Counting Cars

July LV Sales Inch Above Year Ago, SAAR Holds at Forecast Level

GM 199,612 DSR +2.4%; Ford: 167,932 DSR -0.8%; Toyota: 169,224 DSR -6.8%

See all company results: U.S. Sales Summary table for company by company sales results.

SAAR (based on estimated factors): 11.6 million units.

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Intro: Automakers sold 1,046,557 light vehicles in the U.S. in July, with daily sales (over 27 days) inching just 1.2% over year-ago (26 days). Sales equated to an estimated 11.6 million unit SAAR for the month, though that number could rise (official BEA factors for July are due to be released tomorrow). A year-ago, on the back of the newly launched Cash for Clunkers scrappage program, the SAAR rose to 11.2 million units, after six-months of lingering below 10 million.

So it's saying something that July (barely) outperformed year-ago: but not much.

Retail sales rose slightly, to an estimate 9.3 million seasonally adjusted rate, which is the first increase after several months stuck at about 8.9 million units, but not enough to markedly change consensus forecasts much above the 11.5 million to 11.8 million range for full-year 2010. (Ward's is forecasting at the low-end in the 11.2 million to 11.5 million range.)

GM drew more or less even with our expectations, selling 199,612 cars and light trucks for the month, boosting its daily sales 2.4% versus same-month 2009. The company stressed double-digit improvements in the performance of its remaining brands versus year ago, when it was still actively marketing eight brands, arguing that comparisons with the old GM aren't relevant. But to some degree, neither are any comparisons (for instance single brand improvements) with 2009 - the worst year in decades for auto sales.

Ford Motor Co. finished down 1% on a daily basis versus year-ago, with LV sales of 167,932. Large increases in light truck sales (Explorer sales up 48%, F-Series up 34%) weren't enough to fully offset big declines in car sales (Focus down 35%) and even other trucks (Ranger down 35%).

Toyota finished down on volume and daily rate with 169,224 units, 7% off year-ago DSR, and

Honda daily sales dipped 5.6% versus year-ago. Both companies were early and large beneficiaries of the Clunker sales spike.

Chrysler saw sales fall four units from June, while its DSR climbed only .2% in caomparison with a July 2009 that saw the company miss the boat on Cash for Clunkers with a a truck-heavy lineup, and depleted inventories due to their Q2-bankruptcy production shutdown.

Nissan daily sales were up 10% above year ago, and several thousand units over forecast.

Hyundai Group saw its DSR rise 15.1% over year ago.

Volkswagen of America saw sales of its VW and Audi brands rise 13.1%, and Daimler saw its Mercedes and Smart brands collectivel outpace year-ago 1.6% on a daily basis. BMW was up 6% while Daimler saw sales rise just 1.6%.

Ward’s called for a July SAAR (using estimated SAAR factors ) of 11.6 million units on projected volume of 1,045756 units. Using the same factors, the estimated SAAR came in at exactly 11.6 million units.

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Blogs and commentary about automotive data, industry trends, and the future of the auto industry.


John Sousanis

John Sousanis oversees WardsAuto data operations as Director of Information Content, and is Ward’sAuto sales analyst. Follow John on Twitter @CountingCars.  

Haig Stoddard

Haig Stoddard is a veteran automotive industry analyst. His current focus is North America production and longterm sales forecasting.
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