The US Automotive market provided good news as vehicle sales were up 22% over June 2011, exceeding analyst’s projections. This pushed the SAAR (seasonally adjusted rate) back over the 14M mark to 14.05M — the SAAR had dipped to 13.75M in May. Three key take-aways from June’s results:
1. Asia / Pacific Continues to Drive the Market
Toyota and Honda continued to recapture their massive share losses of 2011. Toyota was up 55% over a year ago, while Honda posted a +46%. Toyota’s haul was more impressive, as Honda’s June 2011 provided a very low benchmark by comparison. Nissan also impressed with a 25% gain, while Hyundai and Kia continued their steady growth. All told, Asia/Pacific brands continued to grab share in June — a repeat of May’s performance.
2. GM: Good News/Bad News
While GM’s 16% increase in June was its best month since September 2008, the automaker continued to give up ground as the US market ran up 22%. Still, GM’s performance came in ahead of Ford. Also, GM saw nice results out of its Buick and Cadillac brands, a good sign considering that plenty of new product is still due on the lot later this year, especially for Cadillac.
3. Three Tiers?
No, we’re not referring to the three tiers of automotive marketing here. Instead, there appear to be three tiers of automotive performance, aligned by automaker region.
At the high end we have Asia/Pacific, as noted above. This region appears to continue its momentum in the US market in its recovery from 2011′s challenges. That’s not to say challenges still don’t exist in Tier 1 — after all, Aimee Rogers Thomas isn’t the only import dealer struggling with inventory replenishment.
In the middle we have the Big 3. While all are up from 2011, Detroit continues to lose ground to import makes. When the market grows at 22% and you don’t, somebody else is grabbing your share.
And then we have Europe. Even with VW’s brands (VW / Audi), the region’s performance sharply lagged the market in June. No doubt Europe has seen all sorts of economic and financial challenges recently — well beyond this discussion. We’re nearing the point where it’s not so crazy to ask if Ford and GM should consider vacating the European region — at least for the time being.
The story of the month is (once again) Toyota’s triple-crown of solid metrics: expanding market share of an expanding market, all with growing price points.
Use this information to see where local auto dealers are pacing versus the overall market. A Toyota dealer who is up 30% over last June might think things are good, when in fact their growth could be severely trailing the market. Be sure to stay on top of this info. Follow ESA on Twitter or Facebook to get your daily helping of market intel!
Dave Eckstein is a Partner in the firm ESA & Company. He specializes in highly profitable market share growth for local businesses and gets a kick out of demonstrating a declining cost of customer acquisition. He plays baseball, but isn't that Dave Eckstein.