Counting Cars

July SAAR Tops 12 million - Detroit 3 up 15%

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U.S. Sales Summary Table

CURRENT ESTIMATED SAAR: 12.2 million

Ward's Forecast SAAR (with new BEA factors): 12.02 million

I thought when I started seeing aggressive Toyota ads here in Michigan for the first time in months that the company might be looking at a decent sales month - and it looks like they were. Toyota reported 130,802 light vehicle sales in July, well below last year (down -19.7%) but 7% above earlier expections.

But the biggest bump in the SAAR today comes from the BEA's just-released SAAR factors, which add about 300,000 units to the July's seasonally adjusted annual rate compared to results using estimated factors prior to the release. With the new factors in place, Ward's forecast sales equate to just above 12 million units.

Meanwhile, Honda wasn't expected to do as well as Toyota, and they didn't, registering a 25.6% drop in DSR from year-ago, on sales of just over 80,000 vehicles, and dropping to the No. 7 position for the first time since October 1981.

Toyota and Honda's results pushed total Asia-based automakers down to a -6.8% decline versus year-ago.

With all Top 7 auto makers reporting the SAAR is tracking at 12.2 million units.

General Motors came in nearly even with forecast figures, delivering 215,064 units for an 11.6% improvement over last July. Nissan sold more than 84,000 units, up 6.7% on a daily basis. Ford was up 12.7%, with sales at exactly forecast levels of just over 177.000 light vehicles. Chrysler Group outperformed year-ago by 25.8%.

Together Detroit 3 auto makers sold 503,852 cars and light trucks, up 14.8% over year-ago, and lifting the companies' combined year-to-date tally 15.1% over like-2010.

Volkswagen, up 28.1% on volume sales of 29,450 units, had it's 2nd highest daily sales since 2003. Indeed, it was a good day for European auto makers, with Daimler brands up 16%, BMW up 16%, Audi up 21.5%, and Volvo up 34.5%. Overall, European brands were up 19.7%.

Meanwhile Kia Motors had its second best DSR ever - up 33.4% over year-ago, while sister company Hyundai was up 14.3% for the month. Hyundai, though, has been stuck at a daily rate in the neighborhood of 2,200 units, which likely speaks to their ability to raise inventory - of domestic or imported vehicles - high enough to grab an even larger market share during Toyota and Honda's hard times.

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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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