Midsize pickups have increased their share of the overall pickup truck category by around four percentage points since GM launched the second-generation Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon.
Compared with a period when the twins weren’t on sale, the volume sent the direction of midsize pickups jumped 50% over the first four months of 2015. That gain of 39,000 units wasn’t simply down to the GM twins, either, as the class-leading Toyota Tacoma is growing faster than the overall pickup truck category.
Ford Motor Company’s Transit Connect has seen the number of its direct rivals rapidly expand over the last two years. Not only must the Transit Connect fend off challenges from the Nissan NV200, now Chevrolet sells a version of the Nissan Van and FCA has imported the Fiat Doblo as the Ram ProMaster City.
Nevertheless, Ford still owns more than half the market for small commercial vans. Through the first four months of 2015, a period in which small commercial van volume in the United States has increased 58%, the Transit Connect’s market share stood at 55%. True, that’s down from 63% in the equivalent period one year ago. But a year ago, there was no such thing as a Chevrolet City Express or Ram ProMaster City. Moreover, Transit Connect volume has increased dramatically. Its 38% year-over-year improvement translates to 4,201 extra sales for Ford MoCo over just four months.
U.S. sales of midsize cars tumbled 7% during the month of April and are down 4% through the first four months of 2015.
On the whole, America’s appetite for passenger cars is in decline. Overall demand for cars is slightly south of flat in the early part of this year even as the auto industry posted 5% year-over-year expansion between January and April.
As more American car buyers become buyers of small and midsize utility vehicles, the vehicle groups most obviously paying the price are family sedans. The Toyota Corolla-led compact car category, for instance, is up 7% this year. But Chevrolet Impala-class cars have fallen 13% and the segment up for discussion has lost nearly 30,000 sales in the first third of the year.
General Motors sold more Chevrolet SS sedans in April 2015 than they did in April 2014.
Albeit only 16 more, to be precise. 5.7% more.
Yet not in any of the previous five months in which the SS could produce a year-over-year increase did it manage to do so. (October 2014 sales jumped 11,400% from one reported sale in October 2013 to 115.)
Moreover, the SS’s April 2015 sales total was the second-highest level ever for the Aussie-built sedan.
Are we finally seeing an SS recovery, or is this just a blip on the Dodge Charger SRT’s radar?
We’re accustomed to seeing outdated sports cars stumble as they age.
They’re as capable as they were when launched, of course, but demand for the cars often decreases rapidly. Those who were interested in the stylistic proposition already bought one. Those who saw them as paragons of performance encounter newer models with a greater dynamic portfolio.
Consider the Scion FR-S, sales of which plunged 23% in its second full year in the United States; sales of which declined 29% in the first four months of 2015.
Perhaps exacerbated by falling fuel prices, the sharp downturn in sales of two particularly famous, unconventionally powered hatchbacks is vaguely reminiscent of a sports car nameplate’s yo-yoing. A Camry-like ability to sustain demand right up until the new model arrives in dealers? Not for the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt.
After U.S. sales of the Honda Pilot soared to a seven-year high in calendar year 2013, the fifth year for the second-generation Pilot, sales predictably declined 14% last year. Even in a booming SUV/CUV market, the Pilot was old and boxy; the Toyota Highlander was new and, well, less boxy.
Yet over the final two months of 2014 and the first four months of 2015, Pilot volume has shot through the roof. During this six-month span, U.S. sales of the outgoing Pilot have improved by 44%, a gain of nearly 21,000 sales, year-over-year.
You know why, of course. Deals on the Pilot finally became wonderfully attractive. Right now, for example, just as Honda finally allows publications to render their verdict following Kentucky test drives from weeks ago, American Honda is advertising lease deals on the Pilot SE AWD with payments of $289 over three years with $2,899 due at signing.
Hyundai USA reported record April sales last month, yet by only posting modest growth figures, Hyundai didn’t match the pace of the overall auto industry. As a result, Hyundai’s market share actually decreased in this record-setting month from 4.8% in April 2014 to 4.7% in April 2015.
Year-over-year, Hyundai volume increased 3% to 68,009 units in April 2015, a gain of 1,902 sales in a market which grew 5%, or 64,000 units. Compared with the prior month of March, during which Hyundai set an all-time sales record regardless of season, Hyundai’s market share slipped from 4.9%.
But in a market that’s increasingly favouring SUVs and crossovers and increasingly uninterested in passenger cars, Hyundai’s growth is notable because of the automaker’s reliance on passenger cars.
Mercedes-Benz keeps moving their high-end sports cars down market just as the company keeps making their high-end sports cars more attractive. The SLR McLaren was absurd in more ways than one, and it took a couple of vehicular lifetimes for Mercedes-Benz to rid themselves of all the copies they built.
The SLS AMG, on the other hand, was a bold yet tasteful maneuver into a more reasonable supercar sector, where prices are closer to $200K than $400K, and if by reasonable we mean the domain of Ferraris with eight, rather than twelve, cylinders.
The new AMG GT, on the other hand, has an advertised base price of $129,900, just ten grand more than the new S-Class Coupe and some $21,000 below the price of a Porsche 911 Turbo. Two different AMG variants of Mercedes-Benz’s own SL-Class have significantly more costly points of entry.
Not surprisingly, then, Mercedes-Benz sold more copies of the AMG GT in its first month on sale in the United States than the SLS AMG ever managed at any point in its tenure.
Porsche broke its five-month-old U.S. sales record in April 2015 to the tune of an additional 518 vehicles.
Despite decreased car volume – five nameplates combined for a 15% passenger car loss, year-over-year – the Macan recorded its third month above 1000 units and set a record in its 12-month tenure with 1537 sales.
With its highest monthly U.S. sales total in more than three years, Infiniti’s flagship Q70 sedan produced a 68% year-over-year increase in March 2015. That performance was followed up in April by a 115% YOY improvement for the Q70, formerly known as the M.
Yet even with particularly outstanding numbers relative to the model’s recent history, the 5-Series rival from Japan’s lowest-volume premium brand continues to be largely forgotten. Or worse, ignored.
In April, for the first time this year, U.S. sales of the core group of nine subcompact cars increased on a year-over-year basis.
After January’s 2% decline, February’s 11% decrease, and March’s 12% drop (and the first-quarter’s 9% decline), April sales of the Nissan Versa-led subcompact group grew 9% compared with April 2014. This brings the year-to-date tally to 163,309 sales, down 4% over the same period last year.
Although it was the first of the year, April’s increase wasn’t exactly a flash in the pan. There’s been a gradual build-up in subcompact sales during the month of April over the last few years. April 2013 sales jumped 6% and April 2014 sales rose 9% before last month’s 4003-unit, 9% increase.
This whole Lincoln revival thing is going to be a long process of thorough product replacement if recent U.S. sales figures are anything to go by. And they are.
While brand-wide Lincoln sales jumped 20% in April 2015, those gains were created almost entirely by the MKC, a vehicle which wasn’t on sale at this time a year ago. The Navigator, recently refreshed, helped out with an additional 245 sales compared with April 2014.
But the Lincoln brand, as it existed at this time a year ago with five models, was down 8% in April.
In each of the last ten months, Ford’s Explorer-based Police Interceptor Utility has outsold the Taurus Police Interceptor by at least two to one.
Beginning in July 2014 (a month in which Taurus Police Interceptor sales increased 15% and Explorer Police Interceptor sales jumped 64%) and continuing through April 2015 (when Explorer PI sales rose to their third-highest monthly level in the model’s history and Taurus PI sales slid 2%), the Police Interceptor Utility’s ten-month long U.S. sales tally rang in at 19,362 units. Ford sold 8,185 Taurus Police Interceptors during the same period.
Midsize pickup truck sales jumped 48% to just under 31,000 units in April 2015, a gain of 10,000 units.
In April, the overall U.S. auto industry grew by approximately 64,000 sales. Overall pickup truck sales increased by 15,000 units. In other words, much of the growth in the pickup truck market last month was generated by the smaller quintet.
Year-to-date, the Toyota Tacoma-led small/midsize category has grown by more than 38,000 sales, slightly more than the 36,000 sales added by full-size pickup trucks.
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