Toyota sales fall 16% in Jan.; Ford, GM, Nissan rise

February 2, 2010 / Uncategorized / 0 Comments /

JANUARY U.S. AUTO SALESJANUARY SAAR IS 10.5 MILLION

Numbers in this table are calculated by Automotive News based on actual monthly sales reported by the manufacturers and may differ from numbers reported elsewhere.
Source: Automotive News Data Center
Note: Other includes estimates for Aston Martin, Ferrari, Lamborghini and Lotus
*Includes Mini and Rolls-Royce
**Includes Maybach,
Mercedes-Benz and Smart
***Includes Volvo
****Includes Saab
†Includes Honda Division and Acura
††Includes Hyundai and Kia
‡Includes Nissan Division and Infiniti
‡‡Includes Toyota Division, Lexus and Scion
‡‡‡Includes VW, Audi and Bentley

S

Jesse Snyder

Automotive News

Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc., hobbled by suspended sales on eight recalled models, suffered a 16 percent drop in January demand while most competitors rose from depressed levels of a year ago.

U.S. sales at Toyota Division, which markets each of the recalled models, fell 19 percent. The Lexus luxury division, which wasn’t targeted in the Jan. 21 recall, gained 5 percent.

Sales at Ford Motor Co. jumped 25 percent — the company’s fourth straight monthly increase. General Motors Co. was up 14 percent, while Chrysler Group, the other survivor of a 2009 bankruptcy, fell 8 percent. In unit sales, Chrysler fell behind Nissan North America, which advanced 16 percent. American Honda slipped 5 percent.

Subaru, the only brand with U.S. sales gains in each of the past two years, began 2010 with a 28 percent sales jump.

Shinichi Sasaki, Toyota’s vice president in charge of quality, said today in Japan that the automaker’s sales probably will take a hit. On Jan. 26, Toyota halted U.S. sales of eight models following a recall of 2.3 million vehicles tied to faulty accelerator pedals.

Analysts expected Toyota’s woes to boost sales and market shares for its largest competitors in the United States. GM, Ford, Chrysler Group and Hyundai all launched incentives last week aimed at luring Toyota customers.

Ford said today it didn’t see any change in conquest sales based on the developments at Toyota. “Just a week into this announcement, it’s very hard to predict what’s going to happen,” said George Pipas, Ford’s chief sales analyst.

Beyond January, Toyota’s sales shutdown will have a “significant” impact in the short term, said David Sargeant, vice president of automotive research at J.D. Power & Associates, before today’s results were released. He said Toyota will likely to lose a few percentage points of market share for February.

“The bigger issue is what’s the longer-term impact on their reputation and how that will affect sales going forward,” Sargeant said. “What we know is that Toyota’s sales are very heavily dependent on reputation for quality and safety.”

Yesterday, Toyota said it had found the remedy to fix potentially sticky accelerator pedals in the recalled vehicles, but the company said it is expected to take some time for dealers to complete repairs.

Forecasts

Reuters said analysts and industry executives expect a January selling rate of 10.5 million to 11 million units on a seasonally adjusted annual basis, up from 9.8 million a year earlier. A Bloomberg poll of eight analysts put last month’s SAAR at 10.5 million.

Sales fell below the 10 million-unit annualized rate in January 2009 for the first time in almost 30 years, as unit sales fell 37 percent from 2008 amid a deep economic downturn.

Last month’s totals are expected to be down from the 11.9 million-unit rate of December — when automakers posted a 15 percent sales increase compared with the prior year, supported by year-end incentives that helped retail sales.

A total of 10.4 million light vehicles were sold in the United States last year, down from more than 17 million at the start of the decade.

“There’s no question that the worst is behind us,” Ford’s Pipas said before today’s results were released. “We’re into a period of expansion.

“This is probably not going to be the kind of recovery that is nice and linear,” Pipas added. “We’re going to see fits and starts for the consumer.”

Ford today projected its January market share at 16 percent, in line with the share for all of 2009.

A projected drop in January retail sales is likely to be offset by a strong rebound in fleet demand. Fleet sales were pummeled last year after financing dried up and businesses pulled back on spending in the wake of the U.S. banking bailout.

Reuters contributed to this report

Editor’s note: Earlier versions of this story and the accompanying sales table had incorrect percentage sales declines for Chrysler Group.


About the author

John Paul Strong: For someone who spends an average of 135 days outside of the office meeting with clients, John Paul Strong remains the driving force behind his Birmingham-based advertising agency, Strong Automotive Merchandising. Strong began his career as a fresh-faced account executive at Martin Advertising. Learning much, but never satisfied, he convinced his father to partner with him in reopening their own advertising agency in 2004, catering exclusively to the automotive industry. The company started strong but humble. The original roster of 10 employees and eight clients has exploded today, growing to 100 full-time employees and more than 220 automotive dealers. And it hasn’t gone without notice. Along the way, Strong Automotive Merchandising has been recognized as a perennial winner in Birmingham’s Best Places to Work contest and as a Top 20 Agency among Google’s National Ad Partners. Yet, Strong still finds time to share what he’s learned along the way. As an avid writer, he has published two books in the Next Day Traffic series, along with more than 1,000 automotive-focused blog posts. He is also a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, and his success has been recognized in the Birmingham Business Journal’s 2013 “Top 40 Under 40” feature and the 2017 CEO Awards. The foundation for Strong’s career began at the University of Montevallo where he earned a bachelor’s degree in communication studies and advanced public speaking. Always staying ahead of the competition, Strong later went on to study in Harvard Business School’s Executive Education Program. Amid all of his endeavors, Strong always makes time for what matters most – his family. He is a proud husband to Amy, and father to Lilly Grace, Anne Charlotte, Hudson, and Ford.


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