November saw some unexpected sales surges in the Top 10. While nothing exciting happened in the Top 3, five of the remaining seven models registered growth rates of over 20%! Of these the sales growth experienced by the new Toyota Camry is fully expected, as the new more exciting model seems to be getting early purchase with customers, while the new Honda CR-V is once again seeing good sales growth. The bigger surprises came from market stalwarts such as Nissan Rogue, whose sales were up by over 35% and which came within 1,000 units of outselling Ram Pickup in third, as well as Honda Civic and Ford Explorer, the latter of which placed in the Top 10 for the first time ever! (In fact, it may be the first time a Mid-sized SUV has placed in the Top 10, a place normally occupied by Large Pickups, Compact and Mid-sized cars, and Compact SUVs. By comparison, Toyota RAV4 and Ford Escape had a quiet month in eight and ninth place.
However, not everyone had a reason to cheer. While sales of their compact rivals surged those of Toyota Corolla and Chevrolet Cruze both fell by about a third, while Volkswagen Jetta lost almost 20%. Similarly in the mid-sized segment – the success of the Camry seems to have put a big dent not just in the sales of existing models such as Kia Optima and Chevrolet Malibu (sales down by about a third), but also in those of the new Honda Accord, which lost 15% of its sales, much like the aging Ford Fusion.
The best performances in the Top 50 came from the new BMW 5-series and the new Subaru Impreza, both of whose sales were up over 225%. Nissan Titan also enjoyed its best month in over 10 years (!), punching through the 7,000 ceiling that seemed to be a pretty far reach for the new model even a few months ago. Also notable were the great performances from Buick Enclave (up 87.7%), Mitsubishi Outlander (up 68.5%) and Nissan Maxima (up by 51.3%). On the other end a few models posted disappointing results, among them the newly-facelifted Hyundai Sonata (sales down by almost half), Volkswagen Golf (sales down by over 40%), Honda HR-V (sales down by almost a quarter).
Other notable developments
The new Audi A5 continues to be an unexpected hit for Audi, coming close to outselling the still-new A4 brother (whose sales were down 14.4%, clearly affected by its sexier sister) and the non-sedan segment-leading BMW 4-series. Further down Chevrolet SS once again experienced a sales surge, while the new Kia Cadenza seems to be picking up customers turned off by its smaller Optima sister, Tesla Model X sees sales rise in time for winter, while Toyota Prius Prime is proving a big hit with the buyers in a way that the standard non-plug-in model just hasn’t. Times are less happy for the still-new Subaru Legacy (sales down 44.2%) and Volkswagen Passat (sales down by more than a half), the latter clearly hurt by the success of Volkswagen’s new SUVs.
November saw just one new nameplate enter the market: Kia Stinger with just 17 units. Speaking of Volkswagen’s new models, the Atlas and VW Tiguan L are now both firmly into the Top 100, both cracking 5,000 units a month in November, which is a new high watermark for the former and comes close to matching the best performance of its Tiguan for the latter (when combined the record has already been surpassed). After a great start in August sales of the Range Rover Velar seem to be stabilizing around 1,500 units per month, about on the same level as that of its sister model, Jaguar F-Pace (which it actually outsold for the first time this month, a very good performance given the Range Rover’s much higher price). Sales of Chevrolet Bolt seem to be stabilizing at around 3,000 units for now. The news at Alfa Romeo are bittersweet – sales of the Stelvio crossover keep rising, breaching 650 for the first time, but this seems to have come at the expense of its Giulia sister, which is now selling at just over 700 units a month, a fall from the 1,100 units it sold in July. And finally things are still looking rather dour for the Tesla Model 3, whose production is ramping up at a fraction of the speed promised by Elon Musk.
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