The US car market continued its decline, with sales falling for the fourth time in as many months. While the actual rate of decline, 2.0%, was less severe than in February and March, this provides little comfort as April 2019 benefitted from an extra selling day relative to April 2018. Overall, the market has declined by 2.9% so far in 2019.
Mainstream brands saw their sales decline by 1.9%, a slightly slower rate of decline than in the past few months, while luxury brands saw their sales grow by 0.4%, their worst performance so far in 2019
Five out of the Top 10 brands registered positive sales growth in April, an increase on the four brands that registered positive growth in February and March, although two of those five brands saw their sales grow by less than 1%
The big, positive surprise in the Top 5 was the 10.7% sales growth registered by Nissan – it was the first time that the brand registered positive growth in 2019, although there is still a long way if it is to come out of the red for the year-to-date sales
Elsewhere in the Top 10, Ram enjoyed its best month in an already-stellar 2019, with sales up by almost a quarter, while Kia‘s sales growth slowed down after reaching double digits in March
Outside the Top 10, there was one big surprise among the mainstream brands: Mitsubishi, having registered positive growth every month in 2019 so far, including a giant 37% increase in sales in March, registered a 13% drop in sales, presumably because of a sales period which front-loaded sales into March
Our estimates suggest GMC and Buick saw their sales grow by a few percentage points, while VW once again registered positive growth, putting its YTD sales more firmly into the black
By comparison, after three months of mild sales declines Dodge saw its sales collapse by a quarter, while Mazda, Chrysler, Mini and Fiat continued to see their sales slide
Among luxury brands there was the usual great performance from Tesla (sales almost doubled on April’18), but the real standout was Genesis, which saw sales rise by 56%, the fastest month-on-month rate of sales growth the brand has ever recorded; however, as a result of the sales collapse Genesis experienced in 2018, sales this month (1,605) were still below the (modest) record the brand set in December’17, when it sold almost 2,000 cars
After a good March the leading luxury brands had another bad month, with Lexus seeing its sales fall, Mercedes-Benz once again registering a double-digit sales decline, and Audi seeing its sales fall at the fastest rate in many years
Further down, many luxury brands registered a steady single-digit sales decline, with the surprisingly bad performance coming from Porsche, which saw its sales fall by almost 10%
Elsewhere, Land Rover once again saw good growth, putting the brand firmly in the black YTD, after a bad March, while Jaguar once again managed positive sales growth, albeit nothing as quick as the 60% growth it managed in February
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