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USA August 2019: Fleet, incentives lift market to largest gain in 4 years (+10.3%), Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V break all-time records

The Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V both break their all-time US monthly volume records in August.

After edging into positive for the first time this year in July (+1.9%), the US new light vehicle market soars an estimated 10.3% year-on-year in August to 1.651.092 units, the first double-digit gain in almost 4 years – since the +14% of October 2015, even though fleets and incentives – as well as five weekends of sales including Labour Day – are mainly responsible for this impressive (artificial?) surge that tilts the YTD tally into positive territory at +0.005% or 572 units to 11.500.148. Note GM, Ford and FCA do not report monthly sales anymore, only quarterly, but we will continue to share with you our exclusive brands and models estimates. As such, all GM, Ford and FCA as well as Tesla brands and models data in this article are estimates. Note the data becomes official every Quarter when we correct all our figures. The seasonally adjusted annualised sales rate (SAAR) is up a much more modest 0.3% year-on-year to 17.07 million, the third month above 17m in the past 4. Average incentives are up 1.2% to $3.825 according to ALG (see detail by manufacturer below) while JD Power has them at $4.177, up 7.7%. According to Edmunds, the average interest rate on a new-vehicle loan is 5.8%, the average down payment for a new vehicle falls below $4.000 for the first time in over a year and sales with zero percent financing accounted for 6.1% of financed purchases vs. 5.8% in July.

Hyundai-Kia is up 13.3% with incentives down -11.1%, helped by the Kia Telluride breaking its volume record.

In the groups ranking, General Motors is estimated to soar 20% year-on-year, the largest market gain below Daimler (+24.9%), however on the back of incentives flying off +8.8% whereas Daimler’s are actually down -4.5%. Toyota Motor (+11.3%) posts solid growth and measured incentive increase (+2%), FCA (+11%) is also strong but so are its incentives (+9%) but Ford Motor (-3.1%) is the only manufacturer to post a decline in August alongside much smaller Tesla (-30.9%) and JLR (-9.8%), a logical move that goes with reduced incentives (-6.9%). American Honda (+17.6%) stuns with an all-time volume record in line with sharply higher incentives (+16%), Nissan/Mitsubishi (+12.1%) is a lot healthier (incentives down -4.9%) while Hyundai-Kia (+13.3%) manages the exploit of posting one of the largest gains in market while significantly lowering its incentives (-13% at Kia, -9% at Hyundai). As a result, it is the first time in 4 years that all four big Asian companies (Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Hyundai) are up more than 10% in a given month.

Subaru celebrates 93 consecutive months of year-on-year gains and a new all-time volume record in August.

Brand-wise, Toyota (+12.3%) overtakes Ford (-3%) to become the best-seller for the first time in over two years (since 2017) thanks to a record light truck volume up 15% to 143.000, however remaining #2 at a safe distance YTD (almost 150.000 units). Chevrolet (+15.3%), Honda (+19.6%) and Nissan (+16.2%) complete a very dynamic Top 5 ahead of Jeep (-0.4%) and Ram (+28.1%) estimated to cross the symbolic 70.000 monthly sales mark for only the second time in history after last June (75.227). As for Subaru (+9.3%) it extends its stretch of year-on-year gain to a surreal 93 consecutive months and smashes its all-time volume record by over 5.000 units at 70.039 vs. a previous best of 64.541 last December. Rounding up the Top 10, Hyundai (+12%) signs a 13th straight month of year-on-year gains and Kia (+12.7%) excels also. Below, Genesis (+186.6%), Lamborghini (+85.6%), McLaren (+56.5%), GMC (+33.8%), Buick (+27.7%), Mercedes (+25.2%), Cadillac (+23.5%), Dodge (+18.4%) and Porsche (+13.5%) all post spectacular gains.

Ram is estimated to surge 28.1% to its 2nd largest ever volume in August.

The Ford F-Series (-12%) is in difficulty and sees its lead over the #2, the Ram Pickup (+28.7%) estimated to hit its 2nd largest volume ever, reduce to under 10.000 for the first time in history at just 7.794, keeping in mind both volumes as well as those of the Chevrolet Silverado (+11.3%) are estimated. On the other hand, the Toyota RAV4 (+17.2%) lunges to a confirmed all-time record volume of 49.481, smashing its previous best established last May by almost 6.000 units. The Honda CR-V (+27.8%) also hits an all-time high mark at 44.235, over 2.000 above its previous best of December 2018. As for the Nissan Rogue (+24.6%) it notches its 3rd highest ever volume. An outstanding month for the best-selling crossovers in the US indeed, prolonged by astonishing performances by the Chevrolet Equinox (estimated +40.7%), Toyota Highlander (+21.7%), Subaru Crosstrek (+33.3%) and Chevrolet Tahoe (estimated +48.9%). The Honda Civic (+25.8%), Toyota Corolla (+15.2%) and Honda Accord (+14.3%) keep the cars’ honour intact, the only ones in the Top 15 alongside the Toyota Camry (+6.1%), still segment leader YTD. The Ford Ranger (#67) is estimated to top recent launches above the Kia Telluride (#76 and new volume record), Jeep Gladiator (#84), Hyundai Palisade (#92 and above 5.000 sales for the first time) and Chevrolet Blazer (#93).

Previous month: USA July 2019: Hyundai, Ram, Mercedes lift market to first uptick of the year (+1.9%) – Detroit 3 stop monthly reports

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

Full August 2019 Top 15 groups, Top 40 brands and Top 295 models below.

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