There are some makes that are successfully
swimming upstream. For instance, at the end of two months in 2010 Hyundai is up 15.4% over 2008.
This year they have sold 110,682 new vehicles in the US compared to 95,885 in 2008. Granted that
is less than half the number of units that Ford sold, but they are gaining ground fast. Another is Volkswagen
with year-to-date sales that are 8.8% ahead of 2008.
Maybe, it’s time to start looking at the possibility of producing product for the “import” brands.
Or maybe it’s time to follow their lead. Both Hyundai and Volkswagen appear to be making concerted
efforts to move up-scale. They are trying to leave the marketplaces that are driven exclusively by price
and trying to enter markets where competition is based on features and brand image.
Another interesting story in the new-vehicle sales numbers centers on
light trucks. In February 2010, light-truck sales were up 11.2% over last year, but down 35.9% compared
to 2008. Year-to-date light-truck sales in the US are up 5.4% over last year, while being down 36.0% against
2008. Within the makes the numbers aren’t near as consistent--GM is down 45.6%, Chrysler is down
44.7%, and Ford is down 32.3%.
At the same time light trucks are moving back toward their position of dominance. In
2004 light trucks reached their peak accounting for 54.6% of all new vehicles sold in the US. By 2008 the
trend had reversed itself and light trucks represented 47.0%. So far this year, light-truck sales are accounting
for 48.7% of the new vehicles sold in the US, and that’s after gaining 0.4% in 2009.
The message here is, don’t always take statistics at face value.
You need to ask about the context, and have a sense of how the trends got to where they are. If
we only consider the fact that Ford’s sales are up 43.4% in February of this year, we could come to some very erroneous
Source: Fast Lane Research