New Numbers for First Half of 2011 Show Challenges for Auto Makers


As July comes to a close, auto analyst TrueCar is dissecting last month’s market and forecasting some of what might have later in the year. Researchers found that new light vehicle sales declined almost 1% from June. Retail sales for the American market were down about half a percent from June 2011 and down about 2.5% from July 2010. Used car sales were down almost 2% from June 2011, but up nearly 10% from July 2011.

In an analysis of various auto manufacturers, TrueCar shows domestic producers Chrysler, Ford and General Motors leading in overall market share in that particular order, with the same ranking for amounts of incentive spending by auto makers. Overall, TrueCar found that incentive spending across the industry was up from June  but down from year over year numbers.

TrueCar staffers supposed that the debt ceiling crisis and related events could have some impact on auto sales throughout the rest of the year, although reports this morning indicate that the various legislative houses of the U.S. government have finally cobbled together a plan to avoid default. TrueCar researchers believe that it will be critically important for auto makers to offer more incentives to buy, in order to get sales numbers up for the last half of 2011.

To get these monthly numbers, TrueCar relies on actual transaction prices, the prices that customers actually pay at local dealerships. This kind of research can be important for those who plan to purchase a car from a local dealer in the near future. If you are headed out to make a new or used car purchase, take advantage of TrueCar information on pricing and incentives first. Another way to get a jump on vehicle research is to identify current interest rate offers for auto financing, and figure out where you stand based on your credit rating and other information. Too many dealers try to offer customers financing agreements with padded interest rates, and without a good notion of where the prime lending market is, you could be called guard. Make sure you have the numbers on your side when you visit the dealer’s lot.