Sales Figures: September, 2010

Well, the 3rd quarter of 2010 is over, and sales are down, yet again, for the U.S. automotive industry.  While all the other news outlets are saying sales were up 29% in September year-to-year, sales were down when viewed month-to-month.  While there is 1 less day in September than there is in August, this doesn’t account for a 3.32% drop (almost 33,000 vehicles) from month to month.  Read on for my analysis and graphs.

Sales have totaled just 8.6-million units this year for the entire industry, putting it on a path to almost 11.5-million vehicles, which is about a million more vehicles than were sold in 2009.  While this is good news, the fact that September sales were less than August’s is startling, as more and more 2011 model year vehicles are showing up on dealer lots, so all the 2010s should be drastically discounted, which usually leads to a boost in sales from August through October.  What actually happened was a dip in the month-to-month sales, which doesn’t bode well for the coming fall season. Hopefully December’s sales can pick up, with all of the holiday season and end-of-year blowouts that occur.

As for each manufacturer’s sales, GM still holds its lead over cross-town rival Ford, which had a larger gap this month over Toyota, who beats all of its Japanese rivals handily, even besting Honda by almost 40,000 vehicles sold.  Overall, Ford, Chrysler, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi and Saab all gained, while the rest had lower sales in September than in August.  For Ford, this can be attributed to sales of the Fiesta, Chrysler’s 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee, and renewed interest in Saab since its sale to Spyker Automobiles.  Mercedes-Benz’s uptick in sales is an odd one, as all the other luxury marques lost a bit of momentum.

Speaker of Mercedes, their sales have actually bested Lexus’ for the first time this year, as they take the lead by a margin of less than 300 vehicles sold year-to-date.  This makes them the current top luxury automaker in the U.S., ahead of BMW and Lexus, their biggest rivals.

Now to the future.  I’m predicting less sales in October, probably closer to 900,000 than the 958,993 vehicles sold in the US in September.  School is back in session and parents’ priorities and spending will be shifting to the holidays.  I also see sales picking up in December, and maybe a slight uptick in November as well.

by John Suit


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