* See the Top 273 best-selling models and Top 40 brands by clicking on the title! *
After exploring the monthly US ranking, as is the tradition on BSCB we now study the year-to-date ranking to try and extract longer-term trends. As a reminder the US new light vehicle market is is great shape so far in 2014: up 5% year-on-year over the first 8 months to 11.19 million units. And things keep getting better with August hitting a seasonally adjusted annualised sales rate (SAAR) of 17.5 million, the highest since January 2006! Brand-wise, below Ford down 1% to 1.64 million sales, Toyota is now breathing on Chevrolet’s neck at 1,386,729 units (+6%) vs. 1,388,993 (+2%), and with a 22,000 unit-advantage in August alone, the Japanese carmaker could overtake its American counterpart as early as next month.
Nissan excels at +13% to a record-breaking 883,274 units, remaining in 5th place but now trailing Honda by only 53,000 sales vs. 162,000 one year ago. Jeep is still the fastest growing mass brand by very far at +45% to an all-time high 461,156 units in 7th place. Other great gainers this year so far in the US include Subaru at #10 (+19%), Ram at #12 (+24%), Lexus at #17 (+16%) and catching up with Mercedes (+9%) and BMW (+12%), Audi at #20 (+15%), Mitsubishi at #25 (+29%) and Maserati at #34 (+319%). Reversely, only Ford (-1%), Honda (-1%), Volkswagen (-13%) and Chrysler (-9%) lose ground in the Top 20.
Model-wise, the Ford F-Series is down 0.4% at 497,174 units and is entering its challenging changeover period to the aluminium-body 2015 F-150, set to begin arriving in showrooms in November. Ford’s main truck plant in Dearborn, Michigan is idled until late October in preparation for the launch. According to Automotive News, Ford dialled back F-Series incentives to conserve inventory ahead of the changeover, in case it does not go as smoothly as hoped. The old and new F-150 will continue to be manufactured concurrently for a short period of time to avoid any potential output breakdown for the nameplate as a whole. Having said that I just saw a $13,000 rebate advertised on the F-150 in Texas, its strongest state…
General Motors is trying to make the most of this situation: for September, Chevrolet is offering special leases and rebates under a Truck Month promotion and dangling bonus cash for Chevrolet dealers who hit Silverado retail sales targets, said Automotive News. GM will pay a bonus of $1,300 for every sale of 2014 and ’15 pickups to dealers who hit their U.S. targets. In August and for the first time in 2014, the GM full-size pickups (Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra) outsold the F-Series at 69,048 vs. 68,109. The Silverado is even back into positive territory year-to-date (+1%) thanks to an incentive-fuelled 13% surge in August. The Ram pickup is however still the gaining champion in the Top 12 at a cool +21% partly thanks to the new diesel variants like Albert, the one I am currently driving across the country.
The other great gainers in the Top 20 are the Toyota Corolla, logically up 13% and two spots year-on-year thanks to the new generation to go up to #6, the Toyota RAV4 up 24% and now #13, the Ford Explorer up 17% to #18 and the Nissan Rogue up 21% to #19, now looking at breaking into the annual US Top 20 for the very first time by the time 2014 comes to an end. Let’s also salute the Nissan Sentra up 42% to #22, the Subaru Forester up 43% to #27, Kia Soul up 26% to #29, Mazda CX-5 up 29% to #48, Hyundai Santa Fe up 25% to #50, Toyota 4Runner up 46% to #66, Acura MDX up 44% to #78, Lexus IS up 77% to #91 and the Buick Encore up 65% to #93.
As far as new nameplates are concerned, the Jeep Cherokee is head and shoulders above the rest, now inside the Top 25 thanks to 113,933 sales. The next best thing is now the Mercedes CLA at #139 and 15,676 units but it will disappear next month as it launched in September 2013. The Mitsubishi Mirage (#161) and Ram ProMaster (#175) are the only other newcomers inside the Top 200. They could be joined next month by the Lincoln MKC up 13 ranks to #203 and the Porsche Macan up 8 to #207. The Volvo V60 and Chevrolet SS have not convinced: they are already down to #210 and #237 respectively. Good starts for the Acura TLX landing directly at #234 and the BMW i3 up 7 to #236.
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Full 8 months 2014 Top 273 models and Top 40 brands Ranking Tables below.