A July 2016 surge to 22,960 sales produced the best month of U.S. sales for General Motors’ Buick brand in nearly three years.
“Year to date, Buick retail deliveries have grown 6 percent,” General Motors claimed in its monthly release, “and Buick has gained 0.1 percentage points of retail share.”
GM also said 2016, with 114,105 retail sales through July, represented the best seven-month retail start to a year since 2005 in the United States.
But don’t get too excited, LeSabre lovers, Skylark supporters, and rooters of Regals. We’re talking about 2005, when U.S. Buick sales had already fallen by more than a third in only three years.
“Do you want to get in and out of your car easily and do you want to be able to back out of a tight parking spot?” Ford Mustang buyer and former Chevrolet Camaro shopper John Oglesby wrote to Car And Driver for its September 2016 issue. “If so, you need the Mustang.”
John Oglesby is truly representative of the market as a whole. After holding its position as the top dog in the segment for five years, the Chevrolet Camaro predictably lost its title to the Ford Mustang in 2015, the year of an all-new Mustang; the last year for the now-departed fifth-generation Chevrolet Camaro.
2016 hosted the launch of an all-new Chevrolet Camaro, but a return to sales leadership wasn’t in the cards. Not at any point since the nameplate’s 2009 return has the Camaro sold so poorly. Year-over-year, U.S. Camaro volume is down 15 percent compared with 2015, the Camaro’s previous worst year since returning.
Grits and poutine aren’t the only divisions betwixt us.
Celine Dion and two-year election campaigns aren’t the only factors that enable Europeans to tell us apart.
Catastrophic illness-induced bankruptcy and wait-time-fostering universal healthcare aren’t the only hallmarks of our unique approaches to public policy.
There are wildly divergent vehicular tastes between the United States and Canada, as well.
The Toyota Camry began a streak of 14 consecutive years as America’s best-selling car in 2002. Holding that number one position isn’t easy.
Toyota does not merely need the Camry to continue to live up to its reputation for reliability, and subsequently incite demand. Toyota also requires massive production capacity and a pricing scheme that matches production capacity to demand.
Demand in the United States for conventional midsize cars, however, is falling quickly. Year-to-date, overall midsize car volume is down 8 percent. In July 2016, midsize car sales fell 15 percent.
With a 2016 Camry now attempting to leave dealer lots as a five-year-old car, more than two years since its last refresh, Toyota’s desire for the Camry to maintain its high-volume nature and best-selling posture is now matched by a significant uptick in Camry incentives.
Toyota is now discounting Camrys 27-percent more than just one year ago, with an average incentive spend per Camry of $3,760 in July.
Through the first seven months of 2016, the Honda CR-V is not the best-selling SUV/crossover in America.
This comes as some surprise for a vehicle that led the utility vehicle sector in eight of the last nine years, including each of the last four.
With a 16-percent year-over-year jump to 197,771 units through July, the Toyota RAV4 is the leader of the pack so far this year.
Yet after the RAV4 led the monthly SUV/crossover rundown in each of the first five months of 2016, the Honda CR-V narrowed the gap in June, outselling the RAV4 by 2,250 units to mark a turnaround at the end of the first-half.
Then in July, Honda reported the highest monthly CR-V sales total in the nameplate’s two-decade run.
The fourth-generation ND Mazda MX-5 Miata is undoubtedly, indisputably, undeniably the best addition you could make to your garage.
Some people disagree.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles reported 480 U.S. sales of the Fiat 124 Spider in July 2016. The Spider is a thoroughly transformed version of Mazda’s fourth Miata: different body, distinct suspension tuning, unique powerplant.
With the 124 Spider’s arrival in the United States, 13 months of Mazda MX-5 Miata sales growth came to a screeching halt.
44 percent of the new vehicles sold by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in the United States in July 2016 were Jeeps. As Fiat Chrysler, under a new sales reporting methodology, flatlined in July, Jeep volume jumped 5 percent, year-over-year.
Total new vehicle volume rose by a scant 0.6 percent in the United States in July, a gain of fewer than 11,000 units for an auto industry which grew by an average of 19,400 units in the first six months. Overall sales at FCA grew at half that rate, a gain of a few hundred units in July after FCA volume jumped by more than 9,000 sales per month in the first-half of 2016.
A 27-percent drop in passenger car volume at FCA created greater need for Jeep to pull more than its fair share of the automaker’s U.S. sales load in July, particularly with pickup truck sales growth at Ram quickly slowing.
Yet Jeep isn’t the only division at FCA that continues to counteract the automaker’s disappearing car volume. And we do mean disappearing in a literal sense.
Midsize pickup truck sales shot up 29 percent in the United States in July 2016, enough to drive the sub-sector’s share of the overall pickup category up three points to 17 percent.
Indeed, without the gains produced by the midsize truck sector, overall U.S. pickup truck volume would have flatlined in July on declining sales of the two top-selling truck lines, Ford’s F-Series and the Chevrolet Silverado. Moreover, without the midsize truck sector’s additional 8,973 July sales, total U.S. new vehicle sales volume would have risen by less than one-tenth of one percent.
Instead, because of a dramatic increase in sales of the second-generation Honda Ridgeline in its first month of availability, another huge uptick in Nissan Frontier sales, and continued growth from GM’s Colorado/Canyon duo, pickup truck sales grew four percent and the American auto industry reported nearly 10,000 extra sales in July 2016, year-over-year.
U.S. sales of America’s three pony-muscle car coupes slid 2 percent in July 2016 despite meaningful gains from both the Ford Mustang and Dodge Challenger.
Cast it all in the direction of the Chevrolet Camaro, sales of which plunged 26 percent, a loss of nearly 2,000 sales for Chevrolet dealers compared with July 2015.
Camaro sales declined in 7 of the last 12 months, diving by 9,517 units during a span of three consecutive year-over-year decreases between May and July. After the Camaro outsold the Ford Mustang in five consecutive years, it now appears certain that 2016 will be the second consecutive year in which the Mustang easily outsells the Chevrolet Camaro.
One might even say the Mustang is going to win, “by a lot.”
Not Chris Isaak – 1995.
Minivans crumbled as the three-row utility vehicle took over, leaving a handful of nameplates to each produce healthy volume. TTAC’s claim earlier this week? Midsize sedans are now following the same track, crumbling as the smaller two-row crossover takes over.
Already, America’s fleet of midsize sedans is decreasing in size. We expect to see a greater reduction in the number of midsize offerings soon.
Midsize sedans desperately want you. But you, oh collective American consumer, are consistently desirous of fewer midsize sedans. The current crop of midsize nameplates does not uniformly possess the mettle to survive the current downturn, a downturn which quickly grew more severe last month.
U.S. sales of midsize cars plunged by 31,000 units in July 2016.
After an attractive design, all-wheel-drive availability, a powerful V6 (and incentives) powered the Chrysler 200 to 16 consecutive months of improved U.S. sales through October 2015, demand for the midsize 200 suddenly dried up.
During that 16-month stretch between July 2014 and October 2015, sales of the 200 jumped 72 percent, an increase of more than 6,000 sales per month for the Sebring’s replacement. But between November of last year and January 2016, U.S. sales of the 200 were essentially chopped in half.
As a result, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles skipped quickly from a temporary shutdown at the 200’s Sterling Heights assembly plant, to a prolonged shutdown, to an announcement that the 200 and its Dodge Dart cousin would be gradually wound down. It wasn’t so gradual: Dart production is about to end and 200 production will be over before year’s end.
Coinciding with these sedan cancellations, FCA also mired itself in a sales fixing scandal. FCA now claims in 2011, 2014, and 2015, the company was under-reporting real total sales volume, FCA also clarified that sales through the first-half of 2016 were 7,450 units lower than the company first announced.
Though lacking specific monthly data for the early part of this year, we now know which brands and models were the key offenders with July figures in hand. No drum roll required.
After a steep May decline and modest growth in June, which fell below expectations, U.S. auto sales expansion flatlined in July 2016, suggesting the market is poised for a slower second half than the early part of the year projected.
New vehicle sales volume rose less than 1 percent in July 2016, a year-over-year improvement equal to roughly 11,000 sales.
There were a number of significant improvements. July 2016 was the best July ever for American Honda, for example, as sales jumped 6 percent to 139,125 at the Honda brand, overcoming another Acura decline. Buick, up 10 percent last month, ended the January-July period with its best start to the year since 2005. The only brands with superior growth rates in July were smaller outlets: Smart, Volvo, and Scion.
Mixed in with these gains, however, were double-digit percentage losses from a bundle of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles brands: Maserati, Fiat, Alfa Romeo, and Dodge.
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