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Market share dips, but Big 3 shine in Top 10

SALES TALES
John K. Teahen Jr. is the senior editor of Automotive News
Ups and downs
Winners and losers in model-year sales, 2001 vs. 2000
WINNERS
  TOTAL SALES GAIN
1. Hyundai 79,557
2. Chrysler 66,499
3. Kia 54,137
4. Toyota 48,282
5. BMW 40,731
  % GAIN
1. Kia 35.70%
2. Hyundai 34
3. Acura 24.7
4. BMW 23.4
5. Chrysler 15
LOSERS
  TOTAL SALES LOSS
1. Ford -351,485
2. Dodge -237,358
3. Chevrolet -148,558
4. Mercury -91,808
5. Jeep -82,769
  % LOSS
1. Plymouth -64.90%
2. Mercury -23.7
3. Infiniti -19
4. Lincoln -17.8
5. Jeep -15.9

The monthly sales report is a gold mine for the lover of automotive facts and figures. Every number has a story to tell. Here are some of those stories.

Domestic makes score

The 2001 model year was not what you would call great for the domestic vehicle makers, but General Motors, Ford and the Chrysler group can point to two categories in which they did quite well and one in which they did very well.

In car sales, the Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry were first and second, but the domestics grabbed six of the top 10 places.

In total cars and trucks, domestic vehicle makers wound up first and second (Ford F series and Chevrolet Silverado) and captured seven of the first 10 spots.

And in truck sales, it was strictly a U.S. show. Again led by the F series and Silverado, the domestic brands swept all 10 places in the top 10.

For the entire model year, the Big 3 were able to hold onto only 63.1 percent of the U.S. market, three percentage points less than in the 2000 model year. In the 1993 model year, which was a good year for the domestics, the Big 3 had 73.4 percent of the market.

It's a truck world

With the arrival of the Buick Rendezvous and the imminent introduction of the Saturn Vue, every domestic vehicle brand will be marketing a truck.But the converse is not true: Every domestic vehicle brand will not have a car. Think GMC and Jeep.

There's a product idea for General Motors and DaimlerChrysler. Have your designers submit sketches of a racy roadster.

After all, if Porsche can have a sport-utility (which it will next fall), GMC and Jeep certainly should have sports cars. Maybe a GMC Gnife or a Jeep Jackrabbit.

One question hasn't been answered about the Porsche SUV: Will it do 0 to 60 in 4.5 seconds?

Winners and losers

Hyundai and Chrysler made the biggest sales gains during the 2001 model year, and Ford and Dodge posted the biggest losses. On a percentage basis, Kia and Hyundai reported the biggest advances, and Plymouth and Mercury had the biggest downturns.

Each of the top five gainers improved its sales totals by 40,000 units or more in the 2001 model year. They were Hyundai, Chrysler, Kia, Toyota and BMW.

On the minus side, Ford Division sold 351,485 fewer new cars and trucks than it did in the 2000 model year.

But Ford still beat Chevrolet by more than 650,000 units. Dodge, the second-biggest loser, was off by 237,358 sales, followed by Chevrolet, Mercury and Jeep.

Kia, up 35.7 percent, was the biggest gainer on the percentage side, followed by Hyundai, Acura, BMW and Chrysler.

Plymouth was hit hardest in the percentage ranking. Its sales were down 64.9 percent.

Plymouth was product-starved, advertising-starved and promotion-starved. It finally starved to death at the end of the 2001 season.

Following Plymouth as big losers on the percentage chart were Mercury, Infiniti, Lincoln and Jeep.

Oldsmobile watch

Oldsmobile, which General Motors will kill in 2004, suffered a 13.9 percent sales decline in the 2001 model year.

But Oldsmobile wasn't GM's biggest loser. That distinction (or disgrace), goes to Cadillac, which was down 14.3 percent.

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