* 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 month: USA June 2016: Trucks pull market up 2% but SAAR is down
Full July 2016 Top 15 groups, Top 40 brands and Top 275 models below.