Look-a-like: BMW Z4 Concept and… [w/ poll]

The new BMW Z4 Concept is a good, maybe even great-looking car: it has great proportions, some really nice and aggressive detailing, and is finished in a very eye-catching combination of sunset orange and brushed aluminum. But is it a great-looking BMW? Cover the grille, or simply merge the two kidneys into one single item, and many would struggle to ascribe the car to a particular brand – the Z4 blends a lot of cues, many seemingly from other carmakers, making the finished product seem a bit too un-BMW-like for my taste. And while the outside influences could be ascribed to many different sources, there is one concept in particular that the Z4 reminds me of…

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US sales 2017 first half: Hybrids

Having analyzed the Electric Vehicles and the Plug-In Hybrid segments, let’s look at the final Alternative Power segment: regular hybrids. This segment is the most well-established of the three, with sales in the first half of 2017 almost twice as high as sales in the other two segments combined. As a result, the growth in the segment was not as high as for the other two, but 24.9% is nothing to be sneered at, as it was still higher than any non-Alternative Power segment bar the SUV Premium Compact segment. 

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US sales 2017 first half: Plug-in Hybrids

Having analyzed the Electric Vehicles segment, let’s look at plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, or PHEVs for short. The segment enjoyed a growth rate of 61.6%, the highest of all segments, though its total sales remain below those of pure Electric Vehicles, at just over 40,000 in the first half of the year.

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US sales 2017 first half: Electric Vehicles

Sales of Alternative Power cars in the United States increased by a substantial 32.2%, a rate of expansion considerably faster than that of the second fastest-growing segment, SUV Premium Compact. Comprising of regular hybrid, PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicles) and EV (electric vehicle) segments, Alternative Power cars ended the first half of 2017 with almost 260,000 cars sold, more than the Subcompact segment, and not far off the Minivan segment. For accounting purposes, keep in mind that we classify many of the Alternative Power cars in other segments too e.g. Toyota Prius liftback figures in the Compact segment, while Ford Fusion PHEV figures in the Mid-sized segment. At least part of the reason for this growth is that EVs and PHEVs continue to benefit from Federal and State rebates, which lower their price even before consumers consider the lower cost at the pumps/mains.

First, let us look at the EVs segment, which grew by 41.2% in the first half of 2017, to a total of 45,150 cars.

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US sales: July 2017, models

After discussing the US auto brand sales ranking for July, let’s take a closer look at the models ranking.

Top 10


Toyota RAV4

After two years of absence Toyota finally put a car on the podium, but this time it’s not the one-time family-favorite Camry – it’s the crossover RAV4, a car much more of the times. With sales 31.2% higher than last year, the RAV4 is suddenly a serious contender for fourth in the rankings by the end of the year, a fight that only last month seemed would be fought between Nissan Rogue and Honda CR-V. Clearly, there is little to choose between these crossovers as far as the consumers are concerned, although the Honda did suffer an unexpected 11.8% loss in sales relative to what the previous-generation model sold last year. Things are not particularly eventful in the Top 10, although it’s worth noting that while both Toyota Camry and Honda Accord have seen their successors revealed, sales of the current models have once again declined only slightly – clearly dealers are using incentives to manage a smooth transition to the new generation models.

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US sales: July 2017, brands [updated w/ Ferrari, Lamborghini and RR data]

Update: we update the ranking with the latest, newly-available data for Ferrari, Lamborghini and Rolls Royce

The decline in the US car market kicked up a gear in July, with sales falling by 6.6% compared to the same month in 2016, the largest decline so far this year. With car brands throwing everything they can, including the proverbial kitchen sink, at customers with seemingly no impact, it is clear more than ever than the market is in for its largest decline in years.

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US sales 2017 first half: Sports Large and Exotics segment

Lexus LC enjoys a strong market debut to rank fourth in Q2’17 standings, while Porsche 911 continues to lose salesUS large sportsSales of Large Sports Cars and Exotics fell by 2.6% in the second quarter of 2017, a slower pace of decline than the 10.4% registered in 2016, or the 5.5% registered in the first quarter of the year. Could this be a sign that the segment is going through a bit of a resurgence? As we previously mentioned, this segment had undergone a huge growth in years past, so the recent declines come from a heady height, and suggest the segment may simply be stabilizing at a sort of “good times” average size, before once again shrinking drastically when the next recession hits (such is the fate of a segment where most cars sell for well over $100,000).

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US sales 2017 first half: Mid-sized Sports segment

Ford Mustang keeps losing sales as Chevy Camaro rebounds

US Small Sports

Sales in the Mid-sized Sports segment fell by 14.5% so far in 2017, a reflection mainly on the dwindling popularity of the mighty Ford Mustang. However, while the headline figure is bad but not horrible, what should be more worrying is the fact that the segment has plenty of new cars such as Chevrolet Camaro, Audi TT, or the Porsche 718 Boxster/Cayman twins, after an early rise their sales have all declined recently. What’s more, Dodge seems to be doing wonders with the Challenger, given how old that model is, but even that can’t last forever. 

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US sales 2017 first half: Small Sports segment

Mazda MX-5 almost takes the segment lead, as RWD cars soar and FWD cars crashThe Small Sports segment lost an astonishing 31.6% sales in the second quarter of 2017, a bad performance second only to that of the Minicar segment that lost almost half its sales over the same period. Combined with the slower decline experienced by the segment in the first quarter of the year, sales in the segment were 22.8% smaller in the first half of 2017 than in 2016. Although there is some hope in the form of the new Hyundai Veloster, that car won’t arrive until sometime in 2018 – until then, it’s likely sales will continue declining.

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US sales 2017 first half: Small Commercial Van segment

Every single model loses sales, as the segment shrinks by almost 20%

US-sales-small-cargo-van-segmentOverall sales of Commercial Vans in the US fell again in the second quarter of 2017, albeit at a slower pace than in the first quarter, resulting in a cumulative drop in sales of 3.2% YTD. As I mentioned earlier, it seems that customers seem to be slowly moving away from commercial vans to pickups, at least to the extent that the latter are used for commercial purposes. Confirming this, the decline is concentrated in the small commercial van segment, which has lost 17.9% of its volume so far this year, while the large commercial vans segment, for which pickups are no substitute, seems largely unaffected.
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