New data shows North American market decline
Overall, 3,271,321 fewer new cars were bought in North America in 2009, than in 2008, with 12.6 million total sales.
Across the region, those brands weathering the storm best were lower volume imported marques, with Hyundai (+11.6 %) and Kia (+11.3%) increasing sales volumes. Other winners were Subaru (+15%) and Audi, which achieved 5.4% growth in H2, albeit with smaller volumes.
By contrast, the three biggest brands, Ford, Toyota and Chevrolet, ended the year 13.8%, 18.2% and 25.8% down respectively.
David Di Girolamo, head of JATO Consult, said: 'The recession of demand and simultaneous, sudden shift to smaller, more economical vehicles has been felt keenly across North America. This has created even more of an opportunity for those lower-volume, importing manufacturers who already offer such vehicles and puts even more pressure on the big, domestic auto makers.'
Looking specifically at the US, JATO Dynamic's data shows just how much better imported brands have fared compared to domestic vehicles. In fact, the top five models in the United States' new car league were held by import brands, Toyota, Honda and Nissan, with the year's best-selling car the Toyota Camry.
Overall, US car and truck sales were down 20.5% and 22% respectively, with small and lower medium cars seeing smaller drops in demand, evidence of downsizing amongst those US customers buying new cars.
Within Canada the market fared better, dropping only 10.8%, with truck sales actually rising 3.6% in the second half of the year. This was perhaps helped by the fact Canadian customers seem to prefer smaller cars, with the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla and Mazda3 heading the sales list.
More significantly however, truck sales in Canada grew through the second half of the year, with the Ford F150 topping the list, with total sales of 67,538, (+20.2%).
In the Mexican market, sales fell below the one million mark this year, having suffered the greatest percentage fall of 28.8%. Overall, both truck and car sales fell, with even market-specific models such as Nissan Tsuru, experiencing a downturn. Some car models did buck this trend, with Seat Ibiza doing the best business, up 28.3%, with total 2009 sales of 10,419. And Volkswagen's South American entry-level model, the Gol, has been an immensely popular addition to the Mexican market in 2009, selling 23,776.
Truck sales fared less well, headed by the Nissan Pickup. In further evidence of the sudden unpopularity of large SUVs, sales of the Ford Expedition more than halved, down 52.2%.