US car sales analysis March 2019 – brands

In its third month of the year the US car market is still yet to register a month of growth, with March sales falling by 3.1% relative to the same month in 2018. Year to date, in 2019, sales are now 3.0% down on 2018, suggesting that this year may be the first downturn in the market in many years.

Highlights:

  • Overall, mainstream brands saw their sales decline by 3.7%, a slower decline than the 4.4% registered in February, while luxury brands saw their sales grow by 1.4%, a worse performance than the 5.2% sales growth in February
  • Four out of the Top 10 brands registered positive sales growth in March, the same number as a month earlier
  • Last month all Top 6 brands saw their sales decline; this month, Honda managed to register positive growth of 4.1%, pushing its YTD sales figures into the black, making it also the only Top 6 brand with positive YTD growth
  • Losses at Ford were worse in March than in previous months in 2019, while those at Nissan were less bad than they have been so far this year
  • The best performance in the Top 10 was the surprisingly strong 10.2% growth over at Kia, suggesting that the Korean brand may be firmly on its way back up, after sales slides in the past two years; interestingly, the vast majority of that growth seems to be coming from the immediate success of the new Kia Telluride
Kia Telluride
  • Outside the Top 10 mainstream brands did better than in February, with Ram, VW, and Mitsubishi registering positive growth
  • In fact, both VW and Mitsubishi deserve recognition of their performance – the former for double-digit growth that put its YTD performance into the black after sales declines in January and February, while the Japanese brand saw its sales rise by more than third compared to March’18, almost matching the growth rate of Tesla
  • Things are looking less rosy among other mainstream brands, with Mini seeing its sales drop by 17%, Mazda by almost 20%, Chrysler by almost 40%, and Fiat by over 45%
  • Among luxury brands there were fewer standouts than last month: Jaguar and Genesis once again recorded positive growth, albeit lower than last month, but no single brand exceed 20% growth year-on-year
Genesis G70
  • The leading luxury brands actually had a good March, with BMW, Lexus, and Audi all registering positive growth (in Audi’s case, its first of 2019), while the sales decline at Mercedes-Benz was much less bad than in previous months
  • By contrast, Infiniti saw its sales decline deepen yet again, suggesting 2019 may not be the best year for the brand, while a sales decline at Land Rover all but erased the brands YTD growth
  • It’s also worth noting, that after three months sales at Maserati are up slightly in 2019, a decent performance by the beleaguered Italian brand
  • Among the exclusive brands estimates suggest Lamborghini had something of a surge in March, putting it ahead of McLaren, which for once had only a good, not a great month
  • Brand ranking

    Monthly YTD
    # Model Mar’19 Mar’19 Δ # 2019 2018 Δ
    a1 Ford 220,848 233,669 -5.5% a1 561,981 574,332 -2.2%
    a2 (1) Toyota 185,698 195,750 -5.1% a2 476,925 507,823 -6.1%
    a3 (1) Chevrolet* 184,084 199,367 -7.7% a3 452,401 490,919 -7.8%
    a4 Nissan 137,362 145,103 -5.3% a5 (1) 331,536 375,116 -11.6%
    a5 Honda 134,101 128,855 4.1% a4 (1) 333,402 329,077 1.3%
    a6 Jeep 87,328 98,382 -11.2% a6 212,804 228,105 -6.7%
    a7 (1) Subaru 61,601 58,097 6.0% a7 156,754 149,703 4.7%
    a8 (1) Hyundai 61,177 60,154 1.7% a8 147,585 144,515 2.1%
    a9 (1) Kia 55,814 50,645 10.2% b10 136,596 126,945 7.6%
    b10 (1) GMC* 55,587 55,646 -0.1% b11 (2) 125,577 131,344 -4.4%
    b11 (1) Ram 51,822 44,878 15.5% a9 (3) 137,013 113,654 20.6%
    b12 (1) Dodge 46,367 49,184 -5.7% b12 (1) 110,517 116,971 -5.5%
    b13 (1) VW 37,092 32,548 14.0% b13 (2) 85,872 83,952 2.3%
    b14 (2) BMW 32,228 31,311 2.9% b15 (1) 73,888 73,835 0.1%
    b15 Mercedes-Benz 30,537 31,374 -2.7% b14 (1) 78,647 86,660 -9.2%
    b16 (1) Lexus 29,249 27,037 8.2% b17 66,791 64,217 4.0%
    b17 (4) Mazda 26,934 33,302 -19.1% b16 (2) 70,833 83,995 -15.7%
    b18 (1) Audi 20,302 20,090 1.1% b19 48,115 50,052 -3.9%
    b19 (4) Mitsubishi 19,599 14,319 36.9% b20 (3) 42,070 35,772 17.6%
    b20 (2) Buick* 17,748 26,834 -33.9% b18 51,867 56,504 -8.2%
    b21 (5) Tesla** 14,625 10,020 46.0% b25 (2) 30,600 17,980 70.2%
    b22 (2) Acura 14,408 13,537 6.4% b21 (3) 36,385 33,414 8.9%
    b23 (1) Cadillac* 14,358 14,494 -0.9% b22 35,995 36,727 -2.0%
    b24 (3) Infiniti 13,406 17,432 -23.1% b23 (2) 34,315 40,887 -16.1%
    b25 (5) Chrysler 12,169 19,499 -37.6% b24 (4) 31,591 46,233 -31.7%
    b26 (1) Lincoln 9,534 9,352 1.9% b27 (1) 24,975 22,462 11.2%
    b27 (2) Land Rover 9,492 10,972 -13.5% b26 (1) 25,028 24,246 3.2%
    b28 Porsche 4,779 4,756 0.5% b28 15,024 13,954 7.7%
    b29 Mini 3,769 4,531 -16.8% b30 (1) 8,905 10,533 -15.5%
    b30 Jaguar 3,679 3,260 12.9% b29 (1) 10,222 8,049 27.0%
    b31 Alfa Romeo 1,774 2,576 -31.1% b31 4,286 5,792 -26.0%
    b32 (1) Genesis 1,451 1,386 4.7% b32 4,203 4,362 -3.6%
    b33 (1) Maserati* 925 885 4.5% b33 (1) 2,775 2,713 2.3%
    b34 (2) Fiat 847 1,544 -45.1% b34 (1) 2,214 4,014 -44.8%
    b35 (2) Lamborghini* 232 125 85.6% b35 (1) 696 375 85.6%
    b36 McLaren* 180 132 36.4% b36 (3) 666 320 108.1%
    b37 (2) Bentley* 169 165 2.4% b37 (2) 507 487 4.1%
    b38 (1) Rolls-Royce* 110 108 1.9% b38 (1) 330 323 2.2%
    b39 (1) Smart 90 110 -18.2% b39 (1) 231 321 -28.0%

    Note: * Estimate