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USA January 2021: Kia (+11.4%), Volvo (+32.4%) help contain market loss to -3.3%

Kia Telluride sales are up 34.8% year-on-year. 

New light vehicle sales in the U.S. are estimated to fall -3.3% year-on-year in January to roughly 1.09 million units according to Morgan Stanley, with one less selling day compared to January 2020 which is equivalent to a stable market. In fact, the seasonally adjusted annualised rate of sales (SAAR) is down just -1.3% year-on-year to 16.83 million according to Motor Intelligence vs. 17.05 in January 2020 and 16.38 last December. This is the fourth time in the past five months the SAAR is above 16 million units, indicating the market is now recovering indeed. Sales forecasts for the 2021 year range between 15.5 and 16 million which would be a 6 to 10% lift on 2020.

Source: TrueCar via Automotive News

Low interest rates and the success of new light trucks are tipped to lift sales this year but there are also negative elements such as uncertainty surrounding the economic recovery from the pandemic, inventory issues and rising transaction prices which are prompting some buyers to opt for a used car instead. According to J.D. Power, average incentives are down -12.3% year-on-year to $3.639 in January, TrueCar has them down -7.5% to $3.839. Strong retail sales are offset by weak fleet deliveries down a ghastly -32.4% year-on-year to just 182.300 units or 17% share vs. 24% a year ago.

Among the automotive groups still releasing monthly sales, Toyota Motor edges up 0.2% with light trucks up 8.6% compensating for freefalling car sales (-15%). Ford Motor deliveries are off -8.6% but retail sales are up 5.5%, car sales implode -57%, SUV and crossovers are up 7.6% and light trucks down -8.6%. American Honda is also in frank negative at -9.2% with car sales sinking -19% and light trucks edging down -2.2%. In contrast, Hyundai-Kia shoots up 7.9% year-on-year.

U.S. Volvo sales soar 32.4% in January.

Brand-wise, Toyota (+0.2%) overtakes Ford (-8.4%) thanks to crossovers and SUVs up 7.9%. Honda (-9.4%) also struggles while Subaru edges up 0.2% to a new January volume record. Kia (+11.4%) is now above sister brand Hyundai (+1.5%) up thanks to crossover retail sales up 11%, retail sales up 1% and fleet up 12%. Mazda is up 6.9% with cars and crossovers both up by the same rate, Volvo (+32.4%) celebrates 8 straight months of year-on-year gains thanks to strong crossover sales and Genesis soars 101.8% thanks to the new GV80 SUV outselling all sedans combined.

Among models with available monthly sales figures, the top five best-sellers lose ground year-on-year: the Ford F-Series (-5.5%), Toyota RAV4 (-5.3%), Honda CR-V (-0.8%), Toyota Camry (-12.3%) and Corolla (-17.9%). The Toyota Tacoma (+10.3%), Ford Explorer (+11.1%) and Mazda CX-5 (+5.2%) manage year-on-year upticks near the top. Other significant gainers include the Toyota Sienna (+76.5%), Mazda CX-30 (+53%), Volvo XC40 (+34.8%), Kia Telluride (+34.7%), Toyota 4Runner (+33.1%), Subaru Crosstrek (+28.3%), Hyundai Kona (+24.4%), Mazda3 (+22%) and Hyundai Santa Fe (+21.9%). The Ford Bronco Sport continues to progress and breaks the 8.000 monthly sales barrier this month, with the Kia K5 (5.443) and Toyota Venza (3.358) the next most popular recent launches.

Previous post: USA Full Year 2020: Ford F-Series #1 for 39th year, Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra up in market off -14.6%

One year ago: USA January 2020: Hyundai-Kia and Toyota strong, only 1 in 4 brands now reporting monthly

Full January 2021 sales for selected 7 groups, 12 brands and 121 models below.

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