US sales: October 2017, brands

The decline in the US car market resumed in October, and even though the 1.1% decline in sales was the mildest since May it was still an unwelcome return to trend after the surprising 6.3% growth in sales in September. The SAAR (Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate) once again was over 18 million, suggesting a healthy market, but it remains to be seen whether the coming months will be more like September, or whether we will continue to see a steady slide in sales numbers.

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China car sales analysis September 2017


The Chinese car market continue sits steady growth in September, showing a 3,4% increase to almost 2,3 million sales of passenger cars. This is the fourth consecutive month of single digit increases after years of booming growth. It also builds confidence in the belief that the market will continue its winning streak in 2017 and finish the year in positive territory despite an exceptionally strong last quarter of 2016. That brings the year-to-date total to almost 16,8 million sales, an increase of 3,7% on the same period in 2016. In absolute terms, 2017 is ahead of last year by 600.000 sales, which means the likelihood of yet another new sales record is becoming greater by the passin gmonth. We’d need at least an 8% sales decline in the last quarter to see the first annual decline in a few decades in China. Even considering the exceptionally strong finish of 2016, that seems pretty unlikely, especially taking into account the sales tax on cars with engines of 1,6 liter and smaller will increase again in January, from 7,5% back to its normal rate of 10%, which should pull forward sales of this kind of vehicle to the last quarter. Back to September: the crossovers and SUV trend seems unstoppable with yet another double digit gain: +10% to 971.000 sales, while sedans improve 3,7% to 1,16 million sales and the decline of the MPV segment accelerates to -25% to 165.900 sales. Within those sales figures, electric cars and PHEVs also showed a impressive improvement of 79% in September, to almost 78.000 sales. EVs were responsible for most of that growth, as sales increased 83% to 64.000, compared to a 62% increase for PHEVs, to 14.000. These figures add up to 325.000 EV and 73.000 PHEV sales in China so far this year, an increase of 38% on the first 9 months of 2016 and 2,4% of the overall market. The Beijing government has set a target of 6,7% in 2020 and as much as 20% by 2025, helped by a carbon credit scheme that will be imposed in 2018

The Seasonally Adjusted Annualized selling Rate in August stood at 25,8 million, a similar level as last January, which has been the highest so far this year, and up by 850.000 on August, marking the 6th consecutive month of increased SAAR. The share of domestic automakers in September was 39,8%, the highest figure in the past 3 months and down from 41,8% in September 2016. Sales of domestic brand vehicles across all segments were down 1,5%, compared to a gain of just 2% for US brands, +12% for Japanese brands and +15% for European brands. In contrast, South-Korean brands are down for the 9th month this year, by 23%.

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US sales 2017 Q3: Limousine segment

Sales fall in the third quarter despite a bevy of fresh models

US limousine segmentAfter inching up slowly in the first two quarters of the year, sales in the Limousine segment in the US fell by 16% in the third quarter, the worst performance from among all Premium segments, car and SUV. That said, total sales so far this year (42,929) are only 3.6% down on this time last year, which is a better performance than both the Premium Compact and Premium Mid-sized segments. Moreover, with many new models still building sales (BMW 7-seriesCadillac CT6Genesis G90, Porsche Panamera) and two new models about to go on sales in the third quarter (Audi A8 and Lexus LS) the prospect for the segment looks bright in the next year. 

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US sales Q3 2017: Premium Large segment

Segment arrests its slide in Q3’17, thanks to new BMW 5-series and good performance from FWD modelsUS-sales-premium_large_car-segmentAfter consistently losing around 15% in sales each quarter since the beginning of 2016, the Premium Large Car segment finally rebounded a bit in the third quarter, and while it still hasn’t gone back to black, it got close with a 2% decline, the lowest from among all Premium Car segments. And while the segment is still likely to see its sales decline by double digits by the end of the year, driven mostly by rising popularity of crossovers, it is good to see that good new models like the BMW 5-series and Volvo S90 can still attract a lot of customers.… Continue Reading …

US sales Q3 2017: Premium Mid-sized segment

The segment dips into the red but still outperforms other premium car segments

US-sales-premium_midsized_car-segmentSales of Premium Mid-sized cars fell by 9% in the third quarter of the year, down to 316,919, erasing the sales gains recorded over the first half of the year. Still, the segment is still the best performing from among all premium car segments, with all the other ones losing more sales since the beginning of the year. A big reason for is that over the past year a lot of new metal has hit the market (Audi A5, Infiniti Q60Alfa Romeo Giulia), while a few other models are still fresh and growing strong (Audi A4Jaguar XE). With the new BMW 3-Series around the corner, and a new Lexus IS and Volvo S60 not far off, the prospects are pretty good for this segment, despite the onslaught from premium SUVs.

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US sales Q3 2017: Premium Compact segment

Every single model loses sales, with the exception of the new Mini Clubman
US premium compact

The decline in the Premium Compact segment in the US slowed down in the third quarter of the year, but the segment still shrank by 5% over the period, bringing the YTD decline to 18.1% – worse only than the Minicar, Subcompact and Small Sports segments. While the one new entrant, Mini Clubman, has done reasonably well to bring in new customers, as did the Infiniti QX30 (which we officially classify as a Premium Compact SUV, and only include here for reference) , every other model in the segment saw its sales fall by 20% or more since the beginning of the year. With the new Mercedes-Benz A-class and BMW 1-series sedans still at least a year away from market, the prospects for this segment are not looking very bright.

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US sales Q3 2017: Large SUV segment

Sales of the new Nissan Armada soar as those of other models shrink

US SUV Large

Growth in the Large SUV segment in the US went into full reverse in the third quarter – after growing by 26% in the first quarter and marginally shrinking in the second, sales fell by 11% in the latest quarter. While YTD growth remains positive at 2.5%, the total number of cars sold over the first three quarters of the year remained below quarter million at 239,815, making this the smallest from among non-luxury SUV segments. The all-new Nissan Armada is now the only model whose sales have been growing all year long, though this may change as it is about to be joined by an all-new Ford Expedition in the showrooms this fall.

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US sales Q3 2017: Mid-sized SUV segment

Strong growth from segment leaders and new models

US-sales-midsized_SUV-segment-2016-Kia_Sorento-Chevrolet_Traverse-Ford_Explorer-Dodge_Durango-Nissan_Pathfinder-Honda_Pilot-Toyota_HighlanderSales in the Mid-sized SUV segment increased by 9% in the third quarter of 2017, perfectly in line with the growth rate so far this year. Sales YTD now stand at  1,447,356, making this the fifth-largest segment, and only some 60,000 cars behind the rapidly-shrinking mid-sized car segment. If the trend condinues like this, the mid-sized SUV segment will jump ahead if not by the end of 2017, then most likely in 2018. That said, with Buick EnclaveChevrolet TraverseGMC Acadia and VW Atlas having hit the market recently there is a surprising dearth of new metal coming in 2018, the only exception being the new Hyundai Santa Fe, with the aging Ford ExplorerJeep Grand CherokeeToyota Highlander and Nissan Pathfinder all still some way off from being replaced.

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US sales Q3 2017: Compact SUV segment


Sales in the largest of all segments, the compact SUV segment (2,379,590 sales YTD), grew by 4% in the third quarter, a better pace than the 1% registered in the second quarter, but some way off all the other SUV segments. Still, this still means that the segment grew by 4% YTD compared to a 3% decline for the market as a whole, as one would expect given the continued shift towards crossovers among the buying public. And with a ton of new models in the market (Honda CR-VChevrolet Equinox, Mazda CX-5Jeep CompassKia NiroGMC Terrain, Subaru XV Crosstrek, VW Tiguan L) it is reasonable to expect the segments dominance will continue for a long time.

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US sales Q3 2017: Subcompact SUV segment

Honda HR-V outsells the Jeep Renegade for the first time in Q3’17


After seeing its growth dip into the single digits in the second quarter of the year, the subcompact SUV segment rebounded in style in the third quarter – with sales 15% higher than in Q3’16 it was the second-fastest growing segment over the past quarter (second only to premium compact SUVs). With 12% growth YTD, highest among the non-premium SUV segments, the subcompact SUV segment registered 320,899 sales in the first three quarters, not far off the 376,213 registered in the subcompact segment, which suggests that the two could be neck-and-neck in 2018. With the new Hyundai Kona and Kia Stonic coming to market soon, and the new Toyota C-HR still building up its sales, the segment’s healthy growth is likely to continue in the near future.

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