What looked to be another promising month in the retail automotive market stalled for one big obvious reason.
The US auto market lost three key selling days at the end of October due to Sandy’s impact, with the SAAR (seasonally adjusted rate) finishing near 14.2M units. Early projections had called for another strong month, with expectations in the same range as September’s 14.9M pace. Even as devastating as the storm was, we expect the auto market to bounce back quickly en route to its near-term 15M SAAR target.
1. Big 3: Mixed Bag
Detroit automakers saw mixed retail results during October. Chrysler (+10%) outpaced the market a bit, even though this was the company’s smallest gain since May 2011. GM came in just off the pace at +5%, while Ford lagged the market, ending just below last year’s volume (-0.5%).
The Big 3′s overall performance came in at +4.2%. Again, this should be a retail focus in local markets.
All three major European automakers outpaced the market, lead by VW Group’s +22% gain over October 2011. Given that these gains came on a smaller base, the performance of Europe’s auto companies couldn’t offset the impact of the storm. Still, this is a promising sign for the region. VW is having a very strong 2012.
3. Far East Slowdown
For the first time in six months, market performance of Asia/Pacific automakers stalled a bit. Though the region was up, Toyota (+16%) and Honda’s (+9%) gains came in under market expectations, especially when contrasted to weaker 2011 performance. Both Hyundai and Nissan lost ground in volume and share from a year ago.
Though Sandy was a major curveball for the auto market in October, most expect U.S. consumers to bounce back in the short term. A resilient auto shopper would bring a 15M SAAR target back into range for the US car market.
Use this information to see where local auto dealers are pacing versus the overall market. For example, a Toyota dealer up 10% over October 2011 is actually trailing the brand’s trending by 6 points. 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.