The decline in the US car market continued with a 1.6% decline in sales, despite August this year having one more sales day than last year. Despite the fact that some of the fall may be attributed to the impact of Hurricane Harvey, which hit the US towards the end of the month, it is clear that the market is not going to pick up anytime soon. The poor performance in August caused the SAAR (Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate) figure to drop to 16.13 million vehicles, the lowest figure in over three years.
After upsetting the status quo in July Toyota is back in second spot behind Ford, though the gap between the two, at around 3,500 cars, is about a tenth of what it was this time last year, with Toyota sales rising by 11.5%, compared to a 1.9% fall at Ford
Things looked much better over at Chevrolet, which after recording a dismal 15.3% sales drop in July bounced back with an 11.4% sales rise in August, which put the brand where it was last year – right behind Toyota
There were only two other brands in the Top 10 who saw their sales rise in August: Subaru, who on the back of a 4.6% sales rise bettered its previous monthly sales record from December 2016, and GMC, which recorded a great 12.4% sales rise
Despite recording a 1.8% decline in sales, and moving to a YTD net sales decline in August, Honda handily outsold its closest rival, Nissan, to claim fourth in the YTD standings just as it had done at this point last year – aided by Nissan’s 14.8% decline in sales
Sales fell even faster over at Jeep (15.4% decline) and Hyundai (25.7% decline), making Kia‘s 1.7% decline in August appear small by comparison
Outside the Top 10 things again looked grim for mainstream manufacturers, with only two brands recording positive growth: Mitsubishi saw its sales rise 11.3%, while VW, which after a sales decline in July bounced back with 9.0% sales growth in August
By comparison, the list of mainstream losers is long, beginning with those who saw their sales slide just a bit (FCA’s Dodge and Ram, Mazda), through those for which the decline was in the low double-digits (Mini, down 10.5%), all the way to those like Fiat (down 22.4%), Buick (down 22.5%), Chrysler (down 32.5%) and Smart (down 35.1%)
August again was not a great month for higher volume luxury brands, with the biggest ones all recording falling sales: Lexus saw its sales fall by 0.4%, Mercedes-Benz by 8.2%, BMW by 7.7%, Cadillac by 8.1%, and Acura by 7.8%; the only exceptions were Audi, whose sales were up 2.8%, and Infiniti, with sales up 5.2%
Further down the luxury sales table things were mixed: while Maserati saw its sales rise by 15.1%, Genesis by 9.8%, Land Rover by 4.8% and Volvo by 4.1%, there were quite a few brands who saw their sales fall: Jaguar will be disappointed to see its sales fall by 6.0%, Porsche saw its sales by 9.1%, while estimated sales at Tesla fell by 18.9%
Even though it’s impossible to compare its sales growth to last year, before the Giulia and Stelvio reached the market, it is reasonable to think that Alfa Romeo will hope that its sales rise above the 1,000 or so cars per month mark soon, something that should be possible while sales of the crossover Stelvio hit full steam (they only began in June this year)
Among the exclusive brands only Rolls-Royce and McLaren recorded positive sales growth in August: 11.8% and 21.4%, respectively
Ferrari saw its sales fall by 7.2%, Lamborghini saw their sales fall by 15.1%, but it’s Bentley that posted the highest loss of 46.6% (if you look at Bentley’s monthly sales overall, though, you’ll notice that this is misleading – it was August’16 that was an abnormally good month for Bentley, and not that August’17 was a particularly bad one)
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