U.S. Auto Sales Brand-by-Brand Results: April 2018 (a Best Guess Tally)

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

This marks the first full 30 days since General Motors deemed us slovenly journalists unworthy of a monthly sales report. We’ll live, of course, as estimates are a wonderful thing. To be fair, their move wasn’t entirely without precedent: the industry used to report sales on a 10-day cycle, then twenty, before finally settling on a monthly statement.

As for concrete numbers, all other OEMs are still providing them (for now). Given the sea of red in some corners, there are a few who probably wish they weren’t.

Leading the way last month for the Detroit Three was FCA and its merry house of brands, recording a 4.3 percent jump in April. Sergio has Jeep to thank for this result, with that marque alone counting for nearly 14,000 extra units. That’s a record April, by the way. Chrysler, Ram, and Fiat all took dives. The company is largely flat through the first quarter, but a double-digit decline at Ram must be keeping execs awake at night. Imagine if they didn’t try to goose the numbers.

Ford experienced a decline both on the month and on the year, to the tunes of 4.7 percent and 3.3 percent, respectively. Ford said April car deliveries dropped by 15 percent while utility (crossover and SUV) sales fell 4.6 percent. Trucks edged up about a single percentage point. As for the General, best estimates peg their performance as slightly off in April but up about 20,000 units to date in 2018.

Japanese brands had a rough month, with even the mighty Honda and Toyota recording drops in volume. One should note, both to the credit of the winners and in consideration of the losers, that there were two fewer selling days in April 2018 compared to the same period of 2017. None of the major brands fell more than Nissan, which slid a whopping 28.1 percent compared to the same month last year. Quarterly performance is not as dire but still off about 35,000 vehicles or 6.5 percent.

The Koreans were no better, showing declines at Kia and Hyundai. This is not a blip at the latter, as the company is off by roughly 11 percent both last month and year-to-date. Your author is flummoxed by that development. Sister brand Kia is also slightly adrift, but by much smaller numbers.

Those who are buying cars are spending more. Industry boffins at J.D. Power say the average new vehicle transaction price in April was $32,544, more than a grand above the previous high of $31,414 set in April 2017.

The market as a whole declined by almost 5 percent last month and is currently flat through the first quarter of this year.

[Image: Nissan]

Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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  • Conundrum Conundrum on May 02, 2018

    Re Hyundai and Kia sales fall off: "Your author is flummoxed by that development." Why? No offense, but it's been going on for over two years. And it's worldwide. Hyundai peaked in 2014. There have been articles ad infinitum about their so-called lack of crossovers both here and in the general business press. Surely an analyst keeps up with this sort of stuff unless they're just looking at numbers once a month then dozing off. Yup, the Hyundai decline and lesser Kia decline was mentioned back in Tim Cain's time here. The real surprise and what needs to be followed is the Nissan decline. They have been on a roll upwards for years under the radar. Is the intro of the new Altima causing fits, or did people wake up and realize everything from Sentra on down is rather, um, tinny?

    • EX35 EX35 on May 02, 2018

      in my experience, US made Nissans have horrid build quality compared with their Japanese built models. And Nissan offers very few models made in Japan (Armada/Patrol, Z, and GT-R, if I am not mistaken). hell, even my Japanese built Infiniti which is only 6.5 years old is experiencing relatively minor, but very annoying issues. We own a '17 Armada which has been flawless, but I probably won't be back to the brand, even if they still offer Jap built cars in the future.

  • Igloo Igloo on May 02, 2018

    The real surprise in this list is McLaren.

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  • Arthur Dailey 'The capitalists will sell use the very rope that we use to hang them.' In our household we have cut down our shopping/spending and pay more to purchase products from 1st world nations or 2nd world nations that are our 'allies'. That also means quite often only buying and eating fruit and vegetables that are in season. Just like our parents and grandparents did.At least TTAC published an article on May 21st regarding LAN transformers that contravene the Uyghur Forced Labour Prevention Act being used in some BMW, Jaguar, Land Rover, and VW products?