March wasn’t the best of months for car sales for the big automakers. Sales were down for most, and even less surprising was the trend of which cars were selling well and which weren’t. Last year at this time gas prices were $2.68 a gallon versus today’s $3.28, and the terms “housing crisis” and “recession” weren’t everyday headline fodder.
That atmosphere has definitely impacted what cars are selling. In March, small cars like the Ford Focus — up 24% — and Honda Fit — up 73.8% — were bright spots almost universally among automakers. Hybrid sales were also up.
On the other end of the spectrum, trucks like the Ford F-Series – down 23.8% — and Dodge Ram — down 31% — saw huge losses, as did truck-based SUVs. The only real exceptions were Toyota’s new Sequoia, the Tundra and the Lexus LX 570.
These trends are likely to continue as long as the economy stays where it is. Even so, overall losses for the major companies stayed in the single digits for the most part, and new, well-reviewed models performed well. To me, that sounds like if automakers build the cars people want — whether they’re fuel-efficient or trendy newcomers — people will buy them.
A short list of cars, trucks, SUVs and hybrids and their March 2008 sales performance is below.
Trucks and SUVs
*Some companies adjust percentages due to selling days. 2008 had two less selling days than 2007, so the percentages may appear higher.