Crossovers Bolster US Light-Vehicle Sales Market This Year

Dave Cutting

Consumer demand for crossovers (CUVs) in the US market was especially strong during the first 8 months of 2011. In fact, nearly one of every four new vehicles purchased or leased this year was a CUV. Combined sales of all four CUV segments, including compact and midsize models, increased by nearly 326,400 units from sales in the same 8-month period a year ago. More than 2 million CUVs have been sold so far this year, representing nearly one-fourth (23.71%) of industry sales, which was up 1.78 percentage points from a 21.93% market share in the same period of 2010.

Compact CUVs, including mass-market and premium compact models, significantly outperformed the industry’s nearly 10% year-to-date sales gain from last year. Continue reading ›

July US Retail Sales Slow as Month Progresses; Fleets Advance

Dave Cutting

Retail light-vehicle sales in July were up only 5.5% from a year ago. Although the month’s sales began on a strong note following the July 4th holiday weekend, the sales pace slowed as the month progressed. The retail seasonally adjusted annual selling pace (SAAR) in July averaged 9.5 million units vs. 9.2 million units a year ago. Fleet sales were up 1.0% in July this year vs. last July and finished with a 2.6 million-unit selling rate, up from 2.3 million units in July 2010. However, fleets accounted for just 15.6% of total sales in July vs. 16.2% a year ago. Also, seasonality factors were recently revised by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, resulting in some monthly SAAR changes for each month this year.

In July, total new-car and light-truck (retail and fleet) sales rose 4.8% from last year on a selling-day-adjusted basis.* (Unadjusted totals were up by less than 1% from July 2010.) Automakers delivered 1,057,172 cars and light trucks in July 2011—only 9,457 more unit sales than in July 2010. However, since July 2011 had one less selling day than in July a year ago, the total light-vehicle SAAR represented a 12.2 million-unit pace vs. 11.5 million units in July of 2010.

New Vehicles Remain Slightly Longer on Lots before Being Sold

On an encouraging note, the credit environment in the US auto industry appears to be steadily improving. Based on analysis of our Power Information Network® (PIN) retail transaction data, retail finance sales were up 1.7 percentage points from last July and lease penetration was up 0.7 points. Yet, at the industry level, cars and light trucks remained on retailer lots four days longer before selling than in June, and the retail turn rate averaged two days longer than a year ago. Continue reading ›