US car sales analysis October 2018 – brands

In some ways, the 0.4% growth in sales in October brought more of the same in the US market – a month where sales fell, relative to the same period in 2017, has been followed by a month where sales increased. However, this continuing trend masks a shift in the market’s fortunes that has occurred over the course of 2018 – while in the first half  of the year months of falling sales were more than compensated for by months when sales grew, in the second half the opposite has been true, with declines in “down” months far outweighing the weak recoveries in “up” months such as October. With YTD growth unchanged at just 0.6% since last month, it would take just one more performance like in September to move the YTD figure into the red.

Highlights:

  • Six out of the Top 10 brands registered positive sales growth in October, up from four in September, but lower than seven in August
  • For a third month in a row the two brands with the fastest growth in the Top 10 were FCA brands, Ram and Jeep, the difference this time being that it was the former that saw its sales grow by double digits, giving the brands its highest ever ranking of eight in the standings
Ram Pickup
  • Just outside of the Top 10 Dodge once again registered growth of around 40%, pushing the brand back into black in YTD sales
  • In addition to Dodge, a few other mainstream brands outside of the Top 10 saw their sales rise: this included the usual suspects Volkswagen and Mitsubishi, but also unexpectedly Chrysler, making October a very good month indeed for FCA
  • From among the mainstream brands that lost sales in October the ones worth pointing out are Mazda, which after a good run in the first half of the years seems to have lost a lot of steam, and Mini, whose poor performances have now pushed it firmly into YTD sales loss territory, a very poor outcome for a brand with such a new portfolio of cars
  • Among luxury brands, the big news was that Tesla‘s sales fell by over 40% compared to September, putting the brand once again behind its main competitors, while Audi‘s remarkable 9-year run of positive month-on-month sales gain came to a screeching halt with a 17.3% decline in sales
Audi Q5
  • Relative to Tesla and Audi, the other leading luxury brands, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Lexus, all had an uneventful October and registered very moderate sales increases and declines
  • Further back InfinitiLand Rover and Alfa Romeo all registered double-digit sales growth, while AcuraVolvo and Porsche managed to eek out more moderate sales growth figures
  • By comparison, October was once again a bad month for Lincoln, Jaguar and Maserati, although their travails pail in comparison to the almost-80% sales collapse at Genesis (and that is despite the new G70 going on sale in October)
  • Among the exclusive brands Bentley once again saw its sales fall, putting the brand within spitting range of 2018’s star performer, McLaren
  • Brand ranking

    Monthly YTD
    # Model Oct’18 Oct’17 Δ # 2018 2017 Δ
    a1 Ford 184,108 190,789 -3.5% a1 1,987,481 2,032,454 -2.2%
    a2 (1) Toyota 168,385 165,538 1.7% a2 1,778,996 1,777,163 0.1%
    a3 (1) Chevrolet* 167,207 176,017 -5.0% a3 1,671,245 1,692,209 -1.2%
    a4 Honda 108,558 114,655 -5.3% a4 1,201,072 1,232,132 -2.5%
    a5 Nissan 98,082 112,716 -13.0% a5 1,117,515 1,195,243 -6.5%
    a6 Jeep 72,800 67,074 8.5% a6 818,994 689,316 18.8%
    a7 Subaru 55,394 54,045 2.5% a7 (1) 558,812 532,893 4.9%
    a8 (1) Ram 54,542 47,831 14.0% b10 471,203 466,524 1.0%
    a9 (1) Hyundai 52,653 51,224 2.8% a8 (1) 545,444 547,880 -0.4%
    b10 (1) Kia 45,102 44,397 1.6% a9 497,144 502,327 -1.0%
    b11 (1) GMC* 43,581 44,765 -2.6% b11 439,505 450,399 -2.4%
    b12 (2) Dodge 33,872 24,476 38.4% b12 393,600 390,266 0.9%
    b13 (1) Mercedes-Benz 31,719 31,401 1.0% b14 (1) 285,126 298,878 -4.6%
    b14 (1) VW 29,000 27,732 4.6% b13 (1) 295,228 280,188 5.4%
    b15 BMW 23,262 23,208 0.2% b16 (1) 248,327 243,383 2.0%
    b16 Lexus 22,716 22,894 -0.8% b17 (1) 236,340 242,553 -2.6%
    b17 (14) Tesla* 20,325 2,115 861.0% b21 (9) 134,862 37,255 262.0%
    b18 (1) Mazda 18,673 20,811 -10.3% b15 (2) 253,795 241,108 5.3%
    b19 Audi 16,056 19,425 -17.3% b18 (1) 183,476 180,339 1.7%
    b20 (2) Buick* 15,828 20,564 -23.0% b19 (1) 171,434 180,394 -5.0%
    b21 Acura 13,624 12,698 7.3% b22 128,107 126,824 1.0%
    b22 Chrysler 13,289 11,018 20.6% b20 140,445 154,827 -9.3%
    b23 (3) Cadillac* 12,856 15,036 -14.5% b23 (2) 126,096 128,882 -2.2%
    b24 (1) Infiniti 11,880 10,296 15.4% b24 (1) 117,129 124,010 -5.5%
    b25 Mitsubishi 8,002 7,381 8.4% b25 101,400 86,576 17.1%
    b26 (1) Land Rover 7,846 5,477 43.3% b28 (1) 72,979 59,958 21.7%
    b27 (3) Lincoln 7,574 8,909 -15.0% b26 (2) 82,854 91,631 -9.6%
    b28 (2) Volvo 7,327 7,008 4.6% b27 (1) 81,256 63,974 27.0%
    b29 (1) Porsche 4,817 4,715 2.2% b29 (1) 47,443 45,952 3.2%
    b30 (1) Mini 3,166 3,669 -13.7% b30 (1) 37,359 38,456 -2.9%
    b31 (1) Jaguar 2,648 2,891 -8.4% b31 23,824 33,119 -28.1%
    b32 (2) Alfa Romeo 1,737 1,205 44.1% b32 (3) 19,897 8,557 132.5%
    b33 Fiat 1,151 1,769 -34.9% b33 (1) 13,235 23,021 -42.5%
    b34 (1) Maserati 950 1,141 -16.7% b34 9,363 11,132 -15.9%
    b35 (3) Genesis 372 1,786 -79.2% b35 (2) 9,281 16,870 -45.0%
    b36 Bentley 165 188 -12.2% b36 (1) 1,642 1,860 -11.7%
    b37 (1) McLaren 142 115 23.5% b37 (3) 1,195 763 56.6%
    b38 (1) Smart 95 140 -32.1% b38 (2) 1,054 2,775 -62.0%
    b39 Lamborghini 94 92 2.2% b39 (1) 940 911 3.2%
    b40 Rolls-Royce 90 86 4.7% b40 (1) 900 857 5.0%

    Note: * Estimate