American consumers are on pace to buy and lease more new vehicles in 2014 than at any point since 2007, if not earlier. The seven largest automakers in the United States generate 77% of the market’s volume. For each of those seven, this chart breaks down the vehicle categories where their volume is created.
For Hyundai and Kia, this means 77% of their sales are generated by traditional passenger cars, and 37% of their own car volume with the Sonata and Optima. At Ford Motor Company, 30% of their U.S. volume is derived from pickup truck sales, the F-Series lineup. At the Chrysler Group, minivans are responsible do 14% of the load-lugging.
On October 1, after we asked TTAC readers late last month if the TLX could restore Acura’s car business, Acura reported 3884 TLX sales for the month of September 2014. This was a strong follow-up to the TLX’s 2286-unit performance during the latest Acura’s first month on sale.
3884 is a figure which, like most premium (or semi-premium?) monthly car sales totals, pales in comparison to the numbers put up by BMW’s vast 3-Series/4-Series range. 12,814 of those BMWs were sold in September, a 51% year-over-year increase. Mercedes-Benz C-Class sales slid 2% to 6285 units, the best C-Class month since December. (The C has been undergoing a transition into new W205 form.) Lexus ES sales jumped 18% to 5722 units. Mercedes-Benz E-Class volume fell 14% to 4883 units.
Yet among premium brand passenger cars, nothing else sold more often than the TLX in September 2014, not the Lexus IS, Audi A4, Infiniti Q50, Mercedes-Benz CLA, Audi A3, or the Cadillac CTS.
Audi sales in the United States grew 14%, or 1852 units, in September 2014, the first full month of sales for the Q3, Audi’s new entry-level crossover.
The Q3, along with Audi’s entry-level sedan, the A3, contributed 3425 more sales to the Audi ledger than they did a year ago, when the Q3 didn’t exist in America and the A3 hatchback (seven September 2013 sales) was on its way out.
The maths are simple. Non-A3/Q3 sales at Audi dropped 12% in September, a loss of 1573 units.
This isn’t exactly trouble in paradise. Month after month after month, Audi dealers in the United States are selling more cars. The current streak of year-over-year monthly sales increases dates back to January 2011.
In September 2014, for the third time ever and the third time this year, the Mazda CX-5 outsold the Mazda 3 in the United States.
The difference was minimal: just 238 units in September compared with a CX-5-favouring 2067 units in February and 1319 in March. Year-to-date, the 3 leads the CX-5 by just 2069 units.
Together, they account for 65.8% of Mazda USA’s volume over the course of the last nine months, up slightly from 64.5% at this point a year ago.
Following 17 consecutive months in which year-over-year volume at the Volkswagen brand declined in the United States, sales fell 19% in September 2014.
These September results ended a third quarter in which VW USA sales fell 15% and a nine-month period in which sales were down 14%.
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.
The Ford Motor Company’s namesake Ford brand suffered a September 2014 sales decline of 3% as the industry reported gains in excess of 9%.
The F-Series, not just Ford’s best-selling model line but the country’s most popular vehicle range, was revealed in new, high-tech form months ago, and we’re rapidly approaching the replacement phase. Some members of the media have even been driving the new truck.
In other words, with factories being overhauled and buyers interested in waiting for a more efficient F-150 with a better power-to-weight ratio, sales of the current model would naturally decline, bringing down a brand that relied on the F-Series for more than three out of every ten sales last year.
Indeed, F-Series sales did decline in September. But only slightly.
As is the norm, Ford’s F-Series topped September 2014’s sales charts, but if a true winner was to be crowned after a quick glance at the results tables, Chevrolet’s Silverado must surely take the cake.
Not only did Silverado sales rise more rapidly than any other pickup truck – faster than the Ram’s 30% jump; better than the Nissan Frontier’s 47% rise – but the Silverado also powered General Motors to a second consecutive F-Series-besting month.
Automakers reported sales of more than 1.24 million new vehicles in September 2014, a 9.4% increase compared with the same month one year ago. Auto sales rose 5.5% over the course of 2014’s first three quarters, powered by big improvements at Jeep, Ram, Subaru, and Nissan.
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