The monthly sales report for cars and trucks is a gold mine for the lover of automotive trivia. Every number has a story to tell, and here are some of those stories.
CARS ARE NOT ENOUGH
Contrary to what you have heard, Cadillac is still the best-selling luxury CAR in the United States. But it's a different story when you talk about the best-selling luxury MAKE.
For the first five months of this year, Cadillac sold 74,178 cars, which was 27 percent more than Lincoln and 38 percent more than Mercedes-Benz. But the sales standings reflect sales of all vehicles. Lincoln and Mercedes are strong in sport-utilities. Cadillac is not represented.
The overall totals through May were Lincoln, 75,886; Cadillac, 74,178; Mercedes, 72,330.
A NOD TO 3-4-5
Ford is first in sales; Chevrolet is second. Everybody knows that. But how about Nos. 3, 4 and 5? Even fifth place isn't bad in a market of 15 million vehicles.
Dodge is third, Toyota is fourth, and Honda is fifth for the first five months of 1998.
Only the two Japanese brands made the top five by selling cars. Cars account for 62 percent of Toyota's sales and 86 percent of Honda's sales.
It's a far different story for the Big 3 entries. Cars make up only 35 percent of sales for Ford, 36 percent for Chevy and a meager 26 percent for Dodge.
When you compare sales of the car lines that Ford and Mercury share, it is usually no contest. Escort annihilates Tracer; Contour has a 4-1 edge over Mystique; and Taurus outsells Sable by about the same ratio.
But in rear-wheel-drive big cars, Ford's Crown Victoria and Mercury's Grand Marquis are neck-and-neck. After five months, the tally was Crown Vic, 49,785; Grand Marquis, 49,549. It's a continuation of last year's duel in which the Grand Marquis beat the Crown Victoria by 1,667 sales.
WHO'S THE LEADER?
Who are the sales leaders by market segments after five months? Check the table above.
In cars, General Motors is in command with the top seller in four of the nine categories. Honda has two top sellers, and Ford Motor Co., Nissan and Volvo have one apiece. Chrysler Corp. is shut out.
Ford shines in trucks, with the top nameplate in five of the seven segments. Honda has one and Chrysler has the other. Nothing for GM.
GERMAN SHARE UP 33%
The market share for German-badged vehicles was 3.6 percent for the first five months of this year, up from 2.7 percent a year ago.
A fraction of a point. So what?
Take another look. A jump from 2.7 percent to 3.6 percent in market share is an increase of 33 percent.
Each of the five German makes shared in the gain. Volume increases were 66 percent for Mercedes-Benz, 41 percent for Volkswagen, 24 percent for Porsche, 19 percent for Audi and 8 percent for BMW.