US sales: February 2017, brands

Car sales in 2017 so far look like they won’t be able to match the record set in 2016 – for the second month in a row the market recorded a slight decline in sales compared to last year, with February sales falling by 0.8% to 1,332,176 units. 

Highlights:

  • February was a good month for Chevrolet, with the brand recording a 3.4% growth in sales – enough to make up for the fall in sales in January, and better than the other top-3 brands: Ford (sales down 4.5%, a fourth decline in six months) and Toyota (sales down 1.9%)

 

  • By comparison to Toyota, Nissan and Honda both continued to enjoy a strong start to 2017, although  growth for both brands was a bit lower than what they recorded in January
  • The good times at sixth-placed Jeep are officially over – not only did sales  slip for the sixth month in a row, but the rate of decline, at 8.6%, was the fastest since early 2013
  • Bad times continued at Hyundai and Kia, with the latter recording the steepest fall in sales, at 14.2%, of all mainstream brands (excluding luxury and small-car brands), and ranking four places lower than in Feb’16
  • By comparison, GMC seems to be enjoying something of a renaissance in 2017 – its sales grew by 17.2% in February, making it the fastest-growing brand in the top-10 with a 9.4% gain YTD, with Subaru following in second at 7.5%
  • February was a bit of a turning point for FCA, and not for the better – it marked the first time in a long while that all-but-one of its brands recorded a fall in sales, with the collapse extra-painful as it engulfed the cash-cow Ram (sales down 1.2%, only the second decline in five years); the only “bright spot” was the continued good performance of the automotive group’s minnow, Maserati (sales up almost half compared to Feb’16)
  • Other mainstream brands that experienced good growth in Feb’17 included VW (sales up 12.7%, a fourth month of growth in a row), Mazda (up 5.9%, enjoying a good 2017 so far with 7.9% YTD growth), and most impressively Mitsubishi (sales up 38.8%, on the back of growth of over 70% for the Outlander and over 145% for the Mirage)
  • Things looked less rosy once again for Buick (sales down 9.4%), Mini (sales down 24.1%), Fiat (sales down 28.3%) and Smart (sales down 17.5%)
  • February once again saw a great mix of fortunes among luxury brands, with the winners being Bentley and Jaguar, who continued to see growth in the triple digits, the aforementioned Maserati (sales up 49.3%), the surprising Infiniti (sales up 32.5%), Tesla (sales up 30.8%), Audi (sales up 17.3%, extending the brand’s growth spree to 74 months) and Mercedes-Benz (sales up 7.2%)
  • At the same time February was not good to all luxury brands: sales of BMW barely ticked up, Cadillac saw its sales fall by 8.6%, market darlings Land Rover and Volvo both saw their sales fall by low double digits, while those at Acura and Lexus did even worse (down 14.9% and 20.6%, respectively)

Brand ranking

Monthly YTD
# Model Feb’17 Feb’16 Δ # 2017 2016 Δ
a1 Ford 198,720 208,006 -4.5% a1 361,121 445,307 -18.9%
a2 (1) Chevrolet 164,095 158,644 3.4% a2 299,265 296,447 1.0%
a3 (1) Toyota 155,962 158,982 -1.9% a3 283,366 294,233 -3.7%
a4 Nissan 122,003 120,540 1.2% a4 222,764 217,760 2.3%
a5 Honda 110,822 106,213 4.3% a5 208,000 196,460 5.9%
a6 Jeep 62,345 68,228 -8.6% a6 120,760 127,260 -5.1%
a7 Hyundai 51,438 53,009 -3.0% a7 96,127 98,020 -1.9%
a8 (4) GMC 46,339 39,530 17.2% b10 (1) 83,663 76,463 9.4%
a9 (2) Subaru 45,500 42,011 8.3% a8 (2) 89,379 83,112 7.5%
b10 (1) Dodge 43,878 47,251 -7.1% a9 (1) 83,987 89,360 -6.0%
b11 (1) Ram 42,785 43,302 -1.2% b11 (1) 80,830 76,323 5.9%
b12 (4) Kia 42,673 49,737 -14.2% b12 (3) 78,299 88,042 -11.1%
b13 Mercedes-Benz 27,035 25,210 7.2% b13 54,611 51,773 5.5%
b14 (2) Volkswagen 25,145 22,321 12.7% b14 (1) 48,655 42,400 14.8%
b15 (2) Mazda 22,824 21,544 5.9% b15 (1) 44,522 41,247 7.9%
b16 (1) BMW 22,558 22,498 0.3% b16 (1) 40,667 40,580 0.2%
b17 (3) Lexus 18,338 23,090 -20.6% b17 (3) 33,910 44,023 -23.0%
b18 Chrysler 16,730 21,056 -20.5% b18 30,107 39,270 -23.3%
b19 Buick 16,131 17,811 -9.4% b19 29,248 36,080 -18.9%
b20 (2) Audi 13,741 11,718 17.3% b20 26,942 23,568 14.3%
b21 (2) Infiniti 13,737 10,371 32.5% b21 (2) 25,295 18,885 33.9%
b22 (3) Mitsubishi 10,924 7,870 38.8% b25 17,381 14,134 23.0%
b23 (3) Acura 10,864 12,773 -14.9% b23 (2) 20,066 23,023 -12.8%
b24 (3) Cadillac 10,823 11,840 -8.6% b22 21,121 22,580 -6.5%
b25 (1) Lincoln 8,744 8,039 8.8% b24 17,529 15,216 15.2%
b26 Land Rover 5,747 6,417 -10.4% b26 11,910 12,072 -1.3%
b27 (1) Volvo 4,651 5,260 -11.6% b27 (1) 8,123 9,504 -14.5%
b28 (1) Porsche 3,637 3,561 2.1% b30 (1) 4,602 7,915 -41.9%
b29 (4) Jaguar 3,484 1,512 130.4% b28 (5) 6,423 2,864 124.3%
b30 (2) Tesla* 2,550 1,950 30.8% b32 4,200 3,170 32.5%
b31 Mini 2,154 2,839 -24.1% b29 (1) 5,264 6,077 -13.4%
b32 (2) Fiat 2,145 2,993 -28.3% b31 4,309 5,587 -22.9%
b33new Genesis 1,582 0 new b33new 3,400 0 new
b34 Maserati 1,087 728 49.3% b34 1,976 1,253 57.7%
b35 (2) Alfa Romeo 443 49 804.1% b36 (1) 551 116 375.0%
b36 (1) Smart 348 422 -17.5% b35 672 821 -18.1%
b37 (1) Bentley 155 62 150.0% b37 (1) 303 143 111.9%
b38 (11) Scion 39 5,882 -99.3% b38 (11) 111 10,981 -99.0%

* 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:

    Rebates galore to keep sales momentum.
    “Interested in a new RAV4? Optima? Envision? Here, $5k on da hood + unlimited warranty! Deal?”

    As to Volkswagen: VW’s currently are almost for free!
    VW dealers are in the midst of the ToxicGate trade-in phase.
    Owners can pick up cash or a new model at “zero interest, zero tax, and thousands of bucks discount”.
    So the +15% is absolutely artificial.

  2. Krzysztof Wozniak says:

    Rick M: you’re right that rebates are being deployed to keep up momentum, but it makes for an interesting reading who’s using them most. From the data I’ve seen, the lowest by car group are offered by Subaru (<$1,000 on average), than the major Asian brands (Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, all around $2,000), then Kia and VW around the industry average (around $3,500), and finally the American carmakers, Nissan, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, all well over $4,000.

Let me know what you think of this article. Thanks!

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