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