Motor City Blogman

March U.S. Auto Sales Are Up for Most Automakers

And GM kills it

We thought it might be a late April Fool’s prank. Kurt McNeil, General Motors’ U.S. vice president for sales, announced Tuesday that the automaker would begin reporting these numbers quarterly, instead of monthly, beginning immediately. Next time we see GM’s sales results will be July, for the second-quarter and half-year figures.

McNeil’s statement seemed Elon Musk-esque, which is not a surprise considering The General’s recent tendency to try and impress Wall Street analysts and Silicon Valley tech reporters above everyone else. So if it was a sort of April Fool’s prank, at least it wasn’t an April Fool’s declaration of bankruptcy.

Wall Street and Silicon Valley aside, McNeil has a point. The monthly ebb and flow of car and truck sales, particularly among high-volume models, doesn’t mean much compared with a broader, quarterly picture, especially when certain models have a very good month because truckloads were delivered to rental agencies. Because the nation’s largest automaker won’t issue sales numbers for April or May, this monthly column will have to change, though we haven’t had time to figure out how, just yet.

GM’s last monthly report ends on a high note, with sales up nearly 16 percent. Other big winners were Fiat Chrysler, as Jeep sales tickled the hundred-large level, and both Mazda and Volkswagen. The small Japanese brand had passed the big German brand a couple of times back in the months after Dieselgate, though we didn’t expect that to happen again now that VW has built up its sport/utility portfolio. As it turns out, the Mazda CX-5 outsold the new VW Atlas, and both versions of the Tiguan last month. That’s good news for the sustained future of the MX-5 Miata.

And so to the numbers…

1. General Motors: 296,341, up 15.7 percent.

  • Chevrolet was up 15.6 percent, to 199,367; GMC up 11.4 percent, to 58,646; Buick up 28 percent, to 26,834; and Cadillac up 12.7 percent, to 14,484.
  • Chevy Equinox had a very strong month, up 40.9 percent, to 31,940. Silverado sales rose 23.9 percent, to 52,574, though Corvette was down 14.6 percent, to 2,101.
  • Chevy Bolt sales jumped 81.4 percent, to 1,774 and Volt sales slipped 16.4 percent, to 1,782.
  • GMC Sierra was off 7.5 percent, to 17,082 and Buick Encore was up a whopping 82.3 percent, to 15,118.
  • Cadillac CT6 was up 2.7 percent, to 994. XT5 was up 17.2 percent, to 6,188.

2. Ford Motor Company: 244,306, up 3.4 percent.

  • Ford division was up 3.6 percent, to 234,954 and Lincoln slipped 2.1 percent, to 9,352. Ford said it had its best retail SUV sales ever, with overall retail up 0.8 percent, while fleet sales rose 8.7 percent.
  • Mustang led Pony Car Wars, though off 5.4 percent, to 8,632. Dodge Challenger was a close second, up 31 percent, to 8,150. Chevy Camaro was down 25.6 percent, to 5,245.
  • F-Series sales rose 7 percent, to 87,011.
  • Ford Escape sales slipped 2.6 percent, to 27,370, as the new Expedition rose 3.3 percent, to 5,653.
  • Lincoln MKX was off 3.3 percent, to 2,605, and Continental dropped by 13.6 percent, to 832, while the new Navigator scored a 90.7 percent sales jump, to 1,711.

3. Toyota Motor Sales: 222,782, up 3.5 percent.

  • That’s 195,750 Toyotas, up 4.5 percent, and 27,032 Lexi, off 3.2 percent.
  • Camry, off 1.1 percent to 35,264, led RAV4, up 9.1 percent to 34,937, and Corolla, off 4 percent, to 31,392.
  • Toyota sold 20,250 Tacomas, up 21.1 percent, 8,222 Priuses, off 15.8 percent, and 491 of its 86s, down 30.4 percent.
  • Lexus sold 9,814 RXes, up 3.9 percent, 5,859 NXes, up 4.3 percent, and 3,938 ESes, off 14.9 percent.
  • Lexus sold 1,008 of its LS flagships, up 172.4 percent.

4. Fiat Chrysler: 216,063, up 14 percent.

  • Jeep had a stellar month, up 45 percent, to 98,382. Dodge was off 2 percent, to 49,184, Ram fell 13 percent, to 44,878, Chrysler was up 15 percent, to 19,499, Fiat plummeted 47 percent, to 1,544 and Alfa Romeo made up for its Italian sibling, up 36 percent, to 2,576.
  • With the new JL rolling out, a mix of new and the old JK sales boosted Jeep Wrangler by 70 percent, to 27,829. Cherokee was up 63 percent, to 23,764, and Grand Cherokee was off 4 percent, to 19,616.
  • Dodge Caravan, the old minivan, was up 4 percent, to 16,792. Chrysler Pacifica, the new minivan, was up 40 percent, to 13,086.
  • Ram pickup was off 13 percent, to 44,878, as the truck brand prepares to sell the all-new model.
  • Fiat Spider sales fell 22 percent, to 325.
  • Alfa Romeo Giulia was up 364 percent, to 1,284, and the brand sold 1,270 Stelvio SUVs. We know where this plot is headed.

5. Nissan Group: 162,535, off 3.7 percent.

  • Nissan division was off 3.6 percent, to 145,103, and Infiniti dropped 4.6 percent, to 17,432.
  • Rogue set a monthly sales record (remember; this includes Rogue Sport), up 7 percent, to 42,151.

6. American Honda, 142,392, up 3.8 percent.

  • Honda sales were up 2.6 percent, to 128,855, and Acura was up 15.7 percent, to 13,537.
  • The Accord continues to struggle, with sales off 9.9 percent, to 29,171. Civic, up 3.4 percent, to 32,584, led CR-V, off 3.1 percent, to 31,868.
  • Pilot sales jumped 42.4 percent, to 14,158.
  • RDX sales again led Acura, up 16.7 percent, to 4,398, though the TLX sedan was not far behind, up 42.6 percent, to 4,014.

7. Hyundai: 60,154, down 11 percent.

  • Hyundai brand sold 60,154 last month, down 11 percent, and Genesis sold 1,386, down 21 percent compared with Genesis/Equus models last year.
  • Hyundai’s bestseller was the Elantra, down to 17,323 vs. 25,063 last March.
  • Santa Fe was up 8.1 percent, to 11,401.
  • Sonata up 16 percent, to 11,098.
  • Tucson was up 31 percent, to 11,806.
  • Genesis G80 was down .5 percent, to 1,049. Genesis sold 337 G90s.

8. Subaru: 58,097, up 5.9 percent.

  • Another record month culminating in a record quarter, with Outback leading, at 16,822, up 5.7 percent.
  • Soon-to-be-replaced Forester was off 7.5 percent, to 14,616, as Crosstrek surged 88.2 percent, to 13,400.
  • BRZ was off 16 percent, to 369. Combined sales with Toyota 86 was 877.

9. Kia: 50,645, up 2.5 percent.

  • Kia posted a record up 75.5 percent, to 767 Cadenzas, and Rio was up 72.3 percent, to 2,147.
  • Forte sales were 9,381.
  • Soul sales were 8,849.
  • Sportage sales totaled 7,880.
  • Sorento sales were 8,027 and Optima sales were 8,010.
  • Kia sold 2,478 Niros.

10. BMW Group: 35,954, down 0.4 percent.

  • BMW brand up 1.0 percent, to 31,311. Mini down 9.1 percent, to 4,531.

11. Mazda: 33,302, up 35.7 percent.

  • The CX-5 single-handedly propelled Mazda past a bigger, and growing, VW lineup with a record sales month of 16,138, up 90.5 percent.
  • MX-5 Miata dropped 34.9 percent, however, to 896. Combined sales with Fiat 124 Spider was 1,221.

12. Volkswagen: 32,548, up 17.8 percent.

  • Subject of a model changeover, Jetta dropped 43 percent, to 5,527. But will it ever catch the new Tiguan or Atlas sales levels again?
  • Passat was off 31.5 percent, to 4,292.
  • VW sold 8,276 of its new Tiguans, and 1,441 of its old, Tiguan Limited models (down 55.9 percent).
  • Atlas sales were 6,063 for the month.

13. Mercedes-Benz USA: 31,484, down 2.7 percent.

  • The Mercedes brand was down 2.7 percent, to 28,407, while Benz van sales were up 3.3 percent, to 2,967. Smart was down 71.7 percent, to 110—that ought to smart.

14. Audi: 20,090, up 7.4 percent.

  • Q5 up 25 percent, to 5,473.
  • Q7 up 15 percent, to 3,061.
  • A4 down 19 percent, to 3,296 and A3 23 percent, to 1,823.
  • A5 up 284 percent, to 2,587.
  • A6 down 26 percent, to 1,171.

15. Mitsubishi: 14,319, up 21.7 percent.

  • Outlander Sport sales totaled 4,674, and Outlander sales were 4,789.
  • Mirage sales totaled 3,106, and Lancer moved 773 units.

16. Jaguar/Land Rover: 14,232, up 10.2 percent.

  • Jaguar sold 3,260 cars and SUVs, down 34.2 percent.
  • Land Rover sold 10,972 vehicles, up 37.8 percent.

17. Volvo: 8,233, up 53.7 percent.

  • The XC90 up 67.3 percent, to 2,796.
  • Volvo sold 2,331 XC60s and 1,001 XC40s.

18. Porsche: 4,756, up 6.2 percent.

  • Macan sales totaled 1,746, and Cayenne is down to 934.
  • Porsche’s 911 line led cars, up 35.4 percent, to 883.

Pony Car Wars, Year-to-Date

1. Ford Mustang 67,432
2. Chevrolet Camaro 59,401
3. Dodge Challenger 56,169

Luxury/Premium Brands, YTD:

  1. Mercedes-Benz 86,981
  2. BMW 84,704
  3. Lexus 64,211
  4. Audi 50,052
  5. Acura 33,414