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Industry Mirrors Economy's Recovery, Says JATO Dynamics

April 20, 2010

U.S. new-vehicle sales for the first quarter 2010 were 15.7 percent higher than the year-ago period in 2009, but the market continues to be on a long road to recovery, according to latest figures from JATO Dynamics, a provider of automotive data.

In total, 2,544,829 cars and trucks were bought in the first quarter 2010, compared to 2,199,933 in the first quarter last year. Both figures are still well down on the 3,570,360 sold in the first quarter 2008.

Every single one of the top five brands in cars and trucks have all increased sales compared to 2009, but despite these changes in sales volumes, the proportion of cars and trucks has stayed virtually unchanged, with each accounting for around half the market.

“It would appear the U.S. new-vehicle market is mirroring the wider U.S. economy, in heading towards a tentative recovery, in both car and truck sales. The encouraging element is perhaps the experience of domestic manufacturers, with Ford and Chevrolet as the top two brands, both recording healthy sales gains,” said David Mitchell, JATO’s president of the Americas.

Brand Performance

As the leading brand in overall sales, Ford has posted a 40.4 percent increase in total sales and a 60.3 percent rise in its car sales compared to the first quarter 2009. Overall, Ford gained 2.7 percent market share in the first three months of 2010, its best quarterly performance since 1977.

While Ford trucks outsell cars almost 2:1, recent introductions such as the Fusion hybrid have helped the brand react to customer demand for more economical vehicles and end the quarter with 381,868 total sales.

Chevrolet – second overall in car and truck sales and with a 38.8 percent total sales increase – also outsold import brands in combined car and truck sales, on its way to 337,785 new customers.

Of the major Japanese brands – Toyota, Honda and Nissan – only Nissan increased overall market share. Toyota’s total market share slipped back, from 13.9 percent last year, to 12.8 percent in the first quarter 2010, yet the brand retained its car sales crown, thanks to the enduring popularity of its Camry and Corolla/Matrix models.

Top 5 brands

Vehicle Type

Make/Model

Q1 2010

Q1 2009

Diff 2010
- 2009

% Change

Cars

TOYOTA

177,886

172,575

5,311

+3.1%

CHEVROLET

172,542

101,283

71,259

+70.4%

NISSAN

142,645

98,110

44,535

+45.4%

HONDA

141,280

120,938

20,342

+16.8%

FORD

136,698

85,266

51,432

+60.3%

 

Trucks

FORD

245,170

186,790

58,380

+31.3%

CHEVROLET

165,243

142,162

23,081

+16.2%

TOYOTA

148,704

132,742

15,962

+12.0%

HONDA

87,339

85,527

1,812

+2.1%

GMC

68,619

51,066

17,553

+34.4%

 

Model Performance

Japanese brands dominate car sales once again, with Toyota’s Camry and Corolla in first and third places, separated by the Honda Accord. The biggest news is that gap between first and second place which has been slashed to just 3,016 sales in the quarter, compared to 11,920 sales in 2009.

The truck market continues to be led by domestic products. Here, Ford’s F-Series pick-up remains unchallenged as America’s favorite truck, a position it has held for 33 years. It also continues as America’s best-selling vehicle overall for 28 years in a row. The F-Series and the Escape SUV are separated by the Chevrolet Silverado, in second.

Top 5 Models

Vehicle Type

Make/Model

2010

2009

Diff 2010
- 2009

%

Change

Cars

TOYOTA CAMRY

68,595

67,199

1,396

+2.1%

HONDA ACCORD

65,579

55,279

10,300

+18.6%

TOYOTA COROLLA/MATRIX

63,740

59,598

4,142

+6.9%

NISSAN ALTIMA

59,483

49,658

9,825

+19.8%

HONDA CIVIC

53,627

50,530

3,097

+6.1%

 

Trucks

FORD F-SERIES

103,039

81,579

21,460

+26.3%

CHEVROLET SILVERADO

72,480

67,283

5,197

+7.7%

FORD ESCAPE

45,091

31,030

14,061

+45.3%

TOYOTA RAV4

40,474

28,331

12,143

+42.9%

RAM PICKUP

38,042

46,619

-8,577

-18.4%

 

 

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