Edmunds.com Looks Back at 2009 and Forecasts 2010 Automotive Trends

Edmunds.com Looks Back at 2009 and Forecasts 2010 Automotive Trends


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Edmunds.com Looks Back at 2009 and Forecasts 2010 Automotive Trends

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — December 22, 2009 — Car and light truck sales in 2009 are expected to total approximately 10.4 million units sold, the lowest since 1970 when the country's population was 70 million less. The auto industry sold 16 million new vehicles per year in most of the mid 2000s. New vehicle sales fell 36.4 percent from 2007 to 2009.

Edmunds.com, the premier resource for automotive information, also noted the following trends during 2009*:

Used Car Prices Increased — "Used car prices rose in 2009 because inventory was limited and demand was strong," observed Edmunds.com Analyst Joe Spina.

  • Average retail True Market Value® for a 3-year old vehicle was $16,454, up 4.1 percent over the 2008 average of $15,812
  • Average retail True Market Value® for a 5-year old vehicle was $11,226, up 3.8 percent over the 2008 average of $10,818
  • Average retail True Market Value® for a 10-year old vehicle was priced at $4,459, up 5 percent over the 2008 average of $4,248

Low Gas Prices Curtailed Focus on Fuel Economy — "The price of gasoline was relatively low — an average of 32 percent lower than last year — so most consumers hardly felt compelled to shop for more fuel efficient vehicles," noticed Edmunds' GreenCarAdvisor.com Senior Editor John O'Dell. "The 'Cash for Clunkers' program created a small window of time in late summer during which some preference shifted, but afterward the market share of most segments returned to their previous levels. "

  • Hybrid vehicle market share was 2.4 percent at the beginning of the year and peaked at 3.6 percent in July. Hybrid sales were 2.7 percent market share in November and averaged 2.9 percent for the 11 months.
  • Compact car market share was 16.1 percent at the beginning of the year, reached 22.9 percent in August and declined to 14.4 percent in November.
  • Subcompact car market share was 3.6 percent at the beginning of the year, rose to a record high of 6.2 percent in August and dropped back down to 3.6 percent in November.
  • Large pick-up truck market share was 12.2 percent at the beginning of the year, dipped to 9.3 percent in August and rose back up to 10.7 percent in November.
  • Sport car market share was 2.4% at the beginning of the year, climbed to 3.8 percent during June thanks to new product introductions, and was 3.1 percent in November.

"Despite slow sales of green cars, automakers continue to improve fuel economy, offer new hybrid models and promise that electric vehicles are on their way to the market," commented O'Dell. "No one wants to be caught flat-footed when gas prices inevitably climb again."

Automaker Market Share Fluctuated Unexpectedly — "The market's instability allowed for some unique opportunities that benefitted well-positioned automakers," asserted Edmunds.com Senior Analyst Michelle Krebs.

  • Subaru grew its market share 49.2 percent from 1.4 percent in 2008 to 2.1 percent in 2009, mostly due to sales of the impressively redesigned Forester.
  • Hyundai's average market share climbed 40.4 percent from 5.2 percent to 7.3 percent, thanks to the innovative Hyundai Assurance program and the high profile it brought to the company's value-oriented products that resonated in the recession.
  • Volkswagen's market share rose 23.3 percent, from 2008's 1.7 percent to 2009's 2.1 percent, as the redesigned Volkswagen Jetta TDI had consumers lined up at dealership showrooms.
  • Four automakers lost more than 10 percent market share in a year-over-year comparison, including both domestic automakers that filed for bankruptcy in 2009. These automakers are:
    • Chrysler Group — market share is down 18.7 percent in 2009 compared to 2008.
    • General Motors — market share is down 10.6 percent in 2009 compared to 2008.
    • Mitsubishi — market share is down 29.7 percent in 2009 compared to 2008.
    • Suzuki — market share is down 40.5 percent in 2009 compared to 2008.

Increased Incentives Spending did not Boost Sales — "Bargains were the name of the game during the economic downturn, so essentially every automaker had to increase its incentives to keep customers interested," stated Edmunds.com Senior Analyst Jessica Caldwell.

  • In 2009, domestic automakers spent $3,801 per vehicle sold, up 6.3 percent from $3,576 in 2008. During the same period, market share fell by 7.3 percent.
  • In 2009, Japanese automakers spent $1,664 per vehicle sold, up 15.8 percent from $1,436 in 2008. During the same period, market share rose by 1.8 percent.
  • In 2009, Korean automakers spent $2,810 per vehicle sold, up 31.8 percent from $2,132 in 2008. During the same period, market share rose by 41.8 percent.
  • In 2009, European automakers spent $3,342 per vehicle sold, up 19.5 percent compared to $2,797 in 2008. During the same period, market share rose by 7.7 percent.
True Cost of Incentives SM **
Manufacturer 2008 2009
Chrysler Group $3,868 $4,264
Ford $3,360 $3,365
GM $3,554 $3,889
Honda $1,204 $1,281
Hyundai $2,132 $2,810
Nissan $2,100 $2,533
Toyota $1,318 $1,602

2010 Automotive Trends Forecasted by Edmunds.com

Edmunds.com expects new light vehicle sales to increase by almost 11 percent in 2010 to 11.5 million units. Edmunds.com also expects that:

  • This will be the year of the electric car, with the introduction of the all-electric Nissan Leaf and two extended-range plug-in hybrids: the Chevrolet Volt and Fisker Karma.
  • As manufacturers continue to monitor production more closely, incentives are less likely to fluctuate as much as they did in 2009.
  • Transaction prices will increase as new products enter the market and production rates are more aligned with demand.
  • Despite the stabilization in gas prices, subcompact and compact cars will continue to sell well.
  • Mahindra, India's first automaker in the U.S., is expected to launch three new vehicles, creating even more competition in an already crowded market.
  • Used prices will continue to be strong as supply will be tight and demand will sustain at 2009 levels.
  • Automakers will continue to refine internal combustion technology to create cleaner and more fuel-efficient engines.

"The best thing that might be said about the year the auto industry - and an economically battered nation - is preparing to close: it probably can't get any worse," commented AutoObserver.com Senior Editor Bill Visnic.

* All data reflects activity between January 1 and November 30 of the indicated year.

** Edmunds.com's monthly True Cost of Incentives SM (TCISM) report takes into account all of the manufacturers' various United States incentives programs, including subvented interest rates and lease programs as well as cash rebates to consumers and dealers. To ensure the greatest possible accuracy, Edmunds.com bases its calculations on sales volume, including the mix of vehicle makes and models for each month, as well as on the proportion of vehicles for which each type of incentive was used.

About Edmunds.com, Inc. (http://www.edmunds.com/about/)
Edmunds.com, Inc. publishes four 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 Inc. is headquartered in Santa Monica, California, and maintains a satellite office in suburban Detroit.

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