The truck is not dead – long live the truck. Likewise the large SUV. Everywhere you looked last month, American automotive dealerships were struggling to sell cars at the same volume as last year. No matter, trucks and SUVs and vans were flying off the shelves. Get this: Ford’s sales volume rose by 11,468 units. Ford F-Series volume was up more than 14,000 units. Curious, isn’t it?
Trends like this bode well for Jeep and GMC, neither of which sell any cars. The ten most popular auto brands in America are listed below. Hidden behind these Numbers are more Numbers which tell surprising stories. For example, Ford trucks and utility vehicles made up more than two-thirds of Ford’s total volume. Honda couldn’t grow the sales of its hybrid Insight, but its biggest vehicle, the Pilot, increased its sales by more than 3,200 units.
More interesting is a humourous development amongst Toyota’s SUVs and crossovers. Softies like the RAV4 and Highlander posted declining sales in July. But hard-core traditionalists like the 4Runner, FJ Cruiser, and Sequoia all improved in July 2010. Sales of mini-minivans like the Mazda 5 and Kia Rondo have almost disappeared, but larger minivans like the Toyota Sienna and Honda Odyssey were far more successful in July 2010 than in July 2009.
#10 – Jeep: +18.8% to 26,466
Never alarmingly popular, the Compass and Patriot are disappearing from the collective American auto buyer’s conscience. Sales were off 52% and 47%, respectively. However, Wrangler sales rose 121% and Grand Cherokee sales were up 54%. In fact, the Wrangler was America’s fifth-best-selling SUV in July 2010.
#9 – GMC: +27.2% to 27,798
Helped by the Terrain, a model which didn’t exist in GMC showrooms at this time last year, sales at GM”s truck division jumped sharply when compared with July of last year. On the other hand, June 2010 sales were actually a bit higher.
#8 – Dodge: level at 30,916
Including Ram with Dodge would lift the combined effort into 7th position in July. Dodge’s best-seller, the Grand Caravan, suffered an 8% sales drop in July. Caliber and Sebring sales plummeted, but the Charger, Challenger, and Journey made up the slack.
#7 – Kia: +20.7% to 35,419
If you think the Soul’s 65.3% increase is impressive, have a look at the Kia Sorento. In July of 2009, Sorento sales totalled 802. In July of 2010, that number jumped to 9,010. Kia’s Forte, Rio, Sedona, and Borrego all posted large percentage increases last month, as well.
#6 – Hyundai: +18.8% to 54,106
Though Accent sales fell off a cliff in July and Azera sales dropped slightly, Hyundai was strong in every other area of the showroom last month. The Elantra and Sonata each found their way into America’s Top 10 Best-Selling Cars list. Tucson sales jumped 234%.
#5 – Nissan: +12.1% to 72,573
Continuing the U.S. theme of “Bigger Is Better” v2010, Nissan Armada sales jumped 311.5% from July 2009. Overall, Nissan car sales were down 3.7% in July, but Nissan truck/SUV sales were up 51%. Americans have clearly adjusted to paying $2.80/gallon.
#4 – Honda: -6.2% to 99,420
Only nine automakers posted declining sales in July 2010. Honda was obviously one of them. Every Honda car, from the S2000 to the Insight, posted lower sales totals in July 2010 than in the same period of last year. On the plus side, Odyssey, Ridgeline, Pilot, and CR-V sales improved on July 2009 totals.
#3 – Chevrolet: +12% to 139,916
In advance of the impressive Cruze, U.S. sales of the Chevrolet Cobalt dropped 25% in July. At one time the Equinox was everybody’s pick for hottest seller, but July sales fell 12%. Better news was seen in Silverado, Malibu, Traverse, and Tahoe numbers, all of which posted increases of at least 20%.
#2 – Toyota: -3.7% to 150,629
Not unlike Honda, Toyota’s cars struggled in comparison with their July 2009 sales figures. Only the low-volume Avalon posted an improvement. Tundra sales leapt 40.3%, however, and the 4Runner and FJ Cruiser each made gains of over 200%.
#1 – Ford: +8.1% to 153,603
Though the Fiesta didn’t catch on in any big way in July and the Focus and Fusion each posted declining sales, Ford F-Series sales went from 36,327 in July 2009 to 50,449 in July 2010. In other words, F-Series sales more than made up the difference in the Blue Oval brand’s increases over July 2009.