US sales: April 2016, brands


Jeep lineupUS car sales were up 3.5% to 1,506,126 in April, a reasonable pace of growth that industry analysts thought was a much better performance than the 3.1% recorded in March. Seasonally-adjusted, the sales figures came in at 17.42 million, up from 16.56 million in March. While part of the reason for the sales growth seems to be ever-rising discounts on new cars, the stable economy and low gas prices are also big contributors.

Note: Use the drop-down menu on the top right-hand corner of this site to browse for car sales data of every brand and model sold in the US since 2003.

Highlights include:

  • FCA (on the back of Jeep and RAM sales) , Audi and Subaru all extended their unbroken growth streaks – they are up to 73, 64 and 53 months, respectively
  • HondaNissanJeep and RAM were the four top-20 brands to record double-digit growth in April
  • Mazda recorded a 6.6% growth, a welcome respite from their recent downward performance (sales in 2016 are still 11.1% down compared to first four months in 2015)
  • Many of the “chasing pack” luxury brands recorded positive sales growth: AudiAcuraInfiniti and Volvo
  • Scion continues gaining sales despite its eminent demise

Losers include:

  • GM stumbled as all its brands recorded a drop sales on the back of falling fleet sales, led by a 28.9% drop in sales at Cadillac
  • Bad news continue at FCA’s mainstream car brands, with Chrysler and Fiat losing double digits in volume, and even Dodge recording the odd month of falling sales (it’s up 9.3% in 2016 so far)
  • Land Rover registered an unusual, albeit small at -2.3%, fall in sales in April
  • In the luxury race all the frontrunners saw their sales fall: Mercedes-Benz (-0.4%), BMW (-7.4%) and Lexus (-3.8%)
  • Bentley sales are yet to recover, and so far are less than half of what they were this time in 2015, to the point that the brand has been outsold by Rolls-Royce so far in 2016

Brand ranking April 2016

Monthly YTD
# Model Apr’16 Apr’15 Δ # 2016 2015 Δ
a1 Ford 219,963 213,518 3.0% a1 836,645 783,940 6.7%
a2 Chevrolet 183,442 187,837 -2.3% a3 (1) 656,172 664,393 -1.2%
a3 Toyota 179,603 173,144 3.7% a2 (1) 656,219 659,606 -0.5%
a4 Honda 132,623 115,194 15.1% a5 452,451 409,493 10.5%
a5 Nissan 113,429 99,869 13.6% a4 480,973 433,655 10.9%
a6 Jeep 84,298 71,759 17.5% a6 293,895 250,508 17.3%
a7 Hyundai 62,213 68,009 -8.5% a7 235,543 240,038 -1.9%
a8 Kia 56,508 53,282 6.1% a8 202,829 194,382 4.3%
a9 Subaru 50,380 47,241 6.6% b10 (1) 182,777 178,522 2.4%
b10 GMC 47,159 47,194 -0.1% b12 (1) 168,207 167,005 0.7%
b11 (1) Ram 45,810 40,864 12.1% b11 (1) 172,123 151,270 13.8%
b12 (1) Dodge 43,575 44,906 -3.0% a9 (1) 184,084 168,417 9.3%
b13 Mercedes-Benz 31,825 31,948 -0.4% b13 114,834 115,663 -0.7%
b14 VW 27,112 30,009 -9.7% b15 96,426 109,248 -11.7%
b15 (3) Mazda 26,195 24,123 8.6% b17 (1) 90,838 102,165 -11.1%
b16 BMW 24,951 26,952 -7.4% b16 95,564 105,444 -9.4%
b17 Lexus 24,882 25,876 -3.8% b14 (3) 99,103 103,056 -3.8%
b18 (3) Chrysler 22,843 27,704 -17.5% b18 (4) 88,349 109,637 -19.4%
b19 (1) Audi 17,801 16,827 5.8% b20 59,761 56,925 5.0%
b20 (1) Buick 17,720 18,224 -2.8% b19 72,007 68,721 4.8%
b21 (1) Acura 16,206 14,874 9.0% b21 54,081 54,518 -0.8%
b22 (1) Cadillac 11,236 15,801 -28.9% b22 46,869 52,976 -11.5%
b23 Infiniti 10,432 9,979 4.5% b23 43,092 43,821 -1.7%
b24 (1) Lincoln 9,776 8,134 20.2% b25 34,681 29,612 17.1%
b25 (1) Mitsubishi 9,674 8,216 17.7% b24 34,886 32,006 9.0%
b26 (4) Scion 6,640 4,309 54.1% b27 (3) 24,882 16,287 52.8%
b27 (2) Volvo 6,169 4,636 33.1% b28 (1) 22,530 18,358 22.7%
b28 Porsche 5,410 5,217 3.7% b29 17,648 16,647 6.0%
b29 (2) Land Rover 5,188 5,311 -2.3% b26 25,993 22,287 16.6%
b30 (4) Mini 4,796 5,476 -12.4% b30 (2) 15,635 18,253 -14.3%
b31 Fiat 3,045 3,756 -18.9% b31 12,054 14,794 -18.5%
b32 Tesla 2,250 1,900 18.4% b32 8,725 7,600 14.8%
b33 Jaguar 1,087 1,079 0.7% b33 6,084 5,415 12.4%
b34 Maserati 1,066 1,060 0.6% b34 3,316 2,989 10.9%
b35 Smart 466 480 -2.9% b35 1,766 2,013 -12.3%
b36 Bentley 110 242 -54.5% b37 (1) 372 782 -52.4%
b37 Rolls-Royce 97 98 -1.0% b36 (1) 404 392 3.1%
b38 Lamborghini 86 84 2.4% b38 344 336 2.4%
b39 Alfa Romeo 60 38 57.9% b39 229 255 -10.2%
  1. For a European it’s still weird to see Chevrolet, Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Jeep, Hyundai, Kia and Subaru high up in the charts. Very nice though!

    VW down almost 12% YTD and, again, losing 9,7% in April. 27.112 cars sold in one month seems good, but not for a volume brand. That’s not even 2% share in a growing market. They have a serious problem and with the aftermath of the scandal worsening every week I don’t see a bright future for them in the US.

  2. @Losange – I totally understand, but you have to view these brands through the prism of home-advantage (Chevrolet, Jeep) and Asian conquests (Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Hyundai, Kia, Subaru). If you think about it, the American market is as notable for those who are at the top as those who are not (VW, Fiat) and those who are not even present (anymore): French automakers. Of the Japanese the only brand to have really failed badly in recent years is Mitsubishi, but that is true everywhere anyway.

    1. Yes, but my point is that the American market is more versatile compared with the European market. This goes for volume brands and luxury brands. In 2016 in the US, the majority of best selling brands is non-American (6/10) whereas the European Top 10 brands consists of only two non-Europeans brands (i.e. #2 Ford and #10 Nissan). And there are still many Europeans who consider Ford being partly European, because of German based Ford Europe and the former differentation of models between the continents.

      In my view, Europe has always been more protective of their own market as European consumers buy more European products. The American market is in a way more honest when you look at the positions of Lexus and Infiniti in the States. This is unthinkable in Europe, because of (artificial/controversial) German supremacy.

  3. @Losange – I agree with you, the American market is definitely quicker to embrace good products from outside manufacturers, but “quicker” is really a relative term. It took Toyota some 20-30 years (depending on what time you start as the time of “entry” onto the US market) to truly establish itself as a leading brand in the US, Hyundai/Kia took more like 10-15 years and is still something of a record. Of course, if the product is not good (see: VW, French manufacturers, Fiat and Alfa Romeo of old) you may never establish yourself.

    That said, the fact that 6/10 bestselling brands in the US are non-American may speak as much to the American market/customers open attitude, as to the relative quality of erstwhile American cars compared to the competition (especially over the period between late 1970s and mid-1990s). After all, objectively speaking German cars are some of the best in the world, though if you look at value-for-money the equation may look somewhat different.

    But I think your point is correct to a large extent, and this can be seen in the relative ranking of Lexus, which for the longest time was the top-selling luxury brand in the US, while in Europe it never really caught on. That said, whether the German supremacy in Europe is truly artificial, or a result of the cars providing that special je ne sais quoi to luxury car buyers that Japanese competition cannot provide is a matter of opinion. That American buyers, of luxury brands and otherwise, are more willing to embrace (good) newcomers is in my opinion in large part due to the more meritocratic, open nature of the American society (even if the likes of Donald Trump would do their best to have you forget that)

    However, it is certainly

    1. The German supremacy isn’t a matter of opinion, but more a matter of marketing. For instance, slogans like “It’s a German”, “The best or nothing” and “Das Auto” show the core thoughts and attitude with which Germans brands want to sell cars. They know a lot of people are sensitive to claims of superiority, because these customers want to identify themselves with brands that reflect parts of their identity and/or feel comfortable with it. At the end of the day, this doesn’t say anything about the product’s quality (compared with other products).

      Take Audi for example, this so-called ‘premium’ brand is interchangeable with all other brands of VW Group, but still people ‘think’ it’s worth to spend more money for an Audi than for a VW or Skoda. Why? Simple, they assume a ‘premium’ car is worth more money so they’ll search for reasons to confirm this assumption. Nevertheless, international reliability/satisfaction studies show Audi isn’t at the top where they should be. In fact, most of the times they’re even behind Skoda and VW or other mainstream brands. I’m not saying German cars are bad, but ‘some of the best in the world’ is a quick generalization.

      Let me be clear, I think ‘premium’ is nonsense. Well in today’s society it has been misused, normally a premium is something you get for free when you buy something else. Of course there are top brands focusing on the upper side of the market. I just think Americans are less sensitive for intangable features of ‘premium’ cars made up by marketing departments. Or to put it in other words: ils savent qoui 😉

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