2009 January Auto Sales

Taking the industry-wide figure of -27% as the baseline, some brands saw only modest January declines:

Scion -5%
All three models were essentially flat month-to-month. Unfortunately, the brand overall has settled out at a level 50% below a year ago, with the xD slightly stronger than the others.

Lamborghini -14%
Lotus -10%
Both niche sports car makers declined only slightly last month and are off by roughly one quarter versus a year ago. Not bad in this context.

Nissan -13%
Infiniti -14%
Mazda -14%
Toyota -14%
Honda -16%
Mainstream Japanese makes didn't suffer hugely, but the continued declines still were enough for Toyota and Nissan to forecast losses for 2009. Nissan is enjoying gains for the new Z and a relatively strong Versa, against weakness in the Altima and Maxima; the Rogue is up and the Murano is still solid, but the rest of Nissan's truck and SUV entries are a shadow of their former selves. Infiniti made gains with the EX35 and the FX, and its car entries generally are in good shape; only the QX56 is in full-fledged collapse. At Mazda, the new 3 is making headway but the new 6 is not; the CX9 is recovering and the 5 is still healthy, while the Tribute and the B-series pickup are increasingly pointless. At Toyota, the Corolla/Matrix is the bright spot in the car lineup, but the Yaris looks bad and the Prius has slipped (ahead of the arrival of the new version); the Camry is softening and the Avalon looks weak; the truck/SUV situation is bad across the board, except for the not-so-bad RAV4. Honda's Fit continues to power ahead, while the Civic and Accord sag; the Pilot and the CR-V aren't hurting quite as much as the Odyssey, the Element, and the Ridgeline.

Buick -22%
Land Rover -23%
Porsche -23%
Given the recent past, it's surprising to see Buick, Land Rover, and Porsche in a not-so-bad position. Still, Buick sales are nearly half last year's levels, with the Enclave the strongest entry. Depressingly, the Cayenne is the most resilient model at Porsche, with the Cayman faring worst among the brand's sports cars. (Land Rover does not break out sales by model.)

Smart -24%
Volkswagen -27%
Smart's month-to-month decline is unfortunate, but the brand still more than doubled its sales from last January. Volkwagen has been enjoying a boost from several new models: the CC, the Routan, and the Tiguan, plus strong Jetta sales (goosed by the Sportwagen and the TDI).

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