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USA May 2018: GM and FCA strong, Tesla Model 3 leads segment

The Tesla Model 3 is the best-selling mid-sized premium sedan in the US in May.

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

New light vehicle sales in the U.S. post a third positive month for 2018 after January and March at +5% to 1.595.690 units, lifting the year-to-date volume up 1.3% to 7.071.275. Keep in mind these figures include BSCB’s exclusive estimates for all General Motors brands and models as the company now only reports sales quarterly, with the next press release due next month. The Seasonally Adjusted Annualised Selling Rate (SAAR) is up 5.3% year-on-year to 16.91 million, however this is the first time it drops below 17 million since last August (16.14 million) when sales were hampered by Hurricane Harvey and after a peak of 18.58 million in September 2017. People close to the matter have left it slip that General Motors enjoys a very strong month as the country’s most popular group in May with sales up 12% whereas archenemy Ford Motor only edges up 0.5% and Toyota Motor drops 1.3%. FCA is the other hero of the month, surging 11.5% ahead of May 2017 to hit its largest May volume since 2004. American Honda (+3.1%) trails the market slightly and Nissan Motor (-1.8%) drops just as Hyundai-Kia finally ends a horrid 17-month streak of negative results by gaining 5.9% to 125.518 sales.

The Compass (+223%) helps Jeep to its 2nd largest monthly volume in history.

Onto the brands ranking, where Ford (+0.8%) maintains a comfortable lead over Toyota (-1.5%) holding on to its 2nd spot ahead of a fast-advancing Chevrolet (+11.9%). Jeep soars 28.8% to snap its second highest ever monthly volume at 97.287, only eclipsed by the 98.382 of last March. The first-ever 100.000 result is tantalisingly close and should be reached in the coming months. Hyundai (+11.5%) is the third carmaker to manage a double-digit gain in the Top 10 just as Subaru posts an incredible 78th concecutive year-on-year gain at +7.1% to 60.146, in stark contrast with its situation back at home. Nissan (-3.8%) continues to refocus out of fleet sales and is in negative as a result, Outside the Top 10, Tesla is once again the most notable performer with deliveries up 127.7% to reach its second highest monthly volume ever at 9.220 units thanks to the gearing up of the Model 3 (see further down). Alfa Romeo (+158.7%), Volvo (+50.6%), Land Rover (+42.3%), Mitsubishi (+31.7%), GMC (+18.6%) and Mazda (+15.1%) are also very impressive whereas Smart (-66.8%), Fiat (-46%), Genesis (-38.6%), Jaguar (-24.9%), Maserati (-24.9%), Bentley (-21.4%) and Chrysler (-18.1%) all implode.

The Chevrolet Silverado (+23%) propels General Motors sales up 12% in May.

The Ford F-Series easily remains the most popular vehicle in the US, helped by $12.000 incentives and posting a 13th consecutive year-on-year gain at +11% to deliver its best May volume since 2000. The Chevrolet Silverado, in runout mode and discounted by $13.000 before the arrival of the 2019 model, is growing faster at +23% while at #3 the Ram Pickup combines a dubious mix of highest incentives ($16.000) and smallest gain (+4%). The Nissan Rogue soars 18% to return to the #1 spot in the SUV segment it holds year-to-date, edging past the Toyota RAV4 (-0.4%, awaiting the new generation) for just 211 sales with the Honda CR-V (+12%) in excellent shape at #6. The best-selling passenger car only manages a poor 7th place overall: the Honda Civic (+7%) overtakes the Toyota Camry (-8%) but remains below YTD at 144.897 vs. 150.580 for the Camry. The Chevrolet Equinox surges by an estimated 42% to remain at #9 with the Toyota Corolla in difficulty (-10%) rounding up the Top 10.

Outstanding result for the Toyota Tacoma.

Below, the Jeep Wrangler (+26%), Cherokee (+63%) and Compass (+223%) fully benefit from new models, the Toyota Tacoma (+21%) manages its highest monthly volume in at least 14 years at 21.380, with the VW Tiguan (+380%), GMC Terrain (+105%), Chevrolet Traverse (+86%), Subaru Crosstrek (+74%), Dodge Journey (+37%) and Honda Pilot (+36%) all posting spectacular gains. Keeping the best for last: the main event of the month is the gearing up of the Tesla Model 3, up 22 spots and 61% on April to reach 6.250 sales, a new monthly record for any Tesla nameplate in the US, beating the 5.850 sales reached by the Model S in December 2016. The Model 3 therefore becomes the best-selling recent launch (<12 months) in the US for the fist time above the Ford Ecosport (5.481) and Hyundai Kona (5.079). Perhaps most significantly, the Tesla Model 3 takes the lead of its segment in the US for the first time, outselling all other mid-sized premium sedans including the Mercedes C-Class (5.419), Audi A4 (3.472), BMW 3 Series (3.428) and Lexus IS (2.180).

Previous month: USA April 2018: Jeep (+20%), Tesla (+60%) impress, Nissan (-29%) implodes

One year ago: USA May 2017: Market down 0.5% despite strong light truck sales

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

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