By on April 3, 2017

2017 Volkswagen model range – Image: Volkswagen

March 2017’s U.S. auto sales volume dropped nearly 2 percent compared with March 2016, failing to live up to forecasts that expected March to be the best end to the first-quarter in nearly two decades.

Despite record volume at Nissan and Infiniti, continued growth at Subaru, meaningful gains at Buick, GMC, Dodge, Mitsubishi, and Ram, a third consecutive month of improvement at Mazda, and minor improvements at numerous other brands, auto sales fell below March 2016 levels because of declines at Ford, Toyota, and Fiat Chrysler. Hyundai and Kia combined for an 11-percent slide.

A third consecutive month of year-over-year decline for the industry suggests doom and gloom, as does the fact that inventories are ballooning and incentives are rising. Auto sales remain high, however, and only in comparison with 2016 — a banner year for the industry — do sales appear poor. Through the first-quarter of 2017, U.S. auto sales are down by less than 2 percent.

Auto Brand March 2017 March 2016 % Change 2017 YTD 2016 YTD % Change
11,696 14,852 -21.2% 31,762 37,875 -16.1%
Alfa Romeo
 555 43 1,191% 1,106 158 600%
 18,705 18,392 1.7% 45,647 41,960 8.8%
31,015 30,033 3.3% 71,682 70,613 1.5%
20,957 18,207 15.1% 50,205 54,287 -7.5%
 12,861 13,053 -1.5% 33,962 35,633 -4.6%
 172,458 176,283 -2.2% 471,723 472,730 -0.2%
16,969 25,373 -33.1% 47,076 70,424 -33.2%
 50,076 45,629  9.7% 134,063 140,916 -4.9%
2,922 3,085  -5.3% 7,231 8,115 -10.9%
Ford 225,341 243,375 -7.4% 586,462 616,682 -4.9%
1,755 5,155
 49,948 44,585 12.0% 133,611 121,048 10.4%
125,531 123,369 1.8% 333,531 319,928 4.3%
67,510 75,310  -10.4% 163,637 173,330 -5.6%
 18,266 13,775 32.6% 43,561 32,660 33.4%
4,953 2,133  132% 11,376 4,997 128%
67,983 76,540  -11.2% 188,743 212,370 -11.1%
49,429 58,279 -15.2%  127,728 146,321 -12.7%
Land Rover
7,965 8,733  -8.8% 19,875 20,805 -4.5%
 27,935 30,198 -7.5% 61,845 74,221 -16.7%
 9,554 9,689 -1.4% 27,083 24,905 8.7%
 1,312 997 31.6% 3,288 2,250 46.1%
 24,549 23,396 4.9% 69,071 64,644 6.8%
Mercedes-Benz °
 29,092 28,164  3.3%  79,141  75,769  4.5% 
Mercedes-Benz Vans °
 2,871 3,072  -6.5%  7,433  7,240  2.7% 
Total Mercedes-Benz °
 31,963 31,236 2.3%  86,574 83,009 4.3%
4,987 4,762 4.7% 10,251 10,839 -5.4%
11,766 11,078  6.2% 29,147 25,212 15.6%
150,566 149,784 0.5% 373,330 217,760 71.4%
 4,479 4,323 3.6% 12,718 12,238 3.9%
 51,749 48,797  6.0% 132,579 126,154 5.1%
389 479 -18.9% 1,061 1,300 -18.4%
 54,871 49,285 11.3% 144,250 132,397 9.0%
Toyota †
187,289 189,644 -1.2% 470,766 494,859 -4.9%
 27,635 26,914 2.7% 76,290 69,314 10.1%
 5,356 6,857 -21.9% 13,479 16,361 -17.6%
36,002 34,795 3.5% 81,933 81,452 0.6%
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
 190,254 199,467 -4.6% 510,798 558,137 -8.5%
32,352 31,715 2.0% 87,635 84,309 3.9%
Ford Motor Co.
234,895 253,064 -7.2% 613,545 641,587 -4.4%
General Motors
256,224 252,128 1.6% 689,521 683,698 0.9%
Honda Motor Co.
137,227 138,221 -0.7% 363,293 357,703 2.1%
 118,694 133,589 -11.1% 296,520  319,651 -7.2%
Jaguar-Land Rover
12,918 10,866 18.9% 31,251 25,802 21.1%
Nissan Motor Co./Mitsubishi
180,598 174,637 3.4% 446,038 425,416 4.8%
Toyota Motor Corp.
215,224 219,842 -2.1% 532,611 569,080 -6.4%
Volkswagen Group *
51,068 49,748 2.7% 135,207 123,774 9.2%
Industry Total **

Source: Manufacturers

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

° Mercedes-Benz USA releases sales figures for the Mercedes-Benz brand in the conventional sense, vans excluded, as well as totals for the Metris and Sprinter vans. The complete picture is included here.

† Toyota’s sales figures include those of Toyota’s discontinued Scion brand.

** Industry total takes into account Automotive News figures/estimates for brands such as Tesla (3,000 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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72 Comments on “U.S. Auto Sales Brand-By-Brand Results: March 2017 YTD...”

  • avatar

    Surprises for me (YTD):

    Lexus down by 16.7%
    Jeep down by 11.1%

    and Red Alert: Chrysler down 33.2% ! I’m sure they will make that volume up by Fiat, and all those 200s sitting on the lot /sarc

    • 0 avatar

      Actually it’s the Alfas that are making up the volume shortfall.

    • 0 avatar

      Lexus car sales are absolutely apocalyptic this year. I get that it is CUV world now, but those are not making up the difference for that brand.

      • 0 avatar

        Lexus and Jeep have been riding high for awhile and charging whatever the market would bear for their products.

        I’m surprised Toyota products took a dive YOY since Toyota is the best, most reliable brand in the market place.

        Has anyone researched why sales are down, when they should be up, with more people working, more need for vehicles to get to work, and consumer optimism highest in eight years?

        • 0 avatar

          @highdesertcat – the working man does not like instability or the potential for instability.

          “While consumers’ assessment of current business conditions improved sharply this month, they were less confident about the outlook. Some economists said consumers were likely opting for caution until the Trump administration offers more details on the fiscal stimulus, especially tax cuts.”

          “The Trump rally effect on consumer’s hearts and minds is starting to fade as it is apparent this administration will face a rocky road if it does not tone down its harsh rhetoric,” said Chris Rupkey, chief economist at MUFG Union Bank in New York.”

          “The longer it takes the Trump administration to come out with specific proposals and programs to make America great again, consumers will continue to stay cautious.”

          You asked!

          • 0 avatar

            That could very well be the case, as you wrote.

            Then again, with only 70-some odd days into this presidency, things may look better for the US auto industry as more and more people formerly not looking for work, are straggling back to a paying job.

        • 0 avatar

          Um, no – Lexus products have still been priced below that of MB and BMW.

          The reason why Lexus sedan sales have been declining is not just due to the switchover to crossovers, but the fact that Lexus hasn’t kept up with the competition in terms of power-train and amenities.

          The Lexus sedans that have been taking the hardest hits have been its RWD sedans.

          Luxury owners (esp. at the higher end of the market) don’t place as a much of a premium on reliability.

    • 0 avatar

      Chrysler needs to offer “Challenger Deep” subprime loans.

  • avatar

    Yay, Mazda! Any increase at all (no matter how small) is better than what we saw towards the end of 2016.

    • 0 avatar

      After renting a new (2 miles on the odo) Mazda6, I also now hope to see Mazda’s fortunes change. I really, really enjoyed driving that last week. Of course, my DD is an Escape S, so there’s my point of reference.

      • 0 avatar

        Mazda up 7% year to date against a 1.6% decline for the industry. Tim will have to revise his doom and gloom commentary from last year on this topic.

        • 0 avatar

          Mazda 6 is by far the best looking midsize sedan for 2017. Even as a chevy guy I have to admit it blows the malibu out of the water.

        • 0 avatar

          @mike978, I was thinking the same thing.

          Usually, when Mazda does badly, or sees a minor decline, there are 6-7 lines at least in the article about their lack of a future as a company or the future of specific models. When they do well, it’s barely mentioned.

    • 0 avatar

      Yea Mazda! Verily!!

    • 0 avatar

      Indeed! The sales bump is no doubt powered by the CX-5 and maybe by the introduction of the CX-9. They must be making killer margin on the CX-5 too.

  • avatar

    Nice to see Jaguar getting very close to Porsche’s numbers.

  • avatar

    Alfa up 1,191%!

    I guess the ad blitz worked…eventually.

    • 0 avatar

      Alfa is a gravy train with biscuit wheels.

    • 0 avatar

      Good news for whoever contracts for the towing on Alfa’s roadside assistance plan…

      • 0 avatar

        Pehaps it’ll be offset by fewer VWs on the road (sitting instead in abandoned parking lots).

        Lol sorry I couldn’t resist.

        • 0 avatar

          You’re closer to the truth than you think…the sales bump is probably largely due to folks trading in their old TDIs.

          I suppose the good news for VW is that this artificial sales rally will continue until they can bring out the Atlas and Tiguan, which will provide a real sales rally.

          (And don’t think they won’t – they’re CROSSOVERS, dude…)

  • avatar

    Hey, but I forgot…Mitsubishi is dead. VW is dead. Mazda is dead.

    JEEP FOREVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • avatar

    JLR are now closing in on Audi. The new Discovery will push Land Rovers numbers back to where they were before the model left production. Then add the new E Pace and the Velar and Audi will be in their sights.

  • avatar
    Big Wheel

    Hey Tim,

    Should the numbers in the rows for Mercedes-Benz & Total Mercedes-Benz be switched? Doesn’t make sense the way it is now:

    MB = 31,963
    MB Vans = 2,871
    Total MB = 29,092

    Seems the Total MB should = 31,963 & just MB = 29,092.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Your estimate for Tesla for March 2017 (3000) is more than 50% lower than that of (6200) for US sales. How is that?

    What’s happening at Hyundai/Kia? The Niro is ramping up nicely, but I haven’t checked other models. Its cousin the Ioniq is off to a very slow start.

  • avatar

    Subaru, slow and steady. Sales up 11.3%

  • avatar

    I’m amazed that Buick is up 15%. But I am guessing that is all thanks to the Envision.

  • avatar

    Good thing VW decided to bring over the Alltrack, 2461 Golf wagons sold in March 2017 vs 968 in March 2016.

    Tiguan sales were actually down in March 2017 though, probably due to the Alltrack.

  • avatar

    Sub-prime Nissan really must have slathered on the incentives last month.

  • avatar

    Are Aston Martin numbers not reported?

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    Lexus is an interesting conundrum. I wonder if their declines are product or lack of related or is this perhaps more telling. From my vantage point, Lexus is the ‘old’ person car of choice. If you are reasonably affluent and in your 60’s or early 70’s you get a Lexus at least in my neck of the woods. I suppose, in lieu of yesteryear when it was Lincoln or Cadillac.
    My thought is perhaps we are seeing the beginning of a contraction among the older set due to the current happenings in Washington. Agree with the happenings or not, I have zero intention to get political, it is not hard to imagine a scenario where the wealthy class who presumably pay attention to the beltway adopt a more wait and see approach to big ticket items.

    Of course, it could be no one wants a LS, GS, or ES and they can’t build enough LX, GX, and RX to meet demand.

    • 0 avatar

      The RX and ES are getting long in the tooth right now. There are plenty of mid-size crossovers and near-lux sedans that are probably nibbling away at the market share. And the IS still isn’t pulling a lot of younger professionals out of their Audis, despite being a very competitive product on the merits.

      Consumer confidence is up more among Baby Boomers than any other age range, so Lexus’ issue is not politics:

    • 0 avatar

      @baconator: The RX is long in the tooth? It was new for 2016…

      The bigger issue is that Lexus doesn’t have all the CUV niches covered. The NX is polarizing in a segment of non-polarizing (yet attractive) competitors (Mercedes, BMW, Volvo, Audi, etc.), and there’s nothing smaller available. On the large end, they lack the 7-passenger CUV that luxury automakers have been making bank on for years now (I’m sorry, the GX/LX don’t count…they’re inefficient trucks).

  • avatar

    The 1% marques are unaffected. Seems a lot of them are buying Range Rovers to get to their bunkers in a time of crisis.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Seems to be largely true, with only a few exceptions.

      Volvo is taking it on the chin, but just a few months ago they were going great guns.

      • 0 avatar

        I suspect that Volvo is at a tough time due to their model changeovers. No on wants to buy a V/S/XC60 knowing that the redone models are right around the corner and that the current models are pretty old. Despite their lovely top-end lineup, the V90 is certainly not where the money is.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    When will GM address their inventory elephant in the room?

    Camaro and Malibu *still* have 6-month inventories!

    In contrast, Mustang (2.5 months) and Fusion (2 months) are in much better shape.

    • 0 avatar

      “When will GM address their inventory elephant in the room?”

      GM can sell them cheap to rental car agencies. That’ll help, and the used car market as well, after two years.

      • 0 avatar

        Yep. And if GM drops their prices low enough, they can’t lose!

        Rental agencies are gonna want them hella *cheap* too. As it is, they’re not leaving GM much meat on bone, if there was any to begin with.

        Rental agencies will be taking a financial hit too, trying to sell off (or auction) last year’s model, vs a current year, X-rental.

        • 0 avatar

          “And if GM drops their prices low enough,”

          They could GIVE them away and still not lose! After all, $11B in taxpayer money…

          I don’t think there is much meat on the bone in rental fleet sales. Automakers want to keep the assembly lines running and whatever the public doesn’t buy, they wholesale off to rental fleets.

          But there is money to be made at the far end of the rental fleet cycle, at the used car market.

          During the ’80s and ’90s I saw some big bucks being made on Lincoln Towncars sold from Budget Rental lots.

          Big bucks!

          • 0 avatar

            That debt was recovered in many fold. Ford, not so much.


          • 0 avatar

            Norm, it wasn’t a debt. It was a grant, a money infusion for a failed, dead corporation to keep the UAW working, while millions of others lost their jobs and went under. Selective resuscitation.

            And with Trump being a pro-union man, we can expect more union meddling as more jobs are being returned to the US.

    • 0 avatar

      See, now here we are again with my fantasy of getting a really screaming deal on both an ATS coupe and a Camaro SS, and swapping that sweet V-8 into the Alpha-platform-mate ATS.

      Cadillac, FFS, how hard can it be to just make this car? Isn’t it the same damn crash structure and wiring harness?

  • avatar

    This is the beginning of a longer pattern of new car sales weakness. Used car prices have fallen so far that the case to buy new is difficult. Furthermore, the used cars, especially top Asian brands, have the capability to run for another 10 years after a discount of 40% of new. Also, the young people think cars are just a waste of money, will go used and cheap, if they buy a car at all. Personally, I would avoid all auto stocks.

    • 0 avatar

      You forgetting buying a new car is an emotional and ego driven act! There is always new models being release and people will buy them based on a need to express themselves- status, enjoyment, etc….

      • 0 avatar

        “buying a new car is an emotional and ego driven act!”

        Absolutely! I want my new car to give me the least possible fear and physical pain while using it so my fragile ego is persuaded that it just might survive yet another trip in it.

        BTW, where you from?

  • avatar

    Another interesting point … the Camry is now outselling the Fusion by nearly 2 to 1. This shows how, more and more, the buying public considers a car nothing more than a commodity and the Fusion will lose this comparison since the rear seat headroom is just not there. When you buy as a commodity, you care more about rear seat headroom than bling.

  • avatar

    Surprise me is that Lexus and Volkswagen are same in numbers – 27K. BMW 31K, Mercedes at 29K. Mazda at 24K and Cadillac 12K and Land Rover at 8!

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