USA February 2016: Market up 7% to best February in 15 years

Ford F-150 USA February 2016. Picture courtesy caranddriver.comFord sales are up 20% in the US in February. Picture caranddriver.com

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In the U.S., January and February are typically the two weakest months of the year. Thanks to petrol prices at 12-year lows and sales reports from a snowstorm-filled January, February sales are up 7% to 1.344 million units, the largest February score sine 2001 lifting the year-to-date total up 3% to 2.492m registrations. The Seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) is stable on last month at 17.53 million, but it’s the best rate for a February since 2000 and up from just 16.39 million a year ago. The light vehicle buying machine is currently running at full throttle in the US, also fuelled by cheap credit. According to J.D. Power, long loans and leases account for a record 65.1% of all retail sales in February, up from 64.3% in January. Is it appropriate to speak about overheating? BSCB will study this shortly in a separate Strategy piece.

Ram 2500 USA February 2016. Picture courtesy caranddriver.comThe Ram Pickup gains a formidable 23% in February. 

Low petrol prices allow U.S. customers to get back to their first love: light trucks, up 13% in February to 772.000 sales and up 10% so far this year at 1.434 million units. Reversely, cars are down 0.2% this month to 572.000 units and down 4% year-to-date at 1.059 million, forcing carmakers to raise incentives on car nameplates to keep inventories from piling up. Group-wise, we have another very interesting evolution this month: leader General Motors goes agains the market at -2%, a drop it attributes to a very healthy 39% reduction in fleet deliveries, accounting for 21% of the company’s total sales in February vs. 27% a year ago. GM said retail sales rose 7%, in line with the overall market.

Toyota RAV4 USA February 2016. Picture courtesy caranddriver.comThe Toyota RAV4 is the best-selling SUV in the country for the 2nd straight month.

On the other hand, Ford posts the most impressive evolution this month, boosted up 20% by improved sales across the board: crossover and SUV sales are up 29%, trucks up 14% and cars up 19%. All its nameplates apart from the C-Max and E-Series van are in positive, its namesake brand is up 20% while Lincoln in up 30% lifted by the MKX crossover up 109%. But – and this is a big but – these gains have been achieved on the back of fleet sales up 40% to account for 36% of total deliveries and sales to rental companies more than doubling year-on-year to 41.000. A very unhealthy move indeed.

The F-Series is up 10% to 60.697 units, finally widening the gap with its immediate follower the Chevy Silverado at 43.136 (-5%) and outselling the GM twin full-size pickups as the GMC Sierra is stuck at 15.202 sales. FCA Fiat Chrysler Automobiles stretches its incredible run to 71 consecutive months of year-on-year increases at +12%, led by Ram (+27%), Jeep (+23%) and Dodge (+12%) whereas Fiat (-9%) and Chrysler (-26%). Nissan (up 11% to 130.911) and Honda (up 13% to 113.985) both set February records, while Toyota (187.954) is up a shyer 4%.

Nissan Sentra USA February 2016Lifted by its facelift, the Nissan Sentra is up 34% in February. 

Just as its emission scandals spins further out of control, Volkswagen is among a handful of brands to suffer double-digit declines this month at -13%, all the while its premium division Audi remaining sheltered from the damage at +2% to 11.718 sales, the brand’s 62nd consecutive month of record U.S. sales. The other brands suffering this month include BMW (-11%), Infiniti (-11%), Mazda (-16%) and Mini (-24%). Among gainers, Scion (+52%) is doing its honour lap before being discontinued later this year, Volvo (+31%) is boosted by the XC90 and Tesla (+35%) by the Model X (official sales unavailable). Lexus (23.090) wins the luxury race above Mercedes (22.941 ex-Sprinter) and BMW (22.498) despite sales up just 0.4% on a year ago, and Subaru posts a 51st consecutive month of year-on-year gains at +2% and 42.011 deliveries.

Lexus RX USA February 2016. Picture courtesy caranddriver.comLexus wins the U.S. luxury race this month. Picture courtesy caranddriver.com

Model-wise, the Ram Pickup cements its third position overall thanks to sales up a flamboyant 23%, the Toyota Corolla (+5%) is back to #2 passenger car below its larger colleague the Camry and above the Nissan Altima (-1%) while the Honda Civic only manages a #4 spot despite sales up 32% thanks to the new generation. The Toyota RAV4 is the #1 SUV in the country for the 2nd month running, the Ford Explorer gains 20% at #13, the Chevy Malibu is up 53% to #15 and the Nissan Sentra up 34% to #16. Other great gainers include the Ford Edge (+91%), Dodge Grand Caravan (+95%), Ford Transit (+70%), Nissan Murano (+86%) and Hyundai Tucson (+90%). The most popular newcomer (less than 12 month-old) is once again the Jeep Renegade (6.757 sales) followed by the Honda HR-V (4.940), Scion iA (2.305) and Mazda CX-3 (1.793).

Previous month: USA January 2016: SAAR up to 17.55m units despite snowstorms

One year ago: USA February 2015: Toyota above Ford, Nissan Rogue & Chrysler 200 shine

Full February 2016 Top 275 models Ranking Table below.

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

Honda Civic USA 2015. Picture courtesy caranddriver.comThe Honda Civic is up 43% to 5th overall in January. Picture caranddriver.com

* See the Top 15 groups, Top 40 brands and Top 274 All-models by clicking on the title *

Even though January had one less weekend than in 2015, began with a stock market rout and ended with most East Coasters forced by severe snowstorms to postpone their planned car purchases to later in the year, U.S sales dip just 0.4% to 1.148.087 units this month. The seasonally adjusted annualised selling rate (SAAR) even leaps to 17.55 million units, the highest January since 2006, to be compared with 17.32 million in December and 16.71 million a year ago in January 2015.

Chevrolet Impala USA January 2016. Picture courtesy caranddriver.comChevrolet is significantly cutting its sales to car-rental companies.

General Motors sales are flat, but for a good reason: deliveries to car-rental companies are down by a significant 13.000 units this month, offsetting a large improvement in retail sales. In fact, GM was the only major automaker to post a retail increase or a fleet decrease this month, according to figures obtained by Automotive News U.S. Chevrolet sold 16.400 fewer rental vehicles than in January 2015, more than justifying the brand’s 5.079 unit-decline. Chevrolet’s retail sales were up 12%, edging it past Ford by almost 1.500 units. Overall, the Chevrolet brand is down 4% and Cadillac is down 8%, but GMC is up 3.5% and Buick up 45%, with the new Cascada convertible hitting dealerships (#245).

Buick Cascada USA January 2016. Picture courtesy caranddriver.comBuick Cascada – Buick sales are up 45% in January.

At Ford Motor Co on the other hand, the Ford brand’s fleet sales surge by 20% but weak retail sales pull the brand down 3%, also because Ford car sales sink 13%. Lincoln on the other hand grows by 8%. Toyota Motor falls 5% with the Prius down 24% and the Camry – up 9.3% to 26.848 – the only Toyota brand car improving year-on-year. Toyota pulled the plug on Scion (+38%) this month, more on this shorty. Nissan sets a January record and at 105.734 deliveries (bypassing America Honda at -2%) as does Hyundai at 45.011 sales. Fiat Chrysler lodges a spectacular 7% increase to 155.037 sales, the company’s 70th consecutive monthly gain. For once, the Dodge brand is up 19%, Jeep is up 15%, Ram up 5% but Chrysler (-22%) and Fiat (-20%) crumble.

VW Passat USA January 2016. Picture courtesy caranddriver.comVW Passat sales are down 43% in January despite the arrival of the 2016 model. 

Volkswagen continues to be handicapped by its emissions scandal with sales down a harsh 15% to 20.079 ad the Passat taking a 43% cut despite the arrival of the 2016 model in December. However Audi continues on its runaway success, up for the 61st month in a row at +1% to 11.850 units. Subaru for its part snaps a 50th consecutive month of year-on-year gains at +1% and 41.101 deliveries. Mercedes is king of luxury this month with sales up 0.2% to 24.664 units ex-Sprinter vs. -10% and 20.933 for Lexus and -5% and 18.082 for BMW.

Ford Edge USA January 2016. Picture courtesy motortrend.comFord Edge sales are up 26% year-on-year. 

Model-wise, the Ford F-Series worryingly drops 5% to 51.540 units whereas a year ago the all-new F150 was still struggling, on the other hand the Chevrolet Silverado is up 5% to 37.863 as is the Ram Pickup to 28.938. The Toyota Camry retains the #1 passenger car title by the skin of its teeth at 26.848 units vs. 26.741 (+43%) for the Honda Civic boosted by its new generation. The Toyota Corolla (-18%) and Nissan Altima (-16%) fall heavily as does the Honda CR-V (-17%), bypassed by the Nissan Rogue (+26%). The Ford Edge (+26%), Dodge Charger (+30%), Chrysler Town & Country (+39%), Ford Transit (+51%) and Dodge Grand Caravan (+83%) post the largest increases in the Top 50.

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

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

One year ago: USA January 2015: General Motors strong in market up 14%

Full January 2016 Top 15 groups, Top 40 brands and Top 274 All-models below.

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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 *

* Check out over 100 years worth of U.S. Data archives here *

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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