July 2008 Sales: No Relief in Sight

July 2008 Sales: No Relief in Sight

WHAT'S UP

Of course, it's not all bad news out there. The following models managed to make some meaningful headway in July (with sales up 10% or more):

The new and improved

Lexus LX570 +309%
Suzuki SX4 +136%
Chevrolet Malibu +79%
Toyota Land Cruiser +75%
Toyota Sequoia +63%
Subaru Forester +51%
Mercedes-Benz C-class +45%
Cadillac CTS +38%
Acura TSX +26%
Chrysler Town & Country +24%
Infiniti FX +19%
Ford Focus +16%
Toyota Corolla/Matrix +16%
BMW X5 +12%
Honda Accord +11%

The LX570 (a big percentage jump but on very small volume), Land Cruiser, and Sequoia show that redesign can boost even fortunes of even the biggest SUVs. The Malibu and the CTS continue to be the brightest stars in GM's lineup. And the Chrysler Town & Country is still moving ahead, but its Dodge sibling already is slipping.

Small is still beautiful

Honda Fit +93%
VW GTI/R32 +46%
Subaru Impreza +19%
Chevy Aveo +17%
Pontiac G5 +16%
Nissan Sentra +16%
VW Jetta +15%
Nissan Versa +14%

Do the throngs of buyers mobbing Honda showrooms know that the Fit is about to be replaced with a new version? Do they even care? Probably not.

Premium small cars are no longer an oxymoron

Audi A3 +30%
Mini Cooper +24%

Competitors have been dismissive of the Audi A3, but it has become an important car for the brand, outselling the A5/S5, the A8/R8, the TT, the R8 (no surprise), and is poised to overtake the Q7. The Mini Cooper, meanwhile, might have posted even bigger numbers, but it's effectively sold out. And the Volvo C30 (not listed here because it was only trickling into dealerships last July) now outsells the S60 and the V50, and has pulled even with the slumping S40.

Korean, and loving it

Hyundai Accent +96%
Hyundai Elantra +31%
Kia Optima +49%
Kia Rio +22%

The undeclared recession continues to be kind to Hyundai and Kia.

Arise, mini-minivans

Mazda5 +40%
Kia Rondo +15%

"Who wants a small minivan?" many once asked (including some of Mazda's U.S. managers, when told they would be getting the Mazda5 to sell). But the Euro-style people movers suddenly look sensible.

Nissan's big bounce

Nissan Frontier +24%
Nissan Quest +15%
Nissan Xterra +17%

All three of these nameplates were in our loser's circle (off 50% or more) last month.

All's well on fleet streetFord Crown Victoria +39%

Is Mercedes-Benz recession-proof?

E-class +53%
GL class +28%
G-wagen +25%
SLR +44%

We can understand a big jump in sales of the C-class (which was redesigned this spring), but the E-class? The GL is also showing strength considering how most big, luxury SUVs are swooning. The G-wagen and SLR, however, posted their big percentage jumps on tiny volumes, and the S-class, CL, SLK, and ML have all taken a hit.

Simply defying gravity

Porsche Boxster +32%
Mitsubishi Galant +30%
Buick Enclave +28%
Mercury Grand Marquis +26%
Saturn Aura +24%
Mitsubishi Endeavor +23%
Dodge Viper +19%
Mitsubishi Eclipse +16%
Saturn Sky +14%
Audi A6 +14%
VW Eos +13%

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