US sales: April 2017, brands

When we checked in last month, we suggested that 2017 is unlikely to exceed the record sales achieved in 2016. However, the performance of the market in April, with sales down 4.8% compared to April’16, suggests we should revise that prediction to “2017 is almost certainly not going to exceed the sales in 2016″, and may even fail to reach the level set in 2015 (so far YTD sales are 2.0% down on 2016, and 1.1% down on 2015). In fact, the sales slump in the past four months is the longest such period since the bottom of the market downturn in 2009. Just as last month, sales of mainstream models fell by 11%, but it was the fall in sales of trucks/SUVs (albeit only by 0.1%) that should have the markets worried – this is the first time sales of the latter fell since September 2013.

Highlights:

  • Eight out of the top-10 brands lost sales in April, with the worst performers being Chevrolet (sales down by 10.4%, much worse than the 2.2% drop in March) and Jeep, whose fortunes worsened further as its sales fell by 16.5%, the worst performance for the brand in over five years
  • By comparison, Toyota (sales down 2.7%) and Hyundai (sales down 0.9%) actually did better than their YTD growth so far in 2017 (sales drops of 3.6% and 4.4%, respectively)
  • The only brands in the top-10 with rising sales were Subaru and Ram, with sales growth of 3.9% and 5.3%, respectively 

  • Outside of the top-10 there were only two non-luxury carmakers whose sales rose, by 17.0% at Buick, and by 1.6% at VW (the sixth consecutive month of growth for the recovering company)
  • Even though most other mainstream brands lost volume, for some of them the loss was particularly acute: the brands specializing in small cars all lost sales in the double-digits (Mini down 27.4%, Smart down by 21.7%, Fiat down by 18.0%), with Mitsubishi (sales down 13.4%) and Mazda (sales down 7.8%) also suffering
  • What’s interesting is that sales at Chrysler seem to be close to bottoming out, with sales drop of only 3.3%, the least-bad performance since the brands last sales rise in Nov’15
  • Sales growth was much better among luxury brands, with many brands gaining significant volume: sales were up by almost 200% at Jaguar, up by 29.4% at Tesla, 18.7% at Maserati, 15.4% at Volvo (its first sales gain this year), 9.5% at Cadillac, 5.1% at Audi, 3.5% at Infiniti, and 2.2% at Porsche
  • That said, it was not all sunshine and roses for luxury brands, with some big losses at Mercedes-Benz (sales down 8.5%), BMW (sales down 9.3%), Lexus (sales down 11.1%), and Acura (down 12.8%)
  • Sales were also up at the ultra-high-end brand whose numbers we have: Bentley (up 52.7%), Rolls-Royce (up 2.8%) and Lamborghini (up 1.1%)
  • Now that sales of the Giulia have began properly, Alfa Romeo keeps posting many-fold sales growth rates, with its April’17 sales of 677 setting a new record for the brand since it re-entered the US market a few years ago 

Brand ranking

Monthly YTD
# Model Apr’17 Apr’16 Δ # 2017 2016 Δ
a1 Ford 203,745 219,963 -7.4% a1 790,207 836,645 -5.6%
a2 Toyota 179,796 184,853 -2.7% a2 650,420 674,835 -3.6%
a3 Chevrolet 164,367 183,442 -10.4% a3 636,090 656,172 -3.1%
a4 Honda 124,254 132,623 -6.3% a5 457,785 452,451 1.2%
a5 Nissan 111,201 113,429 -2.0% a4 484,531 480,973 0.7%
a6 Jeep 68,879 82,537 -16.5% a6 257,622 294,907 -12.6%
a7 Hyundai 61,651 62,213 -0.9% a7 225,288 235,543 -4.4%
a8 Kia 53,358 56,508 -5.6% a9 (1) 181,086 202,829 -10.7%
a9 Subaru 52,368 50,380 3.9% a8 (1) 196,618 182,777 7.6%
b10 (1) Ram 47,327 44,932 5.3% b11 179,906 171,086 5.2%
b11 (1) GMC 47,004 47,159 -0.3% b10 (2) 180,615 168,207 7.4%
b12 Dodge 39,445 40,488 -2.6% b12 (2) 173,508 181,404 -4.4%
b13 Mercedes-Benz 29,125 31,825 -8.5% b13 115,699 114,834 0.8%
b14 VW 27,557 27,112 1.6% b14 (1) 103,847 96,426 7.7%
b15 Mazda 24,164 26,195 -7.8% b16 (1) 93,235 90,839 2.6%
b16 BMW 22,624 24,951 -9.3% b15 (1) 94,306 95,564 -1.3%
b17 Lexus 22,116 24,882 -11.1% b17 (3) 83,961 99,103 -15.3%
b18 (2) Buick 20,735 17,720 17.0% b18 (1) 70,940 72,007 -1.5%
b19 Audi 18,711 17,801 5.1% b20 64,358 59,761 7.7%
b20 (2) Chrysler 17,309 17,891 -3.3% b19 (1) 64,385 88,315 -27.1%
b21 Acura 14,132 16,206 -12.8% b23 (2) 45,894 54,081 -15.1%
b22 Cadillac 12,300 11,236 9.5% b22 46,282 46,869 -1.3%
b23 Infiniti 10,797 10,432 3.5% b21 (2) 54,358 43,092 26.1%
b24 Lincoln 9,691 9,776 -0.9% b25 36,774 34,681 6.0%
b25 Mitsubishi 8,375 9,674 -13.4% b24 37,522 34,886 7.6%
b26 Volvo 7,121 6,169 15.4% b27 20,600 22,530 -8.6%
b27 Porsche 5,529 5,411 2.2% b28 18,247 17,648 3.4%
b28 Land Rover 5,211 5,188 0.4% b26 25,086 25,993 -3.5%
b29 (1) Tesla* 4,400 3,400 29.4% b29 (1) 17,600 13,600 29.4%
b30 (1) Mini 3,481 4,796 -27.4% b31 (2) 13,732 15,635 -12.2%
b31 (2) Jaguar 3,230 1,087 197.1% b30 (3) 14,606 6,084 140.1%
b32 (1) Fiat 2,539 3,098 -18.0% b32 (1) 9,770 11,213 -12.9%
b33new Genesis 1,399 0 new b33new 6,554 0 new
b34 Maserati 1,265 1,066 18.7% b34 4,553 3,316 37.3%
b35 (4) Alfa Romeo 677 59 1047.5% b35 (4) 1,783 217 721.7%
b36 (1) Smart 365 466 -21.7% b36 (1) 1,426 1,766 -19.3%
b37 (1) Bentley 168 110 52.7% b37 720 372 93.5%
b38 (1) Rolls-Royce 110 107 2.8% b38 (2) 440 428 2.8%
b39 (1) Lamborghini 88 87 1.1% b39 (1) 352 345 2.0%
b40 (8) Scion 14 1,391 -99.0% b40 (8) 156 6,268 -97.5%

* estimates for Tesla

About Krzysztof Wozniak

Kriss grew up in Poland reading German car magazines, before moving to England and graduating to the British magazines, which he still considers the best in the world and continues reading them after he'd moved to the US. In college he promised himself he's buy himself a used Porsche before he turned 30 (not to be accused of having a mid-life crisis), but instead family needs dictated a Subaru Outback. Still waiting for that perfect moment to buy a used 2008-ish Cayman...
You can find all his articles Here.

Comments

  1. Rick M says:

    Quote CSB: “VW +1,6%, the sixth consecutive month of growth for the recovering company”

    There’s a specific reason for this result:
    Folks trading in their ToxicGate diesel models for a “zero interest, unlimited warranty & 5k cash” brand new Pasat/Golf.

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