Offshore Brands Down Slightly in U.S. Market Share in April

Sales for the top ten nameplates averaged a 15.1% improvement overall in a market up only 2.3% - meaning the strong are getting stronger.

New cars and trucks from offshore-owned automakers held a 55.3% share of the U.S. auto market in April, a slight decrease from a 56.3% in March. In raw numbers this accounted for 654,086 units, compared with 791,169 in March.

This is hardly a ‘Buy American’ trend, though, because in the first four months of 2011 offshore brands averaged a strong 55.6% share of the U.S. auto market. Simply put the Detroit Three – in spite of the demonstrably best, most fuel-efficient car offerings in history – haven’t laid a glove on the invaders, if you can call the jobs for 500,000 Americans across the country, and more $40 billion invested in the United States “offshore” or as is still common in Detroit “foreign.”

Asian brands were up 3% compared to April 2011 and held a commanding 45.3% market share. The Orientals are up 10.2% for the year-to-date – thereby tracking the overall market growth. European brands sold 118,017 units and were up 18.8% over last April and 23.3% for the year-to-date. Detroit Three brands – if Fiat owned Chrysler remains one – sold 530,361 units and occupied 44.8. Their overall sales were down 1.5% from last April, but up 8% for the year-to-date.

“Incentive spending is trending down, and sales continued to climb in April,” said American International Auto Dealers Association President Cody Lusk. “That’s a good sign for both dealers and the economy.”

Offshore nameplates held six of the top ten-selling vehicle spots in April, the same as March. The Toyota Prius hybrid moved into the fifth spot, up from number six in March. With sales of 25,168 units, the Prius line is up 101.7%. The Toyota Camry easily maintained its hold on the second spot as the top-selling car in the U.S. as sales for Camry were up 20.9%. The aging Honda Accord – a new one comes this fall – followed in third with sales up 25.6%. The Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic, and Honda CR-V – in sixth, seventh, and eighth places, respectively – completed the list of top ten-selling vehicles for the month. Sales for the top ten averaged a 15.1% improvement overall in a market up 2.3% – meaning the strong are getting stronger.

About Ken Zino

Ken Zino is an auto industry veteran with global experience in print and electronic media. He has auto testing, marketing, public relations and communications expertise garnered while working in Asia, Europe and the U.S.
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