Though US auto sales managed to beat expectations and posted their best pace since July 2005 even without the Labor Day weekend sales bonanza, the Japanese automakers didn’t fare very well last month.
With the traditional holiday that signaled the end of the summer pushed this year into September, August did post a small decline compared to last year – but the tally of almost 1.6 million units did translate into a seasonally adjusted rate of 17.8 million vehicles. But companies that mostly have a passenger car-oriented range bore the brunt of the slide – Toyota’s deliveries dropped 9 percent last month, followed by Honda with a 7 percent dip and Nissan posting a milder result – just one percent below the positive threshold.
Toyota slid nine percent last month compared to last year even as its Lexus luxury brand managed to snatch the second monthly win this calendar year. The brand saw popular passenger cars – such as the Camry, Corolla and Prius – falling. “Cars remain the big challenge,” comments Michelle Krebs, senior analyst with AutoTrader, adding that even as the automakers deliver major incentive campaigns the sales won’t pick up as the market is dominated by SUV and pickup demand. Bill Fay, chief of sales for Toyota’s namesake brand in the US, still pointed out that US consumer confidence last year was at the best level since January. And Toyota’s decline was also smaller than analysts had estimated.
Honda’s 6.9 percent drop was more in line with expectations for a 7 percent drop, as the passenger car lineup dropped by 15 percent and the 3.9 percent rise in the SUV and truck category was not enough to offset it. Nissan meanwhile slid just 0.8 percent, as light truck deliveries increased 7.9 percent and passenger cars of Nissan and Infiniti brands receded by 6.3 percent.
Via Reuters, Bloomberg