LOCAL ECONOMIC SNAPSHOT | AUTO SALES

The front of the pack
By TERRY BOX
Staff Writer tbox@dallasnews.com

KYLE ALCOTT
Staff Artist kalcott@dallasnews.com

For decades, Dallas has been viewed as the center of the truck universe — and maybe rightly so. Pickups figure prominently among the top-selling vehicles in the Dallas area, according to data compiled by R.L. Polk & Co. But in a reflection of the growing complexity of the retail auto business, Polk also found that vehicle popularity varies among ethnic groups.

A tale of two cities
While the Dallas and Houston new-car markets are similar in size — Dallas is No. 7 nationally, while Houston is No. 9, according to Polk — they differ in vehicle preferences. DALLAS SALES Through June, these were the top-selling brands overall in the Dallas area and their share of the local market: 1. Ford 2. Chevrolet 3. Toyota 4. Honda 5. Nissan 6. Kia 7. Dodge 8. Hyundai 9. GMC 10. Lexus 14.73 11.84 10.71 9.94 8.38 5.52 4.8 4.74 3.44 2.93 HOUSTON SALES These were the top-selling brands in the Houston-area market through June and their share of the market: 1. Chevrolet 2. Toyota 3. Ford 4. Honda 5. Nissan 6. Dodge 7. Hyundai 8. Kia 9. GMC 10. Lexus 9.02 6.67 5.47 4.43 3.6 3.5 3.11 13.89 13.79 13.7

Top-selling vehicles
The top five selling models in the Dallas and Houston areas through June and how they ranked in sales with various ethnic groups: Overall rank Rank within ethnicity group

DALLAS 1. Ford F-Series 2. Chevrolet Silverado 3. Honda Accord 4. Dodge Ram 5. Nissan Altima HOUSTON 1. Ford F-Series 2. Chevy Silverado 3. Dodge Ram 4. Toyota Camry 5. Honda Accord

Top markets in the U.S.
1. New York area 2. Los Angeles area 8.4% 5.3% 3.2% 3% 2.6% 2.6% 2.5% 2.4% 2.1% 0.9%

Purchases by ethnicity
DALLAS This was the ethnic makeup of new-vehicle buyers in the Dallas area in 2011: Anglo/other Hispanic Black Asian 11% 7.8% 4.8% 76.4% HOUSTON This was the ethnic makeup of new-vehicle buyers in the Houston area in 2011: Anglo/other Hispanic Black Asian 17.4% 8.8% 6.8% 67%

3. Philadelphia area 4. Chicago area 5. Boston-Manchester 6. Detroit area 7. Dallas-Fort Worth 8. Washington, D.C. area 9. Houston area 10. Miami-Fort Lauderdale

Top-selling vehicles in the U.S.

1. Ford F-Series

2. Chevrolet Silverado

3. Toyota Camry

4. Honda Accord

5. Toyota Corolla/Matrix

SOURCES: R.L. Polk & Co.; “Diverse Automotive Market Summary”; Automotive News

The bottom line
“There’s usually not a lot of consensus across ethnic groups about individual models [of vehicles]. This whole theory that I could put out one message [about a particular vehicle] and hit all the groups is just not correct.” “When we were stocking 3,000 Fords on our lot, we knew we might occasionally make a mistake in ordering, but it didn’t matter because we still had something for everyone. But you don’t have that luxury now when inventories have shrunk to half the size or less.” Jerry Reynolds, a former Dallas-area Ford dealer who hosts The Car Pro Show on WBAP-AM and FM and in seven other markets “Decades ago, new-car dealers kept up with inventories and sales with index cards that they kept in their pockets. As the U.S. population gets more diverse and inventories continue to tighten, the dealership business has gotten as complex as other large retail operations.” Terry Box, automotive writer, The Dallas Morning News

Marc Bland, head of diversity and inclusion at R.L. Polk & Co.

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