2009 July Auto Sales: Thanks, Uncle Sam!

Some SUVs: Surprising Beneficiaries

Chevrolet Suburban +68%
Suzuki XL7 +53%
GMC Yukon XL +48%
Toyota Highlander +37%
Chevrolet Avalanche +29%
Toyota Venza +28%

Toyota was able to capitalize on the Highlander's and the Venza's rebate eligibility, as was Suzuki with the XL7. But what's perhaps more surprising is that the heavy-duty versions of GM's big-boy SUVs and its Avalanche pickup also could net their buyers government cash, under certain circumstances (basically, the buyer trading in another big truck/SUV).

Upswings That Had Nothing to do With C.A.R.S.

Range Rover +138%
Mercedes-Benz E-class +100%
Porsche Cayenne +97%
Audi R8 +82%
Porsche 911 +77%
BMW Z4 +70%
Mercury Grand Marquis +63%
BMW X6 +48%
BMW 7-series +43%
Lincoln Town Car +30%
Audi A8 +25%

The Range Rover, E-class, BMW 7-series, and Z4 all earned their increases the time-honored way: by bringing out a new model. What about the gains for the Cayenne, the R8, the 911, the X6, and the A8? Maybe it was the reopening of the Wall Street bonus spigot.

Losers: Thirsty Sedans

Cadillac STS -71%
Kia Amanti -66%
Volvo S80 -45%
Cadillac DTS -45%
Saab 9-5 -38%
Buick Lucerne -35%
Pontiac G8 -34%
Lincoln MKZ -28%
Jaguar XF -25%
Buick LaCrosse -25%
Cadillac CTS -25%

None of these met the program's mpg threshold (although some were too expensive to qualify anyway), and they suffered for it.

Losers: Thirsty SUVs

Range Rover Sport -57%
GMC Envoy -43%
Chevrolet TrailBlazer -42%
Ford Explorer -40%
Dodge Durango -37%
Ford Expedition -33%
Kia Sorento -33%
Audi Q7 -33%
Toyota Sequoia -29%
Mercedes-Benz M-class -29%
Jeep Liberty -25%
Nissan Armada -25%
Hummer H3 -25%

With the exception of the smaller-engine, two-wheel-drive version of the Sorento, these SUVs were all too thirsty (or too expensive) to get in on the big cash giveaway. That might not have been much of a consideration for Range Rover Sport shoppers, who might have been awaiting the soon-to-arrive 2010 version.

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