True to form in 2018, the market followed up two months of healthy growth with a decline in July, with sales falling by 3.7%. While this was not enough to erase all of the hard-earned gains so far this year, the YTD growth figure is now down to 1.1%. With the gap growing ever-wider between crossovers and mainstream cars, it is clear that for the growth to continue the crossover sector has to keep performing as well as it has so far this year.
Only three brands in the Top 10 registered positive sales growth in July, down from all 10 in June (although this is not so far from the YTD trend in 2018, where four out of the Top 10 brands have seen their sales increase)
Of those four brands, two registered positive growth once more in July: Jeep (up 15.2%, a bit slower than the remarkable YTD growth of 20.9%) and Subaru (up 6.7%, in line with YTD growth of 6.0%, benefitting from the introduction of the Ascent)
The two other brands with positive YTD growth recorded a sales drop in July: GM brands were down 3.0% (relative to 3.2% YTD growth), while Toyota was 5.1% down (relative to 1.9% YTD growth)
The one brand that experienced positive growth in July after YTD sales decline was Ram
From the remaining brands in the Top 10 almost all saw their sales fall faster than they have so far in 2018, with the worst hit being Nissan: sales were down 15.7%, relative to 5.9% sales decline so far in 2018
Overall, sales declines were greater for luxury brands than for mainstream brands
Even so, only two mainstream brands registered positive sales growth in July: Volkswagen saw sales rise unexpectedly by 12.7%, while Mitsubishi continued its good roll and saw sales rise by 24.0%, roughly in line with YTD sales growth trend
Of the remaining mainstream brands some lost out more than others, with Dodge and Mini experiencing only a moderate sales loss, Mazda and Chrysler both seeing sales fall in the low double-digits, while Fiat and Smart once again saw their sales fall by over 40%
Among luxury brands, Audi continued its remarkable 100+ month sales rise wave, and was the only bigger luxury brand to register significantly positive sales growth; losers included Lexus, Mercedes-Benz and Acura
Still, moderate growth would have been something the remaining luxury brands would have happily traded for, not least Jaguar, whose sales were down 40.6%, and Genesis, whose sales fell by almost two-thirds in July
Among the exclusive brands, Bentley, Rolls-Royce and Lamborghini all reported moderate growth in July, with McLaren yet to report their (undoubtedly also positive) figures
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