Edmunds.com Forecasts May Auto Sales: Sales Fall, but Japanese Manufacturers May Be Turning a Corner

Edmunds.com Forecasts May Auto Sales: Sales Fall, but Japanese Manufacturers May Be Turning a Corner


Edmunds.com Forecasts May Auto Sales: Sales Fall, but Japanese Manufacturers May Be Turning a Corner

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — May 26, 2011 — This month's new car sales (including fleet sales) are expected to be approximately 1,098,000 units, a 0.4 percent decrease from May 2010 and a 5.1 percent decrease from April 2011, according to Edmunds.com, the premier online resource for automotive information. Retail sales are expected to be approximately 865,000 units, down from approximately 915,000 last month.

Edmunds.com analysts predict that May's Seasonally Adjusted Annualized Rate (SAAR) will be 12.2 million, down from 13.2 million in April 2011. SAAR for retail sales decreased from last month to about 9.7 million.

Average automaker incentives in the U.S. are estimated at $2,002 per vehicle sold in May 2011, down $107, or 5.1 percent, from April 2011, and down $695, or 25.8 percent, from May 2010.

"Manufacturing disruptions appear to have peaked in April and May, and recent news points to steady improvements moving forward," said Lacey Plache, chief economist at Edmunds.com. "Toyota said it expects North American production of its top-selling Camry and Corolla models to be back at 100 percent next month, and Nissan's key engine plant in Japan is returning to full production next week — ahead of schedule next week. Even Honda, which was the hardest hit of the big three Japanese automakers, is making optimistic statements about its recovery. If the industry continues to recover from the tsunami-driven disruptions at a strong pace, we are optimistic that its impact on 2011 auto sales will be limited."

May 2011 had 24 selling days, two fewer than May last year. The chart below shows month-over-month sales comparisons for the top manufacturers:

  Change from May 2010 (Adjusted for two fewer selling days) Change from May 2010 (Unadjusted for two fewer selling days) Change from April 2011 (Unadjusted for three fewer selling days)
Chrysler (Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep)
19.8%
10.6%
-1.1%
Ford (Ford, Lincoln, Mercury)
8.2%
-0.1%
3.6%
GM (Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, Hummer, Pontiac, Saturn)
10.5%
2.0%
-2.0%
Honda (Acura, Honda)
-23.0%
-28.9%
-33.3%
Nissan (Infiniti, Nissan)
7.1%
-1.1%
15.8%
Toyota (Lexus, Scion, Toyota)
-16.5%
-22.9%
-21.3%
Industry Total
7.9%
-0.4%
-5.1%

Foreign Automakers
South Korean automakers had a notable impact on the industry this month. Hyundai and Kia combined to total more than 109,000 sales in May for a combined market share of 9.9 percent. That would rank the Hyundai/Kia combo No. 5 in sales behind GM, Ford, Toyota and Chrysler, and ahead of Honda.

"Hyundai and Kia are taking advantage of Toyota and Honda being somewhat down and out," said Michelle Krebs, senior analyst at Edmunds.com. "But Hyundai's average days to turn is getting leaner, which could be a challenge for them in the immediate future if they want to continue their impressive sales momentum."

Honda had particularly weak sales performance this month, thanks to leaner supply and rising prices on its popular Civic and Accord models. Edmunds.com predicts Honda will sell 83,300 units, making it the company's worst May since 1997. Honda's sales were down 28.9 percent from May 2010 and down 33.3 percent from April 2011. Honda's market share is expected to be 7.6 percent in May 2011 — the company's worst monthly market share since June 2005 — down from 10.6 percent in May 2010 and down from 10.8 percent in April 2011.

Edmunds.com predicts Toyota will sell 125,500 units in May 2011, down 22.9 percent from May 2010 and down 21.3 percent from April 2011. Toyota's market share is expected to be 11.4 percent in May 2011, down from 14.8 percent in May 2010 and down from 13.8 percent in April 2011.

Edmunds.com predicts Nissan will sell 82,800 units in May 2011, down 1.1 percent from May 2010 but up 15.8 percent from April 2011. Nissan's market share is expected to be 7.5 percent in May 2011, down from 7.6 percent in May 2010 but up from 6.2 percent in April 2011.

Domestic Automakers
The combined monthly U.S. market share for Chrysler, Ford and General Motors (GM) domestic nameplates is estimated at 49.2 percent in May 2011, up from 47.6 percent in May 2010 and up from 46.6 percent in April 2011.

Edmunds.com predicts Chrysler will sell 115,900 units in May 2011, up 10.6 percent compared to May 2010 but down 1.1 percent from April 2011. This would result in a new car market share of 10.6 percent for Chrysler in May 2011, up from 9.5 percent in May 2010 and up from 10.1 percent as in April 2011.

Edmunds.com predicts Ford will sell 196,700 units in May 2011, down 0.1 percent compared to May 2010 but up 3.6 percent from April 2011. This would result in a new car market share of 17.9 percent of new car sales in May 2011 for Ford, flat from 17.9 percent in May 2010 but up from 16.4 percent in April 2011.

Edmunds.com predicts GM will sell 227,900 units in May 2011, up 2.0 percent compared to May 2010 but down 2.0 percent from April 2011. GM's market share is expected to be 20.8 percent of new vehicle sales in May 2011, up from 20.3 percent in May 2010 and up from 20.1 percent in April 2011.

For updates on automotive industry news and analysis, please register to receive the AutoObserver.com newsletter at http://www.edmunds.com/newsletter.

About Edmunds.com, Inc. (http://www.edmunds.com/help/about/index.html)

Edmunds.com Inc. publishes Web sites that empower, engage and educate automotive consumers, enthusiasts and insiders. Edmunds.com, the premier online resource for automotive information, launched in 1995 as the first automotive information Web site and hosts the most established automotive community online. Its mobile site, accessible from any smartphone at www.edmunds.com, makes car pricing and other research tools available for car shoppers at dealerships and otherwise on the go. InsideLine.com is the most-read automotive enthusiast Web site. Its mobile site, accessible from any smartphone at www.insideline.com, features the wireless Web's highest quality car photos and videos. AutoObserver.com provides insightful automotive industry commentary and analysis. Edmunds.com Inc. is headquartered in Santa Monica, California, and maintains a satellite office in suburban Detroit. Follow Edmunds.com on Twitter@edmunds and fan Edmunds.com on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/edmunds.

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