USA August 2017: RAV4 repeats volume record in market hit by Harvey

The Toyota RAV4 once again breaks its volume record in the U.S.

* See the Top 15 groups, Top 40 brands and Top 286 models by clicking on the title *

Before hurricane Harvey hit, analysts thought August would be the first positive U.S. sales month for 2017. Partly due to the disruptions triggered by the storm and devastating floods that followed (estimated to have caused the loss of 30 to 50.000 sales), it ended up not being the case with sales for the month down 1.9% or 29.000 units year-on-year to 1.483.330, marking the 8th consecutive month of negative sales in the U.S. This even though average incentives are up 13% year-on-year to $3.799 per vehicle according to ALG. Thus 2017 has yet to register a single positive month. Year-to-date, new light vehicles in the U.S. are down 2.7% or 320.000 units to 11.350.606. The Seasonally Adjusted Annual selling Rate plunges to 16.1 million, down from 17.2 million in August 2016 and the lowest SAAR since the 15.6 million units of February 2014. The year-to-date SAAR now stands at 16.8 million units, down from 17.3 million in the same periods of 2016 and 2015. With between 300.000 to 500.000 storm-damaged vehicles to be replaced, we could however see a minor tick up over the last quarter of the year.

Once again cars are the hardest hit at -8.5% to 549.749 units, with midsize cars resisting better (-3.8%) while small cars (-11.8%) and luxury cars (-13.2%) down in the double-digits. Following a trend we’ve seen across the last couple of years, Light Trucks are up 2.4% to 933.581 units, with minivans up 0,7% to 45.924, pickups up 3.7% to 237.753 and crossovers up 3.8% to 465.125 but SUVs actually down 3.8% to 144.529. In August, cars account for 37.1% of light vehicle sales, down from 38.5% in August 2016 while light trucks see their share grow from 61.5% to 62.9%. Year-to-date, cars are down 11.3% and light trucks up 3.3% with this ratio being 37.9% to 62.1%.

The Ford F-Series is up 15% in August, helping pickup trucks up 3.7%. 

In the Groups ranking, General Motors post its largest year-on-year gain of 2017 at +7.5% to 275.552 units as inventory falls and Toyota Motor also impresses with its third consecutive year-on-year gain at +6.8% to 227.625, maintaining itself above Ford Motor down 2.1% to 209.029. FCA is down 11% for its 12th consecutive year-on-year drop, reporting retail sales down 7% and fleet sales plunging 23% as part of a deliberate strategy to reduce dependence on fleet. American Honda (-2.4%), Nissan North America (-13.1%) and most strikingly Hyundai-Kia (-14.8%) all lose ground and market share, falling faster than the market. The Volkswagen Group gains 4.8% to 56.836 sales.

Ford reclaims the lead of the brands ranking despite a 1.9% drop to just above 200.000 sales. Toyota, #1 last month, drops to #2 but gains 11.5%, ending the month a mere 817 sales above Chevrolet, also up a very solid 11.4%. Honda (-1.8%) and Nissan (-14.8%) round up the Top 5 above Jeep down a dismal 15.4% due to a 66% drop in fleet sales. Hyundai (-25.5%) tops all manufacturers for the largest drop in the Top 20 while GMC (+12.4%) posts the largest gain. Buick (-22.5%) and Chrysler (-33%) are also in great difficulty. Further down, Mitsubishi (+11.3%), Maserati (+15.1%), Genesis (+20.4%) and Alfa Romeo (+2981%) are the most dynamic among smaller brands. We finish on the most impressive brand of the past few years: with the smallest average incentives in market, Subaru gains 4.6% to sign its 69th consecutive month of year-on-year gains and its best sales month ever at 63.215 units.

General Motors sales are up 7.5%, with GMC up 12.4% 

The Ford F-Series is up a very robust 15% to just over 77.000 sales, lifting its year-to-date advantage over #2 Chevrolet Silverado, up just 4% this month, to a whopping 213.000 units. Once again the event of the month is delivered by the Toyota RAV4, up 30% year-on-year to sign an incredible 2nd consecutive all-time monthly record at 43.265, beating the 41.804 it hit just last month. 5.128 of these are the hybrid variant (+0.4%). Keeping in mind the RAV4 nameplate has been on sale for more than 20 years in the U.S., this is a truly great performance from the Toyota crossover. As a result, the RAV4 steps up to #4 in the YTD order, overtaking the Nissan Rogue (-10% this month) and now leading the crossover ranking just as the Honda CR-V drops 15% in 7th place overall.

The Ram Pickup is knocked down to #4 again bit remains a distant third YTD. Helped by the progressive arrival of the 2018 model, the Toyota Camry is up 13% in August but is followed closely by the Honda Civic (+11%) which for now retains the title of best-selling car of 2017 YTD at 248.928 (-3%) vs. 247.775 (-7%) for the Camry. Remember the Camry has won this title for the past 15 consecutive years whereas the Civic has never won it. Notice also the Chevrolet Equinox up 85% to break into the Top 10 for the second time in the past three months, the Jeep Grand Cherokee up 28%, the Chevrolet Malibu up 36%, Toyota Highlander up 26%, Dodge Grand Caravan up 62% and the Subaru Crosstrek up 46% to a record 12.823 sales. The GMC Acadia (+56%), Chevrolet Impala (+66%) and GMC Terrain (+54%) also shine.

The Range Rover Velar has landed in the U.S. sales charts.

Among recent launches, the Toyota C-HR dominates at #114, but the VW Atlas is catching up: up 50 spots on July to #120. It is followed by the Kia Niro at #126, the Chevrolet Bolt at #141, Hyundai Ioniq at #175, Alfa Romeo Giulia at #189 and Lincoln Continental at #197. We welcome the Range Rover Velar in the U.S. sales charts in August directly at #222.

Previous post: USA Full Year 2016: Exclusive State by State rankings now available

Previous month: USA July 2017: Toyota #1 brand, RAV4 breaks records, market down 7%

One year ago: USA August 2016: Light trucks outsell cars by 52%, market down 4%

Full August 2017 Top 15 groups, Top 40 brands and Top 286 models below.

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