By on April 1, 2016

2016 Ford Mustang GT convertible

Against expectations that auto sales would rise by at least 7 percent, March 2016 volume in the United States increased just 3 percent. Modest growth at General Motors and noteworthy drops at Toyota, Volkswagen, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz didn’t stop auto sales from increasing by more than 50,000 units, year-over-year. But the possibility that auto sales in March would climb to one of the highest levels ever failed to materialize despite an additional two selling days compared with March 2015.

Indeed, the daily selling rate achieved by the auto industry decreased even as March 2016 hosted 27 official selling days on the auto sales calendar, up from 25 one year ago.

Bucking the declining DSR trend were brands such as Dodge, Honda, Infiniti, Jeep, Lincoln, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Ram, Scion, and Volvo. No auto brand grew at a greater clip — relative to its own March 2015 performance — than Scion, though Jeep topped all volume brands with a 15-percent improvement. Mazda’s 27-percent decline was the worst decline among volume brands, as the Mazda3, Mazda6, and CX-5 combined for an 8,635-unit decrease.

Ford Motor Company ended March as America’s best-selling automaker. General Motors, the perennial top dog, leads the year-to-date standings by more than 42,000 units.

Auto Brand March 2016 March 2015 % Change 2016 YTD 2015 YTD % Change
Acura  14,852 14,670 1.20% 37,875 39,644 -4.50%
Alfa Romeo 53 73  -27.4% 169 217 -22.10%
Audi  18,392 17,102 7.50% 41,960 40,098 4.60%
BMW  30,033 34,310 -12.50% 70,613 78,492 -10.00%
Buick  18,207 20,526 -11.30% 54,287 50,497 7.50%
Cadillac  13,053 13,756 -5.10% 35,633 37,175 -4.10%
Chevrolet  176,283 173,886 1.40% 472,730 476,556 -0.80%
Chrysler  26,236 30,038  -12.7% 65,506 81,933 -20.00%
Dodge  51,149 46,049  11.1% 140,509 123,511  13.8%
Fiat  3,422 4,494  -23.9% 9,009 11,038  -18.4%
Ford  243,375  226,091  7.6%  616,682  570,422  8.1%
GMC  44,585 41,707 6.90% 121,048 119,811 1.00%
Honda  123,369 111,623 10.50% 319,828 294,299 8.70%
Hyundai  75,310  75,019 0.40%  173,330 172,029 0.80%
Infiniti  13,775  12,525  10.0%  32,660  33,842 -3.50%
Jaguar  2,133 1,660 28.50% 4,997 4,336 15.20%
Jeep  82,337 71,584  15.0% 209,597 178,749  17.3%
Kia  58,279 58,771 -0.80% 146,321 141,100 3.70%
Land Rover  8,733 6,778 28.80% 20,805 16,976 22.60%
Lexus  30,198 31,054 -2.80% 74,221 77,180 -3.80%
Lincoln  9,689 8,695 11.40% 24,905 21,478 16.00%
Maserati  997 996 0.10% 2,250 1,929 16.60%
Mazda  23,396 32,121 -27.20% 64,643 78,042 -17.20%
Mercedes-Benz  28,164 29,921 -5.9% 75,769 78,156 -3.10%
Mercedes-Benz Vans  3,072 2,379 29.1% 7,240 5,559 30.20%
Total Mercedes-Benz  31,236 32,300  -3.3%  83,009  83,715  -0.8%
Mini  4,762 5,829 -18.30% 10,839 12,777 -15.20%
Mitsubishi  11,078 9,764  13.5% 25,212 23,790  6.0%
Nissan  149,784  132,560  13.0%  367,544  333,786  10.1%
Porsche  4,323 4,291 0.70% 12,238 11,430 7.10%
Ram  49,990 45,023  11.0% 126,313 110,406  14.4%
Scion  7,261 4,424 64.10% 18,242 11,978 52.30%
Smart  479  583 -17.80% 1,300 1,533 -15.20%
Subaru  49,285 49,111 0.40% 132,397 131,281 0.90%
Toyota  182,383  190,481  -4.3%  476,616 486,462  -2.0%
Volkswagen  26,914 30,025 -10.40% 69,314 79,239 -12.50%
Volvo  6,857 5,916 15.90% 16,361 13,722 19.20%
BMW-Mini  34,795 40,139 -13.30% 81,452 91,269 -10.80%
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles  213,187 197,261  8.1% 551,103 505,854  8.9%
Daimler AG 31,715 32,883 -3.60% 84,309 85,248 -1.10%
Ford Motor Co.  253,064  234,786  7.8%  641,587  591,900  8.4%
General Motors  252,128 249,875 0.90% 683,698 684,039  -0.05%
Honda Motor Co.  138,221 126,293 9.40% 357,703 333,943 7.10%
Hyundai-Kia  133,589  133,790  -0.2%  319,651  313,129  2.1%
Jaguar-Land Rover 10,866 8,438 28.80% 25,802 21,312 21.10%
Nissan Motor Co.  163,559  145,085  12.7%  400,204  367,628  8.9%
Toyota Motor Corp. 219,842 225,959 -2.70% 569,079 575,620 -1.10%
Volkswagen Group *  49,748  51,666 -3.70%  123,774  131,307  -5.7%
Industry Total 1,595,065 1,546,463 3.10% 4,087,180 3,957,164 3.30%

Source: Manufacturers

* Volkswagen Group includes sales figures for Audi, Bentley, Porsche, and Volkswagen brands

** Industry total takes into account Automotive News figures/estimates for brands such as Tesla (2,250 March units) and other low-volume, high-priced manufacturers.

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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56 Comments on “U.S. Auto Sales Brand-By-Brand Results: March 2016 YTD...”

  • avatar

    Scion is leading the pack with 52.3% higher sales year-to-date, while Toyota as a whole is down 1.1%.
    Who would have expected that?!

    Does Tesla not report their sales figures? Their numbers must have some significance, since they are selling cars in the U.S. market as well.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Tesla’s sales figures are a mix of periodic actual numbers blended with educated guesses by observers.


      Musk’s comments on sales reporting:

      Tesla has been the #1 EV seller for a while now.

    • 0 avatar

      Happy to see Nissan is now firmly ahead of Honda. The writing on the wall was seen about 1.5 years ago. Nissan might not have the best automobiles on the planet but they are a great value.

      • 0 avatar

        In my neck of the woods, Nissan’s are hugely popular among the H1B visa set.

      • 0 avatar

        If by “good value” you mean a coarse engine, an awful CVT and interior materials that would make a Kia Rio blush, then yeah.

        Seriously, go drive an Accord and then an Altima. The Accord’s value is that youre getting a much higher quality product, with a smooth and quiet engine, a CVT that doesnt make you want to kill yourself, cloth seats that are supportive and nice to touch, and similar if not more standard equipment for not much more money.

        I contend that the case could be made that most, if not all, compeditors offer just as much “value” when you stop reading words typed by others and actually compare Nissan vehicles to their main compeditors in person, and this includes the Korean and US domestic’s products, not just Toyota or Honda. You can easily tell who actually tried to make a nice car vs. just phoning it in as Nissan does. Being a good value is not only subjective, but also hollow unless you actually take it all in and see that you really do get what you pay for.

    • 0 avatar

      Guess I missed the Scion clearance sale!

  • avatar

    MB and Lexus have built a nice lead on BMW. I wonder if BMW is having a hangover from selling all those cars to dealers as low mileage rentals at year end.

    MB’s SUV lineup is strong, the C-class was well received, and the new E-class is just hitting dealerships. Well positioned.

    • 0 avatar

      I think BMW is really starting to suffer from going soft. It worked for a while because they had the image of a driver’s car still, but they’ve drifted from that now and they really can’t compete with MB (or, IMO, even Audi) for actual luxury feel and quality. A BMW without taut handling is really nothing special in any regard.

      Obviously most customers don’t necessarily care about driving dynamics, but the brand image suffers.

  • avatar

    Meanwhile, to the surprise of no one, Jeep outsells Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, and Alfa combined.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      And I’ll bet Jeep’s earnings contribution is even higher than their sales volume indicates.

      The experiment with Fiat USA is not going well; even with deep discounting, their volume is sliding. If they were a standalone brand in the US, they’d be gone by now.

      • 0 avatar

        FCA needs to seriously consider just becoming a truck/SUV company in the US. If they feel that offering cars is important to their overall marketing ability they should really just federalize European models. I love the Charger and Challenger too, but there’s no way either of those vehicles are going to be profitable to re-design when the time comes.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m surprised they’re even trying to selk Alfas. That market share is dismal.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Mazda has a fairly fresh lineup, yet its YTD sales are back to 2010-11 levels. Pretty alarming.

    Hey, bring back the rotary – that’ll fix things.

    Meanwhile, Mitsubishi continues to show signs of life – in spite of my death watch predictions not long ago. I like their scrappiness, embodied by the goofy Mirage. The Mirage competes where they (the competition) ain’t, which is exactly how Mitsubishi needs to operate to stay afloat in the US.

    • 0 avatar
      Richard Chen

      Mazda’s sales breakdown was looking good going into 2016, bummer. Annual sales data from Mr. Cain’s site plotted out over 9 years, leaving out the pickup and RX-8:

    • 0 avatar
      jim brewer

      Mitsubishi like Ram is doing well at the moment with this value-for-money gimmick.

      How long they keep it up is the issue.

  • avatar

    FCA is right on the heels of Toyota, let’s just see if they can catch up to their other home team mates.

  • avatar

    I have been thinking this for a while, but FCA could be clawing back third place in the next few years.

    Looks like GM had a bad quarter. Doesn’t Chevy have an all-new Spark, Cruze, Volt, and Malibu? Are these not making any impact in its sales?

  • avatar

    Can we bring the Death Watch series back?

    Smart, Alfa, Mini and Fiat are all only around because they are being subsidized by their parent companies. Once the next deep downturn hits, they will likely leave the USA. If not sooner ….

    Mitsubishi is deep into borrowed time. I guess they haven’t failed yet because Isuzu and Suzuki beat them to it.

    Mazda is falling fast and is going to keep falling behind because they can’t keep up the required development pace without being integrated with Ford engineering.

    FCA, on the other hand, continues to surprise. Granted they are doing it with aggressive pricing, but someone has to be the price leader.

    Jaguar, Land Rover, Volvo and Lincoln are all growing in a generally down time for luxury brands. Funny that the former Ford PAG stable is doing relatively well under split ownership. Of course Lincoln is growing from a tiny base and it has almost no market outside North America. How long until Ford pulls the plug on Lincoln? I suspect profitability would go up if they just offered the equivalent of King Rance editions of the Ford branded vehicles Lincolns are based on. Ford hasn’t had a coherent Lincoln strategy in decades, and it makes little sense for them to invest what it would take to make Lincoln real.

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah, with the all-new Continental, refreshed MKZ, a Lincoln-exclusive 400 hp engine combined with torque-vectoring AWD, all coming to showrooms in a matter of months, they SHOULD just pull the plug, right? Just throw all of that investment in the trash before the first tire hits the pavement. Itll never work, I mean who do they think they are? Hyundai? Geeze, the nerve of those people.

      That’s like buying your wife a new car, all new expensive clothes, several pieces of jewlery and getting her a spa day, just to serve her with divorce papers the morning before she’s to recieve it all. Sounds like an awesome plan! Good luck with that!

      All these armchair quarterbacks have it ALL figured out, so why arent you guys out there running the perfect car company that sells 5m perfect cars a year for $80k each? If its so easy, why sit here and point fingers, calling them out and making wild predictions when you could be the next Bill Gates? All you gotta do is know the future and make no mistakes, ever. Sounds easy enough.

      • 0 avatar

        I see it as Ford making one last desperate attempt to become a player in the luxury car market, but it is likely to fail, again. Ford has struggled with Lincoln since the beginning when Henry Leyland formed Lincoln after being pushed out of Cadillac.

        Ford bought Lincoln out of bankruptcy with the aim of taking on Cadillac, and never succeeded in being anything more than second fiddle to Caddy up into the 1970s. From the 1960s onward, imported luxury brands took share from Caddy and Lincoln. Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Lexus, Infinity and even Acura and most recently (US based) Tesla have all taken share from Caddy and Lincoln, and Lincoln has been a constant also ran. At least Chrysler had the decency to kill off the perennial third placed Imperial and leave it dead.

        In the 90s Ford went all in on luxury vehicles by buying Jaguar, Land Rover, Aston Martin and Volvo and then lumped them all with Lincoln into the disastrous Premier Auto Group. Billions were spent, billions were wasted. We did see curious shared platforms like the Jaguar S-Type/Lincoln LS pair. When the great recession came, Ford blew up PAG and sold the foreign brands, most of which are doing reasonably well in their chosen markets under new ownership. All of the non-Lincoln brands have one critical element Lincoln lacks – significant non North American sales.

        Today we once again see Ford throwing money at Lincoln, but I doubt it will be successful. Luxury vehicle sales require brand cachet, and that is very hard to build, especially for a brand which has been tarnished by decades of also-ran products and a horrible dealer network. How many people actually would even consider a Lincoln to replace their off-lease Mercedes, BMW, Lexus, Audi or Infiniti? What realistic chance does Ford have to make Lincoln into a global brand ?????

        I was critical of PAG in it’s heyday, and I was right. Ford wasted billions on a doomed effort. High profile executives with massive pay packages make big mistakes all the time, just like the rest of us mortals.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      “Smart, Alfa, Mini and Fiat are all only around because they are being subsidized by their parent companies.”

      I don’t think you understand the business model. These are cars that have significant markets in the rest of the world and cost almost nothing to bring to the US. In addition, they are conquest sales. Nobody is losing money on these models, no matter how you personally feel about the product.

      • 0 avatar

        Wrong, there is no such thing as a product costing almost nothing to bring to the US market. Setting aside the engineering costs of meeting US safety and emissions standards, you have big advertising, dealer network and product support efforts. There are many automotive brands available elsewhere in the world but not in the US.

        Suzuki, Tata, Peugeot, Renault, Citroen, Chery, BYD and others have major non-US presences but do not sell in the USA. They all wish it “cost almost nothing to bring to the US”.

        Volkswagen’s namesake brand has been loosing money in the US for years, though they are fortunate to be making good profits on their luxury Audi and Porsche brands.

        Making money in the US car market requires either significant volumes or >$50k luxury car price points. Smart, Mini and Fiat have neither of those. Alfa has the price point, but insignificant volumes.

        • 0 avatar
          heavy handle


          These cars take advantage of existing parts and sales networks: FCA, Mercedes and BMW. They also already meet crash standards for the most part. The 500 was lightly updated to meet standards, but nothing major.

          Sure, there’s some advertising involved, but that’s millions compared to billions.

          Bringing Smart to a US Mercedes showroom is no different than bringing an Opel to a Buick showroom: R&D is already paid-for, it’s just a matter of a few mods and some marketing.

          Fiat and Mini have it even better: the 500x is a Renegade, and the Countryman is an X1. They are marketed to different crowds, but they are they share everything but sheet metal with existing products.

        • 0 avatar

          Designing a Fiat 500 so that it can be sold in both the US and EU doesn’t cost much more than designing one that is exclusively for Europe.

          Selling more of those cars as a result of the US sales provides a greater base over which to amortize development and other costs, thus reducing per unit production costs. The company already has the US distribution network in place, so offering those cars should increase marginal profit. That doesn’t necessarily make the US business a home run, but it’s preferable to not doing it at all.

    • 0 avatar

      Mazda is up 22& from 2011 to 2015.

      You should try knowing what you’re talking about.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        As I noted above, Mazda’s year-to-date sales are down to 2010-11 levels, which is alarming.

        But since you brought up Mazda’s 22% increase (it was actually 27%) from 2011 to 2015, bear in mind that the US car market grew by 37% in the same time period.

        So, in a growing market, Mazda is actually losing market share while offering some fairly fresh products. It’s a bad sign.

        Yet they’ve dug in on a “no-hybrid, no-EV” policy while continuing to spend precious research dollars on rotary engines.

        • 0 avatar

          You make it sound like any rotary development is stopping them from other developments. In the past 4 years they have rolled out a completely new engine lineup, transmissions and platforms. All well received and with good reliability. No bad for a company some seem to think require Ford.
          As for their falling sales (this month only so far), I don’t think their engineering priorities has caused that.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      In American parlance; Lincoln doesn’t have to hit a home run every time it comes to bat. It doesn’t even have to hit singles; a pop fly to move the runner is OK with FOMOCO. Mark whatever’s were gussied up T-Birds and Town Cars were gussied up LTDs and sold well. Did Lincoln ever have German performance or Japanese reliability? Not a chance. Can you park one at the country club and not worry? Yep. On that last criteria; a great many could car less what internet commenters have to say.

      • 0 avatar

        This exactly.

        A luxury division is worth it to Ford as long as the company doesn’t lose its mind and dump billions of capital into chasing the Germans… actually, that sounds a lot like what happened with PAG, so yeah…

      • 0 avatar

        @el scotto

        “Mark whatever’s were gussied up T-Birds and Town Cars were gussied up LTDs and sold well. Did Lincoln ever have German performance or Japanese reliability? Not a chance.”

        You are incorrect on this point, and eagues of 300,000-500,000 mile Town Cars would Town Cars would disagree with this statement. Town Cars had better reliability than almost anything from Japan. They were one of the most reliable cars built in history, period. Not just recent Town Cars, either.

        See: 1.3 million mile Town Car here. Original engine block (rebuilt).

  • avatar

    JLR are gearing up to launch the new Discovery, Jaguar F Pace and XE in the USA. Who’d now bet against them overtaking Cadillac, Infinity and Acura in the next 12 months?

    Meanwhile JLR reported sales went up by 50% in mainland Europe. They really are on a roll right now

    Still shocked Ford sold them for just 1.2 billion pounds to TATA. JLR are now making more than than in profit every year. Really bad decision by Ford.

    • 0 avatar

      Right, being able to ride out the economic downturn without going through bankruptcy was a terrible decision by Ford. How stupid they were to do what was required to survive by trimming the fat and instead investing in their core products, like F-150/Super Duty, Fusion/Mondeo, Mustang, Explorer, and replacing the decades-old E-Series for example. How idiotic, and its certainly obvious by their really poor showing here…being the best selling brand and all.

      Yep, they shouldve kept on bleeding cash like a stuck pig, then you couldve come here with your 20/20 hindsight and told us how the F-Type was a far better use of their very limited funds at the time, as opposed to, say, a ground-breaking new F-150 that probably will sell more units this weekend than the F-Type will move all year.

      • 0 avatar

        Ford should have closed Lincoln (as evidenced by this). Sold Volvo and Aston and injected that cash into JLR. Which would have been enough to get JLR this far at least. In fact I doubt JLR even needed all that. Cash. Selling JLR was not necessary. Less than a year after Ford sold it JLR were making good profits. Now they are on they are about halfway to being a genuine competitor to BMW. They aren’t really that far off catching Audi!

        All they’ve done instead is waste money on Lincoln and given TATA the leg up it needs to gradually develop its own volume business and then compete directly with Ford.

      • 0 avatar

        The jury is still very much out on the wisdom of Ford’s expensive move to aluminum F-150s and trick ecoboost engines. Chevy is delivering similar real world fuel economy with less complex engines and lower cost steel bodies.

        • 0 avatar
          el scotto

          Do ya mean “the jury” of internet commenters who heavily influence major car companies?

        • 0 avatar

          @jt horner

          “The jury is still very much out on the wisdom of Ford’s expensive move to aluminum F-150s and trick ecoboost engines. Chevy is delivering similar real world fuel economy with less complex engines and lower cost steel bodies.”

          No, the jury is *not* out on the wisdom of Ford’s movie to aluminum and ecoboost engines. There is nothing “complex” about a turbocharger. The turbocharger was invented in 1905 and there is at least one on every eighteen wheeler OTR truck in the world. The ecoboost tows like a diesel and outperforms Chevy’s little 5.3.

    • 0 avatar

      PAG was an expensive distraction for Ford Motor Co. They should never have bought Jag, LR, and A-M in the first place. They got some value out of Volvo, though.

  • avatar

    Ford channeled 37% of its product through fleet sales despite increased retail incentives.

    Nothing to see here.

    Ford beats GM in March with high fleet sales

    • 0 avatar

      Exactly, its not like fleet sales are a huge part of F-Series, Transit, Transit Connect and Sedan/Utility police models, huh? Its just awful that they are able to move thousands of units at a time with commercial-grade models virtually designed from the start with fleet sales in mind. Each the best seller in their respective catagories, btw. Bad, bad news there, obviously.

      But, no, its ALL rental cars, right? Is that why Fusion has higher average transaction prices than Camry, not to mention Malibu?

      • 0 avatar

        KMart Blue Oval Specials.

        NO brand wants 37% fleet sales plus high retail incentives.

        As for the Fusion, it probably is more than 37% fleet as Ford car sales are down overall.

        • 0 avatar

          Actually car makers do want “fleet sales”, especially when they’re commercial grade, go to industry/government/utilities, get driven into the ground and they keep coming back for more.

          They keep the assembly line humming with scores or hundreds at a time, built identical. Users mostly ignore quality issues.

          • 0 avatar

            “Worse yet, more than half of Ford’s fleet sales in February were to rental car lots, the typically less desirable of fleet sales. ”

            Wanna bet March sales were similar or worse, meaning more rental as a %.

        • 0 avatar

          Fleet sales aren’t bad.

          Fleet sales to rental agencies are bad.

          As you noted, Ford had over 50% of their fleet sales go to rental agencies.

          That is bad.

          What I don’t know, and we don’t know is, are vans and pickups going to U-Haul as bad as unwanted Focii going to Hertz. The other thing we don’t know is how many vans and pickups went to U-Haul, Hertz-Penske, etc. etc. etc.

          • 0 avatar

            U-haul is really a commercial fleet purchaser, even though they rent out trucks. U-haul keeps their vehicles for many, many years. When they finally leave the U-haul fleet they are not competing with new car sales or undermining resale values of other purchaser’s vehicles.

          • 0 avatar

            Most Ford fleet sales are pickups, so I can’t imagine 50% going to the bad kind of “fleets”, like Hertz. If they do go to daily ‘airport’ type rentals, they’re XLTs or Lariats.

            Pickups are such specialized vehicles with hundred of combinations, I also can’t imagine Hertz/airport type of ex-rentals harming the used F-series market.

        • 0 avatar

          Commercial fleet is perfectly acceptable. A lot of the truck fleet is “good” fleet, and Ford’s numbers skew heavily toward commercial truck sales.

          The passenger car fleet is another matter. I don’t have the current numbers, but chances are good that about two-thirds of that is going to rental. Some rental car sales are fine, but it’s an indication of a problem if a third or more of the nameplate’s total sales are going to rental.

      • 0 avatar

        JohnTaurusBlackCircleReliability gets a raging boner anytime his crotch area is in the general vicinity of a Vulcan 3.0 liter in declining health.

        • 0 avatar
          el scotto

          Seems to me you used to have a great deal of vitriol for Ford. The ecoboost engines and the MKC and Escape and new F-150 seemed to draw your ire. Then sales totals made you a sad panda. Then your focused on a can’t lose whipping boy: Cadillac. Ole Johann has less sense than the average house-cat if agrees to a face to face with you; nothing to gain and everything to lose. BTW, I bough my Ford stock at 2 and some change. So rant on the interwebs all you want to about Ford; my retirement home gets closer to the beach with each stock increase.

  • avatar

    *I* almost outsold Alfa-Romeo in March…

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