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USA September 2021: Sales fall -25% to lowest since 2010, Toyota now above GM YTD

Toyota Motor outsells General Motors for the second quarter in a row.

New light vehicle sales in the U.S. fall an estimated -25% year-on-year in September to just under 1 million units according to LMC Automotive. That’s the lowest volume for the month since 2010 as the industry remains plagued by supply constraints due to the microchip shortage. The Seasonally Adjusted Annualised Rate of sales stands at 12.3 million for the month according to Motor Intelligence. This is down from a high of 18.5 million six month ago, and 16.5 million in September 2020. Q3 volumes are down -12.8% to 3.414.884 with a year-to-date tally up 13.3% to 11.772.441. This weak September result prompts us to downgrade our 2021 Forecast for the U.S. from 15.41 (+6%) to 15.16 million units (+4%). This is below Cox Automotive’s 15.5 million forecast and above LMC Automotive’s 15 million estimate.

Morgan Stanley says inventories are now at a record-low 22 days supply, or 920.000 units according to J.D. Power. Cox Automotive estimates there are now 1.4 million less new vehicles in inventory than in September 2020 and 2.5 million less than two years ago in September 2019. With low inventories, manufacturers are cutting on incentives. TrueCar estimates average incentives per vehicle down -42% year-on-year to just $2.326. Companies that reduced their incentives the most in September  include General Motors (-57%) at $2.314, Hyundai (-52%) at $1.310, Daimler (-47%) at $3.039 and Nissan (-44%) at $2.500. At the other end of the scale, Honda (-21%) at $1.940, Subaru (-23%) at $1.420 and Kia (-28%) at $2.169 resist lowering their incentives too much. Lower incentives mean higher average transaction price and still according to TrueCar, over Q3 the ATP is up 6.3% year-on-year to $38.828. Manufacturers hiking up their average transaction price the most include Stellantis up 12% to $47.641, Nissan up 11% to $31.500, Hyundai up 11% to $32.351, Ford up 10% to $47.245 and General Motors up 9.3% to $45.431.

The Ford Maverick has landed in the US sales charts.

In the Q3 groups ranking, Toyota Motor (+1.4%) edges up to lodge a 2nd quarter win in a row, selling almost 123.000 units more than General Motors (-33%) crumbling down. More significantly, Toyota Motor advances to the year-to-date lead with just under 92.000 units more than GM. If maintained until the end of the year, this would be the first time in 90 years General Motors is not the best-selling manufacturer in the US and the very first time for Toyota Motor. Stellantis (-18.9%) and Ford Motor (-27.6%) also fall faster than the market but Hyundai-Kia (+9.1%) sports a sizeable gain at #5. American Honda (-10.9%), Nissan/Mitsubishi (-9.5%) and the VW Group (-9.1%) all resist somewhat, while Jaguar Land Rover (+6.9%) and the BMW Group (+4.5%) post year-on-year lifts.

Brand-wise, Toyota (+0.4%) is the only gainer in the Top 6 and widens the gap with follower Ford (-27%) to almost 300.000 units year-to-date. Honda (-11.9%) overtakes Chevrolet (-36.5%) and snaps the third place overall while Jeep (-11.5%) is above Nissan (-7.6%) unlike in the year-to-date order. Hyundai (+4.5%) and Kia (+7.3%) both post fantastic scores in context with Ram (-17.4%) and Subaru (-16.5%) underperforming in the remainder of the Top 10. Tesla (+72.6%) scores its highest ever quarterly volume just under 100.000 sales and advances to #11 vs. #15 so far this year. Other year-on-year gainers include Genesis (+301.1%), Rolls Royce (+48.3%), Maserati (+42.9%), Lamborghini (+40%), Bentley (+32.9%), Land Rover (+18.9%), Mazda (+12.9%), BMW (+8.7%), Lexus (+7.7%) and Volvo (+4.2%).

Over in the models ranking, the Ford F-Series (-22%) reigns supreme despite falling significantly faster than the market, with almost 50.000 sales more than the #2, the Chevrolet Silverado (-16.6%) edging past the Ram Pickup (-22.1%). The Ram Pickup however remains #2 year-to-date with a 20.000-unit advantage over the Silverado. The Toyota RAV4 (-22.6%) remains the best-selling SUV in the country while the Jeep Grand Cherokee (+44.9%) takes advantage of end-of-life rebates for the outgoing generation to shoot up to #5 overall vs. #13 so far this year. The Toyota Camry (+0.1%) edges up to hold onto the title of best-selling car in the country ahead of the Honda Civic (-12.9%) and Toyota Corolla (+9.9%). The Honda CR-V (-13%) and Toyota Highlander (+1.5%) are the two additional SUVs in the Top 10. Just below, the Toyota Tacoma (+4%) also manages an uptick at #11. The Tesla Model Y (+75.1%) is up to #14 vs. #20 year-to-date while the Model 3 (+83.7%) is up to #17 vs. #29 so far this year. The Ford Bronco Sport (#48) is the best-selling recent launch ahead of the VW Taos (#74), Ford Bronco (#101) and VW Atlas Sport (#102). We welcome the Ford Maverick at #234, the Jeep Wagoneer at #272 and the Grand Wagoneer at #275.

Previous month: USA August 2021: Market sinks -17%, Acura, Mazda, Volvo, Lexus up

One year ago: USA September 2020: Lexus, Mazda, Kia, calendar quirks help return market to positive (+5.6%)

Full Q3 2021 Top 15 groups, Top 40 brands and Top 300 models below.

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