International nameplate sales finished 2005 on an uptrend during a flat year. While the overall market only increased sales by 0.5%, Internationals improved sales by 4.7%, finishing the year with a 43.1% market share - an increase of 1.8 points over 2004.
And while the month of December saw a sales decline by the traditional domestics of 3.8%, Internationals increased their month-over-month performance by 2.9%. Market share for the month of December was 44.8%, part of an overall trend where share is increasing monthly.
Toyota, Honda Nissan
Toyota's sales increased 9.7% in 2005, breaking two million unites sales for the second year in a row. The company's successes were almost an embarrassment of riches, including reaching over 156,000 unit sales for the Scion lineup, having the best selling hybrid in America with 107,897 Priuses sold, and once again having the #1 and #3 best selling cars in America with the Camry and Corolla.
Honda's sales were up 4.9% in 2005, thanks largely to increase in the Honda Odyssey, Pilot and Ridgeline, as well the the introduction of the Acura RL which scored a 100% sales increase over 2004. The recent "double-double" wins for the redesigned Civic and the Ridgeline, from both the Car of the Year panel and Motor Trend magazine bode well for sales of both these vehicles in 2006.
Nissan's sales were up 9.2% for the year, thanks to a 11.7% gain for the Sentra, an 8.3% increase for the Altima and a 20% increase in Murano SUV sales. 2005 was the first calendar year Nissan sold one million units in America, bringing the total number of companies in the million sales club to six - three Internationals and three domestics. Nissan had huge winners in the Pathfinder that had a 99.8% increase, as well as the Infiniti M35/45 platform, that sold 24,000 units.
Hyundai was in a class by itself in 2005, and the future looks bright for the brand that was once an upstart and is now the fourth best-selling International nameplate in the United States. With 455,012 units sold in 2005, Hyundai is on record saying they want to reach half a million in '06, and with the combined power of the new Sonata, which has made the top ten best selling cars in America two months in a row, plus the all-new Accent compact and Azera flagship sedan, Hyundai is poised for additional quantum leaps in sales growth.
Land Rover and Suzuki
With two new models, the LR3 and Range Rover Sport, Land Rover's sales increased 30% in 2005, proving that a company that was on a downward sales trend can dramatically reverse its fortunes with products that capture the market's imagination.
Suzuki's sales were up 11% in 2005, due to a 66.9% sales increase of the Forenza/Reno platform, as well as the introduction of the Grand Vitara, which scored a 77.4% sales increase.
Audi and Subaru
Audi's sales were up 6.6% in 2005, due to a 11.7% increase in A4 sedan sales, and a 31.75 increase in A6 sedan sales. The company's new A3 compact sold 5,389 units in '05
Subaru was up 4.6% in 2005, due mostly to the introduction of the Tribeca SUV, which sold 14,797 units since it was introduced around the midpoint of the calendar year. The Impreza line, which includes the Outback, also posted a 4.4% annual gain.
BMW and Kia
As a whole the BMW Group increased sales by 3.6% in 2005, including MINI volume that was up 13.3% on its own. BMW division sales were up 2.4%, led by 3 Series sedans [up 19.45], 5 series sedans [up 10.6%] and 6 series convertibles [up 33.7%].
Kia sold 275, 851 units in 2005, representing a 2.1% increase. The biggest gainer among existing models was the Spectra, with a 27.5% increase and the all-new Sportage SUV sold 29,009 units.
Mercedes and Mazda
Mercedes sales increased 1.3% in 2005, due mostly to the introduction of the redesigned M-Class SUV as well as the all-new R-Class crossover vehicle. The M-Class increased sales by 36.1% over 2004 and the R-Class sold 4,959 units in just a few months on the market.
Mazda's 2005 sales were down 2.1% overall, but the company did see a gain in car sales, thanks to the redesigned Miata [up 4.8%] and the Mazda 3 [up 28%]. The new Mazda5 crossover vehicle also sold 4,761 units after being introduced late in the year.
Volkswagen and Mitsubishi
VW brand sales were down 12.5 overall in 2005, but that number does not reflect late year gains, especially of Jetta sales, that were up 68.4% in December and finished the year up 21.8%.
Mitsubishi was also down for the year, 23.3%, and again, that does not show late year gains, when they posted sales increases in October and November. The introduction of the new Eclipse helped matters greatly, with an increase of 76.4% for the model, and the new Raider pickup sold 1,145 units since its late-year introduction.
Saab, Volvo, Jaguar and Isuzu
Saab posted a modest sales increase of 0.5% in 2005, while Volvo's numbers were down 11.1%, Jaguar's sales fell 33.7% and Isuzu was down 55.2%.