Ignore FCA's Claims: The Dodge Journey Isn't, Wasn't, And Won't Soon Be "Canada's Favourite Crossover"
It was early 2014 when an Albertan car salesman drew my attention to a claim he noticed in commercials and promotional material from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Canada. The Dodge Journey, they said, was Canada’s No. 1 selling crossover.
It wasn’t. But at the time, FCA was using some hilariously inappropriate segmentation from R.L. Polk Canada, Inc. to support the claim.
FCA Canada’s more recent Journey-related claim uses altered language to make a similar-sounding statement. FCA calls the Journey, “Canada’s favourite crossover.”
The Dodge Journey is not Canada’s favourite crossover. The Dodge Journey never was Canada’s favourite crossover. Based on current trend lines, the Dodge Journey does not stand a chance of soon becoming Canada’s favourite crossover.
Winning! These Are America's Best-Selling Cars, Trucks, SUVs, Vans, and Luxury Autos In 2016's First Half
We’ve reached the halfway marker. After new vehicle sales soared to record levels in calendar year 2015, the volume produced by automakers competing for market share in the United States continued to expand through the first six months of 2016.
Between January and June, the 30 most popular new vehicle nameplates in the United States generated half of all auto sales, leaving more than 250 other vehicles to fight over half the market. Many of those popular vehicles own a far greater chunk of the market than entire manufacturers. The top-selling Ford F-Series line of pickup trucks, for instance, outsells every auto brand aside from Toyota, Chevrolet, Nissan, Honda, Jeep, and Ford itself. The 30th-ranked vehicle, Subaru’s Outback, outsells whole mid-tier premium brands such as Cadillac, Infiniti, Lincoln, and Jaguar-Land Rover.
In other words, popular vehicles are very popular indeed.
Consumers, businesses, and government agencies registered nearly 4.1 million new vehicles during the first quarter of 2016. That’s an additional 130,000 new vehicles sales compared to the pace set one year ago, and equals a 3.3-percent year-over-year improvement over a record-setting 2015. But while there’s meaningful sales growth within the industry, passenger car sales continue to tumble and the premium market continues to stumble.
Many aspects of the U.S. auto market are changing, but some corners of the market refuse to reflect any change in the attitudes of consumers. The three best-selling vehicle lines in America in 2015’s first-quarter are the three best-selling vehicle lines in 2016’s first-quarter. All three are pickup trucks.
The Ford F-Series will end 2015 as America’s best-selling truck line and the best-selling vehicle line overall. Yes, there are two months remaining on the calendar, but there will be no unseating of the Ford, which built up a 137,400-unit lead over the second-ranked vehicle over the course of 2015’s first ten months.
The F-Series isn’t the only vehicle to secure its position at the front of its respective pack. These are the kinds of stories typically not published until the beginning of January, but we already know that the level of dominance enjoyed by certain nameplates is so high that they won’t – they can’t – be caught.
Beginning in September 2014, the Honda CR-V began a streak as America’s best-selling SUV/crossover, a streak which has now extended through July 2015. Eleven consecutive months is no mean feat — the Toyota Camry’s current streak as America’s best-selling car is only six months long.
The CR-V is strengthening, however. In July, year-over-year volume jumped 11 percent to 31,785 units, 2,532 units more than the second-ranked Ford Escape managed. During this increasingly lengthy period of dominance, no one challenger has really stood up to take the fight to the CR-V.
So many upper-crust products sit at the top of their respective automaker’s lineup and do little more than look pretty. They are flagships, technological showcases, standard bearers.
On the other hand, there’s the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, with its base price of more than $95,000 in the United States. Flagship? Yes. Technological showcase? That, too. Standard-bearer? Of course. But the S-Class is also popular.
Remember when the U.S. auto industry was very much an American auto industry? No? I don’t, either.
But there was a time when an American car was an American car because it was made by an American car company in America.
March 2015 auto sales in the United States didn’t decline as expected, further strengthening a first-quarter in which the industry reported a 5.6% year-over-year improvement.
In other words, Americans registered nearly 211,000 more new vehicles during the first three months of 2015 than during the same period one year ago. Passenger car volume is flat. SUVs and crossovers produced first-quarter growth of nearly 12%, thereby earning market share of 34%, up four percentage points compared with the first-quarter of 2014.
The Toyota Camry was America’s most popular car in 2014, the 13th consecutive year in which the Camry has led all passenger cars. The Camry ranked fourth among vehicles overall, trailing only three pickup trucks.
• Camry volume represents a six-year high
• Accord volume shoots up to seven-year high
• Corolla leads all small cars
Camry volume rose to a six-year high in 2014. With a 5% increase in the lead-up to a MY2015 refresh, the Camry outsold its nearest rival, the Honda Accord, by 40,232 units. (The Accord trailed the Camry by 41,806 units in 2013.) Accord volume, at 388,374 units, improved to a seven-year high.
Despite reporting record-high U.S. sales, the Nissan Altima fell from third place in 2013 to the fourth spot this year. Altima volume increased in each of the last five years.
American Honda grabbed its third consecutive best-selling SUV crown with the increasingly popular CR-V in calendar year 2014. The CR-V’s lead over the next-best-selling Ford Escape grew to 28,807 units (about one month of sales for the CR-V) in 2014 from 7911 units in calendar year 2013.
• CR-V leads SUVs & crossovers in seven of the last eight years
• Seven of the ten best sellers post record U.S. sales
• Explorer is America’s best-selling three-row vehicle
The CR-V was alone on top, but it was not alone in its ability to achieve record-high U.S. sales volume. Along with the CR-V, the Ford Escape, Toyota RAV4, Chevrolet Equinox, Nissan Rogue, Jeep Wrangler, and Subaru Forester all sold more often in 2014 than in any prior year.
If ever there was a month to highlight the popularity of America’s best-selling SUVs and crossovers, November 2014 is it. The Honda CR-V, the top-ranked utility vehicle in each of the last three months, didn’t just outsell all SUV and crossover nameplates, it outsold all passenger car nameplates, as well.
CR-V sales improved by 8869 units as the four cars which sold more often one year ago – Camry, Accord, Civic, Altima – all registered fewer sales this November than last, combining for 8359 fewer total sales. During a month in which passenger car sales held steady, utility vehicle sales jumped 9.5%.
The CR-V was by no means the only popular utility vehicle to post major gains in November 2014. All of the ten top sellers shown here (indeed, all 14 top-selling SUVs and crossovers) reported increased volume, year-over-year. The second-ranked Ford Escape was up 22%. Jeep’s Cherokee, still new at this time a year ago, was up 67% in November 2014. Nissan Rogue volume jumped 44%.
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