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USA First Half 2018: Ford F-Series, Jeep and Subaru at record pace

The Ford F-Series is evolving 4.1% ahead of its all-time record 2004 volume.

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

After seven consecutive years of annual gains and record sales in 2016, light vehicle deliveries dropped 1.8% to 17.25 million units in 2017. A year ago, halfway through 2017, the picture was grim with 6 consecutive months of year-on-year declines. Even though for 2018 most analysts predicted (and still do) the first annual result below 17 million annual units since 2014, the First Half of the year is anything but gloomy. 4 out of 6 months were in positive and sales are actually up 2% or over 170.000 units year-on-year to 8.624.101 at the half-way mark. Crossovers alone are up 14% to 3.2m units or 38% of the market, that’s half a million more than passenger cars whereas the latter outsold crossovers by 260.000 units a year ago, with light trucks representing roughly 70% of the market or their highest ever level. Worse: at a projected 5.3m units for the Full Year, passenger car sales are slated to fall to their lowest annual U.S. volume since… 1958! The industry warns of a painful second half when the effects of the announced import tariffs – if at all implemented – could be felt. Note all H1 figures are official for General Motors which now reports quarterly.

FCA is up 5% mainly thanks to Jeep (+21.8%).

For now, among the main Groups FCA is the best performer over the period at +5% to 13% share, followed by General Motors up 4.2% to 17.1% and Toyota Motor at +3% to 13.8%. All other major players lose ground year-on-year, with Nissan Motor (-3%) hit the hardest as it slims down on fleet sales, Hyundai-Kia (-2.1%) finally ending 17 months of declines in May, Ford Motor (-1.8%) and American Honda (-0.5%). The Volkswagen Group soars 6.2% and Jaguar Land Rover is up 5.4% while the BMW Group (+3.1%) zooms past Daimler AG (-1.9%) to take the lead of premium Groups.

Subaru is on a 79-month streak of consecutive year-on-year gains.

In the brand detail, Ford recedes 1.3% to lose half a percentage point of market share to 14.2% whereas its immediate followers Toyota (+3.2%) and Chevrolet (+4.8%) both outpace the market and improve their shares to 12.2% and 11.8% respectively. The only two changes in the Top 10 vs. H1 2017 are Honda (-0.4%) overtaking Nissan (-4.3%) to #4 and GMC (+2.4%) passing Ram (-6.9%) to #10, yet the H1 2018 Top 10 is identical to the FY2017 order. Jeep (+21.8%) is the best performer in the Top 20, scoring the two largest volumes in its history over the period: 98.382 in March and 97.287 in May. Subaru is on an incredible 79-month streak of consecutive year-on-year gains and lifts 5.9% in H1 to an all-time high 322.860.

The Stelvio pushes Alfa Romeo sales up 230%.

Further down, Alfa Romeo is the largest gainer in the U.S. market over the period with deliveries up 230% thanks to the arrival of the Stelvio crossover. Tesla comes second with a 89.9% surge now that the Model 3 is truly gearing up (see further down), with the U.S. EV maker beating its all-time monthly volume record twice over the period: in March (10.020) and June (11.362), the brand’s very first five-digit monthly sales figures. McLaren (+75.7%), Volvo (+39.6%), Land Rover (+24.9%), Mitsubishi (+23.4%), Mazda (+15.7%) and Volkswagen (+7.2%) also post very solid gains where on the other side of the spectrum Smart (-67.2%), Fiat (-43.6%), Jaguar (-28.4%), Genesis (-26.8%), Maserati (-20.1%), Bentley (-14.5%) and Chrysler (-13.2%) hit the brakes.

The new generation (pictured) could pull the Toyota RAV4 back to the #1 SUV spot.

Model-wise, the Ford F-Series is comfortably headed towards a 37th consecutive annual win but more importantly it could be set for a new annual volume record: its H1 2018 tally, up 5% year-on-year to 451.138, is also up 4.1% on its H1 2004 volume which led to the nameplate’s all-time volume record of 939.511… Note that average transaction prices are the highest of any full-size pickup at $46.800. The podium remains 100% full-size pickup with the Chevrolet Silverado (+11%) and Ram Pickup (-7%) in tow. Like it was the case a year ago, the 3 next best-sellers are all SUVs, with the Nissan Rogue (+11%) in the lead again but the Toyota RAV4 (+7%) now above the Honda CR-V (-4%). Keep in mind that contrary to Canada, Rogue U.S. sales include the Rogue Sport (aka Qashqai).

The new generation is responsible for a 227% push by the VW Tiguan.

The Toyota Camry remains the most popular passenger car in the country, but only edges up 1% despite a completely new generation launched in the meantime. The Honda Civic (+0.3%) lurks just 785 units behind while the Toyota Corolla (-9%) is now impatiently awaiting the launch of the new generation hatch. Breaking into the Top 10 for the first time and knocking the Honda Accord (-14%) out in the process, the Chevrolet Equinox (+17%) posts the largest gain among the country’s ten best-sellers and sets a new half-year volume record. The Jeep Wrangler is propelled up 35% to #13 by the new generation, the Toyota Tacoma soars 23% to #16, the Jeep Cherokee gains 40% to #19, with the Jeep Compass (+240%), VW Tiguan (+227%), Subaru Crosstrek (+71%), Mazda CX-5 (+42%), Honda Pilot (+40%), Chevrolet Colorado (+39%) and Hyundai Tucson (+35%) also in great shape.

The Tesla Model 3 topped the mid-sized premium sedan segment in May and June.

Over two years after its unveiling and the record-breaking 420.000 pre-orders, the Tesla Model 3 is starting to make an impact on the U.S. sales charts. Just as Elon Musk raced to meet an objective of 5.000 Model 3 produced per week thanks to an additional assembly line set up under a tent (!), the Model 3 becomes the most popular recent launch in the country (<12 months) at #94 with 24.367 sales. It even topped the mid-sized premium sedan segment both in May and June and ends H1 in 2nd place below the Mercedes C-Class (29.659). Despite dubious interior quality, the Ford Ecosport hits the bullseye with 23.610 sales at #97, distancing the Hyundai Kona (#128), Range Rover Velar (#167), Kia Stinger (#168), BMW X2 (#183), Alfa Romeo Stelvio (#184) and Volvo XC40 (#194).

Previous post: USA June 2018: Hyundai, Jeep and Subaru lift market up 5.6%

One year ago: USA First Half 2017: Rogue, CR-V and RAV4 outsell Altima, Civic and Camry in crossover push

Full H1 2018 Top 15 groups, Top 40 brands and Top 285 models vs. Full H1 2017 figures below.

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