By on February 28, 2015

Jeep Subaru market share chartSubaru and Jeep are consistently two of America’s fast-growing auto brands. Aided by expanding portfolios and clearly understood branding, Jeep volume jumped 41% in 2014; Subaru sales shot up 21%.

Are any two auto brands more easily identified with winter than Subaru and Jeep?

As the U.S. auto industry grew 14% in January 2015, Jeep sales were up 23%; Subaru volume rose 24%. Together, they accounted for 8% of all new vehicle sales in America in the first month of 2015.

Since January may be the most Subaru and Jeep-like month of them all, the accompanying chart showcases their market share improvements in the month of January over the last decade.

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

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39 Comments on “Chart Of The Day: A Decade Of January Market Share Improvement For Winter’s Auto Brands...”

  • avatar

    Both brands have also benefited from the move in the market place to CUV’s. Subaru’s strength is its CUVs, not its cars.

    • 0 avatar

      Jeep’s cars aren’t doing well either.

    • 0 avatar
      mr breeze

      They do sell a lot of Foresters and Outbacks but the fastest selling car in the US is currently the WRX. Impreza and Legacy sales are very respectable as well.

      • 0 avatar

        The WRX may be the fastest seller in % terms but in absolute units it is not a huge seller. Nor would I expect it to be.

        The Legacy sells in Mazda 6 numbers, and people pour scorn on how many/few of those are sold. Bearing in Mind Subaru is selling 50% more vehicles than Mazda *(3% vs 2% market share) then selling the same number of units in the midsize market shows Subaru is relatively weak there. The Impreza sells poorly compared to other compact cars from second tier volume manufacturers like VW (Jetta and Golf) and Mazda (3).
        Subaru relies on the Forester and Outback with the CrossTrek XV proving a very good lift recently.

        • 0 avatar
          mr breeze

          That being said, all that matters is that their vehicles are basically flying off the sales floor and production is at an all time high when GM has to stop production because of a glut of unsold vehicles. It is also true that Subaru sales tend to be stronger in the northern part of the country. It may still account for a smaller part of the market but it is making serious incursions into most markets. They make efficient, sensible and fun products that people want to buy.

          • 0 avatar

            Definitely making incursions into the market in Birmingham, Alabama. Foresters and Outbacks are everywhere one looks.

  • avatar

    It is illogical that “winter cars” should be growing at all, given the global scourge of climate change.

    • 0 avatar

      Climate change=more unpredictable weather. Cold does not necessarily cause snow, nor vice versa.

    • 0 avatar

      when it is too cold there is less humidity in the air to form snow.
      This is anecdotal, but i never saw it snowing at -20°F, only at 20°F.

      • 0 avatar

        Most people get it backwards. Low humidity means no cloud cover to insulate. Heat escapes into space. It’s not too cold to snow. It’s cold because it’s not snowing.

        • 0 avatar

          Your both right. In the winter of 1979 when I was kid (it was the coldest winter in the northeast up until this year) we had mornings where it would be crystal clear and -5 to -10 F. Unlike today where they keep the kiddies home or “delay” we froze our asses off at the bus stop.

          It would snow – literally snow even though the sky was clear. What moisture in the air would freeze because the temperature was so slow, and was being “rung” out – and it fell as snow flurries.

          This wasn’t from blowing snow, not only was 1979 a bitterly cold winter in New England, it was incredibly dry – there was very little snow that winter, which caused huge problems with damaged foundations, buckled roads and broken water mains. Without an insulating blanket of snow the front line dropped incredibly low, breaking everything as it shifted the rocky soil around.

          The explained on the news the phenomena – so this wasn’t “blowing snow.”

          The it’s not too cold to snow, it’s cold because it’s not snowing thing is exactly accurate (you’re close, and I’m close to being pedantic).

          You need three things to create precipitation (rain or snow) unless there is some wild atmospherics going on (like I noted above):

          1) Moisture – cold air tends to be dry air (more on that in a minute)

          2) Lift – you need something to create clouds, rising air

          3) Energy – this can come in a number of forms but you need heat (relatively speaking) and wind (really changes in barometric pressure between two different areas of high and low pressure)

          Perfect Gas Law…

          As any gas gets warmer, the molecules (or atoms if it is a pure gas) are more active, they are moving more. By moving more they are spaced out further apart. This in really non-scientific terms gives more “room” for moisture to be collected in the “empty” space between molecules. Warmer air is typically more humid.

          As temperature declines the molecules move less, and come together, they get more dense. Colder air is denser than warmer air. Anyone who does drag racing or has done dyno work knows this. Before computers tweaked everything in real time, engines, especially forced induction engines, ran better in colder conditions because the air is denser.

          This density “pushes” (in non-scientific terms) the moisture together. This forms condensation. Now in the atmosphere we may see this a number of ways.

          If cold air moves over a warm body of water, like say if you are in San Francisco in June, when the air temperature is warming up, but the Pacific is still very cold. The warm air cools as it moves over the water – because water and solids change temperature slower than the atmosphere, and generally don’t want to yield their warmth as fast as air, the moisture gets compressed, you get deep fog banks close to the surface.

          If warm air hits the side of a mountain, the air rises, cools, and the moisture gets “squeezed” out, forming rain on the windward side. Ahhh, but the moisture that gets squeezed out “dries” out the air. As the air moves down the other side of the mountain it dries out, and expands, as it expands it warms – the moisture condensing and precipitating out has given more room for the molecules to move around. This is why in places like Washington state you have rain forests in the western third, and scabland desert in the eastern middle third.

          So what the Hell does all this 8th grade science have to do with weather?

          As an air mass cools, the moisture is “squeezed out,” and you get precipitation. As it cools further and becomes more and more dense (we know colder air gets denser if you’re a reader of TTAC and allegedly understand cars) there is less and less room for moisture.

          Remember, you need three things for precipitation.

          As the air gets colder and colder, the moisture it can mathematically hold declines.

          As the air gets colder and colder it gets more dense. You need more and more energy to make it rise to form clouds. This is part of the reason when it gets bitterly cold it tends to want to stay cold.

          Because the molecules aren’t as active (relatively speaking from say -30F vs 80F) there isn’t a whole lot of potential energy to move things. The colder the air gets, the stronger/larger counter air masses that needs to hit it wither higher pressure and warmer temperatures to move it.

          This is all science 101 — unless you don’t believe in science.

          Now here is the hard part – the part that “people” don’t understand (human beings do, but not people – look up Men In Black)

          On the bitter cold scale of things like in the Antarctic or Arctic, the air is extremely cold, extremely dense, and extremely dry. It’s hard to move these air masses out of these regions because they are so dense. You need a lot of “energy” to collide with it to move it out of it’s usual area.

          But if the temperature rises enough, something happens. There is more room for moisture (science 101) so there is more chance for condensation, and there is more potential energy. Not only that, but because cold air is dense, it tends to condense pretty easy. An increase from insane cold to just bitterly cold causes more condensation and you get – precipitation.

          You can see this effect in a very cold car in the winter. The windows are clear, you turn on the defroster, crack the window start driving down the road, if the conditions are right the windshield will warm just enough that condensation forms on the outside, then as it gets warmer the water no longer visibly condensates (the droplets that form just get smaller smaller and you don’t see them form anymore).

          This is why, and this part is apparently really hard for people to understand, that when you go from insane cold to bitter cold, you actually get more precipitation.

          Ahhhhh, but as you go from bitter cold to just plain cold, you’ll continue to get more precipitation, but eventually you reach a point it just falls as rain.

          The interior of Antarctica is one of the driest places on the planet because of these dynamics. As things warm what will happen is a period of violent storms will happen – hooray! More ice more snow, see, things aren’t getting warmer. We’re saved.

          I won’t go past that – because a noisy vocal minority apparently weren’t paying attention in science class when the Perfect Gas Law and basic meteorology was explained in the 8th grade.

          • 0 avatar

            @APaGtth….You really do explain things well. I mean that sincerely.

          • 0 avatar

            Geez, after all of that I was hoping you would tell us when it was going to warm-up.

            Ask an engineer the time and he’ll tell you how to make a watch ;-)

    • 0 avatar

      Warmer temps mean more unstable weather and more moisture in the atmosphere. Never saw tornadoes here in the Western NC mountains before in the 60 years I’ve been alive. And here in the Appalachians and out west in the Rockies where some of my relatives live, warmer temps result in much quicker snow melt leading to flooding and mud slides. So maybe the minivan gets replaced by a Jeep when it’s time to trade, just in case.

    • 0 avatar

      Global warming is in distant future (like Armageddon or second coming) which may never happen during our, our children’s, our grand children’s and so on lives. It is a nice scare tale for kids like going to hell to force them comply with authorities.

      Global cooling is what really happens during winter and global uncooling during summer.

      Regarding Subaru – it is quite unrefined. I would rather prefer Audi.

      • 0 avatar

        [citation needed]

      • 0 avatar

        I’m not sure. In terms of isolation from the outside environment, yes, Audi is more isolated. In terms of tossability and fun-to-drove quotient, I have preferred my Spec B over the A4 iterations for the last several years. Sadly, now, to get a performance Subaru you have to go WRX or WRX STi and deal with a higher level of exhaust rumble – which adds to fatigue on longer drives.

        Maybe you could stiffen the heck out of a

        • 0 avatar

          I have to commute couple of hours of day so harshness of Impreza is simply unacceptable. Audi also has a premium feel in cabin, outside, behind the wheel. You just feel that you drive an expensive car and it is also heart warming to see such a beautiful car in garage. But in CA you do not need AWD car anyway.

          • 0 avatar

            Are the Impreza and the Audi even remotely in the same price and class?

            In my area, the Impreza routinely sells below $25K with the H four-banger and ~ $30K with the H-6.

            Cheapest Audi anything I have seen in El Paso, TX was well north of $35K, with a four banger, albeit a fancy four banger.

          • 0 avatar

            I do not even consider cars for less than 30K. So if Subaru sells cars for less than 30K more power to them but it is out of my shopping list by definition. No wonder that they increasing sales like Nissan using the same tactics selling on price.

          • 0 avatar

            I think that is Subaru’s core market, the demo that buys cars under $30K. They’re in it to win it, though. They make money any which way they can based on an everyman’s car, like the Beetle originally was.

  • avatar

    And when spring rolls around, it’s time to put the top down or ford muddy streams from winter thaw and spring showers. When summer arrives, it’s time to play on mountaintops. When fall is here, rake leaves and prepare for winter.

    The sales never stop.

    • 0 avatar

      Absolutely. My uncle owned a ’56 Dodge power wagon 4×4 he used to plow driveways in the ’60s and pull cars out of snowbanks, but he put it away for the Summer, until a farmer asked if he could pull a tree stump. It not only could, it could also pull farm equipment out of a muddy field, and yank fallen tree branches off the road after a windstorm. My uncle made extra money using the Dodge year ’round, until he got fined for not having a business license. Government doesn’t like free-lance handymen or free enterprise unless it gets a cut of the action.

  • avatar

    It may be about resi on-street parking in places like NYC or Chic. You try parking front-drive on hilly ice & snow. If it’s tight you may have to ring the neighbours bell as you edge closer…

    I wish the Asians would bring the traction assist electric motor they plonk in the rear axle of small cars. Thought that might hurt C/SUV margins.

  • avatar

    My jeep is a blast in the snow, granted it’s old and lifted and has work done to it. I haven’t shoveled or plowed my driveway all winter long (in CNY) and I’ve never had an issue. In my experience, subaru drivers tend to be the worst in winter, going far too slow for conditions that aren’t that bad.

    • 0 avatar

      While occasionally frustrating, this is strongly preferable to sharing the roads with people going too fast for conditions.

      • 0 avatar

        When the roads get slippery with snow, the commuter traffic slows to conditions. The high speed outliers can’t speed due to the clot of cars traveling at 25 or 30. The “too slow for conditions” driver however, can drive too slow, causing unnecessary lane changes and extra risk for those who are forced to pass. As always, the variation in speeds present the greatest risk.

  • avatar

    Fascinating. In yesterday’s “what brand has the least number of vehicles you’d buy” question Subaru was roasted over and over again by the B&B. Lots of former owners complaining about oil consumption, head gaskets, bearings, and other fragility wound in the storied brand.

    I’ve long believed that the reputation of the live forever Subaru is a big fat myth, but they just keep growing.

    • 0 avatar

      You might be believing the wrong myth.

    • 0 avatar

      My grandmother had a GL10 from the late 80s. It was a reliable tank, and I learned to drive stick in that car. Wonderful thing it was.

      The GL was built well before the Outback craze and the rally era of Subaru. If you look back that far, you’ll find reliability and competent engineering. Like looking back to Mark II Volkswagens, which actually were reliable and capable of reaching 186,000 miles with relative ease.

      Management decide if cars will be reliable in this day and age. We’ll see if Subaru have mended their ways in another half-decade.

  • avatar

    Subaru’s are reliable. The head gaskets were an issue and the replacement parts were updated. I had a ’00 Legacy with a left head gasket leak at about 160k miles. A droplet of coolant would form at the rear of the left head. Not really a catastrophic issue. So I just let it drip. From my experience, the real issue that Subaru has/had is poor dealer service departments and owners that are too cheap to do the necessary preventative maintenance.

    • 0 avatar

      My 2006 Legacy had the head gasket issue at 95,000 miles. So that issues does afflict older than 2000 models. I had a full service history and Subaru corporate took that into account and made an appreciated goodwill offer for repair.

    • 0 avatar

      Agreed on poor dealer service – that is what I found on the Legacy and that is what we’re finding today on the Impreza.

      On the Impreza the level of care it is given tetters on the ridiculous. It has 72K miles on it and the catalytic converter is failing – we’re working with the dealership.

      My other half’s Forrester is bare bones base model with the most basic engine and I would speculate not a single option (unless roof rack and cross rails were an option, that’s it). I don’t know what I’ll do when the Forrester goes to retirement. The other half isn’t into cars and not the most careful in parking lots (there is bumper rash on all four corners, she managed to back into a rock wall even after I had a backup camera installed – I love you honey but…)

      I don’t see me every buying a “new” car again – seems pointless – let someone else take the depreciation hit. But for her I think I’ll have to find something “pre-dented” so my OCD brain doesn’t weep inside.

      Whole different issue…

  • avatar
    George B

    I’m glad Subaru and Jeep offer niche vehicles for people who want/need to be able to apply power to all 4 wheels. The problem is this capability comes with extra cost throughout the life of the vehicle.

    Yesterday the Dallas area experienced its one day of significant snow for the season and lack of more capable cars wasn’t the problem. The problem was that 1) the major highways in the Dallas area use elevated lanes that get covered with ice and 2) semi tractor trailer trucks get stuck on the ramps, blocking traffic for everyone. For example, the High Five Interchange.

    I drove home slowly on major surface streets where the snow was melting as fast as it fell. Even the least capable RWD classic muscle car could have made that 30 mph drive and even the most capable Jeep was going to be stuck on the highways when trucks jackknife.

    • 0 avatar

      You made a good point – for Dallas. I suspect the people of Boston have a different story to tell.

      • 0 avatar

        >> I suspect the people of Boston have a different story to tell

        Every time I take the dog for a walk, I expect to meet a Discovery Channel crew trekking across the glacier sitting on top of my property. Six more inches tonight. yay…

        • 0 avatar

          Hang in there, mcs! If March comes in like a lion, it’ll leave like a lamb, so they say. That glacier will melt in no time! Uh, got a pump for your basement ready?

      • 0 avatar

        We definitely do. My 328xi is good in the snow…but not at the depths we’ve had. My wife’s AWD RX350 still struggles to get up my steep driveway.
        Also, the snowbanks on the corners of the roads are higher than the roof of my BMW. It is potentially deadly. Also, the frost heaves and potholes are staggering.

        No coincidentally, I am looking at getting a Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk to replace the BMW. If I lived in Dallas, I would be keeping the 3-series.

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