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USA January 2018: Toyota & Nissan pull market up 1.2%

The Nissan Rogue climbs onto the U.S. podium for the first time in history. 

* See the Top 15 groups, Top 40 brands and Top 280 models by clicking on the title *

Up 1.2% on January 2017 to 1.157.407 units, the U.S. new light vehicle market records its third year-on-year gain in the past five months after last September and November, seemingly indicating sales are headed towards a plateau. However the 2018 forecast is a first drop below 17 million annual units in 3 years, with most analysts aiming at a 16.7-16.9m range. The Seasonally Adjusted Annualised Selling Rate (SAAR) hits 17.18m this month, down 1.4% on the 17.43m of January and down on the 17.86m of December 2017. As it has been the case for the past few years, sales are prepped up by booming light truck sales and generous incentives.

The Chevrolet Equinox hits a record-breaking 6th place in January.

Light trucks are up 8% to 773.433 or 66.8% of the market, an all-time share for January, whereas passenger cars drop 10.8% to 381.452 or a paltry 33.2% share. In the detail, crossovers gain 13.6% to 399.204, pickups are up 5% to 186.831 and SUVs are up 0.2% to 124.244 while midsize cars are down 12.6% to 158.803 and small cars down 13% to 161.936. According to ALG, the average new-vehicle incentive shoots up 9.8% to $3,812 this month, and with an average transaction price up 4% to $36,270 (source Kelly Blue Book), incentives exceed the symbolic 10% of sticker price for the 18th time over the past 19 months.

The Tacoma (+34%) helps Toyota up 17% in the U.S. this month.

General Motors follows the market with a 1.3% gain (its fourth consecutive positive month) as retail deliveries are down 2% but fleet sales surge 16%, commercial and government deliveries combined soar 44% and daily rental sales are down 7%. Chevrolet (+5%), Buick (+4%) are up but Cadillac (-3.9%) and GMC (-11%) struggle. Toyota Motor posts its largest year-on-year gain since May 2014 at an impressive +16.8% on the back of fleet deliveries surging 69% according to Cox Automotive. Toyota is up 17% and Lexus up 15%. In contrast, Ford Motor ends a four-month winning streak at -6.3%, with deliveries hampered by cars down 23%, fleets down 12% and retail sales down 4.3%. The Ford division is down 5.2% and Lincoln down 27%.

Subaru posts a 74th consecutive month in positive.

FCA extends its negative streak to 17 months with a harsh 12.1% drop in January triggered by fleet sales down 50% and in spite of retail volume up 2% to 83% of its total for the month. Jeep is up 2.2% but Ram (-15.8%), Chrysler (-20.9%), Dodge (-31.2%) and Fiat (-43.2%) are among the worst-performing brands for the month. Nissan Motor soars 17.5% with the Nissan brand up 12.1%, Mitsubishi up 31.3% but Infiniti down 8%. Honda Motor skids 1.7% with Honda down 1.6% and Acura down 3.2%. Hyundai-Kia posts a 14th connective month of year-on-year decline at -6.4% with Hyundai down 11.3% but Kia edging up 0.01%. Subaru (+1.1%) on the other hand extends its winning streak to 74 consecutive months of year-on-year gains. Mercedes (-0.3%) tops luxury brands above BMW (+5%), Lexus (+15%) and Audi (+9.9%) extending its winning streak to 99 consecutive months of year-on-year gains. Other big gainers include Alfa Romeo (+1426%), Volvo (+60.3%), Tesla (+36.4%), Lamborghini (+15.4%) and Mazda (+15%).

U.S. VW Tiguan sales shoot up 138% year-on-year in January.

Model-wise, the Chevrolet Silverado (+15%) advances faster than the market leader, the Ford F-Series (+2%), for the third consecutive month and the 4th time in the past 5 months. The Nissan Rogue surges 26% to climb onto the overall U.S. podium for the first time in the nameplate’s history, dislodging the Ram Pickup (-13%). Note U.S. Rogue sales figures include the Rogue Sport, aka Qashqai. The Toyota RAV4 is up 20% to #5 but the Chevrolet Equinox posts the largest year-on-year gain in the Top 20 at +50% to #6 overall, its highest ever, eclipsing the #7 hit in April 2015 and December 2017. The Toyota Camry (+21%) tops passenger cars but ranks at a low 7th place (#6 in 2017).

The Ford Ecosport makes its very first appearance in the U.S. sales charts.

Inside the Top 50, notice also the Jeep Compass (+222%), VW Tiguan (+138%), Mazda CX-5 (+67%), Honda Pilot (+62%), Nissan Murano (+56%), Subaru Crosstrek (+45%), Chevrolet Traverse (+41%), Toyota Tacoma (+34%), Nissan Sentra (+32%) and Hyundai Tucson (+28%). The VW Atlas (#78) tops all recent launches (<12 months) ahead of the Toyota C-HR (#84), Range Rover Velar (#145), Kia Stinger (#171) and Tesla Model 3 (#174). This month we welcome the Ford Ecosport (#208), Jaguar E-Pace (#261) and Volvo XC40 (#275) into the U.S. charts.

Previous post: USA Full Year 2017: First decline since 2009, RAV4 & Rogue outsell all passenger cars

One year ago: USA January 2017: SUVs outsell passenger cars in market down 1.7%

Full January 2018 Top 15 groups, Top 40 brands and Top 280 models below.

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