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USA February 2021: Genesis (+51.4%), Volvo (+16.9%) ignore market down -10%

The new GV80 lifts U.S. Genesis sales up this month.

New light vehicle sales in the U.S. are estimated to drop -10% year-on-year in February to roughly 1.19 million units on two fewer selling days and as severe weather impacted dealership traffic for the month. As the U.S. economy continues to recover from the Covid-19 crisis, slim inventory now linked to a microship shortage, weak car sales and poor fleet deliveries continue to hamper the market. However a relatively strong Spring is forecast by analysts. The seasonally adjusted annualised rate of sales (SAAR) is down -6.7% year-on-year to 15.9 million according to Motor Intelligence and Morgan Stanley, to be compared with 17.04 million in February 2020 and 16.83 million in January this year. In contrast, the retail SAAR is up 1.5% year-on-year to 13.2 million for the month. Fleet deliveries are estimated at 231.100 units, a -25% year-on-year fall when adjusting for selling days according to J.D. Power, accounting for 19% of the market vs. 25% a year ago.

With inventory low, incentives continue to decrease, pushing the average transaction price to record levels. According to J.D. Power, average incentives are down -17.2% year-on-year to $3.562 per vehicle. TrueCar has them at $3.356, off 20% year-on-year and, more impressively, -11% on January (see chart above). Carmaker that have been more aggressive at paring back incentives year-on-year include Daimler (-40%), the VW Group (-30%), Ford (-29%), Hyundai (-28%), Nissan (-25%), BMW (-23%) and Kia (-23%). Subaru remains by far the stingiest incentive maker at $1.401 per car but has increased them year-on-year by 13%. According to J.D. Power, the average incentive as a percentage of retail price stands at 8.2%, down from 10.2% a year ago and the 7th consecutive month below 10%. Meanwhile the average transaction price is up 6.6% year-on-year or $2.386 to $38.075 according to TrueCar.

Among the remaining automotive groups sharing monthly data, Toyota Motor (-5.7%) and Hyundai-Kia (-7.5%) fare the best whereas American Honda (-11.4%) and Ford Motor (-14.6%) both fall faster than the market. Ford Motor retail sales are down just -1.8% but car sales implode -65% following the discontinuation of the Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ and Continental. Only three brands among the ones still reporting monthly data return a positive result this month: Genesis is up 51.4% thanks to the arrival of the GV80 SUV, Volvo up 16.9% and Lexus up 1.4%. Market beating single-digit losses for Acura (-5.8%), Toyota (-6.6%), Subaru (-6.6%), Kia (-7.9%), Mazda (-8.4%) and Hyundai (-8.8%). Lincoln (-22%), Ford (-14.2%) and Honda (-12%) are hit the hardest.

Looking at the models with available February volumes, the Ford F-Series (-17.8%) and Toyota RAV4 (-9.6%) are down but the Honda CR-V (+7%) gains ground year-on-year. The Toyota Tacoma (-0.2%) and Highlander (-5.5%) limit their fall unlike the Honda Civic (-37.9%), Accord (-27%), Toyota Camry (-18.5%) and Corolla (-16%). Sales of Subaru Outback are stable, the Toyota 4Runner (+8.9%) sports a solid gain, as do the Toyota Sienna (+64%), Subaru Crosstrek (+29%), Hyundai Santa Fe (+16.3%) and Honda Pilot (+10.3%). The Kia K5 tops recent launches with over 6.200 sales ahead of the Ford Bronco Sport down from over 8.000 last month to 5.526 in February and the Ford Mustang Mach E now competing in earnest with 3.739 units.

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

One year ago: USA February 2020: Only 11 brands report in “Good news only” market, Kia (+20.2%), Mazda (+19%) spectacular

Full February 2021 data for selected groups, brands and models below.

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