Americans continue to buy vehicles almost as fast as they reach dealer lots, as the country is flooded with permanently vacant lots and stories of some establishments relying on obscene markups.
We’ll save the last two topics for another day. At the same time, despite consumers craving for new cars, the market has slumped significantly compared to the same period last year — by double-digit percentages, in fact.
It should come as no surprise to any member of B&B to learn that supply chain challenges continue to plague the industry, limiting the number of vehicles that can be delivered to customers. Last quarter — remember, most manufacturers only think we’re worthy of reporting sales four times a year rather than monthly — sales plummeted to 3.37 million units, down a staggering 21% from the second quarter of 2021. Of course, global auto sales have been upside-down for more than two years, with the global pandemic and chip shortages distorting the data in a way we never imagined until we learned the word “Covid.” Note that some brands have yet to communicate their data.
Year-to-date, approximately 6.57 million new vehicles have been purchased from U.S. dealerships, down 18.5% from 8 million in the same period last year. If that pace is replicated when Santa arrives, the market will have its worst performance since the bad days of the past, when everyone was trying to get out of the Great Depression. However, unless the unthinkable happens globally, we’ll be well ahead of 2009, when light vehicle retail sales bottomed out at more than 10 million units.
It’s always fun to look at individual brands, so let’s do it. GM is again at the top of the list, embarrassingly usurped the U.S. sales crown last time by Toyota. This was mainly due to a 22.9% decline in the country’s Toyota brand overall, while the GM brand fell 15.4%.Buicka is the heaviest, down by more than half compared with the same period in 2021 and So far this year. So it wasn’t just a bad second quarter for the Three Shields brand; it was a rough year.
Citywide, Ford has been largely flat over the past quarter and has had a better year than most, down just over 8% year-to-date. A strong June will lead to stifling headlines that Glass House is up 31.5%, and it’s true – this month alone. In June, Ford said it had sold 1,837 F-150 Lightning pickups, for a total of 2,296, since the EV went on sale. In the same segment, Rivian has sold an estimated 1,400 trucks so far this year. Tesla has yet to sell a Cybertruck, even though they boasted when they introduced the Cybertruck years ago.
And, for those of you who prefer small (plus) pickups, know that the Maverick has outsold the Ranger so far this year: 38,753 versus 33,840. Think cannibalism is taking place? Write your thoughts on that particular stat in the comments.