When the 2009 auto sales period comes to an end on January 4, 2010, there will be some notable winners, but a whole lot more losers once final figures have been tallied. According to TrueCar.com, a website that develops reports to determine what customers actually paid for their vehicles, of 169 models analyzed just 15 are seeing a sales increase this year.
Three brands will finish in positive sales territory this year: Subaru (+13 percent), Kia (+8 percent), and Hyundai (+5 percent). That leaves 37 brands facing losses over 2008, a year that showed significant losses over 2007.
Isuzu was mentioned as the biggest loser at 96 percent, but they stopped selling cars in the US in January. The actual brand loss leader is Hummer (-66 percent) followed by Saturn (-62 percent). Hummer sales sunk as demand for its hulky vehicles evaporated thanks in part to high gas prices and the trend away from pricey utility vehicles. Saturn’s plummeted as GM announced the brand’s sale and later demise which has chased customers away. Saab (-61 percent) was third and, like Saturn, is slated for closure.
So what vehicle is the leading sales leader for 2009? With about two weeks left in the sales year, the Audi A5 has that position sewn up thanks to a new model which is pushing sales up by a whopping 50 percent. The Subaru Forester, Nissan Z, Lexus RX, Ford Fusion, Volkswagen Jetta, Nissan Maxima, Dodge Journey, Ford Escape, and Mercedes E-Class are among the other models that are up for 2009.
As you might guess, the strongest sales increases are with those models which were updated and released in 2009, demonstrating that new product does attract interest from new car buyers.
But the TrueCar.com analysis has several clear losers, models which make you wonder if automakers will eventually abandon them or come out with an update. Ten models have seen sales sink by about 60 percent or more, with both the Mitsubishi Eclipse and BMW X3 falling 67 percent for the year. Other big losers include Chrysler Sebring, Toyota 4Runner, Chrysler PT Cruiser, and the Mercedes R-Class.
Of note, the aged Chrysler PT Cruiser was killed off and brought back to life this year, a retro-styled vehicle that hasn’t been changed since its 2000 launch. Clearly, style and age are huge factors in how a car is received by consumers.
For automakers who brought all new models to the market, vehicles which were introduced for the first time, there is some very good news: customers embraced them.
Though no sales data was presented yet, the Chevrolet Camaro, Kia Soul and Forte, Toyota Venza, and the Mercedes GLK-Class demonstrate that if you offer cutting edge product, then sales will follow.
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