US car sales analysis January 2019 – brands

After eking out a 0.6% growth in 2018, the US market got off to a sluggish start in 2019, as cold weather and the federal government shutdown contributed to a 1.0% drop in sales compared to January’18. Interestingly, this makes it the eighth month in a row where a monthly increase in sales is immediately followed by a sales decrease, and vice versa. In addition to unique circumstances this January, it is also worth remembering that December’18 was a particularly good month for the US market, with sales up 2.2%, so it’s reasonable to think that some of the sales that would have otherwise takes place in January’19 happened instead the month prior. Either way, it will take a few more months to get a sense for where the market is heading in 2019.

Highlights:

  • Six out of the Top 10 brands registered positive sales growth this month, down from seven in December
  • The Top 5 was unusually eventful, with Nissan losing almost 20% of its sales, dropping behind Honda in the standings, Chevrolet losing almost 12% (estimate), while Toyota lost 7%, all while Ford posted a much better-than-usual 6.5% sales growth (in 2018 it posted a 3.3% sales fall)
Nissan_Altima-US-car-sales-statistics
2019 Nissan Altima
  • Also surprising was Jeep‘s 2% drop in sales, the first experienced by the surging brand since Dec’17
  • Less surprising were Subaru‘s steady rise in sales and Ram‘s double-digit sales growth, although for both brands the sales growth was nowhere near as impressive as it was in December
  • After eking out positive growth in 2018, both Hyundai and Kia started 2019 on a positive note
  • Outside the Top 10 mainstream brands did really poorly, with only Kia and Mitsubishi managing positive growth
  • Among the remaining mainstream brands the biggest disappointment probably came from Mazda, whose sales fell by almost 20%, although there were plenty of “usual suspects” with double-digit sales declines, including ChryslerMiniFiat and Smart
  • Among luxury brands there was really only one standout, Tesla, although it has to be noted that estimates for its January sales figure vary widely between different source

  • Most other leading luxury brands all saw their sales fall in January, with Mercedes-Benz doing particularly badly (sales down by almost 14%)
  • Further down things brighten up for luxury brands, with AcuraLincoln, Land RoverPorsche and, in particular, Jaguar doing well to double-digit growth
  • Unfortunately, this upswing did not extend any further though, with Genesis and Alfa Romeo both seeing sales fall by more than 20%
  • Among the exclusive brands McLaren saw its sales triple (!) on Jan’18, allowing it to comprehensively outsell Bentley, which at least looks like it might start recovering from an almost-20% sales drop in 2018, as well as Lamborghini and Rolls-Royce
  • Brand ranking

    Monthly YTD
    # Model Jan’19 Jan’19 Δ # 2019 2018 Δ
    a1 Ford 164,048 154,001 6.5% a1 164,048 154,001 6.5%
    a2 Toyota 138,601 149,142 -7.1% a2 138,601 149,142 -7.1%
    a3 Chevrolet* 125,212 141,947 -11.8% a3 125,212 141,947 -11.8%
    a4 (1) Honda 96,375 95,634 0.8% a4 (1) 96,375 95,634 0.8%
    a5 (1) Nissan 90,439 112,903 -19.9% a5 (1) 90,439 112,903 -19.9%
    a6 Jeep 58,401 59,703 -2.2% a6 58,401 59,703 -2.2%
    a7 Subaru 46,072 44,357 3.9% a7 46,072 44,357 3.9%
    a8 Hyundai 40,796 39,630 2.9% a8 40,796 39,630 2.9%
    a9 (2) Ram 39,649 32,039 23.8% a9 (2) 39,649 32,039 23.8%
    b10 GMC* 37,810 33,058 14.4% b10 37,810 33,058 14.4%
    b11 (2) Kia 37,376 35,628 4.9% b11 (2) 37,376 35,628 4.9%
    b12 (13) Tesla** 31,900 7,700 314.3% b12 (13) 31,900 7,700 314.3%
    b13 (1) Dodge 27,077 27,600 -1.9% b13 (1) 27,077 27,600 -1.9%
    b14 (1) Mercedes-Benz 23,721 27,498 -13.7% b14 (1) 23,721 27,498 -13.7%
    b15 VW 23,074 24,744 -6.7% b15 23,074 24,744 -6.7%
    b16 (2) Mazda 20,045 24,962 -19.7% b16 (2) 20,045 24,962 -19.7%
    b17 (1) BMW 18,102 19,016 -4.8% b17 (1) 18,102 19,016 -4.8%
    b18 (1) Lexus 17,420 17,914 -2.8% b18 (1) 17,420 17,914 -2.8%
    b19 (1) Audi 14,253 14,511 -1.8% b19 (1) 14,253 14,511 -1.8%
    b20 (1) Buick* 12,072 13,348 -9.6% b20 (1) 12,072 13,348 -9.6%
    b21 (1) Infiniti 10,302 10,635 -3.1% b21 (1) 10,302 10,635 -3.1%
    b22 Cadillac* 9,766 9,895 -1.3% b22 9,766 9,895 -1.3%
    b23 Acura 9,764 8,908 9.6% b23 9,764 8,908 9.6%
    b24 (3) Chrysler 9,054 10,584 -14.5% b24 (3) 9,054 10,584 -14.5%
    b25 (1) Mitsubishi 8,711 8,480 2.7% b25 (1) 8,711 8,480 2.7%
    b26 (1) Lincoln 7,715 6,410 20.4% b26 (1) 7,715 6,410 20.4%
    b27 (1) Land Rover 7,385 6,446 14.6% b27 (1) 7,385 6,446 14.6%
    b28 Volvo 5,854 5,567 5.2% b28 5,854 5,567 5.2%
    b29 Porsche 5,419 4,816 12.5% b29 5,419 4,816 12.5%
    b30 (1) Jaguar 3,078 2,604 18.2% b30 (1) 3,078 2,604 18.2%
    b31 (1) Mini 2,457 2,937 -16.3% b31 (1) 2,457 2,937 -16.3%
    b32 (1) Genesis 1,224 1,613 -24.1% b32 (1) 1,224 1,613 -24.1%
    b33 (1) Alfa Romeo 1,150 1,648 -30.2% b33 (1) 1,150 1,648 -30.2%
    b34 (1) Maserati* 925 897 3.1% b34 (1) 925 897 3.1%
    b35 (1) Fiat 751 1,229 -38.9% b35 (1) 751 1,229 -38.9%
    b36 (4) McLaren* 238 79 201.3% b36 (4) 238 79 201.3%
    b37 (1) Bentley* 169 157 7.6% b37 (1) 169 157 7.6%
    b38 Lamborghini* 97 94 3.2% b38 97 94 3.2%
    b39 Rolls-Royce* 92 90 2.2% b39 92 90 2.2%
    b40 (3) Smart 83 105 -21.0% b40 (3) 83 105 -21.0%

    Note: * Estimate

  1. Where is your Tesla figure coming from? Everything I’ve found says ~6500 Model 3 + under 1K each of the Model S and X, for a brand total of around 8500.

    Bloomberg is predicting that 20K+ Model 3 were built in January, but those are mostly believed to have been loaded onto 5 cargo ships and sent to Europe.

    I’m not seeing anyone else reporting anything close to your numbers, which doesn’t mean that your numbers are wrong, but I’m curious what your source is.

    1. The estimates come from Automotive News, though I do wonder whether I should not revise them – I normally prefer to go with a single source on my estimates, but in this case the reality seems to far from what they’re predicting for me to report…

  2. Amazing post, it is really an informative and useful post.I know very important things over here. Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

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