US car sales analysis May 2019 – brands

The US car market managed to eke out its first sales increase in 2019, although the meagre 0.1% sales growth hardly made a dent in the YTD sales decline, which now stands at 2.2%. That said, May is often viewed as a weathervane for the rest of the year, and if this turns out to be the case in 2019, there may yet be a chance for the market’s fortune to pick up substantially in the coming months.

Highlights:

  • Mainstream brands saw their sales decline by 0.3%, their best performance so far in 2019, while luxury brands saw their sales grow by 3.0%, a considerably better performance than their 1.2% sales growth YTD
  • Six out of the Top 10 brands registered positive sales growth in May, an increase on the five brands that registered positive growth in April
  • Most of the brands in the Top 10 performed in May much as they had so far this year, with two exceptions: Honda saw its sales decline by 5.9%, erasing its YTD growth in 2019, while Nissan once again saw its sales rise in 2019, although the meagre 1.1% sales growth did not go very far to make amends for the brand’s YTD sales decline, which fell slightly to 5.9% in May
  • Ram had a great month yet again, with its 29.4% growth rate making it the best month of 2019 so far, and one of the best in many years, second only to the 44% growth rate the brand registered in Nov’18
  • Subaru managed to extend its run of growth to 90 consecutive months

  • The mainstream brands just outside the Top 10 had a good month, with VW experiencing its best month since Mar’18 (up 14.4%), and GMC, Dodge and Buick all registering decent single-digit growth
  • Further down the standings things were not quite so bright for mainstream brands, with Mazda and Chrysler both registering their regular, double-digit sales decline, and Mitsubishi, once again registering a sales decline in May, which brought its YTD growth down to just 4.6%
  • Among the top luxury brands Mercedes-Benz, Lexus and Audi all registered mild sales declines, while BMW registered a mild sales increase
  • Right behind these four brands was EV-wunderkind Tesla (sales almost doubled on May’18), leading a gaggle of other luxury brands, some with small sales growth (Acura, Volvo), others seeing their sales fall (Cadillac*, Infiniti, Lincoln)
  • With sales of its new G70 model now properly ramping up, Genesis saw its sales more than double on May’18, by far the best month-on-month growth rate in the brand’s short life, and the first time the brand has sold more than 2,000 in one month (by comparison, Mercedes-Benz sold almost 30,000 cars in May)
  • This good performance allowed the Korean brand to outsell Jaguar for the first time, with the British brand unable to repeat its great performance from the past few months, as it saw its sales fall by 14.6%
  • Things are going from bad to worse over at Alfa Romeo, with May sales falling by a third compared to last year, pushing the brands YTD decline past a quarter

Brand ranking

Rank Brand May’19 May’18 Δ YTD Rank 2019 2018 Δ
a1 Ford 222,403 231,772 -4.0% a1 970,617 1,001,442 -3.1%
a2 Toyota 197,637 189,930 4.1% a2 837,068 868,459 -3.6%
a3 Chevrolet* 176,396 182,132 -3.1% a3 782,130 837,490 -6.6%
a4 Honda 131,985 140,250 -5.9% a4 579,475 583,140 -0.6%
a5 Nissan 121,570 120,207 1.1% a5 540,313 574,127 -5.9%
a6 Jeep 90,326 97,287 -7.2% a6 379,455 408,033 -7.0%
a7 (3) Ram 67,117 51,884 29.4% a9 (2) 257,941 208,612 23.6%
a8 (1) Hyundai 66,121 64,980 1.8% a8 (1) 269,126 264,530 1.7%
a9 (1) Subaru 63,972 60,146 6.4% a7 (1) 278,014 263,019 5.7%
b10 (1) Kia 60,062 59,462 1.0% b10 (1) 248,043 236,992 4.7%
b11 GMC* 49,366 47,336 4.3% b11 (1) 218,884 221,379 -1.1%
b12 Dodge 47,759 46,581 2.5% b12 189,538 204,546 -7.3%
b13 VW 35,702 31,211 14.4% b13 (1) 152,883 143,957 6.2%
b14 Mercedes-Benz 29,942 30,077 -0.4% b14 (1) 134,220 146,759 -8.5%
b15 (1) BMW 27,109 26,662 1.7% b15 (1) 124,813 123,979 0.7%
b16 (1) Mazda 25,192 29,980 -16.0% b16 (1) 115,727 137,031 -15.5%
b17 Lexus 24,537 25,391 -3.4% b17 112,688 111,250 1.3%
b18 (1) Buick* 20,389 19,308 5.6% b18 90,402 93,245 -3.0%
b19 (1) Audi 18,892 19,315 -2.2% b19 82,031 88,471 -7.3%
b20 (7) Tesla** 16,350 8,970 82.3% b22 (6) 58,875 32,975 78.5%
b21 (1) Cadillac* 14,150 14,763 -4.2% b20 (1) 62,740 64,819 -3.2%
b22 Acura 13,547 12,819 5.7% b21 (2) 61,619 58,121 6.0%
b23 (2) Chrysler 10,903 14,724 -26.0% b25 (5) 51,481 75,146 -31.5%
b24 Infiniti 10,413 11,625 -10.4% b24 (2) 53,219 61,472 -13.4%
b25 (1) Volvo 9,761 9,338 4.5% b27 40,186 37,754 6.4%
b26 (3) Mitsubishi 9,750 12,416 -21.5% b23 (1) 58,780 56,178 4.6%
b27 (2) Lincoln 9,185 9,755 -5.8% b26 (1) 42,146 40,735 3.5%
b28 Land Rover 7,337 7,103 3.3% b28 (2) 39,530 37,797 4.6%
b29 Porsche 5,010 5,005 0.1% b29 25,052 24,529 2.1%
b30 Mini 2,822 4,226 -33.2% b31 (1) 14,348 18,490 -22.4%
b31 (3) Genesis 2,313 1,076 115.0% b32 (2) 8,120 6,466 25.6%
b32 Jaguar 2,021 2,366 -14.6% b30 (1) 14,390 12,434 15.7%
b33 (2) Alfa Romeo 1,572 2,377 -33.9% b33 (1) 7,442 10,016 -25.7%
b34 (1) Fiat 1,025 1,441 -28.9% b35 (2) 4,170 6,859 -39.2%
b35 Maserati* 925 950 -2.6% b34 (1) 4,625 4,613 0.3%
b36 (1) Lamborghini* 232 125 85.6% b36 (1) 1,160 625 85.6%
b37 (1) McLaren* 180 119 51.3% b37 (1) 1,026 564 81.9%
b38 (2) Bentley* 169 165 2.4% b38 (2) 845 817 3.4%
b39 (1) Rolls-Royce* 110 108 1.9% b39 550 539 2.0%

Note: * Estimate