USA April 2016: Strong incentives and light trucks push market up 3.5%

Chevrolet Colorado USA April 2015. Picture courtesy motortrend.comThe Chevy Colorado clocks its first five-digit sales month in April but GM is down 3.5%.

* See the Top 15 best-selling groups, Top 40 brands and Top 276 models by clicking on the title *

After disappointing results in March, the U.S. new light vehicle market rallies back in April at +3.5% to 1.51 million  units – the strongest April in history – thanks to strong incentives and fleet sales as well as ever-green light truck deliveries. Just as cars are down 5% to 629.800 units, light trucks are up 11% to 877.100 including pickups up 12% to 232.600 deliveries. This means trucks represent 59.3% of light vehicles sales in April – its largest share this year and ever for the month vs. 55.2% a year ago. The seasonally adjusted sales rate is back up to 17.42 million from 16.56 million last month and 16.77 million a year ago. The year-to-date tally now stands at 5.593 million, up 3% on the same period a year ago.

Jeep Wrangler USA April 2016. Picture courtesy caranddriver.comThe Wrangler is Jeep’s best-seller in the U.S. this month. 

General Motors is back above Ford but at -3.5% it registers its largest year-on-year decline since since January 2014 when it fell 12%. GM is still scaling down less profitable feel sales and focusing on deliveries to individual consumers: its retail sales are up 4%. All its brands are in negative this month: Cadillac (-29%), Buick (-3%), Chevrolet (-2%) and GMC (0.1%). Ford follows the market at +3.6% thanks to the F-Series (+13%), Explorer (+25%) and the Lincoln brand (+20%) whereas its car sales are down 12%

FCA is up 6% to extend its streak of year-on-year gains to an incredible 73 months, albeit based on some of the highest discounts in the market at $3.967 per vehicle, up 25% on a year ago. Jeep (+18%) and Ram (+12%) continue to lift the company’s sales whereas Dodge (-3%), Chrysler (-18%) and Fiat (-19%) are in decline. Toyota Motor is up 4% with its namesake brand also up 4% but Lexus down 4%, Honda Motor is up 14% to its best April ever with its namesake brand up 15% and Acura up 9% and Nissan Motor is up 13%, scoring its third double-digit gain this year.

Subaru Outback USA April 2016. Picture courtesy caranddriver.comNothing can stop Subaru, signing a 53rd consecutive month of year-on-year gains in April. 

Subaru continues on its outstanding run, up another 7% to 50.380 deliveries, its 53rd consecutive gain and confirmed its 2016 U.S. sales target is 600.000 vehicles which would mean an 8th consecutive year of increase. All this with almost no incentive: at $572 per vehicle they are by far the smallest in the market, and even down 21% year-on-year. Audi snaps its 64th consecutive monthly sales record, up 6% to 17.801 units, swan song Scion is up 54% Volvo up 41%, Mitsubishi up 18%, Mazda up 9%, Kia up 6% but Hyundai posts its first drop so far in 2016 at -8.5%.

Ford F-Series USA April 2016. Picture courtesy caranddriver.comThe Ford F-Series posts its best April since 2005. 

In the models ranking, the Ford F-Series posts a second consecutive month above 70.000 units at 70.774 (+13%), its best April since 2005, with the Chevrolet Silverado (+9%) and Ram Pickup (+8%) in tow as usual. The Honda Civic’s new generation is working like a charm: at +24% to 35.331 units it becomes the best-selling passenger car in the country this month, outselling the Toyota Camry (34.039) and cementing its 5th position in the year-to-date ranking – it was #8 over the FY2015. Note the F-Series sold more than the Honda Civic and Toyota Camry combined. The Honda Accord also shines with volumes up 16% to 31.526.

Honda Civic USA April 2016. Picture courtesy caranddriver.comThe Honda Civic is the best-selling passenger car in the U.S. in April 

In the SUV race, the Toyota RAV4 wins once again thanks to sales up a whopping 32% on April 2015 to 30.152, adding up to 106.274 (+18%) so far this year vs. 100.101 (-2%) for the perennial leader the Honda CR-V, down 2% to 28.913 deliveries this month. The Nissan Altima (+29%), Ford Explorer (+25%) and Chevrolet Malibu (+25%) also lodge very satisfying gains inside the Top 20. This month the Wrangler (+1%) is the best-selling Jeep in the U.S. above the Grand Cherokee (+12%) while the Cherokee seems to have plateaued: it is down 7% to 17.667 sales in April. The Renegade for its part breaks into the U.S. Top 50 for the first time at #49 with a record 9.730 sales.

Chrysler Pacifica USA April 2016The Chrysler Pacifica has big shoes to fill.

Thanks to sales up 48%, the Chevrolet Colorado cracks the 10.000 monthly sales barrier for the first time for this generation at 10.362, also hitting its best ranking so far at #44. This is however still a long way from the mid-size pickup segment leader, the Toyota Tacoma up 16% to 18.106 sales at #20. Let’s also single out the Ford Transit (+32%), Dodge Grand Caravan in full clearance mode before its disappearance from the brand’s lineup (+116%) and the Hyundai Accent (+58%) in runout mode before the new generation arrives. Among recent launches, the Buick Cascada gains 34% and 18 spots on March to #181 with 1.090 sales while the Cadillac CT6 is up 26 ranks to #235 with 285 units sold.

Cadillac XT5 USA April 2016. Picture courtest motortrend.comFirst appearance in the U.S. sales charts of the Cadillac XT5. 

We welcome two nameplates this month in the U.S.: the Chrysler Pacifica is the replacement for both the Dodge Grand Caravan (#30 in April) and Chrysler Town & Country (#51) adding up to 22.398 sales this month which would place the combined duo at #14. Needless to say expectations are sky high for a nameplate that was a flop in its previous life (2004-2008). For now it ranks #211 with 487 deliveries. The Cadillac XT5 also makes its first appearance in the U.S. sales charts at #231 with 304 units. If its prospects are much more measured than the Pacifica, this is Cadillac’s replacement for the SRX and the brand is heavily relying on it to bank on the current light truck euphoria and reverse its fortune: -29% in April and -12% year-to-date.

Previous month: USA March 2016: Ford outsells GM in lukewarm market

One year ago: USA April 2015: Chevrolet Equinox hits best ranking and volume ever

Full April 2016 Top 15 groups, Top 40 brands and Top 276 models below.

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