By on June 1, 2017

2017 Ram 1500 Rebel Blue Streak, Image: FCAU.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 Brand May 2017 May 2016 % Change 2017 YTD 2016 YTD % Change
 13,939 13,561 2.8% 59,833 67,642 -11.5%
Alfa Romeo
 919 44 1,989% 2702 261 935%
19,197 18,728 2.5% 83,555 78,489 6.5%
 25,818 29,017 -11.0% 120,124 124,581 -3.6%
20,077 15,625 28.5% 91,017 87,632 3.9%
13,211 12,099 9.2% 59,493 58,968 0.9%
162,950 169,331 -3.8% 799,040 825,503 -3.2%
17,969 18,299 -1.8% 82,354 106,614 -22.8%
 44,922 41,453 8.4% 218,430 222,857 -2.0%
 2,670 3,170 -15.8% 12,440 14,383 -13.5%
Ford 229,962  224,941 2.2% 1,020,169 1,061,586 -3.9%
 1,752 8,306
41,126 43,395 -5.2% 221,741 211,602 4.8%
134,475 133,547 0.7% 592,260 585,998 1.1%
58,259 71,006 -18.0% 283,547 306,549 -7.5%
12,514 10,828 15.6% 66,872 53,920 24.0%
3,113 2,164 43.9% 17,719 8,248 115%
75,516 88,571 -14.7% 333,138 383,478 -13.1%
 58,507 62,926 -7.0% 239,593 265,755 -9.8%
Land Rover
4,993 4,950 0.9% 30,079 30,943 -2.8%
25,401 26,682 -4.8% 109,362 125,785 -13.1%
10,288 9,807 4.9% 47,062 44,488 5.8%
1,265 945 33.9% 5,818 4,261 36.5%
26,047 28,286 -7.9% 119,282 119,124 0.1%
Mercedes-Benz °
26,893  29,299  -8.2% 132,966  134,304  -1.0% 
Mercedes-Benz Vans °
 3,066 2,848  7.7%  12,692  12,677  0.1% 
Total Mercedes-Benz °
29,959 32,147 -6.8% 145,658 146,981 -0.9%
4,060 4,595 -11.6% 17,792 20,230 -12.1%
9,429 9,025 4.5% 46,951 43,911 6.9%
124,957 122,668 1.9% 609,488 603,641 1.0%
4,805 4,578  5.0% 23,052 22,226 3.7%
 51,044 43,183 18.2% 230,950 214,269 7.8%
331 420 -21.2% 1,757 2,186 -19.6%
 56,135 50,083 12.1% 252,753 232,860 8.5%
192,847 192,657 0.1% 843,423 873,760 -3.5%
 30,014 28,779 4.3% 133,861 125,205 6.9%
6,202 5,536 12.0% 26,802 28,066 -4.5%
BMW Group
 29,878 33,612 -11.1% 137,916 144,811 -4.8%
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
194,305 195,665 -0.7% 885,832 946,123 -6.4%
Daimler AG
30,290 32,567 -7.0% 147,415 149,167 -1.2%
Ford Motor Co.
240,250  234,748 2.3% 1,067,231 1,106,074 -3.5%
General Motors
 237,364 240,450 -1.3% 1,171,291 1,183,705 -1.0%
American Honda
 148,414 147,108 0.9% 652,093 653,640 -0.2%
Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group
118,518 133,932 -11.5% 531,446 572,304 -7.1%
Jaguar-Land Rover
8,106 7,114 13.9% 47,798 39,191 22.0%
Nissan / Infiniti / Mitsubishi
137,471 133,496 3.0%  676,360 657,561 2.9%
Toyota Motor Sales, USA. Inc.
218,248 219,339 -0.5% 952,785 999,545 -4.7%
Volkswagen Group *
54,226 52,197 3.9%  241,398 226,404 6.6%
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.

† 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 and the founder and former editor of Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.

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32 Comments on “U.S. Auto Sales Brand-By-Brand Results: May 2017 YTD...”

  • avatar

    What does FCA do now that Jeep is in the red? Guess that leaves RAM to carry the whole company.

    • 0 avatar

      Well Ram outsold Silverado this month so not a bad plan. Jeep decline is almost entirely due to death of the Patriot. Wranglers and Grand Cherokees were up. Even with the decline in Jeep sales FCA sold more SUVs and cross overs then Ford or GM. Given market trends that’s not bad position to be in. Sales of Durango Journey and Promaster Van were way up.

    • 0 avatar

      Basically the Renegade replaced the Patriot in Jeeps lineup but sales were up because they overlapped for a year.

      FCA should have continued the Patriot for another year or so as a budget/fleet vehicle in the same way they are doing with the Dodge Grand Caravan.

      The new Wrangler, Wrangler truck/Scrambler, and Wagoneer/Grand Wagoneer should add some additional volume.

      Any idea on when the Cherokee/Grand Cherokee get redesigned?

    • 0 avatar

      You’re mistaking volume for profitability. The loss in volume is from the discontinuation of the old Compatriot which made little margin.

  • avatar

    Subaru is like a tortoise, slow to increase, but just keeps going and going up.

    • 0 avatar
      Dave M.

      Exactly. I really love my ’13 Outback, and the new generation is even better. I’m actually thinking of trading mine in to get all the new bells and whistles, an act unheard of since I normally keep my vehicles 10-12 years before retiring them.

      With a refreshed Outback around the corner, the new WRX, Crosstrek and Ascent on their way in 17/18, and a new Forrester in about 24 months, I don’t see declining sales any time soon barring a major reliability malfunction (head gaskets, CVTs, etc).

      Like any car, they’re not perfect. But there’s enough there obviously to make them highly attractive for a whole lot of people.

  • avatar

    I thought Ford was DOA?

    Tim, you’re not supposed to mention trucks with fleet demand. We all know they’re just 100% rental cars (but not like Camry, oh no, those are good rental fleet sales because Toyota) selling for 1/2 off MSRP, not $40k trucks/vans/etc selling by the dozens to utilities, moving truck rental companies and construction companies.
    The ONLY trucks they sell are $80k luxo models bought by people who got forced into it at gunpoint after they had gotten lost on their way to a Mercedes dealer.

    • 0 avatar

      Ah, John brought up Toyota again for no reason, everyone take a shot!

      Ford is not DOA. Ford’s stock price is DOA.

    • 0 avatar

      “GM said it had been trimming sales of heavily discounted vehicles to car rental companies. Such fleet sales made up about 19 percent of its total sales in May.

      Ford’s fleet sales rose 8.4 percent, representing more than 34 percent of total sales. The industry average is around 20 percent.”

      You really wanna bring up Camry fleet numbers now?

      • 0 avatar

        In terms of total numbers, the Camry is a fleet queen – 60K+ a year end up on rental lots for the last 4 to 5 years. Toyota even had a special rental trim version Model L for 2 years.

        • 0 avatar
          Dave M.

          And if I was the buyer for a rental company I’d buy every one of them I could afford. Superior reliability. Superior resale. Win-win.

          Plus for Toyota there’s enough of a retail market for Camrys that fleet numbers don’t matter.

          I rented a ’15 SE last year, which was my first “newer” Camry exposure in a number of years. Very impressed – at 35k miles of probably hundreds of drivers it was tight and rattle free. It’s my understanding you can get one with a sunroof for less than $25k which is a hell of a lot of reliable car for not much money.

          • 0 avatar

            “Superior resale”?

            You mean, like this one, which is being sold (surprise) by Hertz?

            APaGttH was right – this car is a fleet queen. The resale values reflect that.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch


            KBB isn’t the be-all end-all, but that link is more credible than a single selectively-chosen example.

            Anecdotally, I shopped for used 2012 midsize sedans in late 2013. Much of what I looked at were ex-rentals, Camry included. The Camry still sold for more than the Altima, Fusion, Mazda6, and Sonata/Optima, Malibu, and Passat.

  • avatar

    What I wanna know is this – is this the first time Kia has outsold Hyundai?

  • avatar

    Looks like all those ads for the Giulia are paying off in terms of percentage sales at least.

    • 0 avatar

      Guilia sales increased to 883, and I expect as the model still rolls out it will continue to increase. Add the Stelvio in and I bet Alfa will do at least 2K a month. That would still be a higher annual volume than it has ever sold in the US.

      I know they talked about selling 150K units by 2018, but I don’t think anybody expects them to have a volume bigger than Volvo or Jaguar. Maybe Lincoln-sized volume in a best case scenario.

      • 0 avatar

        If I recall they only need 10,000 to be a alltime US sales record year. If that’s the case they should hit it this year.

      • 0 avatar

        “Add the Stelvio in and I bet Alfa will do at least 2K a month.”

        And when the word gets out that Alfas are still junk, FCA will be lucky to still be selling that many of them.

        Sorry, but the target market for current Alfas is yuppie middle-managers and housewives – the absolute worst folks I can think of to sell a shop-queen car to. They’re not idle-rich exotic car owners who can just drive the SL when the Lambo breaks down – Giulias and Stelvios are daily drivers. Their owners won’t put up with unreliable cars.

        • 0 avatar

          “And when the word gets out that Alfas are still junk, FCA will be lucky to still be selling that many of them.”

          There’s a lot of junk sold in that category. Lease-centric image conscious luxury buyers don’t care. BMWs and Audis tend to be shop queens. Customers don’t care as long as they get a loaner and no bill.

          Alfa volume at this point is mainly constrained by a dealer network that’s still growing.

  • avatar

    Ford is really knocking on the door to take the US sales title away from GM.

  • avatar

    Looks like the Atlas and Golf wagon is mostly responsible for VW’s slight increase over May 2016. VW doesn’t break out Sportwagen vs Alltrack but I’m seeing a lot of Alltracks around my area.

  • avatar

    Most the luxury makes declined. I wonder to what degree Genesis/Tesla/Jaguar/Volvo/Alfa Romeo have siphoned off sales from the traditional luxury makes.

    That would be a great article Timothy! To what degree are these new and/or resurgent brands taking market share?

    Either way the luxury market seems to be down which speaks to a mature market (luxury sales usually decrease first).

    • 0 avatar

      BMW got hit hard. I heard a rumor they are offering less subsidized leases as the returns weren’t making their residuals. I’m not sure how that plays out if true.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s some of that but also people eschewing luxury sedans for loaded mainstream branded crossovers/SUVs (albeit, brands like Buick and GMC, while maybe not “luxury” are “premium”).

  • avatar

    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.

    • 0 avatar

      “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)”

      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.

      As far as Cadillac goes, for all of Johan’s bluster and a 12 billion dollar check from Mary Barra at GM Braintrust HQ, they picked up additional 475 units of sales over the first five months of ’17 versus same period in ’16, and it’s coming from the only two vehicles that are actually selling, both being *not* cars, but the XT5 and Escalade, while the ATS, CTS and XTS collect dust, mold, and fallout on dealer lots, and the CT6 is a roaring “success” likely to sell more than 11,000’specimens this year – maybe (to octogenarians who are on their last car before hearse ride, and are buying the longest Cadillac standard-of-the-world 3.6 liter or 2.0 liter powered sedan that the dealership has in their lot).

      • 0 avatar

        …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.

    • 0 avatar

      Fleet sales were down at FCA. Retail was up. Since pickups and Vans were also up I assume that means alot less rentals. Jeep is getting killed with the loss of the Patriot. New compass is on lots now, so if it’s not better this month there is some worry. Despite age Grand Cherokee and Wrangler sales are on the rise, Renegade is still up YoY the biggest issue with jeep is that Cherokee sales are down, I’m guessing the new competition from other CUV’s is hitting hard.

      Also on the crazy FCA sales side Journey saw something like 40% increase in sales.

      • 0 avatar

        Around here there aren’t many new Compass on lots and what’s on the lots carry near full retail pricing. It will take a lot more inventory of those get pricing/sales close to where the old model was.

  • avatar

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

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