By on October 3, 2017

2018 Subaru Outback - Image: SubaruU.S. auto sales exceeded analyst expectations with a big 6 percent year-over-year increase to 1.5 million units in September 2017, the first monthly improvement in 2017 so far.

After auto sales fell 3 percent during the first two-thirds of 2017, big September increases from Toyota Motor Corp., General Motors, Ford Motor Company, American Honda, Nissan’s trio of brands, and numerous smaller outfits brought the sales pace achieved through the first three-quarters of 2017 within sight of 2016’s record rate. By the end of September, U.S. auto sales are down by less than 2 percent compared with last year.

Pickup trucks played a major role in September’s improvements, growing at twice the rate of the industry at large. The Honda Civic expanded its lead as America’s best-selling car on a quest to end the Toyota Camry’s 15-year run. Minivan sales plunged to barely more than 33,000 units. The Toyota RAV4 topped 42,000 sales for a second consecutive month, leading a booming SUV/crossover class. (Read More…)

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. (Read More…)

By on August 1, 2017

2017 Audi A4 - Image: AudiJuly 2017 auto sales were expected to decline for a seventh consecutive month, sliding further and faster than at any point this year. In the end, with incentive spending up 5 percent, U.S. auto sales dropped 7 percent in July 2017, a year-over-year decrease worth roughly 105,000 sales.

Detroit was to blame for much of the losses, in part because of steep reductions in fleet volume. General Motors, Ford Motor Company, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles combined to lose 76,000 sales. General Motors came within 4,050 sales of losing the top seller’s crown to Toyota as GM July volume fell to a five-year low. At Ford Motor Company, total Ford/Lincoln volume fell to a six-month low. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles suffered steep declines at Jeep, Chrysler, Dodge, and Fiat.

Detroit automakers were by no means the only manufacturers losing U.S. auto sales in June. The Honda brand was down 2 percent, Nissan slid 4 percent, Kia and Volkswagen both fell 6 percent, and Hyundai plunged 30 percent.

But there were also bright spots. Audi sales rose 3 percent for its 79th consecutive monthly increase. Subaru sales, rising 7 percent in July, improved for a 68th consecutive month. And at Toyota, where the RAV4 was by far and away America’s top-selling utility vehicle in July, total volume rose 4 percent to 193,155 units, the best month for the brand in 2017 and the second-best of the last two years.  (Read More…)

By on July 3, 2017

2018 Volkswagen Atlas - Image: VolkswagenAuto sales slid 3 percent in the United States in June 2017, marking the end to a first-half of 2017 in which U.S. auto sales declined in six consecutive months.

Despite Acura-fuelled improvements at American Honda, RAV4-powered increases at Toyota, Volkswagen’s continued bounce-back from the brink, a 6-percent jump in full-size pickup truck sales, and modest gains at a number of America’s top-selling premium brands, June volume fell by roughly 45,000 units, year-over-year.

June wasn’t a horrible month for auto sales in America, just as the first-half of 2017 was not a dreadful stretch. The comparison with 2016, a record year for auto sales in America, causes 2017 to appear worse than it really is. (Read More…)

By on June 1, 2017

2017 Ram 1500 Rebel Blue Streak, Image: FCAU.S. auto sales were essentially flat in the fifth month of 2017 as May new vehicle volume was let down by significant passenger car declines but bolstered by significant pickup truck volume.

Despite a drop in incentives, U.S. sales of full-size pickups jumped 10 percent in May 2017. General Motors’ pickup sales continued to decline, but big gains at Ford, Ram, Toyota, Nissan, and Honda masked losses across much of the industry.  (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 September 1, 2016

2016 Lincoln MKX

Expectations from analysts suggested U.S. auto sales would decline by as much as 5 percent in August 2016, a year-over-year drop of more than 70,000 units.

In the end, it wasn’t quite that bad. But August 2016’s 4-percent drop translated to a decline of 55,000 sales for an industry that grew by more than 116,000 sales in the first-half of 2016, a decent rate of expansion given the record-setting pace from one year ago.

There were industry bright spots in August 2016. Subaru reported an all-time monthly record of more than 60,000 sales. This was the best August ever for the Jeep brand. American luxury — Cadillac and Lincoln — was on the rise. Volvo’s resurgence continues apace. (Read More…)

By on August 2, 2016

2016 Buick Cascada

After a steep May decline and modest growth in June, which fell below expectations, U.S. auto sales expansion flatlined in July 2016, suggesting the market is poised for a slower second half than the early part of the year projected.

New vehicle sales volume rose less than 1 percent in July 2016, a year-over-year improvement equal to roughly 11,000 sales.

There were a number of significant improvements. July 2016 was the best July ever for American Honda, for example, as sales jumped 6 percent to 139,125 at the Honda brand, overcoming another Acura decline. Buick, up 10 percent last month, ended the January-July period with its best start to the year since 2005. The only brands with superior growth rates in July were smaller outlets: Smart, Volvo, and Scion.

Mixed in with these gains, however, were double-digit percentage losses from a bundle of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles brands: Maserati, Fiat, Alfa Romeo, and Dodge. (Read More…)

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