Thursday, September 3, 2009

August Auto Sales

U.S. auto sales improved substantially in August due mainly to the Cash for Clunkers Program. Overall auto sales for August were up 1% over August of 2008. This is the first month that sales have exceeded 2008 numbers.

It appears that the Japanese and Korean companies have benefited most from the Cash for Clunkers program. Meanwhile sales of luxury cars are still in the dumps with sales down by 30% over last August.

Ford is the American manufacturer sales winner with a 17% increase in sales over last year. GM sales were down 20%, meanwhile Chrysler sales were down only 15%.
  • Kia up 60%
  • Subaru up 52%
  • Hyundai up 47%
  • Volvo up 25%
  • Ford up 17%
  • Mazda up 12%
  • Volkswagen up 11%
  • Honda up 10%
  • Porsche up 9%
  • Toyota up 6.4%
  • Nissan down 3%
  • Mercedes down 8%
  • Chrysler down 15%
  • General Motors down 20%
  • BMW down 25%
  • Mitsubishi down 26%
  • Jaguar down 33%
  • Saab down 68%
Ford seems to be the beneficiary of increased sales lately. It appears that the GM and Chrysler bankruptcies have sent a number of customers over to Ford. The following Ford models had material increases in sales Fusion up 132%, Focus up 56%, and the Escape was up 50%.

Other notable increases were posted by the Toyota Prius up 40%, Toyota RAV4 up 42%, Honda Civic up 44% Honda CR-V up 52%, Hyundai Elantra up 116% Nissan Versa up 131%, and the Nissan Sentra up 78%.

August sales were up at a great run rate of 15 million cars annually. So, it appears that consumers had more faith in the future to spend money on high ticket items.


This month the Cash For Clunkers program had a substantial impact on auto showroom traffic and sales. The Cash for Clunkers Program may have borrowed sales from future months. We will have to see what the next several months bring.

An interesting trend appears to be developing! Sales of U.S. built cars, both by domestic and foreign manufacturers, appears to be increasing. Even though Toyota sales increased 6%, sales of their domestic built cars increased by 52% meanwhile sales of their imported cars dropped 16%.


  1. Hi Pete .. the British too seem to have gone in the direction of the Korean market ..

    I think our figures will be out later. Certainly there are new cars around, as we can see from the number plate, the date it was made.

    As you say we'll have to wait and see .. certainly we have a few challenges ahead here ..

    All the best Hilary Melton-Butcher
    Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

  2. Hi Hilary,

    It appears that these programs are aimed at encouraging purchasing fuel efficient vehicles. The Koreans and the Japanese offer a number of smaller fuel efficient cars.

    Since these are difficult financial times....people are buying inexpensive cars as possible.

    This was the first really positive sales month in over a year....but time will tell if this lasts.

    Thank you for your comment!

    Pete Baca
    The Car Enthusiast Online

  3. Hello Peter,

    Those are very interesting numbers on the cars that are being bought and the companies that are getting the benefits. The bailout of the two car companies are still fresh in peoples minds and Ford benefited from that. Good for them.

    Dan and Deanna "Marketing Unscrambled"

  4. Hi Dan & Deanna,

    The bailouts have impacted the attitudes towards all the American manufacturers. GM and Chrysler have been downgraded for running their business so poorly. Ford has be helped by running a better ship at least recently.

    Thanks for your comment!

    Pete Baca
    The Car Enthusiast Online