Part 1 ("The Big Picture") is here.
- Which company sold the most light trucks in the U.S. in June?
- Which company came in at Number 9 in car sales in June, down from Number 7 a year ago?
- Aren't smaller players in the auto industry obviously gaining ground on the big guys because of their small, fuel-efficient cars?
If you don't know the answers to these questions, it's because the press has been doing a poor job of covering what's really been going on in the industry since the Era of the (Failed) Auto Company Bailouts began in December of last year.
Answers to the three questions are in the charts that follow:
(Source Data: Wall Street Journal monthly Auto Sales Chart for June 2009 and June 2008)
The answers to the three questions are as follows:
- (in white on blue above) In June, Ford sold more light trucks than General Motors for the first in many, many years. Just a year ago, GM had a lead on Ford of over 50%.
- (in black on yellow) In June, Chrysler was the Number 9 seller of cars in the U.S. Even a year ago, it was only Number 7, miles behind the top five in the category, and even badly trailing Hyundai. In the past year, Kia has passed Chrysler and established a bit of distance. VW outsold Chrysler during June, for the first time in probably forever -- and remember that this was a month when the 25% of dealers that were terminated had going-out-of-business deals going. It seems more than a little likely that BMW will catch Chrysler in the coming months.
- (in white on green, for irony) While many of the larger makers have focused their efforts on smaller cars, the rest of the pack, contrary to established non-wisdom, has made significant inroads in generally higher-profit light trucks. While light truck sales at the six biggest players are off over 25% in the past year, the smaller players are down less than 9%.
If the establishment press was doing its job covering the industry, the first two items would be widely-known stories. The third, though a bit less obvious, certainly throws into doubt the conventional wisdom that going small is the ticket to success.
Other developments that bear watching include:
- Given Chrysler's dealer terminations, Toyota may soon overtake Chrysler in truck sales. Honda might catch up and pass both.
- Ford has a shot at overtaking Honda in car sales.
- Toyota is perilously close to surrendering its lead to GM as Number 1 in monthly car sales.
The last item just noted is the only one in either of the two posts about the industry situation that is even remotely favorable to GM. If it comes to pass accompanied by heavy press coverage, it will be further proof (as if we really need any) that the press is firmly on the side of the failed bailout attempts, never mind the wreckage they have inflicted on the economy, the rule of law, and on people who didn't deserve it.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.