By on October 3, 2013

TTAC_large-car-sales-chart-September-2013

As America’s new vehicle market posted a 4% sales decline in an abbreviated September 2013 and total passenger car sales slid 7%, sales of large cars at mainstream brands rose 5%.

Growth was powered in large part by the Dodge Charger, which hasn’t sold this well since 2008.

Toyota reported its tenth consecutive significant Avalon sales increase. The Hyundai Azera’s 67% jump equalled 596 extra units. In its sixth month, Kia sold 926 Cadenzas, down 35% from the average it had achieved over the prior three months.

On five separate occasions during the first three quarters of 2012, Hyundai sold more than 3000 Genesis sedans and coupes, but only once this year. Hyundai USA reports sales of the Genesis sedan and coupe as though they’re one car.

The priced-like-a-G37 Nissan Maxima outsold the Toyota Avalon in September, but Nissan hasn’t reported a monthly increase in Maxima volume since October of last year. Only once since October has Buick reported a monthly increase in LaCrosse volume. After rising above 90,000 units in 2005, LaCrosse sales in the U.S. dropped in 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009. But after a huge increase to 61,178 sales in 2010, LaCrosse volume is steadily declining again, and Buick could struggle to top 50,000 LaCrosse sales in 2013.

1299 of the Ford Taurus’s September total was generated by the Police Interceptor sedan. Sales of the civilian Taurus fell 9% to 4279 units in September. Civilian Taurus sales are up 8% to 54,935 this year.

Ford has sold 8686 Taurus Police Interceptors and 10,087 Explorer Police Interceptors in 2013. Sales of Chevrolet’s Caprice PPV are up 4% to 2966. 514 Caprices were sold in September.

In 2012, with a near doubling in year-over-year volume, Chrysler 300 volume rose to the model’s highest level since 2007, but that level has proven to be unsustainable this year. Still, in September 2013, despite two fewer selling days than September 2012 and no Labour Day weekend output, 300 volume grew by 274 units.

General Motors said that, “fleet sales in September reflect the strategic repositioning of the Impala.” Chasing retail customers has limited the Impala’s monthly U.S. totals, but it hasn’t resulted in the Impala’s removal from the top of the segment’s leaderboard. 3797 fewer Impalas were sold this September than last; 19,146 fewer through the first nine months of 2013. Combined, the 300 and Charger outsold the Impala in September but trail the Chevrolet by 3505 sales year-to-date.

The Impala was America’s 11th-best-selling car in September 2012 but fell to 14th in September 2013. The Charger ranked 18th in car sales last month, ahead of the Mazda 3 and BMW 3-Series; just behind the Chrysler 200 and Nissan Versa.

4.3% of all new vehicles sold in September were large mainstream brand cars, up from 3.9% a year ago. Defining this segment only by the perceived status of badges is deceiving, however. These are very well-equipped cars, typically very powerful, and almost always exceedingly roomy. In most (if not all) cases, they’re viable competitors for luxury-branded sedans, at least those which lack sporting intentions.

On that note, Lexus ES sales fell 26% to 4866 in September but have risen 44% to 52,076 this year, numbers which are Avalon-like. Lincoln MKZ sales rose 12% to 2874 in September and are up 1% – 301 units – to 23,775 through nine months, better than what Hyundai and Kia manag with the Azera and Cadenza siblings.

—-

Auto
September
2013
September
2012
September
%
Change
9 mos.
2013
9 mos.
2012
YTD
% Change
Buick LaCrosse
3952 4580 - 13.7% 38,845 45,066 - 13.8%
Buick Lucerne
2 - 100% 9 966 - 99.1%
Chevrolet Impala
11,462 15,259 - 24.9% 121,033 140,179 - 13.7%
Chrysler 300
5036 4762 + 5.8% 44,186 53,630 - 17.6%
Dodge Charger
8713 5863 + 48.6% 73,342 63,485 + 15.5%
Ford Taurus
5578 5555 + 0.4% 63,621 56,848 + 11.9%
Hyundai Azera
1487 891 + 66.9% 9105 5993 + 51.9%
Hyundai Genesis
2926 2669 + 9.6% 25,117 27,016 - 7.0%
Kia Cadenza
926 5758
Nissan Maxima
4717 5718 - 17.5% 36,196 46,121 - 21.5%
Toyota Avalon
4514 1571 + 187% 53,795 21,673 + 148%
Total
49,311
46,870 + 5.2% 471,007 460,977 + 2.2%
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57 Comments on “Cain’s Segments: September 2013 Large Car Sales...”


  • avatar
    KixStart

    What’s the impact of fleet buys on this market?

  • avatar
    Synchromesh

    Kia Cadenza? What is that? I don’t think I’ve ever seen one!

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Wait the new Impala isn’t outselling the old Impala? Are supplies production constrained? CR told us this was the second coming of Chevrolet!

    I’m seeing many new Chargers around I just have to check to be sure its not an unmarked cop car and the local PD who haven’t bought any new cruisers in roughly 4 to 5 years (Crown Victorias) seem to have chosen the Charger now that they’re bidding for cars again. I have yet to see a Caprice in the wild.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      Compared to the rest of the large car market, they are selling very well. Getting the transaction prices up (and thus lowering volume) is going to have positive effects on the Malibu and thus the Cruze. Being able to buy the biggest sedan in your lineup for less money than your midsize and close to your compact hurts what people are willing to pay for the midsize and compact. Creating some space in the pricing between the two can’t be anything but good in Chevy’s case… even if it does hurt their overall volume of full size by 20%.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        “Being able to buy the biggest sedan in your lineup for less money than your midsize and close to your compact hurts what people are willing to pay for the midsize and compact.”

        Honestly it says to me your midsize and compacts are entirely too expensive in the first place, but your overall though on increasing transaction prices across the board is well taken.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          Gosh guys, I thought my obvious facetious baiting was obvious. ;-)

        • 0 avatar
          Quentin

          I don’t think the Malibu or Cruze are overly expensive. The Impala was just available for super cheap because it was the 3rd iteration of a 25 year old platform.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            Ah but Quintin, when Herr Schmitt was in charge, he would mercilessly hammer away at GM for the fact that the old Impala (which was a nearly 30 year old design) outsold the Malibu which was a far better drivers car. His implication was that GMs clientele were more worried about buying cars by the cheapest cubic foot than by the driving dynamics.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Fleet is all about TCO, BS should have qualified that fact in his analysis. I would argue however retail Chevrolet buyers of the bread and butter models aren’t interested in “driver’s cars”.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “His implication was that GMs clientele were more worried about buying cars by the cheapest cubic foot than by the driving dynamics.”

            Retail deliveries of the Malibu last year exceeded those of the Impala by about 95,000 units. Fleet sales for the Malibu were high, but not nearly as high as for the Impala (37% vs 78%).

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            And let’s remember, a lot of those fleet Impalas were police cruisers and government purchases. Yes, a lot on the rental lots but they aren’t all Avis bait.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            During 2012, 66% of Impalas went to rental. Only 22% went to retail, and about 5% went to government. Cop cars weren’t much of a factor.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        I don’t think the old impala was underpriced at all(actually I thought it was quite high), it was a cheaply built car (as stated multiple times on an old platform) and in addition it was FWD.
        From what I’m seeing the only way to grow in the fullsize market is
        -Cheap – in which case fwd isn’t an issue
        -RWD and moderate pricing

        The cheapness of the old impala was possible one of it’s best features, without that it doesn’t matter how great it is with FWD.
        Having plenty of room eased the cost of packaging associated with smaller cars.
        However the old car still had iffy styling and only moderate ride comfort (in fleet spec) as well as uncomfortable seats among other things, it definately wasn’t taking sales from smaller cars, though this move will possibly hurt its own sales.

        Just my 2 cents

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I would think as KixStart wisely points out you’re seeing the impact of fleet sales between W and the new Impala. The 2014 Impala is (1) most likely limited on fleet sales and (2) super expensive in comparison. This is also probably the case for Charger’s explosion in sales. I’ve only seen one Caprice since it was announced for import, in the ritzy fru fru borough next to mine doing traffic duty. This borough’s police also enjoy a helicopter and their own SWAT team and cover about 33,000 residents, for contrast the Pittsburgh Police in a city of roughly 400,000 do not have a helicopter (but do have a SWAT team).

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        I would suppose the price is doing more to keep it out of fleets than any reluctance on GM’s part to sell it into them.

        It’s a nice car but it does seem to be a quantum leap up in price from the old one.

        As to the Caprice, unless my eyes deceive me, it is the official cruiser for uniformed cops on “Castle.”

        Full disclosure: I very much enjoy “Castle,” but the engagment might be the shark-jumping moment.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I’ve seen the commercials but I’ve never tuned into the show.

          I’m surprised the Caprice didn’t catch on vs the Charger for highway police duties.

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      The old Imp was something like 80% fleet, the new, not so much.

  • avatar
    mike978

    I am surprised by how poorly the Genesis performs. Especially when the Coupe is much cheaper than the sedan. And both cars are reasonably well regarded in reviews.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      The Genesis sedan outsells the Audi A6, Infiniti M and the Lexus GS and it doesn’t have AWD and is about to replaced (whereas the GS was brand new last year) and the next gen model should sell a good bit better with the addition of AWD.

      Now, sales of the coupe are disappointing (being outsold by the sedan by a greater than 2:1 margin) but then again, maybe not so much when looking at sales of Asian coupes.

      What the LaCrosse, Malibu, Azera and Cadenza could really use is a hybrid version (not the mild-hybrid that GM currently uses) since hybrids make up a decent chunk of large/large-ish FWD sedans like the Avalon, ES and MKZ (otoh, hybrid RWD sedans do not sell).

      • 0 avatar
        84Cressida

        The Genesis outsells those car due to being a crap ton cheaper, having more incentives and fleet sales, and having a coupe model which sells even cheaper. You berate Lexus for having the LS be cheaper than Mercedes and BMW and list that as the only reason it sells, yet every single month you trumpet Hyundai selling more Genesis’ “without an AWD model”.

        Your predictions on here and other sites about how your precious new Genesis that hasn’t even been unveiled will put the “final nail in the GS’ coffin” are the biggest farce on here, aside from the clown who’s in love with every turd Chrysler’s built.

        • 0 avatar
          bd2

          I’m just talking about the Genesis sedan which sold about 23k units in 2012.

          And I’m well aware that the Genesis is cheaper than the GS and M, but like the LS400 (which was sold for a ridiculous low MSRP of $35k), the Genesis is the NEW entrant into the segment and thus has to bring value to the equation to garner sales.

          The LS460 has had several generations to build its brand and yet, it is still considerably cheaper than the S Class.

          And unlike for the Genesis, the LS has the luxury nameplate and separate dealer network – you don’t expect Hyundai to charge for things they don’t offer – do you?

  • avatar
    jhefner

    So the much hated Taurus beat out the Maxima and all other Japanese and Korean competition to place third this year. Yeah, I know, I know; PI and fleet sales…..

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Which is true, but it reflects how unappealing those Asian models have truly become.

      • 0 avatar
        84Cressida

        I’d sure like to know how the new Avalon is “unappealing”. The Maxima is old, but is still a nice car as well.

        And the Avalon was outselling the Taurus several times this year. The Taurus is the one that is unappealing. Overly complex, bloated styling, impossible to see out of, terrible space utilization.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          I haven’t driven the *new* Avalon because the local Yota dealer doesn’t even have one on their lot, but I much preferred the Taurus SHO over the last Avalon I drove, a 2011 IIRC.

          Much more fun to drive. Much faster, I liked the interior better, the looks were more appealing. Interior space was adequate. I didn’t like the center console that sweeps out by the right leg, but that was about it.

          The Avalon was a rental and had a bit bigger back seat, but other than that, it was meh.

          • 0 avatar
            Quentin

            The current gen Avalon is a completely different animal from what you drove. Rev matching paddle shifters in sport mode and much more athletic handling than the previous “fly avalon class” generation are the biggest changes.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          The Taurus/Charger have a percentage of fleet sales, the Asian models really do not. So based on the chart the only model shown which equals or exceeds Taurus/Charger in terms of sales is Avalon (depending on the percentage of fleet you assume). The others simply pale in comparison which I think was jhefner’s point.

          • 0 avatar
            jhefner

            Exactly. Fleet sales or none; the Avalon is the only one that is even close.

            I wanted one until the new Fusion came out; it just seems to offer more value for what you pay than the Taurus; besides being easier to drive because it is closer in size to my ’95 Taurus than the current Taurus.

            Fleet is fleet; but rental fleets are not where you find either the Taurus or the Fusion; at least not in my neck of the woods (southcentral US.) I tried to rent one for a business a few months ago, and the Taurus was hard to find, the Fusion non-existant; I want to rent one of each for long trip before signing on the dotted line and driving 110 miles a day in one.

            I have seen them being used instead as company cars.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            2013 sales figures and 2012 fleet figures from Pch101 above.

            Taurus 63621 * 0.55 = 34992 – 63621 = 28629 retail
            Charger 73342 * 0.46 = 33737 – 73341 = 39605 retail
            Avalon 53795 * 0.19 = 10222 – 53795 = 43573 retail

            Taurus is no surprise to me, but it appears despite its role as the new police car of choice Charger sells well to regular folks too.

        • 0 avatar
          Flybrian

          Have you looked at the front end of that thing? Yeesh.

          The only Avalon to ever achieve a sense of style was the first generation and that style was ‘bland’.

    • 0 avatar
      200k-min

      The Maxima is really not that appealing and way overpriced. Haven’t been impressed at all on the several I’ve had as renters.

      I think the key demo for the Taurus is people like my parents. They are retired and prefer large sedans for the perceived ride quality. The retro/aggressive styling of the Charger is too much so they cross shop Avalon/Taurus. Then it becomes all subjective and price. If it’s not about entusiasts the Taurus is a very nice vehicle. Not what I’d buy but it has plenty of fans.

      And where the heck are all the new Impalas??? I have not seen a single one, never ever. Not even as a cop car which seems to be all Taurus and Chargers.

  • avatar
    84Cressida

    GM said they were targeting 30% fleet for the new Impala, which is still ridiculously high. I have yet to see them break out Impala numbers between the new car and the old one, so Impala being “best selling in class” means squat when the vast majority are the old models being whored out to Enterprise.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      We’ll see but I see Malibu as the GM option to fill the void when W-Impala goes away.

      By-the-by in my region Enterprise through their retail channel is currently offering 448 Impalas of all years but also 218 Camrys (for a total of 666 incidentally) presently for sale, which is around a 2:1 ratio as you would expect. However W-Impala is 80% fleet (or more) as a model, Camry is not.

      Curious.

      http://www.enterprisecarsales.com/list/buy-a-car-1#0/10/Distance/a//make%3D%22CHEVROLET%2CTOYOTA%22%20model%3D%22toyota–camry%2Cchevrolet–impala%22

      • 0 avatar
        84Cressida

        Inventory on rental car used car lots is not an accurate way to judge what is fleet or not. Enterprise takes trade ins all the time and sells those on their lot, even if they were not prior rental cars.

    • 0 avatar
      Flybrian

      Toyota rental concentration is much higher than you’d expect, especially on woeful models like the Avalon.

      • 0 avatar
        84Cressida

        The “woeful” Avalon, getting good reviews and even winning Ward’s 10 best interiors this year. The only thing woeful are your attempts to belittle it.

        • 0 avatar
          ponchoman49

          Funny that even CR rated cars like the new Impala higher. The bland Avalon’s only real claim to fame is the higher mileage hybrid edition. Motor Trend said it crashes and bangs over bumps. DFP panned it becuase it rode like it was on a buck board and has bleacher hard seats with mouse hole gaps in the dash. The little old blue hair driver’s that make up 90% of the sales for this car surely won’t approve.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I rented an Avalon a month ago. I did not like it at all. I was supposed to have it for ten days, but I switched it for a different car after three.

          • 0 avatar
            84Cressida

            Must be why even Car & Driver rated the Avalon first place, ahead of the rental car, excuse me, Impala.

            The Impala also got criticized for typical GM chintzy bits inside and the ridiculous thing is bloated to the max and hideous. The rental car companies will surely eat it up though, just like they do with the current turd.

          • 0 avatar
            bd2

            C&D, thus far, has been the anomaly.

            Motor Trend, Consumer Reports, etc. have criticized the ride which is all important in this category (even C&D gave the Avalon a low score for its ride, but was too enamored by its light weight which made it easier to toss around in the twisties).

            The Impala, otoh, has finished either no.1 or 2 in every comparison.

            The Avalon, however, is still better than the ES which got even more complaints for its ride, as well as complaints about cheap interior bits.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            The Avalon does not ride nice at all. The much maligned and derided Taurus is a much better, although slightly claustrophobic, highway cruiser.

  • avatar
    wsn

    It doesn’t make sense to include the RWD cars in the list. They belong to another level.

    Also, I have seen LaCrosse many times. It’s no full size.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      I don’t understand how the Taurus and genesis are considered full size myself, but having RWD included makes sense because the number of competitors are so small. But yea Taurus especially belongs more so to midsize than fullsize.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        I think the re-definition of “fullsize” is being forced upon us. And that could be the reason why many new car buyers are switching from sedans to vehicles like the Suburban and the fullsize 4-door trucks.

        At least those vehicles give some semblance of what fullsize is supposed to be. And every one of them is a best seller! The fullsize sedans not so much.

        The miniaturization of America’s vehicles may work for some, but independently-thinking buyers will opt for their own definition of fullsize.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        Any car that’s 197 inches or more in length is today’s full sized car, and the Taurus is 204″. Mid-sized today runs 185″ to 195″, about what a “compact” Dodge Dart used to be. My father-in-law’s 1975 Imperial was 233″ long and 80″ wide, but those Interstate behemoths are extinct.

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          Seems a little messed up to me, a car shouldn’t be built to a dimension. If an excellent car is 197 inches but interior rooms is equal to a 185 midsize, it shouldn’t be classed based in length alone.
          I can’t help but to feel fullsize is as much in the width as the length. As safety standards have increased, so have the depth of doors.
          It seems almost expected this would mean a wider vehicle, instead the width has remained relatively static giving the interior a smaller feel.
          Fullsize cars simply don’t have the presence on the road as fullsizes of yore. The nosedive look as well as “egg” shape look on the Taurus and new impala give them a weakened presence.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          I have fond memories of our 1960 Mercury Montclaire, 1972 Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser and our 1976 Toronado, and when I get nostalgic I whip out the old Kodak pics and marvel at how much mass we used to steer down the highways and byways of America.

          Ahhh, but what a ride? Makes today’s fullsize look puny!

        • 0 avatar
          wsn

          @Lorenzo “Any car that’s 197 inches or more in length is today’s full sized car, and the Taurus is 204″. Mid-sized today runs 185″ to 195″, about what a “compact” Dodge Dart used to be. My father-in-law’s 1975 Imperial was 233″ long and 80″ wide, but those Interstate behemoths are extinct.”

          That’s just absurd. By your logic I can have a full size Corolla if I solder an extra long hitch back there.

          The EPA’s official definition makes much more sense by using the interior volume in cubic feet. A large car would have 120 cubic feet or more.

          And Hyundai Sonata is a large car.

          • 0 avatar
            Lorenzo

            The EPA’s definition has problems too, and is just as arbitrarily absurd. Redesign a 180″ long, 71″ wide compact car for maximum interior space without changing the exterior dimensions, and it’s suddenly midsized? Build a 220″ long, 78″ wide 5,000 pound monster with a cramped interior and it’s midsized too? No.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    Our local 3 Chevy dealers see a lot of action with the new 2014 Impala. Every week I check them out there are 5-6 different cars than the prior week. Meanwhile the same lonely white Cadenza is sitting in the second row at the Kia dealer and the 2013 demo Genesis with a few thousand miles has been collecting dust since early Summer at the Hyundai dealer across the street. The large Korean sedans are a tough sell in Upsate, NY it would seem.


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