Category Archives: U.S. AUTO SALES

AUGUST 2015 U.S. AUTO SALES BY THE NUMBERS

 

AUGUST 2015 U.S. AUTO SALES BY THE NUMBERS

BN-KC630_CARSAL_M_20150901172155

 

Automaker

Aug. 2015

Aug. 2014

Pct. chng.

8 months

8 months

Pct. chng.

2015

2014

BMW division

27,755

27,213

2.00%

223,348

211,004

5.90%

Mini

5,109

5,006

2.10%

40,560

34,969

16.00%

Rolls-Royce

95

93

2.20%

760

739

2.80%

  BMW Group

32,959

32,312

2.00%

264,668

246,712

7.30%

Mercedes-Benz

30,633

28,960

5.80%

238,827

221,473

7.80%

Smart USA

617

1,334

–53.7%

4,682

7,332

–36.1%

  Daimler AG

31,250

30,294

3.20%

243,509

228,805

6.40%

Alfa Romeo

75

–%

443

–%

Chrysler Division

25,580

29,762

–14.1%

221,550

194,285

14.00%

Dodge

42,386

49,895

–15.1%

337,177

399,937

–15.7%

Fiat

3,388

3,362

0.80%

28,421

32,141

–11.6%

Jeep

80,804

68,766

17.50%

555,709

461,156

20.50%

Ram

49,439

46,594

6.10%

318,542

298,650

6.70%

  FCA U.S.

201,672

198,379

1.70%

1,461,842

1,386,169

5.50%

Ferrari

177

176

0.60%

1,416

1,406

0.70%

Maserati

1,245

1,233

1.00%

7,506

7,807

–3.9%

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles†

203,094

199,788

1.70%

1,470,764

1,395,382

5.40%

Ford division

225,244

213,227

5.60%

1,678,929

1,637,666

2.50%

Lincoln

8,636

8,146

6.00%

65,284

60,531

7.90%

  Ford Motor Co.

233,880

221,373

5.70%

1,744,213

1,698,197

2.70%

Buick

22,281

22,143

0.60%

149,386

153,298

–2.6%

Cadillac

15,738

16,650

–5.5%

110,791

114,008

–2.8%

Chevrolet

183,098

185,930

–1.5%

1,425,507

1,388,993

2.60%

GMC

49,363

47,700

3.50%

362,853

328,152

10.60%

  General Motors

270,480

272,423

–0.7%

2,048,537

1,984,451

3.20%

Acura

15,313

15,487

–1.1%

117,315

105,918

10.80%

Honda Division

140,178

151,551

–7.5%

937,501

936,464

0.10%

  Honda (American)

155,491

167,038

–6.9%

1,054,816

1,042,382

1.20%

Hyundai division

72,012

70,003

2.90%

514,175

501,448

2.50%

Kia

58,897

54,667

7.70%

426,160

404,389

5.40%

  Hyundai Group

130,909

124,670

5.00%

940,335

905,837

3.80%

Jaguar

1,143

1,184

–3.5%

10,221

10,688

–4.4%

Land Rover

5,225

4,489

16.40%

42,548

35,318

20.50%

  Jaguar Land Rover

6,368

5,673

12.30%

52,769

46,006

14.70%

  Mazda

29,938

31,305

–4.4%

216,091

216,973

–0.4%

  Mitsubishi

8,289

6,786

22.10%

65,701

52,807

24.40%

Infiniti

10,635

9,164

16.10%

85,348

77,043

10.80%

Nissan Division

122,716

125,224

–2.0%

915,358

883,274

3.60%

  Nissan

133,351

134,388

–0.8%

1,000,706

960,317

4.20%

  Subaru

52,697

50,246

4.90%

375,632

333,968

12.50%

  Tesla*

1,700

1,500

13.30%

13,600

12,000

13.30%

Lexus

33,487

32,809

2.10%

222,151

198,831

11.70%

Scion

3,895

6,186

–37.0%

32,691

41,949

–22.1%

Toyota Division

186,999

207,105

–9.7%

1,418,160

1,386,729

2.30%

Toyota/Scion

190,894

213,291

–10.5%

1,450,851

1,428,678

1.60%

  Toyota

224,381

246,100

–8.8%

1,673,002

1,627,509

2.80%

Audi

18,794

17,101

9.90%

130,063

116,066

12.10%

Bentley

228

241

–5.4%

1,685

1,750

–3.7%

Lamborghini*

63

61

3.30%

504

488

3.30%

Porsche

5,008

4,540

10.30%

34,876

31,759

9.80%

VW division

32,332

35,181

–8.1%

238,074

244,878

–2.8%

  Volkswagen

56,425

57,124

–1.2%

405,202

394,941

2.60%

  Volvo Cars NA

5,869

4,960

18.30%

40,854

39,184

4.30%

Other*

98

95

3.20%

780

756

3.20%

TOTAL

1,577,179

1,586,075

–0.6%

11,611,179

11,186,227

3.80%

 

Numbers in this table are calculated by Automotive News based on actual monthly sales reported by the manufacturers and may differ from numbers reported elsewhere.
Source: Automotive News Data Center
Note:
†Fiat S.p.A. completed the acquisition of Chrysler Group LLC on Jan. 21, 2014; the companies were merged under holding group Fiat Chrysler Automobiles on Oct. 12, 2014.
*Estimate
**Includes estimates for Aston Martin and Lotus

 

 

Sales edge down but SAAR soars to 17.81 million

 

 

U.S. light-vehicle sales slipped 0.7 percent, far better than projections of a 3.3 percent dip, to 1.505 million in August as consumers shrugged off volatile stock prices continued to splurge on new cars and light trucks.

The seasonally adjusted annualized sales rate soared to 17.81 million, the highest pace of sales since July 2005, when employee-style discounts drove volume, and the strongest month of the 6-year recovery.

Deliveries, led by crossovers and SUVs, have now advanced 3.9 percent to 11.6 million vehicles in 2015 and appear well poised to surpass 17 million for only the third year ever.

U.S. sales had increased 4.5 percent through July.

Because of a calendar quirk that means Labor Day holiday volume will be included in September results this year, August 2015 deliveries across the U.S. had been projected to drop to about 1.53 million cars and light trucks, based on the average estimate from five analysts polled by Bloomberg. There were 26 selling days last month, one fewer than in August 2014.

The seasonally adjusted annualized sales rate for August was projected to come in at 17.3 million, flat with the August 2014 rate, based on the estimates of 12 analysts compiled by Bloomberg.

The SAAR has now topped 17 million five out of seven months this year, including a solid 17.55 million rate in July.

Among major automakers, Ford Motor Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles posted August sales gains while their biggest Japanese rivals fell amid a solid month for U.S. demand despite some statistical quirks.

Ford’s volume rose 5.7 percent, while FCA eked out a 1.7 percent advance and General Motors dropped slightly. Toyota Motor Corp., Nissan Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co. all posted declines as well.

“In spite of a tough 2014 comparison and extreme stock market volatility, our dealers’ competitive spirit kicked in and propelled us,” Reid Bigland, head of U.S. sales for Fiat Chrysler, said in a statement.

August sales slipped 8.8 percent at Toyota Motor with demand falling 9.7 percent at the Toyota brand and skidding 37 percent at Scion. But Lexus volume advanced 2.1 percent to a monthly record of 33,487 — giving the brand its second consecutive monthly luxury title.

“The luxury market continued its hot streak last month,” said Jeff Bracken, group vice president and general manager of Lexus.

Honda Motor’s August deliveries dropped 6.9 percent on a 7.5 percent decline at the Honda brand and a 1.1 percent dip at Acura.

At Nissan Motor, volume slipped 0.8 percent on a 2 percent decline at the Nissan division. Sales surged 16 percent at Infiniti.

Subaru record

Subaru, overcoming low inventory levels, set a monthly record in the U.S. with August deliveries of 52,679 vehicles, a gain of 4.9 percent over August 2014, and enough to top the record set in July (50,517). The XV Crosstrek and Forester both set monthly sales records, as well, in August.

Subaru’s U.S. sales have now increased 45 consecutive months, year over year, and topped 40,000 vehicles a month for 18 straight months.

Fiat Chrysler’s winning streak had been in doubt in part because the Labor Day sales weekend was not included in August results this year, in contrast to the previous three. Analysts polled by Bloomberg, on average, expected FCA’s sales to drop 1.2 percent during the month.

FCA said Jeep deliveries rose 18 percent to 80,804 in August, an all-time record for the brand and its 23rd consecutive monthly gain.

Volume rose 6.1 percent at the Ram brand and 0.8 percent at Fiat, but sales slipped 15 percent at Dodge and 14 percent at the Chrysler brand.

Ford Motor was helped by strong demand for crossovers and F-series pickups. Volume advanced 5.6 percent at the Ford brand and 6 percent at Lincoln.

F-Series deliveries, aided by improved availability of the redesigned F-150 truck, hit a high for the year with sales of 71,332, a gain of 4.7 percent over August 2014. Sales of utility vehicles climbed 12 percent while car volume skidded 7 percent, Ford said.

GM’s retail gains

At GM, deliveries fell 0.7 percent. Volume was off 1.5 percent at Chevrolet and 5.5 percent at Cadillac; deliveries increased 3.5 percent at GMC and 0.6 percent at Buick. GM’s retail deliveries rose 6 percent. The company, citing J.D. Power data, said it had the industry’s largest retail sales increase and gained more than 1 percentage point of retail market share last month.

Audi rode a 41 percent jump in crossover volume to post sales of 18,794 in August, a 9.9 percent gain and its 56th-consecutive monthly U.S. sales record. The Q5 compact CUV, Audi’s top-selling nameplate this year, posted a 34 percent increase while Q3 subcompact CUV deliveries more than quadrupled to 1,189.

Mazda reported 29,938 sales, down 4.4 percent, as the Mazda3, Mazda6 and CX-5 suffered slight declines. The automaker tallied 698 sales of its new CX-3 crossover, which went on sale in mid-August as a rival to the Honda HR-V. The redesigned MX-5 Miata claimed 1,344 sales in its first month, more than triple year-earlier volume.

 

Labor Day holiday volume

Sales generated during the four-day Labor Day holiday period, Friday through Monday, represented 20 percent of light-vehicle deliveries in August 2014, J.D. Power and Associates estimates. And a late-month surge produced the highest light-vehicle volume in August 2014 than any August since 2003.

Low gasoline prices, steady employment growth and favorable financing continued to support new-vehicle demand last month.

But while consumers largely shrugged off volatile U.S. stock prices in late August, the market turmoil may have impacted some luxury segments, analysts say.

Kelley Blue Book noted on Monday that average transaction prices in August for high-performance cars, such as the BMW 6 series and Porsche 911, fell 1.6 percent from July and 3.7 percent from August 2014.

And average transaction prices for high-end luxury cars dipped 3.4 percent last month compared with August 2014.

Dealers and automakers also ramped up discounts on remaining 2015 models, notably small- and mid-size cars, and large pickups.

Among the deals:

• A Buick Encore lease for $190 a month and $190 down for 24 months for current lessees of a non-GM vehicle.

• A 2015 Honda CR-V LX lease for $209 per month for 36 months and $1,999 down.

• Zero-percent financing for 72 months, and $1,000 bonus cash, on most 2015 Ford models.

• $5,000 cash back on the 2015 Ford Taurus, according to Kelley Blue Book

• In Montana, some Toyota dealers dangled $2,000 cash back on the 2015 Toyota Avalon and Venza, and $2,500 in cash off the Toyota Prius hybrid.

• In Baltimore, Fiat Chrysler’s Ram brand pitched a 2015 1500 Big Horn Crew Cab with zero-percent financing for 60 months and a $2,750 cash allowance.

• A 2015 Volkswagen Tiguan lease for 36 months with monthly payments of $179 and $2,499 down.

• Up to $3,520 off a 2015 Fiat 500 Abarth as part of the manager’s specials at Golling Fiat in Birmingham, Mich.

Brian Johnson, an analyst with Barclays, said last week big pickup incentives in August were running nearly 13 percent higher than a year ago, and nearly 5 percent higher than July.

“Competition is intensifying in the large pickup space as Ford’s F-150 inventory further normalizes,” Johnson said.

Even with a slew of clearance deals, transaction prices remain healthy.

Kelley Blue Book estimates the average transaction price for a new light vehicle sold last month was $33,543, an increase of $1,107, or 3.4 percent, from August 2014, but down $79, or 0.2 percent, from July.

“September will be a telling month depending on the impact of Labor Day sales and wavering financial markets,” said Akshay Anand, an analyst for Kelley Blue Book.

JULY 2015 U.S. AUTO SALES BY THE NUMBERS

JULY 2015 U.S. AUTO SALES BY THE NUMBERS

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Automaker

Jul-15

Jul-14

Pct. chng.

7 months

7 months

Pct. chng.

2015

2014

BMW division

26,970

26,409

2.10%

195,593

183,791

6.40%

Mini

5,191

5,811

–10.7%

35,451

29,963

18.30%

Rolls-Royce

95

93

2.20%

665

646

2.90%

  BMW Group

32,256

32,313

–0.2%

231,709

214,400

8.10%

Mercedes-Benz

29,689

29,406

1.00%

208,193

192,513

8.10%

Smart USA

441

1,351

–67.4%

4,065

5,998

–32.2%

  Daimler AG

30,130

30,757

–2.0%

212,258

198,511

6.90%

Alfa Romeo

48

–%

368

–%

Chrysler Division

25,722

23,455

9.70%

195,970

164,523

19.10%

Dodge

37,649

43,118

–12.7%

294,791

350,042

–15.8%

Fiat

3,235

3,807

–15.0%

25,033

28,779

–13.0%

Jeep

73,216

59,588

22.90%

474,905

392,390

21.00%

Ram

38,157

37,699

1.20%

269,103

252,056

6.80%

  FCA U.S.

178,027

167,667

6.20%

1,260,170

1,187,790

6.10%

Ferrari

177

176

0.60%

1,239

1,230

0.70%

Maserati

957

1,132

–15.5%

6,261

6,574

–4.8%

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles†

179,616

168,975

6.00%

1,267,670

1,195,594

6.00%

Ford division

212,478

203,604

4.40%

1,453,685

1,424,439

2.10%

Lincoln

9,536

7,863

21.30%

56,648

52,385

8.10%

  Ford Motor Co.

222,014

211,467

5.00%

1,510,333

1,476,824

2.30%

Buick

20,791

17,683

17.60%

127,105

131,155

–3.1%

Cadillac

14,154

15,241

–7.1%

95,053

97,358

–2.4%

Chevrolet

188,790

175,155

7.80%

1,242,409

1,203,063

3.30%

GMC

48,777

48,081

1.40%

313,490

280,452

11.80%

  General Motors

272,512

256,160

6.40%

1,778,057

1,712,028

3.90%

Acura

14,915

12,480

19.50%

102,002

90,431

12.80%

Honda Division

131,409

123,428

6.50%

797,323

784,913

1.60%

  Honda (American)

146,324

135,908

7.70%

899,325

875,344

2.70%

Hyundai division

71,013

67,011

6.00%

442,163

431,445

2.50%

Kia

56,311

52,309

7.70%

367,263

349,722

5.00%

  Hyundai Group

127,324

119,320

6.70%

809,426

781,167

3.60%

Jaguar

1,242

1,187

4.60%

9,078

9,504

–4.5%

Land Rover

5,011

4,643

7.90%

37,323

30,829

21.10%

  Jaguar Land Rover

6,253

5,830

7.30%

46,401

40,333

15.00%

  Mazda

27,157

29,235

–7.1%

186,153

185,665

0.30%

  Mitsubishi

7,868

6,349

23.90%

57,412

46,021

24.80%

Infiniti

10,433

8,538

22.20%

74,713

67,879

10.10%

Nissan Division

120,439

112,914

6.70%

792,642

758,050

4.60%

  Nissan

130,872

121,452

7.80%

867,355

825,929

5.00%

  Subaru

50,517

45,714

10.50%

322,935

283,722

13.80%

  Tesla*

1,700

1,500

13.30%

11,900

10,500

13.30%

Lexus

29,816

27,333

9.10%

188,664

166,022

13.60%

Scion

3,865

5,127

–24.6%

28,796

35,763

–19.5%

Toyota Division

183,500

183,342

0.10%

1,231,161

1,179,624

4.40%

Toyota/Scion

187,365

188,469

–0.6%

1,259,957

1,215,387

3.70%

  Toyota

217,181

215,802

0.60%

1,448,621

1,381,409

4.90%

Audi

17,654

14,616

20.80%

111,269

98,965

12.40%

Bentley

208

201

3.50%

1,457

1,509

–3.4%

Lamborghini*

63

61

3.30%

441

427

3.30%

Porsche

4,730

4,300

10.00%

29,868

27,219

9.70%

VW division

31,300

30,553

2.40%

205,742

209,697

–1.9%

  Volkswagen

53,955

49,731

8.50%

348,777

337,817

3.20%

  Volvo Cars NA

5,619

4,894

14.80%

34,985

34,224

2.20%

Other*

98

95

3.20%

682

661

3.20%

TOTAL

1,510,941

1,435,502

5.30%

10,033,999

9,600,149

4.50%

Numbers in this table are calculated by Automotive News based on actual monthly sales reported by the manufacturers and may differ from numbers reported elsewhere.
Source: Automotive News Data Center
Note:
†Fiat S.p.A. completed the acquisition of Chrysler Group LLC on Jan. 21, 2014; the companies were merged under holding group Fiat Chrysler Automobiles on Oct. 12, 2014.
*Estimate
**Includes estimates for Aston Martin and Lotus

 

 

SAAR hits 17.55 million — the second-highest tally in a decade

U.S. light-vehicles sales — fueled by healthy truck demand and gains at most major automakers — rose 5.3 percent in July, helping the industry begin the second half of 2015 on a strong note.

Light trucks set the pace last month, rising 11 percent, while car demand slipped 1.8 percent.

Ford Motor Co., Nissan Motor Co., Honda Motor Co., General Motors, Fiat Chrysler and Hyundai-Kia all had gains between 5 percent and 8 percent while Subaru scored its sixth double-digit advance of the year.

The seasonally adjusted annual sales rate jumped to 17.55 million — the second-highest tally in a decade. The SAAR has now topped 17 million in four out of seven months this year.

Summer deals, pent-up demand, falling gasoline prices, low interest rates and steady employment gains continue to outweigh sluggish consumer spending and weak wage growth to spur higher new-vehicle demand.

“Improving economic fundamentals should support continued job growth and a good environment for vehicle buying,” said Yong Yang, Ford’s senior economist for the Americas. “Industry performance should stay strong throughout 2015.”

With a 5 percent increase, Ford more than doubled the pace of its first-half advance. Honda and GM had their biggest jumps since January. Nissan set July records for the company and its namesake brand. FCA US ended its streak of monthly sales gains to 64.

“The second half of 2015 is off to a great start, with industry sales above expectations,” said Kurt McNeil, GM’s U.S. vice president of sales operations.

Industry volume was forecast by analysts to climb about 2.8 percent.

 

 

Automaker by automaker

Nissan Group’s U.S. deliveries rose 7.8 percent to 130,872 on strong sales of SUVs and crossovers. The Nissan division was up 6.7 percent. The Murano and Altima also set sales records for the month, Nissan said.

At Infiniti, sales rose 22 percent to 10,433.

Honda Motor Co. posted an increase of 7.7 percent on sales of 146,324 Honda and Acura vehicles.

Hyundai and Kia both set monthly sales records. Hyundai sales rose 6 percent to 71,013 units during a strong month for the Santa Fe crossover, while Kia sales rose 7.7 percent to a record 56,311 units.

Kia’s biggest highlight was the Sedona, which generated 3,672 sales in July, nearly a fourfold increase. Buyers paid an average of $34,435 for the minivan, up more than $5,000 from last summer, according to car-pricing service Kelley Blue Book.

Subaru continued to outpace the market, with U.S. sales rising 11 percent to 50,517 in July — a monthly record. The brand’s U.S. deliveries have now advanced 44 consecutive months.

Pickups boost Ford

Ford Motor was boosted by a 21 percent gain at Lincoln, while Ford Division was up 4.4 percent. F-series pickups advanced 4.8 percent — their first year-over-year increase since January — and delivered “record average transaction pricing,” Ford said.

General Motors rode increases at Chevrolet and Buick to a 6.4 percent overall jump. Winning divisions were Chevrolet (up 7.8 percent), Buick (18 percent) and GMC (1.4 percent), while Cadillac fell 7.1 percent. The automaker said its retail sales were up 14 percent while fleet sales were down as it continued with efforts to reduce deliveries to rental companies.

Fiat Chrysler’s U.S. sales, aided by another strong showing by the Jeep brand, rose 6.2 percent to 178,027 vehicles.

Jeep deliveries jumped 23 percent to 73,216, a July record. Sales rose 1.2 percent at Ram, while volume advanced 10 at the Chrysler brand. Sales slipped 13 percent at Dodge and 15 percent at Fiat.

FCA’s overall light-truck sales and overall car sales both rose 6 percent last month.

At the Volkswagen Group, sales rose 2.4 percent at VW and 21 percent at Audi.

Toyota Motor Corp. edged up 0.6 percent to 217,181 vehicles last month, with weaker Toyota, Scion and Lexus car volume offset by stronger truck demand. Toyota division volume slipped 0.1 percent to 183,500 and Lexus deliveries jumped 9.1 percent.

Lexus also topped Mercedes-Benz, excluding Sprinter, and BMW in U.S. luxury-brand sales last month.

“July auto sales showed no signs of slowdown for the industry,” said Bill Fay, Toyota Division group vice president and general manager.

Light trucks rule

Light trucks and crossovers continue to dominate vehicle mix across the industry as gasoline prices remain low and a favorable credit environment make it easier for consumers to purchase larger vehicles.

“This feels like more of a real 17-million-plus month and not one based on calendar quirks,” Mark Wakefield, AlixPartners LLP’s auto analyst, said on the better-than-expected July auto sales. “There’s nothing special about July except that there’s really nothing bad happening. So consumers aren’t worried and respond to the positive factors like jobs and economic growth and low gas prices.”

July marked the 23rd consecutive month that light trucks outsold cars, Edmunds said today, with compact trucks and crossovers the two fastest-selling product segments. Most SUV segments are selling faster than cars, though many large SUVs struggled in July and generated lower volumes.

Overall, the average days to turn for a light vehicle in July was 62 days, the lowest average for a single month since November 2011, Edmunds said.

The shift to light trucks continues to drive up transaction prices, as well.

“The industry continues to outperform prior-year levels with respect to retail sales and transaction prices,” said John Humphrey, senior vice president of the global automotive practice at J.D. Power, before today’s figures were released. “The average new-vehicle retail transaction price so far in July is $29,673, on pace to achieve a new record for the month.”

TrueCar today estimated the average transaction price for a new light vehicle was $31,691 in July, unchanged from a year ago. Kelley Blue Book projected average transaction prices rose 3 percent to $33,453 last month compared to July 2014.

In some parts of the Midwest and South, the price of unleaded gasoline has dropped below $2 a gallon. AAA says most U.S. drivers paid the lowest price for a gallon of gasoline in July since 2009.

The drop in fuel prices have helped U.S. light-vehicle deliveries climb 4.5 percent through July.

Summer deals

Fueled by favorable financing terms, notably extended loans, higher leasing penetration, and steady job and economic growth, analysts say U.S. deliveries remain on pace to reach 17 million for all 2015. It would mark the sixth consecutive year that sales have increased since hitting bottom at 10.43 million in 2009.

“The industry has found its groove and consumers continue to respond and make purchases, replacing their aging or off-lease vehicles,” said Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting at LMC Automotive.

Many automakers continued or launched summer clearance deals or other promotions in July.

TrueCar estimates the average industry incentive fell 1.2 percent to $2,849 in July from a year earlier.

The biggest spenders on incentives, TrueCar estimates, last month were GM ($3,983); Fiat Chrysler ($3,413); Nissan ($3,168); Volkswagen Group ($3,138) Ford ($2,678); Hyundai ($2,546); Kia ($2,490); Toyota ($2,034) and Honda ($1,935).

 

SOURCE: Automotivenews.com

DECEMBER 2014 U.S. AUTO SALES BY THE NUMBERS

 

DECEMBER 2014 U.S. AUTO SALES BY THE NUMBERS

 

Automaker

Dec. 2014

Dec. 2013

Pct. chng.

12 month
2014

12 month
2013

Pct. chng.

BMW division

41,526

37,389

11%

339,738

309,280

10%

Mini

6,615

6,592

0%

56,112

66,502

–16%

Rolls-Royce

75

72

4%

900

854

5%

  BMW Group

48,216

44,053

9%

396,750

376,636

5%

Maybach

–%

6

–100%

Mercedes-Benz

37,297

35,837

4%

356,136

334,344

7%

Smart USA

973

855

14%

10,453

9,264

13%

  Daimler AG

38,270

36,692

4%

366,589

343,614

7%

Alfa Romeo

67

–%

91

–%

Chrysler Division

30,930

20,270

53%

308,785

302,492

2%

Dodge

46,578

47,689

–2%

574,155

596,343

–4%

Fiat

3,784

3,745

1%

46,121

43,236

7%

Jeep

63,274

53,275

19%

692,348

490,454

41%

Ram

48,628

36,028

35%

469,139

367,843

28%

  FCA U.S.

193,261

161,007

20%

2,090,639

1,800,368

16%

Ferrari

175

172

2%

2,100

2,053

2%

Maserati

1,412

1,053

34%

12,943

4,768

172%

  Fiat Group

1,587

1,225

30%

15,043

6,821

121%

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles†

194,848

162,232

20%

2,105,682

1,807,189

17%

Ford division

209,679

208,608

1%

2,376,841

2,403,542

–1%

Lincoln

9,690

7,984

21%

94,474

81,694

16%

  Ford Motor Co.

219,369

216,592

1%

2,471,315

2,485,236

–1%

Buick

20,357

15,379

32%

228,963

205,509

11%

Cadillac

16,150

18,165

–11%

170,750

182,543

–6%

Chevrolet

184,938

153,493

20%

2,033,442

1,947,125

4%

GMC

53,038

43,120

23%

501,853

450,901

11%

  General Motors

274,483

230,157

19%

2,935,008

2,786,078

5%

Acura

17,809

15,751

13%

167,843

165,436

2%

Honda Division

119,472

119,504

0%

1,373,029

1,359,876

1%

  Honda (American)

137,281

135,255

2%

1,540,872

1,525,312

1%

Hyundai division

64,507

63,005

2%

725,718

720,783

1%

Kia

45,587

33,631

36%

580,234

535,179

8%

  Hyundai Group

110,094

96,636

14%

1,305,952

1,255,962

4%

Jaguar

1,683

1,544

9%

15,773

16,952

–7%

Land Rover

5,754

5,764

0%

51,465

50,010

3%

  Jaguar Land Rover

7,437

7,308

2%

67,238

66,962

0%

  Mazda

24,808

22,964

8%

305,801

283,946

8%

  Mitsubishi

6,545

6,423

2%

77,643

62,227

25%

Infiniti

12,007

13,232

–9%

117,330

116,455

1%

Nissan Division

105,311

96,526

9%

1,269,565

1,131,965

12%

  Nissan

117,318

109,758

7%

1,386,895

1,248,420

11%

  Subaru

49,923

40,172

24%

513,693

424,683

21%

  Suzuki*

–%

5,946

–100%

  Tesla*

2,200

760

190%

26,400

21,090

25%

Lexus

39,879

34,757

15%

311,389

273,847

14%

Scion

3,817

4,323

–12%

58,009

68,321

–15%

Toyota Division

171,361

151,763

13%

2,004,373

1,893,874

6%

Toyota/Scion

175,178

156,086

12%

2,062,382

1,962,195

5%

  Toyota

215,057

190,843

13%

2,373,771

2,236,042

6%

Audi

19,238

17,013

13%

182,011

158,061

15%

Bentley

412

442

–7%

3,003

2,964

1%

Lamborghini*

59

58

2%

708

690

3%

Porsche

3,275

3,246

1%

47,007

42,323

11%

VW division

34,058

34,015

0%

366,970

407,704

–10%

  Volkswagen

57,042

54,774

4%

599,699

611,742

–-2%

  Volvo Cars NA

4,920

4,888

1%

56,366

61,233

–8%

Other**

117

114

3%

1,396

1,360

3%

TOTAL

1,507,928

1,359,621

11%

16,531,070

15,603,678

6%

 

 

Led by double-digit sales increases at Fiat Chrysler, General Motors, Hyundai-Kia, Toyota Motor Corp. and Subaru, the U.S. auto industry closed out a stellar 2014 with a blockbuster December as U.S. consumers took advantage of year-end deals, lower fuel prices and an improving economy.

Light-vehicle sales rose 11 percent in December — slightly above forecasts — and 6 percent to 16.53 million for the year. The annualized pace of sales hit 16.92 million units, the third-fastest sales rate of the year.

It is the fifth consecutive year U.S. deliveries have increased after hitting a 27-year low of 10.4 million in 2009 during the Great Recession.

Thirteen brands — Honda, Nissan, Subaru, Porsche, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Maserati, Land Rover, Hyundai, BMW, Audi, Jeep and Ram — established U.S. sales records in 2014.

“Everything you need to have a great month was in place,” said Kurt McNeil, head of U.S. sales operations for GM. “Consumers felt good about the direction of the economy, interest rates and fuel prices were low, and our dealers did a great job introducing customers to our … new and redesigned vehicles.”

Among major automakers, Daimler AG, FCA, Nissan Motor and Toyota gained U.S. market share in 2014 while the BMW Group, Ford, GM, Honda, Hyundai-Kia and Volkswagen Group lost ground. Subaru and Mazda also captured additional share.

BMW retakes luxury title

The BMW brand reclaimed the luxury-sales crown from Mercedes-Benz in 2014 by a 9,347-vehicle margin: 339,738 vs. 330,391. No. 3 Lexus, which was the luxury leader from 2000 to 2010, is quickly closing the gap on its top two rivals, passing 300,000 in annual sales for the first time since 2007.

Meanwhile, Audi (182,011) outsold Cadillac (170,750) for the first time, jumping to the No. 4 luxury brand.

Sales at FCA, formerly the Chrysler Group, rose 20 percent in December, capping a year that saw overall volume advance 16 percent. The company posted the biggest gain in U.S. market share among major automakers on robust demand for Ram pickups and Jeeps.

Deliveries at GM, helped by heavy promotions, rose 19 percent, with retail volume increasing 23 percent and fleet shipments advancing 6 percent. Sales rose 21 percent at Chevrolet, 23 percent at GMC and 32 percent at Buick, while Cadillac dropped 11 percent.

For all of 2014, GM’s sales advanced 5 percent.

At Toyota, sales of Lexus, Toyota and Scion models totaled 215,057 last month, a 13 percent increase. The company’s 2014 volume advanced 6 percent. Toyota brand deliveries rose 13 percent and Lexus volume hit a December record of 39,879, up 15 percent.

The Camry, with sales of 428,606, ranked as the top-selling car in the U.S. for the 13th straight year.

“The industry finished last year on a high note thanks to a strong economic tailwind,” said Bill Fay, general manager of the Toyota division. “That momentum should continue in 2015 and combined with continued strong replacement demand, boost sales further.”

Caution

Still, some executives and analysts caution that growth will slow in 2015 after five years of rapid recovery.

“U.S. auto sales are dancing to a very different, and we believe unsustainable, beat,” Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas warned in a report Monday.

Jonas suggested demand for new light vehicles has outpaced U.S. economic, wage and housing growth rates, thanks largely to easy credit access and extended loan terms that are keeping monthly payments manageable for many consumers.

Toyota executives said they conservatively expect 2015 sales of 16.7 million vehicles, while others, including LMC Automotive, expect deliveries to hit 17 million.

“Any way you slice it, whether it’s 16.7 [million vehicles] or slightly below or above, it’s still a very healthy industry,” Jeff Bracken, head of Toyota Motor Corp.’s Lexus brand in the U.S., said of the coming year.

For some automakers, December and 2014 was a time to celebrate.

At FCA, sales last month rose 19 percent at Jeep, 35 percent at Ram, 53 percent at the Chrysler brand and 1 percent at Fiat. Volume slipped 2 percent at Dodge. The company’s U.S. deliveries have now increased 57 consecutive months.

For the year, FCA’s sales hit nearly 2.1 million on a 28 percent surge in light-truck deliveries.

FCA is particularly well positioned as America rekindles its fondness for SUVs and pickups. For the year, Jeep volume surged 41 percent to 692,348. Ram pickup deliveries surged 24 percent in 2014 to 439,789.

Through November, FCA’s U.S. market share stood at 12.7 percent, up from 11.5 percent through November 2013. Jeep’s U.S. market share climbed 1.1 percentage points to 4.2 percent through November.

Ford dinged

Ford Motor Co. sales rose 1 percent in December and slipped nearly 1 percent for the year, reflecting lower F-150 volume as the company transitions to the redesigned 2015 model. Deliveries last month rose 0.5 percent at the Ford brand and 21 percent at Lincoln

Honda Motor Co.’s sales edged up 1.5 percent. Despite a slight drop in volume at the Honda brand in December, U.S. sales at the division set an annual record of 1,373,029. Acura volume rose 13 percent last month and 1.5 percent for the year.

Honda — describing the truck market as “fast-paced” — said it set December and full-year records for crossovers and other light trucks. Deliveries of the CR-V crossover rose 13 percent in December to a record 32,369 units, and 10 percent for the year to a record of 335,019.

Sales of the Honda Pilot, helped by incentives, surged 28 percent to 11,479 in December.

“Despite the price of gasoline dropping well below $3 a gallon in many markets, Honda’s strong, balanced lineup of cars and trucks helped us achieve record sales in 2014,” said Jeff Conrad, general manager of the Honda division. “We will build on this momentum with some great new products coming in 2015.”

Core models drive Nissan

Deliveries at the Nissan brand rose 9 percent while volume slipped 9 percent at Infiniti last month. For the year, U.S. sales rose 12 percent to a record 1,269,565 at the Nissan division and 1 percent at Infiniti.

Fred Diaz, Nissan’s senior vice president for U.S. sales, marketing and operations, credited the company’s core models — Altima, Sentra, Versa and Rogue, as well as the Leaf — for the results.

Even with gasoline prices falling in recent months, U.S. deliveries of the Leaf topped 30,000 in 2014 — the first time any plug-in vehicle has reached that milestone in a single year, the company said.

Overall, Nissan’s car sales rose 12 percent while truck volume slipped 1 percent last month. For the year, the company’s car volume rose 13 percent, outpacing the 9 percent increase in truck demand.

“We expect low gas prices and high consumer confidence to be the magic formula that continues to bring more buyers into dealer showrooms,” Diaz said.

Subaru shattered the 500,000 annual sales mark in the U.S. for the first time on a 24 percent gain in December deliveries.

Mazda reported December volume of 24,808, a gain of 8 percent, and the company’s annual sales topped 300,000 units for the first time since 1994. The company said it retailed 278,880 units last year, the highest total since 1994 as part of a plan to reduce reliance on fleet deliveries.

Volkswagen sold 34,058 vehicles last month, essentially flat compared with Dec. 2013, while the brand’s full-year sales fell 10 percent to 366,970.

Positive factors

Numerous factors are playing out to support robust auto sales heading into 2015. Favorable financing terms, improving household finances, employment gains, new or redesigned models and the plunge in gasoline prices are all combining to attract buyers to U.S. showrooms.

“The momentum the economy carried through 2014 accelerated in the fourth quarter,” said Mustafa Mohatarem, chief economist for GM. “Car-buying fundamentals remain strong and we expect higher industry sales in 2015.”

A steady wave of recalls — the industry set a record in 2014 — also hasn’t deterred shoppers.

“December sums up what we’ve seen all year for automakers, and it’s a fitting finish to a comeback year for the industry,” said John Krafcik, president of TrueCar. “Sales volume growth and the popularity of highly profitable vehicle segments — pickups, utilities and luxury vehicles — has been immensely beneficial to automakers’ revenue and we expect more good news in 2015.”

To end the year on a high note, there were plenty of deals promoted throughout the month and many dealers extended showroom hours between Christmas and the New Year holiday weekend to handle additional volume.

Analysts at Edmunds.com estimate about 33 percent of the month’s sales happened in the last week of December. 

 

With gasoline prices falling below $2 a gallon in large swaths of the country, automakers and dealers sweetened discounts on hybrids. Tom Wood Lexus near Indianapolis dangled a $299 a month lease for 27 months and $1,099 due at signing on the 2015 CT 200h. The dealership also threw in a $250 Amazon.com gift card for customers who bought or leased any new vehicle through Jan. 3.

Other deals:

• BMW offered up to $3,500 off select 2015 models nationwide.

• Buick and GMC extended a deal started in November that provided buyers cash back equal to 20 percent of MSRP on older 2014 and 2015 inventory. Chevrolet ran a similar deal on select cars.

• Chrysler pitched a $239 a month lease for 39 months on the Chrysler 200 midsize sedan with zero down, no first payment and zero security deposit for buyers with top-notch credit.

Honda offered several lease deals with no down payment or security deposit on popular or older models. The first lease payment was also waived:

• $320 monthly lease on the 2015 Pilot LX with two-wheel drive for 36 months.

• $270 monthly lease on the Accord LX sedan for 36 months.

• $230 monthly lease on the 2015 Civic LX sedan for 36 months.

Trucks, prices shift higher

Kelley Blue Book said light-vehicle transaction prices rose nearly 3 percent year-over-year to $34,367 in December — making it the highest month on record for average transaction prices.

Pricing was strong across most of the industry with the exception of hybrids and electric vehicles, KBB said.

It was also the year of the light truck for most automakers. Buyers purchased more pickups, minivans, crossovers and SUVs than cars every month in 2014. That’s something automakers haven’t enjoyed since 2004 when a barrel of oil sold for less than $40.

NOVEMBER 2014 U.S. AUTO SALES BY THE NUMBERS

NOVEMBER 2014 U.S. AUTO SALES BY THE NUMBERS

US auto sales

Automaker

Nov. 2014

Nov. 2013

Pct. chng.

11 month
2014

11 month
2013

Pct. chng.

 

 

BMW division

31,019

31,752

–2%

298,212

271,891

10%

Mini

5,009

4,575

10%

49,497

59,910

–17%

Rolls-Royce

75

72

4%

825

782

6%

  BMW Group

36,103

36,399

–1%

348,534

332,583

5%

Maybach

–%

6

–100%

Mercedes-Benz

37,110

36,388

2%

318,839

298,507

7%

Smart USA

815

959

–15%

9,480

8,409

13%

  Daimler AG

37,925

37,347

2%

328,319

306,922

7%

Chrysler Division

27,243

21,024

30%

277,855

282,222

–2%

Dodge

42,108

41,506

1%

527,577

548,654

–4%

Fiat

3,111

3,075

1%

42,337

39,491

7%

Jeep

57,489

45,415

27%

629,074

437,179

44%

Ram

40,864

31,255

31%

420,511

331,815

27%

  Chrysler Group

170,815

142,275

20%

1,897,354

1,639,361

16%

Alfa Romeo

24

–%

24

–%

Ferrari

175

171

2%

1,925

1,881

2%

Maserati

1,203

887

36%

11,531

3,715

210%

  Fiat Group

1,402

1,058

33%

13,480

5,596

141%

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles†

172,217

143,333

20%

1,910,834

1,644,957

16%

Ford division

178,221

182,978

–3%

2,167,162

2,194,934

–1%

Lincoln

8,113

6,727

21%

84,784

73,710

15%

  Ford Motor Co.

186,334

189,705

–2%

2,251,946

2,268,644

–1%

Buick

19,143

15,072

27%

208,606

190,130

10%

Cadillac

13,148

16,172

–19%

154,600

164,378

–6%

Chevrolet

149,673

145,089

3%

1,848,504

1,793,632

3%

GMC

43,854

35,727

23%

448,815

407,781

10%

  General Motors

225,818

212,060

6%

2,660,525

2,555,921

4%

Acura

14,857

14,599

2%

150,034

149,685

0%

Honda Division

106,957

101,948

5%

1,253,557

1,240,372

1%

  Honda (American)

121,814

116,507

5%

1,403,591

1,390,057

1%

Hyundai division

53,672

56,005

–4%

661,211

657,778

1%

Kia

44,936

45,411

–1%

534,647

501,548

7%

  Hyundai Group

98,608

101,416

–3%

1,195,858

1,159,326

3%

Jaguar

1,253

1,446

–13%

14,090

15,408

–9%

Land Rover

3.644

4,601

–21%

45,711

44,246

3%

  Jaguar Land Rover

4,897

6,047

–19%

59,801

59,654

0%

  Mazda

21,242

20,754

2%

280,993

260,982

8%

  Mitsubishi

6,534

6,071

8%

71,098

55,804

27%

Infiniti

11,398

13,152

–13%

105,323

103,223

2%

Nissan Division

91,790

93,376

–2%

1,164,254

1,035,439

12%

  Nissan

103,188

106,528

–3%

1,269,577

1,138,662

12%

  Subaru

45,243

36,621

24%

463,740

384,511

21%

  Suzuki*

–%

5,946

–100%

  Tesla*

2,200

1,300

69%

24,200

19,130

25%

Lexus

27,472

25,611

7%

271,510

239,090

14%

Scion

3,907

4,968

–21%

54,192

63,998

–15%

Toyota Division

151,967

147,465

3%

1,833,012

1,742,111

5%

Toyota/Scion

155,874

152,433

2%

1,887,204

1,806,109

5%

  Toyota

183,346

178,044

3%

2,158,714

2,045,199

6%

Audi

16,640

13,636

22%

162,773

141,048

15%

Bentley

323

323

0%

2,591

2,522

3%

Lamborghini*

59

58

2%

649

632

3%

Porsche

4,699

3,966

19%

43,732

39,077

12%

VW division

31,725

30,727

3%

332,911

373,689

–11%

  Volkswagen

53,446

48,710

10%

542,656

556,968

–3%

  Volvo Cars NA

3,623

4,233

–14%

51,446

56,345

–9%

Other

117

114

3%

1,279

1,246

3%

TOTAL

1,302,655

1,245,189

5%

15,023,111

14,243,037

6%

Numbers in this table are calculated by Automotive News based on actual monthly sales reported by the manufacturers and may differ from numbers reported elsewhere.
Source: Automotive News Data Center
Note:
†Fiat completed the merger with Chrysler Group under holding group Fiat Chrysler Automobiles on Oct. 12, 2014; Fiat Group and Chrysler Group sales totals for 2013 and 2014 are combined under Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.
*Estimate
**Includes estimates for Aston Martin and Lotus

 

 

Light trucks, holiday discounts drive volume up 5%

Spurred by a 20 percent gain at Chrysler Group and aided by Black Friday discounts and light-truck demand, U.S. light-vehicle sales jumped 5 percent last month, pushing the annualized pace of deliveries above 17 million for the second time this year.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of 17.2 million fell shy of August’s 17.5 million. But it showed that demand remains robust as the industry winds up its fifth year of recovery since the recession.

Some analysts, however, warned that November’s surge could steal some sales from December.

Sales of cars, crossovers, minivans, SUVs and other vehicles totaled 1.3 million in November, the highest tally for the month since 2001. Light-truck volume jumped 9 percent while car deliveries slipped 0.1 percent.

“Automakers were keen marketers in November, tapping early into Black Friday magic to boost sales to levels not seen in more than a decade,” said John Krafcik, president of the TrueCar online car-buying service. “While the deals were good, automakers held the line on incentives.”

Subaru led all automakers with a 24 percent gain. General Motors, helped by strong truck and SUV deliveries, rebounded from a soft October with a 6 percent advance. American Honda Motor Co. set a November record with combined Honda and Acura sales of 121,814 units, an increase of 5 percent.

Toyota Motor Corp. and the VW brand each rose 3 percent. Volumes at Ford Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Corp. declined. Kia and Hyundai also fell.

Among GM brands, sales rose 27 percent at Buick, 23 percent at GMC and 3 percent at Chevrolet. Volume dropped 19 percent at Cadillac. GM’s retail deliveries edged up 5 percent and fleet volume jumped 11 percent.

Edmunds.com estimated GM’s incentives rose 23 percent in November to $3,505 from a year earlier.

“The buzz around Black Friday helped drive strong showroom traffic but there was a lot more at work in the market,” Kurt McNeil, vice president for U.S. sales operations at GM, said in a statement. “More people have jobs and job security, their wages are starting to increase, household wealth is growing and low pump prices look like they’re here to stay through 2015.”

At Ford, it was the third month in a row U.S. volume has fallen as the company retools U.S. plants that build the F-150 pickup — the nation’s top-selling vehicle. Deliveries slipped 3 percent at the Ford division but jumped 21 percent at Lincoln.

Nissan’s results ended a streak of 13 consecutive monthly sales increases.

At Toyota, deliveries rose 3 percent for the Toyota brand and 7 percent at Lexus, but slipped 21 percent at Scion. The automaker said its light truck and Lexus volumes set November records.

Subaru’s record-breaking run continued with the company posting its best November with sales of 45,273. Subaru has recorded 36 consecutive periods of month-over-month U.S. sales gains and remains on track in 2014 to surpass the 500,000 mark for the first time.

“Traffic to our retailers remains very strong,” said Jeff Walters, senior vice president of sales for Subaru of America.

Deliveries rose 2 percent at Mazda but slipped 4 percent at Hyundai, which cited “challenges in certain segments.” Sales also dropped 13 percent at Jaguar, 21 percent at Land Rover and 14 percent at Volvo.

Alfa’s official return

The Ram brand led the way for the Chrysler Group with deliveries rising 31 percent, while Jeep volume jumped 27 percent to 57,489 — a November record. Ram pickup sales advanced 21 percent to a November record of 35,865, Chrysler said. Sales rose 1 percent at Dodge and Fiat and 30 percent at the Chrysler brand.

The company also reported sales of 24 Alfa Romeo 4C coupes last month — marking the brand’s official return to the U.S. market.

Fiat Chrysler’s U.S. incentives in November averaged $3,027 per vehicle, up 3 percent from November 2013, but down 2 percent from October, TrueCar estimated.

At Bob Moore Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in Tulsa, Okla., buyers could get up to $7,000 off a 2014 Chrysler 300 sedan, $4,000 off a Dodge Dart and $7,000 to $10,000 off a 2014 Ram 1500 pickup, based on deals advertised on the dealership’s website Monday. Discounts on a 2014 and 2015 Jeep Cherokee were as high as $4,700.

Overall, Chrysler Group’s light-truck deliveries increased 18 percent and car volume jumped 26 percent last month. The company’s U.S. sales have now increased 56 consecutive months.

“We had 11 vehicles last month that set new sales records,” Reid Bigland, head of U.S. sales for Chrysler, said in a statement.

Audi record rolls on

Audi said it surpassed — over the Thanksgiving weekend — its previous full-year U.S. sales record of 158,061 vehicles set in 2013. The Volkswagen Group’s luxury brand has established annual sales records in each of the past five years. The VW brand’s 3 percent gain, to 31,725 units, was its second consecutive increase after 18 monthly declines.

The November results were better than forecast. Industry-wide light-vehicle sales were predicted to rise 2.5 percent from a strong November 2013 to about 1.28 million, according to the average of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. The SAAR was projected to climb to 16.8 million.

The November tally easily topped the 16.3 million sales pace of a year earlier and October’s 16.5 million rate. The November 2013 figure was last year’s highest.

For the year, U.S. light-vehicles sales have advanced 5.5 percent to 15 million, with truck volume rising 10 percent and car deliveries edging up 1 percent

Dealers flooded airwaves, newspapers and the web over the Thanksgiving holiday with deals, with many of the best offers coming on cars — a weak spot for the industry this year. On Monday, Maita Toyota in Sacramento, Calif., advertised $3,577 off a 2015 Corolla LE Plus and $2,677 off a 2015 RAV4 XLE, according to the dealership’s website.

“Dealer commentary suggests the month may be shaping up to be one of the strongest Novembers on the books with the Thanksgiving weekend expected to add an additional spark to floor traffic and sales,” Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas said in a report Monday. He added that gasoline prices — which average below $3 a gallon in most parts of the country — will be “especially positive for light truck sales.”

Among the best offers in late November tracked by Kelley Blue Book:

• Cadillac ATS leases for 36 months at $299 a month with $749 down.

• A Mazda6 lease for 39 months at $189 a month with $1,989 due at signing.

• Zero-percent financing for 60 months on a 2014 Volkswagen Passat.

• $3,000 off a 2014 Ford Fusion

Looking ahead

Guy Cesario, general sales manager at Mike Anderson Chevrolet of Chicago, said the Illinois store’s new-vehicle sales rose 6 percent compared with November 2013. Top sellers last month were the Sonic, Cruze and Equinox.

“Vehicle availability and incentives from the manufacturer” drove the boost in volume, Cesario said. “I’m just looking forward to a great December, which I think we’re going to have.”

Some analysts said the sales momentum enjoyed in October continued with an even stronger month spurred by the auto industry’s continued reliance on aggressive deals and financing tactics such as extended-term loans and subprime leasing.

“Clever advertising from a handful of automakers planted the seed in shoppers’ minds that rather than standing in Black Friday lines at retail stores to save tens of dollars, they could instead pocket hundreds and even thousands by taking advantage of deals on cars,” said Jeremy Acevedo, an analyst for car-shopping website Edmunds.com. “This message seems to have resonated, particularly for GM’s Buick and GMC brands that offered 20 percent off sticker prices for all models.”

Attitudes about buying a new vehicle are also the most favorable since 2005, according to the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers.

The average transaction price for light vehicles sold last month was $32,482, up 0.6 percent from a year ago, while average incentive spending per unit declined $6 to $2,660, TrueCar estimated.

OCTOBER 2014 U.S. AUTO SALES BY THE NUMBERS

 

OCTOBER 2014 U.S. AUTO SALES BY THE NUMBERS

 

OCTOBER 2014 U.S. AUTO SALES BY THE NUMBERS

 

 

Automaker

Oct. 2014

Oct. 2013

Pct. chng.

10 month
2014

10 month
2013

Pct. chng.

 

BMW division

30,602

27,574

11%

267,193

240,139

11%

Mini

5,300

5,700

–7%

44,488

55,335

–20%

Rolls-Royce

75

71

6%

750

710

6%

  BMW Group

35,977

33,345

8%

312,431

296,184

6%

Maybach

–%

6

–100%

Mercedes-Benz

30,733

32,109

–4%

281,729

262,119

8%

Smart USA

585

513

14%

8,665

7,450

16%

  Daimler AG

31,318

32,622

–4%

290,394

269,575

8%

Chrysler Division

27,546

23,452

18%

250,612

261,198

–4%

Dodge

41,512

45,314

–8%

485,469

507,148

–4%

Fiat

3,725

3,674

1%

39,226

36,416

8%

Jeep

55,198

36,379

52%

571,585

391,764

46%

Ram

42,499

31,264

36%

379,647

300,560

26%

  Chrysler Group

170,480

140,083

22%

1,726,539

1,497,086

15%

Alfa Romeo

–%

–%

Ferrari

175

171

2%

1,750

1,710

2%

Maserati

1,203

587

105%

10,328

2,828

265%

  Fiat Group

1,378

758

82%

12,078

4,538

166%

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles†

171,858

140,841

22%

1,738,617

1,501,624

16%

Ford division

179,014

184,136

–3%

1,988,941

2,011,956

–1%

Lincoln

8,883

7,131

25%

76,671

66,983

15%

  Ford Motor Co.

187,897

191,267

–2%

2,065,612

2,078,939

–1%

Buick

18,699

17,555

7%

189,463

175,058

8%

Cadillac

13,615

14,792

–8%

141,452

148,206

–5%

Chevrolet

155,965

155,214

1%

1,698,831

1,648,543

3%

GMC

38,540

38,841

–1%

404,961

372,054

9%

  General Motors

226,819

226,402

0%

2,434,707

2,343,861

4%

Acura

15,427

14,296

8%

135,177

135,126

0%

Honda Division

105,745

100,242

6%

1,146,600

1,138,424

1%

  Honda (American)

121,172

114,538

6%

1,281,777

1,273,550

1%

Hyundai division

50,081

53,555

–7%

607,539

601,773

1%

Kia

44,694

39,754

12%

489,711

456,137

7%

  Hyundai Group

94,775

93,309

2%

1,097,250

1,057,910

4%

Jaguar

1,007

1,515

–34%

12,837

13,962

–8%

Land Rover

3,643

4,286

–15%

42,067

39,645

6%

  Jaguar Land Rover

4,650

5,801

–20%

54,904

53,607

2%

  Mazda

18,798

19,737

–5%

259,751

240,228

8%

  Mitsubishi

6,199

4,752

31%

64,564

49,733

30%

Infiniti

9,045

9,152

–1%

93,925

90,071

4%

Nissan Division

94,072

81,866

15%

1,072,464

942,063

14%

  Nissan

103,117

91,018

13%

1,166,389

1,032,134

13%

  Subaru

43,012

34,483

25%

418,497

347,890

20%

  Suzuki*

–%

5,946

–100%

  Tesla*

1,400

1,302

8%

19,530

18,024

8%

Lexus

23,355

22,719

3%

244,038

213,479

14%

Scion

4,182

4,940

–15%

50,285

59,030

–15%

Toyota Division

153,043

141,317

8%

1,681,045

1,594,646

5%

Toyota/Scion

157,225

146,257

8%

1,731,330

1,653,676

5%

  Toyota

180,580

168,976

7%

1,975,368

1,867,155

6%

Audi

15,150

13,001

17%

146,133

127,412

15%

Bentley

282

340

–17%

2,268

2,199

3%

Lamborghini*

59

58

2%

590

574

3%

Porsche

3,667

3,562

3%

39,033

35,111

11%

VW division

30,313

28,129

8%

301,187

342,962

–12%

  Volkswagen

49,471

45,090

10%

489,211

508,258

–4%

  Volvo Cars NA

3,972

3,919

1%

47,823

52,112

–8%

Other**

117

114

3%

1,162

1,132

3%

TOTAL

1,281,132

1,207,516

6%

13,717,987

12,997,862

6%

 

Numbers in this table are calculated by Automotive News based on actual monthly sales reported by the manufacturers and may differ from numbers reported elsewhere.
Source: Automotive News Data Center
Note:
†Fiat completed the merger with Chrysler Group under holding group Fiat Chrysler Automobiles on Oct. 12, 2014; Fiat Group and Chrysler Group sales totals for 2013 and 2014 are combined under Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.
*Estimate
**Includes estimates for Aston Martin and Lotus

 

 

OCTOBER U.S. SALES

SAAR remains healthy at 16.5 million; GM volume up 0.2% but Ford deliveries slip

 

DETROIT — U.S. light-vehicle sales, led by double-digit increases at Chrysler Group and Nissan Motor Corp., rose 6 percent to 1.28 million in October, matching forecasts, with crossovers and light trucks fueling much of the industry’s gains.

The seasonally adjusted annual sales rate, a broad measure of the industry’s health, hit 16.5 million, slightly above projections and up 7 percent from 15.4 million a year earlier.

The SAAR has now topped 16 million every month beginning with March. In August, the SAAR surged to 17.5 million, the highest since January 2006.

“The U.S. economy has steadily improved all year and now we are poised for a stronger expansion backed by an improved job market, higher consumer confidence and lower fuel prices,” said Kurt McNeil, General Motors’ head of U.S. sales.

Chrysler Group’s U.S. sales rose 22 percent while Nissan group sales were up 13 percent.

Toyota Motor Sales sold 180,580 Toyota, Scion and Lexus models last month, an increase of 7 percent. The results reflected record October demand for the Toyota RAV4 and Highlander, strong Camry shipments, as well as robust SUV volume.

“October vehicle sales were the best for the month in 10 years as an improving economy and lower gas prices drove strong SUV sales,” Bill Fay, Toyota division general manager, said in a statement. Lexus volume rose for the 12th consecutive month.

Sales edged up 0.2 percent at General Motors, with Buick volume rising 7 percent and Chevrolet deliveries up 1 percent. Sales slipped 1 percent at GMC and 8 percent at Cadillac. The company’s retail volume dropped 2 percent, on lower consumer incentives, while fleet shipments rose 6 percent.

GM’s car deliveries slipped 1 percent while truck volume rose 6 percent. GM said its crossover deliveries declined 8 percent on the discontinuation of the Chevrolet Captiva Sport which has been sold to only rental and fleet operators.

At Ford Motor Co., volume declined 2 percent as the company retools U.S. plants to build the redesigned F-150 pickup. The F series is Ford’s top-selling nameplate. Sales fell 3 percent at the Ford division but climbed 25 percent at Lincoln.

55 consecutive monthly gains

Chrysler Group’s U.S. sales continue to be buttressed by strong demand for the Jeep lineup and Ram pickups. The latest results extended the company’s streak of year-on-year U.S. sales increases to 55 consecutive months.

Volume surged 52 percent at Jeep and 36 percent at Ram, with Ram pickup deliveries advancing 33 percent to nearly 40,000.

Sales rose 1 percent at Fiat and 18 percent at Chrysler Division but slipped 8 percent at Dodge. Overall, Fiat Chrysler’s light-truck deliveries rose 28 percent and car demand edged up 4 percent.

“Chrysler is on a streak of growth that’s virtually unheard of for American auto manufacturers,” Edmunds.com senior analyst Jessica Caldwell said. “The company’s renewed focus on SUVs comes at a perfect time when gas prices are plummeting and shoppers are falling back in love with large vehicles.”

The strategy is undeniably successful, she added, but it’s not invincible.

“If there is a spike in gas prices, Chrysler’s weak small-car lineup may not be able to fully absorb the blow,” Caldwell said.

Aided by strong crossover and small-car demand, sales at the Nissan division rose 15 percent to 94,072 — an October record — but volume slipped 1 percent at Infiniti, the company said today.

Overall, Nissan group’s car deliveries rose 15 percent and light-truck volume climbed 11 percent. Demand for the Nissan Rogue compact crossover increased 14 percent while sales of the Murano midsize crossover jumped 38 percent.

Nissan division’s U.S. sales have now set records in 13 consecutive months.

Fred Diaz, senior vice president for Nissan U.S. sales & marketing and operations, credited “high consumer confidence and low gas prices” for the company’s results and predicted those factors “will continue to boost auto sales for the last two months of 2014.”

Nissan said deliveries of the Versa subcompact and Leaf electric vehicle each rose 29 percent, and Sentra compact volume jumped 56 percent.

The Leaf set an October sales record of 2,589. Nissan said the Leaf has set a record for most U.S. sales in a year by an EV at 24,411 — with two months to go.

Core models lift Honda

American Honda posted sales of 121,172 vehicles, an increase of 6 percent vs. October of last year. Honda Division set an October record on volume of 105,745 vehicles, a gain of 6 percent for the month. At Acura, sales rose 8 percent to 15,427.

Honda cited higher demand for three core nameplates — the CR-V compact crossover, Accord midsize sedan and redesigned Fit subcompact — for the results, though deliveries of the Civic compact dropped 12 percent.

Sales of the Fit rose 83 percent to 6,851 — an October record for the nameplate.

“The success of the new Fit is an important step in re-establishing small cars as a pillar in the Honda lineup,” Jeff Conrad, Honda Division general manager, said in a statement.

Subaru’s sales jumped 25 percent to an October record of 43,012. The company has posted 35 consecutive months of year-over-year growth and is on track to produce its sixth successive annual sales record. Subaru said today it expects to surpass its 2013 annual volume record of 424,683 vehicles sold in the coming weeks.

VW ends losing streak

Volkswagen broke a string of 18 consecutive monthly sales declines with an 8 percent rise in October volume.

Mark McNabb, COO of Volkswagen of America, credited a refreshed Jetta and all-new 2015 Golf and Golf GTI for “attracting customers and enthusiasts” and driving “increased traffic in our showrooms.”

Audi posted its 46th consecutive month of record sales, with October volume rising 17 percent to 15,150. The company said strong demand for SUVs, despite lean stockpiles, and the revamped A3 spurred the gains.

“We can confidently predict that 2014 will end as the fifth-consecutive record year for Audi sales in the U.S.,” said Mark Del Rosso, COO of Audi of America. “Our annual Season of Audi year-end sales event will bring a strong finish” to the year.

Sales rose 31 percent at Mitsubishi, 12 percent at Kia — helping set an October record of 44,694 units sold — and 1 percent at Volvo.

“Declining gas prices are bringing a steady supply of customers into the market,” said Michael Sprague, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Kia Motors America.

At the BMW Group, BMW brand sales rose 8 percent to 35,977 but Mini volume slipped 7 percent.

Land Rover posted sales of 3,643 units, down 15 percent, and Jaguar’s October volume slid 34 percent to 1,007 units. The company blamed low availability of three popular models — the Range Rover Sport and LR4, and Jaguar XF sedan — for the drop in volumes.

‘Crossover sales are booming’

Light-truck demand, which has propelled the market this year, received another boost from falling gasoline prices. Overall, light truck volume rose 9 percent last month, easily outpacing the 3 percent increase in car deliveries.

“Crossover sales are booming,” said Nissan’s Diaz.

In many parts of the country, average gasoline prices have dropped below $3 a gallon.

J.D. Power said last week that falling gasoline prices were prompting owners of big pickups to remain in the segment when it came time to trade in — a development that bodes especially well for the Detroit 3.

In March 2013, when gasoline prices averaged $3.71 a gallon, J.D. Power said nearly 32 percent of large-pickup owners trading in their vehicles decided to switch to another segment that offered higher fuel economy. In November and December 2013, when U.S. gasoline prices averaged $3.26 a gallon, the defection rate among large pickup owners dropped to a low of 26.2 percent.

When gasoline prices have been high, J.D. Power said large-pickup owners tended to abandon the segment and choose a compact SUV, midsize SUV or midsize car instead.

“As large pickup owners experience these low fuel prices each time they fill their tank, fewer of them are defecting from the segment,” Thomas King, vice president of the Power Information Network, said in a statement.

Solid economic growth, expanding payrolls, pent-up demand, low-rate financing and higher incentives also continue to spur industry sales.

Strongest month in a decade

TrueCar estimated average incentives among major automakers edged up 2 percent from October 2013 to $2,629 last month, but fell 12 percent from September levels.

Larry Dominique, executive vice president of TrueCar, described the market in October as well-balanced. Incentives as a share of average transaction prices, he noted, were a “manageable” 8 percent.

The industry has to be pleased with the overall consumer shift to light trucks, he added, which means lower incentives and higher transaction prices.

Kelley Blue Book estimated the average transaction price for light vehicles in the U.S. was $33,361 in October 2014, an increase of $246, or 0.6 percent, from October 2013, and a gain of $185, or 0.7 percent, from September 2014.

“Car and truck sales have settled into a groove,” Caldwell of Edmunds.com said. “Dealers are welcoming a consistent flow of shoppers into their showrooms, and the pace will likely remain steady through the end of the year. With declining gas prices and strong truck and SUV sales, the industry is poised for a very busy holiday season.”

AUGUST 2014 US AUTO SALES BY THE NUMBERS

AUGUST 2014 US AUTO SALES BY THE NUMBERS

 

PJB-Hodges-v-Taylor

 

Automaker

Aug. 2014

Aug. 2013

Pct. chng.

8 month

8 month

Pct. chng.

2014

2013

BMW division

27,214

24,523

11%

211,005

188,997

12%

Mini

5,006

6,023

–17%

34,969

44,329

–21%

Rolls-Royce

75

71

6%

600

568

6%

BMW Group

32,295

30,617

6%

246,574

233,894

5%

Chrysler Division

29,762

28,678

4%

194,285

212,495

–9%

Dodge

49,895

52,858

–6%

399,937

413,258

–3%

Dodge/Ram

96,489

86,445

12%

698,587

653,985

7%

Fiat

3,362

4,190

–20%

32,141

29,585

9%

Jeep

68,766

46,239

49%

461,156

317,921

45%

Ram

46,594

33,587

39%

298,650

240,727

24%

Chrysler Group†

198,379

165,552

20%

1,386,169

1,213,986

14%

Maybach

–%

6

–100%

Mercedes-Benz

28,958

26,151

11%

221,471

203,157

9%

Smart USA

1,334

993

34%

7,332

6,312

16%

Daimler AG

30,292

27,144

12%

228,803

209,475

9%

Ford division

213,227

212,212

1%

1,637,666

1,649,821

–1%

Lincoln

8,146

8,192

–1%

60,531

53,399

13%

Ford Motor Co.

221,373

220,404

0%

1,698,197

1,703,220

0%

Buick

22,143

24,650

–10%

153,298

141,880

8%

Cadillac

16,650

20,255

–18%

114,008

119,586

–5%

Chevrolet

185,930

187,740

–1%

1,388,993

1,365,544

2%

GMC

47,700

43,202

10%

328,152

303,254

8%

General Motors

272,423

275,847

–1%

1,984,451

1,930,264

3%

Acura

15,487

17,051

–9%

105,918

109,182

–3%

Honda Division

151,551

149,381

2%

936,464

944,267

–1%

Honda (American)

167,038

166,432

0%

1,042,382

1,053,449

–1%

Hyundai division

70,003

66,101

6%

501,448

493,116

2%

Kia

54,667

52,025

5%

404,389

378,380

7%

Hyundai Group

124,670

118,126

6%

905,837

871,496

4%

Jaguar

1,184

1,723

–31%

10,688

11,134

–4%

Land Rover

4,489

4,938

–9%

35,318

31,972

11%

Jaguar Land Rover

5,673

6,661

–15%

46,006

43,106

7%

Maserati

1,233

326

278%

7,807

1,862

319%

Mazda

31,305

28,106

11%

216,974

198,026

10%

Mitsubishi

6,786

5,281

29%

52,807

40,980

29%

Infiniti

9,164

11,844

–23%

77,043

71,879

7%

Nissan Division

125,224

108,614

15%

883,274

782,369

13%

Nissan

134,388

120,498

12%

960,317

854,248

12%

Subaru

50,246

41,061

22%

333,968

281,652

19%

Suzuki*

–%

5,946

–100%

Tesla*

1,800

2,300

–22%

16,830

15,575

8%

Lexus

32,809

29,792

10%

198,831

171,238

16%

Scion

6,186

7,698

–20%

41,949

48,959

–14%

Toyota Division

207,105

194,047

7%

1,386,729

1,313,525

6%

Toyota/Scion

213,291

201,745

6%

1,428,678

1,362,484

5%

Toyota

246,100

231,537

6%

1,627,509

1,533,722

6%

Audi

17,101

14,005

22%

116,066

101,346

15%

Bentley

241

239

1%

1,750

1,606

9%

Lamborghini*

59

58

2%

472

458

3%

Porsche

4,540

3,327

37%

31,759

28,456

12%

VW division

35,181

40,342

–13%

244,878

282,913

–13%

Volkswagen

57,122

57,971

–2%

394,925

414,779

–5%

Volvo Cars NA

4,960

5,518

–10%

39,184

44,005

–11%

Other**

291

284

3%

2,328

2,272

3%

TOTAL

1,586,374

1,503,665

6%

11,191,068

10,651,957

5%

Numbers in this table are calculated by Automotive News based on actual monthly sales reported by the manufacturers and may differ from numbers reported elsewhere.
Source: Automotive News Data Center
Note: *Estimate
†Fiat S.p.A. purchased the remaining 41.46% stake in Chrysler Group from the UAW’s VEBA Trust on Jan. 20, 2014.
**Includes estimates for Aston Martin, Ferrari, and Lotus

 

 

SAAR soars to 17.5 million; Ford, GM are flat; VW slump continues

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly described the number of selling days in August 2014.

U.S. light-vehicle sales, led by double-digit increases at Chrysler Group and Nissan Motor Corp., rose 6 percent in August, helped by generous Labor Day holiday deals and continued demand for pickups, SUVs and crossovers.

The results easily eclipsed projections that volume would be flat in comparison to a particularly strong August 2013.

The seasonally adjusted annualized pace of sales — a key barometer of the industry’s health — soared to 17.5 million, nearly 1 million units above the 16.6 million estimate from analysts tracked by Bloomberg.

The U.S. auto industry last saw a 17 million light-vehicle SAAR in July 2006 and a 17.5 million SAAR in January 2006.

“Sales continued to gain momentum as the month progressed, and we finished the Labor Day holiday weekend strong,” said Bob Pradzinski, vice president of national sales for Hyundai Motor America. Hyundai posted a 6 percent gain for the month and was among the automakers that tallied August records.

The August results included Tuesday Sept. 2, providing 27 selling days in the month, or one fewer than August 2013. A year earlier, the SAAR came in at 16.1 million and the July SAAR hit 16.5 million – the fifth straight month above the 16 million mark.

Light truck demand rose 9 percent last month, fueling much of the industry’s gains, while car volume edged up 2 percent. In all, 1.59 million vehicles were sold, up from 1.50 million a year earlier.

Records, streaks

Chrysler posted a 20 percent increase amid surging sales of the Ram pickup and Jeeps. Nissan advanced 12 percent, as a 15 percent increase for the namesake brand offset a 23 percent decline for Infiniti luxury models.

Toyota Motor Corp. had its sixth consecutive monthly gain, up 6 percent overall, on a 16 percent surge in light truck volume.

Deliveries slipped 1 percent at General Motors and were up slightly at Ford Motor Co. The Volkswagen brand continued to slump, down 13 percent, but sibling Audi gained 22 percent.

Honda Motor Co.’s sales edged up 0.4 percent and the company said the Honda Accord set an all-time monthly sales record of 51,075, up 33 percent. It was the eighth-straight monthly gain for Accord, which outsold Toyota’s Camry to rank as the best-selling car in the nation.

Overall, deliveries rose 2 percent at the Honda division but fell 9 percent at Acura.

Nissan and Chrysler had been expected to be the only major automakers to tally August increases.

“The industry had its best August in over a decade with sales topping 1.5 million vehicles,” Bill Fay, Toyota division general manager, said in a statement. The Toyota brand edged Ford for the second straight month.

Strong season ahead

Kurt McNeil, GM’s U.S. sales chief, said the company sees “a strong fall selling season ahead for GM and the industry.”

GM, which has been dogged by a record wave of recalls this year, said its retail sales fell 4 percent while fleet shipments rose 9 percent. GMC was the only GM brand to post a gain last month, with volume up 10 percent. Sales dropped 1 percent at Chevrolet, 10 percent at Buick and 18 percent at Cadillac.

But trucks proved a bright spot for GM, with volume up 18 percent.

While the Volkswagen brand fell for a 17th straight month, the A3 helped propel sibling Audi to its highest monthly U.S. sales tally in company history: 17,101 vehicles.

At Chrysler, Jeep deliveries rose 49 percent and Ram brand sales climbed 39 percent on a 33 percent jump in Ram pickup volume. Ram pickup deliveries, aided by higher discounts, analysts say, totaled 43,775 for its best August since 2003.

At Ford, sales edged up 0.4 percent at the Ford division and fell 0.6 percent at Lincoln. Ford said it car sales rose 2 percent, utility deliveries increased 5 percent and truck demand slipped 5 percent.

Ford had its best August sales in eight years, with the Fusion sedan and Escape crossover setting records for the month. F-Series pickup demand slipped 4 percent as Ford closed one of two plants that makes the truck last month to begin preparations for a new, aluminum-bodied model. Ford said it also trimmed discounts on its pickups by $650 in August for an average transaction price of about $41,000.

U.S. sales rose 5 percent at Kia, 11 percent at Mazda, 29 percent at Mitsubishi, and 22 percent at Subaru.

Ford had its best August sales in eight years, with the Fusion sedan and Escape crossover setting records for the month. F-Series pickup demand slipped 4 percent as Ford closed one of two plants that makes the truck last month to begin preparations for a new, aluminum-bodied model. Ford said it also trimmed discounts on its pickups by $650 in August for an average price of about $41,000.

U.S. sales rose 5 percent at Kia, 11 percent at Mazda and 29 percent at Mitsubishi.

At Subaru, one of the hottest brands in the industry, sales rose 22 percent to 50,246 units on demand for the redesigned Legacy sedan and revamped Outback. It marked the 33rd straight month of gains for Subaru and the first time monthly volume topped 50,000.

But deliveries fell 31 percent at Jaguar, and a 9 percent decline for Land Rover ended the luxury SUV brand’s streak of 10 consecutive monthly gains.

In the race among luxury brands, Audi surpassed Cadillac last month to rank No. 4 year-to-date behind BMW, Mercedes and Lexus. BMW’s lead over Mercedes stood at 5,111 at the end of August.

Chrysler rolls on

It was Chrysler Group’s best August sales since 2002 and the 53rd consecutive month, starting with April 2010, that the company’s U.S. sales have grown year over year.

“This is an impressive streak for a company that was all but left for dead five years ago,” said Edmunds.com senior analyst Jessica Caldwell. “Chrysler’s been able to keep it going by diving into the subprime market more aggressively than other automakers and by jumping into the leasing game after it barely stepped onto the playing field while it worked its way out of bankruptcy.”

Overall, Chrysler Group’s light truck volume rose 28 percent while car deliveries skidded 3 percent.

Chrysler and its dealers cited “tremendous Labor Day weekend sales” on top of a “very solid month” for the results.

Sales rose 4 percent at the Chrysler brand but slipped 6 percent at Dodge and 20 percent at Fiat. Chrysler blamed Fiat’s drop on a 500L recall in the U.S. and Canada. Chrysler said it temporarily halted sales of the 500L while it replaces the knee air bags in about 29,500 units.

Chrysler’s average U.S. incentives per vehicle sold last month were estimated at $3,167 by Edmunds.com and $3,476 by TrueCar.com, among the highest of all major automakers.

Deals, deals, deals

Automakers and dealers filled the airwaves with summer, clearance and Labor Day holiday promotions as August progressed.

Edmunds.com says new-vehicle discounts averaged $2,387 last month, up about 2 percent over July but down slightly from August 2013.

TrueCar estimated incentives averaged $2,772 per unit sold in August, up 9 percent from August 2013 but down 2 percent from July.

TrueCar President John Krafcik described August as a tale of two industries. Automakers with a strong, fresh lineup of trucks, crossovers and SUVs “are dancing on the table,” he said in an interview on Tuesday.

But for automakers overly dependent on compact and midsize cars, “it’s tough out there,” Krafcik said.

Through July, U.S. car sales have advanced just 1 percent while light truck deliveries have jumped 10 percent.

Pricing “pressure” in family sedans helped to lower Ford’s average transaction prices by $450 per vehicle to about $31,000 in August, Erich Merkle, the company’s sales analyst, told analysts and reporters today.

“As baby boomers continue to become empty nesters, they seem to naturally flow into these small” SUVs, Merkle said. “Unfortunately, it pulls something from cars, and that’s where you’re seeing some of the weaker pricing.”

Krafcik discounted the recent rise in incentives because the increase has been more than offset by higher transaction prices and profits on many pickups, SUVs and crossovers, producing “a net positive” for most full-line automakers.

“The industry continues to show incredible discipline when it comes to incentives,” Krafcik said. “While we continue to keep close tabs on inventories and incentives, we remain upbeat about auto industry sales, segment mix and profitability.”

Transaction prices in August averaged $32,495, driven by strong sales of pickups and fullsize SUVs, Kelley Blue Book said.

Incentive outlays were restrained in the first part of the year but have inched up in recent months.

Growth slows

Analysts say much of the pent-up consumer demand that has driven industry volumes in recent years has been tapped, prompting automakers to sweeten some deals in search of incremental sales.

Brian Johnson, an analyst with Barclays, said Tuesday in a research note that “the pace of sales for the industry has likely plateaued, leading to increased jostling for share.”

Among major automakers, GM, Ford, Honda, Hyundai-Kia and the VW Group have lost U.S. share through August, while Toyota, Chrysler and Nissan have gained ground.

For the full year, analysts estimate U.S. sales of new cars and light trucks will rise to at least 16.3 million, the highest since 2006, when 16.6 million units were sold.

It will also be the fifth straight year U.S. industry sales have advanced. Sales are up 5 percent now through August. Improved household finances and favorable financing conditions are helping drive the gains.

“There’s no question buyers are flocking to dealerships,” Jeff Schuster, an analyst with researcher LMC Automotive in Southfield, Mich., told Bloomberg today. “We continue to see the market in a very strong position, beating expectations. As the auto industry pulls the economy along with it, we would expect to see this kind of performance for the remainder of the year.”

JULY 2014 U.S. AUTO SALES BY THE NUMBERS

JULY 2014 U.S. AUTO SALES BY THE NUMBERS

Automaker

July 2014

July 2013

Pct. chng.

7 month
2014

7 month
2013

Pct. chng.

BMW division

26,409

24,043

10%

183,791

164,474

12%

Mini

5,811

5,950

–2%

29,963

38,306

–22%

Rolls-Royce

75

71

6%

525

497

6%

BMW Group

32,295

30,064

7%

214,279

203,277

5%

Chrysler Division

23,455

19,978

17%

164,523

183,817

–11%

Dodge

43,118

41,986

3%

350,042

360,400

–3%

Dodge/Ram

80,817

74,064

9%

602,098

567,540

6%

Fiat

3,807

3,783

1%

28,779

25,395

13%

Jeep

59,588

42,277

41%

392,390

271,682

44%

Ram

37,699

32,078

18%

252,056

207,140

22%

Chrysler Group†

167,667

140,102

20%

1,187,790

1,048,434

13%

Maybach

–%

6

–100%

Mercedes-Benz

29,406

25,565

15%

192,513

177,006

9%

Smart USA

1,351

860

57%

5,998

5,319

13%

Daimler AG

30,757

26,425

16%

198,511

182,331

9%

Ford division

203,604

186,161

9%

1,424,439

1,437,609

–1%

Lincoln

7,863

6,919

14%

52,385

45,207

16%

Ford Motor Co.

211,467

193,080

10%

1,476,824

1,482,816

0%

Buick

17,683

16,393

8%

131,155

117,230

12%

Cadillac

15,241

15,652

–3%

97,358

99,331

–2%

Chevrolet

175,155

162,670

8%

1,203,063

1,177,804

2%

GMC

48,081

39,356

22%

280,452

260,052

8%

General Motors

256,160

234,071

9%

1,712,028

1,654,417

4%

Acura

12,480

15,150

–18%

90,431

92,131

–2%

Honda Division

123,428

126,289

–2%

784,913

794,886

–1%

Honda (American)

135,908

141,439

–4%

875,344

887,017

–1%

Hyundai division

67,011

66,005

2%

431,445

427,015

1%

Kia

52,309

49,004

7%

349,722

326,355

7%

Hyundai Group

119,320

115,009

4%

781,167

753,370

4%

Jaguar

1,187

1,613

–26%

9,504

9,411

1%

Land Rover

4,643

4,050

15%

30,829

27,034

14%

Jaguar Land Rover

5,830

5,663

3%

40,333

36,445

11%

Maserati

1,132

267

324%

6,574

1,536

328%

Mazda

29,238

24,977

17%

185,669

169,920

9%

Mitsubishi

6,349

5,230

21%

46,021

35,699

29%

Infiniti

8,538

7,762

10%

67,879

59,995

13%

Nissan Division

112,914

101,279

12%

758,050

673,755

13%

Nissan

121,452

109,041

11%

825,929

733,750

13%

Subaru

45,714

35,994

27%

283,722

240,591

18%

Suzuki*

–%

5,946

–100%

Tesla*

1,800

1,403

28%

15,030

13,275

13%

Lexus

27,333

23,031

19%

166,022

141,446

17%

Scion

5,127

6,261

–18%

35,763

41,261

–13%

Toyota Division

183,342

164,102

12%

1,179,624

1,119,478

5%

Toyota/Scion

188,469

170,363

11%

1,215,387

1,160,739

5%

Toyota

215,802

193,394

12%

1,381,409

1,302,185

6%

Audi

14,616

13,064

12%

98,965

87,341

13%

Bentley

201

193

4%

1,509

1,367

10%

Lamborghini*

59

58

2%

413

400

3%

Porsche

4,300

3,820

13%

27,219

25,129

8%

VW division

30,553

35,779

–15%

209,697

242,571

–14%

Volkswagen

49,729

52,914

–6%

337,803

356,808

–5%

Volvo Cars NA

4,894

5,909

–17%

34,224

38,487

–11%

Other**

291

284

3%

2,037

1,988

3%

TOTAL

1,435,805

1,315,266

9%

9,604,694

9,148,292

5%

Numbers in this table are calculated by Automotive News based on actual monthly sales reported by the manufacturers and may differ from numbers reported elsewhere.
Source: Automotive News Data Center
Note: *Estimate
†Fiat S.p.A. purchased the remaining 41.46% stake in Chrysler Group from the UAW’s VEBA Trust on Jan. 20, 2014.
**Includes estimates for Aston Martin, Ferrari, and Lotus

 

 

luxurycar2013top

 

9 percent increase in Sales to 1.4M vehicles as SAAR hits 16.5M

 

ETROIT — U.S. auto sales, led by Chrysler Group’s 20 percent advance and solid gains of 10 percent or more at Toyota Motor Corp., Nissan Motor Corp. and Ford Motor Co., rose 9 percent in July to 1.435 million.

The results were just below forecasts for a 10 percent increase but signal U.S. consumers remain in a buying mood, automakers and analysts said.

“The economy has bounced back strongly from the harsh winter, consumer confidence has reached a post-recession high, energy prices remain moderate and job growth continues,” said Kurt McNeil, head of U.S. sales operations for General Motors. “The stage is set for strong sales through the balance of the year.

The seasonally adjusted, annualized sales rate hit 16.5 million in July. That is short of the 16.7 million forecast compiled by Bloomberg and up from 15.8 million a year earlier, but down from the 17 million rate in June.

The SAAR has topped 16 million units five straight months now.

In addition to Chrysler’s double-digit percentage gain in July, sales rose 12 percent at Toyota, 11 percent at Nissan and 10 percent at Ford.

While there are signs the pace of growth is slowing, the industry remains on track to post sales of around 16.3 million in 2014.

It would be the fifth consecutive year of growth and biggest year for U.S. auto sales since 2006, when deliveries totaled 16.6 million units.

Through July, U.S. car and light truck sales have advanced 5 percent to 9.6 million.

Among major automakers, GM, Ford, Honda, Hyundai-Kia and VW Group have lost share, while Toyota, Chrysler and Nissan have gained ground this year through July.

The SAAR for July, as well as monthly SAAR results as far back as 3 years, may be revised later this month when the U.S. government is expected to update seasonal factors used in calculating the annualized monthly sales rate.

Those changes account for holidays, weekends, weather and other factors that create predictable sales patterns from one year to the next.

Fleet drives GM

GM, despite another round of recalls last month, said deliveries rose 9 percent, with fleet shipments up by 14,093 units, or 31 percent. GM’s retail sales edged up nearly 8,000 units, or 4 percent.

Cadillac was the only GM brand to post a sales decline in July. Deliveries at Chevrolet, GM’s biggest division, climbed 8 percent.

Sales of light trucks, notably SUVs and crossovers, drove the industry gains last month with a 14 percent increase. Car demand rose 5 percent. Trucks and SUVs have now outsold cars for 11 straight months, the longest such stretch since a 31-month streak ended in August 2005, Edmunds.com said today.

Toyota, behind a 17 percent jump in light truck volume, reported combined sales of 215,802 Scion, Toyota and Lexus models. And Lexus won the monthly U.S. luxury title with 27,333 vehicles sold — a 19 percent gain — ahead of Mercedes and BMW.

Toyota also outsold Ford last month by 4,335 units.

“Rising consumer confidence, coupled with momentum in the marketplace, boosted auto sales in July,” said Bill Fay, Toyota division group vice president and general manager.

GM’s light truck sales rose 12 percent and crossover volume jumped 26 percent, but car deliveries slid 4 percent.

Honda Motor Co.’s sales slipped 4 percent last month on weaker light truck demand at the Honda brand, despite record July deliveries of the CR-V, and a 55 percent decline in Acura car volume. Overall sales dipped 2 percent at the Honda division and 18 percent at Acura.

Honda was the only major automaker to cut incentives from June to July, with per-vehicle discounts averaging $1,754, according to J.D. Power and Associates.

Ford said deliveries rose 9 percent at the Ford division and 14 percent at Lincoln. Ford’s retail sales totaled 162,028, up 7 percent. Escape SUV sales soared 19 percent to its best July ever.

Chrysler streak rolls on

Robust deliveries of the new Jeep Cherokee and other trucks — as well as hefty incentives on older models — propelled Chrysler Group’s results.

It was the best July for Chrysler Group since 2005 and the 52nd consecutive month the automaker’s U.S. sales have increased year over year.

Sales of the Cherokee totaled 14,827, helping Chrysler’s light-truck deliveries rise 27 percent, offsetting a 1 percent dip in car volume. Ram pickup sales increased 14 percent.

Overall, volume increased 41 percent at the Jeep brand, 18 percent at the Ram brand, 17 percent at the Chrysler brand, 3 percent at Dodge and 1 percent at Fiat.

Sales of the redesigned Chrysler 200 mid-sized sedan rose 32 percent compared with June deliveries, Chrysler said. Sales of the 200 were up slightly from a year earlier.

At Kia, sales jumped 7 percent to a July record of 52,309 vehicles on a 45 percent rise in deliveries of the Soul boxy subcompact. After posting lower sales last year, Kia has rebounded with sales up 7 percent to 349,722 through the first seven months of the year.

Hyundai’s deliveries rose 2 percent to a July record of 67,011 on higher Sonata and Santa Fe volume.

“As the summer weather heated up across the country, so did the selling season,” Bob Pradzinski, vice president of national sales at Hyundai Motor America, said in a statement. “With 2015 models beginning to hit showrooms, incentive spend up across major brands and competitive financing available, it’s a buyers’ market that many shoppers took advantage of.”

Subaru posted its biggest monthly gain of the year — 27 percent — with volume of 45,714.

At Mazda, sales rose 17 percent to 29,238 vehicles, its best July since 1993, on a 16 percent rise in CX-5 compact crossover demand and a 47 percent jump in Mazda6 deliveries.

Another solid month

Industry sales were fueled by higher retail demand and incentives, widespread credit availability, low interest rates, attractive lease deals, and steady economic growth.

“The July 4th holiday got sales off to a great start, and the pace remained solid all month,” said Fred Diaz, senior vice president for U.S. sales, marketing and operations at Nissan.

Still, not all automakers are benefiting from the robust market.

The Volkswagen brand’s slump continued with July deliveries sliding 15 percent on weaker demand for five core models — the Golf, Jetta, Beetle, Passat and Tiguan. VW brand volume has now skidded 16 straight months year over year.

Audi’s July sales advanced 12 percent to 14,616, marking the luxury unit’s 43rd consecutive monthly gain. Audi, citing lean inventories, said it also launched sales of certain 2015 models in July, about two months ahead of schedule.

Jaguar Land Rover reported U.S. sales of 5,830, an increase of 3 percent over July 2013.

Charting the deals

Overall, industry incentives averaged $2,731 in July. That marks an increase of 7 percent over July 2013 and a decline of less than 1 percent from June, TrueCar.com estimates.

Among the deals advertised online last month:

• Supplier pricing on GMC Sierras; zero-percent financing for 60 months on the GMC Denali and Buick Enclave and Lacrosse at Baytown GMC Buick in Baytown, Texas

• Zero-percent financing for 72 months on the 2014 Ram 1500 Big Horn Crew Cab 4×4, with no monthly payments for 90 days, and zero-percent financing for 72 months on a 2014 Chrysler Town & Country Limited, at Dewey Dodge Chrysler Jeep in Ankeny, Iowa

• Zero-percent financing for 60 months on all new vehicles at Culver City Honda in Culver City, Calif.

• A $1,000 reward card with the purchase of a 2014 turbocharged Volkswagen vehicle at Ken Garff Volkswagen in Orem, Utah

• Zero-percent financing for 72 months on most 2014 models at Greenway Ford in Orlando, Fla.

Larry Dominique, executive vice president at TrueCar.com, said automakers are being selective with discounts and low-rate financing.

Still, he said industry incentives in July were the highest since 2010 and he expects deals to remain elevated for the rest of the year.

“September will be a key litmus test for the industry’s appetite for even higher incentives,” Dominique said.

Because the Labor Day holiday falls earlier in the month, some automakers may be inclined to launch major promotions earlier than normal, he said.

Chrysler’s incentives averaged $3,458 per vehicle last month, the highest among major automakers and an increase of 13 percent over July 2013, TrueCar.com estimates. Ford and GM incentives averaged nearly $3,400 per vehicle last month, too, TrueCar estimated.

Stoking sales

Rafael Sanchez, general manager of Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Gadsden, in Gadsden, Ala., said rebates helped stoke the dealership’s volume last month, particularly on new cars.

“We’re tracking 90 car sales, which is good for a smaller dealership,” Sanchez said on Wednesday. Chrysler “is being aggressive … and they’re staying aggressive with advertising and incentives.”

At Ames Ford Lincoln in Iowa, new-vehicle sales have risen fivefold in the last 18 months as buyers embrace low-cost financing on popular models such as the Fusion mid-sized sedan and F-150 pickup.

The “new car business is in very good shape right now,” said Rick Pattison, the dealership’s new-car manager. “New cars are really better than they have ever been.”

At Team One Toyota of Gadsden in Rainbow City, Ala., General Manager Scott Halpern described July sales as “fair” but ahead of Toyota’s objective.

“Traffic is down, it has been light. It may be because it’s the last month before school begins,” he said before today’s results were released, adding “inventories are thin in Toyota’s world.”

The store offered zero-percent financing on several models, but Halpern said the offer has “been played out.”

“Ten to 15 years ago, when interest rates were high, manufacturers jumped on the bandwagon to lower rates, and that attracted buyers,” he said Wednesday. “Low interest rates no longer attract buyers. Now they ask: ‘What else do you have?’”

Edmunds.com analyst Jessica Caldwell said consumers looked past recalls and rising gasoline prices and discovered affordable interest rates and other deals that made it easier to buy a new crossover or minivan in July.

‘Dark side’

Still, some analysts and automakers are worried the U.S. new-car market is creeping into a period of so-called unnatural demand.

Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas warned again this week of the rise in extended-loan terms, artificially high average transaction prices, and inflated residual values.

“The U.S. auto cycle has clearly moved from a ‘need to buy,’ to an ‘I just want to buy’ type of consumer mindset,” Jonas said in a report. “Consumers buy cars like they buy houses — lower payment, bigger car. There is a dark side to all this.”

He also estimates 130 percent of North America production capacity that was taken out in the downturn will come back online by 2016 — posing another challenge for automakers.

“The industry is well entrenched in a multiyear arms race to bring to market new cars, new plants and new tech,” Jonas said. “We have little doubt that we’re in bubble territory.”

John Felice, Ford’s U.S. sales chief, also said the industry’s sales growth is beginning to taper off as the U.S. market nears a peak. He noted industry incentives rose by $190 per vehicle in July. At the same time, average prices industrywide rose $800 per vehicle last month because car buyers shifted to more expensive SUVs.

“We’ve seen a very healthy industry this year, but the rate of growth has slowed,” Felice said today on a conference call. “On the car side of the business, incentive spending there is aggressive.”

Steven Szakaly, chief economist for the National Automobile Dealers Association, sees U.S. industry sales hitting 16.4 million this year and rising to about 16.8 million in 2015, where they will stabilize as pent-up demand eases.

“Interest rates are going to rise but the question is ‘how quickly’ they increase,” Szakaly said Thursday. “It has been a good, profitable run for the auto industry. But as you add capacity, too, profits are at risk.”

Source: http://www.autonews.com/

MAY 2014 U.S. AUTO SALES BY THE NUMBERS

 

MAY 2014 U.S. AUTO SALES BY THE NUMBERS

 

MAY 2014 U.S. AUTO SALES BY THE NUMBERS

 

Automaker

May-14

May-13

Pct. chng.

5 month 2014

5 month 2013

Pct. chng.

 

BMW division

29,602

25,230

17%

127,181

113,357

12%

Mini

5,729

5,944

–4%

18,776

25,785

–27%

Rolls-Royce

75

71

6%

375

355

6%

BMW Group

35,406

31,245

13%

146,332

139,497

5%

Chrysler Division

22,592

29,070

–22%

117,042

136,590

–14%

Dodge

57,923

56,407

3%

256,610

268,571

–5%

Dodge/Ram

96,855

89,056

9%

435,705

412,698

6%

Fiat

4,771

4,051

18%

20,494

17,562

17%

Jeep

70,203

44,419

58%

275,796

184,796

49%

Ram

38,932

32,649

19%

179,095

144,127

24%

Chrysler Group†

194,421

166,596

17%

849,037

751,646

13%

Maybach

–%

6

–100%

Mercedes-Benz

28,881

26,543

9%

134,400

125,058

8%

Smart USA

689

818

–16%

3,974

3,678

8%

Daimler AG

29,570

27,361

8%

138,374

128,742

8%

Ford division

244,501

238,714

2%

1,006,710

1,024,000

–2%

Lincoln

8,845

7,305

21%

37,251

30,819

21%

Ford Motor Co.

253,346

246,019

3%

1,043,961

1,054,819

–1%

Buick

19,957

17,982

11%

92,069

82,759

11%

Cadillac

14,688

13,808

6%

68,176

69,750

–2%

Chevrolet

205,010

179,510

14%

839,341

821,674

2%

GMC

45,039

41,594

8%

188,821

181,320

4%

General Motors

284,694

252,894

13%

1,188,407

1,155,503

3%

Acura

14,675

14,364

2%

66,745

63,216

6%

Honda Division

137,928

125,649

10%

543,668

545,447

0%

Honda (American)

152,603

140,013

9%

610,413

608,663

0%

Hyundai division

70,907

68,358

4%

297,027

296,003

0%

Kia

60,087

52,327

15%

246,769

226,815

9%

Hyundai Group

130,994

120,685

9%

543,796

522,818

4%

Jaguar

1,304

1,435

–9%

7,054

6,161

15%

Land Rover

4,536

3,554

28%

22,148

19,516

14%

Jaguar Land Rover

5,840

4,989

17%

29,202

25,677

14%

Maserati

1,144

226

406%

4,476

979

357%

Mazda

29,731

24,270

23%

130,223

122,446

6%

Mitsubishi

7,269

4,715

54%

33,651

25,172

34%

Infiniti

10,376

7,899

31%

50,767

43,119

18%

Nissan Division

125,558

106,558

18%

544,067

477,466

14%

Nissan

135,934

114,457

19%

594,834

520,585

14%

Subaru

44,170

39,892

11%

196,641

165,362

19%

Suzuki*

–%

5,946

–100%

Tesla*

2,350

2,488

–6%

10,880

10,498

4%

Lexus

26,921

22,229

21%

115,171

97,060

19%

Scion

6,181

6,586

–6%

26,024

28,660

–9%

Toyota Division

210,134

179,137

17%

822,698

787,836

4%

Toyota/Scion

216,315

185,723

17%

848,722

816,496

4%

Toyota

243,236

207,952

17%

963,893

913,556

6%

Audi

16,601

13,228

26%

67,482

60,571

11%

Bentley

233

189

23%

1,092

970

13%

Lamborghini*

59

57

4%

295

285

4%

Porsche

4,609

3,928

17%

18,817

17,609

7%

VW division

32,163

38,013

–15%

150,317

169,835

–12%

Volkswagen

53,665

55,415

–3%

238,003

249,270

–-5%

Volvo Cars NA

5,014

6,329

–21%

23,347

25,900

–10%

Other**

291

284

3%

1,455

1,420

3%

TOTAL

1,609,678

1,445,830

11%

6,746,925

6,428,499

5%

 

U.S. light-vehicle sales — led by big gains at Nissan, Toyota, Chrysler and General Motors — rose 11 percent to 1.6 million in May as a raft of discounts and extended holiday deals drew consumers to showrooms.

The annualized pace of sales shot up to 16.8 million. That’s the highest rate for the seasonally adjusted rate since July 2006 and marked the third consecutive month the SAAR has topped 16 million after a weaker-than-expected start to the year.

“Industry sales in May soared as consumer confidence improved and demand for new vehicles continued to strengthen,” said Bill Fay, Toyota division group vice president and general manager. “May was just one of those months where everything came together with five weekends, an early Memorial Day and an extra selling day.”

The SAAR had been forecast to come in at 16.1 million, according to analysts’ estimates. In May 2013, the figure was 15.5 million.

GM’s U.S. sales rose 13 percent last month despite an escalating recall crisis that has dogged the company since February.

All four of GM’s brands increased sales as the automaker posted its biggest monthly gain of the year. Nissan, Toyota, Mazda, and Chrysler Group also tallied their biggest gains of 2014 with double-digit increases. Hyundai Motor America advanced 4 percent and Ford Motor Co. was up 3 percent.

GM’s increase was double what had been projected by analysts. After a sluggish start, the automaker’s sales are now up 2.8 percent for the year.

“There’s some risk associated with the recalls, but it hasn’t been evident in GM’s sales numbers so far,” Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting for researcher LMC Automotive, said before today’s results were released. “The jury is still out, but at this stage, it’s not derailing their momentum.”

Chevrolet led GM with a 14 percent gain, followed by Buick at 11 percent. GMC was up 8 percent, while Cadillac advanced 6 percent.

GM said its retail sales advanced 10 percent while fleet shipments rose 21 percent last month.

Consumer confidence

Nissan Motor Corp. reported a 19 percent rise in May sales — its second straight month of double-digit gains. The Nissan brand set a May record of 125,558 units sold, up 18 percent, and Infiniti volume advanced 31 percent to 10,376.

The Altima, Sentra, Rogue, Versa and Juke — all core models — each set May U.S. sales records. Overall, the Nissan brand has now set sales records in 14 of the last 15 months.

“Car sales are heating up as we head into summer,” Fred Diaz, Nissan’s senior vice president for sales, marketing and operations, said in a statement.

Toyota Motor Corp. sales jumped 17 percent to 243,236 units. Volume rose 12 percent at the Toyota division behind Camry, Corolla, and Prius demand, while Lexus deliveries advanced 17 percent.

Ford said its retail sales climbed 6 percent last month. Demand at the Ford division edged up 2 percent and Lincoln volume jumped 21 percent.

Three core models — the Accord, Civic and CR-V — helped Honda Motor Co. to a nine percent increase in May sales. Deliveries rose 10 percent at the Honda division and 2 percent at Acura. Honda officials, noting the launch of the all-new Fit this month, said the brand remains well-positioned heading into the second half of the year.

“Our dealers are preparing for heavy customer traffic in the coming months,” said Jeff Conrad, Honda division senior vice president and general manager.

Chrysler streak

At Chrysler, strong Jeep and Ram pickup demand helped propel the company to its 50th consecutive monthly advance.

Jeep sales, behind the new Cherokee and redesigned Grand Cherokee, surged 58 percent and Ram pickup deliveries climbed 17 percent.

Jeep sales have now jumped 30 percent or more for seven straight months. May also marked the first month ever that Jeep’s U.S. volume has topped the 70,000 mark, Chrysler said.

Sales rose 18 percent at the Fiat brand and 3 percent at Dodge, while volume slid 22 percent at the Chrysler brand.

Overall, Chrysler Group’s light-truck sales rose 38 percent while car deliveries dropped 27 percent.

“Our dealers reported brisk May sales over five weekends and the Memorial Day holiday,” Reid Bigland, head of U.S. sales operations for Chrysler Group, said in a statement.

Hyundai Motor America set an all-time monthly sales record in May of 70,907 units, up 4 percent over May 2013. The company cited gains of 20 percent or more in sales of the Tucson, Santa Fe, Genesis and Equus.

Kia Motors America set a monthly sales record of 60,087 units, a 15 percent increase over May 2013. Last month also marked the first time Kia has generated more than 60,000 monthly U.S. sales.

May sales rose 17 percent to 5,840 at Jaguar Land Rover North America. Land Rover sales reached an all-time May high of 4,536 units, up 28 percent, while Jaguar deliveries slipped 9 percent.

VW slump

Volkswagen Group said sales at the VW brand slumped 15 percent, stretching its skid to 14 months.

Audi, aided by the redesigned A3, said deliveries rose 26 percent to 16,601 vehicles, which is the brand’s second-best month ever and its 41st consecutive month of record sales.

The U.S. launch last month of the Macan crossover helped Porsche set an all-time monthly sales record of 4,609.

Sales at Mitsubishi Motors Corp., driven by the Outlander Sport and revamped Mirage, rose 54 percent. It was the third consecutive month the company’s deliveries surged by 47 percent or more.

“We are enthused that new-car shoppers are taking notice of our brand, and we are not going to let up in June,” said Don Swearingen, executive vice president for Mitsubishi Motors North America.

U.S. light-vehicle sales for the month were projected to rise 6.5 percent to 1.54 million, based on a survey of analysts by Bloomberg. But that estimate proved too conservative.

 

5 weekends of sales

May deliveries were aided by five weekends of sales and generous Memorial Day deals that were extended through Monday, June 2, the cutoff point for last month’s sales count.

TrueCar estimated the average incentive per new unit sold last month rose 1 percent to $2,677 from May 2013, and jumped 3.5 percent from April. Hyundai-Kia, Honda and Volkswagen Group posted the biggest gains in deals over May 2013, while incentives dropped at Chrysler and Nissan, TrueCar said.

Mazda was another automaker that reaped dividends from strong holiday shopping: sales rose 23 percent to 29,731 vehicles.

“Despite the economy being anyone’s guess these days, with GDP down and durable goods orders off, we see consumer confidence looking strong and shoppers turning into buyers, and the proof of this is the results we saw across the industry,” said Ron Stettner, vice president of sales for Mazda North America. “Memorial Day was huge for us, and we feared a slowdown toward the end of the month that never happened.”

Michael Foote, a general manager at Lia Auto Group in Albany, N.Y., said sales and traffic were “very heavy” last month.

The group sells Toyota, Scion, Kia, Honda, Volkswagen, Hyundai, Infiniti, Nissan, Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, and Ram.

“We use database mining through a software program to contact customers to put them into a new or newer car for close to the same monthly payment. It’s worked well for us, has helped our sales immensely,” Foote said. “Honda had a fantastic program on their core products [the Accord, CRV and Civic], strong lease programs and finance programs.

“Business is fabulous,” Foote added. “We had a long winter, so it’s well deserved.”

GM, Ford top forecasts

Sales at GM had been forecast to rise 6.4 percent by analysts surveyed by Bloomberg, despite a raft of recalls this year, including 2.59 million small cars for a faulty ignition switch linked to 13 deaths.

Analysts said U. S. buyers see the spate of flaws as a legacy of the company’s past rather than a defining condition of GM today.

“Shopper consideration for every GM brand has remained consistent through the recall headlines,” Edmunds.com senior analyst Jessica Caldwell said. “Many people may not realize that GM is the parent company of these brands, but others may be overlooking the trouble with older models and simply seeking shiny new sheet metal that serves their needs.”

Ford, facing a comparison to a strong May last year, managed its 3 percent increase against an analyst forecast of a slight decline.

U.S. auto sales topped 16 million a year from 1999 to 2007 — peaking at 17.4 million in 2000 — and remain on track to reach that level again in 2014, analysts say.

At Machens Chrysler Doge Jeep Ram in Columbia, Mo., Sales Manager Mark Winstead said the dealership spent a lot of money on advertising in May and was counting on robust sales to offset that spending.

“Jeep is always a hot product; people want SUVs,” Winstead said late last week ahead of today’s sales report, adding Ram pickups with a diesel engine were also popular sellers last month.

Kathleen Burke, Nora Naughton and Bloomberg contributed to this report.

MARCH 2014 U.S. AUTO SALES BY THE NUMBERS

 

MARCH 2014 U.S. AUTO SALES BY THE NUMBERS

 

MARCH 2014 U.S. AUTO SALES BY THE NUMBERS

 

 

Automaker

Mar. 2014

Mar. 2013

Pct. chng.

3 month
2014

3 month
2013

Pct. chng.

 

 

BMW division

32,107

27,078

19%

72,377

64,902

12%

Mini

3,655

6,071

–40%

–8,657

14,055

–38%

Rolls-Royce

75

71

6%

225

213

6%

BMW Group

35,837

33,220

8%

81,259

79,170

3%

Chrysler Division

26,140

33,905

–23%

72,483

79,684

–9%

Dodge

60,575

59,885

1%

145,224

158,751

–9%

Dodge/Ram

105,054

94,425

11%

246,217

238,105

3%

Fiat

4,738

3,807

25%

11,425

9,612

19%

Jeep

57,983

39,469

47%

145,839

100,951

45%

Ram

44,479

34,540

29%

100,993

79,354

27%

Chrysler Group†

193,915

171,606

13%

475,964

428,352

11%

Maybach

2

–100%

6

–100%

Mercedes-Benz

29,316

26,176

12%

77,238

73,024

6%

Smart USA

775

929

–17%

2,237

2,193

2%

Daimler AG

30,091

27,107

11%

79,475

75,223

6%

Ford division

234,448

228,818

3%

558,657

580,917

–4%

Lincoln

8,969

6,825

31%

21,603

15,899

36%

Ford Motor Co.

243,417

235,643

3%

580,260

596,816

–3%

Buick

20,428

18,007

13%

52,898

47,620

11%

Cadillac

14,765

15,751

–6%

39,588

42,712

–7%

Chevrolet

179,681

173,859

3%

452,683

469,704

–4%

GMC

41,173

38,333

7%

104,468

104,927

0%

General Motors

256,047

245,950

4%

649,637

664,963

–2%

Acura

15,580

14,100

11%

37,948

34,953

9%

Honda Division

117,738

121,938

–3%

287,406

302,698

–5%

Honda (American)

133,318

136,038

–2%

325,354

337,651

–4%

Hyundai division

67,005

68,306

–2%

160,013

164,330

–3%

Kia

54,777

49,125

12%

133,006

126,932

5%

Hyundai Group

121,782

117,431

4%

293,019

291,262

1%

Jaguar

1,816

1,408

29%

4,715

3,585

32%

Land Rover

4,399

4,314

2%

13,079

12,419

5%

Jaguar Land Rover

6,215

5,722

9%

17,794

16,004

11%

Maserati

963

218

342%

2,368

549

331%

Mazda

34,903

32,028

9%

78,058

78,282

0%

Mitsubishi

8,996

5,286

70%

19,840

15,996

24%

Infiniti

12,494

11,103

13%

31,221

27,376

14%

Nissan Division

136,642

126,623

8%

323,745

290,905

11%

Nissan

149,136

137,726

8%

354,966

318,281

12%

Subaru

44,479

36,701

21%

112,388

92,527

22%

Suzuki*

2,696

–100%

5,946

–100%

Tesla*

1,507

1,500

1%

6,016

5,990

0%

Lexus

28,593

23,190

23%

65,085

56,740

15%

Scion

5,917

6,432

–8%

14,457

16,377

–12%

Toyota Division

180,838

175,720

3%

441,455

456,327

–3%

Toyota/Scion

186,755

182,152

3%

455,912

472,704

–4%

Toyota

215,348

205,342

5%

520,997

529,444

–2%

Audi

14,246

13,253

8%

35,228

34,186

3%

Bentley

280

206

36%

650

574

13%

Lamborghini*

59

57

4%

177

171

4%

Porsche

3,808

3,486

9%

10,136

9,649

5%

VW division

36,717

37,704

–3%

87,323

98,178

–11%

Volkswagen

55,110

54,706

1%

133,514

142,758

–7%

Volvo Cars NA

5,915

5,365

10%

13,698

15,107

–9%

Other**

291

284

3%

873

852

3%

TOTAL

1,537,270

1,454,569

6%

3,745,480

3,695,173

1%

Numbers in this table are calculated by Automotive News based on actual monthly sales reported by the manufacturers and may differ from numbers reported elsewhere.
Source: Automotive News Data Center
Note: *Estimate
†Fiat S.p.A. purchased the remaining 41.46% stake in Chrysler Group from the UAW’s VEBA Trust on Jan. 20, 2014.
**Includes estimates for Aston Martin, Ferrari, and Lotus

 

MARCH U.S. AUTO SALES

Ford, GM, Toyota post first gains of the year; SAAR surges to 16.4 million

 

MARCH U.S. AUTO SALES

U.S. light-vehicle sales rose 6 percent in March, exceeding analysts’ forecasts and signaling the auto industry has shaken off its sluggish start to 2014.

The seasonally adjusted sales rate — a broad gauge of the industry’s health — surged to 16.4 million units from 15.3 million units a year ago. It’s the best showing for the SAAR since November 2013 and among the highest in the past seven years.

U.S. light vehicle sales have now edged up 1 percent this year through March.

Overall, car sales rose 1 percent and light-truck deliveries advanced 11 percent last month.

Among major automakers, Chrysler Group led the advances with a 13 percent rise, followed by Nissan Motor Co.’s 8 percent gain. Ford Motor Co. was up 3 percent, General Motors advanced 4 percent and Toyota Motor Corp. chalked up a 5 percent increase in recording their first increases of the year.

“March sales turned noticeably higher mid-month and finished strong,” John Felice, Ford’s vice president for U.S. marketing, sales and service, said in a statement. “It was encouraging to all of us — after a softer January, February — the spring market kind of bloomed in March.”

GM — ending three consecutive months of sales declines in the United States — said volume rose 3 percent at Chevrolet, 7 percent at GMC and 13 percent at Buick. Cadillac’s deliveries slid 6 percent.

GM, dogged by several high-profile recalls during the month that have sparked safety investigations, said its retail sales rose 7 percent in March. The company’s fleet sales fell 5 percent due to a planned reduction in rental deliveries.

However, GM’s commercial fleet sales climbed 5 percent — the fifth consecutive monthly increase.

Analysts and automakers said the industry’s rebound from January and February, when severe cold and record snowfall in large parts of the country dented showroom traffic, was impressive.

March sales were also aided by five full weekends during the month.

“Solid March sales pushed first-quarter industry results ahead of last year’s pace despite one of the harshest winters on record,” Bill Fay, Toyota division group vice president and general manager, said in a statement. “Toyota dealers had their two best sales weekends of the year late in the month, and we’re optimistic that momentum will spring us in into April.”

Nissan’s 8 percent advance snapped a five-month run of double-digit sales gains in the U.S. market. Still, the Japanese automaker set a monthly U.S. sales record of 149,136 units, with the Nissan brand jumping 8 percent and Infiniti advancing 13 percent.

The company credited double-digit increases in sales of the Rogue crossover, Juke compact crossover and Sentra compact car, as well as strong demand for the mid-sized Altima sedan.

Ford Motor said its retail volume rose 3 percent to 166,030 units. Demand increased 3 percent at the Ford division and 31 percent at Lincoln. Fusion deliveries hit an all-time record of 32,963, Ford said.

F series tops 70,000

Sales of the F-series pickup increased 5 percent to 70,940.

Strong demand for Jeeps and the Ram pickup helped Chrysler Group extend its streak of U.S. gains to 48 months.

Ram pickup deliveries rose 26 percent last month, and sales at Jeep climbed 47 percent to 57,983 units — the best month ever for the brand. The introduction of the mid-sized Cherokee and revamped 2014 Grand Cherokee have bolstered Jeep deliveries in recent months.

Overall, Chrysler’s truck sales rose 34 percent, but car volume skidded 25 percent.

Deliveries rose 24 percent at the Fiat brand, 1 percent at Dodge, and 29 percent at the Ram brand, while volume dropped 23 percent at the Chrysler brand.

The company’s sales have been spurred by new product launches and some of the industry’s highest incentives.

Chrysler offered average incentives of $5,598 on the Ram 1500 pickup last month, Bloomberg reported on Monday, citing data that dealers provided to J.D. Power and Associates.

“We are entering the spring selling season on a high note,” Reid Bigland, head of U.S. sales for Chrysler Group, said in a statement.

Hyundai Motor America blamed weather for a 2 percent drop in its March sales.

Bob Pradzinski, vice president of national sales for Hyundai Motor America, said the company’s pace of retail sales accelerated during the second half of March.

He added those gains are forecast “to continue throughout the month of April.”

VW results

Volkswagen brand’s March sales dipped 3 percent to 36,717, though Jetta and Passat volumes rose. It was the 12th straight monthly decline for the marque.

Mark Barnes, vice president of sales for VW of America, said sales of diesel-powered models totaled 9,764 units — or 27 percent of its U.S. sales in March. The company pumped up diesel deliveries by offering $1,000 fuel cards to buyers.

The VW brand, Barnes said, saw some of its strongest sales last month in the Midwest region, where winter weather crimped demand in recent months.

Audi record streak

Volkswagen Group’s Audi luxury unit reported March U.S. sales of 14,246 vehicles, an increase of 8 percent, and the brand’s 39th consecutive month of record monthly sales.

Subaru of America said it sold 44,479 vehicles in March, a 21 percent increase from March 2013.

March was the 28th consecutive month of sales increases, and 15th straight double-digit gain for the brand. Subaru is running out the Outback crossover, its biggest seller, and the Legacy sedan. Both will be replaced this summer.

“We are delighted to have once again delivered record results,” said Tom Doll, Subaru of America president. “2014 looks already set to be our seventh year of consecutive sales growth, with more new product to come”

Overall, U.S. sales had been projected to rise 2 percent from year-earlier levels to 1.48 million light vehicles in March, based on the average of 10 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Tracking the SAAR

After a 1 percent decline in overall U.S. sales over January and February, automakers ratcheted up the deals last month to draw shoppers.

The average incentive per light vehicle was approximately $2,773 in March, an increase of 7.9 percent from March 2013 and 2.6 percent higher than February, TrueCar estimates.

Larry Dominique, president of ALG and executive vice president of TrueCar, said incentives rose at a rate four-times greater than industry sales in March, forcing a final rush to discount in the last week of the month and setting the stage for equally aggressive deals in April.

“An incentive-fueled battle is on the horizon,” Dominique said.

VW’s Barnes said today Volkswagen sees total industry sales for 2014 coming in at between 15.8 million and 16 million units. That’s lower than most forecasts at the start of the year, when sales of at least 16 million were expected.

FEBRUARY 2013 U.S. AUTO SALES BY THE NUMBERS

FEBRUARY 2013 U.S. AUTO SALES BY THE NUMBERS

Car sales slipped 6 percent last month while light truck deliveries advanced 6 percent.

 

Rank

Automaker

February

%

2014

%

February

YTD 

2014

Change

YTD

Change

2014

Market

Market

Share

Share

#21

Acura

11,545

1.60%

22,368

7.30%

1.00%

1.00%

#22

Audi

10,881

0.10%

20,982

0.20%

0.90%

1.00%

#35

Bentley

191

6.10%

383

4.10%

0.10%

0.10%

#17

BMW

22,017

3.30%

40,270

6.50%

1.80%

1.80%

#18

Buick

19,192

18.80%

32,470

9.60%

1.60%

1.50%

#20

Cadillac

13,437

-2.90%

24,823

-7.90%

1.10%

1.10%

#2

Chevrolet

153,913

-2.90%

273,002

-7.70%

12.90%

12.40%

#14

Chrysler

25,230

0.60%

46,343

1.20%

2.10%

2.10%

#6

Dodge

49,744

-10.60%

84,649

-14.40%

4.20%

3.80%

#29

Fiat

3465

4.90%

6687

15.20%

0.30%

0.30%

#1

Ford

176,688

-7.20%

324,209

-7.90%

14.80%

14.70%

#10

GMC

35,562

-0.60%

63,295

-5.00%

3.00%

2.90%

#5

Honda

88,860

-8.00%

169,668

-6.10%

7.50%

7.70%

#7

Hyundai

49,003

-6.30%

93,008

-3.10%

4.10%

4.20%

#23

Infiniti

9729

6.40%

18,727

15.10%

0.80%

0.80%

#32

Jaguar

1552

35.20%

2899

33.20%

0.10%

0.10%

#8

Jeep

45,946

47.40%

87,856

42.90%

3.90%

4.00%

#9

Kia

41,218

-0.70%

78,229

0.50%

3.50%

3.50%

#27

Land Rover

4006

2.60%

8680

7.10%

0.30%

0.40%

#19

Lexus

18,855

8.70%

36,492

8.80%

1.60%

1.70%

#24

Lincoln

6661

36.40%

12,634

39.20%

0.60%

0.60%

#34

Maserati

837

426%

1405

325%

0.10%

0.10%

#16

Mazda

23,341

-2.40%

43,155

-6.70%

2.00%

2.00%

#15

Mercedes-Benz ^

24,030

3.30%

47,922

2.30%

2.00%

2.20%

#31

Mini

2459

-42.80%

5002

-37.30%

0.20%

0.20%

#25

Mitsubishi

5977

-1.20%

10,844

1.30%

0.50%

0.50%

#4

Nissan

105,631

16.70%

187,103

13.90%

8.90%

8.50%

#30

Porsche

3232

15.20%

6328

2.70%

0.30%

0.30%

#12

Ram

30,481

27.90%

56,514

26.10%

2.60%

2.60%

#26

Scion

4529

-10.40%

8540

-14.10%

0.40%

0.40%

#33

Smart

941

20.20%

1462

15.70%

0.10%

0.10%

#11

Subaru

34,909

24.00%

67,909

21.60%

2.90%

3.10%

#36

Suzuki

-100%

-100%

0.00%

0.00%

#3

Toyota

135,900

-5.60%

260,617

-7.10%

11.40%

11.80%

#13

Volkswagen

27,112

-13.80%

50,606

-16.30%

2.30%

2.30%

#28

Volvo

3991

-18.00%

7783

-20.10%

0.30%

0.40%

—–

—–

—–

—–

—–

 —–

—–

General Motors

222,104

-1.00%

393,590

-6.10%

18.60%

17.90%

Ford

183,349

-6.10%

336,843

-6.70%

15.40%

15.30%

Motor Company

Toyota Motor Corporation

159,284

-4.30%

305,649

-5.70%

13.40%

13.90%

Chrysler Group

154,866

11.40%

282,049

9.90%

13.00%

12.80%

Nissan Motor Company

115,360

15.80%

205,830

14.00%

9.70%

9.30%

Honda Motor Company

100,405

-7.00%

192,036

-4.80%

8.40%

8.70%

Hyundai-Kia

90,221

-3.80%

171,237

-1.50%

7.60%

7.80%

Volkswagen

41,416

-8.60%

78,299

-11.00%

3.50%

3.60%

Group *

Daimler

24,971

3.80%

49,384

2.60%

2.10%

2.20%

BMW-Mini

24,476

-4.40%

45,272

-1.20%

2.10%

2.10%

Jaguar-Land Rover

5558

10.00%

11,579

12.60%

0.50%

0.50%

Total

1,192,467

-0.02%

2,203,668

-1.40%

 

Source: Automakers & ANDC
Red font indicates declining year-over-year volume
* Does not include Lamborghini
^ Excluding Sprinter: up 2.6% to 22,609, up 1.5% to 45,213 YTD.

 

February U.S. auto sales were only flat on average.
For many players, February was either pretty good or flat-out bad.

Subaru jumped 24 percent. Nissan North America gained 16 percent. Chrysler Group climbed 11 percent, led by Jeep’s stunning 47 percent increase, the brand’s best February ever, with the new Cherokee selling briskly.

Jaguar soared 35 percent. Buick was up 19 percent.

Others lost big. Ford Motor was down 6 percent overall, despite a 36 percent jump at Lincoln.

Volkswagen brand plunged 14 percent, its 11th straight down month and sixth in a row with a double-digit drop. Mini’s 43 percent swoon dragged BMW Group into negative territory. Honda-brand sales fell 8 percent, and both the Toyota and Hyundai marques lost 6 percent.

For a February market so flat — the net sales loss was just 357 units out of almost 1.2 million light vehicles — that’s a lot of internal volatility.

In a similar way, large pickup sales look flat: up 2 percent in February, down fractionally for the first two months. But except for the Ford F series, big pickups weren’t flat.

The best-selling vehicle in American drifted 1 percent higher for the first two months after 3 percent growth in February. Most everybody else soared or sank in February.

Sales of Chrysler Group’s Ram pickup jumped 26 percent. And the Toyota Tundra rose 8 percent.

By contrast, GM’s twins fell 9 percent overall, and the Nissan Titan plummeted 32 percent. The Titan’s struggles aren’t surprising for an aging model about a year from replacement. But the remodeled Chevy Silverado, which was named North American Truck of the Year in January, is doing worse than stablemate GMC Sierra, which was up 1 percent for February. Silverado sales fell 12 percent in February and are off 15 percent the first two months.

Other highlights:

Chrysler closes gap: Riding an 11 percent gain, Chrysler Group finished just 4,418 units behind Toyota Motor Sales in February, 159,284 to 154,866. A year earlier, Toyota’s unit lead was 27,362.

Who wants to lead? The 2014 U.S. auto sales race is starting in reverse, with sales falling for six of the top eight in both auto groups and brands.

But Nissan and Chrysler are making the most of double-digit growth through the first two months of the year.

As an automaker, Nissan North America used a 14 percent gain to replace American Honda as No. 5 through February. Similarly, Nissan bumped Honda to become the No. 4 brand behind Ford, Chevrolet and Toyota.

Up 10 percent so far in 2014, Chrysler Group has cut the gap between it and No. 3 automaker Toyota Motor Sales to 23,600 units, compared with 67,356 units in the same period in 2013.

And Chrysler’s Jeep, soaring 43 percent so far this year, has bypassed both stablemate Dodge and Kia to become the No. 7 brand. It now trails slumping No. 6 Hyundai by about 5,000 units.

With torrid 26 percent growth so far, the Ram brand has jumped past Volkswagen, Mercedes, Mazda, and sibling division Chrysler to grab the No. 12 spot among brands.

Altima top-selling car: The Nissan Altima outsold the Toyota Camry by 1,851 units in February and now leads year-to-date in the race for the best-selling car in the United States. Last year, the Camry didn’t win every month but did retain its best-seller crown for the full year with 408,484 units. At 320,723 sales, the Altima finished fourth, behind the Honda Accord and Civic.

Leaf-Volt update: The all-electric Nissan Leaf outsold the plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt by 215 units in February, 1,425 to 1,210, eliminating Volt’s almost one-thousand-unit advantage from a year earlier. Through two months, Leaf sales have doubled to 2,677 while Volt sales are off 23 percent to 2,128.