By on October 2, 2019

Nature abhors a vacuum, and TTAC abhors quarterly sales reports. Ever since the Detroit Three moved to releasing their sales data but four times a year, it has cause much grumbling on Slack along with the scattered bit of wailing and gnashing of teeth.

The end of September also marks the end of a quarter, so we are pleased to present to you a real tally of year-to-date numbers from all the brands — no guesstimates required. As you’ll see, some of the market’s biggest players are off by not insignificant margins.

While total vehicle sales are down by about 4 percent at the Blue Oval year-to-date, the Glass House is quick to point out they sold 240,387 pickups in Q3, making for the best Q3 in 14 years. That same timeframe saw Ford Motor Company’s truck and SUV mix rise to a gob-smacking 87 percent, with average transaction prices knocking on a heady $38,000 per vehicle. Of course, it’s easy to jack the truck/SUV mix when you’re busy deep-sixing all your cars.

In case you’re wondering, not one single Focus was recorded sold in Q3, a period that saw the company’s sales fall 4.9 percent, year over year. Blame that decline on a falling Ford, not a lofty Lincoln.

 

Ram is going gangbusters, reaping the benefits of selling an old and new truck side by each. The company as a whole is off by about a single percentage point through the end of September and, in fact, Ram is the only brand in the black at Pentastar HQ. Third-quarter volumes saw the company break even with Q3 2018. Drilling down to specific model level, the almighty Challenger reported a record third quarter, with Fiat Chrysler claiming that sales of it and the Charger have increased more the 60 percent over the last decade. (Horse)Power to the people!

Over at General Motors, you’d never guess that a strike ground its U.S. operations to a standstill halfway through the last month of the quarter. Sales rose 6.3 percent over the same period a year earlier, with all four brands posting a volume gain. Year to date, the automaker’s just below par.

In the automotive equivalent of shooting Santa Claus, a perfect storm of three fewer selling days and constrained inventory levels halted Subaru’s month-over-month winning streak. This ends 93 consecutive months of yearly, month-over-month growth. Still, it’s not exactly like they’re eating beans — the company still recorded their 67th consecutive month of moving more than 40,000 units. Subaru is up 4.4 percent this year and is outselling the likes of Hyundai.

Speaking of, both major Korean brands are doing quite well so far in 2019, the result of a healthy product portfolio and plenty of SUVs and crossovers to sell to a thirsty public. The new Hyundai Palisade has added 13,457 units this year, Kona has nearly doubled its volume to 55,138 cars, and Santa Fe found about eight thousand more buyers so far this year, bringing its total to just under 100,000 units. The brand’s highest-volume model continues to be the Elantra, selling 125,469 units.

If Ford sold that many Focus sedans and hatchbacks this year, they’d be up 2.9 percent instead of being down 3.8 percent. Just sayin’.

Thanks to quarterly reporting, our next complete sales post won’t be until the new year. Until then, we’ll bring you whatever numbers are available.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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70 Comments on “U.S. Auto Sales, Third Quarter 2019: Winners and Losers...”


  • avatar
    NormSV650

    Buick can stop sale now and still possibly outsell Acura…

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      Buick is often a rental car, take out fleet sales and Acura outsells that Korean GM/old Opel outlet

      Buick is in most part old Opel designed Korean Encore economy car division

      Encore looks like it was designed as a Weeble car so maybe it wobbles as Buick falls down

    • 0 avatar
      johnds

      I think its pathetic Buick sold over 1,000,000 cars a year between 1980-1983ish and now they only sell that amount. Clearly you are just a Buick fan in name and wouldn’t care if they were all rebadged Chevrolet Ventures or Vegas, etc.

  • avatar
    highdesertcat

    https://www.yahoo.com/finance/news/ram-unseats-chevy-silverado-no-175745087.html

    Good news for Fiatsler.

    Braggin’ Rights, dude!

    Keep on striking GM UAW. RAM has already passed you guys by.

  • avatar
    Fred

    Bentley, Lambo, Porsche, Rolls all up and Maserati about even. The rich seem to be doing all right.

  • avatar

    Lincolns sales are embarrassing. So much for their renaissance.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Tesla down 13.3% YTD? I thought that was unpossible.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      We’ll see if the estimates are right. Sitting here in a coastal city it’s hard to believe. Model 3s are absolutely everywhere, far outnumbering other near-lux sedans.

    • 0 avatar
      thejohnnycanuck

      They gave a Model 3 away on The Price is Right last week. Maybe Elon could spell off Drew Carey for a few shows and get those numbers back up.

    • 0 avatar

      “Tesla down 13.3% YTD? I thought that was unpossible.”

      That only means that Tesla just gained more potential for growth. Stock price getting low to present the great opportunity to add more TSLA in your portfolio. If you smart investor of course.

    • 0 avatar
      vvk

      They are selling a lot more overseas and cannot produce enough. Gigafactory 3 in coming online in China, which should help alleviate some of the supply constraints.

      They just don’t have enough cars to sell. My friend wanted to buy a Model X and could not wait several months in would have taken to get it.

      • 0 avatar
        thornmark

        I read that Tesla sales collapse when government subsidies wane – and not just in the US

        applies to other EVs as well

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          “I read that Tesla sales collapse when government subsidies wane”

          From looking at the sales results, ICE companies lose sales as well. Hmmm, maybe there’s something else going on like an economic slowdown?

          Personally, I’m delaying a Tesla purchase because I’d rather wait a year for the new battery tech that hopefully shows up. If it doesn’t, I’ll give up waiting and buy at that point. Nothing to do with subsidies and more waiting for new potential features.

          • 0 avatar
            Robotdawn

            It’s OK to say you don’t see the value in the current purchase price and/or it doesn’t fit it your budget. It makes you sound like a mature adult.
            I’m all about an electric car for my commute car, but the money has to make sense. It’s about $8k too high right now for electrics.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I agree, and the 8K you cite is what 20-30% msrp depending on model/mfg?

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Insideevs show Tesla up 19%, not down:

      YTD 2019: 135725
      YTD 2018: 114102

      The 93k number shown above is way off, but that’s normal.

  • avatar
    thegamper

    How is the Charger up 60%? They must be giving those things away. I live in Detroit area and saw one today in camo. Could they possibly be planning another refresh to carry it through the 2020’s?

    Also wondering if the remaining sedan makers get a bump initially from the domestic cull. There has to be at least some of that happening.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      *over the last decade

      I would rejoice at the second coming of the full-size V8 sedan if Charger sales jumped 60% in a single quarter. But realistically the Charger has likely just gained all the sales from the many other full-size sedans that have been dropped over the past 10 years.

      I’m happy to see the Challenger and Charger post increases particularly in a down quarter. Though I have to wonder what brought Dodge down? I wouldn’t expect the Durango or Journey to be off *that* much?

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        From looking at Goodcarbadcar the Charger has a 45% increase over 2018 Q3, going from 17,9xx sales last year to 26,0xx sales in Q3 2019.

        The Challenger put on over 3000 sales over that time period as well.
        Challenger outsold the Mustang by over 1,200 units
        Challenger outsold the Camaro by about 5,800 units

        I hope Ford and GM is taking a look at the “old” Challenger and figuring out how they went so wrong, while FCA sat on a good platform with only refreshes and outsold both of them.

        We live in a odd world where FCA is king of *anything* that’s not a minivan, but here we are.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          Turning the Mustang into a Torino and the Camaro into a Monte Carlo (just keep the pony car names) would likely increase sales of both a fair amount.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            The Alpha platform has been an abject failure, they should have soldiered on Zeta and brought Caprice production to America to be rebadged the Impala. I can’t even begin to wonder how you can save the Alpha based Camaro. It’s an awful car, I (at 6’2”) felt more comfortable in the current gen Miata than I did in the Camaro.

            The Mustang would do good from being stretched and offered with two more doors.

        • 0 avatar
          thornmark

          Ford made a mistake when it gave the Mustang the Fusion front look rather than the shark-like Mustang look of yore

          the sales are even more impressive because the Challenger is just one model, no convertible, as the Mustang soft top is very popular w/ rental agencies

        • 0 avatar
          quaquaqua

          Some of you act like FCA sitting on this ancient platform was a strategic decision, and not just them being incredibly lazy. They update the bare minimum and still haven’t decided how to make any of their products not incredibly trouble-prone.

          • 0 avatar
            jack4x

            Being “lazy” as you call it, IS a strategic decision, and one that has paid off handsomely in increased sales.

            They could have built a new platform or moved the Charger and Challenger to an Alfa platform, but in the real world, what is the advantage of that? Some people are actually looking for something that is not updated much, because updates mean smaller engines, more tech, and less control.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            Agree with you on FCA quality but not doing major overhauls of vehicles in no-growth or contracting segments is definitely a strategic decision. There is no financial upside to updating the LX cars.
            Think of all the money GM absolutely lit on fire over the last 11 years to update their cars for minimal sales.

          • 0 avatar
            SSJeep

            The legacy Dodge and Jeep platforms are far from trouble-prone. There are very few issues with them subjectively today when compared to their rivals. The Pentastar has proven reliability as does the ZF 8-speed.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            The mechanical parts aren’t the problem. The biggest trouble spots I had with my Charger were electrical and material durability. While some of the issues I had are on the rare side others seem to be widespread and my Stinger is definitely screwed together better.

        • 0 avatar
          hubcap

          I seem to recall GM asking what people didn’t like about the Camaro when they refreshed it. It seems the biggest thing, visibility, not only out the front, but the sides and rear were the biggest culprits.

          GM then asked owners of the car if they felt it was an issue and they predictably said “no”.

          GM kept the bunker like feel and here we are.

        • 0 avatar
          MRF 95 T-Bird

          I was pricing the Challenger to replace my 95 Thunderbird LX. Only a few 2019’s left on lots and no 2020’s yet.
          I’ll be looking this weekend at some low mileage 2018 GT’s for mid $26k.
          I was seriously considering the Mustang Ecoboost but the extra room and AWD of the Challenger seems well worth it.
          The demise of the personal sports luxury coupe leaves these choices.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      “How is the Charger up 60%?”

      Well, I live in Colorado, and in this state, rental cars have red and white plates, versus green and white.

      Almost every Charger I see has red and white plates.

      There’s your answer.

      • 0 avatar
        quaquaqua

        Like most Dodges/Chryslers, yes, they’re all over rental lots. But you can’t deny a large group of people just like the Charger. Mostly people who are uninterested in anything modern, they just want something tough-looking. In my neck of the woods, if you’re a certain type of guy, if you don’t have a pickup, you have a Charger. It’s kind of a default. Most of them would be far happier with a Stinger, and most of those pickup drivers would be far happier with a Ridgeline, but ha, as if any of them would ever admit that.

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          “Mostly people who are uninterested in anything modern”

          Get with the times grandpa, this is the most modern American car available. The rest of the front drive 4 cylinders barely qualify as appliances.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Yup, Chrysler just dumped a lot of Chargers and Challengers on rental companies, last quarter.

      • 0 avatar
        SSJeep

        The rental car lot queens are base 3.8L models. People get in one not expecting much but drop them off pleasantly surprised by the Pentastar / 8 speed combination and roomy interior. Then they go buy one – hopefully with a Hemi. If I can snag a Charger at a rental lot, its my first choice. Sadly I havent seen many lately during my rental car follies.

        • 0 avatar
          SaulTigh

          Maybe so. Last time I was in Vegas I upgraded to a Chrysler 300 and while the interior materials were on the cheap side, EVERYONE in my party liked the car. Roomy, smooth ride, big trunk and honest to God great AC in 106 degree weather. It also got really good gas mileage. I’ve been thinking about buying one of these or a Challenger every since, just decided to buy a house first.

  • avatar

    How Alfa Romeo is down so much? I thought Sergio (RIP) assured us that Romeo is a sure thing.

    • 0 avatar
      Lokki

      How is Alfa Romeo down so much? The beauty and the curse of statistics. Their sales have never been large so numerically small changes make statistically large ones.

      A reductio ad absurdism example:

      If last year you sold 4 cars and this year you sold 3, year-over-year sales are down 25%.

  • avatar

    FIAT? What FIAT? I was under impression that they withdrew FIAT from US market and focus all resources on China (where else dying brands go to die?).

  • avatar
    Oldschool

    I can’t believe with all the plant closures, negative press coverage, UAW strike, how much of a monster GM still is.

    Chevrolet alone accounts for most of GM sales, I can see why with all the new Silverados on the road out where I live. Of course tho, CA is the land of import vehicles, which seems like everybody out here drives a Toyota or a Honda whatever. My guess is most of GM sales are outside of CA most likely in the heartland states. Still haven’t seen a new Lincoln Aviator or Natilus on the road in wealthy SoCal, and I don’t understand why since the Aviator is probably the nicest, most luxurious looking SUV on the market right now.

    • 0 avatar
      Fliggin_De_Fluge

      Nice try. I live smack in the middle of the heartland and havent seen a new GM truck yet. As a matter of fact, almost everyone I talk to talks about how ugly they are and wont touch one until the fix the hideous design. Funny stuff coming from these folks. Of course, there is no shortage of Ford trucks in town, so yeah…cute try.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        Yea I’ve seen a couple of them but I can’t help and look at the driver and wonder what went through their head to spend that much money and be in that truck. Probably 80% of the ones I’ve seen are in fleets, unlucky bastards didn’t have any choice but drive those monstrosities.

        They’re awful, everyone talked about how bad the K2xx were when they came out, but they look positively attractive beside the new trucks now.

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          The one bright spot on the new truck is that the 6.2L can be had on the trail boss w/ 4×4 for about $42-$43k before the trucktober discounts apply. But I can’t get past that body, it’s horrible, no refresh can fix that mess.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        Somewhere must be buying them. GM sold 200K of them in the last 3 months. I’ve seen about as many around FL as the new (non “classic”) RAM 1500. FCA still rules over GM in HD volume though.

      • 0 avatar
        Oldschool

        My eyes don’t lie, I have seen many new Silverado’s ( especially blacked out lifted versions) and Sierra’s on the road. Did I say the Silverado is a nice looking truck? No. I don’t understand why anyone would buy a Silverado due to its ugly front end and it’s cheap ass interior, but at least the Sierra is tolerable.

        Obviously Chevy is selling a bunch of trucks, and they have to be on the roads somewhere, so there’s no denying that.

        • 0 avatar
          PSX 5k Ultra Platinum Triple Black

          I live in DC and I’ve seen lots of Silverados… at the local uhaul place when I moved. They had tons of new body style base white Silverados available for rent. As a base truck in white it didn’t look half bad.

          Besides, that I haven’t seen more than a handful of new body style Chevy / GMC trucks. Really though, you’d be crazy to drive a full size truck in DC.

          The new RAM is man purdy though. It’s what I’d buy.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            “The new RAM is man purdy though. It’s what I’d buy.

            Yup, that could be the reason why

            https://www.yahoo.com/finance/news/ram-unseats-chevy-silverado-no-175745087.html

    • 0 avatar

      Even a wounded giant is still big. However, GM has slipped on the international stage falling into fourth place behind Nissan. There is now little chance it will ever regain its lead as the world’s biggest carmaker. Before 2009, GM held the title as the world’s largest carmaker for 85 years! It was a long run.

    • 0 avatar
      jimmyy

      I live in Newport Beach, Ca … super rich SoCal … in one of those parts of Newport where home prices start at 3.5M and go straight up into the 8 digits. I see quite a few brand new GM pickups, and I also see quite a few Ford pickups as well. THe rich are buying these and they frequently are high end rigs. I still do not like the looks of the GM pickup, but someone does.

  • avatar
    thegamper

    I gotta also say that it’s amazing that Subaru is outselling “VW group” in the US. I can’t wrap my head around that.

    • 0 avatar
      nrd515

      I’ve ridden in like 6 different Subaru vehicles over the last 5 years or so, and I just don’t get what’s to “love” about them. My cousin and his wife are totally hooked on them and he’s about to get his 3rd one in a row. His wife just got her second one last year. At best, they are, “ok”, but like Apple, you have to be a cult member to see it.

  • avatar

    I read in the library that GM expects to sell only 16,000 Bolts this year, and this is its best year ever!! Does GM believe its rhetoric that its near future is electric-based! What kind of flawed statistical analyst is GM using to conclude it is going from 15,000 bolts a year to 1 million electric vehicles by 2025. With this kind of absurd strategy, it is no wonder the workers are on strike. GM’s plan for the future is ill-advised and reckless, to say the least. Meanwhile GM is losing more of its sedan market to FCA and its impressive line of muscle cars.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Clearly it’s easy to translate demand for one expensive, dorky-looking (and I say that as a happy Bolt owner) hatchback into demand for more competitively priced EVs in more mainstream segments.

      The future of EVs is all about battery prices. Get the price under $100/kWh (it’s now not quite twice that) and they’ll be fully competitive with gas cars.

  • avatar
    Tstag

    I wonder why Jaguar is up?

  • avatar
    pmirp1

    If I were the CEO of Fiat-Chrysler, I would make the Challenger/Charger and Grand Cherokee/Durango in their current form for next 10 years, while adding other pieces around them. Don’t change or replace what is NOT broken.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      And you would deserve a raise for that kind of thinking. And another if you find a way to close down all those failed Italian brands.

    • 0 avatar
      quaquaqua

      Do you honestly think they have any other plans to do anything BUT the bare minimum? They are the laziest automaker in the industry besides maybe Mitsubishi. And speaking of fixing what’s “not broken” those ancient cars all still have a ton of reliability issues that definitely need fixing.


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