USA Full Year 2015: 15 year-old annual record eclipsed: 17,470,659 units

Ford F-Series USA 2015. Picture courtesy caranddriver.comThe Ford F-Series is at a 9-year high 780.354 sales. Picture caranddriver.com

* See the Top 15 groups, Top 40 brands and Top 297 models by clicking on the title *

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Never before had U.S. consumers purchased that many new light vehicles: thanks to sales up 6% year-on-year, 2015 breaks a 15 year-old annual volume record, lifting it from 17.402.486 (2000) to 17.470.659 this year. This marks the 6th straight year of growth after hitting a 27-year low of 10.4 million in 2009, a stretch that hadn’t been achieved in 90 years (1921-1926). The record is 8 straight years of growth from 1909 to 1917, at the time the Ford Model T was the most popular model in the country and the world. Only August was in negative year-on-year, with the remaining 11 months in positive. The Seasonally Adjusted Annual sales Rate (SAAR) eclipsed 18 million three months in a row for the first time in history between September and November, peaking at 18.23 million in October. 2015 is the first year since 2001 that annual sales are above 17 million, and some analysts including myself predict 2016 will top 18 million, a 3% improvement.

Honda Civic USA 2015. Picture courtesy caranddriver.comHonda hits an all-time high 1.409.386 U.S. sales in 2015. Picture caranddriver.com

Sales will continue to be driven by low gasoline prices, pent-up demand, widespread credit availability and excellent consumer morale linked to low jobless rates and a dynamic stock market. A fascinating structural mutation of the U.S. car market, leasing accounts for a record 29% of all new U.S. retail sales in 2015 according to Edmunds, to be compared with 27% in 2014 and 16% ten years ago. The growth of leasing goes a long way in explaining the current dynamism of the U.S. light vehicle market, making a car purchase seem less daunting and more accessible despite the spike in average new vehicle transaction price to $33.188 in 2015, up 2.5% from $32.386 in 2014 (Source: Edmunds).

GMC Sierra 2015. Picture courtesy motortrend.comGM’s full-size pickups outsell the Ford F-Series for the first time since 2009. Picture motortrend.com

Segment-wise, the analysis of the U.S. market is as simple as it is striking and in line with most worldwide markets: Light trucks (Pickups, SUVs and crossovers) are the one and only force driving sales with a 13% increase in 2015 to 9.73m deliveries while cars are actually down 2% to 7.74m. Crossovers up 18.5% to 4.55m, Pickups are up 10% to 2.54m and SUVs up 11% to 1.71m. Small cars (3.08m) and midsize cars (3.52m) are both down 2% while luxury cars (1.14m) are down 4%. Group-wise, at 7.93m sales the Detroit Three hold 45.4% of the U.S. light vehicle market in 2015 like in 2014 while the Japan Three (Toyota, Nissan, Honda) add up to 31.9% at 5.57m sales, a slight share decrease on 2014 (32.1%). These six groups account for a staggering 77.3% of all U.S. sales in 2015 (13.5m). GM (3.08m) distances Ford Motor (2.6m) and Toyota Motor (2.5m) but in terms of year-on-year gains FCA and Nissan Motor fare the best at +7%.

Nissan Rogue USA 2015. Picture courtesy carswall.netThe Rogue (+44%) pushes Nissan to a new annual record. Picture carwall.net

No less than 14 brands set U.S. annual sales records in 2015. Below the three traditional leaders Ford, Chevrolet and Toyota all up 5%, Honda hits an all-time high 1.409.386 deliveries (+3%) thanks to strong performances by the CR-V – the best-selling SUV in the country, a redesigned Civic, the Pilot (+25%) and the arrival of the HR-V (41.969 incremental sales). Nissan also breaks its record with deliveries up 6% to 1.351.420, helped by stellar performances by the Rogue (+44%), Murano (+33%) and Sentra (+11%) making up for disappointing showings by the Altima (-1%), Maxima (-20%), Juke (-29%) and Leaf (-43%).

Jeep Cherokee USA 2015. Picture courtesy of motortrend.comJeep posts another record year at 865.028 sales. Picture motortrend.com

The most impressive performer in 2015 is undoubtedly Jeep: with sales up 25% on its 2014 record of 692.348 to a splendid 865.028. If last year’s sales were achieved with minimal incentives, this year is slightly different for Jeep as FCA shifted its incentive focus from Chrysler (and notably the Chrysler 200) to the SUV brand at the end of the year. A little more artificial, a little less authentic: that’s how I would describe Jeep’s 2015 record, albeit very impressive. Jeep places the Cherokee (+23%), Wrangler (+16%) and Grand Cherokee (+7%) in the Top 25 while the Patriot (#42) should be joined in the Top 50 next year by the all-new Renegade, best new entrant in the U.S. market in 2015 at #85 (60.946 sales). The symbolic 1 million annual units is in the line of fire for Jeep in 2016 with an all-time high December (89.654) pointing in that direction.

Subaru Outback USA 2015. Picture courtesy caranddriver.comSubaru ends 2015 just below 600.000 U.S. sales and sets a new record.

Knocked down to #7 overall by Jeep, Hyundai nevertheless posts an all-time record year at 761.710 deliveries (+4%) as does sister brand Kia at #8 and 625.818 units (+8%). Subaru is up an outlandish 13% to a best-ever 582.675 sales, with its entire range delivering solid increases: the Forester (+10%), Outback (+10%), Impreza (+20%) and XV Crosstrek (+25%) are all markedly above their 2014 levels. In 10th place, GMC is up 11% to almost return to its 2004 glory at 558.697 sales vs. 581.684 and kicks Dodge (-10%) out of the Top 10. At 493.807 deliveries, Ram also breaks its volume record in 2015 as it has been the case each year since its 2009 spin-off from Dodge. However the brand which would become Ram actually sold more vehicles in 2005 than it did this year.

BMW X6 USA 2015. Picture courtesy caranddriver.comBMW remains the #1 luxury brand in the U.S. in 2015. Picture caranddriver.com

The luxury segment is another strong driving force behind the record U.S. market this year, with sales up 8% to top 2 million for the first time ever. All luxury brands except Jaguar (-8% but the XE will reverse the trend in 2016) experienced growth in 2015 and most also set annual records. The race for the 2015 luxury crown was very heated, with BMW finishing #1 for the second straight year and the 4th time in the past 5 years thanks to record sales up 2% to 346.023. A record December rallied Lexus up to 2nd place and an all-time high 344.601 (+11%) with Mercedes not far behind at 343.088 excluding Sprinter variants, also a record. After 11 consecutive years of Lexus reign between 2000 and 2011, BMW won the luxury crown in 2011, 2012 and 2014, while Mercedes snapped it in 2013. Audi, topping 200.000 units for the first time at 202.202 (+11%), Land Rover (+37%), Porsche (+10%) and Tesla (+50%) also set annual records.

Ford F-150 1980 USAThe last time the Ford F-Series was not the #1 vehicle in the U.S. (in 1981), it looked like this. 

The 3 best-selling models in the U.S. are all pickup trucks for the 2nd year running and only the third time in the past two decades along with 2003 and 2014. Boosted by the new aluminium F-150, the Ford F-Series remains the best-selling vehicle in the county for the 34th consecutive year (no interruption since 1982) with sales back up 4% to 780.354, the nameplate’s highest annual score since 2006 (796.039). The F-Series has now been the best-selling pickup truck in the U.S. for 39 years in a row since 1977. Chevrolet took advantage of a wobbly F-150 generational transition early in the year by lifting incentives on the Silverado up 13% to 600.544. With the GMC Sierra up 6% to 224.139, GM’s line of full-size pickups outsells the Ford F-Series for the first time since 2009.

Toyota Camry USA 2015. Picture courtesy caranddriver.comBest-selling car in the U.S. for 14 consecutive years: the Toyota Camry.

The Toyota Camry remains America’s favourite car for the 14th year in a row and for the 18th time in the past 19 years with stable sales (429.355). It distances the Toyota Corolla (+7%) while the Honda Accord drops one spot and 8% and the Honda Civic (+3%) overtakes the Nissan Altima (-1%). The #1 car in the U.S. has consistently been a Japanese nameplate for almost two decades now, ever since the Ford Taurus sold 401.049 units in 1996. Hopes to reverse this trend are getting leaner as years come by, with both the Ford Fusion (-2% to #12) and Chevrolet Cruze (-17% to #16) actually losing ground year-on-year, while the Chrysler 200 (+52%) is now incentive-less and will fall flat in 2016.

Previous post: USA December 2015: Jeep shoots up 42% in market up 9%

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

Two years ago: USA Full Year 2013: Ford F-Series at its best since 2006

Full Year 2015 Top 15 groups, Top 40 brands and Top 297 models vs. Full Year 2014 figures.

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USA December 2015: Jeep shoots up 42% in market up 9%

Jeep Compass USA December 2015. Picture courtesy motortrend.comThe Jeep Cherokee, Compass & Renegade all post all-time record volumes in December. 

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

Five weekends and two extra business days mean December 2015 was the highest on record at 1.641.913 registrations, however the Seasonally Adjusted Annual Sales Rate (SAAR) is the lowest since June at 17.3 million. Trucks – including pickups, SUVs and crossovers – shoot up 19% this month whereas car are down a disappointing 4%. Double-digit year-on-year gains are frequent: Nissan North America is up 19% thanks to fleet sales up a gargantuan 79%, FCA extends its winning streak to 69 consecutive months at +13%, Toyota Motor is up 11% and American Honda up 10%. Ford Motor (+8%) and General Motors (+6%) are also in positive but the BMW Group (-18%) and Volkswagen Group (-2%) decline.

1967 Jeep JeepsterOh my! Jeep smashes another record in December (1967 Jeep Jeepster pictured).

Brand-wise, volumes up 12% push Toyota to #2 overall with 191.457 units below Ford up 8% to 226.746 and kicking Chevrolet (+2%) down to #3. Honda (+12%) and Nissan (+18%) also outpace the market while in 6th place Jeep smashes its all-time monthly volume record again thanks to sales up 42% year-on-year. Jeep has now improved this record an astounding 8 times in the past two years: in March 2014 (57.983), April 2014 (59.754), May 2014 (70.203), March 2015 (71.584), April 2015 (71.759), May 2015 (79.652), August 2015 (80.804) and December 2015 (89.654). The Cherokee (24.049, +36% at a record #15), Renegade (8.975) and Compass (8.825 +78%) all deliver all-time monthly records while the Wrangler (15.591) and Patriot (11.206) both set December records.

Lexus NX USA December 2015. Picture courtesy caranddriver.comLexus also sets a new monthly record U.S. volume at 41.380.

The other notable brand breaking its all-time monthly volume record in December is Lexus despite a rather modest 4% improvement year-on-year to 41.380, spurred by increases by the NX (+77%), GS (+25%), GX (+15%) and RC (+64%). This was however not enough to get back above BMW to the title of #1 luxury brand in the U.S. as we study in a separate Full Year 2015 article. Other impressive gainers in the Top 20 include GMC (+13%), Subaru (+13%), Mazda (+18%), Kia (+19%) and Cadillac (+29%). Below, notice Infiniti (+26%), Bentley (+41%), Scion (+44%), Land Rover (+47%) and Volvo (+90%) boosted by the new XC90 up 46-fold on December 2014. No such luck for Volkswagen (-9%), BMW (-17%), Chrysler (-21%), Maserati (-24%), Mini (-24%), Jaguar (-29%) and Smart (-31%).

Tesla Model X USA December 2015. Picture courtesy motortrend.comFirst appearance of the Tesla Model X in the U.S. charts at #250. Picture motortrend.com 

In the models ranking, the Ford F-Series is up a stunning 15% to 85.211 units, its best monthly score in exactly 10 years: since December 2005 when it sold 89.491. However the F-Series is still outsold by the GM full-size pickups with the Chevy Silverado (+9%) and GMC Sierra (+17%) adding up to 90.430 units. The Toyota Camry (+18%), Honda Civic (+29%) and Toyota RAV4 (+39%) shine in the Top 10 while below the Hyundai Sonata (+27%), Nissan Sentra (+28%), Ford Edge (+29%), Kia Sorento (+33%), Jeep Cherokee (+36%), Mazda CX-5 (+45%) and Nissan Rogue (+78%) deliver the largest year-on-year improvements in the Top 50. Among recent launches, the Mercedes GLC is up 116 spots on November to #109 and the Tesla Model X makes its first appearance at #250.

Previous post: USA Full Year 2015: Sales to break all-time record by 140.000 units

Previous month: USA November 2015: Volkswagen crumbles down 25%

One year ago: USA December 2014: BMW 3 Series breaks record again, market up 11%

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

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USA Full Year 2015: Sales to break all-time record by 140.000 units

Nissan Titan XD USA December 2015. Picture courtesy caranddriver.comLanding just in time for a record year: the new Nissan Titan. Picture caranddriver.com

Fellow sales analysts LMC Automotive have released today their projection for U.S. December sales, and these propel the market to over 100.000 units above the previous all-time annual record established back in 2000. December 2015 has two more selling days than a year ago and five weekends for the first time since 2012, because industry practice dictates to end each year on the first business day of January and therefor sales through Monday January 4 count toward 2015. In this context LMC forecasts this month’s sales to hit 1.712.000 units, up a whopping 14% year-on-year and the first time the industry tops 1.7 million since July 2005 when Detroit carmakers offered employee discounts to all consumers.

This means the 2015 total would reach 17.542.165 units, 6% more than 2014 and almost 150.000 more than the previous 2000 record of 17.402.486… LMC forecasts the seasonally adjusted annualised selling rate for December at 18.1 million, up from 16.8 million a year ago and the fourth consecutive month above 18 million,  something that had never been seen before. Moreover, LMC said 2016 will break the all-time annual record for the second consecutive year but with a subdued 2% growth rate leading the market to 17.9 million units. Don’t miss the detailed Full Year 2015 reports for over 100 countries starting early next month!

USA November 2015: Volkswagen crumbles down 25%

Martin Winterkorn. Picture courtesy smh.com.auMartin Winterkorn, CEO of Volkswagen, resigned following the emissions scandal.

* See the Top 15 groups, Top 40 brands and Top 279 models by clicking on the title *

We are approaching the end of what is shaping up to be a historical year for new light vehicle sales in the U.S. At 1.318.210 registrations, November sales are up 1.2% year-on-year despite a very strong November 2014 base (best volume since 2001) and two extra selling days last year. This means a seasonally adjusted annual sales rate (SAAR) of 18.16 million, the first time in history the SAAR has surpassed 18 million for three months in a row. The year-to-date total now stands at 15.826.634 units, up 5.4% on a year ago and now only one month away from potentially breaking the all-time annual record of 17.4 million sales set in 2000. For this to happen, December sales must amount to at least 1.575.852 units, a 4.5% increase on the 1.507.928 sales of December 2014. However December 2015 has two extra selling days compared to December last year, so in fact, if 1.717 fewer vehicles are sold per selling day than a year ago the U.S. light vehicle market will break its all-time record.

VW Passat USA November 2015VW Passat U.S. sales tumble down 60% year-on-year in November.

But this is a story for early January 2016. In November once again, light trucks saved the day with a 10% year-on-year increase to 58.7% share vs. a harsh 8.5% decline for cars at just 41.3% of the market. Two main carmaker groups see harsh declines in an otherwise euphoric market. Now hit full frontal by its emissions rigging scandal, Volkswagen Grouvp of America sales decline 15% to 45.283, engulfed by a 25% drop at Volkswagen to 23.882 units vs. 31.725 a year ago – the brand’s largest monthly decline since 2008. Volkswagen is blaming the drop entirely on stop-sales orders: Sales of 2.0L diesel VW models were frozen in September, to which was added the Touareg 3.0L diesel last month. Yet removing the 5.462 diesels Volkswagen sold in the U.S. in November 2014 still leaves a 2.381 units year-on-year gap, meaning non-diesel VW models have also been hit with a 9% year-on-year decline and indicating a halo effect of the scandal onto the rest of the range. The Jetta (-23%) and Passat (-60%) are hardest hit whereas the Tiguan (+88%) and Golf (+3%) are unscathed.

Mercedes GLE USA November 2015. Picture courtesy caranddriver.comMercedes sales are down 12% despite the GLE hitting almost 5.000 sales. Picture caranddriver.com

Audi for its part is still in the black at +0.4%, its smallest monthly gain since February 2014 but sufficient to post an incredible 59th consecutive monthly U.S. sales record, putting the carmaker on track to hit 200.000 annual U.S. sales for the first time in its history. Audi sales are a lot less reliant on diesels than VW. Porsche is down 5% this month. Citing a “systems malfunction”, Daimler reported November sales one day later than the rest of the industry, but only managed to steal the spotlight away from Volkswagen with an uncharacteristic 12% decline brought about by Mercedes sales down 12% and Smart sales down an even harsher 19%. Honda Motor drops 5%, handicapped by Acura sales in freefall at -18% while the Honda brand is down 3.5%.

Volvo XC90 USA October 2015. Picture courtesy motortrend.comThe new XC90 accounts for one in every three Volvos sold in the U.S. in November.

All other carmakers had positive news, but none more so than Hyundai up 12% to hit 60.007 units, lifting the Hyundai-Kia Group up 7%. General Motors is up 1.5%, with Chevrolet (+5%) and Cadillac (+2%) making up for the first year-on-year decline in a year for GMC (-2%) and a painful 18% drop for Buick. Toyota Motor Corp. volumes are up 3% to edge past Ford Motor Co., itself up just 0.3%, while FCA lodges a 68th consecutive month of year-on-year gains at +3%, lifted by a 26th consecutive month in positive for Jeep (+20%) while all other brands in the group’s stable had lukewarm results: Ram (+0.6%), Fiat (-3%), Dodge (-7.5%) and Chrysler (-12%). Other great performing brands in the U.S. in November include Scion (+33%) thanks to the new iA (#148) and iM (#177), Land Rover (+79%) thanks to the Range Rover (+57%), Range Rover Sport (+54%) and Discovery Sport (#171) and Volvo (+91%) thanks to the new XC90 (#131).

Toyota RAV4 USA November 2015First Top 5 ranking in the U.S. for the Toyota RAV4.

In the models ranking, the Ford F-Series demonstrates its supply issues are long gone, posting a 5th connective monthly year-on-year gain at a robust +10% to 65.193 units, even outselling GM’s twin pickups the Chevrolet Silverado (+5%) and GMC Sierra (-27%) at 61.528 deliveries, and this for the first time since March. The F-Series however trails GM’s dual offer year-to-date at 695.144 vs. 734.253. The Toyota RAV4 surges 30% to outsell the Honda CR-V (-20%) and break into the U.S. Top 5 for the first time in its 21 year-career, beating its previous best of #6 reached in March 2010 and August 2014. Already boosted by the new generation, the Honda Civic overtakes the Toyota Corolla to lead its segment at #8 while the Nissan Rogue posts a third month inside the U.S. Top 10 so far this year (and ever) at #10 thanks to sales up 50% on a year ago.

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

One year ago: USA November 2014: Best November score since 2001

Full November 2015 Top 15 groups, Top 40 brands and Top 279 models below.

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

Toyota RAV4 USA October 2015The 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 motortrend.com…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 motortrend.com…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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