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USA June 2020: Mazda (+10.9%), Volvo (+4.5%) ignore crisis, SAAR down -24.2%, fleets off -68%

The new CX-30 helps Mazda to an impressive year-on-year gain in June.

15/07 update: now with Mercedes and Jaguar Land Rover Q2 data.

U.S. new light vehicle sales are estimated to fall -27% year-on-year in June to roughly 1.115.000 units based on estimates from ALG/TrueCar, J.D. Power/LMC, Edmunds and Cox Automotive which range from -24% to -30%. This brings Q2 volumes down -33.4% to 2.967.110 units as the easing of lockdowns is questioned and sometimes reversed by surging Covid-19 infections across the country (total 3 million at the time of writing). The Seasonally Adjusted Annualized Sales Rate (SAAR) is estimated to sink -24.2% to 13.1 million on average, with Wards Auto at 13.05m and Motor Intelligence at 13.15. Although this is the highest figure since before the pandemic in February (17.05m), it shows a definite levelling of the recovery started in May (see Wards Auto graph below). And the horizon is cloudy: as more States reverse their reopening process, particularly Florida, Texas and California which are strong new vehicle markets, Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas last week lowered his July SAAR forecast from 13.5m to 12m, also anticipating that new-vehicle stockpiles at dealerships will shrink.

Although they are expected to be up 22% on May, fleet deliveries continue to reel from the lack of demand triggered by massive furlough and movement restrictions at -68% year-on-year in June. The average new-vehicle transaction price is up 3.2% or $1.117 on June 2019 at $36.322, however down -0.2% or $88 on May according to ALG. J.D. Power says incentives are on track to reach their highest ever level for the month in June at $4.411, up 11.2% or $445 on June 2019, with incentives on cars expected to rise 12.8% or $459 to $4.031 and on trucks and SUVs up a more modest 9.9% or $407 to $4.524. According to ALG, the carmakers increasing their average incentive the most year-on-year in June (see table below) are Honda up 44% to $2.952, the VW Group up 28% to $4.378, Daimler up 25% to $6.614, FCA up 18% to $5.434 and Nissan up 16% to $4.642. Only Hyundai (-10.1%) and Ford (-8.3%) cut their average incentives vs. May with Subaru ($1.737) remaining the strictest carmaker.

June results

The majority of carmakers having abandoned monthly reporting means we can only get a small glimpse of what the market is like in June, and it’s not all bad news. Among groups still reporting monthly sales, American Honda -15.5%, Hyundai-Kia -19.1% and Toyota Motor -26.7% all show improvement on May. Brand-wise, Mazda (+10.9%) and Volvo (+4.5%) even manage to secure precious year-on-year upticks just as Acura (-0.6%) is almost immobile. Subaru (-12.4%) also thins its loss as does Kia (-15.7%) while Hyundai (-21.9%) has lost the edge it had over the market in the past couple of months. However Hyundai retail sales are up for the 2nd straight month at +6% to 48.935 behind strong crossover volumes (+34%) accounting for 69% of its total.

Volvo sales are up 4.5% year-on-year in June.

Among the 66 models reporting June sales, 17 manage a year-on-year gain, a vast improvement on the 2 of April and the 7 of May. The Hyundai Palisade (+2032.9%) celebrates one year in market by breaking its volume record at 8.169, with the Acura RLX (+152%), Volvo V60 (+83.1%), XC40 (+61.1%), Mazda CX-9 (+48.9%), Volvo V90 (+48.9%) and Subaru Forester (+32.1%) also in outstanding shape. The Kia Seltos leads new launches with a record 3.636 units ahead of the Mazda CX-30 (3.526) and Hyundai Venue (1.538).

The GMC Sierra signs the best hold in the Top 12 over Q2 2020.

Q2 results

Quarterly sales are now the only opportunity we have to understand the trends at play in the U.S. market as a whole, with volumes down a scathing -33.4% over the period to 2.967.110. Mercedes (-17.4%), Hyundai-Kia (-24.8%), American Honda (-27.9%), the VW Group (-30.2%), Jaguar Land Rover (-30.7%) and Ford Motor (-32.9%) manage to keep their loss to below the market rate, General Motors (-34%) roughly matches it whereas Nissan/Mitsubishi (-50.2%), the BMW Group (-39.5%), FCA (-38.7%) and Toyota Motor (-34.6%) fall faster.

Brand-wise, Ford (-33.5%), Toyota (-35.6%) and Chevrolet (-33.6%) top the charts as usual and are all very close to the market fall, with Honda (-28.1%) and Jeep (-27.4%) doing markedly better to round out the Top 5. Nissan (-50%) is in total freefall but Hyundai (-23.7%), Subaru (-25.3%) and Kia (-25.5%) resist best in the Top 10 whereas Ram (-34.9%) is in difficulty despite a strong full-size pickup market. Below, Mazda (-9.6%) posts the best hold in the entire U.S. market and the only single-digit loss, buoyed by a June uptick (see above). Volvo (-15.3%), Mercedes (-17.2%), Lincoln (-18%), Porsche (-20%), Alfa Romeo (-21.4%), Acura (-26.5%) and Lexus (-26.8%) also resist particularly well.

The Ford Ranger is up 19.8% year-on-year in Q2.

Over in the models ranking, below the Ford F-Series (-22.7%) faithful to the pole position, the Chevrolet Silverado (-14.1%) reclaims the 2nd spot off the Ram Pickup (-34.6%) in surprising difficulty. The Toyota RAV4 (-26.6%) cements its SUV leadership above the Honda CR-V (-24.5%) and, surprisingly, the Jeep Wrangler (-15.7%) leaping up 5 spots on Q1 2019 to #7 overall. The GMC Sierra (-5.3%) does even better and sports the only single-digit loss in the Top 12, shooting up 10 ranks to #8. The Toyota Tacoma (-19.8%) is up 6 to make it 5 pickup trucks in the U.S. Top 9 and historically outsells both the Camry (-48.4%) and Corolla (-45.6%). The Ford Ranger (+19.8%), Explorer (+12.4%), Chevrolet Trax (+3.1%) and Subaru Forester (+2.7%) are the only year-on-year gainers in the Top 40. Just below, nameplates just over one year old stand out such as the Hyundai Palisade (+4956.4%), Jeep Gladiator (+174.5%) and Chevrolet Blazer (+67.6%). The Buick Encore GX (#79) is the best-selling new launch over the period, edging past the Kia Seltos (#82), Mazda CX-30 (#87), Chevrolet Trailblazer (#106) and Mercedes GLB (#107).

Previous month: USA May 2020: Decline thaws to -33% but plateauing retail, devastated fleets points to shaky recovery

One year ago: USA June 2019: Ram (+45.4%), Volkswagen (+9.6%) gallop ahead in 6th straight market decline (-1.9%)

Full June 2020 sales for selected groups, brands and models below.

Full Q2 2020 Top 15 groups, Top 40 brands and Top 305 models vs. Full Q2 2019 figures below.

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