Domestic manufacturers continue strong showing

While Detroit’s Big Three wrestle with challenges brought on by this summer’s high gas prices and the current economic turmoil, visitors to AutoTrader.com continued to show interest in domestic brands. In the AutoTrader.com monthly Trend Engine report, 11 of the top 20 new cars viewed on the site and 12 of the top 20 used cars viewed on the site were United States brands.

“Since we launched the monthly Trend Engine report five months ago, United States auto manufacturers have consistently captured a little more than half of the spots on our list of the top 20 new and used cars viewed on our site,” said AutoTrader.com president and CEO Chip Perry. “The Big Three’s current situation hasn’t yet appeared to have impacted consumers’ general level of interest in their cars.”

The Ford Fusion, benefiting from exposure for its updated design at the recent Los Angeles Auto Show, made a leap onto the top 20 list of new cars viewed on the site, ranking number 19 in November, compared with a ranking of number 37 in November of 2007.

The number 1 viewed new vehicle on AutoTrader.com in November was the Honda Accord, followed by the Toyota Camry at number 2 and the Ford F-150 pickup truck at number 3. These new models held these same rankings in the October 2008 Trend Engine report and have been perennial top 10 new vehicles.

On the Trend Engine used car top 20 list, falling average list prices were the big news. Of the top 20 used cars viewed on AutoTrader.com in November 2008, all but one (the Honda Civic) saw average list prices drop compared to November of 2007.

Used Ford F-250 trucks saw the biggest decline in average list prices, down to $19,797.36 in November of 2008 from $24,663.21 in November 2007, or a drop of 19.73 percent year over year. All trucks and SUVs on AutoTrader.com’s top 20 used car list saw double digit percentage drops in average list prices in November 2008 compared to November 2007.

“We believe there continues to be a market for larger vehicles like trucks and SUVs and search and viewing activity for these larger used models on our site, spurred no doubt by falling gas prices, indicate people might be ready to start buying more of these vehicles again,” said Perry. “The good news for people looking for used trucks and SUVs is that prices are lower than they’ve been in a long time and there are a lot of them to choose from, so it’s a great time to buy.”

Used Honda Civics continue to benefit from the tight supply the car experienced as a result of gas prices hitting four dollars a gallon in the summer. The average list price for used Civics increased 5.42 percent year over year, from $13,931.95 in November 2007 to $14,686.92 in November 2008. The Honda Civic ranked number 7 on the top 20 used car list, down from number 5 in November of 2007.

Fuel efficient cars, which are still in limited supply due to the summer gas price spike, saw small drops in prices. For instance, the used Honda Accord, ranked number 5 in November of 2008, saw its average list price drop only 0.18 percent year over year, to $16,018 in November 2008 compared to $16,046.39 last November. Similarly, the used Toyota Camry, ranked number 18 this November, saw its average list price drop only 1.18 percent year over year, to $16,679.92 in November 2008 compared to $16,879.30 in November 2007.

The top three viewed used vehicles on AutoTrader.com in November 2008 were the Ford F-150 at number 1, the Chevy Silverado 1500 at number 2 and the Ford Mustang at number 3. These cars held the same positions in November of last year as well.