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July 2016 Auto Sales: Market Continues to Soften

But SUVs Are Still Hot – No Confirmation Yet for Having Peaked

The story can get out of control. 2015 marked a record for U.S. car sales, at 17.5 million. Many analysts were predicting another record in 2016, but some of us said that’s not going to happen. Though demand for new cars and light trucks is struggling to match that record, that doesn’t mean this year is any kind of disaster

Wall Street, and most analysts, have readjusted their prognostications downward for 2016. While I’m not one to rely on Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rates (SAAR), July 2016 sales look to have a SAAR near 17.4 million. Not bad, but the point is, U.S. car and light truck sales probably peaked in 2015, and now we’re on a bit of a downward trajectory with a future dependent on a number of factors, from the global economy to November’s presidential election.

2016 Chevrolet Volt side view

As for July, General Motors posted another slight decline, though the company claims it’s aggressively reducing its reliance on daily rental-fleet sales. As a result, net earnings are beating Wall Street expectations because of the increased average transaction price of GM’s vehicles. Ford Motor Company’s 2.8-percent drop disappointed Wall Street, however, which thought it would have a better July.

In light of FiatChrysler’s sales-reporting scandal, a 603-unit increase in July 2016 over July 2015 seems not bad. But FiatChrysler was only able to show that miniscule increase because its year-earlier numbers were overinflated.

Several manufacturers reported record July sales, including Honda, Nissan, Hyundai, Kia, Subaru and Mercedes-Benz, with Honda reporting all-time record truck (which means crossovers, minivans, and whatever the Ridgeline is) sales. BMW’s sales have been slipping, saved only by increases for relatively low-volume models like the X1 and the 2 Series.

Jaguar Land Rover’s July sales results have been delayed to Wednesday due to a computer glitch.

2017 Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth front three quarter in motion

We’ll never know how many MX-5s Mazda would have sold in the U.S. last month if there was no Fiat 124 Spider, but Miata sales fell a substantial 22 percent in only the ND’s second July; Fiat sold 480 Spiders in the car’s second month. Combined they, accounted for 1,361 roadsters, up 20.4 percent over MX-5 alone in July 2015. In this regard, the Mazda-FiatChrysler sports car partnership is working.

And so, to the numbers …

1. General Motors: 267,258 off 1.9 percent.

  • Chevrolet was off 5.3 percent, to 178,820 and GMC was up 4.8 percent, to 51,137.
  • Buick was up 10.4 percent, to 22,960 and Cadillac was up 1.3 percent, to 14,341.
  • Chevy sold 13,723 Cruzes, off 35.7 percent, and 21,882 Equinoxes, up 1.3 percent.
  • Combined GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado sales totaled 76,244. Canyon and Colorado totaled 12,727.
  • Cadillac sold 4,951 of its new XT5s plus 1,307 SRXes (-80.6 percent).
  • Corvette was off 22.7 percent, to 2,159, and Chevy Volt was up 83.2 percent, to 2,406.
  • Cadillac sold 827 CT6es, and 1,313 CTSes (off 13.3 percent).

 

2. Ford Motor Company: 216,479 off 2.8 percent.

  • Mustang continues to dominate Pony Car Wars, with 9,565 sold, up 12.8 percent, compared with 5,619 Dodge Challengers, up 7 percent, and 5,520 Chevy Camaros, off 26.1 percent.
  • Ford brand was off 2.7 percent, to 207,381 and Lincoln was off 4.6 percent, to 9,098.
  • Ford F-Series was off 1 percent, to 65,657.
  • Fusion was off 4.4 percent, to 24,007, and Escape was off 10.2 percent, to 26,260.
  • Lincoln MKZ was up 12.3 percent, to 2,968 and MKX was up 5.4 percent, to 2,656.

 

3. Toyota Motor Sales: 214,233, off 1.4 percent.

  • The Toyota brand was off 0.5 percent, to 186,343, while Lexus was off 6.5 percent, to 27,890.
  • Scion (counted in the Toyota totals) was up 66.2 percent, to 6,423, on the strength of 3,007 iAs and 1,601 iMs.
  • Camry remains Toyota’s bestseller, at 34,122, off 11.2 percent. RAV4 , at 31,871, up 19.3 percent, edged Corolla, up 4.9 percent, to 31,717.
  • Toyota sold 12,694 Priuses, off 29.2 percent, and 682 Scion FR-Ses, off 35.5 percent. It sold 52 Mirai fuel cell cars.
  • Lexus IS was off 19.1 percent, to 3,461, while ES was up 1 percent, to 5,497. RX remains the brand’s bestseller, at 8,522, up 3.1 percent.

 

4. FiatChrysler: 180,727, up 603 units (0 percent).

  • As the company’s sales reporting scandal simmers on, Jeep reports another exceptional month, up 5 percent, to 79,246.
  • But two of Jeep’s three biggest models are down. Wrangler was off 5 percent, to 18,741 and Cherokee was down 12 percent, to 15,451, blunting progress toward entering the top five in its segment. Grand Cherokee was up 3 percent, to 16,704.
  • Jeep Renegade was up 57 percent, to 10,057.
  • Ram was up 5 percent, to 44,069, with its pickup up 2 percent, to 39,827.
  • Chrysler brand was off 4 percent, to 19,095.
  • Dodge was off 10 percent, to 35,520.
  • Fiat was off 14 percent to 2,754.
  • Alfa Romeo sold 43 4Cs, off 12 percent (6 units).

 

2017 Honda Ridgeline Black Edition rear three quarter 05

5. American Honda, 152,799, up 4.4 percent.

  • Honda division was up 5.9 percent, to 139,125 and Acura dropped 8.3 percent, to 13,674.
  • CR-V was bestseller, at 36,017, up 13.3 percent, with Civic up 5.8 percent, to 32,952 and Accord off 7.4 percent, to 31,946.
  • Sold 3,518 of its new Ridgelines.
  • The lame-duck Honda CR-Z was up 0.7 percent, to 272, while Acura sold 21 NSXes.

 

6. Nissan Group: 132,475, up 1.2 percent.

  • Altima dropped 26.3 percent, to 24,949, while Rogue jumped 32.8 percent, to 33,298, making it Nissan’s bestseller.
  • Nissan division was up 1.7 percent, to 122,530. Infiniti was up 23.3 percent, to 6,570.
  • Leaf fell 9.5 percent, to 1,063, Juke dropped 33.2 percent, to 1,568, while 370Z was up 7.3 percent, to 722. GT-R was off 21.2 percent, to 52.
  • Titan was up 1.5 percent, to 1,143.
  • Infiniti QX60 was off 1.6 percent, to 3,701.

 

7. Hyundai: 75,003, up 5.6 percent.
Sonata was off 13.7 percent, to 20,635, Elantra was off 6.8 percent to 20,629 and Santa Fe was up 23 percent, to 14,336, reflecting the shifts toward SUVs at every major automaker.
8. Kia: 59,969, up 5.7 percent.

  • Soul stole the show, again, at 13,157, though off 5.9 percent.
  • Forte was up 30.9 percent, to 10,303, Optima fell 22.6 percent, to 7,868.

 

9. Subaru: 52,093 up 3.1 percent.

Outback had a big month, up 35.4 percent, to 14,704, though Forester was the bestseller, off 6 percent, to 14,856. WRX/STI was off 11.5 percent, to 3,288 and BRZ was off 32.8 percent, to 353.

2016 Mercedes Benz Sprinter Worker side
10. Mercedes-Benz USA, 32,288, up 7.2 percent.

  • C-Class is the new E, at 6,304, though off 1.3 percent. E-Class fell 14.8 percent, to 5,225, and GLE-Class was the bestselling SUV at 4,412, up 14.6 percent.
  • Vans were up 51.3 percent, to 3,272, and even Smart sales rose, 11.8 percent, to 493.

 

11. BMW Group: 30,551 off 5 percent.

  • X3 was up 14.4 percent, to 2,678 and Z1 was up 79.1 percent, to 2,130, though 3 Series dropped 12 percent, to 6,799 and 4 Series was off 31.5 percent, to 2,186.
  • The 2 Series surged 66.1 percent, to 1,708 while i8 fell 23.5 percent, to 166.
  • BMW brand altogether was off 4.4 percent, to 25,777. Mini was off 8 percent, to 4,774.

 

12. Volkswagen: 28,758, off 8.1 percent.

  • GTI was strong, at 2,417, up 35.8 percent, and Golf R was up 68.2 percent, to 222, but total Golf sales slid 20.3 percent, to 5,351.
  • Bestseller Jetta was off 0.2 percent, to 11,449. Passat was off 5.1 percent, to 6,549.

 

13. Mazda: 27,915, up 2.8 percent.

  • Mazda3 was off 14.7 percent, to 8,103, while CX-3 made up for it, with 1,499 sold.
  • CX-5 surged 13.7 percent, to 10,831 and the new CX-9 was up 41 percent, to 2,243.
  • MX-5 Miata fell 22 percent, to 881.

 

14. Audi: 18,364, up 4 percent.

  • A3 was off 4.1 percent, to 3,038, but still outsold A4, up 17.8 percent, to 2,612.
  • All SUVs were up; Q7, up 19.8 percent to 2,322, Q5, up 2.8 percent to 4,833 and Q3, up 56 percent, to 1,819.
  • R8 was up 114.6 percent, to 88 and TT was up 2,537.5 percent, to 211.

 

15. Mitsubishi: 7,890, up 0.3 percent (22 units).
Outlander Sport had its best July, up 9.3 percent, to 3,545.
16. Volvo: 8,584, up 52.8 percent.
Sold 2,888 of its new XC90s, up 145.6 percent, and 259 S90s in the flagship sedan’s second month.
17. Jaguar/Land Rover: RESULTS DELAYED.

Luxury/Premium Brands, YTD:

  1. Mercedes-Benz: 191,300
  2. Lexus: 179,454
  3. BMW: 179,213
  4. Audi:115,298
  5. Acura: 92,668

 

Select Sports Cars and EVs, YTD:

  1. Chevrolet Corvette: 16,827
  2. Chevrolet Volt: 12,214
  3. Nissan Leaf: 6,856
  4. Mazda Miata: 6,265
  5. Scion FR-S: 4,465

 

Midsize cars, YTD:

  1. Toyota Camry: 233,822
  2. Honda Accord: 201,300
  3. Nissan Altima: 197,644
  4. Ford Fusion: 170,840
  5. Chevrolet Malibu: 132,145

 

Compact CUVs, YTD:

  1. Toyota RAV4 197,771
  2. Honda CR-V 195,092
  3. Nissan Rogue 182,181
  4. Ford Escape 181,638
  5. Chevrolet Equinox 143,202

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