Interesting times indeed. As the economy continues to lumber on, this economic shakeup is certainly changing things in the automotive industry. While in a bustling economy it may take decades for shifts to happen in an industry, it can take just a month in a recession. And so with every passing month the sales figures for the world's automakers in the U.S. give us a glimpse at how things are changing.
The two biggest stories might just be that in the month of April Ford outsold Toyota, while Korean automaker Hyundai surpassed Nissan/Infiniti for total sales - moving just outside the top-five and in to 6th place.
Toyota managed to sell 126,540 units in the U.S. in the month of April, suffering a decline of 41.9 percent compared to the same period a year ago. Meanwhile U.S. automaker General Motors suffered only a 33.2 percent decline in sales. GM still holds the top sales position in the U.S. for the month if April, but Toyota was surpassed by Ford, which managed 133,979 units, a decline of 33 percent over the previous April.
As for Hyundai, it posted sales of 59,558 vehicles in April, topping Nissan/Infiniti at just 47,190 units. This news pushes Hyundai into sixth place for U.S. sales. The position-swap is due mostly to the fact that Hyundai managed to sustain minor losses, while Nissan struggled. Nissan's decline from the month of April 2008 was 37.8 percent, while Hyundai only posted a loss of 14.1 percent.
It is important to point out, however, that Hyundai's sales also include all Kia vehicles.
Other interesting stories found deep in April's sales numbers include Chrysler’s decline of 48.1 percent, as well as news that the Honda Accord out-sold Ford’s F-Series pickups to claim the title of the best selling vehicle in the U.S.
For the second straight month, no automaker in the U.S. posted a sales increase, although on the positive side the overall sales of vehicles dropped just 34.4 percent compared to the same period a year earlier, which is the smallest decline since October.
May's numbers are sure to be more interesting as Chrysler is certain to drop significantly, potentially moving several automakers up a position.
More: Ford Outsells Toyota, Hyundai Surpasses Nissan