I was looking at the January car sales numbers and there are a few interesting things.
Jaguar led the pack with a year-over-year increase of 17.6%. I don’t have the December 2008 numbers so I don’t know how they did last month. Jaguar is a surprise. I haven’t found any analysis regarding why Jaguar is doing so well, perhaps it is related to the weakening of the Pound vs. the Dollar.
Gaining a little over 14% was Hyundai. The only other automakers to register year-over-year gains were Subaru and Kia. Hyundai is benefiting from an aggressive and, perhaps brilliant, plan whereby they guarantee to take the car back should you lose your job within the next year. We’ll see if their plan pays off, but so far it seems to be working for them.
Bentley was the biggest loser with a decline of almost 75%...however, that’s a drop from 367 cars sold in the US last January to 93 this year. No currency benefit for them apparently.
Of the majors, Chrysler did the worst dropping 55% from last year. General Motors down 49% and Ford 39%. Toyota dropped 32% and Honda dropped 28%. While Toyota and Honda are indeed Japanese companies, 56% of all Toyota vehicles sold in the US are manufactured here, for Honda it is even higher at 80%.
VW only dropped 16% - demonstrating perhaps that farfegnugen has staying power.
Volvo dropped 64%, demonstrating that selling ugly boxes on wheels to ultra-conservative people is not a recession proof strategy