Motor City Blogman

Truck Incentives and SUVs Push February Auto Sales

Infiniti passes Acura on the premium/luxury chart

Ahead of Wednesday’s February 2017 U.S. auto sales numbers, Bloomberg, quoting J.D. Power, noted that General Motors was so keen to hold on to pickup truck market share that incentives on the Chevrolet Silverado averaged $6,996 in February, up 56 percent compared with a year earlier, and on the GMC Sierra averaged $5,315, up 82 percent.

It worked.

The General’s February sales rose 4.2 percent last month, making the company the only of the four largest automakers to post a gain compared with February 2016. GM’s increase amounted to 9,563 cars and trucks. Combined sales of the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra rose by 9,786 units last month. Other GM models posted gains, of course, but they were more than offset by the slipping models.

Meanwhile, GM’s struggling luxury division, Cadillac, has passed Honda’s Acura on the premium chart, though Infiniti has surpassed them both, for the year-to-date. Neither Cadillac nor Acura are selling very many sedans, but both brands are doing fairly well with their midsize, car-based SUVs. Acura doesn’t have Escalade, but Cadillac has sold 4,643 of them, more than one in five of its vehicles so far this year.

Sport/utilities, both big and small, but mostly compact and midsize, remain the sales story. The Nissan Rogue became the brand’s bestseller by passing the Altima a few months ago, and now it’s at the top of the pop charts, edging past the Honda CR-V, which already has a 13,000-unit lead over third-place Toyota RAV4 and fourth-place Ford Escape, for the first two months.

Subaru and its line of anti-SUV SUVs began to outsell Kia last year, and now it has a solid, 11,000-plus unit lead over Kia for eighth place, year-to-date.

Midsize models have been the most popular segment in the U.S. since they were “intermediates” in the early ‘70s — until now. It has become an automotive shibboleth that consumers trade in midsize sedans for compact SUVs, and compact sedans for subcompact SUVs, and perhaps that’s why compacts aren’t sliding quite so quickly as midsize cars. The Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla both are outselling the Camry, so far this year, for example. That trend ought to last only until every major brand gets a subcompact SUV in its lineup.

Honda Civic Si Coupe prototype rear view

And so, to the numbers …

1. General Motors: 237,388 up 4.2 percent.
*Chevrolet Silverado, up 17.1 percent to 50,504, and GMC Sierra, up 15.9 percent, to 17,618, combined for 68,172, outselling Ford F-Series by 2,216 units.
*Equinox was Chevy’s next-bestseller, despite its lame-duck status as we await the new ’18 model. It was up 13.3 percent, to 22,464.
*Chevy Cruze was up 18.2 percent, to 15,367, while Malibu plunged 42.1 percent, to 12,406.
*Chevy Volt was up 61.6 percent to 1,820, and Bolt, in its second full month, did 952 cars.
*Chevy Trax was up 37.2 percent, to 6,606, while Buick Encore, the brand’s bestseller, was up 11.2 percent, to 6,528.
*Chevrolet’s total was 164,095, up 3.4 percent. Buick was off 9.4 percent, to 16,131, GMC was up 17.2 percent, to 46,339 and Cadillac was off 8.6 percent, to 10,823.
*Despite being a new model, Buick LaCrosse was off 49 percent, to 1,348.
*Cadillac sold 4,291 XT5s and 21 SRXes, compared with 4,017 SRXes last year, up 7.3 percent for the brand’s midsize SUV.
*Cadillac ATS was off 36.8 percent, to 1,005, CTS was off 37.5 percent to 913, and 802 CT6es were sold. The three sedans combined for 2,720, off 12.2 percent versus ATS and CTS last year.

2. Ford Motor Company: 208,440 off 4 percent.
*F-Series was up 8.7 percent, to 65,956. Transit was off 10 percent, to 10,346.
*Mustang again led the sinking pony car segment, off 17 percent, to 8,298. Dodge Challenger, up 19 percent to 6,107, topped Chevy Camaro, off 24.3 percent, to 4,658.
*Ford brand was off 4.5 percent, to 199,696 and Lincoln rose 8.8 percent, to 8,744.
*Escape was up 15.9 percent, to 27,637 while Explorer slipped by 4.3 percent, to 19,145. Pushed perhaps by news of an all-new ’18 model coming later this year, Ford sold 5,906 Expeditions, up 48.2 percent.
*Fusion plummeted 35.1 percent, to 16,512 and Focus fell 31.8 percent, to 12,691.
*MKX led Lincoln sales, up 0.6 percent to 2,390, followed by MKZ, off 2.5 percent, to 2,074. MKC was up 12.2 percent, to 1,959.
*Lincoln sold 1,079 of its new Continentals. Combined with the MKZ and 17 leftover MKSes, Lincoln last month sold 3,170 sedans, up 16.2 percent (MKZ and MKS) a year earlier.

2018 Toyota Camry XSE front view

3. Toyota Motor Sales: 174,339, off 7.2 percent.
*Camry, off 15.1 percent to 27,498, edged out Corolla, off 11.4 percent, to 27,161, which edged out RAV4, though up 3.2 percent, to 26,351.
*The new Toyota 86, including leftover Scion FR-Ses, was up 8.8 percent, to 603.
*Highlander was up 27.8 percent, to 15,928, and 4Runner was up 28.7 percent, to 10,912.
*Tundra fell 12.9 percent, to 7,234, while Tacoma was up 0.6 percent, to 14,256, maintaining a healthy lead over Chevy Colorado/GMC Canyon, which sold a combined 10,497 last month.
*Toyota as a brand was off 5.4 percent, to 156,001, while Lexus plummeted 20.6 percent, to 18,388.
*Lexus RX was off 7.2 percent, to 6,676 and NX was off 5.3 percent, to 3,514, while ES dropped by 29.2 percent, to 2,709. IS sales fell 43.1 percent, to 1,684.

4. Chrysler LLC: 168,326, off 10 percent.
*Jeep brand was down by 15 percent, to 62,345, Chrysler fell 28 percent, to 16,730, Dodge was off 7 percent, to 43,878, Fiat plummeted 19 percent, to 2,145, but Ram rose 4 percent, to 42,785 and Alfa Romeo skyrocketed (relatively speaking) 843 percent to 443. Maserati sales were up 49 percent, to 1,087.
*Ram pickup was up 5 percent, to 39,046, while ProMaster was off 2 percent, to 2,648
*Jeep Grand Cherokee was up 11 percent, to 18,925. Cherokee fell 11 percent, to 13,615, and Wrangler was up 2 percent, to 13,641. Renegade rose 11 percent, to 7,915.
*Chrysler 300 was up 2 percent, to 5,386, while Dodge Charger was down 21 percent, to 6,930.
*Chrysler sold 9,042 Pacificas, and 108 leftover Town & Countrys, compared with 71 Pacificas and 11,645 T&Cs last year, an overall drop of 21.9 percent.
*Dodge Caravan, a carryover of the old model, was off 2 percent, to 13,682.
*Alfa Romeo sold 31 4c models, off 34 percent, and 412 Giulias.
*Fiat 500 was up 1 percent, to 1,131, but 500X fell by 45 percent, to 640.
*Fiat sold 302 of the Miata-based 124 Spiders.

2017 Nissan Rogue Sport rear three quarter

5. Nissan Group: 135,740, up 3.7 percent.
*Rogue continues to charge its way up the sales charts, with a 53.7 percent increase to 33,149.
*Altima was off 6.3 percent, to 26,543 and Maxima fell 6.2 percent, to 4,898.
*Sentra dropped by 22.3 percent, to 16,010.
*Leaf was up 11.5 percent, to 1,037. The 370Z ticked up 3.4 percent, to 424.
*Pathfinder sales rose 24.2 percent, to 8,997, while Titan was up 181.9 percent, to 2,988.
*Nissan brand accounted for 122,003 sales, up 1.2 percent, and Infiniti shot up 32.5 percent, to 13,737, with much help from the addition of the QX30 compact crossover.
*The QX30 accounted for 2,414 units. QX70 was up 38.5 percent, but to just 986 units.
*Q50 was up 2.4 percent, to 3,444 and QX60 fell 2.6 percent, to 2,658.

6. American Honda, 121,686, up 2.3 percent.
*The new Honda CR-V, at 31,896, up 26.3 percent, outsold the Civic, off 2.4 percent to 27,039 and the Accord, off 9 percent, to 23,455.
*Honda sold 3,265 Ridgelines, while Pilot sales fell 15.4 percent, to 8,099.
*Honda division sold 110,822, up 4.3 percent, and Acura was off 14.9 percent, to 10,864.
*RDX led Acura, up 6.1 percent, to 4,029.
*MDX was off 17.5 percent, to 3,541, and TLX was off 21.9 percent, to 2,406.
*Acura sold 46 NSXes, for a total of 96 so far this year.

2018 Genesis G80 Sport front view 02

7. Hyundai: 53,020, up 9 units.
*Genesis accounted for 1,582 of the total.
*Hyundai Elantra, up 33.2 percent to 15,954, edged out Sonata, off 16.3 percent, to 14,618.
*Santa Fe continued its production capacity-fed surge, up 58.5 percent, to 8,767. Tucson was off, however, by 12.5 percent, to 6,422.
*Genesis sold 1,255 G80s, and 327 G90s.

8. Subaru: 45,500, up 8.3 percent.
*Outback outsold Forester, at 13,477, up 12.8 percent, versus 12,820, up 4.8 percent.
*Legacy was off 11.9 percent, to 3,924 and the new Impreza was up 31.5 percent, to 5,826.
*WRX/STI was up 5 percent, to 2,498, though BRZ sales fell 19.1 percent, to 344, for 947 total combined with Toyota 86/Scion FR-S.

Kia Forte

9. Kia: 42,673, off 14.2 percent.
*Every model save for the Forte, up 3.9 percent to 8,506, saw a significant decline.
*Optima was off 7.7 percent, but still outsold Forte, at 8,892.
*Soul plunged 35 percent, to 7,702.
*Sorento fell 15.5 percent, to 6,845.

10. Mercedes-Benz USA, 27,383, up 6.8 percent.
*The Mercedes brand sold 24,522, up 6.9 percent, while its van division was up 10.8 percent, to 2,513. Smart, which soon will go all-EV, dropped 17.5 percent, to 348.
*C-Class lead sales, up just 0.7 percent to 6,145, and GLE-Class is next, up 1.7 percent, to 4,017. E-Class/CLS was up 28.6 percent, to 3,471.
*GLC-Class was off 15.6 percent, to 2,765.
*GLA-Class was up 37.4 percent, to 2,194, and CLA-Class was up 3.5 percent, to 1,526.

11. Volkswagen: 25,145, up 12.7 percent.
*Passat had a bit of a recovery thanks to a facelift and a lot of TV advertising, rising 39.6 percent, to 6,114. But VW’s bestseller, Jetta, fell 14.5 percent, to 8,017.
*Tiguan sales rose 5.5 percent, to 3,425.
*Golf was up 60.3 percent, to 5,842, and Beetle was up 45.8 percent, to 1,330.

2016 BMW M2 2017 All Stars Contender Front Three Quarter 02

12. BMW Group: 24,712, off 2.5 percent.
*BMW brand notched up 0.3 percent, to 22,558, while Mini dropped by 24.1 percent, to 2,154, just nine units more than the Fiat brand last month.
*The 3 Series continues to be BMW’s bestseller, and it continues to lose sales, off 4.1 percent last month, to 4,408. The 4 Series was up 4.8 percent, though, to 2,812.
*X3 was up 7.7 percent, to 4,020 and X5 rose 1.5 percent, to 3,900.
*X1 was up 44.6 percent, to 2050, though 2 Series dropped 44.9 percent, to 598.
*i3 was up 28.2 percent, to 318, and i8 was up 7.4 percent, to 58.
*The Mini 2-door hardtop was off 28.4 percent to 680, the 4-door was off 47.7 percent, to 481, and the Clubman was up 31 percent, to 499.

13. Mazda: 22,824, up 5.9 percent.
*With help from the new RF (and, Mazda says, a warm February) MX-5 Miata had its best February since 2006, up 46 percent, to 1,108. Add in the Fiata, and the platform’s sales totaled 1,310.
*CX-5 was the bestselling model, up 3.4 percent, to 7,836. Mazda3 was off 5.9 percent, to 6,846.
*CX-9 was up 367.9 percent, to 2,157 sold, though Mazda6 was off 0.5 percent, to 3,598.

14. Audi: 13,741, up 17.3 percent.
*Q5 was again the brand’s bestseller, at 3,294, up 36.1 percent, but the bigger, more expensive Q7 did so well, you have to wonder how much sales it’s pulling from the Volvo XC90. Q7 was up 49.8 percent, to 2,477.
*A4 was up 30.1 percent, to 2,377, and A6 was up 2.8 percent, to 1,094.
*A3 slid 21.7 percent, to 1,515.

2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Limited Edition front three quarters

15. Mitsubishi: 10,924, up 38.8 percent.
*Outlander jumped 72.8 percent, to 3,665, and Outlander Sport was off 15.2 percent, to 2,198.
*Lancer sales rose 11.4 percent, to 2,225. Mirage more than doubled, up 145 percent, to 2,835, thanks in part to the addition of the Mirage G4 sedan.

16. Jaguar/Land Rover: 9,231, up 16 percent.
*Jaguar was up 130 percent, to 3,484, while Land Rover was off 10 percent, to 5,747.
*Much of LR’s decline can be blamed on the runout of LR4s. Just 68 were sold last month, versus 1,047 in February 2016. Its replacement, the seven-passenger Discovery, goes on sale this Spring.
*Jaguar sold 1,596 F-Paces and 993 XEs.
*Range Rover was up 10 percent, to 1,688, while Evoque was up 25 percent, to 1,030.

2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country rear three quarter 03

17. Volvo: 4,651, off 11.6 percent.
*The new V90 Cross Country went on sale, and Volvo U.S. sold 33 of them, but not enough to make up for XC90’s drop of 45.8 percent, to 1,341. Volvo is now behind ’16 sales by 14.5 percent.
*S60 raced up 28.8 percent, though, to 1,060. S60 Cross Country was off 66.7 percent, to 14.
*XC60, the old, pre-Geneva model, was up 16.9 percent, to 1,388.
*Volvo sold 369 S90s.

18. Porsche: 3,637, up 2.1 percent.
*SUVs accounted for more than three-quarters of the sports carmaker’s sales, with Macan up 55.6 percent, to 1,575, and Cayenne off 13 percent, to 1,156.
*The 911 range was up 10.8 percent, to 552, though Boxster/Cayman fell 24.2 percent, to 326.

2017 Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback Rear

Compact cars, year-to-date:
1.) Honda Civic 50,134
2.) Toyota Corolla 48,728
3.) Chevrolet Cruze 35,316
4.) Nissan Sentra 29,454
5.) Hyundai Elantra 29,139

Midsize cars, YTD:
1.) Toyota Camry 47,811
2.) Nissan Altima 45,474
3.) Honda Accord 42,991
4.) Ford Fusion 32,027
5.) Hyundai Sonata 22,512

Compact utilities, YTD:
1.) Nissan Rogue 61,909
2.) Honda CR-V 61,185
3.) Toyota RAV4 48,506
4.) Ford Escape 48,225
5.) Chevrolet Equinox 40,038

Luxury/Premium Brands, YTD:
1.) Mercedes-Benz 50,049
2.) BMW 40,667
3.) Lexus 33,910
4.) Audi 26,942
5.) Infiniti 25,295

2017 Infiniti Q50 3

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