In this section of the blog, you can find information and opinions about car sales in the United States. Stay up-to-date with which cars are selling the best and what we think future models will do.
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US car sales were 1,688,108 in December, a monthly record in 2016, though not one that was unexpected given that sales usually spike in the holiday season. Importantly, this marked a 3.0 percent increase on December 2015, which combined with a similar monthly increase in November managed to pull the overall sales for 2016 above those recorded in 2015 by around 56,000 cars. But before we look at how 2016 compared to 2015 (that article is coming soon), let’s look at how brands did in December 2016.
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After looking at the Success stories of 2016 in the US, Success stories of 2016 in Europe and Disappointments of 2016 in Europe, it’s time to look at who put in disappointing performances in the US in 2016. Coming soon – our predictions for 2017.
1. Mainstream and premium sedan segments
As some readers have pointed out, 2016 was definitely the year of the SUV/crossover. However, there is more to that story, as customers flocking to buy such cars abandoned the more traditional segments in droves, both for mainstream and premium brands. Overall, sales in the mainstream non-SUV sectors fell by 6 percent in the first three quarters of the year compared to 2015, while those in the premium non-SUV sectors fell by over 13 percent. Brands caught in this whirlwind include Mazda (sales down 7.2 percent through November), BMW (down 10.4 percent) and Acura (down 10.6 percent). Looking a bit closer, we see that some models which feature at the head of the segments were hit particularly hard: Toyota Camry (down 9.4 percent), Ford Fusion (down 10.2 percent), Mercedes-Benz C class (down 11.7 percent) or the ubiquitous BMW 3/4 series (down 28.2 percent). With SUVs/crossovers going from strength to strength, it’s unclear whether this trend will reverse anytime soon.
For the second year, in what we hope will become an annual tradition here at CarSalesBase, we are using the incoming new year as motivation to reflect back at 2016 and look at its success stories (see here for the 2015 surprises, and here for the 2015 disappointments). Let us know in the comments below if you agree or disagree!
For the past two decades, ever since Ford decided to make Jaguar into a global competitor to luxury car brands such as Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, the British brand has suffered from false dawns and unfulfiffled promises. After doing surprisingly well in the US selling the much-derided X-Type and the uber-conservative S-type, with sales peaking at over 61,000 units in 2002, things took a turn for the worse, with sales dropping to around 15,000 a year, where they have been up until 2015.
This year, however, Jaguar is looking to sell over 30,000 cars for the first time in over a decade, more than doubling last year’s sales. The reason for this upswing is a barrage of new models, with particular success coming from the F-Pace SUV and the mid-sized XE (averaging about 1,500 and 1,000 units per month, respectively). The only bligth on the brand’s copybook is the relative failure of the new large XF to connect with the buyers, with sales in recent months substantially below the levels reached by its predecessor this time last year, no doubt hurt by cannibalization from its new stablemates.
US car sales were 1,378,330 in November, over a little over 10,000 units more than in October. More importantly, however, this marked a 3.6 percent increase on November 2015, the first monthly increase since July 2016. The higher demand was mainly driven by two factors: higher incentives offered by carmakers, and strong demand for trucks. Overall, truck sales rose 8.6 percent compared to 2015, while car sales fell by 3.9 percent. This performance also marked a return to positive year-to-date growth for the market, though with sales in 2016 up by only 0.1 percent compared to 2015 it’s anyone’s guess whether 2016 will be a new record year for the industry, or whether that distinction will remain with 2015.
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US car sales were 1,370,416 in October, over 60,000 lower than in September, and the second lowest number since January. However, more worrying for the market is that the number was a full 5.9 percent lower than in October 2015, meaning that total sales for 2016 now slipped 0.2 percent behind those for 2015 at this time of the year. Part of the explanation is that there were two fewer selling days in October 2016 compared with October 2015, while Hurricane Matthew likely also hurt sales in the Southeast. If things continue this way, 2015 will remain a record year for the industry for the near future.
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Sales in the Large Commercial Vans segment rose by 15 percent in Q3 to 89,788 vehicles. This continues a good trend for the segment, whose sales have increased by 18 percent so far this year, and comes at a clear expense of the Small Commercial Vans segment, which barely grew over the same time period.
Sales in the Small Commercial Vans segment fell by 14 percent in Q3 2016 to 19,466 vehicles, a reversal of fortune after registering an average sales growth of 8 percent in the first half of the year. Low fuel costs are holding back sales as American business generally prefer Large Commercial Vans or Pickup Trucks instead. Still, the segment has gained sales year to date, and it may be that, in preparation for the holiday season, sales will yet rebound in 2016.