Thursday, June 2, 2011

A bad month for car sales

Which car brand's sales improved the most in May? Honda? No. Toyota? Nope. GM? Wrong again.

The answer is Hyundai--yes, Hyundai, that Korean auto manufacturer which now ranks fifth in total U.S. sales behind Toyota.

In a report in today's Wall Street Journal, Hyundai (20.7%) and Chrysler (10.1%) are the only two auto brands which reported increases from year-ago-this-month levels. Ford was close to flat, at -0.3%, followed by GM (-1%), Nissan (-9.1%), Honda (-22.5%) and Toyota (-33.4%.)

I think one would have to credit the inspired advertising of Chrysler, launched with a Super Bowl blitz in February, for that brand's improvement. And, Hyundai's marketing efforts have been on a roll since they offered the you-lose-your-job-we'll-buy-back-your-car guarantee of early 2009.

Honda's and Toyota's troubles can be traced to lack of inventory which is a direct result of the March earthquake in Japan.

Interestingly, while sales are down, the total transaction price for an average vehicle rose to $29,817, the highest level ever recorded. (Source:

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