US car sales analysis 2020 – brands

 

US auto sales rebounded in the fourth quarter of 2020, with a 2.4% decline in the same period of 2019. This follows drops of 12.5% in Q1, 33.4% in Q2 and 9.5% in Q3 and brings the full-year figure to 14.65 million, down 14.4% on last year’s 17 million sales. This is the biggest year-on-year drop since 2009 and the lowest annual volume since 2012 at 14.49 million. For the past 5 years, the US car market has topped 17 million sales each year, peaking at 17.68 million in 2016.

Utility vehicles (SUVs, crossovers, pickup trucks and vans) are down 10% and jump to a record 76% of the US car market, while car models (sedans, hatchbacks, wagons, coupes and convertibles) are down 26.4% to just 24%. Cars outsold utility vehicles as recently as 2012, but their share has dropped continuously since: just three years ago it was still over 35%. American brands gain 0.2 percentage points of market share to 45.1%, with Tesla responsible for all of those share gains. Japanese brands lose 1.1 percentage points of market share to 36.6%, the lowest since 2011. European brands gain 0.3 percentage points of market share to 8.6%, the highest since 2012. South-Korean brands gain 0.6 percentage points of market share to 8.4%, also the highest since 2012.

Highlights:

  • Ford remains on top of the brands ranking, but loses 0.3 percentage points of market share and its gap to Toyota shrinks to less than 92,000 sales, from nearly 209,000 in 2019, as the Japanese brand adds 0.4 percentage points of share. #3 Chevrolet also gains 0.4 percentage points and is in fact the best performing brand in the top-7, together with RAM, both at -11.1%.
  • Nissan and Honda are the worst performers in the top-15 at -33.2% and -16.6% respectively. That allows Jeep to close in on a top-5 position by fewer than 25,000 sales.
  • Mazda is the only brand in the top-15 to actually improve its sales on 2019, with a 0.2% increase and gaining 3 places by leapfrogging Dodge, BMW and Lexus. Next best performers in the top-15 are Kia (-4.8%), GMC (-8.8%), Mercedes-Benz (-8.9%) and Hyundai (-9.7%). That allows Hyundai to reclaim 8th place from Subaru and close in on RAM’s 7th place, with just 2,200 sales between them.
  • BMW is the best selling luxury brand ahead of Lexus and Mercedes-Benz, which sold 274,916 luxury vehicles. Its brand total of 325,915 sales includes Sprinter and Metris vans, which are not luxury vehicles. Looking at other luxury brands, Tesla leaps ahead of Audi and Buick, while Volvo moves past Lincoln and Land Rover outsells Infiniti. Alfa Romeo jumps past Genesis, but the latter just introduced its first crossover and should be able to finally gain some traction in 2021.
  • Dodge is the biggest loser among major brands, with sales down 36.8%, while Volvo (+1.8%) and Tesla (+0.5%) are the big winners of 2020.

Brands ranking

Brand 2020 2019 Change 2020 share 2019 share 2020-Q4 2019-Q4 Change
1 Ford 1.929.298 2.293.984 -15,9% 13,2% 13,5% 507.629 565.373 -10,2%
2 Toyota 1.837.885 2.085.195 -11,9% 12,6% 12,2% 567.761 515.455 10,1%
3 Chevrolet 1.740.882 1.958.783 -11,1% 11,9% 11,5% 522.136 499.403 4,6%
4 Honda 1.209.805 1.450.785 -16,6% 8,3% 8,5% 324.739 357.389 -9,1%
5 Nissan 819.715 1.227.973 -33,2% 5,6% 7,2% 222.651 271.517 -18,0%
6 Jeep 795.313 923.291 -13,9% 5,5% 5,4% 213.715 221.536 -3,5%
7 Ram 624.641 703.023 -11,1% 4,3% 4,1% 181.297 190.655 -4,9%
8 Hyundai 622.269 688.771 -9,7% 4,3% 4,0% 178.844 182.415 -2,0%
9 Subaru 611.938 700.117 -12,6% 4,2% 4,1% 175.382 174.788 0,3%
10 Kia 586.105 615.338 -4,8% 4,0% 3,6% 157.755 151.740 4,0%
11 GMC 515.311 564.946 -8,8% 3,5% 3,3% 162.090 146.880 10,4%
12 Volkswagen 326.911 363.322 -10,0% 2,2% 2,1% 94.330 85.167 10,8%
13 Mercedes-Benz 325.915 357.729 -8,9% 2,2% 2,1% 95.306 104.672 -8,9%
14 Mazda 279.076 278.552 0,2% 1,9% 1,6% 75.796 70.385 7,7%
15 BMW 278.732 324.826 -14,2% 1,9% 1,9% 98.750 92.399 6,9%
16 Lexus 275.040 298.114 -7,7% 1,9% 1,7% 92.954 88.561 5,0%
17 Dodge 267.328 422.886 -36,8% 1,8% 2,5% 62.978 90.641 -30,5%
18 Tesla 193.200 192.250 0,5% 1,3% 1,1% 64.000 56.525 13,2%
19 Audi 186.963 224.111 -16,6% 1,3% 1,3% 62.547 65.640 -4,7%
20 Buick 162.741 206.929 -21,4% 1,1% 1,2% 44.188 49.074 -10,0%
21 Acura 136.982 157.385 -13,0% 0,9% 0,9% 41.329 44.572 -7,3%
22 Cadillac 129.495 156.246 -17,1% 0,9% 0,9% 42.909 40.552 5,8%
23 Chrysler 110.464 126.971 -13,0% 0,8% 0,7% 34.614 33.005 4,9%
24 Volvo 110.129 108.234 1,8% 0,8% 0,6% 36.525 30.802 18,6%
25 Lincoln 105.410 112.204 -6,1% 0,7% 0,7% 31.014 33.355 -7,0%
26 Mitsubishi 87.772 121.046 -27,5% 0,6% 0,7% 15.155 25.475 -40,5%
27 Land Rover 80.034 94.736 -15,5% 0,5% 0,6% 27.700 28.097 -1,4%
28 Infiniti 79.502 117.708 -32,5% 0,5% 0,7% 20.482 29.774 -31,2%
29 Porsche 57.294 61.568 -6,9% 0,4% 0,4% 17.560 16.506 6,4%
30 Mini 28.138 36.092 -22,0% 0,2% 0,2% 8.549 8.339 2,5%
31 Jaguar 21.786 31.051 -29,8% 0,1% 0,2% 5.500 8.619 -36,2%
32 Alfa Romeo 18.586 18.292 1,6% 0,1% 0,1% 6.093 4.945 23,2%
33 Genesis 16.384 21.233 -22,8% 0,1% 0,1% 5.099 6.327 -19,4%
34 Fiat 4.303 9.200 -53,2% 0,0% 0,1% 734 1.737 -57,7%
  1. Despite a 7 week shutdown, Tesla managed to earn a 0,5% increase in sales, thats great.
    With battery prices going down from $157/KWh at end of 2019 to $137/KWh at end of 2020, expect Tesla to produce/sell more vehicles. Besides part of European/Asian demand will be handled by output from Shanghai. That will leave more Tesla vehicles to USA/Canada.

  2. Nissan arrested the golden goose (Mr. Calos Ghosn) and now they took a knockout punch with their sales decreasing by 33%. Time for crony japanese government and nissan to apologize to him and earn some respect.

  3. With the exit of Grand Caravan & Journey, expect Dodge sales to decline. That will allow Tesla to rise in rank. Whether it could overtake Lexus, thats tough job since Lexus is launching more and more hybrid models which are 40-50% more fuel efficient than standard petrol vehicles.

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