In many ways, September 2017’s auto sales bucked the trend. After the industry combined for decreased volume, year-over-year, in each of 2017’s first eight months, auto sales in September rose 6 percent. Meanwhile, the shrinking car sector that tumbled 12 percent through the first two-thirds of 2017 was down only 3 percent in September.
There were two big reason the passenger car decline wasn’t worse: America’s two best-selling cars.
Excluding the Honda Civic and Toyota Camry, U.S. car sales fell 6 percent. But as the clear-out of remaining 2017 Honda Accords got underway and produced 10-percent growth, the launch of the 2018 Toyota Camry generated a 13-percent uptick. Meanwhile, the Honda Civic’s 26-percent surge allowed the compact Honda to expand its lead over the midsize Camry in the race to end 2017 as America’s best-selling car.
George W. Bush was finishing his second year as president of the United States when Toyota reported 434,145 Camry sales in calendar year 2002. No other passenger car generated more U.S. volume that year.
Or the next year. Or the next. Or the one after that. In fact, the Toyota Camry’s reign as America’s best-selling car continued for a decade and a half, stretching from 2002 through 2016.
Unless the launch of the all-new 2018 Toyota Camry results in a superior final third of 2017, however, Toyota’s tenure atop the leaderboard will end this year. Ahead of the Camry by 1,153 sales through the first eight months of 2017 is the Honda Civic.
With 2018 Civics arriving in Honda showrooms on October 3, 2017, Honda is determined to leave well enough alone. The recipe is unchanged. Honda will not mess with success.
The Ford Fiesta is the most popular car at TTAC.
We don’t mean to say that TTAC’s audience researches the Ford Fiesta more often than any other vehicle. Nor are we suggesting that the Ford Fiesta is the consensus favourite among TTAC’s vast contributor network. Rather, there are a total of three Fiestas spread across TTAC driveways: the managing editor’s 1.0-liter EcoBoost, an ST at the home of our advice columnist, and another ST in the family of TTAC’s editor-at-large.
That’s an impressive level of marketplace penetration for a car that generates just 0.3 percent of the U.S. auto industry’s new vehicle sales volume. Yet across the pond, the very same car owns an industry-wide 4.5 percent of the overall new vehicle market.
2016 will be the eighth consecutive year in which the Ford Fiesta claims the title of the United Kingdom’s best-selling vehicle. Not only is the consistency remarkable, so too is the authority with which the Fiesta scores its victories.
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.
If you thought I got lost somewhere in southern Alaska, you thought wrong.
We are now hitting Seattle, WA for the remaining part of this U.S. North to South series. I have the privilege of driving a 2015 Ram 2500 Tradesman Crew Cab 4×4 Turbo Diesel.
I baptised last year’s Ram 1500 as Albert. This year, I will follow the letters of the alphabet as they do for hurricanes. Say hello to Bob. Bob, say hello to TTAC.
My first impressions are below along with an explanation on Ford Seattle license plates 2,000 miles up north in Barrow, Alaska…
After stopping in Juneau, we now take the Alaska Marine Highway — the ferry in simple terms — on a little over five hour sail to reach the next town in our journey: Petersburg, definitely the most picturesque fishing station I got to visit in Alaska.
Nicknamed Little Norway and founded in 1897 by Peter Buschmann, who gave the town its name, Petersburg still displays a very strong Norwegian influence, with many buildings decorated with flowery Norwegian rosemaling paintings. In fact, many of Petersburg’s residents can trace their heritage back to Norwegian ancestors and there was a time when Norwegian was still commonly heard on the street.
The Ford Fiesta is on track in 2015 to celebrate a seventh consecutive year as the best-selling vehicle in the United Kingdom. A streak which began in 2009 – following the Focus’s own tenure atop the leaderboard – appears completely secure now that the Fiesta has outsold its nearest rival by 19,000 units over the course of just five months.
The Fiesta is not a popular car by the standards with which Americans identify popularity. On this side of the pond, for example, the Ford F-Series is America’s best-selling line of vehicles, but the F-Series accounts for 4.3% of the overall auto industry’s volume. The Fiesta generates 5.3% of UK auto industry volume.
The U.S. auto industry was projected to make 6% gains in April 2015, an increase that would have produced at least 80,000 more April sales this year than in April 2014.
Instead, April 2015 auto sales grew by less than 5%, and the industry’s volume improved by around 64,000 units. Auto sales are healthy, but why weren’t they quite as healthy last month as anticipated?
There are hundreds of factors to consider, from Bob realizing that new patio furniture was more important than a new Ram EcoDiesel, to the decreased demand for certain aging models. But if one vehicle category needed to accept blame, it would be passenger cars.
In January 2015, for the second consecutive month and the fourth time in the last six months, the Toyota Camry was not America’s best-selling passenger car.
But after holding the title in October and November – and the 2014 calendar year – the Camry ceded the crown to a sibling, not a rival, in January.
• Four top sellers post YOY improvements
• Hyundai held out of top 10
• Sixth-ranked Civic posts seventh consecutive decline
Sales of the Toyota Corolla jumped 20% to 27,357 units, 8658 more than the number of sales reported by the next-best-selling small car, Honda’s Civic.
In 2014, for the fifth consecutive year, the BMW 3-Series was America’s top-selling premium brand vehicle.
And now for the qualifying statements.
The “car” that topped the premium brand leaderboard in 2014 was the 3-Series and 4-Series. That’s the way BMW USA chose to release their sales figures when the 3-Series nameplate divested itself of key assets in the fall of 2013. In a sense then, this is the way it’s always been, since the 4-Series used to be part of the 3-Series family.
• 3-Series hasn’t been outsold in premium category since 2009
• 3-Series/4-Series generate four out of every ten U.S. BMW sales
• 3-Series/4-Series was America’s 16th-best-selling car in 2014
However, the 4-Series lineup has expanded to include very 3-Series-like cars like the 4-Series Gran Coupe even as the 3-Series lineup expanded to include not just a sedan and a wagon but also a hatchback, the 3-Series Gran Turismo.
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.
The Hyundai Sonata was America’s eighth-best-selling car in October 2014, down just one position but 4309 sales compared with October 2013. Among America’s top sellers, the Sonata was not alone in its decline, although the midsize Hyundai’s decrease was notable for its especially drastic nature.
Honda Civic sales slid 12%, the Civic’s fourth consecutive month with declining U.S. volume. Since the beginning of July, Civic sales in the United States have fallen 10%.
The Ford Focus was also off 2013’s October pace, falling 9% to 13,733 units, a 1375-unit decrease. Overall Ford brand car sales were down 11% in October and are down 4% this year even as the brand’s top-selling passenger car, the Fusion, has risen 6% (and 5% in October.)
After a brief one-month hiatus in which Toyota’s RAV4 took over the title, the Honda CR-V was back on top of America’s SUV/crossover leaderboard in September 2014. CR-V sales were up 11%, year-over-year, to 23,722 units, the CR-V’s highest September sales result in the history of the nameplate. The CR-V’s 2015 revamp brings with it more LEDs.
America’s second-ranked utility vehicle in September, the Toyota RAV4, is 28,093 sales back of the second-ranked Ford Escape on year-to-date terms. The RAV4’s quite helpful 43% year-over-year improvement last month equalled 6798 extra sales for Toyota during a month in which total Toyota passenger car sales (Lexus and Scion included) were down 9%. In addition to the RAV4’s big leap, sales of the Highlander rose 22% to 10,542 units and 4Runner sales shot up 76% to 5659.
After Nashville TN, we are now heading 222 miles South West to Memphis, still in Tennessee. As a reference point, the best-selling vehicles in Tennessee are the Nissan Altima, Toyota Camry and Ford F150 (2012 figures). Splitting the F-Series into its specific variants (F150, F250) does mean it is ‘only’ #1 in 22 states. However if we get into detailed observation, Memphis is the first city I have visited so far to have a strong mid-sized pick-up truck heritage and I will cover this at the end of the report. My first striking impression in Memphis is the markedly older vehicle landscape, in line with the region struggling a little economically in recent times. Cars 6-7 years or older are the norm here which prompts me to describe the state of the US car landscape as I have been witnessing it so far.
Full report below the jump.
Now that we have gone through New York City, Washington DC through Virginia, North & South Carolina and Charleston, it’s time to travel further South along the East Coast of the United States and the Interstate 95 to Georgia – the birthplace of Martin Luther King Jr and Ray Charles. But first, I’ll give you my first impressions on running a full-size pick-up on diesel in the US.
Full report below the jump…
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- Ernesto Perez There's a line in the movie Armageddon where Bruce Willis says " is this the best idea NASA came up with?". Don't quote me. I'm asking is this the best idea NY came up with? What's next? Charging pedestrians to walk in certain parts of the city? Every year the price for everything gets more expensive and most of the services we pay for gets worse. Obviously more money is not the solution. What we need are better ideas, strategies and inventions. You want to charge drivers in the city - then put tolls on the free bridges like the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges. There's always a better way or product. It's just the idiots on top think they know best.
- Carsofchaos The bike lanes aren't even close to carrying "more than the car lanes replaced". You clearly don't drive in Midtown Manhattan on a daily like I do.
- Carsofchaos The problem with congestion, dear friends, is not the cars per se. I drive into the city daily and the problem is this:Your average street in the area used to be 4 lanes. Now it is a bus lane, a bike lane (now you're down to two lanes), then you have delivery trucks double parking, along with the Uber and Lyft drivers also double parking. So your 4 lane avenue is now a 1.5 lane avenue. Do you now see the problem? Congestion pricing will fix none of these things....what it WILL do is fund persion plans.
- FreedMike Many F150s I encounter are autonomously driven...and by that I mean they're driving themselves because the dips**ts at the wheel are paying attention to everything else but the road.
- Tassos A "small car", TIM????????????This is the GLE. Have you even ever SEEN the huge thing at a dealer's??? NOT even the GLC,and Merc has TWO classes even SMALLER than the C (The A and the B, you guessed it? You must be a GENIUS!).THe E is a "MIDSIZED" crossover, NOT A SMALL ONE BY ANY STRETCH OF THE IMAGINATION, oh CLUELESS one.I AM SICK AND TIRED OF THE NONSENSE you post here every god damned day.And I BET you will never even CORRECT your NONSENSE, much less APOLOGIZE for your cluelessness and unprofessionalism.