Movers and Losers: May 2011

2011 Elantra

May sales marked the first decline in total car sales in the past eight months. This is mainly a result of inventory shortages due to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, high gas prices and low retail incentive offerings. Cars took slightly longer to move off lots, too. The average number of days it took to sell a new vehicle went from 48 days in April to 54 days in May. That number was at 50 days in May 2010.

Despite the lull, there were winners in May, most notably the Hyundai Elantra. The redesigned model has been a hot seller for some time — a member of the Movers’ list since December 2010 — and it’s now the fastest-moving model, taking just three days to sell. That rate is actually for the 2012 model that went on sale recently. The 2011 was the first year of the redesign, and it also made the Movers’ list this month. We can’t recall two model years of the same vehicle ever making the Movers’ list in the three years we’ve been publishing it.

Chrysler’s Sebring replacement, the 2011 200, also did well for the month, taking only 19 days to sell. The model was the best-selling Chrysler brand product in May. All three Chrysler models — 200, 300 and Town & Country — are selling better than May’s monthly average.

The number of days it takes to sell a new car is a poor measure of actual inventories, so it’s hard to gauge the performance of automakers like Honda and Toyota that may have been affected by the Japanese earthquake earlier this year.

The 2011 Toyota Prius and new 2012 Honda Civic models were hot items for the month, but many popular models, like the Toyota Camry, performed below May’s average.

About the Lists
The Movers and Losers list reports the average number of days it takes to sell models from the day they arrive on the lot until the final paperwork is signed by a buyer. This is not a days-of-inventory list like you may find on otherwebsites. We're now focusing on only 2011 and 2012 model years.

For Movers, we only list vehicles that pass a certain threshold of sales in order to weed out limited editions, ultra-high-performance cars and others that might skew the numbers or otherwise inaccurately portray popularity. For Losers, we have removed any threshold to reflect 2011 models that may have the greatest incentives.

Comments 

Tony

Infinity G25 sounds like a good pick. But Mazda6 and Yaris - questionable. Especially Yaris, a car with very low owner satisfaction. Does it make sense to discount yourself into unpleasant?

JM

Its great to see that the Q5 is still flying off the lots. great job Audi!

Bowrider

I'm surprised to see the M56 on the Losers list. But, it's not a great redesign and unless you get the Sport, it's a very normal looking car in a competitive class.

Six

Jag XKR was so slow on sales it made the losers list twice.

Rockaby

Hahaha, nice catch Six!

@Six @Rockaby Yes that's correct. The 212 days is for the XKR convertible and the 158 days is for the coupe. Sorry for any confusion on that.

Ronback

Where I am Q5's are sold before they get off the truck. There is a waiting list.

Mark

Colin: Is it possible to get a list for all new car models, particularly the German brands?

Thanks!

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