USA January 2017: SUVs outsell passenger cars in market down 1.7%

honda-cr-v-usa-december-2016-picture-courtesy-caranddriver-comThe CR-V is up 52% to #4 and #1 SUV in the U.S. in January. (picture caranddriver.com)

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In January, U.S. new car sales feel the hungover of December sales artificially pushed by particularly generous incentives leading to a second straight all-time record year. Sales are down 1.8% to 1.143.549, January traditionally being the slowest month of the year here. The seasonally adjusted annualised sales rate (SAAR) remains solid though at 17.57 million vs. 17.87 million in January 2016 and 18.38 million last month but keeping in mind 2016 ended with an actual 17.55 million units. Trends observed last year accentuate in January: passenger cars freefall down 12% with midsize cars down 21%, minivans are down 35% but pickups gains 4% to 177.964 sales, SUVs are up 6% to 123.944 and crossovers up 11% to 351.338. Overall, light trucks are up 5.7% to 715.953 or 62.6% of the market vs. 60.7% over the Full Year 2016 which was a record, but light trucks frankly outselling passenger cars has become the routine. The new news is SUV/crossovers (475.282 vs 432.468 a year ago) now outsell passenger cars (427.596 vs. 487.011) is new news.

The Nissan Rogue shoots up 46% to #5 overall (picture caranddriver.com) 

General Motors (-4%), Ford Motor (-1%), FCA (-11%, its fifth consecutive decline), Toyota Motor (-11%) and Hyundai-Kia (-1%) all drop volumes year-on-year with only Nissan Motor and Honda Motor gaining ground, both at +6% on the back of record light truck sales and average incentives up 24% and 35% year-on-year respectively. In fact, if the industry average incentive per vehicle is down 3.3% on December to $3.635, it is in fact up a whopping 22% on January 2016… BMW leads the way with $6.016 worth of incentives per car on average (+44%), ahead of Daimler at $4.648 (+29%), GM at $4.504 (up a modest 10%), FCA at $4.408 (+14%), Nissan at $4.335 (+24%), Volkswagen Group at $4.117 (+31%) and Ford at $4.114 (+35%). Below average are Kia at $3.411 (+21%), Hyundai at $2.602 (+37%), Toyota at $2.538 (+21%), Honda at $2.231 (+34%) and Subaru at $1.120 (+97%). These figures sourced with ALG and quoted by Automotive News.

The RAV4 is Toyota’s best-seller for the second month running.

Brand-wise, Ford (-2%), Chevrolet (-2%) and Toyota (-6%) make the podium unchanged on December and FY2016 while Nissan (+4%) overtakes Honda (+8%) and Jeep struggles at -7% in 6th place. Hyundai (-1%) is back above Subaru (+7%) but in negative, Dodge (-17%) surges back up 5 spots on December to #9 with Ram up 15% to #10. Volkswagen (+17%), Mazda (+10%) and Audi (+14%) are the only other carmakers posting double-digit gains inside the Top 20, in the case of VW and Audi partly due to low bases a year ago in the wake on the company’s emissions scandal. Below, spectacular gains are reserved to luxury brands, such as Lincoln (+22%), Infiniti (+36%), Ferrari (+42%), Alfa Romeo (+59%), Maserati (+69%), Rolls-Royce (+70%), Tesla (+82%), Bentley (+83%) and Jaguar (+117%).

The Chevrolet Cruze hits its best U.S. ranking in over two years. 

In the models ranking, the Ford F-Series goes agains the grain and posts a stellar 13% increase to 57.995 sales, over 22.000 units above its archenemy the Chevrolet Silverado at 35.553 (-3%), now threatened by the Ram Pickup at 33.769 (+13%). For the second month running, the Top 5 is passenger car-free, with the Honda CR-V leaping up 52% to #4 thanks both e new generation and the Nissan Rogue endlessly impressive at +46% to 28.760 sales in 5th place. The Honda Civic tops passenger cars at #6 overall despite a 14% plunge, and the RAV4 is Toyota’s best-seller for the second consecutive month at 22.155, distancing the Corolla (21.567) and most strikingly the Camry (20.313) down 24% and awaiting the new generation with trepidation.

The Volvo V90 Cross Country somehow made its way to the U.S. ranking, but is yet to be officially available. 

The Chevrolet Cruze surges 39% to #11, its best U.S. ranking since November 2014, the Jeep Grand Cherokee is up 24% to #16, the Subaru Outback up 18% to #20, Hyundai Elantra up 33% to #21, Jeep Renegade up 52% to #30, GMC Acadia up 65% to #32, Hyundai Santa Fe up 54% to #39 and the Accent up 40% to #48. Among recent launches, the Chrysler Pacifica settles inside the Top 50 for the fourth time in the past five months, the Tesla Model X (#119) outsells the Model S (#135) for the first time, the Jaguar F-Pace improves 14 spots on December to a record #151 and the Chevrolet Bolt is up 49 ranks to #172. In January, we welcome the Kia Niro at #266 with 42 sales and the Volvo V90 at #276 with 4 units.

Previous post: USA Full Year 2016: Incentives lift market to second straight record

Previous month: USA December 2016: Nissan Rogue shoots up 53% to 4th overall

One year ago: USA January 2016: SAAR up to 17.55m units despite snowstorms

Full January 2017 Top 15 groups, Top 40 brands and Top 280 models below.

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USA Full Year 2016: Incentives lift market to second straight record

ford-f-250-usa-2016-picture-courtesy-caranddriver-comThe Ford F-Series celebrates 35 consecutive years as #1 in the U.S. 

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After three consecutive months of year-on-year decline (August to October) leading to a YTD also in negative after 10 months, the U.S. new light vehicle market surprisigly rallied back during the last two months of 2016. Helped by post-election stick market gains, November sales shot up 5% and December was up 3%, that month even hitting the highest SAAR of the past decade at 18.38 million. The result: a second consecutive all-time annual record at 17.550.351 registrations, beating the previous all-time high established in 2015 by a slim 71.000 units or 0.4% margin. 2016 marks the 7th straight year of growth from the U.S. market recovering splendidly from a 27-year low of 10.4 million in 2009, in the midst of the financial crisis. The last time U.S. sales gained volume for so long was almost a century ago: 9 straight years of growth from 1909 to 1917, a time when the Ford Model T was the most popular model both here and around the world.

toyota-camry-usa-2016-picture-courtesy-caranddriver-comThe Toyota Camry has been the best-selling car in the U.S. for the past 15 years.

Even more so than 2015, 2016 is the year of the light truck in the U.S. with sales of this segment surging 7.2% to break the symbolic 10 million annual unit barrier for the first time in history at 10.445.189 units. Light trucks account for a record 60.7% of all light vehicle sales in the U.S. in 2016. The growth rate are pretty evenly spread across the different light truck sub-segments: Crossovers are up 8.5% to 4.9850.966, Minivans are up 8% to 553.131, Pickups up 5.9% to 2.692.540 and SUVs up 4.4% to 1.785.419. Strikingly, all passenger car segments are in sharp decline this year: -8.1% overall to 7.105.162 with small cars down 6.2% to 2.892.600, midsize cars down 8.4% to 3.213.880, luxury cars down 12.4% to 997.661 and large cars down 44.7% to 1.021.

honda-cr-v-usa-2016-picture-courtesy-caranddriver-comThe Honda CR-V remains the best-selling SUV in the country, but just. 

The forecast for 2017 isn’t that rosy as U.S. light vehicle sales have now hit a plateau. The market will be stable at best, which still means it will remain at all-time record levels. Yet if pent-up demand, more leasing, favourable finance deals and steady job growth have driven new-vehicle sales since the downturn according to Automotive News, rising interest rates and a retail market that has already hit its peak will endanger further growth. The larger incentives manufacturers have offered in 2016 have only prevented decline and not spurred any significant volume gains, and we may be reaching the high-end limit for artificially boosting sales (average incentives per vehicles were up 20% year-on-year in December to $3,673 according to ALG. An increasing volume of off-lease vehicles are now hitting the second-hand market with extremely attractive prices, and this will hurt retail sales further in 2017. Contact us here for detailed 2017 forecasts brand by brand of the U.S. market.

Nissan Murano 2016. Picture courtesy caranddriver.comThe Nissan brand sells a record 1.43m units in the U.S. in 2016. Picture caranddriver.com

Among the six biggest automotive groups in activity in the U.S., the Detroit Three (General Motors, Ford and FCA) add up to 7.89m sales, down 0.7% for a 44.9% market share vs. 45.4% a year ago whereas the Japan Three (Toyota, Nissan, Honda) combine 5.65m sales, up 1.5% for a 32.2% share vs. 31.9% in 2015. These six group account for 77.1% of the U.S. market in 2016 vs. 77.3% last year. Add Hyundai-Kia, up 2.5% to 1.42m units, and this share climbs to 85.2%. GM (-1.3%) remains the top seller and announced rental sales down 74.000 vehicles or 18% in a bid to focus on more profitable sales. It towers above Ford Motor (-0.1%), Toyota Motor (-2%) and FCA (-0.4%) while American Honda (+3.2%), Nissan Motor (+5.4%) and Hyundai-Kia (+2.5%) all break annual sales records.

Jeep Wrangler USA 2016. Picture courtesy caranddriver.comDespite a troubled second half, Jeep beats another volume record in 2016.

The Ford brand is once again the most popular in the country despite sales down 0.6% to 2.49m units, ahead of Chevrolet at 2.1m (-1.4%), Toyota at 2.06m (-1.6%), Honda at a record 1.48m (+4.8%) and Nissan also breaking an all-time record at 1.43.m (+5.5%). No less than four additional Top 10 brands reach all-time high sales in 2016: Jeep is up 6.1% to 926.376 (best-ever month in May at 90.545), Hyundai up 0.8% to 768.057 (new monthly record at 75.310 in March), Kia up 3.5% to 647.598 (highest month ever in May at 62.926) and Subaru up 5.6% to 615.132 (December highest ever at 63.177). Outside the Top 10, Ram (545.851) also snaps a new annual record.

Mercedes GLE USA 2016. Picture courtesy caranddriver.comMercedes overtakes BMW to become the #1 luxury marque in the U.S. in 2016. 

A lot of annual records were also broken in the luxury segment. The leaders however are in decline: Mercedes overtakes BMW to grab the luxury crown for the first time since 2013 despite sales down 0.8% to 340.237 excluding Sprinter variants, with Lexus coming 2nd at 331.228 (-3.9%) and BMW – leader for 4 of the past 6 years – at 313.174 (-9.5%). After 11 consecutive years of Lexus reign between 2000 and 2011, BMW had won the luxury crown in 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015, while Mercedes was tops in 2013. Audi is up 4% to an all-time high 210.213 deliveries, Infiniti up 3.6% to a record 138.293, Land Rover up 4.6% to an all-time high 73.861, Porsche up 4.9% to a record 54.280 and Tesla up 69% to a new high of just under 40.000 sales.

Subaru Outback USA 2016. Picture courtesy caranddriver.comSubaru sells a record 615.000 units in the U.S. in 2016. 

There is no surprise atop the models ranking: the three most popular vehicles in the U.S. are full-size pickup trucks for the third straight year and the 4th time in the past two decades along with 20032014 and 2015. The Ford F-Series, now in full gear with new generations of the F-150, F-250 and F-350 in dealerships, gains 5% on 2015 to pass 820.000 deliveries. This is the F-Series’ highest volume in 11 years and its fourth highest ever: it only did better in 2004 (939.511), 2005 (901.463) and 2003 (845.586). This means the F-Series can now celebrate 40 consecutive years as the best-selling pickup truck in the U.S. (since 1977) and 35 straight years as the best-selling vehicle in the country (no interruption since 1982). With the Chevrolet Silverado down 4% to 575.000 units and the GMC Sierra down 1% to 222.000 adding up to 797.000, Ford is back above GM in the full-size pickup race after being outsold for the first time since 2009 last year. The Ram Pickup continues its forward march at +9% to 490.000 sales despite no design tweaks.

Honda Civic USA 2016. Picture courtesy caranddriver.comHonda Civic sales go against the grain in the passenger car segment: +9%. 

Yes, the Toyota Camry is America’s favourite car for the 15th straight year and for the 19th time in the past 20 years but it falters 9% to 389.000 deliveries, distancing the Honda Civic at 367.000 (+9%) and the Toyota Corolla at 360.000 (-1%) while the Honda Accord lags behind at 345.000 (-3%). 2016 marks the 20th consecutive year that U.S. passenger car sales have been dominated by a Japanese model: the last American sedan to be titled #1 is the Ford Taurus in 1996. In fact, like in 2015 there are no U.S. SUVs or passenger cars in the overall 2016 Top 10 (the Ford Escape ranks #12 and the Fusion #13).

Hyundai Tucson USA 2016. Picture courtesy caranddriver.comThe Tucson (+61%) helps Hyundai to a record year… 

But 2017 may be the first year when Japanese manufacturers have crossovers instead of cars as their best-sellers, as it was the case twice this year (July and December) for Toyota, Honda and Nissan all at the same time. The Honda CR-V holds onto its U.S. SUV crown in 2016, but just: at +3% to 357.335, it has struggle to keep the Toyota RAV4 at bay, up 12% to 352.154 and will need its new generation to perform optimally to keep the title. Lurking in third place in the SUV race but up by the largest margin is the Nissan Rogue at +15% to 329.904, it passed the Altima as Nissan’s best-seller for the very first time and could be the surprise winner of 2017.

Kia Sportage USA 2016. Picture courtesy autocosmos.com.mx…as does the Sportage lifting Kia to an all-time high volume in 2016.

Other success stories of 2016 include the Chevrolet Colorado up 29% to #48 and reviving the mid-size pickup truck segment, the Jeep Renegade up 75% to rank 50th for its first full year of sales, the Hyundai Tucson up 61% to #60 thanks to the new model, the Kia Sportage up 51% to #68 for the same reason and the Nissan Maxima up 55% to #80 despite the confronting design of its new generation. The Chrysler Pacifica is the most popular all-new nameplate, arriving at #81 and the only newcomer in the Top 100 yet still a notch below the performance of its predecessor the Town & Country. The Cadillac XT5 (#114), China-made Buick Envision (#186), Jaguar F-Pace (#200), Cadillac CT6 (#203), Buick Cascada (#209), Jaguar XE (#214) and Genesis G80 (#218) follow, while Chevrolet expects a lot of the Bolt which landed in December and ranks at #275 for 2016.

Previous month: USA December 2016: Nissan Rogue shoots up 53% to 4th overall

Previous year: USA Full Year 2015: 15 year-old annual record eclipsed: 17.470.659 units

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

Full Year 2016 Top 15 groups, Top 40 brands and Top 310 models vs. Full Year 2015 data below.

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USA December 2016: Nissan Rogue shoots up 53% to 4th overall

nissan-rogue-usa-december-2016-picture-courtesy-caranddriver-comThe Nissan Rogue is the best-selling SUV in the USA in December.

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Surpassing forecasts, the USA new light vehicle market is up 3% year-on-year in December to 1.690.429 units, leading to a second consecutive annual record for the Full Year 2016 (more on this in our detailed FY2016 Report). Helped by one additional weekend compared to December 2015, the seasonally adjusted annualised sales rate (SAAR) reaches 18.38 million, the highest in the past decade and fifth-highest of all time. Replicating a trend we’ve seen all year, passenger cars are down 5% to 624.837 this month whereas light trucks are up 8% to 1.065.592

honda-cr-v-usa-december-2016-picture-courtesy-caranddriver-comThe CR-V is Honda’s best-seller… (picture caranddriver.com)

This last minute, record-enabling surge has almost everything to do with much higher average incentives compared to a year ago: ALG estimates they soared by a mammoth 20% on December 2015 to $3.673. The biggest spenders are BMW at $5.815 (+22%), General Motors at $4.611 (+14%), Daimler at $4.607 (+2%), Volkswagen Group at $4.392 (+23%), FCA at $4.291 (+22%) and Ford at $4.190 (+34%). Needing less incentives than the market average are Kia at $3.416 (+21%), Toyota at $2.723 (+13%), Hyundai at $2.606 (+31%), Honda at $2.154 (+24%) and Subaru at $1.162 (+103%).

Toyota RAV4 USA December 2016…while the RAV4 is Toyota’s most popular vehicle in the US in December.

Sales-wise, General Motors posts a 2nd consecutive double-digit gain at +10% to 319.108, with both rental and retail sales rising and all brands up: Chevrolet (+13%), GMC (+6%), Cadillac (+3%) and Buick (+2%). Toyota Motor (+2%) spends a second consecutive month above Ford Motor (+0.1%) at 243.229 vs. 237.78 with its namesake brand up 3% but Lexus down 0.5% while the Ford brand is down 0.8% and Lincoln up 18%. FCA posts its third straight double-digit drop at -10%, pulled by a 34% freefall of its fleet sales, a 6% drop at Jeep, -21% at Dodge, -32% at Chrysler at -54% at Fiat. Only Ram (+10%) keeps its head above water. American Honda is up 6%, Nissan Motor up 10% (Nissan +8%, Infiniti +21%) and Hyundai-Kia down 1%. Further down, the Volkswagen Group recovers up 16% (Volkswagen up 20%, Audi up 14%), Subaru continues to gallop up 12% ut the BMW Group (-5%), Daimler AG (-5%) and Mazda (-2%) all decline. Notice also Tesla up 39%, Maserati up 58%, Smart up 77% and Jaguar up 259%.

gmc-acadia-usa-december-2016-picture-courtesy-caranddriver-comGMC Acadia sales are up 68% year-on-year in December.

Over in the models aisle, below the traditional Top 3 pickup trucks – Ford F-Series (+3%), Chevrolet Silverado (-14%) and Ram Pickup (+15%), the Nissan Rogue surfs on its Star Wars-related sponsorship and shoots up 53% to land at a record-breaking 4th place overall, #1 SUV with 40.477 sales which obliterates its previous monthly record of 33.298 from last July… In a very symbolic move, the Honda CR-V at 37.778 (+21%) and Toyota RAV4 at 37.214 (+17%) are also the most popular nameplates for each brand, meaning all of the Big Three Japanese manufacturers (Toyota, Honda and Nissan) have crossovers as their best-sellers for the second time in history after last August. Traditionally, the Altima, Accord/Civic and Camry hold these titles but 2016 is the year of the light ruck, with the Honda Accord the best-selling passenger car in December at a paltry 7th place overall.

chevrolet-bolt-usa-december-2016-picture-courtesy-caranddriver-comThe Chevrolet Bolt has landed. Picture caranddriver.com

The Chevrolet Equinox (+25%), Toyota Highlander (+58%), Subaru Outback (+29%), Lexus RX (+25%), Ford Edge (+24%), GMC Acadia (+68%), Jeep Renegade (+39%), Chevrolet Tahoe (+22%) and Subaru Crosstrek (+26%) are some of the best-performing SUV and crossovers this month, lifting their count to a stunning 25 in the Top 50. The only passenger car really standing out in the Top 50 is the Chevrolet Malibu (+87%) potentially on the back of end-of-year discounted fleet sales. Among recent launches (<12 months), the Chrysler Pacifica is down two spots on November to #48, the Cadillac XT5 is up 8 to #70, the Buick Envision up 32 to #117 and we welcome the all-electric Chevrolet Bolt at #221 with 579 deliveries for the month.

Previous month: USA November 2016: Incentives revive annual record hopes

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

Full December 2016 Top 15 groups, Top 40 brands and Top 285 models below.

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USA November 2016: Incentives revive annual record hopes

gmc-acadia-usa-november-2016-picture-courtesy-caranddriver-comGeneral Motors gains 10% in November, with the GMC Acadia up 35%. Pictures caranddriver.com

* See the Top 15 groups, Top 40 brands and Top 285 models by clicking on the title *

It’s a nice surprise this month for the U.S. new light vehicle market. After three consecutive months of decline and just as most analysts (including myself) had given up on the hope of a seventh consecutive year of gains – it would a century first (up nine years up to 1917) – and a second consecutive annual record, November sales rally back up 3.7% to 1.380.558 units on the back of very generous incentives and two additional selling days. This a new November record, with the previous best dating back to 2001 at 1.328 million. The year-to-date tally is back into positive territory – just – at +0.1% to 15.859.922 vs. 15.839.783 a year ago. The seasonally adjusted, annualised sales rate (SAAR) is strong however down 1.1% year-on-year to 17.83 million vs. 18.07 a year ago and 17.98 in October.

bmw-3-series-usa-november-2016-picture-courtesy-caranddriver-comDespite the largest incentives on the market, the BMW Group is down 16%.

The elephant in the room is the record level of incentives which is almost entirely fuelling the current market growth, with Ford even warning against this artificially-boosted sales environment a couple of days ago. Average incentives per vehicle skyrocket up 13% vs. November 2015 to $3.475 according to TrueCar. Only Daimler has cut on incentives at -4% year-on-year to $4.660 but all other manufacturers have increased them. The most generous are BMW at $6.279 (+25%), General Motors at $4.305 (+13%), Nissan at $4.209 (+13%), FCA at $4.154 (+18%), Ford at $3.982 (+23%) and Volkswagen Group at $3.751 (+6%). Below average are Kia at $3.164 (+6%), Hyundai at $2.468 (+13%), Toyota at $2.420 (+3%), Honda at $1.936 (+6%) and Subaru at $1.145 (+100%).

Ford F-Series USA November 2016. Picture courtesy youtube.comThe Ford F-Series is up 11% vs. +1% for the Chevy Silverado and +8% for the Ram Pickup

According to Automotive News, GM cut $10.000 on some Chevrolet Silverado and Suburban while Hyundai cut prices on 2016 car models by 21% to 40%. The good news is incentives are down 1.4% from October. Once again, low gasoline prices spur light truck sales up 8.5% to 849.450 whereas passenger cars drop 3.1% to 531.108, bringing the truck/car ratio to 62/38. Year-to-date, these figures at +7.1%, -8.4% and 59/41. Out of the 49.500 additional vehicles sold this month vs. November 2016, there was 43.000 additional crossovers, 25.000 additional pickups, 10.000 additional SUVs but 17.000 less cars. In the detail, Pickup trucks are up 13%, crossovers up 12% and SUVs up 10%.

audi-a4-usa-november-2016-picture-courtesy-caranddriver-comFirst year-on-year gains in 12 months for the Volkswagen Group, 85th consecutive gains for Audi.

General Motors posts the largest increase in the Top Seven and its largest so far this year at +10% to 252.644 deliveries, with retail sales up 8% to 197.609 and rental deliveries up a whopping 27%, translating into a 16% gain at Buick 14% at Cadillac and GMC and 8% at Chevrolet. Toyota Motor also has its biggest lift of 2016 at +4% to 197.645, climbing to #2 for the first time this year. Ford Motor ends a four-month negative trend by rising 5% to 196.441 thanks notably to a 19% up at Lincoln. Ford retail sales are up 10% while fleet shipments at down 9%. If Honda Motor (+6%), Nissan Motor (+7.5%) and Hyundai-Kia (+9%) all outpace the market, FCA falls flat at -9% and is the only large group to lose ground due to drastically reduced fleet volumes (-42%) while retail sales are down 2%. Former golden child Jeep (-12%), Fiat (-14%), Dodge (-21%) and Chrysler (-47%) all falling heavily with Ram (+12%) the only brand remaining afloat.

Subaru Outback USA November 2016. Picture courtesy caranddriver.comSubaru celebrates its 60th consecutive month of year-on-year gains in the U.S.

Off a very low base in November 2015, Volkswagen Group ends twelve consecutive months of decline at +16% to 52.690 units, with the Volkswagen and Porsche brands both up 24% and Audi up 3% to extend its winning streak to 85 consecutive months. Subaru for its part marks the 60th consecutive month of gains at +11% to a November record 51.308. Mercedes has all but secured the #1 luxury spot with 338.670 sales so far this year including commercials, vs 290.046 for Lexus (-4%), 280.339 for BMW (-10%) and 187.018 for Audi (+3%). Among smaller brands, Maserati is up 27%, Tesla up 46%, Ferrari up 86%, Bentley up 106% and Jaguar up 217%.

Jaguar F-Pace USA November 2016. Picture courtesy caranddriver.comJaguar gains 217% thanks mainly to the F-Pace, its new U.S. best-seller.

Over in the models aisle, the Ford F-Series remains the most popular vehicle in the United States in November and by a large margin thanks to sales up 11% to 72.089 vs. just +1% to 45.280 for the Chevrolet Silverado and +8% to 36.885 for the Ram Pickup. The Toyota Camry is up to #4 despite a 9% drop and the Toyota RAV4 is the best-selling crossover at 28.116 sales (+3%), distancing the Nissan Rogue at 26.629 (+18%) and YTD leader Honda CR-V at 25.758 (-1%). Boosted by doubling incentives, the Toyota Highlander soars 67% to a record 13th place. The Ford Explorer (+18%), Chevrolet Malibu (+72%), Subaru Outback (+16%), Ford Edge (+32%), Jeep Renegade (+30%) and GMC Acadia (+35%) are among the largest gains inside the Top 50.

toyota-highlander-usa-november-2016-picture-courtesy-caranddriver-comThe Toyota Highlander leaps to a record 13th place helped by generous incentives. 

Among recent launches, the Chrysler Pacifica returns inside the Top 50 at #46, the Cadillac XT5 gains five spots on October to #78, as does the Tesla Model X at #145 but the Buick Envision is down 14 to #149. The Lincoln Continental continues to gear up at 1.419 sales and #170, the Volvo S90 is up 27 ranks to #205 and the Genesis G90 is up 28 to #235. No new nameplate enters the ranking in November: although at record levels, the U.S. market remains markedly less dynamic than its Chinese counterpart where six to eight locally-produced newcomers maker their entry each month.

Previous month: USA October 2016: Record year now unlikely as market drops again

One year ago: USA November 2015: Volkswagen crumbles down 25%

Full November 2016 Top 40 brands and Top 285 models below.

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USA October 2016: Record year now unlikely as market drops again

Hyundai Tucson USA October 2016. Picture courtesy caranddriver.comHyundai-Kia is the only Top 7 manufacturer to gain ground year-on-year in October. 

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The U.S. October new light vehicle market posts a third consecutive month of year-on-year decline at -6% to 1.370.721 units, meaning the year-to-date tally now lags behind 2015 at the same point at -0.3% to 14.472.007 deliveries vs. +0.3% through September. Given the strength of November and December 2015 sales and the likely shy consumer spending during the POTUS transition, the chances of a 7th consecutive year of gains and 2nd consecutive all-time record sales now look faint. The added impacts of Hurricane Matthew and two fewer selling days compared to October last year have played a role in the monthly decline but the Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate comes in at a strong 17.98 million vehicles, the highest so far in 2016 albeit down from 18.2 million in October 2015.

As it has started to also be the case in Western Europe, the U.S. market would be in much worse shape if it weren’t for fleet sales. Retail sales are down year-on-year for the 6th time in the past eight months to 1.099.200 units in spite of surging incentives. According to TrueCar, average incentives are up by a whopping 16% year-on-year at $3.587 per vehicle. Incentives now stand at 12% of new-vehicle transaction prices, the highest level since the Great Recession according to local publication Automotive News. This month BMW is the most generous at an average of $6.671 per vehicle (+34%), followed by Daimler at $4.548 (-7%), General Motors at $4.417 (+14%), Ford at $4.404 (+30%), FCA at $4.388 (+23%), Nissan at $4.109 (+15%) and Volkswagen Group at $4.035 (+5%). Still managing without strong incentives are Hyundai at $2.329 (+12%), Honda at $1.952 (+2%) and Subaru at $1.130 (+63%).

Ram 3500 Glacier NP USA October 2016Ram is the only FCA brand to be up year-on-year in October at +11%.

Light trucks are up 0.8% to 63% share whereas passenger cars freefall at -15% to just 37% of the market. Pickup trucks are up 4% and crossovers up 2% but midsize cars are down 19%. Year-to-date, light trucks are up 7% and on track to hit 10.6 million sales by year end, the first time in the history of U.S. automobile that light trucks top the 10 million annual mark, all the while cars are headed towards their first year below 7 million units since 2011 and only the fourth time since 1962… As a reminder, light trucks only accounted for 4.7 million units in 2009.

The Top 6 groups all lose ground this month but the hardest hit is Ford Motors down 12% to 13.7% market share, its lowest since September 2008, with the Ford brand down 13% but Lincoln up 7%. FCA is hit 10% with only Ram advancing up 11%, Jeep down (-7%) for the second month in a row after posting monthly gains for 3 years, Dodge down 16%, Chrysler down 45% and Fiat down 24%. General Motors drops 2% with Buick up 7%, Chevrolet down just 0.8% and now #2 brand year-to-date ahead of Toyota, GMC down 6% and Cadillac down 9%. However let’s point out that GM retail sales are up 2.5% while rental sales are down 19% to a daily rate of 8.000, which is the mark of much healthier (and profitable) sales. It is still the 7th consecutive month of overall year-on-year decline for GM.

Subaru Outback USA October 2016. Picture courtesy caranddriver.comSubaru remains the manufacturer needing the least average incentives to post sales gains. 

Toyota Motor is down 9%, American Honda down 4% and Nissan Motor down 2%. Hyundai-Kia (+1%), Subaru (+4%), Jaguar Land Rover (+7%) and Mitsubishi (+3%) are the only groups posting a year-on-year increase. Among brands, Volkswagen (-18%), BMW (-18%), Acura (-20%), Land Rover (-23%), Smart (-42%) and discontinued Scion (-94%) are among the hardest hit. Reversely, Tesla is up 86% thanks to the arrival of the Model X. Vying with Volvo and the German premium brands for the position of tech leader in the industry, Tesla’s sales should further improve in 2017 with the Model 3 one of the most highly anticipated new cars of 2017.

Over in the models ranking, the Ford F-Series gains a meagre 0.1% year-on-year to lead the way once again with 65.542 units ahead of the Chevrolet Silverado (-4%), Ram Pickup (+7%) and Honda CR-V (+4%). The Toyota Camry drops 15% but remains the best-selling car in the country ahead of the Toyota Corolla (+2%), Honda Civic (-5%) and Honda Accord (-15%). Also midsize sedans, the Ford Fusion (-21%) and Chevrolet Malibu (-35%) implode. The good news in the Top 50 come from the Toyota Highlander (+33%), Chevrolet Tahoe (+81%), Dodge Journey (+25%), Nissan Murano (+100%) and Chevrolet Colorado up 50% to a best-ever 10.578 sales.

The Chrysler Pacifica continues to lead recent launches (<12 months) but drops 10 spots on September to #55. It distances the Cadillac XT5 up 7 ranks to #83, Buick Envision up 19 to #135, Tesla Model X up 19 to #160, Cadillac CT6 down 1 to #167, Jaguar F-Pace up 29 to #170, Lincoln Continental up 27 to #173 and Genesis G80 down 3 to #180.

Previous month: USA September 2016: Ram above Silverado, Jeep down

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

Full October 2016 Top 15 groups, Top 40 brands and Top 285 models below.

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USA September 2016: Ram above Silverado, Jeep down

ram-1500-rebel-usa-september-2016-picture-courtesy-automobilemag-comThe Ram Pickup outsells the Chevrolet Silverado for the 2nd time in history this month. 

* See the Top 15 groups, Top 40 brands and Top 288 models by clicking on the title *

It’s official: the U.S. market has plateaued. In September, new light vehicle sales decline year-on-year for the second consecutive month and the 4th time so far in 2016 at -0.5% to 1.435.689 units. This means the year-to-date tally is now up just 0.5% after 9 months to 13.115.309. The last year when volumes declined so many times was 2009 when sales dropped eight months out of twelve. The seasonally adjusted annualised sales rate (SAAR) ends up being higher than forecasts at 17.74 million, up from 16.97 in August but down from 18.04 in September 2015. A strong end of 2015 makes it unlikely for the U.S. market to post a 7th consecutive year of growth – it will have to settle for a slight decline but remains at incredibly high levels. Cars continue to handicap the overall market with sales down another 7.1% to 575.114 or just 40% share and down 8.2% year-to-date to 5.429.943 whereas light trucks gain 4.5% to 860.575 and 7.7% year-to-date to 7.685.366.

Jeep Wrangler USA September 2016Jeep posts a negative result for the first time in 3 years, the Wrangler is down 18%.

General Motors registers a 6th consecutive decline at -0.6% to 249.795 units but retail sales are up 0.3%, with Buick up 14% and Cadillac up 3% but Chevrolet down 0.3% and GMC down 9%. Ford Motor’s overall volume is down a harsh 8% to 203.444 with retail sales down 4% and fleet deliveries freefalling 21%. Toyota Motor ends 4 consecutive months of declines with a 1.5% growth to 197.260, spread evenly across the Toyota brand now including ex-Scion-branded models (+1.4%) and Lexus (+2%). Honda Motor skids down 0.1% to 133.655 sales with Acura (-13%) the sole culprit as the Honda brand gains 2%, Nissan is up 4.9% to 127.797 with the Nissan brand up 4.3% and Infiniti up 12%, Hyundai-Kia is up 2% to 115.830 as Hyundai gains 4% but Kia drops 1%, Subaru gains 3.5% to lift its year-to-date tally to a record 446.887 units (+4.2%) and the Volkswagen Group (-3%) endures an 11th consecutive month of decline by VW (-7.8%) just as Audi posts an 83rd consecutive year-on-year gain at +1.6%.

Mercedes GLC USA September 2016. Picture courtesy caranddriver.comMercedes cements its position as #1 luxury brand in the U.S., partly thanks to the GLC (+137%). 

But the big news this month come from FCA Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, down 0.9% to 192.883 – a relative stability that hides vast disparities across brands. Ram surges 27% to 51.866 sales thanks to an exceptional month by the Ram Pickup up 29% to 47.792, outselling the Chevrolet Silverado (down 16% to 45.380) for the 2nd place overall for the second time in history along with March 2014. In fact, since BSCB started following the U.S. market monthly in July 2004, only once has the Ram Pickup posted a higher monthly volume: in July 2005 at 48.710. Chevrolet dismisses this as a freak event due to stronger-than-usual incentives by Ram. Although true, high incentives are the norm this month for full-size pickups and haven’t been that high since December 2008 in the midst of the last recession. According to JD Power, average incentives on the Ram Pickup in September 2016 are up 29% year-on-year to $7.082, compared to $5.647 for the Silverado (+21%) and $5.173 for the Ford F-Series, whose volume is down 3% this month to 67.809.

chevrolet-colorado-usa-september-2016-picture-courtesy-caranddriver-comThe Chevrolet Colorado hits a record 36th spot in the U.S. in September. 

If Dodge (-6%), Chrysler (-27%), Fiat (-30%) and Alfa Romeo (-27%) all post dismal results, these are in line with their recent under-performance whereas the big surprise comes from Jeep, posting its first year-on-year decline in three years at -2.7% to 76.331. The last time the Jeep brand was in negative, in September 2013, was the month before the then-delayed Jeep Cherokee hit the U.S. market. Although not a surefire sign for Jeep’s near future, this decline raises a few red flags, especially given the fact that the sales drop is spread across the majority of its lineup: the Cherokee is down 12% despite reported $7.000 incentives, the Renegade down 13%, the Compass down 16% despite regional incentives as high as $4.750 and the Wrangler down 18%. The only Jeep gainers are the Grand Cherokee up 18% and Patriot up 33% in runout mode before its discontinuation.

chevrolet-trax-usa-september-2016-picture-courtesy-topspeed-comThe Chevrolet Trax gets a 39% boost thanks to its facelift. 

Local press outlet Automotive News points that Jeep’s sales losses “stand out in September within their respective market segments: while Renegade sales are down 13% and its inventory level at 114-days – the highest of all Jeep nameplates – other subcompact crossovers, such as the Subaru Crosstrek, Honda HR-V, Chevrolet Trax and Mazda CX-3, are up by double digits. And while Cherokee and Wrangler are down, the competing Toyota 4Runner in the midsize SUV segment is up 21%. In the race to the luxury U.S. crown, Mercedes cements its domination with sales up 1.7% to 29.500 excliuding Sprinter and Metris LCVs, compared to 25.801 for Lexus (+2%) and 25.389 for BMW (-4.6%). Year-to-date, Mercedes leads with 249.204 (-0.2%) ahead of Lexus at 236.193 (-4.5%) and BMW at 230.133 (-7.9%).

chrysler-pacifica-usa-september-2016-picture-courtesy-caranddriver-comThe Chrysler Pacifica breaks into the Top 50 for the first time this month. 

The high level of discounts throughout 2016 is another factor dimming analysts’ optimism for the rest of the year and 2017. Automotive News reports that “According to J.D. Power, incentives reached an all-time record of $3.923 per vehicle in September, whereas the previous record of $3.753 was set in December 2008, the month that the U.S. government first issued emergency funding to General Motors in preparation for its eventual bankruptcy filing.” TrueCar for its part estimates industry incentives at $3.387, up 8% year-on-year. Based on TrueCar figures , BMW has by far the largest average incentive per vehicle this month at a whopping $6.732, up 44% on September 2015. It is followed by Daimler at $4.342 (-9%), FCA at $4.302 (+23%), GM at $4.101 (+2%), Ford at $4.092 (+11%), Volkswagen Group at $3.910 (+23%) and Nissan at $3.896 (+12%). Below the market average are Kia at $2.763 (-2%), Hyundai at $2.431 (+1%) and Toyota at $2.330 (-0.1%) and remaining at negligible levels are Honda at $1.722 (-17%) and Subaru at $1.014 (+69%).

lincoln-continental-usa-september-2016-picture-courtesy-caranddriver-comThe Lincoln Continental lands at #200 this month. 

Over in the models aisle, below the pickup podium mentioned above the Honda CR-V gains 6% to consolidate its #1 SUV ranking at 31.884 sales and 263.493 year-to-date vs. 29.438 and 260.380 for its archenemy the Toyota RAV4, up 9% this month. The Toyota Corolla (+17%) becomes the best-selling passenger car in the country above the Camry (-11%), Honda Civic (-0.3%) and Accord (-19%). The Nissan Rogue (+6%) rounds up the Top 10, with the Chevrolet Malibu (+26%), Subaru Outback (+12%), Toyota Tacoma (+35%) and Highlander (+21%) delivering some of the largest gains in the Top 30. Below, the Chevrolet Colorado hits a record #36 rank and 10.383 sales, up 42% year-on-year, the Dodge Charger is up 35%, the Chevrolet Tahoe up 64%, Toyota Tundra up 18% and Chevrolet Trax up 39%.

alfa-romeo-giulia-usa-september-2016-picture-courtesy-caranddriver-comIt’s finally here! The Alfa Romeo Giulia makes its first appearance in the U.S. sales charts.

The Chrysler Pacifica leads recent launches (<12 months) and breaks into the Top 50 for the first time at #45 and an all-time high 9.172 deliveries in September. Only the Cadillac XT5 manages to rank within the Top 150 at #90 with 4.698 units. The Buick Envision (#154), Cadillac CT6 (#166), Tesla Model X (#169) and Genesis G80 (#177) are the next most popular newcomers. We welcome three new arrivals in the U.S. sales charts this month: the most successful is the Lincoln Continental landing directly at #200 with 775 sales, followed by the Genesis G90 at #277 and 10 units and the Alfa Romeo Giulia at #279 and 7 deliveries.

Previous month: USA August 2016: Light trucks outsell cars by 52%, market down 4%

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

Full September 2016 Top 15 groups, Top 40 brands and Top 288 models below.

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

Honda CR-V USA August 2016. Picture courtesy motortrend.comThe Honda CR-V sells a record 36.517 units in August. 

* Now updated with the Top 15 groups, Top 40 brands and Top 288 models – see title *

New light vehicle sales in the U.S. are down 4% year-on-year in August to 1.512.556 units, the third month of decline recorded so far in 2016 which is already the most in any year since 2009 when sales dropped eight times out of twelve. August’s seasonally adjusted annualized sales rate (SAAR) is down 5% to 16.97 million vs. 17.79 in August 2015 and 17.86 last month. One less weekend than August 2015 contributed to this year-on-year drop, pulling the year-to-date tally to a minuscule 0.6% gain (or 70.000 units) over the same period last year at 11.679.620 units.

Toyota RAV4 USA July 2016The Toyota RAV4 outsells the Camry for the first time in Toyota’s history in the U.S.

The big question is now: will we see by end 2016 a 2nd consecutive annual record and 7th consecutive year of growth? We at BSCB believe not, but it will be close. In 2015, the SAAR topped 18 million in September, October and November so it’s an uphill battle to end 2016 in an even better way. Factor into this the distraction of the last minute run-up and immediate fall-out of the presidential election on November 8 and we have a pretty shaky few months ahead of us. One key word: incentives. If manufacturers are willing to push them to an even higher level as the year comes to a close, we may see another record this year, but it is unlikely.

Nissan Rogue USA August 2016. Picture courtesy caranddriver.comThe Nissan Rogue posts a 2nd consecutive – and ever – month above 30.000 sales.

For now, incentive spending across the industry is up 8% year-on-year to $3.331 per vehicle on average, according to TrueCar. Among carmakers spending more than average on incentives, BMW leads the way with $5.670 (+26%) ahead of Mercedes at $4.528 (-2%), GM at $4.355 (+18%), FCA at $4.146 (+16%), Ford at $4.084 (+18%), Volkswagen Group at $3.793 (+24%) and Nissan at $3.475 (+1%). Those spending less than the industry average include ever-green Subaru at just $717 per car (+19%), Honda at $1.751 (-17%), Toyota at $2.370 (+7%), Hyundai at $2.595 (+2%) and Kia at $2.714 (-7%).

Subaru Outback USA August 2016. Picture courtesy caranddriver.comBest month ever for Subaru (60.418) with the lowest incentive average in the industry.

The three main carmakers in the U.S. suffer more than the market itself in August: Ford Motor Co posts its steepest decline in 6 years at -8.8% to 213.411 with retail sales down 8% and fleet down 10%. Luxury division Lincoln (+7%) compensated some of the decline by its namesake brand. Both General Motors (256.429) and Toyota Motor (213.125) are down by roughly 5%, each recording their 6th decline out of 8 months in 2016. In addition Nissan Motor, one of the stars of 2016 so far, records its largest drop since February 2013 at -6.5% while Honda (-3.8%) and Hyundai-Kia (-3.5%) follow the market. The only large manufacturer to deliver year-on-year gains this month is FCA at +3.1% on revised 2015 figures.

Jeep Cherokee USA August 2016. Picture courtesy of motortrend.comThe Jeep Cherokee is up 41% to a best-ever 12th overall spot in August. 

FCA’s result is almost solely due to the continuing strength of Jeep, up another 12% in August to 86.428 sales and lifting its year-to-date tally up 14% to a record-breaking 630.182. But one marque does even better – and this without incentives (see above) – confirming it is a very special case in an otherwise uncertain market: Subaru. Deliveries up a whopping 15% on August 2016 mean a new all-time monthly volume record at 60.418 units, the first time Subaru breaks the 60.000 monthly sales barrier and obliterating its previous all-time best of 56.274 established last December.

Volvo XC90 USA August 2016. Picture courtesy caranddriver.comVolvo is up 31% thanks to the XC90. 

Luxury brands are on the whole faring much better than the market, with Jaguar up 189% thanks to the XE and F-Pace, Tesla up 75% thanks to the Model X, Volvo up 31% thanks to the XC90, Land Rover up 15%, Mercedes up 3% and Audi up 2.5% but BMW is down 6% and Lexus down 8% even though it leads the luxury race in August (Mercedes sales are counted without the Sprinter family). Hyundai’s luxury brand Genesis makes its entrance in the U.S. ranking this month with 1.497 units of its G80 sedan sold – in fact a re-badged Hyundai Genesis. In terms of format, the trend away from cars into trucks is getting stronger each month with light trucks outselling cars by 52% in August at 911.573 (+2.5%) vs. 600.983 (-12.6%). If Pickups are down (-1.9%), Crossovers (+5%), Large Vans (+15%) and Large SUVs (+21%) gain significant ground.

Tesla Model X USA August 2016. Picture courtesy caranddriver.comTesla is up 75% thanks to the Model X. 

In fact, in August and for the first time in U.S. history according to BSCB calculations, the Top 6 best-sellers in the country are all light trucks, relegating the Toyota Camry down to a paltry 7th position overall! Although all losing ground year-on-year, three pickups lead the way as usual: the Ford F-Series (-6%), Chevrolet Silverado (-5%) and Ram Pickup (-11%) but they are followed this month by three SUVs: the Honda CR-V (+4%), Toyota RAV4 (+9%) and Nissan Rogue (+19%). The CR-V beats its monthly volume record for the 2nd month in a row at 36.517, reclaiming the #1 YTD spot in the SUV race off the RAV4 which itself signs its 2nd highest volume ever at 33.171 (best: 35.614 in August 2014) – outselling the Camry for the first time ever –  and the Rogue is also at its 2nd best with 32.979 (best: 33.298 last month).

Jaguar F-Pace USA August 2016. Picture courtesy caranddriver.comJaguar is up 189% thanks to the XE and F-Pace (pictured). 

Further down, the Jeep Cherokee soars 41% to a best-ever 12th place with 23.932 sales, narrowly missing its all-time record (24.049 last December), the Chevrolet Cruze is up 52% on August 2015 and 17 spots on last month to #13, the Subaru Forester shoots up 10 spots to #16, the Outback is up 56% to #21 and the Hyundai Santa Fe up 35% to #26. Reversely, the Honda Accord (-26%), Ford Focus (-28%), Nissan Versa (-29%), Hyundai Sonata (-32%), Ford Fusion (-33%) and Nissan Altima (-39%) all fall flat – and all passenger cars…

Genesis G80

Among recent launches (<12 months), the Chrysler Pacifica leads the way again but is down 4 spots on July to #60, followed by the Cadillac XT5 (#93) and Honda Ridgeline (#114). The China-made Buick Envision is up 10 ranks on last month to #159, the Jaguar F-Pace is down 20 to #179 but remains by far the brand’s best-seller in the U.S., accounting for 37% of its total volume, and the Tesla Model X ranks 186th with an estimated 1.100 units sold. We welcome no less than four all-new nameplates in the U.S. charts in August: the Genesis G80 (#161), Bentley Bentayga (#251), Maserati Levante (#264) and Infiniti QX30 (#267).

Previous month: USA July 2016: GM, Ford, Toyota down in market up just 0.5%

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

Full August 2016 Top 15 groups, Top 40 brands and Top 288 models below.

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USA July 2016: GM, Ford, Toyota down in market up just 0.5%

Honda CR-V USA July 2016. Picture courtesy caranddriver.comThe Honda CR-V shoots up to #4 overall in July.

* See the Top 15 groups, Top 40 brands and Top 275 models by clicking on the title *

The Second Half of 2016 starts in a very shy fashion in the U.S. with July sales up just 0.5% year-on-year to 1.521.245 units. Yet the seasonally adjusted annual selling rate (SAAR), at 17.86 million, is the highest so far in 2016, a 1.6% increase over the 17.58 million of July 2015 and 7% better than the 16.69 million of last month. Over the first 7 months of 2016, the U.S. light vehicle market is up 1.1% to 10.156.215 units and the SAAR averages 17.37 million vs. 17.5 million over the Full Year 2015 and above 18 million in September, October and November last year.

Jeep Renegade USA July 2016Not so unbeatable after all: FCA 

If in our H1 2016 analysis we described new ways manufacturers have found to boost their sales figures in a cooling off market, July brought this observation to a new level with FCA restating their sales results for the past 6 years and admitting over-reporting in 2012, 2013, and 2016 to date, while under-reporting in 2011, 2014 and 2015. As a result, the company’s 75-month streak of year-on-year gains actually ended at 41 months, in September 2013. FCA indeed found a 3% decline in September 2013 when it had previously reported a 1% increase. Likewise, August 2015 is down at -1% instead of +2% and May 2016 now stands at a paltry -7% instead of the +1% previously reported. Faced with the spread of sales mis-reporting, FCA even toyed with the idea of ending monthly sales reports altogether! More on the FCA story here.

Ford F-150 USA July 2016. Picture courtesy caranddriver.comFord CEO anticipates a “much weaker than normal” end of 2016. 

Needless to say car manufacturers are growing increasingly desperate to show a positive outlook at the end of every month. On the last day of July, Ford Motor Co’s profit warning jolted the U.S. auto industry according to local outlet Automotive News. After Ford posted a 9% decline in Q2 net income, CEO Mark Fields said “We’re seeing more pressure throughout the business for the remainder of this year, so as a result, we’re calling for the second half of this year, and particularly the third quarter, to be much weaker than normal.” Reason being higher than anticipated incentives in order to sustain market share and a potential $1 billion hit over three years as a result of the Brexit vote. Adam Jonas of Morgan Stanley is calling the abrupt shift in Ford’s attitude a possible “watershed” moment for the industry, which largely had brushed aside bubbling concerns about plateauing U.S. sales and rising discounts. This according to Automotive News. The full story is here.

Subaru Outback USA July 2016. Picture courtesy caranddriver.comOnly Subaru doesn’t need incentives to sell in the U.S. 

A look at average incentives per vehicle estimated by TrueCar for the month of July confirms the picture painted by Ford’s CEO: BMW leads the charge with a huge $5.178 average, up 25% year-on-year and distancing Daimler at $4.538 (-5%), GM at $4.338 (+2%), FCA at $3.996 (+13%), Volkswagen Group at $3.796 (+23%), Ford at $3.632 (+20%) and Nissan at $3.439 (-4%). The industry average stands at $3.225 per unit, up 5.2% on a year ago, with Kia ($2.699), Hyundai ($2.328), Toyota ($2.228), Honda ($1.794) and most strikingly – as it has been the case for years – Subaru ($644) stand below the average.

Jaguar F-Pace USA July 2016. Picture courtesy caranddriver.comThe F-Pace helps Jaguar up 174% in July in the U.S. 

In July, the Top 3 carmakers in the U.S. are declining: General Motors drops 2% to 267.258 sales, Ford Motor is down 3% to 215.268 and Toyota Motor dips 1% to 214.233. On the other hand, FCA is up 2% to 180.727, American Honda up 4% to 152.799, Hyundai-Kia up 6% to 134.972, overtaking Nissan North America up 1% to 132.475. Daimler AG is up 7% and Jaguar Land Rover up 47%. Brand-wise, here too the 3 best-sellers are in negative territory: Ford (-3%), Toyota (-2%) and Chevrolet (-5%) distance Honda (+6%), Nissan (+2%), Jeep (+5%), Hyundai (+6%) and Kia (+6%). Mercedes (+7%), Buick (+10%), Volvo (+53%), Scion (+66%), Land Rover (+21%) and Jaguar (+174%) make themselves noticed.

Nissan Rogue USA July 2016. Picture courtesy caranddriver.comThe Nissan Rogue beats its monthly sales record for the 2nd straight month.

No surprise atop the U.S. July models ranking: the Ford F-Series remains the default choice in spite of a 1% dip to 65.657 vs. 54.116 for the Chevrolet Silverado (-4%). Note though that a particularly strong month by the GMC Sierra (#14) means the GM Full-size pickups outsell the Ford F-Series for the first time since last January. The Ram Pickup gains a splendid 11% in third place, while the Honda CR-V brilliantly resumes its SUV domination with deliveries up 13% to 36.017, earning it a fantastic 4th place overall. Below the Toyota Camry down 11% to #5, the Nissan Rogue shoots up 33% to post its highest ever monthly volume at 33.298, its first time above 30.000 monthly units and the 2nd straight all-time record month – and its best-ever ranking at #6.

Chrysler Pacifica USA July 2016. Picture courtesy caranddriver.comThe all-new Chrysler Pacifica is now #60 in the U.S. 

Inside the Top 75, the Toyota Highlander, Chevrolet Traverse (both at +20%), Hyundai Santa Fe (+23%), Jeep Renegade (+59%), Dodge Grand Caravan (+33%), Kia Sportage (+53%), Hyundai Tucson (+98%), Nissan Frontier (+73%), Hyundai Accent (+65%) and Ford Expedition (+118%) make waves. Among recent launches, the Chrysler Pacifica improves by a further 6 spots on June to #60, the Cadillac XT5 is up 9 to #89, the Honda Ridgeline up 27 to #108, the Jaguar F-Pace up 24 to #159, the Fat 124 Spider up 61 to #216 and the Volvo S90 up 24 to #242. The Acura NSX is also creeping up the charts at #265 with 21 units finding a new home.

Previous post: USA First Half 2016: Is this the first soft landing in a decade?

Previous month: USA June 2016: Trucks pull market up 2% but SAAR is down

One year ago: USA July 2015: Chevrolet Silverado and Nissan Rogue shoot up

Full July 2016 Top 15 groups, Top 40 brands and Top 275 models below.

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USA First Half 2016: Is this the first soft landing in a decade?

Ford F-150 Raptor USA June 2016Ford’s average incentives per vehicle are up 35% year-on-year in June.

* See the Top 15 groups, Top 40 brands and Top 300 models by clicking on the title *

Recently, the U.S. new light vehicle market has been on a rollercoaster, freefalling 36% in two years between 2007 and 2009 to then surge back up 65% in the past six years, hitting an all-time record in 2015 at 17.47m units. But so far 2016 shows signs of the first soft landing in a decade. Volumes were down 6% in May, the SAAR (Seasonally Adjusted Annualised Rate) was down 2% in June and as a result sales are up to arrive at a six month tally up a very shy improvement at +1.5% to 8.644.920 units. U.S. sales are clearly peaking, and some analysts are starting to wonder whether 2016 will in fact mark the 7th consecutive annual growth everyone was dead-certain about at the start of the year. The worst news: retail demand is evaporating, with LMC Automotive recently cutting its 2016 retail forecast by 100.000 units to 14.2 million.

The tyranny of financial markets has prompted manufacturers to resort to increasingly risky – and less profitable – ways of maintaining volume growth. One is “punching” – dealers buying vehicles from their own inventory, later converting them into testers or loaners in order to earn bonuses. BMW, supposedly the #1 luxury brand in the U.S. in 2015, was under the spotlight earlier this year when IHS Automotive discovered their sales were in fact below both Mercedes and Lexus. It turned out BMW offered $1.000 bonuses per car on November 30 and then $3.000 on December 31 to dealers selling vehicles to themselves as a “specialty demo” in order to snap the #1 luxury spot, with success.

Richard Davis, CEO of Bancorp, admitted in June that the auto loan market is overheated with sub-prime loans increasing their share in the past year, although his company is focusing on prime lending, he says. According to TrueCar, incentives up 9% year-on-year in June to $3,116 per vehicle on average across the industry. Ford incentives are up 35% to $3,516, BMW up 22% to $5,235, FCA up 21% to $4,101 and the Volkswagen Group up 16% to $3,585. This incentive inflation is not generalised though, with Honda down 4% to $1,845 per vehicle, Nissan down 6% to $3,208, Hyundai down 14% to $2,133 and Subaru down 20% to a minuscule $616 per vehicle.

Toyota RAV4 USA June 2016. Picture courtesy motortrend.comIt’s out with the cars, in with the trucks in the U.S. The Toyota RAV4 is up 16%.

The slow seepage from passenger cars towards light trucks (crossovers, SUVs and pickups) has become a stampede in 2016. Halfway through the year, passenger cars are bleeding down 7.5% to 3.644 million units. Small cars are down 8%, midsize cars are down 5.5%, luxury cars down 13% and large cars down 39%. The image is an almost perfect mirror in positive territory when it comes too light trucks, up 9% overall to hit a round 5 million deliveries. Pickups are up 7% to 1.279m units, SUVs up 5% to 0.866m and crossovers up 9% to 2.315m.

General Motors remains the dominant force in the U.S. market but sees its sales drop 4% to 1.439m units, mainly due to a much-adverstied shift away from low-profit daily rental sales that is starting to get a little tired as the only explanation for skidding volumes. Ford on the other hand improves by a robust 4% to 1.345m sales but Toyota is down 3% to 1.198m and now threatened by FCA Fiat Chrysler Automobiles up 6% to 1.152m and celebrating an incredible 75 consecutive months on year-on-year gains in June. Nissan is reaping the benefits of and reapplying lessons from its stunning success in neighbouring Mexico where it is #1: the Japanese group posts the biggest increase of any large group (+8%) to overtake Honda (+5%). Hyundai-Kia (+3%) follows, while the Volkswagen Group (-7%) is passed by Subaru, handicapped by the impact of the emissions scandal that has plagued its namesake brand down 15%.

Jeep Renegade USA June 2016. Picture courtesy caradvice.com.auJeep sales are up another 17% so far in 2016.

Brand-wise, Ford is up 4% to 1.292m sales and improves its share to 14.9%, vastly increasing its advantage over Toyota at 1.009m and Chevrolet at 1.007m, both at -4% although Toyota has passed Chevy. Once again, the best performer in the Top 25 is Jeep soaring 17% to a record 468.131 deliveries and on a streak of 33 consecutive year-on-year monthly gains. As it celebrates 75 years of existence this week, Jeep adds two nameplates into the Top 60 best-sellers: the Renegade (#50) and Compass up 80% (#57), alongside the Cherokee (#21), Grand Cherokee (#22), Wrangler (#23) and Patriot (#37). Other marques posting double-digit year-on-year gains include Ram (+11%), Lincoln (+13%), last swan Scion (+51%), Land Rover (+13%), Volvo (+25%) and Jaguar (+40%) with Tesla the best performer of all at +62% to an estimated 16.500 units and the Model X SUV making its first appearance just outside the Top 200. At the other end of the scale, Mini (-17%), Chrysler and Fiat (-19%) disappoint. Other brands on an impressive sales gains streak include Audi (80 months), Ram (59), Subaru (55), Volvo (19) and Scion (10).

Model-wise, the Ford F-Series is easily headed towards a 35th consecutive year at #1 which would mean 40 years in a row as the best-selling pickup in the U.S. It has overcome supply issues that plagued the career start of the new gen F-150 last year and is now getting ready to see its redesigned heavy-duty variants (F-250/F-350) hit the market. So far in 2016, the F-Series is up 11% to 395.244 units whereas the Chevrolet Silverado is actually down 1% to 273.652 and the Ram Pickup is up 9% to 231.405. Despite the GMC Sierra gaining 6%, GM’s full-size pickups are outsold by the F-Series at 380.118. In the same segment, the redesigned Honda Ridgeline has landed at #135 in June but the Nissan Titan is still very discreet (#188). Meanwhile, the mid-size pickup segment is sizzling again: the Toyota Tacoma is up 7%, the GMC Canyon up 16%, the Chevy Colorado up 23% and the Nissan Frontier up 29%. Ford must resuscitate the Ranger asap.

Honda Civic USA June 2016. Picture courtesy caranddriver.comThe new Honda Civic has hit a nerve: +20% and #2 passenger car. 

It may be a tad harder for the Toyota Camry to hold onto the #1 passenger car title for the 15th year in a row and the 19th time in the past 20 years. Although in the lead so far with 199.760 sales, it drops 7% year-on-year and is now under intense pressure from a revived Honda Civic up 20% to 189.840 units. Note the Civic has never been the best-selling car in the U.S., a title it has been holding for the past 18 years in Canada. The Toyota Corolla (-4%) is hit full frontal by the Civic, yje Nissan Altima disappoints with a 0.4% gain in spite of a new model and the Honda Accord outpcaes the market at +9% in 8th position overall.

Next is the fight for the title of most popular SUV in the country, surprisingly tense this year. Boosted up 16% to 165.900 units by its facelift, the Toyota RAV4 spectacularly takes the lead, toppling the Honda CR-V, long time leader but now down 2% to 159.075 and also threatened by the Ford Escape up 6% to 155.378 and the Nissan Rogue up 10% to 148.883. Other impressive gainers close to the top include the Nissan Sentra (+16%), Chevrolet Malibu (+25%), Ford Transit (+36%), Hyundai Tucson (+66%), Kia Sportage (+76%), Dodge Grand Caravan (+94%) and Chrysler Town & Country (+42%) – both models heavily discounted as the Chrysler Pacifica hits the market at #153 and 10.189 sales.

Previous post: USA June 2016: Trucks pull market up 2% but SAAR is down

One year ago: USA 1st Half 2015: Nissan Rogue, Chrysler 200 & Chevy Colorado game changers

Full H1 2016 Top 15 groups, Top 40 brands and Top 300 models below.

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