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May U.s. Sales

From Automotive News:


Detroit 3, Toyota all post lower monthly sales
Total May sales down 10.7%

Jesse Snyder
Automotive News
June 3, 2008 - 12:30 pm ET
UPDATED: 6/3/08 4:45 p.m. EDT

May May May 5 mos. 5 mos. Pct.
2008 2007 chng. 2008 2007 chng.
Aston Martin 140 – – 700 – –

BMW Group* 31,818 30,854 3.1% 131,943 135,119 –2.4%
Chrysler LLC** 148,747 199,393 –25.4% 750,369 929,746 –19.3%
Daimler AG*** 24,495 21,793 12.4% 108,632 98,761 10.0%
Ford Motor Co.**** 217,268 258,295 –15.9% 999,059 1,125,485 –11.2%

General Motors***** 268,892 371,056 –27.5% 1,326,906 1,577,052 –15.9%
American Honda† 167,997 145,367 15.6% 655,819 625,994 4.8%
Hyundai Group†† 77,462 72,379 7.0% 310,360 315,331 –1.6%
Isuzu 510 707 –27.9% 2,975 3,101 –4.1%
Mazda 27,921 26,789 4.2% 129,370 126,922 1.9%
Mitsubishi 10,430 13,651 –23.6% 46,389 57,343 –19.1%

Nissan††† 100,874 93,062 8.4% 446,474 443,166 0.7%
Porsche 2,796 3,348 –16.5% 12,436 14,592 –14.8%

Subaru 18,436 16,282 13.2% 76,088 73,046 4.2%
Suzuki 10,364 10,190 1.7% 46,463 47,163 –1.5%

Toyota‡ 257,404 269,023 –4.3% 1,046,851 1,085,335 –3.5%
VW‡‡ 31,131 31,518 –1.2% 130,549 131,621 –0.8%

Other (estimate) 725 681 6.5% 3,335 3,218 3.6%
TOTAL 1,397,410 1,564,388 –10.7% 6,224,718 6,792,995 –8.4%
Numbers in this table are calculated by Automotive News based on actual monthly sales reported by the manufacturers and may differ from numbers reported elsewhere.
Source: Automotive News Data Center
Note: Other includes estimates for Ferrari, Lamborghini and Lotus; actuals for Maserati
*Includes Mini and Rolls-Royce
**DaimlerChrysler sold the Chrysler group on Aug. 3, 2007
***Incudes Maybach, Mercedes-Benz and Smart
****Includes Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo; Aston Martin's estimated sales are included through May 2007
*****Includes Saab
†Includes Honda Division and Acura
††Includes Hyundai and Kia
†††Includes Nissan Division and Infiniti
‡Includes Toyota Division, Lexus and Scion
‡‡Includes VW, Audi and Bentley

U.S. consumers' reluctance to buy new vehicles -- especially low-mpg vehicles such as light trucks, SUVs and larger cars -- accelerated in May.
Truck sales plunged and major automakers posted sharp sales declines for the month. But small cars achieved record volumes at several brands and the sales winners in May were either fuel-efficiency specialists -- Suzuki, Volkswagen and Smart -- or were car-heavy brands such as Honda, Nissan and Hyundai.

Total sales declined 10.7 percent to 1.40 million vehicles. For the year to date, sales declined 8.4 percent to 6.22 million vehicles.

May was the first month since 1991 that the Ford F-series pickup -- the best-selling model in the U.S. -- was outsold. In this case, four fuel-efficient cars beat the F series: the Honda Civic and Accord along with the Toyota Corolla and Camry.

"It's a significant development, but it's not surprising given the fuel price," said Jim Farley, Ford group vice president for marketing and communications. "May was a watershed month. We are as an industry catching up with the breathtaking choices that the customers are now making."

Four broad themes emerged from today sales reporting for May.
• Small and compact cars are selling well. Besides the Toyota and Honda having the four U.S. best-selling cars, other hot cars include the Nissan Altima, Chevrolet Malibu, and Ford Focus and Fusion.

• Large trucks are not selling. The Ford F series lost 30.6 percent. Chevrolet Suburbans, Tahoes and Silverados are all down 40 percent of more. The Toyota Tundra is off 31.5 percent and Nissan's Titan plunged 55.8 percent.

• Luxury brands are not selling. Cadillac, Lincoln, Lexus, Infiniti, Acura, Porsche and BMW all lost between 5 and 40 percent of their volume last month. The best performer among luxury brands was Mercedes, which was flat in May.

• Large and low-mpg cars are not selling. Ford's Crown Victoria is off 22.2 percent and Mustang sales fell 44.9 percent. The Chevrolet Impala is down 33.3 percent and Corvette sales dropped 12 percent. Even the Toyota Avalon lost 33.7 percent of its volume.

As expected, truck-dependent domestic automakers General Motors, Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC got hammered. And even though its Corolla and Camry outsold the Ford F-Series, Toyota's overall sales dropped 4.3 percent.

GM's May sales fell 27.5 percent, although strikes at one plant and at key supplier American Axle limited its supply of the Chevrolet Malibu and other models.

Earlier today, GM CEO Rick Wagoner said a series of car and crossover introductions would boost GM's product mix away from trucks. Within three years, GM will sell 60 percent cars and crossover and 40 percent trucks, instead of today's 50-50 split, he said.

Back in the car business
Mark LaNeve, vice president of GM's North America sales, service and marketing, said last month's performance was hurt by inventory shortages and comparison to a strong May 2007.

But he tried to put the best face on that.

"The good news -- as it's been for the last couple months -- is that we're getting back into the car business," LaNeve said.

Ford sold more cars in May than in the year-ago month, but a sharp drop in truck volume pushed overall sales down 15.9 percent.

Ford's truck sales plunged 25.8 percent from a year ago to 126,364 units, swamping the modest 2.8 percent rise to 91,634 cars in May. For the first five months this year, Ford volume is off 11.2 percent to 999,059 vehicles.
Putting the best spin on its results, Ford said its Focus generated 32,579 in sales -- only the second time in history the car has sold more than 30,000 units. In April, Ford said it would produce 245,000 Focus units in 2008, about 30 percent more than in 2007. Ford said it expects to make 280,000 Focuses in 2009.

But the drop in Ford's truck sales continues to devastate the automaker's sales figures. For example, Ford sold 42,973 F-series pickups in May, a decline of 30.6 percent. For the year, F-series sales are down 18.7 percent, Ford said.

Toyota's problems
Toyota Motor Sales USA said May sales fell 4.3 percent to 257,404 vehicles from 269,023 during the same month last year.

Total passenger car sales rose 0.4 percent to 168,942, while total Toyota light truck sales fell 12.2 percent to 88,462.

Bob Carter, Toyota Division general manager, painted a bleak picture even for Toyota's normally strong U.S. sales.

"As economic growth takes root in 2009, we're expecting light vehicle sales to rebound," he said. "For today though, it's a different story."

On the May truck sales results, Carter said: "We have our forward forecasts, but that's much more severe than anyone in the industry, certainly myself, was looking at."

Chrysler LLC said its total sales fell 25.4 percent to 148,747 vehicles. Truck sales fell 22 percent to 106,623 units and car sales declined 33 percent to 42,124. For the year to date, Chrysler's sales are down 19.3 percent over the same period a year ago.

Chrysler said a 40 percent drop in its sales to fleets was responsible for much of its overall 25 percent decline in May. That also partially explains why the company's car sales actually fell more than truck sales.

Steven Landry, executive vice president of North America sales, said Chrysler's retail sales fell 16 percent in May compared to a year ago. Landry said daily rental fleets are keeping vehicles in their fleets for nine to 12 months now, compared to 4-6 months in the past.

"Every time we flip them sooner, it hurts the residuals so we actually applaud companies for keeping them in service longer," said Landry.
Other results mixed

Fortunes varied for Japanese brands.
American Honda and Nissan countered Toyota's overall decline by posting improvements. Led by Civic's best-ever month with 53,299 sales, Honda was up overall by 15.6 percent to 167,997 in May.

And with Altima sales jumping more than 30 percent, Nissan sold 100,874 vehicles in May, up 8.4 percent from 93,062 units a year ago.
Mazda also finished up 4.2 percent to 27,921 sales in May, with gains for both cars and trucks.

Japanese automaker Suzuki, which specializes in small cars, gained 1.7 percent in May to 10,364 units. But even with a broad consumer swing to fuel efficiency, Suzuki is still 1.5 percent lower for the first five months.

Results were mixed for other automakers.
Daimler AG boosted May sales 12.4 percent to 24,495 Mercedes-Benz, Maybach and Smart vehicles. But the launch of its tiny Smart brand generated all the gains. Mercedes and Maybach sales were flat.

Among other Europeans, Volkswagen Group of America gained 0.1 percent to 22,346 units, but Porsche sales dropped 16.5 percent to 2,796 for the month.
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