By on May 1, 2019

With an extra selling day compared to the same month one year ago, auto sellers in America had the chance to improve their numbers in April. Subaru, the two Korean brands, and Nissan all managed that feat, while the likes of Fiat Chrysler and Toyota did not. Honda, for one, was roughly flat.

It all adds up to a softening market impacted by rising transaction prices and higher borrowing costs. At this rate, there’s a very good possibility that total light-vehicle sales in this country will drop below 17 million this year for the first time since 2014.

Speaking of FCA, that company is the latest to announce it will stop reporting sales on a monthly basis. After June’s results, the company is moving to a quarterly reporting system, choosing to fall in line with GM and Ford instead of maintaining a unique position amongst the Detroit Three of allowing extra transparency. For now, everyone not headquartered in the Motor City remains on a monthly schedule.

Since we’re mentioning it, sales at Ram are powering to new heights, with the pickup truck line jumping a full 25 percent last month to 49,106 units. Good things happen when you have both new and old trucks to sell alongside each other. In case you’re forgotten, Ram now stocks 2019 half-tons in two flavors: Expensive New and Cheap(er) Old. This will be the case for the foreseeable future and, given these sales numbers, it is easy to understand why.

For its part, Kia was up 1.6 percent last month and has risen by nearly six percent (about 10,000 units) through the first four months of this year. It is worth noting that the new Telluride is posting great numbers, finding 5,570 buyers last month and nearly eleven thousand buyers so far in 2019. This performance means it outsold six of the eleven other nameplates in Kia showrooms in April.

If you’re wondering why mighty Audi is down 21 percent year over year, know that company spox are blaming supply shortages of key models. Individually, the megabuck trio of A6/A7/A8 all posted an increase. Having said that, Mercedes and BMW are also trailing last year’s sales performance.

But nowhere is America’s love for SUVs and crossovers more highlighted than at Subaru. The Exploding Galaxy brand set new sales records again in April, tallying up a remarkable 89 consecutive months of yearly month-over-month growth. It was the best April on record for two long-time nameplates, the Outback and Forester, marking the 62nd and 69th consecutive month each has sold more than 10,000 units, respectively.

New metal at Toyota also did well in April, with RAV4 volume up 10.1 percent to 34,139 copies sold last month. It remains, far and away, the brand’s best-selling nameplate. Also worth noting: the older-than-Methuslah Tacoma pickup truck found 20,375 buyers marking its 18th consecutive month of increased sales.

Some numbers, such as GM’s, are best-guess estimates. In those cases, figures were drawn from reports at Automotive News. Speaking to the issue of rising prices and rates, the publication estimated an average transaction price of about $34,000 and interest rates hovering around 6.3 percent. The latter was near 5.5 percent last year and 4.4 percent five years ago.

[Image: Kia]

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51 Comments on “April 2018 U.S. Auto Sales: Volume Shrinks, but New Crossovers Are a Hit...”


  • avatar
    redapple

    Kia and Hyundai. Record sales. Piles of crap.
    – smelly interiors.
    – rapidly deteriorating interiors.
    – bad driving dynamics.
    – Horrible value proposition. > $2000 cheaper on the front end. Then you lose $5000 MORE when you sell. Compare Camry-Accord VS Sonata. You ll laff.
    – Zero prestige. Lower than GGM products.

    PS- I was behind 5 HK POS of today. 4 of the 5 had burned out brake lights. DO YOU OWN SURVEY.

    • 0 avatar
      CKNSLS Sierra SLT

      redapple

      I spent 30 Large on a Hyundai Santa Fe Limited (AWD) XL a year and a half ago. None of your statements are true. The only one I can give you a benefit of a doubt on (that has a small percentage of truth) is “driving dynamics”. Does this item lag behind the competition-in some models maybe. But they are not bad-just not as refined. As someone who could have pluck down $40,000 large on a Honda Pilot-the driving dynamics were not inferior enough to save over $5,000.00 dollars on the purchase-verses Honda/Toyota.

      BTW-maybe you buy a car for “prestige”. Not me.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        +1, everything you said.

        The 6 H/K vehicles owned by me or my sons have given us great service.

        redapple must have copy-pasted his comments from the interwebs.

        The only Honda I ever had was a turd that ended up in lemon law court. So much for prestige.

        • 0 avatar
          bullnuke

          Good old Honda. I still remember the regional rep telling me, “Go ahead and sue. Honda has more lawyers than you can afford.”.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Honda has a MASSIVE PROBLEM with their 1.5 liter turbocharged “earthdreams” engine (rolled out for the 2018 MY)as used across their CRV, Accord and Civic lineup…

            Major Oil Dilution.

            It’s a massive issue which Honda has yet to even remotely acknowledge, let alone devise a fix for, and it’s a global problem with those motors, from China to the USA.

            Here’s just one link that represents a glimpse into the tip of the iceberg of the scale and scope of the problem (Honda should NOT have gone the turbo-direct injection route, let alone CVT):

            http://www.hondaproblems.com/oil-dilution/

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            https://www.driveaccord.net/forums/241-10th-generation/515666-cr-v-1-5t-engine-issue-fuel-oil-will-10th-gen-1-5t-accord-affected-too-14.html

            Read this driveaccord forums thread (one of many) on serious fuel dilution issues with 1.5 liter turbo AND 2.0 liter turbo engines used in global Accords, Civics and CRVs.

            By the way, Consumer Reports has now pushed hard on this and is awaiting for an accurate and complete response from Honda Corp, given that CR is now also fielding many survey complaints from very unhappy owners of 2018- going forward CR-Vs, Civics and now, Accords (10th gen) who have fuel dilution problems that Honda dealerships can’t seem to remedy.

            The dilution issue is likely a design defect inherent to these motors, rather than a manufacturing one, which is even worse news.

            Honda’s quality control and reliability rankings have been sliding precipitously.

            Small displacement turbo engines and CVTs = big risk. Honda will pay a huge financial AND reputational price.

          • 0 avatar
            bd2

            Honda and Acura’s reliability rankings have creeped a little up in the latest reports as they have been working out the kinks.

            Not just issues w/ the 1.5T mill, however, but w/ varying transmissions, including the ZF sourced 9 spd AT.

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          I will say A coworker seems to have recurring issues with tail light bulbs burning out on her 2011 Sorento so there’s that. Aside from that, I’ve been nothing but impressed with the Koreans as of 2015-ish or so, and only increasingly so with the latest rentals I’ve had. Ride/handling is properly well sorted now, great real world mpg, styling is generally not too bad (largely inoffensive at least). And great values on their sedans with a ton of room to haggle on new or used.

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        I must agree with @redapple on some points.
        – burnt lights. Couple of months ago, driving with my wife behind what seem to be recently purchased Santa Fe – light is not working. I even told her – look, this car pretty new and its already has burnt light. I only remember changing couple of bulbs in my Highlander in 10 years. And its true, I see many Hyundai cars with “missing” lights while behind them

        – extremely cheap interiors on base models. Really bad. Base Mazda feels like MB vs base Hyundai.

        • 0 avatar
          mike978

          At least Mazda sticks with normal transmissions and no small turbos. Hence dodging the issues Honda seems to be facing. Maybe that explains why Mazda is highly rated for reliability.

    • 0 avatar
      tallguy130

      Redapple

      Show me on the doll where the Korean car touched you.

      I’ve had two Hyundai products for the past 6 years. Zero problems and got them for a great price. I’m sure there are some turds out there but blanket statements like that are just internet ramblings. If you want a fact based argument look at the consumer reports ranking for the last 5 years H/K is always in the top half. Normally well above their counterparts in the big three.

      Speaking as a former owner of GM products. I can show you on the doll where those cars touched me. I’ll keep my Hyundai’s

      • 0 avatar
        xtoyota

        8 Hyundai cars purchases since 2004 and none required warranty work ..
        AND you can’t beat their warranty for those who have problems.

        Honda and Toyota warranty suck

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      I have an Optima SXL. It’s been pretty reliable, but I’ve been lucky. The huge engine recall is a nightmare, and I know people who are on engine #3 or #4 after dealerships bungled installs. To be expected when you are doing them at such high volume.

      Other huge bugaboo is the fuel economy. 20MPG average though I am on 20s with 245 width tires. I’m certain a V6 Camcord could manage much better.

      If I bought another one I’d have to do a lot of research and wait towards the end of a model’s generation to see what kind of issues popped up. Seems like the way to go is to skip anything with the 2.0T/2.4 and also anything with their DCT.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Funny – both C/D and Consumer Reports (disparate publications) have more H/K models rated higher/road tests scores than the requisite Toyotas or Nissans.

      And Kia, in particular, has had nicer interiors than any of the Japanese brands save Mazda (the term “luxury” has been thrown around in numerous reviews of the Telluride, which, btw, has bested the Ascent and Atlas in comparison tests – altho, would say more premium than lux).

      H/K driving dynamics will only continue to improve as models get moved to the new N3 platform (starting w/ the Sonata and Optima), not to mention new powertrains.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      “Horrible value proposition. > $2000 cheaper on the front end. Then you lose $5000 MORE”

      This is essentially correct.

  • avatar
    hreardon

    Audi’s 21% plummet is due almost entirely to a lack of supply of the new Q3, whose US launch is running about two months behind schedule.

    Sales of the new A6/A7/A8 are healthy, but sales of the A4/A5, Q5/Q7 were way off. Some of the Q7 sales went to the Q8 (good for Audi – fatter margins), but I suspect the A4/A5/Q5 are suffering from mid-cycle boredom, along with the trend away from sedans.

    A3 is long in the tooth and next gen won’t reach us until April 2020, so don’t expect much improvement there anytime soon.

    A4 is due for a very heavy refresh late this year, meaning we should get it late Q2/early Q3 2020.

    • 0 avatar
      loopy55

      Yup the WLTP kicked Audi pretty hard. Notable is that VW was up 8.7% with very strong Jetta and Tiguan sales. VW’s decision to not spend much money on the ‘new’ Passat ( despite the moaning by auto journalists) and focus on SUV’s is looking pretty smart.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Wouldn’t exactly say sales of the A8 are “healthy” at 187 sold for April (and less than 1k for the 1st 4 months).

  • avatar
    thornmark

    Mazda sales are dire. I think Mazda’s “premium” Japanese branding will not work.

    Mazda isn’t premium and they don’t have the bucks to convince people it is.

    • 0 avatar
      bullnuke

      “Premium” Mazda sales of 19k+ are a bit above the premium brand Audi with its 15k sales but below premium brands Mercedes-Benz (25+k) and BMW (26+k). It appears to resemble a premium vehicle by sales volume if in nothing else. The decline volume is looking rather Suzuki-like however…

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      My original thought was, will there be a buyer for Mazda-premium? I was a buyer for Mazda ace of base. I am interested in their no gimmicks well-built, nicely-driving cheap cars. Not interested in Mazda premium.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        Base CX5 still sells at a comparable price to the competition. Mazda premium is mainly about giving people better design and duality for not much more cost. People complain about the $30k new top spec Mazda 3, seemingly forgetting a Civic Touring costs about that too.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      It’s a bummer. For me, it’s an issue of sizing, which I guess comes down to those long noses. 6 is sized like a Civic inside but an Accord outside etc. Haven’t driven the latest 3 but the last one did not blow me away. Engines are OK but not great. You just really need to love the premium feel, which I’m not sure is enough. Practicality still matters.

      Hopefully they have a CX-7 coming. That would definitely boost sales. CX-9’s vestigial 3rd row is a needless compromise.

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        Is mazda5 smaller than Accord inside – yes. It has lower stance, lower greenhouse. But seats and ergonomics – you can’t even compare. If you are not replacing your minivan, whats the difference?

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      VW’s past experience in trying to be a “premium” mainstream brand here should have been a tell-tale sign for Mazda.

      Better handling and interiors simply won’t make up the diff. for tighter cabins/less power and the more premium pricing.

  • avatar
    The D in Detroit

    EVERYONE I know that has a Hyundai/Kia product thanks God for the warranty, because they really need it. Most have already gone back to MUCH LESS troublesome products from GM, Ford, or FCA.

    Even getting it fixed free doesn’t make up for the craptastic experience that is Korean automobiles. My next door neighbor loves his 2012 Malibu. He told me the Hyundai required 12 dealer visits in 3 years for serious issues. The Chevy? Zero. Truth.

    • 0 avatar
      conundrum

      One data point in millions. On that special case, you fantasize, going from the particular to the general. You’ll make a hell of a scientist.

    • 0 avatar
      quaquaqua

      Your post is so hilarious it borders on parody. Thanks for the laugh, dude!

      Anyway, the Telluride hit at just the right time. There’s already two in my parking lot at work, and it’s only about 100 cars total. Looks fantastic in person.

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        Your post is also hilarious. Even a 100 Tellurides on a single parking lot doesn’t designate them reliable especially since just hot off the line. Remember the original Taurus – best selling for years and probably one of the least reliable ever

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          Yeah, they were awful cars alright. Its a wonder mine with 250k makes it to work every day, going from state to state, getting 30 mpg, never needing anything out of the ordinary. Awful cars.

      • 0 avatar
        mfrank

        quaquaqua, I absolutely agree. I see the Telluride and Palisade being home runs.

        I passed a car hauler the other day full of Tellurides going to the dealer. That kind of money could transform both companies. Potentially even surpassing Nissan.

    • 0 avatar
      redgolf

      I leased a 2014 Chevy Cruze for 39 months no problems, am leasing a 2016 Buick Encore ( I know Korean ) for 30 months now no problems but only have 23k miles on it.

  • avatar
    The D in Detroit

    The Hyundai was a supposed STAR, a 2015 Sonata. Worst car he ever owned, and he tells everyone about it.

  • avatar
    CKNSLS Sierra SLT

    The D in Detroit-

    My Son owns a Sonata with well over 100,000 miles with ZERO ISSUES. That’s what prompted my purchase decision on the Santa Fe.

    I bet that even Toyota and Hondas are “hated in Detroit” in spite of the thousands of Americans they employ.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      How many do they employ compared to GM, Ford or FCA? A couple thousand screwing together some Korean parts in Georgia and Alabama is so much better than 50-80k people contributing to vehicles built all over the country (by one company example, not combined), right? GM alone, not including suppliers, employs in excess of 50k Americans, and despite what deadbrain and his gullible followers would like you to believe, they have a far higher domestic parts content. Even the Mexican-built Blazer has higher American parts content than a Kia built in Georgia.

  • avatar
    sgeffe

    Honda ain’t gonna sell many Accords to people who check out Honda Financial’s rates, if they’re doing a “normal” comparison-shopping thing, and aren’t set on a particular make and model!

    While they’ve expanded 2.9% availability up to and including 60 months to Civics (including Type-Rs! :-O ), the Accord is stuck at 4.49% for a five-year note through July!

    I’m already being bent over before I even walk into F&I!

    Interesting things they’re smoking!

    • 0 avatar
      mfrank

      If Honda needed to offer 2.9% for 60 months to move enough Accords, they would. Accords sell without it.

      Does anybody else find it interesting how close last years Honda sales are to this years? It’s almost like they can fine tune incentives and financing to hit their production target.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        They were down 10,000 units to the Camry last month. I understand that the Camry goes into fleets while Hondas don’t. Even so, especially with the availability of 2.9% up to 72 months on the Camry in my area, the Accord doesn’t need more impediments to potential sales! (The proof to me is that seven out of nine 2019 Accords received at my dealer are still sitting there; I believe that was one or two shipments from February at the latest. They finally sold their last 2018 Accord just a couple weeks ago.)

        If I’m Honda, I’m going to match the competition with rates, not stay above them! A lost sale is a lost sale!

  • avatar

    As said before and telling you now I own Kia with 375K miles with zero issues and never ever changed motor oil and engine and it also smells like paradise inside. Zero maintenance vehicle just. Of course Honda I owned was a lemon and smelled like lemon too.

  • avatar
    CKNSLS Sierra SLT

    Some of these comments are laughable. I was behind (blank) brand of automobile the other day. It had a burned out tail light/brake light/Head light it must be an inferior brand with inferior quality.

    This board really brings out the wackos sometimes.

    • 0 avatar
      tankinbeans

      I confess, I used to be one of the rabid anti-this/pro-that commentators, but it got boring. It feels like there is a lot of copying and pasting of boilerplate going on most days.

      Edmunds is almost better for the general car buying public and not self-proclaimed enthusiasts.

  • avatar
    cdotson

    The Toyota truck that’s older than Methuselah is the Tundra. The Tacoma was significantly redone within the past 5 years.

  • avatar
    Whatnext

    The headline should read April 2019 (not 2018).

  • avatar
    SpeedJebus

    2017 Kia Sedona here, 40,000kms. Zero problems. No smells. All the bulbs work. Electrics too. $5k less than a comparably equipped Honda / Toyota van. Lower interest rate to boot. Definitely not ugly, even for a van.

    Redapple, I can’t change your opinion, but I’m still satisfied with the van coming up on 3 years of ownership.


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