease of 9% year-on-year, although up 30% versus June 2009. Retail sales for July 2009 were 76,693 units. On 27 July, Chrysler restarted production at 9 of its 11 manufacturing facilities.

  • Dodge Journey, Avenger and Caliber and Jeep Patriot and Compass registered their best July sales ever. Jeep Patriot sales increased 134 percent (8,059 units) compared with July 2008.
  • Jeep Compass sales were up 95% (2,727 units) versus July 2008.
  • Dodge Caliber sales were up 63% (7,718 units) compared with July 2008.
  • Dodge Avenger sales increased 30% versus July 2008.
  • Dodge Grand Caravan sales increased 37% versus July 2008.
  • Chrysler PT Cruiser sales were up 24% (2,377 units) compared with July 2008.
  • Volume leader Ram pickup was down 17% to 17,723 units.

Overall, sales dropped 21% for Chrysler brand vehicles, 8% for Dodge, and 2% for Jeep.

Nissan. Nissan North America reported sales for July of 71,847 units, a decrease of 24.6%. Car sales were down 7.8% to 51,399 units, while light truck sales dropped 48.4% to 20,448 units.

Nissan sold 1,030 units of the Altima hybrid, up 44.1% year-on year. Total Altima sales were down 21.2% to 19,252 units.

  • The all-new 2009 cube continued its strong launch with sales of 3,293 units in July.
  • The 370Z premium sports car experienced an 11.9% sales increase, with 890 units sold in July.
  • Sales of the Rogue compact crossover increased by 3.8% from a year ago with 6,770 units.



Toyota: 24295 Hybrids / 112,569 total TMC passenger cars~ 22% . Not bad

New Prius was 19,173 / 24295 = 80% of their hybrid volume.

New Prius was 19,173 / 112,569 = 17% of total passenger cars sold.

Pretty strong numbers.
Even if you include trucks, Prius was 19,173 / 174,872 = 11%.

Very strong numbers.


Yes, its good to see that most of the good numbers are from fuel efficient vehicles and that the good hybrids are taking off.

Is it because of the clunker deal or that Americans are having an attitude change? Time will tell.

Ford and Toyota seem to be the leaders. Lets see what impact it will have on their profit margin.


Looks like nearly every auto maker is poised to move upward near term. Nice opportunity time.


I bought my clunker for $2,200.00 sold it three days later to the President for $4,500. and bought a new Prius with rebates - cash out: $16k. Whadda country.


Since the clunker law requires the traded vehicle to be in your name, registered and insured for the previous year, Reel$$ is either lying or has just confessed to fraud.

Way to go, troll.

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