By on October 7, 2016

2016 Subaru Outback

At the beginning of each and every month, automakers release complete U.S. sales results for nearly every make and model. Sometimes the numbers are spectacular. Other times, surprising. Sometimes they’re just downright silly; nonsensical even. More often than not, the interesting tidbits are subtle.

Spectacular, surprising, silly, and subtle they may be, but not all such data points are worthy of a story. So we’ve plucked out a handful of results and statistics that are worthy of some attention from September 2016, a month in which new vehicle sales slid slightly less than 1 percent.

Ford sells a lot of F-Series pickups, the Toyota Camry is still America’s best-selling car, Americans are buying more SUVs/crossovers than cars. But auto sales figures are more interesting behind the headlines.

10: September was the tenth consecutive month in which U.S. sales at the BMW brand decreased on a year-over-year basis. September volume was down 5 percent. Year-to-date, the BMW brand’s 8-percent drop was caused by an 18-percent decrease in car sales. The brand’s five X models are up 12 percent.

33%: High-end luxury SUVs are supposed to instantly become top sellers, or so the story went at Jaguar and Bentley. At Maserati, it’s taking slightly longer for the Levante to ramp up. One-third of the Maseratis sold in the U.S. in September were Levantes, the second month it’s been on sale. The Ghibli remains the brand’s best-selling model — up to this point.

2017 Lincoln Continental

30: Not since the Lincoln MKS earned 1,034 sales in March 2014, 30 months ago, have sales of full-size Lincoln sedans risen as high as they did in September 2016. Thank the arrival of the new Continental, the MKS’s replacement. Together, the MKS’s 239 sales and the Continental’s first-month total of 775 units — expected to rise quickly — represented a 102-percent year-over-year increase over the MKS’s September 2015 total.

$4,590: Launched together in May, the Jaguar F-Pace crossover was consistently more popular than Jaguar XE sedan, which costs $4,590 less than the F-Pace, the next least-costly Jag. As XE inventory has improved, however, sales have improved in step. In September, the XE outsold the F-Pace by 20 units, 829 to 809, to become Jaguar USA’s best seller for the first time. Together, the two models accounted for six in ten Jaguar sales in September.

-188: Sales of the Mazda MX-5 Miata, now many months into its fourth-generation tenure, have been falling ever since its Fiat 124 Spider twin arrived. In September, MX-5 sales fell by a fifth, a loss of 188 sales. But total MX-5/124 Spider sales jumped 32 percent thanks to 490 additional 124 Spider sales.

7,297: With sales of other Buicks up 7 percent, in large part because of a clear-out of discontinued Veranos (sales of the Verano jumped 65 percent), Buick’s best-selling Encore reported an all-time monthly record of 7,297 sales, a year-over-year jump of 30 percent. More than half of the Buicks sold in the United States in September were Encores and Veranos.

2017 Mini Clubman All4

71%: Mini USA reported 4,024 total sales in September, a 9-percent year-over-year drop. 71 percent of those sales, or 2,877 units, were produced by Minis with four doors: the 4-Door, Clubman, and Countryman. Of the 38,911 Minis sold so far this year in the United States, 26,994 were of the maxi Mini variety.

28,172: Fully 11.3 percent of the new vehicle sales reported by General Motors in September 2016 were of the full-size SUV variety. Total volume of the Escalade, Escalade ESV, Suburban, Tahoe, Yukon, and Yukon XL jumped 45 percent to 28,172 units. A year ago, the same group earned 7.7 percent of GM’s sales.

38: Nearing the end of its lifecycle, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles reported 38 Dodge Viper sales in September 2016. Only a few months into the beginning of its lifecycle after a decade-long hiatus, the Acura NSX likewise found 38 new owners.

3,699: In the odd race to end 2016 as America’s top-selling premium marque — exclusivity is clearly not king — Mercedes-Benz outsold Lexus by 3,699 units in September. (Sprinter and Metris vans are excluded.) Year-to-date, Mercedes-Benz leads Lexus by 13,011 units and BMW by 19,071.

+14: U.S. sales of the Mitsubishi i-MiEV increased by 14 units, year-over-year, in September 2016, to 17 in total. Although total Mitsubishi sales are ahead of last year’s pace by 1.5 percent in September, every Mitsubishi except the i-MiEV posted year-over-year declines.

2017 Nissan Titan

2,484: For the Nissan Titan, now finally available in both XD and light-duty form, September’s 2,484 sales represented the best month for Nissan’s full-size truck since September 2008. 1.3 percent of the full-size trucks sold in America in September 2016 were Titans.

711: Toyota reported 386 sales of the Lexus LX570 in September along with 325 sales of the LX’s Toyota Land Cruiser twin, for a total of 711 September sales. Sales of both SUVs have boomed relative to past performance because of MY2016 refreshes. The Land Cruiser is on track for its best year since 2008; the LX is on track for its best year since 2012.

-24%: U.S. sales at the Porsche brand tumbled 24 percent in September 2016 — that is if you don’t count the Macan. But the Macan, now the brand’s best-selling model, jumped 72 percent to 1,998 units, causing the Porsche brand — despite decreases at every other model — to rise 1.2 percent.

131: Overpriced and undersized relative to its prime competitor, the Subaru Outback, the Volkswagen Alltrack reported its first 131 sales in September. Don’t ever expect the Alltrack to approach Outback-like sales figures. Subaru sold 16,978 Outbacks in September, more than the Beetle, CC, Passat, Tiguan, Touareg, and entire Golf family combined.

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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22 Comments on “Subaru Outback Outsells Most Of The Volkswagen Brand In September, Most Minis Are Big, Viper And NSX Tie, BMW Fades, And More September Sales Stats...”

  • avatar

    In VW case many of us who own VW TDI’s are waiting until buyouts begins before even thinking about replacing them w another VW so I expect VW sales to be down until that starts.

    • 0 avatar

      I just submitted my TDI buyback claim online. It told me my estimated turn-in date was the first week in January. Was hoping it would be sooner, but honestly I don’t have the slightest clue what car I’m going to get to replace it!

  • avatar

    The all track has a $12,000 premium over the regular vw wagon in Canada – they certainly won’t be selling many of them here. In further idiotic vw news, they have increased the price of the gti by $5000 for 2017 (in Canada). But we are still getting the 3 door model – unlike the u.s.

    • 0 avatar

      You aren’t comparing Apples to Apples. I only see a $900 price increase in the GTI 3-door between 2016 and 2017. The 5-door is not available in the base GTI trim.

      For the Alltrack, VW Canada is putting it in the lineup with the rest of the Golf wagons. So it is simply the highest trim level. The next step down is $33Kish. So really the premium is $2K for the Alltrack. I haven’t looked further in the details of what that $2K is for besides raised suspension and some body cladding.

    • 0 avatar
      Timothy Cain

      CDN pricing of the base GTI 3-door is up $900 in 2017; base 5-door pricing is up $850.

      The Alltrack plan in Canada is bizarre, but saying it’s $12,000 more than the regular wagon is a bit misleading. The Alltrack is essentially the nicest Golf SportWagen you can buy. Bad strategy? Most would say so, but a base Golf Alltrack is not comparable to a base Golf SportWagen.

  • avatar

    BMW continues to break my heart. I grew up with a deep, deep love of the marque (due in large part to a kind, generous man who started as our landlord in Germany and wound up a dear friend and father-figure), but these days it seems a shell of what it once stood for. About the only BMW I truly get excited about now is the 2-series. I know every other manufacturer has piled onto the SUV-craze, but BMW has created some truly ghastly attempts at filling markets that are beyond “niche.”

    • 0 avatar

      BMW now painfully reminds me of Cadillac in the 1980’s where they pushed deals just for volume. With all the niche models and the diminished driving experience it may be the marketplace is beginning to push BWM into the same corner or irrelevance as Cadillac, Lincoln and before that Saab and Volvo.

    • 0 avatar

      They dont sell them in the US any more but my 335d is amazing…..handles like its on rails, 30 mpg at 100 mph cruise, 0-60 5 seconds, 1/4 mile 12.5 seconds, 425 ft lb @ 1700, 260 hp. Best road trip car for two Ive ever owned.

  • avatar

    The number:story format was hard to read

    The following link is of a subtly different format but works better for me

  • avatar
    Adam Tonge


  • avatar

    I wonder who makes the most money off a Fiat 124 Spider, FCA or Mazda?

    • 0 avatar
      Pete Zaitcev

      This is a kind of hard-hitting shoe-leather journalism that, I’m afraid, even Berthel would not be able to deliver to us at TTAC. Try to find something at WikiLeaks.

  • avatar

    As long as BMW has continued its trend towards bigger, softer, less enthusiast oriented cars, the CW has been that the faithful would whine complain and gnash their teeth while BMW laughed all the way to the bank. Is this a sign of a backlash? Has BMW finally started to run out of reputation equity to cash checks on? The ATS may not be setting the sales on fire, but if you assume most of those buyers are the sort that would typically buy a 3 series, its sales YTD (16k) are more than enough to cover the difference between the C class and 3 series YTD (3k).

    • 0 avatar

      I think the problem here is that a M3 starts at $60,000+ By all accounts it’s still a great car, but just not enough stick shifting yahoos that can afford it.

      • 0 avatar

        I wasn’t talking about M3’s. I was talking about mainstream 3 series, which, despite the M3’s Halo effect, have long represented the bread and butter of BMW’s Ultimate Driving Machine slogan, and in many ways, was the brand’s flagship. . Cain doesn’t provide a breakdown (and I’m not sure if BMW does) of the M3 vs the standard line. Interestingly, despite the inflation of the M3’s price, the standard 3 series hasn’t actually gone up in price very much. the F30 320i, which offers similar performance (and more features) than an e46 325i, is only $3500 more than what the 2005 model cost brand new. A 2017 330i has an msrp only $2500 more than a 2006. I’m trying to get a good handle on BMW sales figures since the e46 and its challenging because starting in May 2015, they began counting the 4 series separate from the 3 series. Also, the 1 series came on offer in 2008, and that probably ate into 3 series sales a bit. There would be ways to sort through them but I’m not motivated enough to go through the trouble. Suffice to say, BMW 3 and 4 series sales are down every month this year, and it’s measured in the thousands per month.

  • avatar
    Pete Zaitcev

    Honestly, I’m surprised that anyone buys Outbacks, let alone enough for them to dent VW. It looked that the only interesting Subaru cars recently were Forester and XV (Crosstrek).

  • avatar

    The VW Sportwagen is a much better car than the Outback by any measure. The Sportwagen has not even been officially released! I would bet it would even show the 3.6 a clean pair of heels in straight-line performance. I have driven an Outback 3.6 – it’s basically outdated rubbish.

    My personal experience ( and that of 3 friends) is that Subarus are not that reliable. I blew two head gaskets at 80K ( 2005 Legacy GT), and my friends Impreza (non turbo) has started leaking so much oil at 120K that it’s almost a write-off. And that Outback 3.6 is pretty much hated by the owners who are looking for an excuse to dump it and it’s miserable whiney 5 speed auto transmission.
    Subaru global sales 940K
    VW global sales ~10M

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