USA October 2015: All-time record year now a true possibility

Toyota RAV4 USA October 2015

The Toyota RAV4 is up 31% to #7 (2016 hybrid variant pictured)

* See the Top 15 best-selling groups, Top 40 brands and Top 280 models by clicking on the title *

Similarly to electric wonder Tesla, the U.S. new light vehicle market got into “Insane Mode” in October. Sales are up a whopping 14% year-on-year to 1.455.053, lifting the year-to-date total to 14.508.443 units, now and for the first time this year officially on track to break the all-time annual volume record of 17.395 million set in 2000… Even more impressively, the U.S. market hits its highest annualised sales rate (SAAR) in a decade for the third month in a row at 18.23 million vs. 18.17 in September, the first time since February 2000 that the SAAR exceeds 18 million for two consecutive months. All the planets are aligning in the U.S. right now, with pent-up demand, cheap petrol and affordable credit.

Volvo XC90 USA October 2015. Picture courtesy motortrend.comThe new XC90 helps lift Volvo sales up 87% this month.

As it has been the case for the most part of the past 12 months, light trucks are pulling the market up with sales of crossovers, SUVs, pickups and minivans up 22% vs. +4% for cars. Manufacturers with strong light truck portfolios have logically benefitted the most: General Motors is up 16%, Ford Motor Co up 13%, Toyota Motor also up 13% and FCA extends its stretch of consecutive year-on-year gains to 67 thanks to a 15% sales surge. Brand-wise, all Top 11 best-sellers except Honda (+9%) post double-digit year-on-year gains. Chevrolet and GMC are both up 18%, Hyundai and Subaru up 20% – the Japanese carmaker’s 47th consecutive month of growth – and Jeep is up a whopping 33%. Further down, notice Mazda (+35%), Volvo (+87%) and Land Rover (+98%) all riding the current light-truck euphoric wave.

Chevrolet dealers are clearing their Malibu inventory to make room for the 2016 model (pictured)

Over in the models ranking, once again the Ford F-Series (+3%) is getting caught up by the Chevy Silverado (+10%) all the while keeping a safe 14.000-unit distance. The Ram Pickup makes the podium 100% pickup truck for the 6th time this year, with the Toyota Camry (+5%), Honda Accord (+11%) and Honda CR-V (-1%) following. The Toyota RAV4 is up 31% to stop just 776 units short off an SUV win. The Nissan Rogue (+70%) is back inside the Top 10, runout prices for the outgoing generation push the Chevrolet Malibu up 122% to #11, the Equinox is up 25%, the Ford Explorer up 26%, Focus up 20%, Hyundai Elantra up 24% and Honda Pilot up 63%.

Toyota Mirai USA October 2015. Picture courtesy motortrend.comFirst appearance of the Toyota Mirai in the U.S. sales charts this month.

Further down, the Ford Mustang gains 121%, the Hyundai Tucson is up 103% thanks to the new generation, the Mercedes GLE is up 10 spots on September to break into the Top 100 at #97, the new model pushes the Volvo XC90 up 10-fold year-on-year to #125, the Fiat 500X is up 49 ranks on last month to #133 and 2.178 units, the Scion iA (#145) and iM (#164) already lodge stable rankings month-on-month, the first 34 units of the Toyota Mirai find a buyer in California and the Mercedes GLC makes a very discreet appearance (for now) at #274 with two sales in October.

Previous post: U.S. North to South 2015: See the Top-selling vehicles in each State visited

Previous month: USA September 2015: Market up 16% to highest SAAR in a decade (again)

One year ago: USA October 2014: Honda CR-V up 30% to 5th place

Full October 2015 Top 15 groups, Top 40 brands and Top 280 models below.

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U.S. North to South 2015: See the Top-selling vehicles in each State visited

Ram 2500 Montana USA October 2015The Ram pickup is the best-selling vehicle in Montana so far in 2015.

* Click on title to see the Top 5 best-selling light trucks and Top 5 cars in each U.S. state *

Here you will find the Top 5 best-sellers in the light truck category – that’s pickups and SUVs – and the Top 5 passenger cars in all States I am going through for this U.S. North to South series. This means, in alphabetical order: Alaska, Arizona, California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming. Utah will be uploaded shortly. The data covers the first 6 months of 2015 which is the most recent data available for such a level of detail in the U.S.

Subaru Outback USA September 2015. Picture courtesy caranddriver.comThe Subaru Outback is the #1 passenger car in five of the states I am visiting this year.

We learn that the Subaru Outback is the #1 passenger car in no less than five states, the other winners in the PC category being the Toyota Camry (two states) Hyundai Elantra and Honda Civic (one each). No luck for U.S. manufacturers in this category: the best performing yankees are the Chevrolet Impala (best ranking: #2 in Montana), Chrysler 200 (#2 in Alaska), Chevrolet Cruze (#2 in Wyoming), Dodge Charger and Ford Focus (both peaking at #4).

In the light truck category, the separation of the Ford F-150, F-250 and F-350 Super Duty makes the ranking a lot more interesting – and realistic. Surprise: the Ram Pickup wins five states, while the Chevrolet Silverado and Ford F-150 each win two states. The Subaru Forester is an impressive best-seller in Washington.

See the Top 5 best-sellers for 9 U.S. states below.

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USA September 2015: Market up 16% to highest SAAR in a decade (again)

Subaru Outback USA September 2015. Picture courtesy motortrend.comThe Outback (best-ever 15.126 sales) lifts Subaru to a third consecutive all-time record U.S. month.

* See the Top 15 groups, Top 40 brands and Top 280 models by clicking on the title *

All planets aligned for the U.S. new car market in September. A calendar twist that put Labor Day back from August in 2014 to September this year, gasoline prices remained low, car demand continued to be boosted by strong macroeconomic factors cont(low unemployment, growing economy and cheap credit), lastly and rather surprisingly in this overly optimistic environment, increased competition resulted in larger average industry incentives up 4% compared to September 2014 to $3.090 per vehicle according to TrueCar. All these factors combined mean a U.S. market up a splendid 16% year-on-year to 1.442.113 units, lifting the year-to-date total to 13.053.284 deliveries, up 5% or 621.000 units over the same period in 2014.

Scion iA USA September 2015. Picture courtesy motortrend.comBoth the Scion iA (pictured) and iM make their debut in U.S. sales charts, pushing the brand up 57%.

Although we have been in positive all year, the September surge means FY 2015 forecasts need to be adjusted up… The seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) is at its highest in a decade for the second consecutive month, climbing to 18.17 million after 17.81 million in August, its strongest since a July 2005 boosted by employee discounts offered to the public, and to be compared to just 16.53 million in September 2014. It is now certain that the industry will surpass 17 million annual sales for only the third time in history, but some analysts now predict 2015 will be an all-time record year: Today TrueCar raised its 2015 forecast by 200,000 to 17.4 million, which would top the previous all-time record of 17.395 million set in 2000… In terms of segments, light-trucks such as SUVs and pickups absorbed most of the growth with sales up 24% year-on-year vs. 6% for passenger cars. Automotive News USA quoted Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota North America, saying “On a year to date basis, [the market] is almost 56% light truck and realistically it would probably be closer to 60 percent if the availability was there.”

Ford F-150 USA September 2015. Picture courtesy motortrend.comFor the first time since July 2014, the Ford F-Series gains more ground than the Chevy Silverado.

The entire Top 8 largest manufacturing groups all lodge double-digit year-on-year gains including all of the Detroit 3. GM is up 12% lifted by GMC (+24%), Ford Motor Co is up 23% with the Ford brand up 23% also and Lincoln up a neat 20%, and finally FCA is ip 14%, solely due to Jeep (+40%) compensating for Ram (+5%), Fiat (+4%), Dodge (+3%) and Chrysler (-5%). Note Jeep posts the third highest-ever monthly U.S. volume in the brand’s history at 77.201 units, to be compared to a mere 37.464 deliveries only two years ago in September 2013… Toyota Motor Co is up 16% with the Toyota division up 15%, Lexus up 16% and Scion for once up 57% thanks to the arrival in the sales charts of the new iA (#142) and iM (#162), already the brand’s two best-seller in the country. Honda Motor is up 13% (Honda +14%, Acura +6%), Nissan Group up 18% (Nissan up 17%, Infiniti up 30%) as is Hyundai-Kia, lifted by Kia (+23%).

Range Rover Sport USA September 2015. Picture courtesy motortrend.comLand Rover is the best performing brand in the U.S. in September with sales up 89%.

Subaru soars another 28% to break its all-time monthly U.S. sales record for the third consecutive month and the fifth time this year at 53.070 units. Having secured a good chunk of their monthly sales during the Labour Day weekend at the start of the month – escaping the full effects of the diesel scandal, all Volkswagen Group brands gain volume with the group up 7% as a whole pulled up by Audi posting its 71st consecutive monthly gain at +16% and Volkswagen up a shy 1%, while Porsche is up 23%. Notice also Mitsubishi up 36% and Land Rover up 89% thanks to most of its range in frank improvement (Range Rover Sport +94%, Range Rover +83% and Range Rover Evoque +71%) and the addition of the Land Rover Discovery Sport accounting for roughly 20% of the brand’s sales this month.

Ford Escape USA September 2015. Picture courtesy motortrend.comThe Ford Escape is up to a splendid overall U.S. 7th place in September.

Model-wise, for the first time since July 2014 and the arrival of the new gen F-150, the Ford F-Series widens the gap over its archenemy the Chevrolet Silverado at +16% to 69,651 vs. +7% and 53.726. The GM full-size pickups however still outsell the F-Series with the GMC Sierra (+18%) lifting the GM total to 73.479. The Ram Pickup, stable, keeps the Toyota Camry (+21%) at bay both in September and year-to-date,  with the Honda Accord at a strong #5 above the Honda CR-V (+26%), Ford Escape (+31% year-on-year and 4 spots on August to #7) and Honda Civic (+27%) all clearly outperforming the market. If the Toyota Corolla is up an equally impressive 30%, it is down five spots on August to #10.

Hyundai Tucson USA September 2015. Picture courtesy motortrend.comThe new model pushes Hyundai Tucson sales up 121%.

Within the September Top 50, the majority of the largest year-on-year gains are delivered by SUVs: in ranking order, the Nissan Rogue (+45%), Ford Explorer (+31%), Jeep Cherokee (+38%), Jeep Wrangler (+26%), Subaru Outback (+34% to an all-time high 15.126 units), GMC Terrain (+32%), Dodge Journey (+45%), Ford Edge (+33%) and Honda Pilot (+31%) all post spectacular increases, as do the Nissan Versa (+50%), Subaru Impreza (+65%) and Ford Mustang, improving its sales 3-fold thanks to the new model. Among recent launches, the Hyundai Tucson is up 121% to #54 thanks to the new gen, the Jeep Renegade is up a further 5 spots on last month to #55, the Honda HR-V is up two to #88, the Mercedes GLE up 45 to #107, the Mazda CX-3 up 35 to #167 and the Volvo XC90 up 18 to #176.

Previous month: USA August 2015: Volume down but SAAR highest in a decade

One year ago (models): USA September 2014 Chevy Silverado and Nissan Sentra on fire

One year ago (brands): USA September 2014: GM fleet, Jeep lift market up, Big 3 back to Top 3

Full September 2015 Top 15 groups, Top 40 brands and Top 280 models below.

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USA August 2015: Volume down but SAAR highest in a decade

Jeep Wrangler USA August 2015. Picture courtesy caranddriver.comJeep hit an all-time record monthly volume in August.

* See the Top 279 models, Top 20 groups and Top 40 brands by clicking on the title *

Even though U.S. sales fell into negative territory for the first time in 19 months in August at -0.6% to 1.577.179 units, the Seasonally Adjusted Annualized Rate (SAAR) climbed to 17.81 million, up from 17.3 million in August 2014 and the highest in a decade – since July 2005 when employee-style discounts boosted the market. This is the strongest monthly SAAR since the U.S. market started its recovery from the 2009 slump. Year-to-date U.S. sales are up 4% to 11.6 million deliveries, and with SAAR above 17 million for 5 of the 8 months of the year so far, the market is still on track to break the 17 million annual mark for only the third time ever.

Nissan Rogue USA August 2015. Picture courtesy carswall.netThe Nissan Rogue is once again the biggest gainer in the Top 20.

Apart from General Motors (-1%), American manufacturers improved year-on-year in August whereas their main Japanese counterparts posted declines. GM’s Chevrolet dropped 1.5, Cadillac is down 5.5% while GMC is up 3.5% and Buick up 1%. However GM said they recorded the largest retail sales increase in the market this month. Ford Motor is up 6%, helped by better stock availability of the new F-150 aluminium pickup which boosted F-Series sales up 5% to 71.332 units, its highest monthly volume so far this year. FCA Fiat Chrysler Automobiles posts its 65th consecutive month of year-on-year gains at +2%, thanks to Jeep up 18% to an all-time record 80.804 units – the brand’s 23rd consecutive month in positive, Ram up 6% and Fiat up 1%, compensating for weak performances of Chrysler (-14%) and Dodge (-15%).

Subaru Forester USA August 2015. Picture courtesy caranddriver.comSubaru posts a 2nd consecutive all-time record month in the U.S.

Toyota Motor is down 9%, with the Toyota brand down 10% and Scion freefalling 37% but Lexus up 2% to its best-ever August score at 33.487 units. For the 2nd consecutive month, Lexus is the best-selling luxury brand in the US above Mercedes (31.250), BMW (27.755) and Audi (18.794). Year-to-date, Lexus is getting dangerously close to the #1 luxury spot at 222.151 deliveries so far vs. 223.348 for BMW, 220.870 for Mercedes, 130.063 for Audi and 117.065 for Acura. Note all Mercedes data excludes Sprinter. Honda Motor decline 7% and Nissan Motor is down 1% despite a 16% surge from Infiniti. Subaru on the other hand is going from strength to strength, posting its 45th consecutive monthly gain at +5% to 52.679 deliveries, the best-ever sales month in the company’s history and beating its previous best (50.517) established just last month. Notice also Mitsubishi up 22%, Volvo up 18% and Land Rover up 16%.

Mercedes GLE USA August 2015. Picture courtesy motortrend.comFirst month of U.S. sales for the Mercedes GLE.

Over in the models ranking, despite sales up 12% the Chevrolet Silverado lags 16.000 units below the Ford F-Series while the Ram Pickup reclaims the third spot year-to-date thanks to volume up 4% to 45.310 vs. 37.592 (-15%) for the Toyota Camry. The Honda Accord is the best-selling passenger car in the country this month even though it is down 20% on August 2014 to 40.931 deliveries, and is also back to being Honda’s best-seller in the U.S. above the CR-V (+2% this month) and the Civic (-6%). The Nissan Rogue lodges the largest sales gain in the Top 20 at +29%, with the Chevrolet Equinox (+18%) and Ford Explorer (+22%) also performing solidly. Further down, notice the Chrysler 200 (+30%), Ford Edge (+36%), Subaru Impreza (+41%) and Ford Mustang (+70%) taking off.

Mazda CX-3 USA August 2015. Picture courtesy caranddriver.comThe Mazda CX-3 lands at #202.

Among recent launches, the Jeep Renegade once again performs the best, improving its best-ever U.S. monthly ranking by 11 spots vs. last month to a splendid 60th place with 8.156 sales, the Chevrolet Colorado has stabilised around the #60-70 mark at #67 (Toyota Tacoma: #26, Nissan Frontier: #109), the Chevrolet Trax is down 5 ranks on July to #77, the Honda HR-V down 16 to #90, the Lexus NX posts its 2nd consecutive month (and ever) inside the U.S. Top 100 and the Fiat 500X sells a very timid 1.029 units. We welcome two all-new nameplates in the U.S. sales charts in August: the Mercedes GLE – replacement for the M-Class – lands directly at #152 with 1.802 sales while the Mazda CX-3 arrives at #202 with 698 deliveries (CX-5: #49 and 10.033 units).

Previous month: USA July 2015: Chevrolet Silverado and Nissan Rogue shoot up

One year ago: USA August 2014: Honda Accord and Toyota RAV4 at all-time high

Full August 2015 Top 20 groups, Top 40 brands and Top 279 models below.

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USA July 2015: Chevy Silverado and Nissan Rogue shoot up

Chevrolet Silverado USA July 2015Discounted before the facelifted 2016 model arrives, the Chevy Silverado is up 34%…

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

The U.S. light vehicle market starts the second semester in a very strong manner with sales up a solid 5% year-on-year to 1.510.941 units, lifting the year-to-date total above the 10 million mark at 10.033.999, up 4.5% or over 400.000 deliveries on 2014. The seasonally adjusted annual sales rate (SAAR) shoots up to 17.55 million, the second-highest tally in a decade, and has now cracked the 17 million bar during 4 out of the last 7 months. Light trucks (a U.S. appellation combining pickup trucks and SUVs) once again are the sole responsible for the market gain with sales up 13% just as passenger cars dropped 3%, a picture also reflected in the year-to-date results where their respective evolutions are +13% (trucks) and -2% (cars). This turnaround is here to stay: July is the 23rd consecutive month where light trucks outsell cars, also driving  the average transaction price up which is great news for manufacturers.

Ford F150 USA July 2015. Picture courtesy…just as the Ford F-Series posts its first year-on-year gains since January.

Among the Top 10 groups, only Toyota Motor Co (+1%) and BMW (stable) registered gains below the market, with Subaru (+11%), Volkswagen Group (+9%), Honda Motor and Nissan Motor (both at +8%) faring the best. In the brands ranking, Ford is slightly under the market at +4% but remains #1 by far with 212.478 deliveries above Chevrolet at 188.790 (+8%) and Toyota at 183.500 (stable). In fact the entire Top 12 best-selling brands are identical to the year-to-date ranking, with Honda (131.409) keeping Nissan (120.439) at bay, Jeep (+23%) the best performer in the Top 20, Buick (+18%), Audi (+21%), Acura (+20%), Infiniti (+22%), Lincoln (+21%) and Mitsubishi (+24%) also posting healthy year-on-year increases.

Nissan Rogue USA July 2015. Picture courtesy motortrend.comNissan Rogue sales are up 51% in July.

Over in the models ranking, the Ford F-Series may now be out of the woods, lodging its first year-on-year increase since January at +5% to 66.288 sales. This means its year-to-date total is now just 1% below the same period in 2014 at 423.468, a comfortable 91.000 above the Chevrolet Silverado on fire this month at +34% to 56.380 units. Despite sales down 4%, the Toyota Camry holds onto the #3 overall spot and #1 passenger car title with 38.435 sales, distancing the Ram Pickup (+1%) and Honda Accord (-2%) while the Nissan Altima surges 27% to 33.842 sales, the Honda CR-V is up 11% to #7 and the Ford Escape up 10% to #10.

Toyota Tacoma USA July 2015While we await the 2016 model (above), the Toyota Tacoma is up 29% in July.

The three nameplates we said were game changers last month for our 1st Half 2015 US report continue to shake things up in July: the  Nissan Rogue posts the largest gain in the Top 20 (+51%) to its best July ever at 25.081 units and #13, the Chrysler 200 is up 85% to #28 and 15.108 sales and the Chevrolet Colorado is up 10 spots on June to #63. Other impressive gainers this month include the Ford Explorer up 23% to #15, Toyota Tacoma up 29% to #22, Chevrolet Traverse up 32% to #33, Hyundai Santa Fe up 35% to #35, GMC Acadia up 32% to #39 and Subaru Impreza up 39% to #41.

Jeep Renegade USA July 2015. Picture courtesy motortrend.com6.320 Jeep Renegade found a buyer in the U.S. in July.

Three compact SUVs launched in the past few months hit their highest ever U.S. ranking this month: the Jeep Renegade is up 17 spots on June to #71 with 6,320 sales, the Chevrolet Trax is up 5 to #72 and 6.111 units and the Lexus NX breaks into the U.S. Top 100 for the very first time at #95 with 4.337 sales. Meanwhile the Honda HR-V is down 14 ranks to #74 and 5.909 deliveries, the Volvo XC90 sees its sales grow 3-fold on July 2014 thanks to the new generation now hitting U.S. dealerships at #179 with 1.176 sales and the Fiat 500X is up 38 spots on last month to enter the Top 200 at #193 and 962 units.

Previous post: USA 1st Half 2015: Nissan Rogue, Chrysler 200 & Chevy Colorado game changers

Previous month: USA June 2015: Chevrolet Silverado closest to Ford F-Series in 6 years

One year ago: USA July 2014: Toyota RAV4 at all-time record in market up 9%

Full July 2015 Top 15 groups, Top 40 brands and Top 276 All-models below.

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USA 1st Half 2015: Rogue, Chrysler 200 and Colorado game changers

Chevrolet Colorado USA April 2015. Picture courtesy motortrend.comThe Chevrolet Colorado is reviving the mid-size pickup truck segment.

* Click on title to see the Top 15 groups, Top 40 brands and Top 280 models *

The U.S. new light vehicle market hasn’t stopped exceeding expectations over the First Half of 2015 with sales up 4% year-on-year to 8.523 million units whereas mosts analysts had anticipated the market would flatten up after five consecutive years of growth. But the market still has legs, with low interest rates, favourable credit terms and rising employment combining to keep U.S. sales in positive territory and now on track to hit 17 million sales this year for the first time since 2001 and only the third year ever. The National Automobile Dealers Association has just increased its forecast for the Full Year 2015 to 17.17 million from 16.94 million previously, and NADA is also projecting 2016 at 17.62 million sales, beating the record of 17.4 million established in 2000, reports Automotive News.

Nissan Rogue USA May 2015. Picture courtesy of motortrend.comThe new Rogue has put Nissan on the compact SUV map…

General Motors widens the gap with Ford Motor over the period, lifting it from 190.511 units to 212.526 thanks to sales up 3% to 1.5 million vs. +2 and 1.29 million for Ford. Toyota Motor remains in third place above FCA Fiat Chrysler Automobiles with both group outpacing the market at +6%. Honda Motor (+2%) is under threat from Nissan Motor (+5%) at 753.000 sales vs. 736.500, both keeping Hyundai-Kia at a distance at 682.000 units. Subaru (+14%) is catching up fast on Volkswagen Group (+2%) and the BMW Group holds onto its luxury leadership thanks to sales up 10% vs. +9% for Daimler AG.

Chrysler 200 USA June 2015. Picture courtesy of…while the 200 finally makes Chrysler a true contended in the mid-size sedan battle.

Brand-wise, Ford (+2%) keeps its crown at 1.24 million sales above Chevrolet (+3%) but Toyota (+5%) is now lagging less than 6.000 units below the American brand. Nissan is already reaping the dividends of its keenness to reproduce its unbelievable Mexican success north of the border: it historically distances Honda thanks to sales up 4% to 672.000 units vs. 666.000 (+1%). Jeep is unstoppable and breaks the 400.000 sales milestone in just 6 months for the first time in the brand’s 80 years existence, up 21% year-on-year. BMW leads the luxury race so far at 169.000 sales vs. 165.000 for Mercedes (ex-Sprinter) and 159.000 for Lexus (+15%). Notice also Audi up 11%, Acura up 12%, GMC up 14% to break into the Top 10, Chrysler up 21%, Land Rover up 23% and Mini and Mitsubishi both up 25%.

Ford Mustang USA January 2015. Picture courtest motortrend.comThe Ford Mustang almost slices its ranking in two vs. H1 2014 at #34.

The Ford F-Series is headed towards a 34th consecutive year as U.S. #1 vehicle despite stock shortages for the new aluminum-bodied F-150 resulting in sales down 2% to 357.000. The Chevrolet Silverado, at its closest to the F-Series in 6 years in June, still has a lot of ground to cover: up 15% to 276.000. The Toyota Camry (216.000) and Ram Pickup (213.000) remain close, while the Toyota Corolla at #5 (+2) and Honda CR-V at #7 (+3) are the big movers in the Top 10.

Jeep Cherokee USA June 2015. Picture courtesy of motortrend.comJeep Cherokee

Outside, three relaunched nameplates are redefining their respective segments. The Nissan Rogue is up 36% to #14 and 135.000 sales, now threatening the Chevrolet Equinox (146.000) and Toyota RAV4 (144.000) for the #2 spot in the compact SUV segment. Nissan is at maximum Rogue capacity in its U.S. plants and announced this week that an additional 100.000 annual units will be produced in its Kyushu, Japan plant in 2016 to be exported exclusively to the U.S. With the Rogue predicted to reach at least 275.000 U.S. sales this year, this means it could potentially aim at 375.000 in 2016-2017, placing it right at the same level as the segment leader, the Honda CR-V. In other words, the new gen Rogue has put Nissan on the compact SUV map.

The mid-size sedan segment remains the most popular but is down 4% year-on-year halfway through 2015 at 1.76 million sales. Strikingly, the Top 5 best-sellers in the segment all lose volume year-on-year: the Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima (-3%), Honda Accord (-13%), Ford Fusion (-7%) and Chevrolet Cruze (-12%). In this depressing context, Chrysler has finally cracked the mid-size equation with the redesigned 200, up a stunning 136% to burst into the Top 20 at #19 and 107.000 units vs. #58 a year ago, albeit still a fair distance from the Ford Fusion and the Top 10 at 153.000 sales.

The last game changer over the First Half of 2015 in the U.S. is the Chevrolet Colorado, relaunched last year and responsible with its twin the GMC Canyon for the mid-size pickup segment revival. The Colorado shoots up to #66 with just under 42.000 units, already above the Nissan Frontier (#74), with the Canyon up to #125 with 15.000 sales. The segment leader, the Toyota Tacoma, is juiced up by its newfound competition, up 18% to #27 and 89.000 deliveries. Quite separately and finally, notice also the Cherokee becoming Jeep’s best-seller thanks to sales up 31% to 105.426 vs. +19% and 102.450 for the Wrangler, the Honda Pilot up 36% to #33, Ford Mustang up 54% to #34 and the Ford Transit breaks into the Top 50 at #44.

Previous post: USA June 2015: Chevrolet Silverado closest to Ford F-Series in 6 years

Q1 2015 Report: USA 1st Quarter 2015: Trucks lift market up 6%

FY 2014 Report: USA Full Year 2014: Podium 100% pickup trucks for the first time in 11 years

One year ago: USA 6 months 2014: Top two pick-ups pause growth

Full H1 2015 Top 15 groups, Top 40 brands and Top 280 models below.

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USA June 2015: Chevy Silverado closest to F-Series in 6 years

2015 Chevrolet Silverado LTZ 3500HDThe Chevrolet Silverado is nipping at the Ford F-Series’ heels.

* See the Top 15 groups, Top 40 brands and Top 278 models by clicking on the title *

The U.S. new light vehicle market is up a satisfying 4% year-on-year in June to 1.476.472 registrations, lifting the H1 2015 result to 8.523.058 units, also up 4% on 2014. The seasonally adjusted annual rate stands at 17.16 million in June, down from the 17.78 million it reached it May but above the 16.91 million from June 2014. Once again, trucks pull the market up at +11% and 800.048 sales vs. -4% and 676.627 units for passenger cars. Pickup trucks are up 10%, crossovers up 19% and SUVs up 2%. The market is on track to hit 17 million units for the first time since 2001 and the third time ever by the time 2015 comes to an end. To finish painting the rosiest picture the U.S. market has seen in years, the average sale price is also up 2.5% year-on-year to $33.340 according to Kelly Blue Book.

Honda HR-V USA June 2015. Picture courtesy motortrend.comThe HR-V (7.760 sales) helps Honda reach an all-time record light truck sales month.

General Motors is the only auto group to lose ground year-on-year in June at -3%, and their excuse is unhealthy: “GM blamed its decline on a 45% drop in fleet shipments to daily rental operators” says Automotive News. Reversely, Ford Motor is up 1%, Toyota Motor up 4% (light trucks up 18%), FCA posts its 63rd consecutive month of year-on-year gains at +8%, Honda Motor is up 4% (light trucks are up 18% to an all-time record thanks to the HR-V), and Nissan Motor up a very impressive 13% on the back of stunning Rogue sales. Subaru for its part is up 7% to lodge its 43rd consecutive monthly increase and Mitsubishi is up 32%.

BMW 3 Series M3 USA June 2015. Picture courtesy motortrend.comBMW now leads the U.S. luxury race.

Brand-wise, Ford (+1%) dominates ahead of Chevrolet (-3%), Toyota (+4%) and Honda (+1%). Nissan is up 13% and although it ranks 5th in June it maintains its 4th spot year-to-date, Jeep is up a splendid 25%, Hyundai is up 1% to post its best June ever, GMC (+8%) is the only GM brand to post year-on-year gains this month, Dodge signs its 5th straight double-digit decline at -14% and Chrysler surges 28% thanks to sales of the 200 sedan up 153%. In the battle for the 2015 luxury crown, BMW overtakes Mercedes year-to-date thanks to sales up 7% to 32.176 in June vs. 28.044 (+6%) for Mercedes (excluding Sprinter sales), 26.121 (+11%) for Lexus and 18.262 (+8%) for Audi – the brand’s 68th consecutive year-on-year gain. BMW totals 168.623 sales so far in 2015 vs. 164.970 for Mercedes, once again ex-Sprinter.

Ford Edge USA June 2015. Picture courtesy motortrend.comThe Edge (+30%) helps Ford stay afloat in the U.S. this month.

This month more than any in the past year that the transition has started, Ford F-Series sales are suffering from the new aluminium-bodied F-150’s supply issues, falling 9% year-on-year to 55.171 units. That’s only 3.623 more than the Chevrolet Silverado (+18%), the smallest gap between America’s two best-selling nameplates since May 2009, in the midst of recession, when only 1.918 sales separated the two models. Despite dropping 8% year-on-year, the Toyota Camry remains #3 and overtakes the Ram Pickup to now also rank #3 year-to-date. The Nissan Altima is back up one spot to #6 (+13%), followed by three Hondas: the Civic (-11%), CR-V (+8%) and Accord (-15%).

Toyota Tacoma USA June 2015. Picture courtesy motortrend.comThe Toyota Tacoma (#24) still dominates the mid-size pickup segment.

Stunning month for the Hyundai Elantra breaking into the overall Top 10 for the second time in 4 months at #10 with sales up 55% to 26.613, the nameplate’s 2nd best monthly result ever, below just the 28.794 reached last March. The Nissan Rogue is up 54% to #14, the Ford Explorer up 30% to #16, the GMC Sierra up 21% to #20, Jeep Cherokee up 39% to #22, Toyota Tacoma up 31% to #24, Ford Edge up 30% to #32 and the Ford Transit is up to a record #33 and 12.134 deliveries exactly one month after launching in the U.S. Further down, notice the Honda HR-V up a further 10 spots to #60, the Jeep Renegade up 6 to #88 and the Fiat 500X up 38 to a still very timid #231 and 324 sales.

Previous month: USA May 2015: Highest ever May volume and 17.8 million annual pace

One year ago: USA June 2014: Toyota Corolla and Hyundai Sonata lead gainers

Full June 2015 Top 15 groups, Top 40 brands and Top 278 models below.

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USA May 2015: Highest ever May volume and 17.8 million annual pace

Jeep Wrangler USA May 2015Jeep sets an all-time volume record in May at 79.652 units.

* Now updated with the Top 20 groups, Top 40 brands and Top 275 models *

Whereas the totality of analysts had predicted a slight year-on-year decline due to less selling days in May this year than in 2014, the U.S. customer has shown them wrong with May 2015 up 1.6% year-on-year to become the best ever May score in U.S history at 1.634.952 registrations. The year-to-date total is now up 4.5% on 2014 to 7.046.586 units and now on track to top 17 million units this year for the first time since 2001. In fact, the seasonally adjusted sales rate (SAAR) soared to 17.78 million, up from 16.52 million in April and 16.73 million in May 2014. This is the highest recorded SAAR since the 20.64 million of July 2005, when the Big 3 manufacturer simultaneously had employee-pricing deals in market. Even more impressive: U.S. car buyers are spending more money on each car they buy: an average of $33.363 according to Kelley Blue Book, or $1.363 more than in May 2014.

The Chrysler 200 breaks the 20.000 monthly sales milestone for the first time in May.

The market continues to be lifted by light trucks up 7% year-on-year to 870.393 units while passenger cars are down 4% to 764.697. The best performing segments are crossovers (+15%), Luxury SUVs (+10%), pickups (+7%) and mid-size SUVs (+6%), whereas all categories of cars are consistently down: small (-3.5%), midsize (-4%) and luxury (-3%). Group-wise, GM improves 3% to 293.097 deliveries ahead of Ford down 1% to 250.086 and Toyota down 0.3% to 242.579. FCA clocks in its 62nd consecutive month of year-on-year gains at +4% to 202.227 units, with Jeep lodging its all-time monthly sales record at 79.652 (+14%), Chrysler up 32% and Ram up 12% more than compensating for harsh declines at Dodge (-21%) and Fiat (-19%). Thanks to an almost 20.000 sales advantage, Honda Motor reclaims the 5th place overall off Nissan Motor this month.

Chevrolet Equinox USA May 2015The runout model pushes the Equinox to a 2nd consecutive record month.

In the brands ranking, Ford dominates with just under 241.000 sales, Toyota overtakes Chevrolet for #2 at 208.102 units vs. 207.970 while Honda passes Nissan for #4 at 137.551 vs. 124.305. Jeep takes a definitive advantage over Hyundai for 6th place, Kia hits an all-tome record at 62.433 units, GMC, Subaru (42nd consecutive month in positive), Ram and Mercedes all gain 12% on May 2014, Audi lodges its 67th consecutive month of year-on-year gains at +11%, Lexus is up 10%, Acura up 16%, Maserati up 17%, Land Rover up 19% and both Mitsubishi and Chrysler post the biggest increase at +32%. Finally, notice the Volkswagen brand posting a rare improvement at +8% mainly thanks to the new Golf tripling its sales year-on-year.

Nissan Rogue USA May 2015. Picture courtesy of motortrend.comNissan Rogue U.S. sales are up 38% on May 2014.

Restricted by production problems for the all-new aluminium F-150 resulting in inventory shortages, the Ford F-Series slides 10% in May to 61.870 units but remains 10.000 sales above the Chevrolet Silverado up 11% to 51.602 deliveries, its 2nd biggest month since December 2007. If we remove the F-Series, pickup truck sales are up 17% year-on-year in May, and mid-size pickup sales take off at +69% to 34.741 with the return of the Chevrolet Colorado (8.881 deliveries – best since August 2006) and GMC Canyon (2.901 – best since July 2005) and a very strong month of the Toyota Tacoma up 26% to 17.520 units.

Honda HR-V USA May 2015. Picture courtesy motortrend.comInstant blockbuster: the Honda HR-V

The Toyota Camry snaps the overall third spot off the Ram Pickup despite sales down 12% on a year ago just above the Toyota Corolla comfortably establishing itself in 5th position. Meanwhile four nameplates post all-time volume records inside the Top 25: the Chevrolet Equinox for the 2nd month in a row at 29.456 units (+30%), the 9 year-old Jeep Wrangler at 22.324 sales also breaking its ranking record at #18, the Chrysler 200 at 20.007 and the Jeep Cherokee at 19.669. Notice also the Toyota RAV4 up 23%, Nissan Rogue up 38% and Toyota Highlander up 25%. Instant blockbusters: the Honda HR-V landing directly at #70 with 6.381 sales and the Jeep Renegade at #94 and 4.416 units.

Previous post: STRATEGY: The growing power of Hispanic buyers in U.S. sales

Previous month: USA April 2015: Chevrolet Equinox hits best ranking and volume ever

One year ago: USA May 2014: GM up 13% despite recalls, Hyundai & Jeep break all-time records

Full May 2015 Top 20 groups, Top 40 brands and Top 275 models below.

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STRATEGY: The growing power of Hispanic buyers in U.S. sales


Lindsay Chappell this week published a fascinating article on Automotive News USA about the growing power of Hispanic buyers in the U.S. market. I summarise it below, you can read the full article here: “Sales to Hispanics outpacing the market”

What’s the weight of Hispanic buyers in the U.S. market?

  • 54 million Hispanics are now living in the United States or 17% of the total population, predicted to grow to 130 million by 2060 or 30% of the total population.
  • Hispanic car buyers in the U.S. are driving overall market growth and could well be the auto industry’s leading growth engine for the next 20 to 30 years. In 2014 retail sales to Hispanic consumers rose 15% vs. 6% for the overall market (Source IHS).
  • Hispanic growth is now increasingly happening in the Midwest, not just traditional powerhouses California, Texas and Florida. The states with the fastest-growing Hispanic populations in the last decade were Alabama, Kentucky, South Carolina and Tennessee. U.S. cities of more than 200,000 people with the fastest-growing Hispanic populations were Charlotte NC and Raleigh NC.

Toyota Corolla USA January 2015. Picture courtesy of motortrend.comToyota has ranked as the top-selling brand among Hispanic consumers for the past decade.

Which brands are winning with Hispanic buyers?

  • The “Big Three” brands of Hispanic-market sales are Toyota, Nissan and Honda. Chevrolet, Ford and Kia follow.
  • Toyota has ranked as the top-selling brand among Hispanic consumers for the past 10 years and has created a dedicated corporate department to this population: the Hispanic Business Strategy Group. Hispanics purchased one of every 4 Corollas sold in the U.S. in 2014 one out of every 5 Lexus IS sold.
  • Nissan brought 3 of its successful Mexico dealership groups to the U.S. to operate stores in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Houston and improve the brand’s ties to Hispanic consumers. Nissan is market leader in Mexico with 26.2% market share, and hopes that retailers from there will strike a chord of familiarity and trust among U.S. residents who moved here from Mexico in recent years.
  • Honda is the No. 1 brand among Hispanic buyers in New York City and Los Angeles.
  • Among Hispanic buyers, the Chevrolet Silverado outsells America’s biggest-selling pickup, the Ford F series.

Hispanic market data

The challenges that come with the growing power of Hispanic car buyers

  • Many Hispanics need – or prefer – to speak Spanish. Many perceive themselves as Hispanic or Latino even after several generations of U.S. heritage, and they look for products and services that specifically address their Hispanic identity. This means additional language and cultural training for salespeople is required for regions not used to a strong Hispanic presence.
  • Last year, 21% of Hispanic vehicle purchases were for a “first vehicle.” For the U.S. as a whole, the figure was just 5%. This means brands get more chances to make first impressions, but dealers must woo uncommitted new buyers.
  • The average age of Hispanics today is 30, compared with 42 for non-Hispanic Americans, meaning a different approach is required to close the sale.
  • The perception of Hispanic consumers seeking entry-level vehicles is becoming out of date. Last year, 24% of Hispanic U.S. households earned more than $75,000, up from 14% in 2000.

STRATEGY: Will self-driving cars trigger the doom of automobile?

Mercedes Self Driving CarThe self-driving car as imagined by Mercedes-Benz

Recently Barclays’ auto analyst Brian Johnson forecast in “Disruptive Mobility” that self-driving cars will eliminate most multicar households, reduce the number of cars on American roads from 250 million to below 100 million and cut U.S. annual auto sales by 40% to just 9.5 million units over the next 25 years. That’s almost one million less than the rock-bottom 10.4 million hit in the midst of the Global Recession in 2009. According to the Detroit Free Press, in these predictions Brian Johnson is in agreement with researchers Brandon Schoettle and Michael Sivak at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI).

These findings don’t mean the end of private ownership, but rely on the fact that families with 3 or more vehicles in the household rarely use more than one at a time. According to UMTRI, 84% of households have no trips that overlap or conflict on a typical day. In only 2% of those households were there enough overlapping trips to require three or more vehicles. Johnson says self-driving cars will travel many more miles than personally owned vehicles because they will be used throughout the day for multiple trips.

And this is where I disagree.

Traffic jam. Picture courtesy fastcompany.netCar sharing? What car sharing?

If nowadays families feel the need to own 3 or more vehicles while almost never using more than one at a time, that’s because most car owners cherish the notion of being able, if need be, to go anywhere, at anytime, with whoever we choose. That this option may be unsused and waiting in the garage isn’t the point. It’s there for us to grab, and that’s what we want. It is the very core of private vehicle ownership. Nothing proves that this comfort-habit will change with the arrival of self-driving cars. The fact that the car can drive itself home and be used by someone else while we are busy at work will not mean we will be happy to give it up for the day. What if we suddenly need it? What if all ‘public’ self-driving cars are unavailable at the time because it’s rush hour – like trying to find a free taxi on a rainy day. It’s this anxiety that we are refusing by owning a private vehicle and having it at our disposal, not anyone else. Selfish? Yep. Aren’t well all?

To me, it’s a little similar to saying back in the 1960s that people would lose their private car ownership desire once petrol becomes too expensive. We have not. Granted, ownership rates are falling with millenials that put more emphasis on usage rather than ownership. But let’s pause for a moment to spare a thought for car sharing. In Europe it is starting to show *relative* success, but in the U.S. – the subject of this forecast – no way. We want to go anywhere anytime and not depend on anyone doing so.