By on January 14, 2015

2014 Ram 3500Subtract the growth achieved by America’s 19 most meaningfully improved vehicles in 2014 and the U.S. auto industry was up just 1.0%, not 5.9%, last year.

The Audi A3; BMW 3-Series/4-Series; Chevrolet Cruze and Silverado; GMC Sierra; Honda Accord and CR-V; Jeep Cherokee; Kia Soul; Nissan Sentra, Rogue, and Versa; Ram P/U; Subaru Forester and Outback; and Toyota’s Camry, Corolla, RAV4, and 4Runner all produced in excess of 20,000 more sales in 2014 than in 2013, combining for 764,885 extra sales in a market which grew by approximately 927,000 units.

93,722 more sales were produced by another 18 vehicles which weren’t available in 2013: 4C, i3, i8, X4, GLA, Transit, MKC, ELR, City Express, Trax, TLX, K900, RC, NX, Q3, 918 Spyder, Macan, and V60.

Subtract the improvements produced by these 37 vehicles – which represent just 13% of the available nameplates – and America’s new vehicle industry was up just 0.4% in 2014, or basically flat.

TTAC pie chart 2014 salesCause for concern?

Hardly. But it’s a meaningful statistic, as it displays how the joint strength of many of the most popular (or increasingly popular) vehicle lines can overcome disastrous results from vehicles which buyers found far less desirable last year than in 2013. The 147 different nameplates which posted year-over-year declines in 2014 collectively produced 626,271 fewer sales in 2014 than in 2013, an 11% loss.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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14 Comments on “The Heavy Lifters: 2014 U.S. Auto Sales Growth Was Mostly Powered By An Elite Few...”


  • avatar
    Andy

    The question is, would they have bought something else instead? Was it new Cherokee or nothing? I suspect they won sales from competitors, rather than bringing new buyers into the market. Maybe the Cherokee seemed SO COOL to some people that they dumped a perfectly good used car to get one. But did anyone love the new Sentra so much they just had to trade in early?…

  • avatar
    86er

    That pictures is apropos, because Fiat owns both Chrysler and Case IH.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      That’s pretty much why every Ram Truck ad I see has a Magnum tractor in the background.

      Ironic, then, that Case IH has now partnered with New Holland to form CNH, when all of New Holland’s tractors can be traced back to their mid-80s buyup by Ford. Before that, New Holland only made implements (mostly hay equipment)

      • 0 avatar
        86er

        The mid-80s were also about the same time that Case purchased the International Harvester division to form Case-IH.

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          Yes and no. Tenneco bought the ag division of IH in 1984 (which by that time was nearly dead in the water), along with the IH name, then merged it with J.I. Case, which it had owned since 1970 (partially since 1967).

          My father remembers that time very well and could probably give the specifics of what exactly went down. It really said something about the farm crisis at the time that International Harvester, at one point the largest farm equipment manufacturer in the world, had been brought to its knees.

          • 0 avatar
            jrmason

            The Tenneco and David Brown acquisitions of that time frame produced some very strange one off products with the IH logo. My grandfather purchased a handful of gently used IH tractors at the local dealer in the mid 70s. He unknowingly purchased some common tractors with some very uncommon power trains. A 956 and a 966, both with UK engines that undoubtedly came from the David Brown/Ferguson roots. The tractors gave him many reliable years of service but when the time came for repairs more than 2 decades later the dealers were all very stumped that such equipment even existed. After much research he opted fo the cheaper and easier route of repowering both tractors with the much more common powertrains found in those particular models.

          • 0 avatar
            jrmason

            I got my models confused but can’t edit my post. They were a 656 and a 966.

    • 0 avatar
      Timtoolman

      Good eye.

  • avatar
    Fred

    There are a few new cars/suvs in our company parking lot, not one new pickup, which is unusual for this part of Texas. No one in my little neighborhood has a new car of any kind. New car sticker shock? Old cars still running good and nothing really exciting, seem to be the common reasons.

  • avatar
    EAF

    That was an interesting statistic, thank you! Out of curiosity, does anyone know what the TOTAL sales for the Cherokee & Wrangler were this year? These trucks are everywhere!

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