January Car Sales: Toyota Share Plummets to Lowest Since 2006

By Michelle Krebs January 29, 2010

Toyota's market share in January is expected to plummet to lows not seen since 2006, because the automaker issued a stop-selling order on eight models representing more than half of the automaker's U.S. sales this week.

 

Toyota's share is likely to drop to 14.7 percent of U.S. sales in January, Edmunds.com forecasts; the last time it was that low was March 2006 when its share was 14.2 percent.

 

In contrast, Ford is expected to have its best month for market share since May 2006. Edmunds.com forecasts Ford's share at 18.0 percent in January. The last time it was that high was in May 2006 at 18.4 percent.

 

In total, U.S. sales in January, buoyed by hefty hikes in fleet sales and offset by lower retail sales, will total of 701,000 vehicles, according to Edmunds.com's forecast. That would put the Seasonally Adjusted Annualized Rate (SAAR) of car sales at 10.7 million vehicles, down from 11.2 million December but up from 9.6 million in January 2009.

 

That would mean January sales would be up 7.1 percent from January 2009 and down 31.7 percent from December 2009, according to Edmunds.com. January 2010 had 24 selling days, two less than last January 2009. When adjusted for this difference, sales increased 16.0 percent from January 2009. 

"December is generally one of the strongest sales months of the year, while January is typically one of the weakest, and that held true this season," said Jessica Caldwell, director of Industry Analysis for Edmunds.com. "This month's fleet sales played a role in the positive growth year over year."

Indeed, auto company and dealer group executives tell Edmunds.com that fleet sales could rise by triple digits, particularly for the Big Three individually. Of course, in January 2009, the Big Three had virtually no fleet sales.

GM's top analyst Mike DiGiovanni told reporters in a conference call Thursday that the automaker's fleet sales will represent 25-28 percent of its sales this month. GM's forecast for January sales is 10.7 million to 11.0 million SAAR. 

At the same time, executives tell Edmunds.com that retail sales are weaker.

Still a Stronger 2010

Despite the expectedly weak January, auto executives are growing increasingly confident in the strengthening economy. GM's DiGiovanni announced the automaker had boosted the bottom end of its 2010 forecast range. GM's new forecast calls for 2010 sales between 11.2 million and 11.7 million vehicles; its previous forecast set the bottom at 10.7 million with the top still at 11.7 million.

Ford CEO Alan Mulally reiterated during a Thursday media call that the company is predicting 2010 sales in the range of 11.5 million to 12.5 million vehicles, including 200,000 medium- and heavy-duty trucks.

 Edmunds.com is forecasting 2010 sales of 11.5 million for the year.

Company Trends

For January, the combined monthly U.S. market share for GM, Ford and Chrysler is estimated to be 47.2 percent, up from 43.4 percent in January 2009 and up from 46.2 percent in December 2009.

DiGiovanni would only say that GM's sales will be up double digits, its market share will edge higher and 98 percent of its sales will come from its remaining core brands -- Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC.

Edmunds.com predicts the following sales and market share for the Big 7:

GM will sell 140,000 vehicles, up 8.8 percent compared to January 2009 and down 32.7 percent from December 2009 for a market share of 19.9 percent, up from 19.6 percent in January 2009 and down from 20.2 percent in December 2009.

Ford will sell 126,000 vehicles, up 33.4 percent compared to January 2009 and down 30.4 percent from December 2009 for a market share of 18.0 percent, up from 14.4 percent in January 2009 and up from 17.6 percent in December 2009.

Toyota will sell 103,000 vehicles, down 11.9 percent from January 2009 and down 45.0 percent from December 2009 for a market share of 14.7 percent, down from 17.9 percent in January 2009 and down from 18.3 percent in December 2009.

Honda will sell 73,000 vehicles, up 2.8 percent from January 2009 and down 31.9 percent from December 2009 for a market share of 10.4 percent, down from 10.8 percent in January 2009 and flat from 10.4 percent in December 2009.

Chrysler will sell 65,000 vehicles, up 5.7 percent compared to January 2009 and down 24.3 percent from December 2009 for a market share of 9.3 percent, down from 9.4 percent in January 2009 and up from 8.4 percent in December 2009.

Nissan will sell 61,000 vehicles, up 13.7 percent from January 2009 and down 16.5 percent from December 2009 for a market share of 8.7 percent, up from 8.2 percent in January 2009 and up from 7.2 percent in December 2009.

Hyundai will sell 46,000 vehicles, down 0.9 percent from January 2009 and down 15.8 percent from December 2009 for a market share of 6.6 percent, down from 7.1 percent in January 2009 and up from 5.3 percent in December 2009.

 

 

Change from January 2009 (Adjusted for fewer selling days)

Change from January 2009 (Unadjusted for fewer selling days)

Change from December 2009 (Unadjusted for fewer selling days)

Chrysler (Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep)

14.6%

5.7%

-24.3%

Ford (Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Volvo)

44.5%

33.4%

-30.4%

GM (Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, Hummer, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn)

17.9%

8.8%

-32.7%

Honda (Acura, Honda)

11.4%

2.8%

-31.9%

Hyundai (Hyundai, Kia)

7.4%

-0.9%

-15.8%

Nissan (Infiniti, Nissan)

23.2%

13.7%

-16.5%

Toyota (Lexus, Scion, Toyota)

-4.6%

-11.9%

-45.0%

Industry Total

16.0%

7.1%

-31.7%

 

 

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