If you are a manufacturer of passenger vehicles, my heart goes out to you. This is especially true if you're active in the United States domestic market which is currently going through one of its worst downturns since 1990.
Bleak as the news is, there are some rays of hope shining through the darkness. Not every company is losing sales and not every brand is getting hammered. Even for those companies reporting huge losses this year, they can still point to at least one or two models which are selling quite well. Without these strong sellers bolstering overall business, probably the picture would be much worse.
For 2008 there are winners, losers, and a handful of companies who are somewhere in between. Let's take a look at these three categories in a bid to make some sense over a declining consumer market.
The Winner's Circle
Honda, Nissan, Kia, Subaru and Mercedes are each registering sales increases year to date over 2007. Subaru is the largest gainer as this manufacturer of compact, fuel efficient cars is seeing sales on the rise to the tune of 5.9% through August 2008. Consumers want smaller, economical cars and those manufacturers who have them will continue to see gains even in a tough market.
The Loser's Corner
GM, Ford, Chrysler, and Toyota combine the four largest retailers in the US market and all four are down for the year. Toyota's drop may surprise you, but ever since getting into the big truck and SUV business, their V8 product line has expanded. Chrysler is in the worst shape with sales down by 24% for the year.
Smaller manufacturers also losing big are Mitsubishi, Isuzu, Jaguar, and Porsche.
Right In The Middle
In the middle of the pack are a number of car companies which fortunes could improve if the market rebounds before the year comes to an end. Volkswagen is off by only one thousand vehicles for 2008 while Mazda, Hyundai, and BMW are within reach of recovering. Indeed, BMW sales are trending upward, giving the luxury car brand hope that 2008 sales will still finish up.
Special Deals For You
For the consumer, this year is definitely a buyer's market as manufacturers slash prices in a bid to clear inventory. Yes, if you're in the market for a new car, truck, van, crossover, or SUV, you'll find prices slashed to the bone especially during these months of the year.
Shop around and negotiate with firmness – the market is clearly on your side.