Tuesday, October 2, 2012

September 2012: A Return To Normalcy Edition

As has been the case for a few months now, the same three brands led the month with the largest sales increases among major automakers: Toyota, Volkswagen and Honda. They have swapped positions on the podium each time, but each is a medalist again this month in the industry-wide sales race.

Toyota sales were up 42.33 percent in September compared to the same month last year, though that increase is lower than the prior month's gain of 47.5 percent. Likewise, Volkswagen was up 34.41 last month – far from the 62.54 gain it enjoyed in August. Honda's increase also dropped sharply month-over-month, from 57.88 percent in August to 29.33 percent last month. This could signal a return to normalcy for Japan's two biggest automakers, whose sales have appeared inflated compared with last year's numbers that were affected by that country's natural disasters and resulting production problems.

Our own domestic automakers are likewise seeing a return normalcy that doesn't include them posting double-digit sales gain every month. Well, except for Chrysler, whose portfolio of brands did exit September with a gain of 11.55 percent. General Motors, however, barely remained positive with a small 1.5-percent increase and Ford dipped slightly into the red with a decrease of 0.13 percent.

Ford did enjoy some good news with the performance of its new Escape, which racked up 23,148 sales in September, enough to lead its segment. Early signs suggest that those who were worried that the slicker, costlier new Escape couldn't replicate the popularity of the last generation's boxy bravado needn't have – at least for the moment. The Chevrolet Cruze also appears to have captured its segment's sales crown for the month of September with 25,787 sales. The mid-size sedan segment, which has heated up with a number of new totally redesigned models, was easily won by the Toyota Camry with 34,252 sales.

Alright, after looking at this data I see something that our friends at AutoBlog do not see. A huge increase in car purchases in the movers and shakers of their industries. Now what am I talking about? I am talking about the CEO / CFO / CMO / Tech Stars are going buying the Bentleys,  Lamborghinis, and the Maseratis. This is a great sigh because I am assuming these buyers believe the economy is on an upward trend so they are no longer worried about dropping down a few hundred grand on a car. Bentley sold almost 100 more cars than a year ago.. This dosen't sound like a lot but considering they only sell 150 cars a month, its a big deal.