U.S. light vehicle sales end the year on a rosy note with a 2.2% year-on-year uptick in December to 1.639 million units, the 2nd largest monthly volume this year, enabling a positive Full Year 2018 result as we’ll detail in a separate update. Encouragingly, the seasonally adjusted, annualised sales rate (SAAR) hit its highest level all year in December at 17.72 million, up 1.6% on the 17.44 million of December 2017 and eclipsing the previous high of 17.59 million established in October. Following a trend we have now seen for the most part of this decade, light truck sales gain 6.9% while cars drop 8.2%, the latter slowing down its fall significantly however as it is to be compared with a 13% freefall annually in 2018. Kelley Blue Book estimates a $37,577 average transaction price for light vehicles in December, up 1.3% year-on-year but down 0.2% on November. General Motors (-3.7%) remains by far the most popular group in the country just as Toyota Motor (-0.9%) contains its fall to a strict minimum and snaps the 2nd spot overall, overtaking Ford Motor (-8.8%) falling a lot faster. FCA (+13.9%) continues on its euphoric streak, with Nissan Motor (+7.5%), Hyundai-Kia (+6.1%) and American Honda (+3.9%), also supported by strong SUV and crossover sales. Jaguar-Land Rover shines (+23.6%), but the Volkswagen Group (-3.9%), BMW Group (+4.4%) and Daimler AG (-8%) struggle. Exclusive BSCB estimates for all General Motors brands and models December sales are included in this article as the company now only reports quarterly. Full Year 2018 GM figures are official and reported on in a separate article.
Brand-wise, Ford (-9.6%), remains on top for just under 7.000 sales even though Chevrolet (-2.7%) loses a lot less ground vs. December 2017. Toyota (-1.1%) remains at #3 in a podium entirely in negative, whereas Honda (+3%), Nissan (+7.2%) and Jeep (+9.9%) progress. But once again the hero of the month is Ram (+36.7%) smashing its all-time volume record established just last month by over 10.000 units to 68.195. This means Ram has broken its monthly volume record 4 times in the past 5 months… Below Hyundai (+5.6%) helped by strong crossover sales, Subaru (+1.9%) signs an 85th consecutive month of year-on-year gains (that’s over 7 years!) and celebrates the end of the year with an all-time record month at 64.541 units, eclipsing its previous best of 64.088 established last August. Breaking into the Top 15 for the second time ever after last September, Tesla (+249.2%) powers through to another all-time volume record – its 6th this year – at an estimated 32.600 sales thanks to the ongoing gearing up of the Model 3 (see further down). Land Rover (+33%), Dodge (+16.7%), Acura (+11.4%), Infiniti (+10.3%) and Kia (+10.2%) also find the energy to lodge double-digit gains in December.
The Ford F-Series (-2%) unsurprisingly tops the U.S. models charts this month while the Chevrolet Silverado (-10%) manages to snatch the 2nd place away from the Ram Pickup (+34%) spectacularly posting a 4th all-time monthly volume record in the past 5 months at 60.155, its very first time above 60.000 monthly units. The Nissan Rogue (+6%) reclaims the title of #1 SUV in the country at #4 overall, nabbing an all-time monthly record in the process at 42.523 units, but that is not enough to overtake the Toyota RAV4 (+19%) in the year-to-date order. The Honda CR-V (+14%) also outsells the RAV4 this month at #6 overall while the Chevrolet Equinox (+13%) makes it 7 light trucks in the Top 7. The Toyota Camry (-33%) remains the most popular car despite a steep drop on artificially pushed December 2017 figures, distancing the Honda Accord (+29%) and Civic (-16%). Below the Toyota Corolla (+27%), the Tesla Model 3 (+2282%) is the 5th best-selling car in the U.S. this month, breaking its volume record at 25.250 and equalling its ranking record at #13, also hit last September. The GMC Terrain (+84%), Dodge Grand Caravan (+46%), Jeep Compass (+46%), Wrangler (+45%), VW Jetta (+42%), Kia Soul (+33%), Hyundai Tucson (+32%) posting an incredible 22nd record month in a row, Chevrolet Traverse (+21%) and Colorado (+18%) also shine in the Top 50. The Hyundai Kona (#59) is the best-selling recent launch (<12 months) ahead of the Subaru Ascent (#64), both nameplates lodging their best month since launch, Nissan Kicks (#87) and Ford Ecosport (#89). This month we welcome the Lexus UX (#217), BMW 8 Series (#239), Chevrolet Blazer (#262) and Hyundai Nexo (#273).
Full December 2018 Top 15 groups, Top 40 brands and Top 285 models below.