By on May 30, 2015

2015 Lexus NX200T

123,000 of the 5.4 million new vehicle sales generated in the United States over the last four months are new vehicle nameplates which weren’t on sale at this time a year ago.

Between January and April, the Ford Transit, Acura TLX, Chevrolet Trax, Lexus NX, and 18 other new nameplates accounted for 2.3% of all new vehicle sales volume in the United States, way up from the 1.7% achieved by a smaller fleet of all-new nameplates during the same period one year earlier.

(This year’s figure doesn’t take into account the Volkswagen Golf SportWagen, as that’s not so much a new nameplate as a direct successor to the Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen, which was basically a Golf wagon with another name.)

No new nameplate is selling as often as the Ford Transit, Ford’s E-Series replacement. The replacement period is certainly not over, however, as the Transit generated 33,794 sales through the first one-third of 2015 alongside 18,710 copies of the E-Series.

2015 ford transit

Acura tasked its new TLX with replacing two cars, the TL and TSX. 13,834 TLX sedans were sold during the first four months of 2015 (32,961 since its launch last summer), up 34% from the combined TL/TSX figure of 10,349 sales during the same period a year ago.

Chevrolet sold 13,137 copies of the Trax subcompact crossover between January and April of this year. At this time last year, Buick sold 15,040 Encores. The arrival of the Encore’s Trax twin hasn’t slowed the Encore.

Lexus’s NX launched as a quick hit. 12,532 copies of the NX200T and NX300h were sold in the first four months of 2015, making the NX more popular than the Mercedes-Benz GLK, BMW X3, and Lincoln MKC.


Another small premium crossover, the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class, attracted 7,750 owners in the first-third of 2015. Mercedes-Benz adds those sales to the 10,896 copies of the CLA sedan sold already this year.

Indeed, small SUVs/CUVs are common on the list of new vehicles. The Lincoln MKC, Jeep Renegade, Audi Q3, Porsche Macan, BMW X4, and Land Rover Discovery Sport combined for 23,170 sales between January and April. Somewhere between those smaller utility vehicles and traditional wagons sits the Volvo V60 Cross Country, 636 of which have been sold so far this year.

Other products generating sales activity in the United States this year not around in any form at this time last year: the Mini Cooper 4-door, Lexus RC, BMW i3, Chevrolet City Express (a Nissan NV200 copy), Ram ProMaster City, Alfa Romeo 4C, Mercedes-Benz AMG GT, and Porsche 918 Spyder. Assuming their buyers wouldn’t have headed elsewhere – which some surely would have – the market would be up 3% year-to-date. Instead, with these vehicles contributing, U.S. auto sales are up 5.4% in early 2015.

Timothy Cain is the founder of, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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12 Comments on “New Models Are Major Contributors In America’s Growing Auto Industry...”

  • avatar

    Wow, Ford sure stole a march on the other two domestics with the big Transit. The tradesman market will never go away and Ford is sewing it up.

  • avatar

    Interesting bit of information.I wonder if this means that (collectively) we’re over the whole “retro” car thing. Granted some of these cars are retro-inspired, but new nameplates in general. Kind of contradicts the “use the same name forever” line of thinking.

    When I go shopping for a new car, I want a “new” car.

  • avatar

    There is an 07ish RX330 which frequently parks next to my cars in my building’s lot, as I look at the NX pic I can’t see much of a difference since both are about the same size. Why is this a thing again? Did the RX blow up to Navigator size and I just haven’t noticed?

  • avatar

    That hideous Questing Rat snout on the American version of the NX is reportedly a result of Lexus giving it a higher approach angle to be classified as a light truck here for the lower CAFE standards.

    The global variant is still Lexus-ugly but less egregiously so with a more pronounced chin giving a lower approach angle. Or so claims Carscoops:

    • 0 avatar

      The USDM version appears to have something attempting to be a front bumper as well whereas the JDM version doesn’t seem to have one.

      • 0 avatar

        If the JDM version is on top in that article’s photos, I think the cross member behind the license plate is the bumper or a cosmetic covering thereon. And that same structure appears to be immediately under the bottom skinny cross bar of the grill for the USDM version.

        Tough to analyze a rat’s jaw structure from photos showing all the skin and stuff still on it.

    • 0 avatar
      Timothy Cain

      Yes, DK delved into the subject some months ago.

  • avatar

    Don’t know why most car companies seem to like a variation of the whole Predator scowling at Arnold look.

  • avatar

    It is not just the Lexus. OK Lexus DID add a rat-FACE to a member of the rat-shaped SUV genre, that look especially rat-shaped in grey or silver.

  • avatar
    George B

    The problem with the Lexus NX is the amount of front overhang, not the front fascia design. How much did it cost Audi to redesign their FWD A4/A5 platform to move the front wheels forward?

  • avatar

    Take away the hideous snout and the Lexus alphanumeric thing could pass for a Kia or cheaper Asian insert name here brand.

    • 0 avatar

      I agree. Koreans have gotten that good. But Hyundai would be closer; they like sculpting ugliness into an otherwise excellent vehicle more than does Kia.

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