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USA January 2019: Ford, Ram, GMC strong in market down 3%, light trucks at record 69.6% share

Resurrecting the Ford Ranger is turning out to be a blockbuster decision for Ford with over 300.000 expressions of interest recorded by the manufacturer so far.

Sales of new light vehicles drop 3% year-on-year in the US for January to 1.122.864 units. Fleet shipments have come to the rescue to limit the decline to a manageable one as retail activity and consumer demand were hampered by the government shutdown and severe cold weather in the Midwest. As such, according to JD Power fleet sales are expected to lift up 3.4% year-on-year to 277.100 units for the month, accounting for 24% of the total market vs. 23% a year ago. Note some outlets have the total market figure slightly higher (around the 1.14m mark) because they overestimate Tesla Model 3 sales. The Seasonally Adjusted Annualised sales Rate (SAAR) is down to 16.9 million vs. 17.22m in January 2018 and 17.72m last month. Worriungly, this is the first time the SAAR slips below 17m since last August. Accordingly, some analysts forecast 2019 annual sales will drop below the 17m mark for the first time since 2014.

The Honda CR-V is the best-selling SUV in the US for the first time since April 2017.

Light trucks (+0.3%) continue to vastly outpace the market, reaching 69.6% share which is a new all-time record for January. Reversely, cars are down 4%. Some good news: according to the two main sources on the subject, average incentives are down year-on-year in January. JD Power estimates them at $3,720 per vehicle (-3.5%) while ALG has a #3,642 figure, down 0.9% year-on-year and down 3.1% on December. Daimler ($5,987), BMW ($5,297), GM ($5,056), FCA ($4,573) and Ford ($4,515) are the biggest spenders whereas Subaru ($1,072), Honda ($2,132) and Toyota ($2,349) are the most frugal (see below).

USA January 2019 average incentives per vehicle. Source ALG via Automotive News.

Ram sales soar 28.8% year-on-year in January.

Over in the brands charts, Ford (+6.5%) remains comfortably in the lead ahead of Toyota (-7.1%) and Chevrolet (-11.9%). Note from this month onwards Ford Motor follows GM in switching its sales reporting frequency to quarterly, making the US market even less transparent. Exclusive BSCB estimates for all GM and Ford models are now included in our reports. Honda (+0.8%) edges up to hold onto the 4th spot above Nissan (-19.9%) while Jeep (-2.2%) posts its first year-on-year decline in over a year (since December 2017) due to the cold weather in the Midwest and Northeast which are key regions for the brand. Subaru (+3.9%) extends its streak of year-on-year gains to 86 consecutive months, while Tesla (+38.8%), Ram (+23.8%) and GMC (+16%) post the only double-digit gains in the Top 25. Further down, McLaren (+201.3%), Lincoln (+20.4%), Jaguar (+18.2%), Land Rover (+14.6%) and Porsche (+12.5%) impress whereas Fiat (-38.9%), Alfa Romeo (-30.2%), Genesis (-24.1%), Mazda (-19.7%), Mini (-16.3%), Chrysler (-14.5%) and Mercedes (-13.7%) dive.

The Toyota Corolla is the best-selling passenger car in the US this month.

There are no surprises atop the models charts, with the Ford F-Series (+5.2%), Chevrolet Silverado (+1.3%) and Ram Pickup (+18.8%) keeping the podium 100% full size pickup and entirely in market-defying positive. The Honda CR-V (+19.8%) returns an outstanding scoreboard to reclaim the #1 SUV title for the first time since April 2017, distancing the Nissan Rogue (-27.8%), Toyota RAV4 (-8.1%) and Chevrolet Equinox (-12.2%) all suffering steep falls. The Toyota Corolla (+17.3%) takes full advantage of its new generation hatchback to take the lead of the passenger cars order, eclipsing the Toyota Camry (-3.4%) and Honda Civic (-9.2%). Outside the Top 10, the Dodge Journey (+115.1%), GMC Sierra (+56.6%), VW Jetta (+52%) and Subaru Forester (+22.8%) make themselves noticed, as does the Tesla Model 3 (+550%) however down 35 spots on December to #48.

The Honda Passport has landed in US charts.

The Hyundai Kona (#58) is the most successful recent launch (<12 months) ahead of the Subaru Ascent (#67), Nissan Kicks (#84) and Cadillac XT4 (#110). A couple of very promising 2019 launches have to be estimated partly based on neighbouring Canada official deliveries, and show the Chevrolet Blazer at #115 and the Ford Ranger at #161. Ford has announced the Ranger has racked up 300.000 expressions of interest so far and counting, which if spread across a full year would outsell the mid-size pickup leader of the past 12 years, the Toyota Tacoma that reached a record 245.659 deliveries in 2018. The Chevrolet Colorado (134.842), Nissan Frontier (79.646) and GMC Canyon (33.492) followed. Finally, notice the arrival of the Honda Passport at #246.

Previous post: USA Full Year 2018: Market up 0.6%, light trucks up 7.7% to record 69.1% share, cars down 13% to lowest since 1958, Jeep, Subaru, Ram break records

Previous month: USA December 2018: Ram (+36.7%), Tesla (+249.2%) break records in market up 2.2%, highest SAAR this year

One year ago: USA January 2018: Toyota and Nissan pull market up 1.2%

Full January 2018 Top 15 groups, Top 40 brands and Top 280 models below.

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