The Ford F-Series is #1 in the U.S. for the 38th consecutive year.
Despite head wind, the U.S. new light vehicle market (-1.5%) manages a 5th consecutive year above 17 million annual sales at 17.077.206. Cars continue to freefall at -10% to 4.79 million sales or 28% of the market, with compact cars (-16%) and large cars (-19%) bearing the brunt of the fall due to discontinued models at Ford and GM. In contrast, light trucks rise 2.8% to 12.29 million or a record 72% share, with large pickup sales setting a new all-time record, up 2.5% to 2.48 million sales. Automakers boosted fleet deliveries to offset weaker retail demand throughout the year, with fleet accounting for 17% of total volumes in 2019 vs. 16% last year. Proving that manufacturers are producing the type of vehicles that U.S. consumers want, average transaction prices as of December 2019 set a new record at $34.602 (up $673 year-on-year), driven by light trucks at $36.935 (+$655) while cars gain just $79 to $27.461.
Record prices, however, have also been accompanied by record incentive levels: according to ALG December incentives averaged $3,944 across the industry, up 3.6 percent from December 2018, with the Detroit 3 each dangling average discounts of $4,600 or more last month (see detail by manufacturer in table below). Average incentive spending per unit was on pace to reach a record $4,600 in December, up 6.9% year-on-year according to both J.D. Power and LMC. Incentive spending as a percentage of Retail Pricing is close to 11%, the highest level since the 2008-09 recession. Among the 25 top-selling brands in the industry, all but four — Cadillac, Jeep, Porsche and Toyota — are expected to show an increase in overall discount spending in 2019.
The Ram Pickup outsells the Chevrolet Silverado for the first time.
5 out of the Top 6 major automakers lost volume and share in 2019 including all Detroit 3 manufacturers. General Motors (-2.3%) remains the most popular automaker in the U.S. but sees its share drop below 17% at 16.9%. GM has an above-average fleet mix at 21.8% over the Full Year and 19.7% in Q4, as well as an above-average incentive spending as percentage of MSRP at 13.4%. Average transaction prices reach a record $36.844 for the year, almost identical to the market average. GM has sold more pickups (full-size and midsize) than any other automaker for the 6th straight year, and also had its best year ever for crossovers up 12.7% to 1.165.769, achieving yearly records in the compact, small and small luxury segments. Due to the 40 day United Auto Workers strike, Q4 wholesales sinked -25% year-on-year but retail deliveries were less affected at -6.3%.
A UAW strike disrupted the launch of the new gen Chevy Silverado HD.
Ford Motor (-3.2%) endures the largest drop among the Top 5 groups, with car sales imploding -28.2% to 349.091 or 14.4% of its mix vs. 19.5% in 2018, SUVs down -4.8% to 830.471 and 34.3% of its mix vs. 34.9% and truck soaring 9.1% to 1.243.136 or 51.3% of its mix vs. just 45.6% a year ago. Toyota Motor edges down -1.8% to 2.38m sales, keeping its fleet mix in check at only 10% of its 2019 volume and seeing its hybrid share jump from 5% at the start of the year to 13% in December. The carmaker’s average transaction price is $33.363, up 2.3% on 2018. FCA limits its fall to -1.4% but has offered the most generous incentives of the Detroit 3 to achieve this at $5.033 in December. FCA’s average transaction price is markedly higher though at $37.756, up 3.5% from a year earlier. American Honda (+0.2%) signs the only year-on-year gain among the Top 5 groups, dislodging Nissan Motor/Mitsubishi (-9%) in continued freefall (-27.3% in December) as it sheds less-profitable fleet sales. Below, Hyundai-Kia (+4.6%), Jaguar Land Rover (+2.6%), the Volkswagen Group (+2.4%) and the BMW Group (+1.8%) post very solid gains in this negative market environment.
The new X7 helps BMW reclaims the U.S. luxury crown in 2019.
Brand-wise, Ford (-3.7%) achieves 10 straight years at America’s best-seller with 2.29m units. Thanks to the addition of the Ranger, Ford pickups produced their best sales results since 2005 at 986.097 units. Ford is also America’s best-selling commercial van maker for the 41st straight year. In 2019 like in 2018, Ford distances Toyota (-2%) at 2.08m, Chevrolet (-3.8%, its 4th consecutive annual decline) at 1.96m and Honda (+0.3%) at 1.45m, Nissan (-8.7%) at 1.23m and Jeep (-5.1%) at 0.92m, the Top 6 remaining unchanged. At a record #7, Ram (+17.7%) is the standout performer among USA’s Top 15 brands in 2019, smashing its annual volume record by over 100.000 units to just above 703.000, also breaking its monthly volume record at 75.227 in June.
12th straight year-on-year gain and record U.S. volume for Subaru.
Subaru (+2.9%) signs an incredible 11th consecutive annual sales record at 700.117, a streak that started in 2009 when the company sold just 216.652 units, and a 12th consecutive year-on-year gain. Hyundai (+3.2%) and Kia (+4.4%) close put the Top 10 in strong fashion, keeping GMC (+1.5%) out, even though the latter is at its highest since 2004. BMW (+4.4%) wins the luxury race for the first time since 2015, putting an end to 3 consecutive years of reign by Mercedes (+0.04%) at 324.826 units vs. 316.094 – BMW Mini and Mercedes Sprinter sales not included. Lexus (-0.1%) is a distant third at 298.114 ahead of Audi (+0.4%) at 224.111 and Tesla (+0.3%) at an estimated 192.250. Among smaller brands, Genesis (+105.9%), Lamborghini (+74.5%), McLaren (+67.1%), Volvo (+10.1%) and Lincoln (+8.3%) stand out, Porsche (+7.6%) cruises to a new annual record at 61.568 units as does Land Rover (+2.8%) at 94.736.
The Toyota RAV4 is the best-selling SUV in the U.S. for the third year in a row.
The Ford F-Series (-1.4%) slips below the 900.000 annual sales mark but still celebrates 43 years in a row as the best-selling pickup truck (no interruption since 1977) and 38 straight years as the best-selling vehicle in the country (no interruption since 1982). For the first time in history, the Ram Pickup (+18%) overtakes the Chevrolet Silverado (-1.7%) in an annual ranking to land at a record 2nd place overall. 2019 marks the 6th straight year the U.S. podium is 100% full-size pickups but only the 7th time in the past two decades along with 2003 and every year since 2014. For the first time in American history, there are no cars in the annual Top 7 with the next 4 spots held by crossovers, 3 of them breaking their all-time annual volume records. The Toyota RAV4 (+4.9%) enjoys a third consecutive year as the most popular SUV in the country, lifting its annual high to just under 450.000 units. It is followed by the Honda CR-V (+1.4%) up to a record 384.000 sales, the Nissan Rogue (-15%) in grave difficulty and the Chevrolet Equinox (+4%) hitting a best-ever 346.000 units. The Toyota Camry (-1.9%), Honda Civic (+0.0%) and Toyota Corolla (+0.4%) round out the Top 10, holding particularly well given the current car nightmare.
The Ford Ranger is the most popular 2019 launch in the U.S.
Two additional vehicles set new all-time high marks in the remainder of the Top 15: the Toyota Tacoma (+1.3%) at 249.000 and the Jeep Grand Cherokee (+8%) at 243.000. Outstanding performances near the top include the Chevrolet Trax (+29.9%), Honda HR-V (+15.9%), Tesla Model 3 (+13.7%), Ford Transit (+11.7%), VW Jetta (+10.6%), Buick Encore (+10%), GMC Acadia (+12.2%) and Hyundai Santa Fe (+8.8%) but the skids are a lot more frequent, such as the Ford Explorer (-28.5%), Jeep Cherokee (-20.1%), Dodge Caravan (-19.3%), Jeep Compass (-15.9%), Honda Pilot (-15.4%), Nissan Sentra (-13.3%), Hyundai Elantra (-12.6%) and Ford Escape (-11.3%). 2019 is a fertile year for new launches with a total of 17, 6 of which made their way into the final Top 130. They are the Ford Ranger (#57) finishing the year with a stunning 33.059 units in Q4, the Kia Telluride (#85) with 9 out of 11 months above 5.000 sales, the Chevrolet Blazer (#87) at 23.008 in Q4, Jeep Gladiator (#107) at 16.663 in Q4, Honda Passport (#111) and Hyundai Palisade (#130). The BMW X7 (#152) also posts a very strong result at almost 22.000 sales vs. 22.600 for the Mercedes GLS and 14.300 for the Audi Q8, its main competitors.
Full Year 2019 Top 15 groups, Top 40 brands and Top 310 models vs. Full Year 2018 figures below.
Full December 2019 Top 15 groups, Top 40 brands and Top 285 models below.