America’s best selling car Ford F-Series missed just out on 90,000 sales in December, the first time it would have hit that number in more than a decade. Nonetheless, it ended 2017 on a high as it recorded fourth best year ever, after 2001, 2004 and 2005. Its closest rival Chevrolet Silverado gained almost a quarter of its volume on December of last year, but that wasn’t the best performance in the Top 10.
The Ford Explorer re-entered the Top 10 with a 30.7% increase in sales, making it the best selling non-pick up for the Blue Oval this month (these figures include the Explorers sold as Police Interceptor SUV). The new generation helped the Toyota Camry to a 29.7% improvement in December, which was just a little too short to bring the nameplate into positive figures for the year. Still, this performance proves that there is life yet in the midsize segment. The Camry should be able to top 400,000 again in 2018 after 2 years below that figure. Ram Pickup has sold more than half a million units for the first year ever, and that’s even before the new generation arrives in 2018. Nissan Rogue has been the star of the year, and finishes with its second-ever >40k month and its first-ever >400k year. However, despite outselling it in December it still finishes the year behind Toyota RAV4, which claims the Japanese brand’s bestseller crown in the US for the first time. Honda CR-V and Chevrolet Equinox also hit record volumes for their nameplates. Finally, Honda Civic makes it 6 models in the Top 10 that break their annual sales record.
With the Civic and CR-V both flying high, the Honda Accord is the loser for the brand, down by more than a third in December as the new generation is still gearing up, and down by 6.5% for the year. Another big loser in December is the Toyota Corolla, down by 37%, bringing the nameplate down 14.4% for the year. The success of the Camry has increased the struggles of the Nissan Altima and Chevrolet Malibu, both down by just over a quarter in December and by almost a fifth in 2017. The Toyota Prius continues to struggle since its fourth generation just doesn’t seem to vibe with consumers. Interestingly, the Toyota Prius Prime is the only model of the Prius family to improve, and it does so by a huge margin with sales up 8-fold to nearly 20,000 units, just 400 shy of its rival Chevrolet Volt. Among the winners in December are the Honda Pilot, up 54.1% to its best month ever, the GMC Yukon making up for slow sales earlier this year, and the Hyundai Tucson, setting its monthly sales record for the sixth time this year, now at over 11,600 sales which is 3,000 sales above its sales record before 2017. The Nissan Murano also had a stellar month, in fact its second-best month ever, but is still down for the year. Other notable improvers are the Hyundai Santa Fe and the new generation Subaru Crosstrek, both up more than 20%.
In the 2017 Full Year Top 11-50, the Chrysler Pacifica is the big winner with sales almost doubling on its introduction year and only 2 places off the Dodge Grand Caravan (#36 vs. #38). The Hyundai Sonata (out of the December Top-50) and Ford Fusion would like to quickly forget this year and move on, although Ford has hinted that the Fusion may not survive beyond the current generation as the midsized sedan segment is continuously cannibalized by crossovers.
The best selling new nameplate in December is the Volkswagen Atlas at #77. Contrastingly, the biggest loser in the top 51-100 is the Volkswagen Jetta with sales down by almost half. We find our first double-up in December at #100 with the BMW 5-series thanks to the new generation. This helps the nameplate grow by more than a quarter in 2017. The Chrysler 300 is making a comeback with its best volume since September 2015 and the Subaru Impreza benefits from its new generation just like its sister model Crosstrek. Also growing by more than 50% on 2016 are the Buick Envision and Mercedes-Benz GLC. The former is the best selling Chinese made car in the US and Buick’s #3 model, outselling of all the brand’s sedan models combined. Both the Kia Optima and Soul are amongst the biggest losers in the Top 51-100 in December, with the Optima’s sister model Hyundai Sonata not far behind with a loss of 38.4%. The Jeep Renegade has its slowest month since October 2016 as the Compass is stealing the show on Jeep’s showroom floors. With the Murano enjoying a stellar month, Nissan’s other midsized SUV the Pathfinder is heading in the other direction, bringing the nameplate into the red for the year.
In the 2017 Full Year Top 51-100, the big winner is the Nissan Titan, hitting its best annual volume since 2007 as the new generation has been slowly rolled out across markets in the United States. It’s still the slowest selling full-sized pick up truck on the market for now. With all versions launched and nationwide availability, it should be able to give the Toyota Tundra some more competition in 2018. The Cadillac XT5 grows by 73% on its introduction year and is responsible for 43.6% of the brand’s sales, outselling all sedan models combined.
Other notable developments
The new generation and the addition of a 4-door Sportback model help the Audi A5 to its best month ever in December and its best year ever in 2017. The Land Rover Discovery has its first 4-figure month since March 2016, also boosted by the new generation. The Kia Cadenza more than doubles up in December but while its full year sales are also up by more than 50%, that leaves 2017 still as the second-worst year ever in terms of volume. And most of the gain is offset by lost volume of its sister model Hyundai Azera. At close to 300 sales, the Toyota Mirai sets a new monthly sales record for fuel cell vehicles, and its full year sales of just over 1,800 are obviously a new record too. Among the big losers in December is the Nissan Juke with a loss of 80%, as its replacement named Kicks has been revealed. The Volkswagen Passat is down 58.4% with the Golf and Beetle at almost 50% as well, while three of Cadillac’s sedans lose more than half of their sales: the ATS, CTS and XTS. The Honda Ridgeline loses more than 30% on its best month ever in December 2016. The only unibody pick up on the market is still up by almost half on the introduction year of the second generation to score its best annual volume since 2007. A similar phenomenon happened with the Lincoln Continental: down 34.1% in December despite scoring the highest volume of the year, due to December 2016 being exceptionally high. For the full year 2017, the Nissan Armada shows a 154.1% increase thanks to the new generation, the Mazda CX-9 improves almost 61% for the same reason, and the same goes for the Porsche Panamera with a gain of 52.9%.
Behind the VW Atlas already mentioned above, the Toyota C-HR and Kia Niro are the bestselling newcomers in December with the latter taking the crown for the full year, just ahead of the Atlas. The Range Rover Velar continues to slowly improve its volume, while the Tesla Model 3 hits its first 4-figure month in December. The Alfa Romeo Stelvio just misses out on that milestone by 3 sales but will do so in coming months. The Hyundai Ioniq is heading in the wrong direction with 3 consecutive months of less than 1,000 sales after peaking at over 1,800 sales in May. The Kia Stinger improves to 826 deliveries in December.
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