After a topsy-turvy 2018 the US market managed a strong finish, with a 2.2% sales increase in November allowing it to increase its overall year-on-year sales gain to 0.6%, for a total of over 17.3 million vehicles. Moreover, the rate of increase was the highest since the early summer’18, giving the market optimism going into 2019, despite headwinds from higher interest rates, a falling stock market and the waining effect of the 2018 tax cut.
FCA: between Jeep‘s 17.5% sales rise and Ram‘s 40% sales growth in Q4’18, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is clearly on the right path as it enters 2019; only poor performances at Chrysler and Fiat detract from the rosy overall picture
Tesla – the huge success of the new Model 3, combined with ever-growing demand for the Model X and only small sales declines for the aging Model S, allowed the Californian upstart to almost quadruple (!) its sales between 2017 and 2018
Subaru – its cars may not set pulses racing like they used to in the 1990s, but Subaru’s reinvention as a go-to brand for dependable, safe, and family-friendly runabouts has been very impressive; the latest Ascent adds yet another model that’s right-on-message
Mitsubishi – in a market where establishes mainstream brands are struggling to get ahead of their competitors, Mitsubishi’s “value first” approach has allowed it to get back on its feat after its sales collapse in the 2000s and early 2010s
Land Rover and Volvo – new, attractive crossovers have allowed both brands with ever-more-premium aspirations to grow their sales by over 20% compared to 2017, making them the largest two brands to do so, other than the Tesla outlier
McLaren – it may have seemed crazy just five years ago, but the British road car upstart is now outselling the much-more established Lamborghini by a factor of 3-to-2
Ford – a 3.3% sales decline may not seem like much, but when you’re the leading brand in the market, this translates to almost 100,000 fewer cars being sold in 2018, and an ever narrowing gap to Toyota
Nissan – no matter if it’s driven by a desire to cut discounts and sales to fleets, a 6.6% decline in sales is the steepest decline in the Top 10, double that recorded by Ford
Mercedes-Benz – after the relentless growth in market share that the brand has been enjoying since 1991 plateaued over the past few years, the hope was that it was just a matter of time before the good times returned; the sharp downturn in fortunes in 2018 suggests the downward trend may in fact get worse before it gets better
Jaguar – with popularity of the still-new F-Pace waining, the new E-Pace failing to connect with buyers, and little new metal on the horizon, the company will struggle to improve its fortunes anytime soon
Mini – 7.3% is not a big sales decline per se, but for a hip-until-recently brand with a very fresh line-up it is a very disappointing one
Genesis – something is clearly not right with the way that Hyundai has introduced its new luxury brand to the market, with the name change managing to cripple the sales of the once super-popular G80 (nee Hyundai Genesis) and the G90 (nee Hyundai Equus), while the company’s 3-series fighter, the G70, is only managing a few hundred sales each month
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