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USA April 2018: Jeep (+20%) and Tesla (+60%) impress, Nissan (-29%) implodes in market down 4.8%

First Top 10 ranking and new monthly volume record for the Jeep Wrangler.

* See the Top 15 groups, Top 40 brands and Top 275 models by clicking on the title *

The U.S. market literally enters unchartered territory in April with no official sales reporting by General Motors who has chosen to only publish sales data quarterly from now on, the same way as Tesla. This is a very significant event that drops the U.S. in the same basket as other markets with incomplete reporting such as South Africa and most of the Middle East where Mercedes has opted out. This is the time for BSCB to step up and inaugurate General Motors exclusive estimates for each brand and model which have been included in our data for the month. Overall, the U.S. light vehicle market drops 4.8% in April to 1.357.819 but with two less selling days than in April 2017 the Seasonally Adjusted Annualised Sales Rate (SAAR) is actually up 1.1% year-on-year to 17.1 million, marking four consecutive months above 17 million this year. The YTD volume remains in positive, just: up 0.3% or 16.000 units to 5.475.585. Without the ever-lasting strength of SUVs and crossovers, the market would have fallen a lot steeper, with Volkswagen reporting that SUVs account for over 50% of its sales YTD, BMW boasting of a 51% SUV share in April and Hyundai scoring an all-time SUV volume record this month at 45.7% of its total sales. Meanwhile the trend is bound to accelerate, with Ford announcing last month that it wouldn’t replace the Fusion, Fiesta and Taurus (the last US vehicle to top the passenger cars ranking in 1996).

First U.S. Top 100 finish for the Tesla Model 3. Picture

Reports talked of General Motors down “between 2.5% and 3%” year-on-year in April: we have set our figure at -2.74% to 237.700 sales, which enables the group to stay well ahead of Ford Motors down 4.5% to 204.000 units due to lower fleet and car sales. GM’s advantage YTD climbs up to roughly 153.000 units at 953.500 vs. 800.650 for Ford Motor. Toyota Motor posts its first year-on-year decline of 2018 at -4.7% with slim light truck gains failing to compensate for steep car sales declines. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is the only Top 7 group to lodge a year-on-year gain at +4.5%, bolstered by strong Jeep sales an fleet sales up to 22% of its mix vs. 17% a year ago just as retail sales are down 1%. Below Honda (-9.2%) and Hyundai-Kia (-8.4%) both in difficulty, Nissan Motor implodes at a very harsh -26.6% to just 96.000 units, however it maintains its 5th spot YTD. BMW Group (+4.2%), the VW Group (+3.4%) and Daimler AG (+2.1%) are all up.

It’s a catastrophic month for Nissan (-29.1%) with the Maxima hit the hardest at -62%.

Brand-wise, Ford (-4.1%) and Toyota (-5.1%) keep the lead while roughly following the market with Chevrolet (-0.8%) resisting a lot better in third place. Jeep stuns once again with a round 20% year-on-year gain to just under 83.000 sales, the largest improvement for any brand in the Top 25 and only double-digit gain alongside Volvo up 17% at #25. In the remainder of the Top 10, only Subaru (+1.5%) is in positive, signing a 77th consecutive month of gains, whereas Kia (-5.2%), GMC (-7.2%), Honda (-8.4%), Hyundai (-10.7%) and most strikingly Nissan (-29.1%) all drop. Further down, notice Mercedes (+4.8%), Volkswagen (+4.5%), Dodge (+3.9%), BMW (+3.8%) posting solid gains in context while Audi sports a 102nd consecutive monthly uptick: no interruption since December 2007. Among smaller marques, Alfa Romeo (+172.8%), Tesla (+59.7%) and Land Rover (+23.7%) shine.

The VW Atlas is the best-selling recent launch in the U.S. for the 8th straight month…

The Ford F-Series completes a full year of monthly gains with deliveries up 3% to over 73.000, a comfortable 28.000 unit-gap over the #2, the Chevrolet Silverado (+12%) with the Ram Pickup (-4%) returning to third place and making the U.S. podium 100% Full-size pickups for the first time in 2018. The Toyota RAV4 (-2%) leaps up two spots on March to #4, cementing its title of best-selling SUV in the country and outselling the Toyota Camry (-5%) for the 2nd time since the new gen Camry was launched in late 2017. The Jeep Wrangler is posting the most impressive scores of any nameplate in the U.S. once again, up 58% year-on-year thanks to the new model to break its all-time volume record (29.776) and ranking record (#6) for the second month running after reaching 27.829 and #11 in March. Accordingly, this is the first time the Wrangler ever ranks among the U.S. Top 10 best-selling vehicles.

But the Ford Ecosport is catching up fast. Picture

Inside the Top 10, notice also the Chevrolet Equinox (+32%) in outstanding shape, whereas the Toyota Corolla (-17%) and Honda CR-V (-13%) take a beating. Further down, the largest year-on-year uplifts in the remainder of the Top 50 are achieved by the Jeep Compass (+227%), VW Tiguan (+195%), Subaru Crosstrek (+70%), Dodge Journey (+39%), Chevrolet Traverse (+34%), GMC Terrain (+30%), Hyundai Tucson (+30%), Honda Pilot (+22%), Dodge Grand Caravan (+21%) and Jeep Cherokee (+20%). The VW Atlas tops recent launches (<12 months) for the 8th consecutive month at #69 – no interruption since September 2017 – but this time the Ford Ecosport, up 60% and 50 spots on March, is breathing down its neck just one spot and 127 units below at #70. The Tesla Model 3 breaks into the U.S. Top 100 for the very first time in April, up 20 ranks on last month to #93, distancing the Hyundai Kona also posting its very first U.S. Top 100 at #99 (+45), the Volvo XC40 at #166 (+27) and the Kia Stinger at #168 (+6).

Previous month: USA March 2018: Largest gain in over 2 years, Jeep beats volume record

One year ago: USA April 2017: Fourth consecutive month of year-on-year decline

Full April 2018 Top 15 groups, Top 40 brands and Top 275 models below.

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