After discussing the US auto brand sales ranking for February, let’s zoom in on the models. In the top-3 we immediately see that the RAM Pickup has closed in on the Chevrolet Silverado‘s #2 spot with a 23.2% increase, compared to a loss of 5% for the Chevy. A little further down, the Toyota Corolla has reclaimed the #2 passenger car spot from the Honda Civic, despite the new generation Civic’s impressive 31.7% improvement on last year. Nissan Altima sales are flat, but it stays ahead of its rival Honda Accord, while the Nissan Sentra shoots past the Ford Focus to take third place for compact cars as both improve more than 30%. The Sentra was helped by its recent facelift, but also thanks to fleet sales according to Nissan. The Honda CR-V hits a February record, but that couldn’t save it from being outsold by the Toyota RAV4. The RAV4 is still about 7,000 units behind the Camry, but the company expects the crossover to become the brand’s best selling model within five years.
After rising quickly in the past 2.5 years, the Nissan Rogue takes a breath. According to Nissan, this is a result of the phase-out of the previous generation Rogue, which until now was still sold as a cheaper alternative under the name Rogue Select. Similarly, Infiniti suffered a loss as the Q40 is phased out, the previous generation G37 sedan. The Chevrolet Malibu is the biggest winner in the top-25 with more than 50% increase, while its smaller sibling Chevrolet Cruze is the biggest loser at -29%. A similar phenomenon happened at Hyundai, where the Sonata midsized sedan improved 25% in 19th place, while the compact Elantra lost 23.8% in 31st place. Contrastingly, at Kia the Optima (#40) lost 16.9% while the Forte (#50) improved 47.5%.
The new generations Ford Edge (#27) and Nissan Murano (#54) are up more than 80% on last year, and so is the new generation Hyundai Tucson (#56), although its gain is offset by a similar volume loss at the larger Santa Fe (#73). The Kia Sportage (#72) also gained 72%. The Dodge Grand Caravan in 28th place did even better, but that’s because this time last year the factory was shut down to prepare for production of the new Chrysler Pacifica. The opposite happened at Honda, where the Pilot (#41) had an abnormally high start of the year in 2015 as dealers were selling off the outgoing generation, and as a result the new generation loses 25% on that volume, but it’s still up 38.5% on February 2014.
After a terrible January score for the Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200, the Dart slightly recovers with a loss of just 8.6% in 64th place, but the 200 is still down by more than half in #66. Contrastingly, Jeep had an excellent month again, with the Cherokee (#22), Wrangler (#24), Patriot (#36) and Compass (#59) all setting new February records. So did the Dodge Journey (#52) and Challenger (#74), while the Charger (#46) lost 15.4%. Ford’s great result this month is shared nicely across its line-up. All of its models improved in February, except the C-Max hybrid (down 4 units in 164th place) and the E-series van (#94) which has been largely replaced by the Transit (#35).
Continued cheap gasoline kept alternative power vehicles less attractive, with the exception of Tesla and the new generation Chevrolet Volt (#173). The Toyota Prius (#37) lost 12.2% and the Nissan Leaf (#185) lost 22.4%. BMW’s i3 (#231) and i8 (#252) electrified cars were both knocked down even harder at -77.2% and -52.2% respectively. Small cars also suffered, with the Honda Fit (#101) down 35.5%, the Chevrolet Spark (#142) down 34.1% (but the Sonic up 46.2% in 87th place), the Kia Rio (#158) down 24.8% and the Toyota Yaris (#189) losing 33.4%
Similar to last month, luxury buyers shunned cars and flocked to crossovers and SUVs. Lexus’ newly regained leadership in the luxury segment wasn’t thanks to its passenger cars which all lost volume again, while its SUVs and crossovers all showed double digit gains except the GX which had flat sales. BMW’s cars lost 19% of volume while its SUVs and crossovers improved 7%. Mercedes-Benz saw a 13% decline of its cars offset by a 13% increase of its crossovers and SUVs. And at Cadillac, the Escalade (#137 and the ESV at #180) and SRX (#89) also saved the day, as only the CTS (#159) showed a slight increase in its sedan line-up.
Unsurprisingly, Volkswagen is down for the fourth consecutive month as all of its models lost volume, except the Tiguan again. However, Audi continues to improve, scoring its 62nd straight month of gains, thanks to the Q7 (#146), A7 (#212) and TT (#236).
The Jeep Renegade is the best selling newcomer in 65th place, followed by its rival Honda HR-V at #77, while the Mazda CX-3 fails to impress in 139th place, not to mention the Fiat 500X at #153. The 500X doesn’t even offset the declines of the 500 minicar (#176) and the 500L (#220), which both lose more than half their volumes.
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