By on December 16, 2015

2015 VW Golf SW

The U.S. auto industry generated an overall sales increase in November 2015 despite notable decreases at American Honda and Volkswagen Group, and a shorter-than-normal November selling season.

So strong were the numbers produced in the lead-up to and during November that analysts and forecasters are all but certain that 2015 will go down as the best year ever for auto sales volume in America. Just six years removed from the doldrums of 2009, auto sales in 2015 are expanding for a fifth consecutive year, rising 52 percent compared with 2010 and 5 percent compared with 2014.

This is the theme of auto sales coverage as we approach the end of 2015, as bestseller lists highlighting the strength of pickup trucks and ever more popular crossovers are being prepped. But what about the small figures behind the big numbers; the less well-known stories which contribute to the overall theme?

These are they.

SW x2: 2015 has hosted Volkswagen of America’s transition from the Jetta SportWagen days of yore to the new Golf SportWagen era. But the SportWagen is a diesel-centric proposition, with the overwhelming majority of JSW and GSW buyers opting for the TDI. With that car unavailable, total Volkswagen wagon sales in November plunged 54 percent to only 629 units in November.

812: Volvo’s new bestseller is the brand’s old bestseller — the XC90. Along with the 2,236 sales of the XC90 and the 2,077 XC60 sales in November 2015, Volvo also sold 812 wagons: V60, V60 CC, XC70. That’s up from 719 a year ago. The combined sales of those models are up 22 percent, year-to-date. Volvo’s sedans – S60, S60 CC, and S80 – jumped 52 percent to 1,777 units in November, but are down 16 percent to 17,114 year-to-date, making up just 28 percent of Volvo’s total volume.

2 Eyes: Scion’s two newest models, the Mazda 2-based iA subcompact sedan and the Toyota Auris-derived iM compact hatch, are Scion’s two top-selling models. Not only are they the most popular vehicles at Scion now, but they account for the majority of the brand’s sales. 55 percent of the cars sold by Scion in November were iAs and iMs. Even though the iA and iM didn’t arrive until September, the pair accounts for nearly one out of five Scions sold over the last 11 months.

2016 Toyota RAV4

37.5: Automakers competing in the United States generated 37.5 percent of the industry’s total new vehicle sales volume in November 2015 with SUVs and crossovers, from high-volume contenders such as the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, and Ford Escape to oft-forgotten niche products like the Mercedes-Benz G-Class and Toyota Land Cruiser. One year ago, in November 2014, SUV/CUV market share stood at 33.8%.

14: After 14 months in which the Honda CR-V was America’s top-selling utility vehicle in America, the Toyota RAV4 made sure Honda couldn’t make it 15. RAV4 sales jumped 30 percent to 27,368 units in November 2015, 1,437 more than the CR-V (down 20 percent) managed last month. The Ford Escape, meanwhile, was bumped into fourth place, out of its normal third-place perch, as Nissan Rogue sales jumped 50 percent and Escape sales tumbled 19 percent.

-43,681: The Honda CR-V is easily America’s top-selling SUV/CUV nameplate. The CR-V’s 314,462 year-to-date sales places the Honda nearly 31,000 units ahead of its closest rival. Yet the CR-V’s GM rival is really two nameplates from one platform: Equinox and Terrain. Though aged and not sufficiently refreshed for MY2016 — at least in the eyes of one critic who wonders where proximity access is in a Terrain Denali — the pair’s 358,143 sales is well in excess of the CR-V’s total. Add the RDX to the CR-V’s total? Sure, why not. But don’t forget that the Cadillac SRX, a GM Theta cousin to the Equinox and Terrain, easily outsells the RDX.

48: On a year-over-year basis, monthly sales at Subaru haven’t decreased in over four years. In 48 consecutive months, including a 2 percent uptick in November 2015 which occurred even as Forester, Outback, and Legacy sales decreased, Subaru USA has recorded greater sales than during the same period one year earlier. Year-to-date, Subaru volume is up by nearly 63,000 units.

2016 Infiniti QX50

3.2: Apparently, the Infiniti QX50, formerly known as the EX37 and EX35, simply needed a wheelbase stretch of 3.2 inches. (And a renewed effort to market the small crossover.) Sales over the last two months are up 390 percent to 1,897 after falling in 10 of the previous 11 months. The QX50/EX lineup hasn’t averaged more than 900 monthly sales its first full year of availability, 2008, when Infiniti USA averaged 1,073 sales per month.

-250: Porsche’s first year-over-year decrease since May of this year, a 5 percent year-over-year drop valued at 250 fewer sales, was a family affair. The 911, 918 Spyder, Boxster, Cayenne, Cayman, Macan, and Panamera – every single Porsche model – all sold less often this November than last, with Porsche’s two SUVs falling 5 percent and the five cars sliding 6 percent.

1986: Not since 2004, when the Mazda3 outsold the Mazda6 by a scant 3,932 units, has the 3 been so closely challenged for bestseller status at the small Japanese brand. But in 2015, after outselling the CX-5 by 5,863 units, the 3 trails the CX-5 by 1,986 sales in America. Only in January, February, and August of this year has the 3 outsold the CX-5 compact crossover. The CX-5 outsold the 3 by 1,351 units in November.

2>1 & 3>1: So far this year, two different Land Rover models have outsold the whole Jaguar brand: Range Rover and Range Rover Sport. (The Jaguar brand, at 13,269 sales, is 56 sales ahead of the Range Rover Evoque.) In November, however, three different Land Rover models outsold the whole Jaguar brand: Range Rover, Range Rover Sport, and Discovery Sport. Jaguar sales plunged 15 percent last month to 1,065 sales in the lead-up to a trio of key launches for the brand. Land Rover posted a 79 percent increase with help from 1,180 Discovery Sports, 1,598 Range Rovers, and 1,776 Range Rover Sports.

½: U.S. sales of the Cadillac CTS were chopped in half last month. November 2015 sales of the CTS fell 49.96 percent, from 2,446 in November 2014 to just 1,224 units last month, a new low for the new CTS. Not since December of last year has Cadillac sold more than 2,000 CTSs in a single month; not since October of last year have more than 3,000 CTSs been sold in a single month.

-14%: Ford’s hyped Friends & Neighbors sale in November wasn’t quite as good for buyers of lower-end machinery as first hoped. As a result, U.S. sales of Ford’s core entry-level lineup – Fiesta, Focus, Fusion, Escape – plunged 14 percent in November 2015, a sharp loss of 9,223 sales across those four nameplates. Ford got the message. Buyers want low interest rates.

200K+: FCA’s Jeep brand set a U.S. sales record for its iconic Wrangler with 175,328 units sold in calendar year 2014. 2015 isn’t over yet, but Jeep has already sold 187,111 Wranglers. Last December, Jeep sold 14,003. Even if they miss that target by 1,114 units in December 2015, Jeep will still sell 200,000 Wranglers in the United States in 2015. Which is a lot.

2016 BMW X6

1,244: Two of the most oft-derided products in the BMW range, the X4 and X6, generated 1,244 U.S. sales in November. Meanwhile, the i8 supercar, 7-Series limo, and Z4 roadster generated an identical 1,244 U.S. sales in 2015. Conspiracy theorists, have at it.

6×2: In each of the last six months, from June through November, U.S. sales of subcompact crossovers have more than doubled, year-over-year. It helps that five members of the category – Trax, 500X, HR-V, Renegade, CX-3 – weren’t on sale during the same stretch one year ago.

35%: In a segment that tumbled 8 percent in November 2015, U.S. sales of the two highest-volume midsize cars, Camry and Accord, increased. As a result, their level of control grew notably stronger, with market share rising to 35.4 percent in November 2015 from 31 percent in November 2014 and 32.4 percent in the first 10 months of 2015.

8/10: Yes, the pickup truck world is changing. Nissan is bringing out a new full-size truck. The small/midsize pickup truck sub-segment was shaken up by the arrival of new GM twins. And a new Honda Ridgeline but a mere few months away. Yet the degree to which four traditional Detroit full-size pickups control the truck world is still astonishing. 82 percent of the pickups sold in America in November 2015 were full-size trucks from Ford, Ram, and General Motors.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, 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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16 Comments on “November 2015 Fact Sheet: The U.S. Auto Sales Numbers You Need To Know That You Didn’t Know Already...”


  • avatar
    sirwired

    Speaking for myself, I probably would have been GSW #630 last month, if not for availability problems.

    There was one (at the time); count ’em, ONE GSW SE on the ENTIRE East Coast equipped with the no-brainer Driver Assistance package.

    My current ride (an ’04 Passat) then developed some issues that required some investment that did nothing for resale value (but led to vastly increased satisfaction with my car) that means I’ll probably keep the old car around a couple years longer.

    Availability has now improved, but that’s too late for me.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      This is something that I think gets missed. Is a car not selling because nobody wants it, or is it not selling because there aren’t any to buy? Or they are the wrong config, or in the wrong place? For better or worse, most people seem to be impulse buyers (which baffles me), if it isn’t right there right now it won’t sell.

      I was in a similar boat with my first two new car purchases – in ’01 I wanted a four door Golf GLS TDI with a stick, there was ONE in the entire Northeast. In ’09 I wanted a stickshift Saab 9-3 wagon – there was ONE left East of the Mississippi.

      • 0 avatar
        eManual

        Many of us want manuals, but would accept an automatic if it wasn’t for basic problems with dealers and likewise with the car companies. They find one item that sells slightly better than others (A black/silver/white exterior with a black interior) and then decide to only have that arrangement available at the dealers. When you want to special order, they charge you more, even though it costs the dealars less in carrying charges of their stock.

        If the car companies would wearhouse more vehicles, we could more easily get what we want. After all, the purchaser has to pay the carrying charges no matter where the vehicle is stored.

  • avatar
    zip89105

    Ford’s F&N in November was a godsend for me. As a cash buyer, I got the best deal. Due to a divorce my credit is poor, and December’s low interest rates would have done nothing for me.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “U.S. sales of the Cadillac CTS were chopped in half last month. November 2015 sales of the CTS fell 49.96 percent, from 2,446 in November 2014 to just 1,224 units last month, a new low for the new CTS. Not since December of last year has Cadillac sold more than 2,000 CTSs in a single month; not since October of last year have more than 3,000 CTSs been sold in a single month.”

    A certain… passionate… person I know has indeed been right all along.

    • 0 avatar
      seth1065

      You mean Big truck (BTRS) was right?

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        While he is certainly passionate, his argument is essentially ‘muricans want big cars with big motors. While I do not disagree, someone else has made more coherent arguments usually surrounded by more barmy statements.

        • 0 avatar
          thenerdishere

          Have you taken a look around the US? In the new-car buying segment of the population, there are a significant number of huge (I mean HUGE) folks that could never fit in a midsize car and it takes a lot of horsepower to move all that metal and blubber.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I agree wholeheartedly which is why shrinking “midsizes” in both footprint, interior room, and engine displacement is truly without reproach or reason. I have argued in the past it is deliberate on the part if the industry in order to force you into a truck, SUV, or ironically, CUV built on a car platform.

          • 0 avatar

            BMI-based dynamic obsolesence?

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Who doesn’t fit into a midsized car? I am 6’5″ and 235 lbs and I fit into every midsized car that is currently made.

            I do find the 200 tight in the shoulders.

          • 0 avatar
            Dan

            You can wedge yourself into almost anything if you have to, I ducked down into one of those tiny JDM sized Hondas through much of the 90s, but that doesn’t make it fun.

            For as much as new cars cost and as little as gas does, why settle?

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          Anyone with half a brain could have seen Cadillac’s impending collapse. Nobody wants to pay name brand prices for store brand goods, and the whole “my sedan was tuned at the Ring” thing wore thin long ago. That certain someone has been juicing the hell out of a pretty obvious “prediction” for a bit too long, and has been shotgun blasting the board with his hyperbole in the hopes of generating another hit. Naw, let’s let sleeping dogs lie.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      Maybe they need a change of nameplate, perhaps “CT5” instead of “CTS.” I’m sure that will turn everything around.

    • 0 avatar
      cltwxguy

      I was thinking deadweight….

      But regardless, no one WANTS a Cadillac. They seem to build a competitive car, but the sales numbers tell the story.

  • avatar

    Wonder how many CR-V sales went to the HR-V instead?
    Or did the HR-V simply cannibalize Fits?

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