By on January 3, 2019

2018 Dodge Challenger GT front

Most manufacturers were awash in red by the end of 2018, either from the ink on their ledgers or the rose-colored glasses they were wearing while trying to assure themselves that all was well. Ford, GM, Honda, Hyundai … all ceded ground over the last twelve months.

Those seeking the brightest light in 2018 need look no further than our own backyard. Fiat Chrysler climbed the sales chart in a big way. Predictably, that charge was led by Jeep. The numbers put forth by the Trail Rated brand did hold one very surprising statistic, however.

Jeep moved no fewer than 973,227 vehicles last year. Think about that for a second. Nearly a million new Jeeps rolled onto the streets and trails of America in 2018. To put that in perspective, the brand outsold the F-Series line by about 64,000 units. In 2017, the Jeep brand was adrift of the F-Series by approximately the same amount. That’s huge growth.

And, yes, before you hammer away at your keyboard and/or hurl stale Vachon cakes in my general direction, I know I’m comparing an entire brand (Jeep) to a single model (F-Series). The point is still valid – FCA is selling a metric ton of the things and will continue to do so next year once the Gladiator comes online. A seven-digit final total for 2019 is not out of the question.

Elsewhere in Detroit, Ford’s fortunes slipped by 3.5 percent last year, but company brass were quick to point out a stronger mix of trucks and SUVs expanded transaction pricing to another new record of $38,400, a $1,600 increase over December of last year. This compares to a $470 increase for the overall industry, which rests around $34,000 per vehicle. For comparison, GM reported an average transaction price of $36,974 in the fourth quarter and $35,839 for the year.

“December capped another strong year for Ford and the industry – Ford sold more than 900,000 F-Series trucks in 2018 to extend our leadership position to 42 consecutive years as America’s best-selling pickup,” said Mark LaNeve, veep of U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service. You can be assured that the gravelly voice of Denis Leary will be announcing this fact in ads on your television very soon.

Note that fleet sales at Ford made up 29.3 percent of its numbers this year. GM said its retail mix stands at 79 percent.

In terms of specific models at Ford and GM, it is unsurprising that Focus has become a dead car walking, down 67 percent last month and 28 percent on the year (that’s a loss of about 45k units). This volume was more than made up for by the – wait for it – EcoSport! It’s easy to tell to which vehicles sales staff at Ford dealers are flipping car shoppers, then. Fiesta sales rose, somehow, by about 5,000 units to about 52,000. The aging Escape was off by 11 percent.

In a comparison similar to the Jeep/F-Series contrast above, all the trucks at GM (Silverado, Sierra, Colorado, Canyon) tallied up a total of 973,463 sales in 2018. The General reports delivery of than a million crossovers last year, up 7 percent. The quartet of  Terrain, Traverse, Equinox, and Trax all showed double-digit percentage increases compared to their performance in 2017.

At Toyota, the namesake brand posted December sales of 185,386 units, down 1.1 percent. For the year, Toyota division reported sales of 2,128,362 vehicles, roughly flat on a volume basis. Its light truck division, which includes trucks and crossovers, was up 8.0 percent, making for a best-ever December, quarter, and year. Nearly a quarter million people bought a Tacoma, while RAV4 sales were up 18.8 percent to about 427,170 units, a 4.8 percent increase.

Compact crossovers are a tough segment, as for the third consecutive year, Nissan’s Rogue was that company’s top-selling model. Its 412,110 sales, an increase of 2 percent, was just pipped by the Toyota RAV. It was, however, the best calendar year for Rogue sales yet. Un-weirding the Leaf worked, as sales of the all-electric hatch grew 31 percent over last year.

What’s ahead for 2019? We’re more than happy to speculate – and will do so in the coming days.

[Note: This chart will be updated as missing numbers become available]

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

66 Comments on “Autos In America: A 2018 Year-end Sales Roundup...”


  • avatar
    thelaine

    Jeep prosperity makes me happy. Hopefully, they will continue to pour money into the brand. Winner, winner. Go Jeep.

    Ford stock is a bargain.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      If you look at FCA, they did long ago what Ford is just planning to do – where is FCA compact car? where is family sedan? any subcompact?

      • 0 avatar
        smalls

        Umm, FCA…there compact car is a fiat, no??

      • 0 avatar
        SavageATL

        The journey, which does all that at a price of 19k out the door after incentives, does all that and is surprisingly good for a 19k vehicle. Then there are renegades and compasses which fit a budget, entry level, family vehicle position if you don’t want three rows.

        • 0 avatar
          thornmark

          Ford should reconsidered wasting US profits in China and reinvest in other markets, primarily NA where FCA is coming at them hard.- especially with their truly competitive RAM. Imagine what will happen if competition does drive down the fat profit margins on pickups – especially to Ford.

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            “The new Chinese-made Acura RDX will be produced by Guangzhou Automobile Group and Dongfeng Motor Group located southeastern China.

            Production of the new RDX started late summer at the Guangzhou Automobile plant. Previous versions of the car sold in China were imported from the US, a blow to Acura’s manufacturing facilities stateside that could experience a tremendous slowdown in production.” Zerohedge

      • 0 avatar
        jpolicke

        A family will fit just fine into a Charger or 300. With the V6 it’s a perfectly reasonable choice for family duty. Got AWD if you want it as well.

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      Ford stock – not if they take US profits and try to buy market share in China. Which is what they have been saying they intend to do.

      As I’ve noted here for years, US corporations have fueled illusory growth in China as the Chinese have demanded US tech for that market access.

      The Chinese mean to replace these US companies w/ Chinese companies once they can. That’s what happened to Apple and that’s what will happen to other non-Chinese companies once they get the tech they need.

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        “The new Chinese-made Acura RDX will be produced by Guangzhou Automobile Group and Dongfeng Motor Group located southeastern China.

        Production of the new RDX started late summer at the Guangzhou Automobile plant. Previous versions of the car sold in China were imported from the US, a blow to Acura’s manufacturing facilities stateside that could experience a tremendous slowdown in production.” Zerohedge

  • avatar
    Mr.EpMini9

    Jeep guaranteed to pass 1 million in 2019.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    As impressive as FCA numbers are (in totality), it’s worth noting that all brands were down quite a bit, with the only exceptions being Jeep and Ram. The two brands are literally carrying the whole company.

    Light trucks up, cars down. Whoda thunk it?

    • 0 avatar
      thelaine

      I wonder what the numbers would look like if all the car-based SUVs, CUVs, (whatever) were just counted as cars, since that’s what they are. I think the truck revolution would look a little less revolutionary. Still, no complaints. The more Jeeps and pickups the better. Thank you, CAFE and frackers.

    • 0 avatar
      deanst

      When your 2 biggest brands are up the most, that’s generally considered a good thing.

  • avatar
    SPPPP

    Statistics don’t lie. And the 5 best automakers in the world are Fiat-Chrysler, Jaguar-Land Rover, McLaren, Mitsubishi, and Tesla. Clearly!

    ;)

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      Don’t forget Volvo.

      It must be interesting to work on sales projections for McLaren – they sell a few more cars and the numbers go crazy. I wonder which number would be higher: Camrys involved in accidents TODAY or total number of McLaren’s sold last year.

      • 0 avatar
        SPPPP

        That is an interesting point. I actually drive past a McLaren dealer regularly, and the McLarens on the lot do change, but there are a number that have been there for quite a while. I think they actually do more business in used “prestige brand” cars than in their core brand product. But then again, if you sell one new McLaren or one used Ferrari, you can eat for quite a while.

        • 0 avatar
          87 Morgan

          The McLaren dealer here in Denver sells a boat load of them monthly. I have been told north of 10 a month, new. I know sounds low, but moving 120 a year, when the brand sells 1500 is quite a bit from one dealer I would think. I have never researched how many dealers their are however…but still 10 $200k plus cars a month is not bad.

  • avatar
    thelaine

    It always irritated me that Ford and GM could not produce a car like the Civic, Camry. Just stick with it and improve it every year. Don’t change the name, just make it better and better. They could have started in the 70’s and gone toe-to-toe with the Japanese. Just make an affordable, efficient, reliable car and keep incrementally improving it. I always thought this was a missed opportunity.

    • 0 avatar
      SavageATL

      Early civics and Corollas (there was no Camry then) were honestly not that great and were not seen as competition. They were ugly, tiny, slow, and had ugly plastic interiors. Toyota and Honda caught up quickly but gm could be excused for ignoring that a Civic would ever compete with a Malibu in its early days. By the early 80s gm should have gotten a message and it tried with the n car and the Saturn project, but the cavalier and citation especially were the stake in the gm heart.

      • 0 avatar
        thelaine

        Thank you for the response Savage. I’m not in the car industry. I knew people who had those early Civics, though. Most of them replaced them with Civics, or eventually moved up to the Accord. They were reasonably priced, efficient and remarkably durable and RELIABLE, given the competition.

        Ford had the Pinto, which we owned. Not a bad car. Went to 80k miles before it died. It is the Japanese who changed the expectation of how many miles you should expect to get from a car, and how much it should cost to maintain. The US manufacturers suffer to this day for having missed the boat on this.

        • 0 avatar
          brn

          Ford had the Escort and the previous generation Taurus. It does bother me that they didn’t continue improving on those vehicles.

          They did bring back the Taurus, but it was a completely different vehicle.

  • avatar
    VW4motion

    Subaru, slow and steady. Up 5% again.

    • 0 avatar
      bullnuke

      Ahh, but watch Mazda. They passed Lexus by 2k units this year and are heading toward VW, then GMC, after that Kia, then Hyundai…

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        Doubt that Mazda will be able to pass Kia, much less Hyundai – as those 2 brands will soon have a larger CUV lineup than Mazda.

        Plus, Mazda is trying to be what VW used to be (premium mainstream), their models tend to have tighter interior space compared to the competition and Mazda’s dealership network is somewhat limiting.

        That being, said, Mazda is one of my favorite auto-makers and would take a loaded CX-9 over an MDX or RX-L any day; not only drives better but looks more premium/elegant.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      …as Honda goes backwards with new cars.

      • 0 avatar
        thornmark

        Buick is a dead brand just kept around because of China and the Apple tale will repeat when GM loses its Chinese sales to Chinese brands.

        Which was always the Chinese plan – but GM had to show growth somewhere as it was losing market share hand over fist in NA and Europe.

        Those crappy Encores – Buick’s mainstay – are discount queens and Buick will be closed in NA w/in a decade.

        • 0 avatar
          jatz

          “Those crappy Encores”

          Ferret, ferret, ferret… how can you even say that?

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            Thornmark, is just posted that Honda+ gets outsold by Buick in recent years. The Trax/Encore platform sales crush HR-V that is pushing $30K.

        • 0 avatar
          NormSV650

          Looks like China might be propping up Acura sales too.

          “The new Chinese-made Acura RDX will be produced by Guangzhou Automobile Group and Dongfeng Motor Group located southeastern China.

          Production of the new RDX started late summer at the Guangzhou Automobile plant. Previous versions of the car sold in China were imported from the US, a blow to Acura’s manufacturing facilities stateside that could experience a tremendous slowdown in production.” Zerohedge

  • avatar
    slavuta

    Asounishing result for kia – within 5 units..

    And Nissan, I mean, looks like they don’t really need those cars that burnt at sea.

  • avatar
    Bruce Yeager

    deja vu all over again, when gas goes up what fuel efficient cars will the public want? toyota, honda, nissan, volkswagon….hopefully short memory syndrome will be complete and the government will give GM another bailout so Mary can keep collecting her 25 million a year

  • avatar
    Bruce Yeager

    deja vu all over again, when gas goes up what fuel efficient cars will the public want? toyota, honda, nissan, volkswagon….hopefully short memory syndrome will be complete and the government will give GM another bailout so Mary can keep collecting her 25 million a year

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      When people switch to crossovers, they typically go down on size segment (i.e. – Accord to CR-V).

      That keeps them in about the same price range and same fuel economy.

      Plus, more and more automakers are adding hybrid or PHEV CUVs, if not BEVs.

      • 0 avatar
        redapple

        BD2

        You said – Car to CUV- folks go down a size.

        I ve kinda noticed this too. Am I wrong here? In a CUV, one sits more erect. More head room. Butt is 3-6 inches higher than the ankles. More Comfortable position. Knees not splayed out. Seat back is Not as reclined as in a car. I m more comfortable.

        I m Never going back to a car. NEVER.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      Two things. First, it isn’t 1979 anymore. Domestic Production is at all time high. Add to that the fact that historically, gas has been cheap way more than it has been expensive and any spikes should be short lived.

      Second, the last time gas spiked people kept right on buying trucks. They griped about the price and made cuts elsewhere. If 4 bucks plus a gallon didn’t trigger a wholesale switch what will? I think it would take a real supply interruption. See point one on that.

      Honestly if you ran out and traded in the Tahoe on a Camry at the start of the last spikes you probably still haven’t broken even.

      • 0 avatar
        JoDa

        Yup, when gas prices spike, restaurants go out of business because people cut back. Only silly hysterical people will waste $1000s trading their car for a fuel efficient tin can.

        • 0 avatar
          smartascii

          Do you remember 15-year-old Geo Metros suddenly going for 10x their pre-spike values last time the price really rose? My point is, a truly depressing percentage of the population is both silly and hysterical. And also really, really stupid.

        • 0 avatar
          indi500fan

          I can still remember the 73 OPEC embargo…one of my office mates dumped his Buick 225 for a Vega…he probably weighed 275 pounds…needless to say he quickly realized this was a big mistake.

  • avatar
    deanst

    “Most manufacturers were awash in red by the end of 2018, either from the ink on their ledgers or the rose-colored glasses they were wearing while trying to assure themselves that all was well.”

    According to the chart, more manufacturers were up in sales than down. And any firm with a calendar fiscal year end has not released financial results yet. Not sure what the quote refers to.

  • avatar
    NoID

    I’m curious what FCA’s fleet/retail mix is. You mentioned it for Ford/GM but not FCA.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to find a decent number of DS pickups, JK Wranglers, and RU Caravans (or even RT Pacificas) winding up in rental fleets.

    • 0 avatar
      MLS

      Excluding Maserati, FCA US sold 2,235,204 vehicles in 2018. Of those, 1,760,488, or roughly 78.8%, were sold at retail. Don’t have the breakdown by brand or model, unfortunately.

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    “I know I’m comparing an entire brand (Jeep) to a single model (F-Series).”

    The F-Series is not a model. It’s not even a vehicle. Ford does not sell a 2018 F-Series. You cannot buy parts for a 2018 F-Series. You cannot get a loan for a 2018 F-Series. You cannot insure a 2018 F-Series.

    It’s a marketing designation ginned up to maintain a fake sales crown and compasses 4 (maybe more) vehicles. The entire Jeep brand consists of 5 vehicles (soon to be 6).

  • avatar

    I think the reason FCA trucks are catching up to GM is primarily due to the very cheap interiors you see in vehicles like the Sierra. When you sit in an expensive truck and see an interior that is cheap you come to the conclusion that the company(GM) is taking shortcuts. A $25,000 Toyota has a better interior than the Sierra. Cheap interior execution has now been a pervasive problem for GM in the last two decades.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    I am curious if the folks over at Subaru have had discussions with GM regarding one of the soon to be closed factories. Seems like Subie is operating at max capacity and if they want to grow they are going to need to find a way to build more of them, and since they are quintessentially a Merican’ car it would make sense to build them here.

    Admittedly I have zero clue how the union thing works, if that follows the factory so on and so forth.

    • 0 avatar
      redapple

      @87:

      Good idea. LaFayette, (a plant I ve been to many times) is ready to burst at the seams. 400K /year???? Whoa. Outback and Ascent and others made there.

      They may well need / want another plant. But BUT But. Poletown and Lordstown (toilet door strike.) are real bad locations. Heavy union/ high tax states. They would get a much better deal with a green field in Indiana or the southeast.

  • avatar
    phila_DLJ

    The Ford F-Series is *literally* not a “single model” (that’s why it’s called “Series”), so I believe using it to put Jeep’s growth into perspective is apt.

    More impressive to me is that FCA has climbed back into “Big 3” territory, with its 2.2m sales just trailing Ford and GM.

    Also Jeep handily outselling the Hyundai, Kia, and Volkswagen brands.

    Also Mitsubishi, maker of the chintziest cars on the road, outselling Volvo, maker of some of the classiest cars on the road.

    Time for Volvo to field a Mirage G4 competitor! :-)

    • 0 avatar
      scott25

      Let’s see Volvo offer a 10 year warranty on their “classy” 2.0 super-turbo-hybrid 4 cylinder lineup. If they built them like to run as long as they did in the 70’s and 80’s it might be a different story.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Yeah I heard that Volvo was dropping its supper long warranty.

        I has much sad.

        The warranty almost made me want to roll the dice on a V60 wagon. (AWD mid-trim.)

  • avatar
    brn

    Your arrow thingie is broken. Kia YTD sales went down (by five whole cars), yet you have a little up arrow.

    Once again, the Korean bias is showing. :)

    • 0 avatar
      redapple

      Am i the only guy that dislikes Korean cars?
      But, They are every where.

      Horrible touch points.
      Confusing / unclear controls.
      Bad, bad driving dynamics. (springs, shocks, suspension geometry- the basics are all fuc#ed up.)
      Near Honda price new.
      Not Honda depreciation.

      Prestige of a Yugo.

      • 0 avatar
        Brumus

        I always receive an internet tar and feathering when I note how used-up/decrepit many eight-year old Hyundais are compared to their Japanese (and even American) counterparts.

        • 0 avatar
          brn

          It’s not that I don’t like Korean cars, I just don’t trust the hype.

          Every time Hyundai or Kia do something, the automotive press praises the heck out of it. Similar to what Brumus is referring to, the automotive press doesn’t drive eight year old cars. I never met a 7+ year old Korean car that didn’t feel twice it’s age.

          • 0 avatar
            slavuta

            Do you really think that Honda much better? Let me tell you. My bro has ’11 Accord, and I have ’11 Mazda3. His Accord is all plastic, rattle and shake. My Mazda3 is smooth. I seriously dislike how Honda ages. And this is based on decades of following.
            CR places Kia 4th in total satisfaction. Although, as always, this is all average. Some models are better – others worse; for all manufacturers.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            Honda is better. They are better than Hyundai-Kia, and they are better than Mazda in materials durability and quality. I wouldn’t count on a 2019 Honda to have a trouble-free drivetrain, as fuel-saving efforts have killed the service life expectancy of everything this side of a Land Cruiser. At the same time, I routinely saw Hondas with hundreds of thousands of miles that looked just fine in the hands of caring owners in my last job. Mazdas? There’s nothing routine about seeing a high mileage Mazda at all, let alone one that doesn’t unravel as it ages.

          • 0 avatar
            slavuta

            @ToddAtlasF1

            Haha. Its better! This is is it! Not so fast. If it was better I would buy 4 Hondas and 1 Mazda. But I did opposite. One time I even had Civic and Protege at same time. I crashed Civic @170K but I held Protege till 195K but that over period of almost 17 years. Let me tell you – Honda wasn’t better back then and it wasn’t better when I test drove ’11 Civic and Mazda3. I mean, not only it is not better, it much worse. The reason you see them on the road is because they sold millions of those. You could probably see even more in junk piles.

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        @redapple

        This is not true. Actually, Koreans have better controls than Honda. Or may be you like Honda new push-button gear selector? Where they lacking – switch gear quality. Their knobs and buttons just don’t feel high quality. But in their defense, until recent, Subarus had cheap buttons and dials, Toyotas – ever tried that RAV4 round dials? But for Genesis they upped the quality, those feel better.

  • avatar
    200k-min

    No #’s for the Bimmer’s, Merc’s and 4 circles brands? How are die deutschlanders doing? Would love to see them compared to Lincoln, Cadillac and Acura – all brands that should be taken the the woodshed and put out of their misery IMO.

    Almost a million more JEEP’s on the road?? Ugh, too bad 0.001% of them will see the “Trail” they are allegedly rated for. As someone who rented over 50 vehicles last year a not insignificant # were Jeeps. One was even a Wrangler. In all fairness Nissan put almost 1.5 million cars on rental lots last year so….

    No ink for Subaru notching up a solid 6%? Lots of granola out there to go along with Jeep’s 17% uptick in weekend commando’s.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “it is unsurprising that Focus has become a dead car walking, down 67 percent last month and 28 percent on the year (that’s a loss of about 45k units). This volume was more than made up for by the – wait for it – EcoSport!”

    People never learn.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    “Ford’s fortunes slipped by 3.5 percent last year, but company brass were quick to point out a stronger mix of trucks and SUVs expanded transaction pricing to another new record of $38,400, a $1,600 increase over December of last year.”

    That is not going to fly very well with the new Democratic Socalists being elected!


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • teddyc73: Ugly rear end.
  • SCE to AUX: Agreed on all points. That’s terrible fuel economy on the Kona, and the Tucson is the better value.
  • FormerFF: I had to do one of those last Thanksgiving after my daughter’s flight was canceled. I left the office...
  • WildcatMatt: You have to eat no matter where you are, but if you would otherwise be home your food costs will roughly...
  • JPWhite: I thought Tesla had selected another battery vendor other than Panasonic for GF3. If demand is down in the...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributors

  • Timothy Cain, Canada
  • Matthew Guy, Canada
  • Ronnie Schreiber, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States
  • Mark Baruth, United States
  • Moderators

  • Adam Tonge, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States