America’s midsize sedan market is fading fast. Sales are down 12 percent this year, and the cars that operate farthest from the top of the leaderboard are the cars that are fading fastest: the Mazda 6, Volkswagen Passat, dying Chrysler 200, and the Kia Optima.
U.S. sales of the Kia Optima, the best-selling Kia in America in each of the last four years, are down 25 percent through the first ten months of 2016, a loss of more than four Optima sales for the average Kia dealer per month.
The Optima, therefore, is no longer the most popular Kia in America.
Front-wheel-drive, soft top, four-cylinder engine, hefty curb weight— the ideal car for the Enterprise Rent-A-Car lot at Miami International Airport?
On sale since January, the Buick Cascada has attracted 6,154 individual U.S. buyers over the last ten months.
According to Buick, General Motors has only seen three Cascadas make their way into fleet use, for a total of 6,157 Cascada sales through the end of October.
Land Rover sells the company’s flagship luxury SUV with three different powertrains in the United States. In two states of tune, with 340 horsepower or 380 and at $85,945 and $92,945, there’s the 3.0-liter supercharged V6. Priced in between, the $87,945 Range Rover is a 3.0-liter diesel V6.
At the top of the heap sits the supercharged 5.0-liter V8-powered Range Rover, which stretches from $104,190 onward and upward.
You can likely guess which one is most popular.
Is it still a cult following if only six, undeniably mainstream utility vehicles are more popular?
Honda, Toyota, Ford, Nissan, Chevrolet, Ford…
Subaru? While the U.S. auto industry dropped 6 percent in October 2016, losing nearly 90,000 sales compared with October 2015, the Subaru Outback soared to new heights.
If the Subaru Outback is the leader of a cult, as Dan Neil wrote in the Wall Street Journal earlier this fall, the cult is now big enough that we ought to call it a mainstream religion.
It’s an all-new version of a car that generally finds 140,000 U.S. buyers per year. But the Toyota Prius is quickly fading from the American mainstream.
There’s no doubt that hybrids, in a general sense, are struggling. Combined sales of hybrids and plug-in hybrids are down 6 percent in the United States this year, according to HybridCars.com.
But the Toyota Prius — the all-new, fourth-generation version of the sector’s progenitor — is fading at double speed. Despite its newness and its vast objective improvements, Prius sales are down 12 percent this year.
And October was way, way, way worse than that. Much worse.
America’s auto industry has now reported year-over-year sales declines in three consecutive months. The size of the market was 3.5 percent smaller in the August-October period of 2016 than during the same stretch in 2015.
Yet during the same period, U.S. sales of General Motors’ six full-size SUVs jumped 39 percent, a rate of success that throws pie in the face of an industry that’s now fading.
In October, however, the market’s fade became much more apparent. Industry-wide sales slid 6 percent, year-over-year, the worst monthly downturn since the recession. Yet at the same time, General Motors reported a 59-percent surge in full-size SUV volume worth nearly 12,000 additional sales.
This is the fifth overall edition of TTAC’s Midsize Sedan Deathwatch. The midsize sedan as we know it — “midsizedus sedanicus” in the original latin — isn’t going anywhere any time soon, but the ongoing sales contraction will result in a reduction of mainstream intermediate sedans in the U.S. market.
How do we know? It already has.
U.S. sales of midsize cars plunged by 20 percent in October 2016, a year-over-year loss of nearly 39,000 sales for a segment that was already down by nearly 195,000 through the first three-quarters of 2016.
American consumers, businesses, government agencies, and daily rental fleets are still on pace to purchase and lease more than two million midsize cars in calendar year 2016. Of course, Americans had already purchased and leased more than two million midsize cars at this point in 2015, when the midsize sedan decline was already underway.
Regardless of what came before, October’s results were a punch in the midsize sector’s gut, as total sales fell by a fifth because of declines reported by every player in the category.
Save for the Subaru Legacy.
Updated with additional October incentive numbers.
In theory, 2016 should have been the Chevrolet Camaro’s year. Although it’s not over, we already know it won’t be the Camaro’s year.
But the Chevrolet Camaro is making headway as 2016 comes to a close. October was the second consecutive month in which the Camaro outsold the Mustang.
After ending a 35-month streak of improved U.S. sales with a 3-percent year-over-year decline in September, Jeep volume slid 7 percent in October 2016, the second consecutive month of decline for the previously white-hot SUV brand.
Jeep’s best-selling Cherokee recorded the most significant plunge in October 2016, falling 23 percent from year-ago levels to rank third in Jeep sales. Only the Grand Cherokee, quickly becoming Jeep’s top seller, and the departing Patriot posted October improvements.
Jeep, so often the engine behind FCA’s growth when Chrysler, Dodge, and Fiat have struggled, was instead partly to blame for FCA’s 10-percent October decline.
In October 2016, after a 68-month gap, Chevrolet was once again the top-selling automobile brand in the United States.
Despite a modest sales slowdown, General Motors’ highest-volume brand increased its market share, outsold Ford Motor Company’s namesake Ford brand by 3,341 units, and produced the Bow-tie brand’s best October retail volume since 2004.
Ford, on the other hand, tumbled 13 percent, a loss of 26,000 sales compared with October 2015, due to sharp declines in its car and utility vehicle divisions.
Updated with Ford, Lincoln, and Ford Motor Company results.
Delayed by a fire at the automaker’s Michigan headquarters, Ford Motor Company sales figures weren’t released until this morning, a day after every other automaker issues their monthly reports.
Now, with Ford numbers included, the auto industy lost 6 percent of its October volume in 2016, a year-over-year loss of more than 86,000 units that’s causing observers to question the likelihood of a second consecutive annual sales record for the U.S. auto industry. Ford’s 12-percent drop in October certainly didn’t help.
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- Tassos Subaru really knows how to take fugly to ever higher levels, and sell every one of the (of course very few) it makes. As if the number of sales negates the fugliness.Don't hold your breath. I bet this will NOT be the vehicle James Bond arrives at the Casino in Monte Carlo with in his next flick. (if any)
- ToolGuy Government overreach. Park the Ford in your air-conditioned garage on a maintenance charger and this won't be a problem.Here's some (old) general background if you are interested.@ILO, there are 3 Fords, and Ford Pro™ is the one with the bright future 🙂
- ToolGuy No harm no foul (no one died), business is business, yada yada. Why must everyone pick on dealers?-this post dedicated to Ruggles
- Hydrocrust Parts
- ToolGuy The vehicle development process which gave the world the Neon was so amazing (according to the automotive press) that it prompted Rick Wagoner to hire Bob Lutz.Didn't work 🙂