Edmunds.com Forecasts January Auto Sales: Retail Sales Flat, Fleet Sales Plummet

Edmunds.com Forecasts January Auto Sales: Retail Sales Flat, Fleet Sales Plummet


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Edmunds.com Forecasts January Auto Sales: Retail Sales Flat, Fleet Sales Plummet

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — January 29, 2009 — This month's new vehicle sales (including fleet sales) are expected to be 730,000 units, a 30.1 percent decrease from January 2008 and a 18.1 percent decrease from December 2008, according to Edmunds.com, the premier online resource for automotive information.

"Our research indicates that retail sales are pretty much flat compared with December," stated Jesse Toprak, Executive Director of Industry Analysis for Edmunds.com. "However, automakers' decision to cut fleet sales and make other production cuts will cause a large sales decline to be recorded on the books."

January 2009 had 26 selling days, one more than last January 2008. When adjusted for this difference, sales decreased 32.8 percent from January 2008. (The chart below sets forth other unadjusted and adjusted comparisons.)

  Change from January 2008 (Adjusted for more selling days) Change from January 2008 (Unadjusted for more selling days)
Chrysler -50.0% -48.0%
Ford -32.50% -29.8%
GM -40.4% -38.0%
Honda -25.9% -22.9%
Nissan -30.9% -28.1%
Toyota -27.4% -24.5%
Industry Total -32.8% -30.1%

"Given the dramatic downturn in car sales since September, it is reasonable to assume there must be an underlying demand building," observed David Tompkins, PhD, Senior Analyst for Edmunds.com. "Edmunds.com site traffic behavior in January reflected a 13 percent increase in purchase intent compared with December, so within the next six weeks we should begin seeing those sales come through — though perhaps some will manifest themselves as late-model used car sales."

The combined monthly U.S. market share for Chrysler, Ford and General Motors (GM) domestic nameplates is estimated to be 46.1 percent in January 2009, down from 52.1 percent in January 2008 and down from 50.0 percent in December 2008.

"It's a good thing that many automakers have been deliberately minimizing their fleet sales in an effort to bolster resale values," commented Michelle Krebs, Senior Editor of Edmunds' AutoObserver.com. "Unfortunately, in this economy, rental car companies and other traditional fleet customers are simply unable to buy as many cars as they used to."

Edmunds.com predicts Chrysler will sell 71,000 units in January 2009, down 48.0 percent compared to January 2008 and down 20.3 percent from December 2008. This would result in a new car market share of 9.8 percent for Chrysler in January 2009, down from 13.1 percent in January 2008 and down from 10.0 percent in December 2008.

Edmunds.com predicts Ford will sell 109,000 units in January 2009, down 29.8 percent compared to January 2008 and down 19.4 percent from December 2008. This would result in a new car market share of 15.0 percent of new car sales in January 2009 for Ford, up slightly from 14.9 percent in January 2008 and down from 15.2 percent in December 2008.

Edmunds.com predicts GM will sell 156,000 units in January 2009, down 38.0 percent compared to January 2008 and down 29.3 percent from December 2008. GM's market share is expected to be 21.3 percent of new vehicle sales in January 2009, down from 24.1 percent in January 2008 and down from 24.7 percent in December 2008.

Edmunds.com predicts Honda will sell 76,000 units in January 2009, down 22.9 percent from January 2008 and down 11.8 percent from December 2008. Honda's market share is expected to be 10.4 percent in January 2009, up from 9.4 percent in January 2008 and up from 9.7 percent in December 2008.

Edmunds.com predicts Nissan will sell 55,000 units in January 2009, down 28.1 percent from January 2008 and down 11.4 percent from December 2008. Nissan's market share is expected to be 7.5 percent in January 2009, up from 7.3 percent in January 2008 and up from 7.0 percent in December 2008.

Edmunds.com predicts Toyota will sell 130,000 units in January 2009, down 24.5 percent from January 2008 and down 8.6 percent from December 2008. Toyota's market share is expected to be 17.8 percent in January 2009, up from 16.5 percent in January 2008 and up from 15.9 percent in December 2008.

About Edmunds
Edmunds.com publishes three Web sites that empower, engage and educate automotive consumers and enthusiasts. Edmunds.com, the premier online resource for automotive consumer information, launched in 1995 as the first automotive information Web site. Its most popular feature, the Edmunds.com True Market Value® , is relied upon by millions of people seeking current transaction prices for new and used vehicles. Edmunds.com was named "Best Car Research Site" by Forbes ASAP, has been selected by consumers as the "Most Useful Web Site" according to every J.D. Power and Associates New Autoshopper.com Study(SM), was ranked first in the Survey of Car-Shopping Web Sites by The Wall Street Journal and was rated "#1" in Keynote's study of third-party automotive Web sites. Inside Line launched in January 2005 and is the most-read automotive enthusiast Web site. CarSpace launched in February 2006 and is an automotive social networking Web site and home to the oldest and most established automotive community. AutoObserver.com launched in 2007 and provides insightful automotive industry commentary and analysis. Edmunds is headquartered in Santa Monica, California, and maintains a satellite office in suburban Detroit.

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