September 2015 Fact Sheet: The Numbers You Didn't Know That You Need To Know

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
september 2015 fact sheet the numbers you didn t know that you need to know

September 2015 was a massive month for the U.S. auto industry, as the SAAR (seasonally adjusted annual rate) shot past 18 million sales and year-over-year volume jumped 16 percent. The auto industry marked the end of the third quarter having produced five-percent growth compared with the same period one year ago, making possible the idea that American consumers, businesses, and governments will purchase and lease more than 17 million new vehicles in 2015 for the first time in 14 years.

That’s the overall theme. These are some of the more interesting numbers which help make it so.

2,630 Non-Golf Golfs: Even before Volkswagen’s dirty diesel scandal, the majority of Golf hatchbacks (ignoring the SportWagen for the moment) sold in the United States aren’t even available with a diesel engine. The gas-only GTI, gas-only Golf R, and electric-only e-Golf generated 69 percent of total Golf hatchback sales in September.

25 Days: September 2015 wasn’t the same as September 2014 for a number of reasons, but key among those reasons was the fact that this September was longer than last September. There were 25 selling days last month; 24 in the same period last year. Indeed, in 2014, auto sales from the high-volume Labour Day weekend were included in August’s tally, not September’s. That wasn’t the case this year. While volume jumped 16 percent, the daily sales rate was up by a more reasonable 11 percent.

34,487 Camrys: America’s perennial best-selling car, the Toyota Camry, recorded a 21-percent leap to 34,487 sales in September, the seventh consecutive month in which U.S. Camry volume has topped 34,000. The September result was particularly meaningful because the Camry led a car sector which produced a six-percent gain. Year-to-date, car sales are down two percent.

53 Percent: More than half the Minis sold in America in September and so far this year — 53 percent to be precise — are fitted with four passenger doors. Most Minis, therefore, aren’t the most mini of Minis.

553 Percent: Swedish SUV enthusiasts were waiting for the launch of the second-generation XC90 for years. The new XC90 arrived in the spring and, while still not selling like the BMW X5 or Mercedes-Benz GLE, reached its highest sales level yet in September with a 553-percent jump to 1,182 units. With the XC90, Volvo sales jumped 18 percent. XC90 apart, Volvo was down three percent.

214,743 Trucks: U.S. pickup truck sales rose 11 percent in September, generating more than 200,000 sales for the third consecutive month. Year-to-date, pickups account for 14.3 percent of the industry’s total volume, up 13.6 percent in 2014.

-1: With the loss of the Dodge Avenger, FCA’s U.S. dealers now fight the midsize war with just one nameplate, the Chrysler 200. While 200 sales rose three percent in September, combined 200/Avenger volume was down 10 percent. Mind you, this was an anomaly. Year-to-date, combined 200/Avenger sales are up 19 percent, or nearly 24,000 units.

+123K: Total U.S. SUV/crossover volume jumped 31 percent to more than 522,000 units in September 2015, a gain of nearly 123,000 extra sales, year-over-year. The five top sellers accounted for one-quarter of the sector’s sales.

995 Jaguars: Jaguar sold fewer than 1,000 cars in September 2015, the first month since November 2012 that Jaguar failed to produce four-digit results.

66: Through the first nine months of 2015, only 66 sales separate the best-selling premium brand in America, BMW, from the second-best-selling premium brand, Mercedes-Benz. Combined, BMW and Mercedes-Benz (excluding Sprinter) produced 499,846 sales in the first nine months of 2015.

3,988 Econolines: Long since replaced, Ford reported 3,988 sales of the E-Series in September. Together with its replacement, the Transit (10,154), and the smaller Transit Connect (3,852), Ford’s market share among commercial vans rose to 52 percent in September 2015 from 44 percent one year ago.

6 Models: As Ford Motor Company’s massive investment in Lincoln begins to take hold, the brand’s nine percent uptick through the first three-quarters of 2015 is superior to the growth rate of the industry. In September, every one of Lincoln’s six nameplates posted year-over-year improvements — even the MKT. The MKT’s 66-percent jump to 430 sales meant one out of every 20 Lincolns sold looked like this.

1 TSX: Acura’s 10 percent year-over-year growth rate through the first three-quarters of 2015 comes as the top-selling MDX falls 10 percent; as the TLX sedan propels the car division to a 31-percent year-over-year gain. Old Acuras? They’re nearly gone. Just the one solitary TSX was sold in the U.S. in September, along with one TL. Two TSX SportWagons found homes in 2015.

Gen 8: The launch of the new, eighth-generation Nissan Maxima is a slow one. Since the beginning of August, only 8,121 Maximas have been sold in America, a 23-percent year-over-year decline.

44% Market Share: In a subcompact segment which slid three percent even in a particularly strong month for the U.S. auto industry, the segment-leading Nissan Versa jumped 50 percent to 18,053 September sales. That’s 44 percent of the category, a year-over-year market share gain of 16 percentage points.

158 Percent: Some of the missing subcompact car buyers are spending a little bit more cash to get into a subcompact SUV, an urban crossover, a cute-ute, a whatever-you-wanna-call-it. Led by the Jeep Renegade, these little utility vehicles jumped 158 percent to 40,713 units in September, just below the 41,220 vehicles sold in the core subcompact category.

15K: Both the Indiana-built Outback and the imported Forester produced September sales records for Subaru last month. The Forester, Subaru’s top seller, attracted 15,364 customers. The second-ranked Outback was up 34 percent to 15,126 September sales.

5,250 Cars: As the industry took off in September and even passenger cars sold more often than they did a year ago, Cadillac’s car division tumbled 21 percent to only 5,250 sales. With the Escalade family’s 20-percent drop, it was left to the aged SRX to locate customers. SRX volume jumped 85 percent to 6,849 units, the third consecutive month in which the SRX recorded more than 6,700 sales. Cadillac averaged fewer than 4,300 monthly SRX sales at the third quarter of 2014.

3/10: Only 30 percent of the passenger car nameplates on sale in the United States are generating greater sales volume in 2015 than they did in the first nine months of 2014.

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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  • Wmba Wmba on Oct 13, 2015

    How does Tim Cain explain the most drastic decline in sales of all? The Honda Fit was down to 1279 September sales. Fit sales have been at near 6,000 per month until June when the nosedive to paltry September sales began.

    • See 4 previous
    • Timothy Cain Timothy Cain on Oct 13, 2015

      Article on Fit coming soon.

  • EAF EAF on Oct 13, 2015

    I cannot believe they sold 8,121 hideous Maximas. That's 8,120 more than I had projected.

  • JamesGarfield What charging network does the Polestar use?
  • JamesGarfield Re: Getting away from union plantsAbout a dozen years or so ago, Caterpillar built a huge new engine plant, just down the road here in Seguin TX. Story has it, Caterpillar came to Seguin City council in advance, and told them their plans. Then they asked for no advanced publicity from Seguin, until announcement day. This new plant was gonna be a non-union replacement for a couple of union plants in IL and SC, and Cat didn't want to stir up union problems until the plan was set. They told Seguin, If you about blab this in advance, we'll walk. Well, Seguin kept quiet as instructed, and the plan went through, with all the usual expected tax abatements given.Plant construction began, but the Caterpillar name was conspicuously absent from anywhere on the site. Instead, the plant was described as being a collective of various contractors and suppliers for Caterpillar. Which in fact, it was. Then comes the day, with the big new plant fully operationa!, that Caterpillar comes in and announces, Hey, Yeah it's our plant, and the Caterpillar name boldly goes up on the front. All you contractor folks, welcome aboard, you're now Caterpillar employees. Then, Cat turns and announces they are closing those two union plants immediately, and will be transporting all the heavy manufacturing equipment to Seguin. None of the union workers, just the equipment. And today, the Caterpillar plant sits out there, humming away happily, making engines for the industry and good paying jobs for us. I'd call that a winner.
  • Stuki Moi What Subaru taketh away in costs, dealers will no doubt add right back in adjustments.... Fat chance Subaru will offer a sufficient supply of them.
  • Dartdude Lorenzo, the reason for low manual transmission here is that most dealers won't stock them. I wanted a 2012 Kia Koup with manual tranny it was available, but no dealers ordered any from the factory hence there was none available. Go on any car manufacture's web site and price and build and build your model and you would be lucky if the model existed and was available.
  • The Oracle Good news is that based on the model years many of these have already been junked or experienced terminal engine failure.