US sales: December 2016, brands

US car sales were  1,688,108  in December, a monthly record in 2016, though not one that was unexpected given that sales usually spike in the holiday season. Importantly, this marked a 3.0 percent increase on December 2015, which combined with a similar monthly increase in November managed to pull the overall sales for 2016 above those recorded in 2015 by around 56,000 cars. But before we look at how 2016 compared to 2015 (that article is coming soon), let’s look at how brands did in December 2016.

Highlights:

  • Following a good November Chevrolet enjoyed an even better December, posting a 12.8 percent growth. The same can’t be said of its main rival,  Ford, whose sales resumed their slide following a brief recovery in November
  • Another two brands that fell back to the ground in December were Hyundai and Kia, which after posting great November sales growth of 9.2 and 15.3 percent, respectively, saw their sales shrink by 1.8 percent and barely grow in December
  • Good times continued at GMC, which ranked seventh on the sales chart, its highest ranking since 2002
  • The rest of the top 10 was much as it had been in the past few months, with decent growth from everyone but Jeep
  • Following a recovery in November, VW saw its sales rise again by over 20 percent in December, suggesting the ship may be stabilizing after the Dieselgate scandal
  • Things at FCA are not getting any better, with once again only Ram and Maserati registering positive sales growth
  • Audi recorded a very healthy 13.7 percent growth rise, a much better performance than the sales drops over at BMW and Mercedes-Benz, extending its sales rise streak to 86 months
  • Thanks to a solid 20.6 percent growth in sales Infiniti outsold the struggling Acura for the third time in 2016, a feat it had managed only once in the preceding decade (March 2008)
  • Out in the back of the sales charts two surprises came up, as Smart recorded a 77.3 percent jump in sales (presumably due to a large order from Car2Go, Daimler’s subsidiary car-sharing brand), while sales at Bentley fell by 29.9 percent, as the brand was unable to match the remarkably high sales of almost 600 cars it achieved in December 2015

Brand ranking December 2016

Monthly YTD
# Model Dec’16 Dec’15 Δ # 2016 2015 Δ
a1 Ford 224,994 226,746 -0.8% a1 2,487,487 2,501,855 -0.6%
a2 (1) Chevrolet 212,959 188,794 12.8% a3 (1) 2,096,510 2,125,347 -1.4%
a3 (1) Toyota 201,945 195,100 3.5% a2 (1) 2,106,374 2,121,760 -0.7%
a4 Honda 143,329 134,070 6.9% a4 1,476,582 1,409,386 4.8%
a5 Nissan 134,545 124,207 8.3% a5 1,426,130 1,351,420 5.5%
a6 Jeep 83,159 88,868 -6.4% a6 926,376 872,908 6.1%
a7 (1) GMC 63,415 59,941 5.8% b10 546,628 558,697 -2.2%
a8 (1) Subaru 63,177 56,274 12.3% a9 615,132 582,675 5.6%
a9 (2) Hyundai 62,350 63,508 -1.8% a7 775,005 761,710 1.7%
b10 Kia 54,353 54,241 0.2% a8 647,598 625,818 3.5%
b11 Ram 53,597 48,616 10.2% b11 (1) 545,851 491,170 11.1%
b12 (1) Lexus 41,182 41,380 -0.5% b14 (2) 331,228 344,601 -3.9%
b13 (3) VW 37,229 30,956 20.3% b15 (1) 322,948 349,440 -7.6%
b14 (2) Dodge 36,329 46,210 -21.4% b12 (1) 506,858 527,295 -3.9%
b15 (1) Mercedes-Benz 35,871 38,249 -6.2% b13 374,541 372,977 0.4%
b16 (1) BMW 32,835 34,625 -5.2% b16 (1) 313,174 346,023 -9.5%
b17 Mazda 28,754 29,294 -1.8% b17 297,773 319,183 -6.7%
b18 (3) Audi 23,195 20,399 13.7% b20 210,213 202,202 4.0%
b19 Cadillac 21,446 20,787 3.2% b21 (1) 170,006 175,267 -3.0%
b20 Buick 21,288 20,708 2.8% b19 229,631 223,055 2.9%
b21 (2) Infiniti 18,198 15,093 20.6% b23 138,293 133,498 3.6%
b22 Acura 17,148 16,823 1.9% b22 (1) 161,360 177,165 -8.9%
b23 (5) Chrysler 16,776 24,554 -31.7% b18 231,972 317,923 -27.0%
b24 Lincoln 12,791 10,860 17.8% b24 111,724 101,227 10.4%
b25 Volvo 10,129 9,341 8.4% b26 (1) 82,724 70,047 18.1%
b26 Tesla* 9,725 3,799 156% b30 (1) 47,644 18,223 161.4%
b27 (1) Land Rover 8,279 8,441 -1.9% b27 (1) 73,861 70,582 4.6%
b28 (1) Mitsubishi 7,383 7,887 -6.4% b25 96,267 95,342 1.0%
b29 Mini 4,658 5,009 -7.0% b29 (1) 52,030 58,514 -11.1%
b30 (3) Jaguar 4,294 1,197 258.7% b31 31,243 14,466 116.0%
b31 (1) Porsche 4,015 3,936 2.0% b28 (1) 54,280 51,756 4.9%
b32 (4) Fiat 2,606 5,619 -53.6% b30 (1) 32,742 42,922 -23.7%
b33 (1) Maserati 1,694 1,069 58.5% b33 (1) 12,534 11,693 7.2%
b34 (1) Smart 1,186 669 77.3% b35 6,211 7,484 -17.0%
b35 (1) Bentley 407 581 -29.9% b36 2,581 2,686 -3.9%
b36.5 (0.5) Rolls-Royce* 102 99 3.0% b37 1,224 1,178 3.9%
b36.5 (4.5) Scion 102 1,872 -94.6% b34 (3) 12,028 32,958 -63.5%
b38 Lamborghini* 86 85 1.2% b38 1,032 1,009 2.3%
b39 Alfa Romeo 52 56 -7.1% b39 516 659 -21.7%

* estimates for Tesla, Rolls Royce and Lamborghini

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. In this article Tesla sold 2250 cars in December, and 26,725 in full 2016. However, when i use the the filter on the right side of the page and i select US car sales data -> Tesla ->all models, it tells me 9725 in december and 47,644 in full 2016. There seems to be an error in either one of the tables.

    • Bart Demandt says:

      Sharply noticed, Henk.

      The reason for this is that Tesla does not issue monthly sales reports like the other manufacturers do, but instead have quarterly reports. That means we have to rely on estimates for their monthly sales figures, as is noted in the Tesla brand page.
      The reason for the difference between the two tables is that we try to post the monthly brand ranking as quickly as possible, because of its relative news value. This means relying on estimates that may not be accurate enough. For the brand page data accuracy is more important than speed, so this data is more correct: Tesla sold approximately 47,644 cars in the United States in 2016. You’re correct we also should make a note in the monthly brand rankings about this.
      We’ll update the data in the table to reflect the more accurate figures.
      PS: Tesla is the only brand for which this discrepancy can exist, all other manufacturers issue monthly sales reports, with the exception of a few small exotic brands like Ferrari, Lamborghini, Lotus and Rolls Royce, which we don’t publish in our monthly rankings.

      • Thanks Bart. I already thought something like this but i found the difference a little big, 26k vs 47k. Let’s hope Tesla changes their schedule soon. Keep up the good work!

  2. Paul Ippaso says:

    Hi , did I miss it but the article forgets to mention the biggest gain in December 16 was Jaguar !!!!

    • Krzysztof Wozniak says:

      @Paul – you’re absolutely right, but Jaguar has been achieving these growth rates for the past couple of months, so I figured I don’t need to mention it each month

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