January 2014 Auto Sales

Miserable cold and snow the gripped much of the East and Midwest put the chill on new-car sales in January, which dropped 3% compared to a year ago. That started 2014 with an annualized sales rate of 15.2 million units, which is slightly below December's 15.4-million-unit pace and considerably below the 16- to 16.5-million units most industry watchers are predicting for this year. Not all automakers suffered the winter doldrums. A few proved immune to the cold; Chrysler's U.S. sales chief Reid Bigland quipped that "the bad weather only seemed to affect our competitors' stores." Nissan, Subaru, and Jaguar-Land Rover joined Chrysler in defying the downturn. Overall, fleet sales suffered more so than retail sales, possibly as a result of a change in the depreciation allowance businesses can take for trucks. We'll have to see whether the tax change puts a long-term chill on pickup truck sales. As for the rest of the market, the good news is that this winter can't last forever. --Joe Lorio


JANUARY 2014 SALES RESULTS, AND PERCENT CHANGE VERSUS JANUARY 2013.

GENERAL MOTORS -12%
It was an unhappy start to 2014 for General Motors, although its double-digit decline is compared to a particularly robust January in 2013. The decline in pickup sales hurt, although GM notes that its trucks have been selling with a richer (more expensive models, more heavily equipped) model mix than their predecessors.

Buick -1%
The Encore's big increase over its small initial volumes last year and another good month for the Regal (+43%) kept Buick from joining the other GM divisions with a double-digit decline.

Cadillac -13%
Cadillac sales were down across the board, even the new CTS (-11%) and XTS (-13%). The lone exception was the SRX (+2%), whose small increase was enough to give the model its best ever January.

Chevrolet -13%
New vs. old at Chevrolet: C7 Corvette (+149%) versus C6, new Impala (-16%) versus old, and new Silverado (-18%) versus previous.

GMC -10%
The Sierra (-14%) was caught in the pickup downdraft, and the big SUVs were down by a quarter in the changeover to the new model. Things would have been worse but the Acadia (+5%) crept up a bit and the big vans (+85%) surged.


FORD MOTOR COMPANY -8%
Ford blamed the weather for its decline, which was worse for fleet deliveries than for retail sales (-5%). A bright spot was Lincoln, which had its best January since 2010.

Ford -9%
F-series volume was just two-thirds of its prior-month total, which was down slightly compared to last January. Other Ford trucks and SUVs were mostly flat or down. Mustang (+7%) was the lone bright spot among Ford cars—although it still got beat by the Camaro. All other Ford cars were down, led by the C-Max (-48%) and the Taurus (-39%).

Lincoln +43%
The MKZ sold better than three times its year-ago total, although the previous number was hampered by a slow start of production. The MKX (+36%) was also up, while the MKS (-30%) and Navigator (-36%) declined.


TOYOTA MOTOR SALES -7%
Toyota, like Ford and GM, was significantly off its January 2013 total. The company downplayed the significance of a stop-sale order that came late in the month, as it only affected cars equipped with heated seats and is expected to be largely rectified for February.

Toyota -9%
Despite a significant decline, the Camry (-27%) remained the number one passenger car, but it slipped to number four overall, behind the big Ram pickup. The new Corolla had a smaller decline (-5%) but still was the bestselling small car. More negative numbers on the car side: Prius (-23%), Venza (-41%), Yaris (-65%). There was better news for Toyota trucks: RAV4 (+45%), the new Highlander (+21%), and the new Tundra (+13%).

Lexus +9%
Credit the redesign: the IS sees volume more than double. Credit the snow: the GX see volume nearly double.

Scion -18%
Once again, the iQ (-44%) is the loss leader, as all Scions were down.

CHRYSLER GROUP +8%
Frigid temperatures in much of the country did nothing to cool the Chrysler juggernaut, as the company recorded its 46th straight month of year-over-year sales increases. Only the Dodge division was left out in the cold.

Chrysler +2%
The 200 (+23%) bounced back up in January, with the Town & Country (+8%) following behind. The 300 (-41%) was a drag on results.

Dodge -19%
Where the Chrysler 200 surged in January, its twin, the Avenger, fell by half (-50%). Other Dodges on the decline included the Dart (-29%), the Challenger (-30%), and the Journey (-27%), while the Grand Caravan (+47%) and the Durango (+22%) were the only two models in positive territory.

Jeep +38%
The new Cherokee again added more than 10,000 units to Jeep's total, accounting for most of the brand's sales increase. The Grand Cherokee (+10%), the Compass (+31%), and the Wrangler (+8%) all pitched in as well. Evidently, rotten winter weather is actually a boon to Jeep sales.

Ram +24%
The ProMaster van has arrived on the scene but it's still a very minor player for Ram; if you're looking for the source of the brand's sales gain, look no further than the big Ram pickup (+22%).

Fiat +29%
After some recent declines, Fiat was able to move forward again, with sales of the 500 coupe largely stable and the 500L providing the additional volume.


AMERICAN HONDA -2%
Honda just about tracked the overall industry's decline. The Accord fell to 20,604 units, in a month that was unkind to mainstream midsize cars. At least Acura was in positive territory.

Honda -4%
The Accord's decline (-14%) put it behind not just the Camry but also the Altima and the Fusion. The best-performing Honda passenger car was the Civic, which was flat. The CR-V was up slightly (+2%) but got knocked off its bestselling SUV pedestal by the Ford Escape. The Odyssey (+17%) was the only Honda to significantly outdo its January 2013 results.

Acura +14%
With 420 units sold, the new RLX didn't do much to push Acura ahead. Instead, look to the MDX (+65%) and the RDX (+10%).


HYUNDAI – KIA +1%
Slow growth for the Koreans is still growth nonetheless, as Hyundai claimed 2014 was its best January ever, and Kia said the same.

Hyundai +1%
The Equus (+29%), Elantra (+26%), Accent (+21%), and Santa Fe (+12%) were Hyundai's biggest gainers in January, while the Genesis (-41%) dropped ahead of a new replacement and the Sonata (-26%) sang the mid-size sedan blues.

Kia +2%
The Rio (+28%), the Soul (+10%), and the new Cadenza helped Kia overcome declines for the Sorento and the Optima (both -11%).


NISSAN NORTH AMERICA +12%
Nissan enjoyed one of the biggest increases of any major manufacturer. Infiniti's year-over-year increase actually outpaced Nissan division's, which posted a January record.

Nissan +10%
Most of Nissan's action was on the truck side. One might expect big gains for the new Rogue (+54%), but the Frontier (+88%), and the Xterra (+52%)? Meanwhile, the Murano was down (-27%), as was the new Pathfinder (-16%), while the Titan (-36%) continues to drift lower. Of the passenger cars, Leaf sales nearly doubled and the Juke jumped (+46%), while the Versa (-17%) and the Cube (-25%) dropped.

Infiniti +26%
Infiniti was feeling the affect of the new Q50 in January. The other models pitched in as well, most importantly the JX/QX60 (+21%). Only the big SUV, the QX56/QX80 was down (-12%).


VOLKSWAGEN GROUP -13%
Once again, the Volkswagen brand dragged down the results for the Volkswagen Group, but this time Audi and Porsche were less able to stem the loss.

Volkswagen -19%
Volkswagen blames a sell-down prior to a new-model changeover for depressed sales of the Golf (-35%), but that doesn't explain the Passat (-30%), the Tiguan (-16%), or the Touareg (-44%). And last year's bright spot has gone dim, as the Beetle (-9%) is now tracking against the revised version rather than the old model.

Audi +0%
Increases for the Q5 (+18%), the Q7 (+43%), and the A6 (+18%) overcame weakness in the A4 (-11%), the A5 (-23%), and the A8 (-33%).

Porsche -8%
The Cayenne (-23%) declined, due, Porsche says, to low availability. Trouble is, the Boxster, the 911, and the Panamera were down as well.

Bentley +2%

Lamborghini +2%


DAIMLER-BENZ +2%
Model proliferation is helping to put Mercedes-Benz well out in front as this year's luxury derby gets started.

Mercedes-Benz +1%
The CLA's 2433 units is down from its previous months' totals, but still was critical to the brand's year-over-year growth. The CLA, the new S-class (+37%), and the Sprinter (+20%) had to counter losses elsewhere in the lineup. The C-class (-20%) has the best excuse—a new version about to arrive and, possibly, some cross-shopping with the new CLA—but all other Mercedes models declined as well.

Smart +8%
Smart crept up in January. And that was before its wacky Super Bowl commercial aired.

SUBARU +19%
Subaru looks to make 2014 another record year, given the start it got in January. The Forester's big increase (+65%) was versus the old model last year, but there's no such caveat for the XV Crosstrek (+73%). The BRZ (+28%) is still on the upswing, and so is the WRX (+17%), with the latter soon to be replaced with a new version. So, too, will the Legacy (-14%), both of which should help keep Subaru's momentum going.


BMW GROUP +3%
Despite a strong surge by BMW, the brand remained well behind Mercedes-Benz.

BMW +11%
The 3 Series/4 Series combo (+34%) is still benefitting from the arrival of the new coupes. This month, though, the good news extended to the 5 Series (+27%), the 6 Series (+20%), the X3 (+35%), and the X1 (+14%) as well. Only the X5 (-33%) missed the party.

Mini -31%
A big decline for the standard Mini we can understand, what with the new one about to arrive, but what happened to the Countryman (-24%)?

Rolls-Royce +2%


MAZDA -12%
The new Mazda6 was up by nearly half (+48%), but that was the extent of the brand's good news. Even the formerly hot CX-5 (-5%) appears to be taking a breather. Mazda says that availability of the new Mazda3 (-23%) should improve with a new factory coming on stream. Let's hope so.


JAGUAR LAND ROVER +15%

Jaguar +31%
Jaguar's January increase was about split between the new F-Type and the XF (+29%).

Land Rover +11%
The new Range Rover Sport (+29%) has arrived on the scene, and its presence is being felt at Land Rover.


MITSUBISHI +5%
The new Outlander was up by half, and the Outlander Sport by a third, but uh-oh, what's this? Only one i-MiEV was sold.


VOLVO -22%
A big drop for the XC60 (-40%) is not good news for Volvo, and a doubling of S80 sales doesn't make up for it.


TOP 10 BESTSELLING NAMEPLATES IN JANUARY
1. Ford F-series 46,536
2. Chevrolet Silverado 28,926
3. Dodge Ram 25,071
4. Toyota Camry 23,323
5. Toyota Corolla/Matrix 22,753
6. Nissan Altima 22,515
7. Honda Civic 21,824
8. Ford Fusion 20,717
9. Honda Accord 20,604
10. Ford Escape 19,459

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