U.S. new vehicle sales reached an all-time high of 1.8 million in the month of July. Automakers hit this record by continuing their “Employee Discounts for Everyone” programs that began in June. Each of the Big Three automakers have decided to continue this program at least through Labor Day weekend.
General Motors had the largest success, selling 517,479 vehicles in July. This was a 15% increase from July 2004. General Motors also hit its lowest inventory levels in seven years. Following General Motors in July sales was Ford, Chrysler and Toyota, respectively.
Despite this great success, many analysts are concerned about whether these automakers can continue these strong results after they conclude these discount programs. The Big Three plan to offer lower sticker prices instead of incentives with their 2006 models.
Credit Unions Reap the Benefit of Strong July Auto Sales
“Credit Unions made gains in total auto loans outstanding and market share in July thanks to the incentive programs from the Big Three and the shrinking market share of captives,” said Tony Boutelle, president of Credit Union Direct Lending (CUDL). CUDL works with over 500 credit union clients and over 7,000 dealers throughout the United States. This multi-owned CUSO originated over $1.7 billion in credit union auto loans in July, their best month ever.
Individual credit unions also had strong performances during this period. Anheuser-Busch Employees Credit Union had two of their best months in ten years in June and July in new auto sales. They originated 260 new auto loans each month. According to their CEO, David Osborn, “While the Employee Discount programs certainly helped boost our auto loans, we also credit our competitive rates and fast turnaround on loans for our members and the dealers we partner with.” At June 30, 2005, Anheuser-Busch Employees had $147.4 million in auto loans outstanding, a 6.9% increase from last year.
To learn more about how you can increase your auto loan balances through dealer partnerships, check out our webinar recording on Developing & Maintaining Strong Dealer Relationships. Click here to learn more.