The sales data for June is conflicting. Deliveries were up by 7% over last June (whereas May deliveries were down compared to a year ago), which suggests things were better than in May. But the annualized sales pace of 11.4 million was worse than May’s 11.8 million, which suggests that things were, in fact, no better.
The truth is that May’s sudden slowdown continued last month. Many of the Japanese automakers have low inventories of key models. Partially as a result, automakers cut back incentive spending, so there aren’t many sweet deals to entice buyers into showrooms. Again as a result, manufacturers are netting more profits on the cars that they do sell, as transaction prices are quite high.
Supply problems for the Japanese once again made for a remarkable hierarchy, where Hyundai-Kia outsold Honda and Nissan, and Chrysler outsold not only Nissan and Honda but also Toyota. The top six best-selling nameplates were all American-brand cars. This is not the new normal. When will supplies to be back to normal? The latest word is September. When that happens, we can expect volumes to shoot up. Until then, the domestic and the Korean brands will experience a tailwind thanks to diminished competition and all automakers will enjoy higher transaction prices even if overall volumes are depressed.
SALES RESULTS FOR JUNE 2011, AND PERCENT CHANGE VERSUS JUNE 2010
GENERAL MOTORS +11% (Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac, and GMC only)
June was a successful month for General Motors, as its sales increase over last year beat the industry average. At the same time, the company lessened its dependence on fleet sales, although they still accounted for 27% of GM’s total.
Both the Cruze (America’s bestselling car!) and the Malibu topped 20,000 units in June, although we suspect that there’s plenty of fleet sales in those totals — particularly for the Malibu. The Equinox (+56%) is also doing well, as is the Camaro (+13%). The Tahoe (-20%), Avalanche (-15%), and Suburban (-14%) all declined, but the Silverado (+5%) increased. The HHR, meanwhile, plummeted by 86%.
Buick was up in June, with retail sales outpacing the overall increase. The addition of the Regal is the major factor, as the Lucerne (-53%) and the Enclave (-12%) were both down.
Cadillac blames its slip on lower rental-fleet sales, and points to an increase in retail sales of 5%. Overall, sales for the SRX increased 4%, while the CTS was flat; other models declined.
The Terrain (+52%) continues to post the biggest volume increases for GMC, but it was joined this month by the big vans (+47%), the Sierra (+8%), the Acadia (+7%), and even the Canyon (+28%).
FORD MOTOR COMPANY +20% (excluding Mercury and Volvo)
Ford got help at the bookends of its lineup, and in the middle as well. The company claims that the Focus and Fiesta are its fast-selling models (in terms of how long they linger at dealerships), while the F-series saw its volume increase slightly. In the middle came strong performances by the new Explorer and the Fusion. Finally, Lincoln enjoyed a month in the black.
It’s not surprising that the new Explorer (+56%) is running far ahead of the old model, but one wonders how the aged Escape defies gravity (+43%). F-series volumes crept up (+7%) on lower gas prices, although the Transit Connect also did well (+40%).
Both of Lincoln’s modern sedans were in positive territory: MKS (+18%) and MKZ (+31%). The MKX (+36%) also looked good, but the MKT (-24%) did not.
CHRYSLER GROUP +30%
Chrysler continues to have its moment in the sun, although how much of it is due to diminished competition and how much is due to its own new and/or improved products remains unclear. Whatever the cause, the U.S. arm of the Fiat Group surely must have been pleased to outsell mighty Toyota for the second month in a row. The better news is that Chrysler’s retail sales increase actually exceeded its total increase by a considerable margin, ringing in at +46%.
Thanks at least in part to the Eminem boost (his commercial also just won an award), sales of the 200 buried those of the Sebring by 82%; but the real story is even better, as the Sebring was such a fleet special that retail sales are running 5 times higher than before. Unfortunately, the story isn’t so great for the Town & Country (-29%) or the 300 (-24%). Combined with the loss of the PT Cruiser, that put Chrysler division behind last June’s total.
The addition of the Durango didn’t account for all of Dodge’s increased volume, but it did account for a lot of it. The Durango was the second-bestselling Dodge in June, following only the Grand Caravan (+25%). Unfortunately, all Dodge cars declined, except the Challenger (+10%).
Jeep continues to be a centerpiece of Chrysler’s comeback, based largely on the strength of the Grand Cherokee, which tripled the depressed volumes of last June, which saw the rundown of the old version. The Compass (+278%) and the Patriot (+77%) also staged heroic increases this month, but the Wrangler (+27%) remained the top-selling Jeep.
A big gain (+35%) for the big pickup and a smaller gain (+21%) for the smaller Dakota pushed the Ram brand ahead in June.
Sales of the Fiat 500 totaled 1803 units, which was about even with May.
TOYOTA MOTOR SALES -21%
The good news for Toyota in June was that the company appeared finally to reverse its slide, as deliveries were up versus the month prior. But compared to a year ago, the figures were still ugly. The worst, though, may be over, as the company claims that production of most of its North American-built models is now back up to normal levels, and the same should be true of all its Japanese-imported vehicles by the end of the month. Will the pipeline beginning to fill, Toyota also announced incentive programs for the 4th of July weekend, with more to come in late summer.
Camry sales were off by a quarter, and the perennial bestseller was passed by the Chevy Cruze and Malibu, and the Ford Focus. Prius sales plummeted 61%, as inventories all but dried up. The only models besting their previous-year’s performance were the Highlander (+23%) and the FJ Cruiser (+9%).
Supply problems continue to weigh heavily on Lexus. Its largest-volume vehicle, the RX, was off by 34%, and that was the least-affected model. Meanwhile, its newest entry, the CT200h, was, like the Prius, essentially sold out.
Scion’s three-car lineup is all imported, but the tC coupe still managed an increase (+81%). Both other models were down.
The Koreans had another big month in June, although it wasn’t quite as big as May. Still, it was the company’s best-ever June, and, importantly, fleet sales were a low 12% of total volume.
The new Elantra (+40%) zoomed ahead of the slowing Sonata (+5%) to become Hyundai’s bestselling model. The Genesis (+23%), Tucson (+30%), and Veracruz (+60%) — of all things — also contributed to the happiness.
Kia out-hotted Hyundai this month, based largely on the Optima, which beat its previous June performance by a factor of 7. The Sportage merely tripled its year-ago volume. The disappearance of the Borrego and a decline for the Sedona (-31%) tempered the brand’s overall increase.
AMERICAN HONDA -21%
Honda continues to suffer depleted inventories of its key models, which depressed sales again in June.
The Civic has been hobbled during its critical launch period, and neither the Civic (-34%) nor the Accord (-36%) were anywhere near the top ten bestselling nameplates this month, a highly unusual situation for these two. Once again, the Fit (+25%) was a bright spot, but not nearly bright enough.
All Acura models were down compared to a year ago, most severely the RL (-64%) and the ZDX (-61%). The MDX (-12%) remained the strongest.
NISSAN NORTH AMERICA +11%
Nissan did better in June than in May, but Infiniti continues to suffer supply problems.
The Altima had another good month (+23%) but it wasn’t enough to stay in the top ten nameplates. The Sentra (+31%), the Frontier (+52%), the addition of the Juke, and the return of the Quest also helped grow Nissan volume. The Versa (-36%) and the Cube (-31%) were a drag on sales.
Again this month, all Infinitis were down, save the new QX56 (+27%).
VOLKSWAGEN GROUP +30%
The bigger, cheaper Jetta (+88%) appears to be just what the doctor ordered, for Volkswagen; imagine what will happen when the new Passat finally arrives in showrooms. Among carryover models, all bettered their previous June sales, except for the Routan (-31%).
The A8 zoomed ahead and the R8 did too, but the A4’s more modest increase (+15%) translated into more sales. The Q5, though, showed signs of slowing (-12%).
BMW GROUP +15%
The new X3 tripled its previous total, and the new 6-series (+79%) didn’t do so badly either. Neither, for that matter, did not-so-new models like the Z4 (+120%), the 3-series (27%), and the 5-series (+13%). The X5 (-4%) may be suffering a bit at the hands of its newer sibling, while the X6 (-11%) and the 1-series (-54%) appear to just be suffering.
The addition of the Countryman is driving all of Mini’s sales growth, and more. And more, because the other Minis are off 8%
Rolls deliveries declined by 1 car.
CLS sales had practically stopped a year ago, now they’re 7 times higher — though still low enough to maintain exclusivity. Among the more mainstay models, the E-class was up (+19%), but the C-class was down (-17%); perhaps the refreshed 2012 model will help. All the SUVs were up, ranging from +30% for the GLK to +89% for the GL; only the hapless R-class (-60%) failed to join in.
Smart has a harder and harder time living up to its name.
As was the case last month, only 4 Maybachs found homes in June. But they were all very nice homes.
For the second month in a row, Subaru reported a monthly sales decline. Again it was the imported Forester (-28%) and Impreza (-35%) that were down, while the U.S.-made Legacy (+16%) and Outback (+21%) increased.
Mazda bounced back after a disappointing May, thanks to the new Mazda5 (+57%), the CX-7 (+25%), and the CX-9 (+15%).
Meteoric rises for the Eclipse (+110%) and the Endeavor (+1494%) — both coming soon to a rental lot near you? — propelled Mitsubishi’s sudden surge. More organic growth came from the addition of the Outlander Sport, which now outsells the Outlander.
Volvo did much better in June than it did last year, as part of Ford. You can’t credit the new ownership as much as you can the addition of the S60, which is easily the brand’s bestselling model.
JAGUAR LAND ROVER +3%
The XJ took a breather this month (-19%) and unfortunately so did the XF (-26%). Only the XK was able to notch a gain (+48%).
Land Rover +13%
Both Range Rovers and the LR4 did better than one year ago, while the aging LR2 continues to sink.
Cayenne sales doubled, while the Panamera declined slightly (-18%) and the sports cars were little changed.
Increases for the SX4 (+34%) and the Equator (+74%) made up for the Kizashi’s surprising stumble (-23%).
The good news is that Saab sales were 50% better than last year. The bad news is that Saab sold only 323 cars. The hopeful news is that the 9-4X is on its way. The worrisome news seems to bubble up every other week or so, with regards to the company’s scramble to line up sufficient financing to continue operations.
TOP 5 BESTSELLING NAMEPLATES in June (and rank last month)
1. Ford F-series 49,618 (#1)
2. Chevrolet Silverado 32,579 (#2)
3. Chevrolet Cruze 24,896 (#8)
4. Chevrolet Malibu 23,737 (#3)
5. Ford Escape 22,274 (#6)