2009 July Auto Sales: Thanks, Uncle Sam!

Sagging Sports Cars

Dodge Challenger -35%
Chevrolet Corvette -31%
Pontiac Solstice -30%
Saturn Sky -29%

The Solstice and Sky have just recently ended production, so we wouldn't expect to see any sales increases in the months ahead. Chevrolet product planners would never admit it, but the Corvette could be suffering a bit at the hands of the new Camaro. So might the Challenger as well; or, maybe Dodge dealers were so busy shoveling incentive money at Caliber and Avenger shoppers that they didn't have much time for the Challenger.

C.A.R.S. Candidates That Couldn't Convert

Mitsubishi Raider -75%
Saturn Outlook -47%
Kia Rio -30%
Honda Pilot -29%
Honda Ridgeline -27%
Kia Optima -26%
Volvo XC60 -26%

You know you're having a bad month when the federal government steps in to hand at least some of your potential buyers $3500 or $4500, and you still sell fewer cars than last month.

Special Loser of the Month

Mercedes-Benz R-class -95%

Whoa. Mercedes-Benz R-class sales came to a screeching halt in July. All of 36 were sold, which is fewer than G-wagen sales (the R-class typically outsells the G-wagen 10 to 1). Looking at it another way, Mercedes sold more than 23 times as many examples of the GL-class SUV as it did the R-class. The R-class has been a weak seller for a long time, but not this weak; one year ago, for instance, 750 rolled off dealer lots. Undaunted, Mercedes-Benz is not giving up on the R-class; a refreshed version is on its way for 2010.

TOP 5 BESTSELLING VEHICLES (and prior month rank)

#1 Honda Civic 30,037 (up from #5)
#2 Honda Accord 29,774 (up from #4)
#3 Toyota Corolla/Matrix 29,593 (up from #6)
#4 Toyota Camry 33,974 (down from #2)
#5 Ford F-series 36,327 (down from #1)

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