U.S. Auto Sales Brand-By-Brand Results: May 2017 YTD

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain

U.S. auto sales were essentially flat in the fifth month of 2017 as May new vehicle volume was let down by significant passenger car declines but bolstered by significant pickup truck volume.

Despite a drop in incentives, U.S. sales of full-size pickups jumped 10 percent in May 2017. General Motors’ pickup sales continued to decline, but big gains at Ford, Ram, Toyota, Nissan, and Honda masked losses across much of the industry.

At Hyundai, total sales plunged 18 percent. Hyundai’s Korean partner, Kia, fell 7 percent. Jeep was down 15 percent. At General Motors, where inventory remains in excess of the norm, sales were down marginally, 1 percent, in May.

Nevertheless, the industry didn’t fall far in comparison with May 2016, the fifth month of the highest-volume year in the industry’s history. But May of last year was a particularly poor month by its historical standard. Despite the boom theme of the 2016 calendar year, May 2016 sales had fallen 6 percent compared with May 2015 levels.

Fast forward to 2017 and the auto industry is a general state of decline in the United States. The overall numbers aren’t low, but the trend line is not favorable. With May 2017’s 0.5-percent dropoff, sales have now declined, year-over-year, in five consecutive months. Incentives in May 2017 were 9 percent higher than in May 2016, but average transaction prices rose just 1 percent, according to ALG.

Last month, for the first time since March of last year, Ford Motor Company outsold General Motors. (On a pure retail score, GM still outsold FoMoCo by more than 33,000 units, though factoring out fleet demand for models such as the F-Series doesn’t show Ford’s true picture.) Excluding niche brands, the fastest growth was reported by Buick, Ram, Infiniti, and Subaru. The Ford F-Series led all new vehicles in total sales. The Honda Accord was tops among cars; the Toyota RAV4 led all SUVs/crossovers.

Auto BrandMay 2017May 2016% Change2017 YTD2016 YTD% ChangeAcura 13,93913,5612.8%59,83367,642-11.5%Alfa Romeo 919441,989%2702261935%Audi 19,19718,7282.5%83,55578,4896.5%BMW 25,81829,017-11.0%120,124124,581-3.6%Buick 20,07715,62528.5%91,01787,6323.9%Cadillac 13,21112,0999.2%59,49358,9680.9%Chevrolet 162,950169,331-3.8%799,040825,503-3.2%Chrysler 17,96918,299-1.8%82,354106,614-22.8%Dodge 44,92241,4538.4%218,430222,857-2.0%Fiat 2,6703,170-15.8%12,44014,383-13.5%Ford 229,962 224,9412.2%1,020,1691,061,586-3.9%Genesis 1,752——8,306——GMC 41,12643,395-5.2%221,741211,6024.8%Honda 134,475133,5470.7%592,260585,9981.1%Hyundai 58,25971,006-18.0%283,547306,549-7.5%Infiniti 12,51410,82815.6%66,87253,92024.0%Jaguar 3,1132,16443.9%17,7198,248115%Jeep 75,51688,571-14.7%333,138383,478-13.1%Kia 58,50762,926-7.0%239,593265,755-9.8%Land Rover 4,9934,9500.9%30,07930,943-2.8%Lexus 25,40126,682-4.8%109,362125,785-13.1%Lincoln 10,2889,8074.9%47,06244,4885.8%Maserati 1,26594533.9%5,8184,26136.5%Mazda 26,04728,286-7.9%119,282119,1240.1%Mercedes-Benz °26,893 29,299 -8.2%132,966 134,304 -1.0% Mercedes-Benz Vans ° 3,0662,848 7.7% 12,692 12,677 0.1% Total Mercedes-Benz °29,95932,147-6.8%145,658146,981-0.9%Mini 4,0604,595-11.6%17,79220,230-12.1%Mitsubishi 9,4299,0254.5%46,95143,9116.9%Nissan 124,957122,6681.9%609,488603,6411.0%Porsche 4,8054,578 5.0%23,05222,2263.7%Ram 51,04443,18318.2%230,950214,2697.8%Smart 331420-21.2%1,7572,186-19.6%Subaru 56,13550,08312.1%252,753232,8608.5%Toyota192,847192,6570.1%843,423873,760-3.5%Volkswagen 30,01428,7794.3%133,861125,2056.9%Volvo 6,2025,53612.0%26,80228,066-4.5%————— ——BMW Group 29,87833,612-11.1%137,916144,811-4.8%Fiat Chrysler Automobiles194,305195,665-0.7%885,832946,123-6.4%Daimler AG30,29032,567-7.0%147,415149,167-1.2%Ford Motor Co.240,250 234,7482.3%1,067,2311,106,074-3.5%General Motors 237,364240,450-1.3%1,171,2911,183,705-1.0%American Honda 148,414147,1080.9%652,093653,640-0.2%Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group118,518133,932-11.5%531,446572,304-7.1%Jaguar-Land Rover 8,1067,11413.9%47,79839,19122.0%Nissan / Infiniti / Mitsubishi137,471133,4963.0% 676,360657,5612.9%Toyota Motor Sales, USA. Inc.218,248219,339-0.5%952,785999,545-4.7%Volkswagen Group *54,22652,1973.9% 241,398226,4046.6%———————Industry Total † 1,519,7931,527,068-0.5% 6,981,9197,122,017-2.0%

[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.

† Industry total takes into account Automotive News figures/estimates for brands such as Tesla (4,400 May units) and other low-volume, high-priced manufacturers.

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.net. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.

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  • APaGttH APaGttH on Jun 02, 2017

    Must admit I'm shocked to see how many Alfa sold. BMWs strategy to give up on the enthusiast markets and build luxury Buickish Acuraish kind of sort of vehicles with the premium of BMW prices is not working. On the subject of Buick and Cadillac - what is going on - cash on the hood? Impressive increases and no those aren't fleet sales (last fleet sales numbers i saw from Buick was around 12%, below GM as a whole) Honda - slow and steady win the race Jaguar - go Jaguar - GO! Jeep - FCA, we have a problem, and if this decline continues, a YUGE problem. I'll say it again -- you could argue that the former Chrysler Co. brands are in worse shape circa 2017 than circa 2007. Lexus down, Lincoln is up, and the world must be crazy. My heart sinks every time I see Mazda decline, Mazda, the cars that enthusiasts say they love and the cars they will never buy. Beyond the Car2Go sharing service, who the heck bought 331 smarts? Subaru outsold RAM - let that sink in - they aren't a quirky brand anymore. Toyota would have declined had they not euthanized Scion and rolled the surviving vehicles into their number. Just as we learned with Ford, GM, and Toyota in that order, scandal does nothing to hurt sales once the dust settles. Look at VW as proof point number four. If the Chinese do to Lotus what they've done to Volvo, I'm excited to see the future.

    • See 3 previous
    • APaGttH APaGttH on Jun 02, 2017

      @DeadWeight ...Buick is LITERALLY giving vehicles away on lease deals. We’re talking $99 per month clown cars…ooops, Encores with $0 down, and so forth on their other models such as the Acadia…ooops, Enclave, and the Impala…ooops, LaCrosse... Who isn't giving cars away? $0 down $169 a month gets me a Camry SE - or $2750 cash on the hood (PNW Region - national promotion TV ad) All the car makers are LITERALLY giving away cars right now.

  • Dividebytube Dividebytube on Jun 02, 2017

    Ok, MINI, time to start packing those bags. You're going to be entering Fiat territory soon.

  • Ronin The very asking of the question "Are Plug-In Hybrids the Future?" is an interesting one. Because just 2 or 3 years ago we'd be asking- no, asserting- that E cars are the future. We're no longer asking that question.
  • Peter Benn There apparently were some K-code 4-dr sedan Fairlanes. Collectible Automobile Apr 2024 has found a '63 500 with HD 3/spd.
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  • Rust-MyEnemy Whoa, what the hell is wrong with Jalop1991 and his condescension? It's as if he's employed by Big Plug-In or something."I've seen plenty of your types on the forums....."Dunno what that means, but I'm not dead keen on being regarded as "A type" by a complete stranger"" I'm guessing you've never actually calculated by hand the miles you've driven against the quantity of gas used--which is your actual miles per gallon."Guess again. Why the hell would you even say that? Yes, I worked it out. Fill-to-fill, based on gas station receipts. And it showed me that a Vauxhall Astra PHEV, starting out with a fully charged PHEV battery, in Hybrid mode, on my long (234-mile) daily motorway daily commute, never, over several months, ever matched or beat the economy of the regular hybrid Honda Civic that I ran for a similar amount of time (circa 5000 miles)."You don't use gasoline at all for 30-40 miles as you use exclusively battery power, then your vehicle is a pure hybrid. Over 234 miles, you will have used whatever gas the engine used for 200 of those miles."At least you're right on that. In hybrid mode, though, the Astra was using battery power when it wasn't at all appropriate. The petrol engine very rarely chimed in when battery power was on tap, and as a result, the EV-mode range quickly disappeared. The regular hybrid Civic, though, deployed its very small electric reserves (which are used up quickly but restore themselves promptly), much more wisely. Such as when on a trailing throttle or on a downward grade, or when in stop-start traffic. As a result, at the end of my 234 miles, the Civic had used less gas than the Astra. Moreover, I hadn't had to pay for the electricity in its battery.I look forward to you arguing that what actually happened isn't what actually happened, but I was there and you were not."Regardless, that you don't understand it appears not to have stopped you from pontificating on it. Please, do us all a favor--don't vote."You really are quite unpleasant, aren't you. But thanks for the advice.
  • Tassos Jong-iL Electric vehicles are mandated by 2020 in One Korea. We are ahead of the time.