US car sales analysis September 2018 – brands

[UPDATED: Tesla, GM brands sales estimates]

Another month, another swing of the market. After the wild see-saw of earlier in 2018 seemed to stabilize when the market grew healthily in both May and June by an average of 5%, the market then swung back by 3.7% in July, and only recovered weakly in August. Still, that would have been preferable to the market’s performance in September, which saw a 5.5% sales decline, the largest fall of the year, brining down YTD growth to just 0.6% – another month like this and the market will go into the red for the year. It remains to be seen whether the market can regain some of the lost mojo, or whether September will end up marking the place where it all went wrong.

Highlights:

  • Four out of the Top 10 brands registered positive sales growth in September, down from seven in August, and same as in July
  • Remarkably, all the Top 5 brands registered substantial declines in sales of between 8% and 16%, with the biggest fall coming courtesy of General Motors, which alongside Toyota was pushed into year-on-year sales decline
  • As in August the two brands with the fastest growth rate were both FCA brands: Ram saw its sales grow by 9.2%, while Jeep once again saw double-digit growth of 14.1%, although both brands’ growth rates were actually lower than in August
Jeep Cherokee
  • Subaru and Hyundai were the other two brands in the Top 10 to register (moderate) growth, allowing the latter to almost get back to year-on-year growth, while Kia registered a moderate sales decline
  • Just outside of the Top 10 Dodge registered very strong (and somewhat unexpected) growth of over 40%, all but wiping out the brand’s YTD sales decline
  • Even more surprisingly, no other mainstream brand outside of the Top 10 saw their sales rise – while this was to be expected from the group of usual suspects (Mini , ChryslerFiat and Smart), it was unexpected to see MazdaVolkswagen and Mitsubishi on this list, with the German brand losing its eight-month sales growth streak, while Mitsubishi underperformed substantially compared to its 20% YTD growth prior to September
  • Among luxury brands, Tesla‘s sales almost tripled as the brand outsold AudiBMW and Lexus in the standings for the first time
Tesla Model 3
  • All the while, despite its almost 5% sales decline Mercedes-Benz remained the top dog in the luxury battle, while Audi continued its remarkable 100+ month sales rise wave, albeit by the thinnest of margins
  • Further back Acura, VolvoLand Rover, and Porsche once again registered moderate sales growths, with only Alfa Romeo seeing substantial growth of almost 30%
  • By comparison, September was not a great month for InfinitiLincoln or Maserati, although their travails pail in comparison to the almost-40% sales decline at Jaguar, or the sales collapse of over three-quarters over at Genesis
  • Among the exclusive brands Bentley returned to (moderate) growth, although without a doubt the star performer was McLaren, which once again posted impressive growth, this time of almost 60%
  • Brand ranking

    Monthly YTD
    # Model Sep’18 Sep’17 Δ # 2018 2017 Δ
    a1 Ford 188,328 212,841 -11.5% a1 1,803,373 1,841,665 -2.1%
    a2 (1) Toyota 178,501 200,428 -10.9% a2 1,610,611 1,611,625 -0.1%
    a3 (1) Chevrolet* 177,094 200,914 -11.9% a3 1,504,038 1,516,192 -0.8%
    a4 Honda 119,157 129,776 -8.2% a4 1,092,514 1,117,477 -2.2%
    a5 Nissan 110,283 127,187 -13.3% a5 1,019,433 1,082,527 -5.8%
    a6 Jeep 83,764 73,409 14.1% a6 746,194 622,242 19.9%
    a7 (1) Subaru 57,044 55,120 3.5% a7 (1) 503,418 478,848 5.1%
    a8 (1) Hyundai 56,940 55,271 3.0% a8 (1) 492,791 496,656 -0.8%
    a9 (1) Ram 56,447 51,686 9.2% b10 416,661 418,693 -0.5%
    b10 (1) Kia 51,503 52,468 -1.8% a9 452,042 457,930 -1.3%
    b11 (3) Dodge 42,101 29,938 40.6% b12 359,728 365,790 -1.7%
    b12 (1) GMC* 41,988 47,405 -11.4% b11 395,924 405,634 -2.4%
    b13 Mercedes-Benz 30,617 32,096 -4.6% b14 (1) 253,407 267,477 -5.3%
    b14 (2) VW 30,555 32,112 -4.8% b13 (1) 266,228 252,456 5.5%
    b15 (11) Tesla* 29,975 8,095 270.3% b21 (8) 114,537 35,140 225.9%
    b16 (1) BMW 25,908 25,571 1.3% b16 225,065 220,175 2.2%
    b17 (2) Lexus 24,597 26,196 -6.1% b17 213,622 219,659 -2.7%
    b18 (2) Mazda 21,257 25,738 -17.4% b15 235,122 220,297 6.7%
    b19 (1) Audi 19,350 19,308 0.2% b18 167,420 160,914 4.0%
    b20 (1) Buick* 15,622 18,235 -14.3% b19 155,606 159,830 -2.6%
    b21 Chrysler 14,683 15,759 -6.8% b20 127,156 143,809 -11.6%
    b22 (2) Cadillac* 13,530 16,635 -18.7% b23 (1) 113,240 113,846 -0.5%
    b23 (1) Acura 13,511 12,946 4.4% b22 (1) 114,483 114,126 0.3%
    b24 (1) Infiniti 12,536 12,745 -1.6% b24 (1) 105,249 113,714 -7.4%
    b25 (2) Volvo 8,715 7,900 10.3% b27 (1) 73,929 56,966 29.8%
    b26 (2) Lincoln 8,168 8,802 -7.2% b26 (2) 75,280 82,722 -9.0%
    b27 (2) Mitsubishi 7,705 8,430 -8.6% b25 93,398 79,195 17.9%
    b28 Land Rover 6,966 6,407 8.7% b28 (1) 65,133 54,481 19.6%
    b29 Porsche 5,102 5,059 0.8% b29 (1) 42,626 41,237 3.4%
    b30 Mini 3,461 3,736 -7.4% b30 34,193 34,787 -1.7%
    b31 Jaguar 2,040 3,296 -38.1% b31 21,176 30,228 -29.9%
    b32 (2) Alfa Romeo 1,639 1,268 29.3% b32 (3) 18,160 7,352 147.0%
    b33 (1) Fiat 1,185 2,206 -46.3% b33 (1) 12,084 21,252 -43.1%
    b34 (1) Maserati 950 1,119 -15.1% b35 (1) 8,413 9,991 -15.8%
    b35 (2) Genesis 419 1,736 -75.9% b34 (1) 8,909 15,084 -40.9%
    b36 (1) Bentley 165 156 5.8% b36 (1) 1,477 1,672 -11.7%
    b37 (1) McLaren 142 93 52.7% b37 (3) 1,053 648 62.5%
    b38 (2) Smart 98 241 -59.3% b38 (2) 959 2,635 -63.6%
    b39 Lamborghini 94 91 3.3% b39 (1) 846 819 3.3%
    b40 Rolls-Royce 90 86 4.7% b40 (1) 810 771 5.1%

    Note: * Estimate