* See the Top 15 groups, Top 40 brands and Top 277 models by clicking on the title *
After a 6% fall in May, U.S. new light vehicle sales return to growth in June, but just: the 1.512.996 sales, up 2.4% on May 2015, actually fall back to a seasonally adjusted annualised rate (SAAR) of just 16.68 million, well below the 17.2 million that were forecast for the month, below the 17.01 million from a year ago in June 2015, below the 17.46 million from last month and well below the 17.5 million required to beat the 2015 annual record and post a seventh consecutive year of growth. Passenger cars are down a brutal 8% to 622.000 units or just 41.1% of the market whereas light trucks are up a stunning 11% to 891.000 deliveries or 58.9% share. In the US, light trucks include pickups (+13% to 225.000), crossovers (+10% to 416.000) and SUVs (+11% to 152.000).
In fact, the contrast between euphoric truck sales and worryingly low passenger car sales is a constant underlying factor in almost all manufacturers present in the U.S. The best performer this month, Nissan manages to post a 13% year-on-year gain to a best-ever June figure on the back of record crossover, truck and SUV deliveries: the Rogue – the #1 SUV in the world in 2015 – surges 26% to an all-time record 29.246 sales, stopping just 369 units short of snapping the #1 SUV spot off the Honda CR-V.
Ford Motor Co’s 6% improvement comes single-handedly from the F-Series soaring 29% – with the F-150 up a whopping 40% – whereas the rest of its lineup is down 0.8%… The Toyota brand posts a harsh 8% drop, handicapped by a 15% fall in car sales (-13% for its best-seller Camry) whereas trucks gain 0.1% amid tight pickup inventories. American Honda manages to snap a 3% rise, surfing on record light truck sales helped by the arrival of the new Ridgeline pickup (2.500 deliveries in June) and maintaining Civic (+11%) and Accord (+5%) at strong levels while offering the second lowest discounts in the industry below Subaru at $1.845 and declining at -4%.
The underlying truck current is even more flagrant at FCA which manages to extend its streak of year-on-year gains to a gob-smacking 75 consecutive months thanks to Jeep up 16% to a June record of 83.691 sales (the brand has set a U.S. sales record every month since November 2013!) and Ram trucks up 14% to 41.236 and despite a freefalling Fiat (-19%) and Chrysler (-20%) and – wait for it – a 40% crash of the company’s passenger cars. On top of this, FCA incentives are some of the highest in market at $4.101 according to TrueCar, up 21% on June 2015.
Hyundai is up 0.01% or nine vehicles thanks to the Santa Fe (+76%) and Tucson (+99%) with the Elantra (-16%), Sonata (-22%) and Accent (-52%) crumbling down, and crossover specialist Subaru continues on its record streak with a 55th consecutive month of year-on-year gains in June at +5% to 46.598, all this virtually incentive-free at just $616 average (-20%). Meanwhile, Volkswagen endures a seventh consecutive decline at -22%, further handicapped by a lineup strongly biased towards passenger cars.
The truck/car dichotomy is also valid in the luxury aisle, with Audi barely snapping a 66th consecutive monthly U.S sales record, up 1% to 18.445 units on the back of a 29% surge in crosovver sales, Mercedes up 3% thanks to the GLE up 27% on the M Class in June 2015. The GLC up 48% on the GLK and the GLS up 27% on the GL whereas its C Class best-seller is down 17%. Passenger car-heavy BMW drops a painful 10%, its seventh straight month of decline, while SUV specialist Land Rover is up 125%, Jaguar up 41% thanks to the F-Pace already the brand’s best-seller (1.123) and Volvo is up 41% thanks to its new best-seller the XC90 (+468%).
One exception is General Motors, posting its fourth monthly drop out of six months in 2016 at -1.6%, with the balance pointing to a light truck weakness at -1.7% vs. -1.3% for passenger cars. GMC is down 9%, Buick down 5% but Cadillac is up 5% and Chevrolet up just 0.1% despite the Impala gaining 47% and a welcome boost from the new generation Spark (+71%). GM once again blamed the overall sales drop on effort to boost residual value by reducing less profitable rental sales by 5.700 units. However a few analysts including myself are starting to question this rationale, given GM’s average incentives remain among the highest in market at $3.991 per vehicle (+2% year-on-year) vs. $3.516 for Ford (+35%).
The Volvo S90 lands in the U.S. charts in June.
Some new launches are starting to make themselves noticed in the models charts: just as the Dodge Grand Caravan continues to catch up on lost time in 2015 when its factory was idled (+79%), the Chrysler Pacifica sliced its ranking in two from #132 in May to #66 in June with 7.207 deliveries, now actively replacing the Town & Country (6.054). The Cadillac XT5 also breaks into the U.S. Top 100 for the first time at #98, and the China-made Buick Envision is up 82 ranks to #170. Now that the long-awaited new model is finding its way into dealerships across the country, the Honda Ridgeline shoots up to #135 with almost 2.500 sales in June, and we welcome the Volvo S90 (#268), Acura NSX (#273) and Fiat 124 Spider (#277) in the ranking this month, albeit for now a little lost in the long tail.
Previous month: USA May 2016: Market down 6%, largest drop since August 2010
Full June 2016 Top 15 groups, Top 40 brands and Top 277 models below.