U.S. Auto Sales Brand-by-Brand Results: September 2017 YTD

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain

U.S. auto sales exceeded analyst expectations with a big 6 percent year-over-year increase to 1.5 million units in September 2017, the first monthly improvement in 2017 so far.

After auto sales fell 3 percent during the first two-thirds of 2017, big September increases from Toyota Motor Corp., General Motors, Ford Motor Company, American Honda, Nissan’s trio of brands, and numerous smaller outfits brought the sales pace achieved through the first three-quarters of 2017 within sight of 2016’s record rate. By the end of September, U.S. auto sales are down by less than 2 percent compared with last year.

Pickup trucks played a major role in September’s improvements, growing at twice the rate of the industry at large. The Honda Civic expanded its lead as America’s best-selling car on a quest to end the Toyota Camry’s 15-year run. Minivan sales plunged to barely more than 33,000 units. The Toyota RAV4 topped 42,000 sales for a second consecutive month, leading a booming SUV/crossover class.

For a change, brands that posted declining volume stood out more than brands that improved. Buick, Dodge, Fiat, Hyundai, and Smart all reported double-digit percentage losses. At the other end of the spectrum, double-digit percentage improvements were reported by 11 brands: Alfa Romeo, Chevrolet, Genesis, Infiniti, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mitsubishi, Porsche, Toyota, Volkswagen, and Volvo. Indeed, Volvo sold 5,483 XC60s and XC90s for a 51-percent year-over-year SUV uptick.

Meanwhile at Jeep, where sales declined for a 13th consecutive month, the discontinued Patriot’s demise played an outsized role in the decline. Excluding the Patriot, Jeep showed signs of a forthcoming rebound, climbing 12 percent to 71,465 units.

In order for the industry to rise to these September highs — the industry has averaged fewer than 1.3 million September sales over the last half-decade — there had to be contributing factors besides natural demand. A degree of replacement necessities in places like southeast Texas provided a boost. Incentives rose 1.5 percent to $3,742 per vehicle, according to ALG, with the biggest increases coming at Hyundai and Kia. BMW, Mercedes-Benz, FCA, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, and Nissan/Infiniti all relied on incentives worth more than $4,000 per vehicle in September.

Auto BrandSeptember 2017September 2016% Change2017 YTD2016 YTD% ChangeAcura 12,94612,8131.0%114,126119,727-4.7%Alfa Romeo1,268412,993%7,3524181,659%Audi 19,30817,6179.6%160,914152,1795.7%BMW 25,57125,3890.7%220,175230,133-4.3%Buick 16,73720,922-20.0%159,830169,767-5.9%Cadillac 15,53015,3681.1%113,846119,286-4.6%Chevrolet 199,801170,23717.4%1,516,1921,531,912-1.0%Chrysler 15,75918,797-16.2%143,809186,497-22.9%Dodge 29,93842,935-30.3%365,790394,940-7.4%Fiat 2,2062,913-24.3%21,25225,099-15.3%Ford 212,841194,6479.3%1,841,6651,896,858-2.9%Genesis 1,7361,21143.3%15,1022,708458%GMC 47,32943,2689.4%405,634391,4323.6%Honda 129,776120,8427.4%1,117,4771,108,6530.8%Hyundai 55,27165,399-15.5%496,638584,980-15.1%Infiniti 12,74511,41311.7%113,71496,77517.5%Jaguar 3,2962,66223.8%30,22820,34948.9%Jeep 73,40976,331-3.8%622,242707,106-12.0%Kia 52,46849,2206.6%457,930491,764-6.9%Land Rover 6,4075,63713.7%54,48154,3910.2%Lexus 26,19625,8011.5%219,659236,193-7.0%Lincoln 8,8028,7970.1%82,72280,4352.8%Maserati 1,1191,185-5.6%9,9898,15622.5%Mazda 25,73824,8893.4%220,297224,2671.8%Mercedes-Benz ° 29,00829,500 -1.7%242,250 249,204 -2.8% Mercedes-Benz Vans °3,088 2,970 4.0% 25,227 25,156 0.3% Total Mercedes-Benz ° 32,09632,470-1.2%267,477274,360-2.5%Mini 3,7364,024-7.2%34,78738,911-10.6%Mitsubishi 8,4307,19117.2%79,19574,3516.5%Nissan 127,187116,3849.3%1,082,5271,086,249-0.3%Porsche 5,0594,479 12.9%41,23740,2462.5%Ram 51,68651,866-0.3%418,693400,3004.6%Smart 241605-60.2%2,6354,044-34.8%Subaru 55,12054,9180.4%478,848446,8877.2%Toyota 200,436171,46316.9%1,611,8201,586,2681.6%Volkswagen 32,11224,11233.2%252,456231,2689.2%Volvo 7,9005,61540.7%46,96658,532-2.7%————— ——BMW Group29,30729,4130.4%254,962269,044-5.2%Fiat Chrysler Automobiles 174,266192,883-9.7%1,579,1381,714,360-7.9%Daimler AG32,33733,075-2.2%270,112278,404-3.0%Ford Motor Co.221,643203,4448.9%1,924,3871,977,293-2.7%General Motors 279,397249,79511.9%2,195,5022,212,397-0.8%American Honda142,722133,6556.8%1,231,6031,228,3800.3%Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group109,475 115,830-5.5%969,6701,079,452-10.2%Jaguar-Land Rover 9,7038,29916.9%84,70974,74013.3%Nissan / Infiniti / Mitsubishi148,362134,9889.9%1,275,4361,257,3751.4%Toyota Motor Sales, USA. Inc.226,632197,26414.9%1,831,4791,822,4610.5%Volkswagen Group *56,635 46,49121.3% 456,279425,1687.3%———————Industry Total †1,512,5631,425,5666.1% 12,785,71413,013,328-1.7%

[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 (4,620 September 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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  • Dividebytube Dividebytube on Oct 04, 2017

    huh - BMW sales are up a tick, while MINI sales continue to slide.

  • Brettc Brettc on Oct 04, 2017

    VW sold 4095 Atlases and 3075 Tiguans in September. Who would've guessed that Americans want large SUVs with long B2B warranties? Maybe VW has finally figured out the U.S. market. Passat sales took quite a hit, below 5000 units.

    • See 1 previous
    • Brettc Brettc on Oct 04, 2017

      @SCE to AUX With the warranty change, I'm considering another VW once I do the TDI buyback. Not sure but it depends on the trims and the pricing offered for the 2018 Golf family.

  • The Oracle These are all over the roads in droves here in WNC. Rarely see one on the side of the road, they are wildly popular, capable, and reliable. There is a market for utilitarian vehicles.
  • Stephen My "mid-level" limited edition Tonino Lambo Ferraccio Junior watch has performed flawlessly with attractive understated style for nearly 20 years. Their cars are not so much to my taste-- my Acura NSX is just fine. Not sure why you have such condescension towards these excellent timepieces. They are attractive without unnecessary flamboyance, keep perfect time and are extremely reliable. They are also very reasonably priced.
  • Dana You don’t need park, you set auto hold (button on the console). Every BMW answers to ‘Hey, BMW’, but you can set your own personal wake word in iDrive. It takes less than 5 minutes to figure that that out, btw. The audio stays on which is handy for Teams meetings. Once your phone is out of range, the audio is stopped on the car. You can always press down on the audio volume wheel which will mute it, if it bothers you. I found all the controls very intuitive.
  • ToolGuy Not sure if I've ever said this, or if you were listening:• Learn to drive, people.Also, learn which vehicles to take home with you and which ones to walk away from. You are an adult now, think for yourself. (Those ads are lying to you. Your friendly neighborhood automotive dealer, also lying to you. Politicians? Lying to you. Oh yeah, learn how to vote lol.)Addendum for the weak-minded who think I am advocating some 'driver training' program: Learning is not something you do in school once for all time. Learning how to drive is not something that someone does for you. It is a continuous process driven by YOU. Learn how to learn how to drive, and learn to drive. Keep on learning how to drive. (You -- over there -- especially you, you kind of suck at driving. LOL.)Example: Do you know where your tires are? When you are 4 hours into a 6 hour interstate journey and change lanes, do you run over the raised center line retroreflective bumpers, or do you steer between them?
  • Mike Bradley Advertising, movies and TV, manufacturing, and car culture have all made speeding and crashing the ultimate tests of manhood. Throw in the political craziness and you've got a perfect soup of destruction and costs.
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