The U.S. auto industry generated an overall sales increase in November 2015 despite notable decreases at American Honda and Volkswagen Group, and a shorter-than-normal November selling season.
So strong were the numbers produced in the lead-up to and during November that analysts and forecasters are all but certain that 2015 will go down as the best year ever for auto sales volume in America. Just six years removed from the doldrums of 2009, auto sales in 2015 are expanding for a fifth consecutive year, rising 52 percent compared with 2010 and 5 percent compared with 2014.
This is the theme of auto sales coverage as we approach the end of 2015, as bestseller lists highlighting the strength of pickup trucks and ever more popular crossovers are being prepped. But what about the small figures behind the big numbers; the less well-known stories which contribute to the overall theme?
These are they.
New product is not fueling renewed American interest in Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ namesake Fiat brand.
The 500X, the latest product added to Fiat’s U.S. lineup, was clearly the brand’s best-selling model in November 2015, but sales at the brand slipped three percent, a modest drop of 82 units. Rewind one year and Fiat’s lineup featured only two nameplates: the 500 with which the brand relaunched in 2011, and the 30-month-old 500L. Adding the 500X, a true subcompact crossover, brought in 1,833 buyers in November 2015.
But the 500 and 500L combined to generate 1,915 fewer sales in November 2015 than in November 2014, astounding losses for a brand which in November of last year suffered a twelve-month sales low.
The Fiat brand’s figures in November 2015 were worse.
In November 2015, for the first time since March, Ford’s F-Series outsold the combined efforts of General Motors’ full-size truck twins in the United States.
November’s results won’t change the fact that 2015 will go down as the first year since 2009 that GM’s Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra will outsell their chief rival on a calendar year basis. Through the first eleven months of 2015, GM has sold 734,253 full-size pickup trucks, 39,110 more than the F-Series’ 695,143-unit total.
Industry-wide auto sales continued to expand in November 2015 despite a calendar quirk which shortened the selling month and a sharp 9-percent decline in passenger car volume.
The loss of 7,843 sales compared with November 2014 was incurred largely by the loss of all TDI sales. In November 2014, 17 percent — or approximately 5,460 sales — were generated by vehicles with diesel engines. But Volkswagen couldn’t sell vehicles with diesel engines in November 2015.
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