By on October 3, 2017

2018 Subaru Outback - Image: SubaruU.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 Brand September 2017 September 2016 % Change 2017 YTD 2016 YTD % Change
Acura
12,946 12,813 1.0% 114,126 119,727 -4.7%
Alfa Romeo
1,268 41 2,993% 7,352 418 1,659%
Audi
19,308 17,617 9.6% 160,914 152,179 5.7%
BMW
 25,571 25,389 0.7% 220,175 230,133 -4.3%
Buick
16,737 20,922 -20.0% 159,830 169,767 -5.9%
Cadillac
15,530 15,368 1.1% 113,846 119,286 -4.6%
Chevrolet
199,801 170,237 17.4% 1,516,192 1,531,912 -1.0%
Chrysler
15,759 18,797 -16.2% 143,809 186,497 -22.9%
Dodge
 29,938 42,935 -30.3% 365,790 394,940 -7.4%
Fiat
 2,206 2,913 -24.3% 21,252 25,099 -15.3%
Ford 212,841 194,647 9.3% 1,841,665 1,896,858 -2.9%
Genesis
 1,736 1,211 43.3% 15,102 2,708 458%
GMC
 47,329 43,268 9.4% 405,634 391,432 3.6%
Honda
 129,776 120,842 7.4% 1,117,477 1,108,653 0.8%
Hyundai
55,271 65,399 -15.5% 496,638 584,980 -15.1%
Infiniti
12,745 11,413 11.7% 113,714 96,775 17.5%
Jaguar
 3,296 2,662 23.8% 30,228 20,349 48.9%
Jeep
 73,409 76,331 -3.8% 622,242 707,106 -12.0%
Kia
52,468 49,220 6.6% 457,930 491,764 -6.9%
Land Rover
6,407 5,637 13.7% 54,481 54,391 0.2%
Lexus
26,196 25,801 1.5% 219,659 236,193 -7.0%
Lincoln
8,802 8,797 0.1% 82,722 80,435 2.8%
Maserati
1,119 1,185 -5.6% 9,989 8,156 22.5%
Mazda
 25,738 24,889 3.4% 220,297 224,267 1.8%
Mercedes-Benz °
 29,008 29,500  -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 °
 32,096 32,470 -1.2% 267,477 274,360 -2.5%
Mini
3,736 4,024 -7.2% 34,787 38,911 -10.6%
Mitsubishi
8,430 7,191 17.2% 79,195 74,351 6.5%
Nissan
127,187 116,384 9.3% 1,082,527 1,086,249 -0.3%
Porsche
 5,059 4,479  12.9% 41,237 40,246 2.5%
Ram
51,686 51,866 -0.3% 418,693 400,300 4.6%
Smart
241 605 -60.2% 2,635 4,044 -34.8%
Subaru
55,120 54,918 0.4% 478,848 446,887 7.2%
Toyota
 200,436 171,463 16.9% 1,611,820 1,586,268 1.6%
Volkswagen
32,112 24,112 33.2% 252,456 231,268 9.2%
Volvo
7,900 5,615 40.7% 46,966 58,532 -2.7%
 —
BMW Group
29,307 29,413 0.4% 254,962 269,044 -5.2%
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
 174,266 192,883 -9.7% 1,579,138 1,714,360 -7.9%
Daimler AG
32,337 33,075 -2.2% 270,112 278,404 -3.0%
Ford Motor Co.
221,643 203,444 8.9% 1,924,387 1,977,293 -2.7%
General Motors
279,397 249,795 11.9% 2,195,502 2,212,397 -0.8%
American Honda
142,722 133,655 6.8% 1,231,603 1,228,380 0.3%
Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group
109,475  115,830 -5.5% 969,670 1,079,452 -10.2%
Jaguar-Land Rover
9,703 8,299 16.9% 84,709 74,740 13.3%
Nissan / Infiniti / Mitsubishi
148,362 134,988 9.9% 1,275,436 1,257,375 1.4%
Toyota Motor Sales, USA. Inc.
226,632 197,264 14.9% 1,831,479 1,822,461 0.5%
Volkswagen Group *
56,635  46,491 21.3%  456,279 425,168 7.3%
Industry Total †
1,512,563
1,425,566
6.1%
12,785,714
13,013,328
-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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24 Comments on “U.S. Auto Sales Brand-by-Brand Results: September 2017 YTD...”


  • avatar
    hamish42

    Volvo is a sentimental favorite of mine. My Mom dragged me everywhere to hockey practice and Little League in the back of one of their boxy little station wagons. In my memory it lasted for years. It’s good to see they still have a market, albeit a very small one.

  • avatar
    VoGhost

    VW and JLR have new crossovers, and sales are up. Hyundai-Kia and FCA do not have new crossovers, and sales are down.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Jeep has the new Compass, which seems to be doing well now that it’s available.

      But Jeep as a whole – I still think it would become a money pit for a potential buyer.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    Mazda is up? I bought one, they are 5% up on that alone

  • avatar
    brakeless

    So you’re saying now is the time to get a deal on a new Chrysler? But wait, they only have two models: the 300 and Specifica. Chrysler should follow Plymouth down the tubes. FCA will become FA. If we’re lucky, we’ll still have RAM RAMS and tall cars that say “Jeep” on them.

  • avatar
    Corollaman

    Subaru continues its steady rise, month after month. Like a majestic cruise ship, steady as she goes.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    3 major contributing factors: Irma, Maria, and 5 Saturdays for September 2017.

    Also, GM kept open until monday close of business, I cant speak for other makes.

    I think October will see gains as well over last year due to the storms.

  • avatar
    zip89123

    52,000 Fords were fleet sales. Without them, Ford would have tanked badly.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    Bring back the sort-able columns, this data is hard to use w/o that feature.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      The other thing I’d like to see are the negative percentages in red

      FWIW you can do all that with a 2 second copy and paste to Excel and then a Ctrl + Shift + L I believe.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    Amazing how close Honda and Nissan are across the board. Nissan and Honda themselves are close, but so are Infiniti and Acura. Interesting that Cadillac is about to be surpassed by both so they would be in 6th place among luxury brands in the US – pretty terrible considering where they were 20 years ago.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Acura/Infiniti’s sedan sales are holding steady while Cadillac’s are in free-fall. Acura/Infiniti also have compact crossovers which should get a huge boost with impending revamps; there’s talk of a crossover under the XT5 but nothing confirmed. All the yapping about Ring tuning and Brembo™ brakes…. and it turns out luxury buyers want room, tech and refinement.

      The Cadillac Alpha cars are the biggest auto market misread I’ve seen in some time… possibly ever. Imagine how different Cadillac’s fortunes would be if instead of the ATS/CTS they had come out with a full lineup of crossovers (styled like the iconic Escalade rather than origami dodgeballs) and some kind of Tesla-fighting plug in hybrid? They had the resources and know how but chose to try to wind the clock back to 1995. Nobody cares about C&D comparison wins. Biggest automotive blunder of the last decade for sure.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

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

  • avatar
    brettc

    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.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Heaven help me, I’d actually consider a V6 Atlas as a minivan replacement – if I was in the market – with the hope that it could cure me of my anti-VW feelings I got from 2002-05.

      I think you’re right about the warranty and product offering.

      • 0 avatar
        brettc

        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.


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