By on September 1, 2017

2017 Cadillac XT5 - Image: CadillacA predicted auto sales improvement in August, expected to be the first year-over-year increase in 2017, gave way to decreases for many automakers as Hurricane Harvey’s drastic effects shut down demand in one of the nation’s largest auto markets for the final quarter of the month.

According to Edmunds, Ford, Ram, GMC, Cadillac, and Mitsubishi all claim Texas as their largest market. The period surrounding Labor Day produced 4 percent of America’s new vehicle sales in 2016, but that figure will undoubtedly fall because of Harvey’s devastating impact.

Auto sales were nevertheless bolstered by a 13-percent year-over-year increase in average incentive spends in August, ALG says.

At $3,799 per vehicle — and $4,500-plus at Mercedes-Benz, FCA, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, and Nissan/Infiniti — the average per-vehicle incentive spend was up 4 percent compared with July. Edmunds nevertheless expected automakers to continue to have problems clearing out remaining inventory. In August 2016, 17 percent of vehicles sold were 2017 models. In August 2017, that figure was likely cut in half.

Positive sales results were still reported by a wide variety of automakers in July. While FCA and Ford Motor Company both posted losses, General Motors and Toyota Motor Corp. were up 8 percent and 7 percent, respectively, compared with August 2016.

GM benefited from booming crossover sales: the Buick Encore, Cadillac XT5, Chevrolet Equinox, Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia, and GMC Terrain combined for a 52-percent rise to 81,386 sales, equal to three-in-10 GM sales.

Toyota set an all-time monthly record with 42,265 RAV4 sales and also produced a 13-percent Camry improvement.

Subaru reported a record 12,823 Crosstreks sold and a 17-percent Outback increase, plus a 40-percent Impreza improvement. That makes August its 69th consecutive month of growth and its best month ever.

Volkswagen earned more than a fifth of its sales with utility vehicles as the new Tiguan and Atlas combined for more than 5,000 sales.

Yet overall auto sales fell 2 percent in August 2017, the eighth consecutive month of decline. Expect a post-Harvey bump in auto sales, in the southeast Texas region in particular, as automakers compete for replacement vehicle purchases. So horrible is Harvey’s aftermath, however, that such a bump could be rendered imperceptible both by its delay and the gradual nature of the replacement phase.

Auto Brand August 2017 August 2016 % Change 2017 YTD 2016 YTD % Change
Acura
13,132 14,246 -7.8% 101,180 106,914 -5.4%
Alfa Romeo
1,140 37 2,981% 6,084 377 1,514%
Audi
19,811 19,264 2.8% 141,606 134,562 5.2%
BMW
23,553 25,531 -7.7% 194,604 204,744 -5.0%
Buick
16,811 21,678 -22.5% 143,093 148,845 -3.9%
Cadillac
 15,016 16,346 -8.1% 98,316 103,918 -5.4%
Chevrolet
196,007 175,965 11.4% 1,316,391 1,361,675 -3.3%
Chrysler
 12,652 18,766 -32.6% 128,050 167,700 -23.6%
Dodge
 43,608 44,351 -1.7% 335,852 352,005 -4.6%
Fiat
 2,120 2,736 -22.6% 19,046 22,186 -14.2%
Ford 200,321 204,168 -1.9% 1,628,824 1,702,211 -4.3%
Genesis
 1,803 1,497 20.4% 13,366 1,497 793%
GMC
47,718 42,440 12.4% 358,305 348,164 2.9%
Honda
 132,883 135,325 -1.8% 987,701 987,811 0.0%
Hyundai
 52,507 70,518 -25.5% 441,367 519,581 -15.1%
Infiniti
10,986 10,439 5.2% 100,969 85,362 18.3%
Jaguar
 3,101  3,298 -6.0% 26,932 17,687 52.3%
Jeep
 73,191 86,496 -15.4% 548,833 630,775 -13.0%
Kia
 53,323 54,248 -1.7% 405,462 442,544 -8.4%
Land Rover
6,320  6,031 4.8% 48,074 48,754 -1.4%
Lexus
30,801 30,938 -0.4% 193,463 210,392 -8.0%
Lincoln
8,708 9,243 -5.8% 73,290 71,638 3.2%
Maserati
1,103 958 15.1% 8,884 6,971 27.4%
Mazda
 25,846 26,109 -1.0% 194,559 199,378 -2.4%
Mercedes-Benz °
 25,373 28,404  -10.7% 213,242  219,704  -2.9% 
Mercedes-Benz Vans °
 3,581  3,152 13.6%  22,139  22,186  -0.2% 
Total Mercedes-Benz °
 28,954  31,556 -8.2%  235,381 241,890 -2.8%
Mini
4,448 4,969 -10.5% 31,051 34,887 -11.0%
Mitsubishi
 8,164 7,336 11.3% 70,765 67,160 5.4%
Nissan
97,340 114,199 -14.8% 955,340 969,865 -1.5%
Porsche
4,709 5,181  -9.1% 36,178 35,767 1.1%
Ram
 43,322 44,419 -2.5% 367,007 348,434 5.3%
Smart
229 353 -35.1% 2,394 3,439 -30.4%
Subaru
 63,215 60,418 4.6% 423,728 391,969 8.1%
Toyota
 196,824 182,187 8.0% 1,411,384 1,414,805 -0.2%
Volkswagen
32,015 29,384 9.0% 220,344 207,156 6.4%
Volvo
7,994 7,681 4.1% 49,066 52,892 %
 —
BMW Group
28,001 30,500 -8.2% 225,655 239,631 -5.8%
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
176,033 196,805 -10.6% 1,404,872 1,521,477 -7.7%
Daimler AG
 29,183 31,909 -8.5% 237,775 245,329 -3.1%
Ford Motor Co.
209,029 213,411 -2.1% 1,702,744 1,773,849 -4.0%
General Motors
 275,552 256,429 7.5% 1,916,105 1,962,602 -2.4%
American Honda
 146,015 149,571 -2.4% 1,088,881 1,094,725 -0.5%
Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group
107,633 126,263 -14.8% 860,195  963,622 -10.7%
Jaguar-Land Rover
 9,421  9,329 1.0%  75,006 66,441 12.9%
Nissan / Infiniti / Mitsubishi
116,490 131,974 -11.7% 1,127,074 1,122,387 0.4%
Toyota Motor Sales, USA. Inc.
227,625 213,125 6.8% 1,604,847 1,625,197 -1.3%
Volkswagen Group *
 56,748 54,228 4.6% 399,644 378,677 5.5%
Industry Total †
1,484,826
1,512,626
-1.8%
 11,358,405
11,676,422
-2.7%

Source: Manufacturers

* Volkswagen Group includes sales figures for Audi, Bentley, Porsche, and Volkswagen brands

° Mercedes-Benz USA releases sales figures for the Mercedes-Benz brand in the conventional sense, vans excluded, as well as totals for the Metris and Sprinter vans. The complete picture is included here.

† Industry total takes into account Automotive News figures/estimates for brands such as Tesla (4,400 August units) and other low-volume, high-priced manufacturers.

[Image: General Motors]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.net. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.

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