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USA August 2018: Subaru, Ram Pickup break records, market edging up

The Ram Pickup beats a volume record dating from 2005, a time when it was still called Dodge Ram.

* See the Top 15 groups, Top 35 brands and Top 275 models by clicking on the title *

The U.S. new light vehicle market edges up 0.8% year-on-year dip in August to 1.494.900 deliveries, meaning the year-to-date volume is now up 1.1% to 11.477.500. The Seasonally Adjusted Annualised Selling Rate (SAAR) is up just 0.6%  to 16.69 million vs. 16.59 million in August 2017 when Hurricane Harvey significantly impaired sales. This is the lowest SAAR in one year, down 0.2% on July (16.73m) and 5.6% on June (17.32m). Passenger cars accentuate their fall further at -19% to fall to just 28.9% share, the first time in U.S. history that passenger cars drop below the symbolic 30% share mark. Passenger cars are on track to fall for the 5th straight year by the time 2018 comes to an end. In contrast, light trucks bounce up 10% to an all-time record 71.1% market share, meaning light trucks now outsell passenger cars by almost 2.5 to 1. The U.S. market had its groove seriously cut back by a paltry performance by General Motors down a ghastly 13% year-on-year on pulled back incentives. Exclusive BSCB estimates for all General Motors brands and models are included in this article as the company now only reports quarterly.

The all-new Ascent pushes Subaru U.S. monthly sales above 64.000 for the first time.

This fall by GM isn’t enough to deprive the company from the group’s pole position, with Toyota Motor (-2%) and Ford Motor (+4.1%) facing opposite fortunes and completing the podium. Ford achieves this solid output thanks to fleet sales up 15% to 24.1% of its mix while retail sales are up 1.1% to 75.9%, cars are down 21.3%, trucks up 5.7% and SUVs up 20.1%. But no other manufacturer gains more ground and volume than FCA this month, up 10% to 193.700 units thanks to fantastic performances by Ram (+26.5%) and Jeep (+19.6%). All other Top 10 groups are in positive except the BMW Group (-1.5%). That includes Nissan Motor (+3.7%), Hyundai-Kia (+3.5%), Honda Motor (+1.3%) and the VW Group (+0.7%). Subaru (+1.4%) scores an all-time monthly volume record at 64.088 units, eclipsing the 63.342 of last December and extending its streak of year-on-year gain to an incredible 81 consecutive months – almost 7 years! Just below Mazda (-0.1%) and Daimler AG (-17.1%), Tesla advances 522.1% to a third all-time volume record in a row at 23.175 and now ranks #13 group YTD.

The Cherokee (+85%) helps Jeep up 19.6% in August.

Over in the brands ranking, Ford (+4.2%) stays on top and is the only marque above 200.000 sales this month, distancing Toyota (-1.2%) and Chevrolet (-14.9%), with Honda (-0.04%), Nissan (+4.4%) and Jeep (+19.6%) in tow. Ram (+26.5%) and Hyundai (+8.4%) also shine in the Top 10 whereas Subaru (+1.4%) and Kia (+1%) are more discreet but still in positive. Just outside the Top 10, GMC (-8.5%) and Dodge (-18.4%) struggle as do Mercedes (-16.8%) and Lexus (-7.1%). Audi (+5.5%) extends its streak of year-on-year gains to 106 months and will reach an incredible 9 consecutive years of gains in October… Alfa Romeo (+96.5%), Acura (+14.8%), Land Rover (+13.6%) and Volvo (+12.2%) also impress whereas Genesis (-66%), Smart (-52.8%), Fiat (-35.2%), Jaguar (-20.4%), Cadillac (-17.5%), Mini (-14.6%) and Porsche (-13.3%) are in crisis.

Acura gains 14.8% thanks partly to the new RDX.

Model-wise, the Ford F-Series (+6%) enjoys a 16th consecutive year-on-year gain and the 22nd increase in the past 23 months, even posting its highest August result since 2005 at 81.839 deliveries. At 603.926, the F-Series’ YTD volume remains an all-time record after 8 months, up 0.8% on its previous record run of 2004 that led it to an all-time high 939.511 U.S. sales that year – albeit shoed in by record September (99.720) and December (95.393)… But the big event of August is in 2nd place: bolstered by a new generation, the Ram Pickup shoots up 33% year-on-year to break the nameplate’s all-time monthly volume record at 49.912, eclipsing a previous best that stood for over 13 years: 48.710 in July 2005, at a time when FCA’s star pickup truck was still called the Dodge Ram. The previous record for the Ram-branded era was 47.792 in September 2016. Also, it is the first time since May 2017 that the Ram Pickup outsells the Chevrolet Silverado, estimated to drop 10% this month, to rank #2.

The refreshed Honda Pilot is up 60% year-on-year in August.

Below the three top-selling pick-ups we find the three top-selling SUVs – also the case YTD albeit in a different segment order: the Toyota RAV4 (-2%) distances the Honda CR-V (+12%) and Nissan Rogue (+12%), a performance earning the RAV4 the #1 SUV spot YTD, knocking off the Rogue despite the latter scoring an August volume record. The Top 10 is completed by embattled passenger cars: the Toyota Camry (-19%), Honda Civc (-24%), Honda Accord (-11%) and Toyota Corolla (-5%). At #13, the Toyota Tacoma (+35%) continues to align spectacular results. Below, the Nissan Murano (+97%), Jeep Cherokee (+85%), Jeep Compass (+76%), Honda Pilot (+60%), Kia Sorento (+34%), Chevrolet Colorado (+26%) and Toyota Highlander (+24%) all impress in a Top 50 where the Kia Optima (+57%) is the only passenger car making itself noticed. The Tesla Model 3 (#21) edges up 2 spots on July to a new record volume (17.800), with the Hyundai Kona (#81), Ford Ecosport (#82) and Subaru Ascent (#89) far below among other recent launches (<12 months).

Previous month: USA July 2018: Jeep, Volkswagen, Subaru unable to prevent 3.7% dip

One year ago: USA August 2017: Toyota RAV4 repeats volume record in market hit by Harvey

Full August 2018 Top 15 groups, Top 35 brands and Top 275 models below.

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