Category: By The Numbers

By on September 20, 2017

2017 Subaru Impreza sedan and hatch - Image: SubaruThrough the first eight months of 2017, consumers across America have acquired 12 percent fewer new passenger cars than during the first eight months of 2016.

That’s a drop of 565,000 sales, a rate of decline that stands in stark contrast to the U.S. auto industry’s 4-percent year-over-year light truck improvement. Cars now account for just 37 percent of all auto sales, down from more than 50 percent as recently as 2012. But it’s not all doom and gloom. Some auto brands are selling more cars this year than last, and a wide variety of cars are accelerating their sales pace. Subaru, for example, has already sold 17,981 more Imprezas in 2017 than in the same period of 2016.

So we’ve compiled a list of every passenger car that’s making meaningful headway in America’s anti-car market — the cars that are selling more and more often even as many of their competitors suffer under the weight of a pro-F150, pro-RAV4, pro-Escalade ESV wave.

The list is not very long. Read More >

By on May 2, 2017

2017 Jeep Compass - Image: FCA

U.S. auto sales declined nearly 5 percent in April 2017, the fourth consecutive month where U.S. auto sales failed to live up to 2016’s prodigious pace.

Auto sales are now down by more than 2 percent through the first one-third of 2017, a year-over-year decline of roughly 130,000 sales caused in no small part by a bevy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ brands. Chrysler’s 27-percent year-over-year downturn is the worst decline of any brand. Fiat and Jeep — yes, Jeep — have each posted double-digit percentage losses. Dodge is down, too.

But it’s not just FCA. Through the end of April, 18 different auto brands have lost ground, from Lexus and Acura through to Cadillac and BMW, with Buick, Chevrolet, Hyundai, Kia, and Toyota in their midst.  Read More >

By on April 3, 2017

2017 Volkswagen model range – Image: Volkswagen

March 2017’s U.S. auto sales volume dropped nearly 2 percent compared with March 2016, failing to live up to forecasts that expected March to be the best end to the first-quarter in nearly two decades.

Despite record volume at Nissan and Infiniti, continued growth at Subaru, meaningful gains at Buick, GMC, Dodge, Mitsubishi, and Ram, a third consecutive month of improvement at Mazda, and minor improvements at numerous other brands, auto sales fell below March 2016 levels because of declines at Ford, Toyota, and Fiat Chrysler. Hyundai and Kia combined for an 11-percent slide.

A third consecutive month of year-over-year decline for the industry suggests doom and gloom, as does the fact that inventories are ballooning and incentives are rising. Auto sales remain high, however, and only in comparison with 2016 — a banner year for the industry — do sales appear poor. Through the first-quarter of 2017, U.S. auto sales are down by less than 2 percent. Read More >

By on March 1, 2017

2017 Honda CR-V Touring – Image: Honda

Auto sales declined by a modest 1 percent in the United States in February 2017, dragged down by plunging sales at numerous Fiat Chrysler Automobiles brands and sharp declines at Toyota Motor Corp. and Hyundai-Kia. Ford Motor Company sales slid 4 percent because of a 26-percent decline in car sales at the Ford division.

Across much of the industry, there were signs of rude health, particularly if the car sector is ignored. Of the 20 most popular cars in America — a group topped by the Toyota Camry — 16 nameplates generated fewer sales this February than last. Yet America’s five leading utility vehicles (Rogue, CR-V, RAV4, Escape, Equinox) combined for more than 25,000 additional February sales in 2017. And while minivan sales plunged by a fifth, U.S. pickup truck sales were up 10 percent because of full-size truck strength.

These stark contradictions produced a market that produced slightly degraded numbers in one of the two traditionally weakest months on the calendar. Now one-sixth of the way into 2017, the poor selling season should be behind us.  Read More >

By on February 1, 2017

Mercedes-Benz C450 AMG Sedan - Image: Mercedes-BenzAuto sales slid 2 percent in January 2017, starting off the new year on the wrong foot after a record December ended 2016 by stealing this year’s sales.

Sharp declines at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Toyota Motor Corporation brought down an industry that saw numerous notable gains. While FCA and Toyota tumbled by more than 11 percent, year-over-year, Honda, Nissan, and Subaru were among the biggest brands to report improvements compared with January 2016. Read More >

By on January 4, 2017

2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee OverlandGeneral Motors, Ford Motor Company, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles all ended 2016 selling fewer new vehicles in the United States than the traditional Detroit Three managed one year earlier.

Yet for a second consecutive year, U.S. auto sales improved to record levels, shooting past 17.5 million units thanks to an end-of-year push that propelled December to a 3-percent increase, not the 2-percent decline forecasted. Read More >

By on December 1, 2016

2017 Subaru Forester 20XT Touring - Image: Subaru

U.S. sales of new vehicles, year-over-year, declined in three consecutive months between August and October 2016.

Forecasters expected November 2016 to be a much brighter month thanks to buoyant incentives, a lack of post-election economic turmoil, and a lengthier sales month. Indeed, auto sales rose by nearly 4 percent thanks in no small part to big gains at General Motors, America’s highest-volume manufacturer of automobiles. Read More >

By on November 1, 2016

2015 Ford F150

Updated with Ford, Lincoln, and Ford Motor Company results.

Delayed by a fire at the automaker’s Michigan headquarters, Ford Motor Company sales figures weren’t released until this morning, a day after every other automaker issues their monthly reports.

Now, with Ford numbers included, the auto industy lost 6 percent of its October volume in 2016, a year-over-year loss of more than 86,000 units that’s causing observers to question the likelihood of a second consecutive annual sales record for the U.S. auto industry. Ford’s 12-percent drop in October certainly didn’t help. Read More >

By on October 3, 2016

2017 Volvo S90

September 2016 auto sales slid nearly 1 percent, not as rough an outcome as projected by many industry analysts but more proof that the auto industry may have peaked in calendar year 2015.

Despite bright spots from Ram, Buick, and Infiniti, most of the year-over-year improvements reported by automakers in September were modest in size. Porsche, Lincoln, Toyota, Honda, Audi, and Volvo all combined for sub-2-percent increases. Mercedes-Benz, Subaru, Cadillac, Hyundai, and Lexus couldn’t quite manage 4-percent upticks.

Yet in a market that slowed for a second consecutive month, many of the gains produced by pickup truck sales still weren’t strong enough to bring more buyers into showrooms than in September 2015. Read More >

By on December 1, 2015

1. Bob Seattle 3

If you thought I got lost somewhere in southern Alaska, you thought wrong.

We are now hitting Seattle, WA for the remaining part of this U.S. North to South series. I have the privilege of driving a 2015 Ram 2500 Tradesman Crew Cab 4×4 Turbo Diesel.

I baptised last year’s Ram 1500 as Albert. This year, I will follow the letters of the alphabet as they do for hurricanes. Say hello to Bob. Bob, say hello to TTAC.

My first impressions are below along with an explanation on Ford Seattle license plates 2,000 miles up north in Barrow, Alaska…

Read More >

By on November 2, 2015

1. Ford F-150 Wrangell

Leaving Petersburg to continue on our way south requires a ferry as Petersburg’s road network only reaches 30 miles out of town and does not cross any water along the way.

Next we visit Wrangell and Ketchikan before leaving Alaska for good. As well as analysing the car park in these two tiny towns, this is an opportunity for me to try and convey to you how it feels to take the most common means of transportation in Southeastern Alaska: the ferry.

Read More >

By on October 29, 2015

1. GMC Sierra Petersburg Alaska

After stopping in Juneau, we now take the Alaska Marine Highway — the ferry in simple terms — on a little over five hour sail to reach the next town in our journey: Petersburg, definitely the most picturesque fishing station I got to visit in Alaska.

Nicknamed Little Norway and founded in 1897 by Peter Buschmann, who gave the town its name, Petersburg still displays a very strong Norwegian influence, with many buildings decorated with flowery Norwegian rosemaling paintings. In fact, many of Petersburg’s residents can trace their heritage back to Norwegian ancestors and there was a time when Norwegian was still commonly heard on the street.

Read More >

By on October 20, 2015

Chevrolet Colorado Juneau

After Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city, we fly south to Alaska’s capital city, Juneau.

Juneau is America’s only state capital that cannot be reached by car — only boat or plane — as its road network does not connect it to any other towns. It is bound to stay that way as half its residents and its mayor opposed a plan to build a road that would. But even though you can’t drive anywhere, Juneau has a very dynamic car park.

Read More >

By on October 19, 2015

Seward Highway 2

After Barrow and Prudhoe Bay in Alaska, at the extreme north of the United States, we now fly south 620 miles (1,007 km) to Anchorage, the largest city in Alaska but not its capital.

As much as I would have liked to tackle the mighty Dalton Highway, an additional 230 miles and a 14- to 18-hour trip depending on the weather, time and budget constraints meant I had to fly instead, in a semi-cargo plane: the first third of the plane was cargo with the remaining two-thirds for passengers and entry only from the back of the plane. It was the first time I saw such a plane.

On the way, the bonus is sublime panoramas of the former Mt. McKinley, the highest summit in the whole of the United States at 20,320 feet high. Denali, the Indian name for the peak, appropriately means “The Great One”.

Read More >

By on October 9, 2015

The U.S. North to South 2015 series articles are published with a little bit of delay, necessary to process observations, write, retouch pictures and publish. Therefore I thought I’d let you know where I am currently and my planned itinerary for the next week.

If you live nearby and want to holler, please let me know in the comments! Also, if you have any advice on “must do” things and, more importantly, “must drive” roads along the planned itinerary, I have kept it relatively flexible to allow for this, so please let me know.

Currently I am in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. Over the next few days I am planning to travel to:

– Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.
– Jackson, Wyoming.
– Salt Lake City, Utah (via the 189, 26, 89, 34, 30 and then joining the I-15 South).
– Almost Las Vegas, Nevada then possibly Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona.
– Back northwest via Coyote Springs and 93 to Rachel, Nevada, to see some aliens at Area 51.
– North on the 93 to Route 50, “The Loneliest Road in America”, all the way to Carson City, Nevada.

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