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September 2016 Auto Sales: Amid Ford, GM, and Honda Declines, SUVs Stay Steady

Sedans and Luxury Brands Continue to Show Signs of Weakness

General Motors, Fiat Chrysler, Honda, and especially Ford Motor Company  auto sales in the U.S. were all down for September 2016, but that’s against a record-setting September 2015. Last month’s sales were another sign that we’re leveling off from the record 17.5 million calendar year 2015, but some analysts still believe this will be another record year when the final numbers are tallied in three months. They just won’t be as dramatically high as CY15 was over CY14.

However, there are signs of a weakening market. Luxury brands, in particular, are down for the first three months of CY16 versus CY15, and of course passenger cars are being traded in for crossovers and sport/utilities, generally one size category down from the trade-in sedan.

Hyundai said earlier this year its sales would get a shot in the arm once SUV production rose to meet demand, and that seems to be happening. And the Nissan Rogue continues to outsell the Altima and Sentra, while the Honda CR-V last month handily beat the Accord and Civic.

Meanwhile, Subaru keeps breaking its own sales records and last month topped Kia for the second month in a row. Mazda finally slid ahead of Volkswagen, even after the German brand spent a lot on television advertising. Don’t take that as a rebuke caused by the Dieselgate scandal; Mazda’s new CX-9 is off to a good start, while we’re still months away from a midsize VW SUV, and the CX-5 outsold the Tiguan by more than 3 to 1. The five bestselling compact CUVs are just 5,252 units short of catching the five bestselling midsize sedans, year-to-date.

And so, to the numbers …

1. General Motors: 249,795, off 0.6 percent.

  • Chevrolet was off 0.3 percent to 170,237; GMC was off 8.7 percent to 43,268.
  • Buick was up 14.1 percent to 20,922, while Cadillac edged up 3.1 percent to 15,368.
  • Chevy Cruze was up 8.4 percent to 15,216, while Equinox was off 29.1 percent to 15,261, and Malibu was up 26.1 percent to 21,521.
  • Combined GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado sales totaled 63,448. Canyon and Colorado totaled 13,332.
  • Cadillac sold 4,608 XT5s to remain its bestseller. It sold 1,343 CT6es, 1,503 CTSes (up 13.9 percent) and 1,770 ATSes (off 22.9 percent).
  • Corvette was up 10 percent to 2,829, and Chevy Volt was up 114.0 percent to 2,031.

2. Ford Motor Company: 204,447, off 7.7 percent.

  • The Chevy Camaro edged Ford Mustang in Ponycar Wars for the first time in many months. Camaro was up 25.4 percent to 6,577, with Mustang down 32 percent to 6,429. Dodge Challenger is catching both, up 19 percent to 5,459.
  • Ford brand was off 8.1 percent to 195,650, and Lincoln grew 1.3 percent to 8,797, with MKZ the sales leader, though off 1.7 percent to 2,447. MKX was up 8.7 percent to 2,322, and MKC was up 2.3 percent to 2,086.
  • Sales leader the Ford F-Series was off 2.6 percent to 67,089.
  • Fusion was off 17.5 percent to 20,570, Escape was off 12 percent to 25,065, and Explorer was off 12.3 percent to 16,667.

3. Toyota Motor Sales: 197,260, up 1.5 percent.

  • The Toyota brand was up 1.4 percent to 171,459. The Scion brand, officially dead, is no longer listed separately, even though leftover 2016 models continue to be sold. Lexus was up 2 percent to 25,801.
  • The inter-brand battle continues, with Toyota Corolla up 15.3 percent to 32,272 (now helped by Corolla iM numbers), Camry off 11 percent to 30,707, and RAV4 up 8.6 percent to 29,438. Not bad competition to have.
  • Tacoma was up 35.4 percent to 15,723, and Tundra was up 18.2 percent to 9,507.
  • The Prius lineup was off 22.6 percent to 12,475.
  • Lexus RX was up 10.9 percent to 8,605, NX was up 51.9 percent to 4,729, Lexus ES was off 12.6 percent to 4,543, and IS was off 15 percent to 2,678.

4. FiatChrysler: 192,883, off 1 percent.

  • Star brand Jeep dropped 3 percent to 76,331, with Grand Cherokee up 18 percent to 18,507, Cherokee off 12 percent to 17,995, and Wrangler off 18 percent to 14,255.
  • FCA’s number-two brand, Ram, was up 27 percent to 51,866, with the pickup up 29 percent to 47,792. ProMaster was up 17 percent to 3,218, though ProMaster City fell 7 percent to 856.
  • Chrysler brand was off 27 percent to 18,797, with 9,172 of those Pacificas. The 300 was off 17 percent to 5,459, while the 200 was off 68 percent to 3,185.
  • Dodge was off 6 percent to 42,935. Charger was up 35 percent to 10,056, and Dart was off 63 percent to 2,597.
  • Fiat was off 30 percent to 2,913. It sold 1,481 500s and 490 of the new 124 Spiders.
  • Alfa Romeo sold seven Giulias and 34 4C models for a total of 41, off 27 percent.

5. American Honda, 133,655, off 0.1 percent.

  • Acura accounted for 12,813 of that, off 12.9 percent. Honda brand was up 1.5 percent to 120,542.
  • CR-V, at 31,684, up 6.5 percent, outsold Accord, off 19.1 percent to 27,204, which outsold Civic, off 0.3 percent to 26,184.
  • Honda sold 3,318 Ridgelines, up from two sold in September 2015. Acura sold 38 NSX models, topping Alfa 4C sales last month by four units.
  • MDX was Acura’s bestseller, up 14.3 percent to 4,930, with RDX sales up 1.8 percent to 3,919. TLX was its bestselling car, off 38.5 percent to 2,906.

6. Nissan Group: 127,797, up 4.9 percent.

  • A record September for the brand, along with Hyundai, Subaru, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi.
  • Nissan brand was up 4.3 percent to 116,384. Infiniti had a very good month at 11,413, up 11.7 percent.
  • Rogue led Nissan sales, up 5.6 percent to 26,459. Altima was up 3.3 percent to 25,031, while Sentra fell 3.7 percent to 13,670.
  • Murano was up 45.9 percent to 7,536, and Titan rose 130.4 percent to 2,484.
  • Q50 was up 22.5 percent to 4,359, QX50 was up 362 percent to 1,215, and Infiniti sold 249 new QX30s.

7. Hyundai: 66,610, up 4.0 percent.

  • Hyundai accounted for 65,399, up 2.2 percent, with the newly minted Genesis brand adding the remaining 1,211.
  • Elantra was down 6.5 percent to 19,382, and Sonata was off 4.8 percent to 15,347, but Santa Fe sales rose 5.6 percent to 11,350.
  • Genesis sold 1,201 G80s and 10 G90s.

8. Subaru: 54,918, up 3.5 percent.

  • Another record month for the envy of the rest of the industry, with Outback up 12.2 percent to 16,978, Forester up 3.4 percent to 15,883, and Crosstrek up 11.4 percent to 8,261.
  • All other models were down. WRX/STI fell 11.5 percent to 2,683, and BRZ was off 0.3 percent, or one unit, to 300.

9. Kia: 49,220, off 1.2 percent.

  • Kia posted a record first three quarters of 491,764 units, up 3.3 percent, though Subaru outsold it for the second month in a row (with a year-to-date sales total of 446,887, it won’t catch Kia for the year).
  • Soul was the bestseller, though off 12.7 percent to 11,885. Optima was off 23.1 percent to 9,010.
  • Sportage sales rose 56.6 percent to 6,282, and Forte was up 53.3 percent to 8,256.

 

10. Mercedes-Benz USA: 33,075, up 3.1 percent.

  • Mercedes continues to clean BMW’s clock, with record September Benz brand sales of 29,500, up 1.7 percent and 4,111 units ahead of the Bavarians.
  • The C-Class leads all of this, though off 11.7 percent to 6,600. E-Class and CLS were up 7.9 percent to 4,824.
  • GLC-Class lead SUVs, up 137 percent to 4,873. GLE-Class was next, off 19.9 percent to 4,127.
  • Vans were up 28.3 percent to 2,970, though Smart was off 19.3 percent to 605.

11. BMW Group: 29,413, off 5.2 percent.

  • 3 Series dropped 18.7 percent to 7,432, and 4 Series fell 16 percent to 2,289, while 2 Series was off by 9.4 percent to 977.
  • X3 was up 26.2 percent, however, to 3,829, X5 rose 48.5 percent to 3,749, and X1 was up 190.8 percent to 2,463.
  • The Mini brand was off 8.8 percent to 4,024. BMW was off 4.6 percent to 25,389.
  • The new Cooper/S convertible was up 87.4 percent to 446, and Mini sold 1,004 Clubmans up from zero a year ago. Everything else was down substantially.

12. Mazda: 24,889, off 2.8 percent.

  • The new CX-9 was up 17.6 percent to 1,834, but the CX-5 remains Mazda’s bestseller, up 3.1 percent to 9,385.
  • CX-3 also was up, by 12.9 percent, to 1,513, but all car models were down. Mazda3 was off 5.2 percent, to 7,350.
  • MX-5 Miata sales fell 20 percent to 752. Combined with Fiat 124 Spider sales, however, the total of 1,242 outpaced September ’15 Miata sales of 940.

13. Volkswagen: 24,112, off 7.8 percent.

  • Jetta sales rose 6.8 percent to 8,299, while a big advertising effort could not help Passat, which was off 12.4 percent to 6,335.
  • Tiguan rose 0.5 percent to 2,988, and Golf fell 12.7 percent to 4,585, including 1,837 GTIs, up 0.7 percent.
  • Beetle was off 12.9 percent to 1,341.

14. Audi: 17,617, up 1.6 percent.

  • A4, at 3,175, up 43 percent, continues to sap A3 sales, at 2,209, off 18.5 percent, but Q5 remains sales leader at 3,957, off 23.2 percent.
  • The new Q7 was up 27.5 percent to 2,475.

15. Jaguar/Land Rover: 8,299, up 21 percent.

  • Jaguar sold 2,662 cars and SUVs, up 168 percent, which included 829 XE sedans and 809 F-Pace SUVs. Sales of the redesigned XF totaled 415, up 56 percent.
  • Land Rover was off 4 percent from a record September in 2015 to 5,637. Range Rover Sport was at 1,532 and Discovery Sport was up 5 percent to 1,201.

16. Mitsubishi: 7,191, off 4.8 percent.

  • Outlander Sport sales fell 18.2 percent to 2,570. Outlander was off 24 units to 1,925.
  • With the new G4 sedan added to the mix, Mirage sales climbed 30 percent to 1,756.

17. Volvo: 5,615, up 1.6 percent.

  • XC90 leads the way, again, up 108.5 percent to 2,465. Volvo sold 147 new S90s, and 58 of its old S80s, the latter, off 10.8 percent.
  • S60 was off 29.7 percent to 889, and XC60 was off 47.8 percent to 1,157.

18. Porsche: 4,479, up 1.2 percent.

  • Macan can take full credit, up 72.2 percent to 1,998. Sales of all other Porsches fell.
  • Cayenne was off 6.3 percent to 1,239, while 911 fell 39.5 percent to 465, and Boxster/Cayman dropped 31.2 percent to 421.

Luxury/Premium Brands, YTD:

  1. Mercedes-Benz: 249,204
  2. Lexus: 236,193
  3. BMW: 230,133
  4. Audi: 152,179
  5. Acura: 119,727

Select Sports Cars and EVs, YTD:

  1. Chevrolet Corvette: 22,719
  2. Chevrolet Volt: 16,326
  3. Nissan Leaf: 9,238
  4. Mazda Miata: 7,840
  5. Toyota 86/Scion FR-S: 5,754

Midsize cars, YTD:

  1. Toyota Camry: 297,453
  2. Honda Accord: 258,619
  3. Nissan Altima: 242,321
  4. Ford Fusion: 210,462
  5. Chevrolet Malibu: 170,389

Compact CUVs, YTD:

  1. Honda CR-V: 263,493
  2. Toyota RAV4: 260,380
  3. Nissan Rogue: 241,619
  4. Ford Escape: 234,764
  5. Chevrolet Equinox: 173,736

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