Steady Is Good: 2019 U.S. Auto Sales

We should end the year right around last year’s overall record.

General Motors says both its 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 had 12-percent jumps in sales in the second quarter of the year. Since GM led a move from monthly to quarterly sales reports, this column has gone quarterly, and reports only year-to-date numbers to show overall progress in the race.

It's the runaway success of Fiat Chrysler's new Ram pickups, lauded for their styling, features and interior quality, that has pushed that model past the Chevy Silverado in sales for the first half of '19. I can't say how close it is to the Ford F-Series, because while Ford Motor Company has joined GM in dropping monthly reporting in favor of quarterly reporting, it refuses to release its numbers on the same day as all its competitors.

Hyundai also has changed the way it reports sales, by splitting off its Genesis luxury division. Without that change, Hyundai would have been in seventh-place below, just ahead of Subaru. But Hyundai, thanks to much-needed new SUVs, and Genesis reported sales gains for the first half, along with Subaru, Hyundai, Kia, Volkswagen, Jaguar Land Rover, Volvo, Mitsubishi, and Porsche, while the bigger automakers like GM, Toyota, Fiat Chrysler, and especially Nissan all reported declines.

One bit of consensus in the industry is that total sales will end up just under 17 million, off about 2- to 3-percent compared with 2018. Luxury brands are taking a bit more of a hit than commodity brands, which are finding success with highly optioned, premium-priced SUVs.

And so, to the numbers …

  1. General Motors: 1,412,499, off 4.2 percent.

  • Chevrolet sales fell 6.6 percent, to 952,248 for the first half of '19, while Buick was off 2.2 percent to 207,240, and Cadillac slipped 0.3 percent, to 75,734. GMC was the only divisional gainer, up 2.9 percent, to 277,277.
  • Chevrolet and GMC full-size truck sales for the first half totaled 353,477, off 9.8 percent, and consisting of 256,777 Chevy Silverados, down 11.8 percent, and 97,403 GMC Sierras, down 3.4 percent.
  • Chevy Equinox led decent SUV gains at GM, up 11.4 percent, to 174,157.
  • Camaro slipped 3.4 percent, to 24,516.
  • Buick Encore was up 0.5 percent, to 48,897 while Enclave was up 23.7 percent, to 27,739.
  • GMC Acadia was up 19.2 percent, to 59,620.
  • Cadillac XT5 was off 17.4 percent, to 26,396, while the marque sold 14,106 of its new XT4s.

  1. Ford Motor Company: N/A

*Notoriously strident about controlling its message, Ford Motor Company for the second time since it made the transition from monthly to quarterly sales reports, has scheduled its sales numbers release for the day after every other automaker (except Tesla). Is Ford uncomfortable with having its sales numbers compared with others? Probably. For now I'll keep Ford in the number-two position in terms of year-to-date sales.

  1. Toyota Motor Sales: 1,189,311, off 3.1 percent.

  • Toyota division was off 3.6 percent, to 1,016,373 for the half, with Lexus up 0.5 percent, to 135,735. Toyota says its car/truck mix is running about 35 percent to 65 percent, versus about 30/70 for the industry.
  • RAV4 remains the nation's bestselling non-pickup truck, with 200,610 sold, up 1.1 percent. Camry was off 1.6 percent, to 176,008.
  • Tacoma was up 4.8 percent to 121,866, though sales slipped slightly in June.
  • Toyota 86 sales slid 27.4 percent, to 1,661.
  • Lexus RX was off 4 percent, to 48,061 and ES was up 20.5 percent, to 23,980. Lexus hybrid model sales are up 21 percent for the first half, according to the marque's general manager, David Christ.

 

  1. FiatChrysler: 1,096,110, off 2 percent.

  • Jeep was off 8 percent, to 456,281, while Ram sales jumped 28 percent, to 333,168. Dodge was down 9 percent, to 228,099, Chrysler sales fell 27 percent, to 64,422, Fiat dropped by 38 percent, to 5,103 and Alfa Romeo sales slid 26 percent for the quarter, to 9,037.
  • At Jeep, Wrangler sales fell 12 percent, to 116,985 for the quarter. Jeep sold 7,252 Gladiators, not enough to account for Wrangler's drop of 16,507 units. Other Jeep models were down, except for the aging Grand Cherokee, which was up 13 percent, to 123,272.
  • Ram pickup sales were up 28 percent, to 333,168, though ProMaster also helped the truck division, up 31 percent, to 26,712.
  • Dodge Challenger sales fell 23 percent, to 28,668. Durango was up 13 percent, to 36,991 and Charger was up 9 percent, to 45,046.
  • Chrysler 300 sales fell 36 percent, to 15,857 and Pacifica was down 23 percent, to 48,527.
  • Alfa Romeo Stelvio was off 26 percent, to 4,600 and Giulia dropped 32 percent, to 4,346. Fiat 124 Spider was off 19 percent, to 1,528.

 

  1. American Honda, 776,995, off 1.4 percent.

  • Honda division was off 1.7 percent, to 703,228 and Acura was up 1.5 percent, to 73,767.
  • CR-V continues to dominate Honda sales, though off 1.5 percent to 176,944.
  • Accord, off 6.4 percent to 129,435, appears to have permanently ceded Honda sedan sales to Civic, off 4 percent to 169,172.
  • Honda sold 12,548 Insights in the first half of the year. It was not on sale same time last year.
  • RDX is Acura's bestseller, up 10.5 percent to 30,181, with RDX next at 22,634 up 3.4 percent.
  • TLX was Acura's bestselling car in the first half, off 22 percent to 13,172.

  1. Nissan Group: 717,036, off 8.2 percent.

  • Nissan Division took a 7.7 percent plunge, to 653,978, while Infiniti dropped 12.6 percent, to 63,058.
  • Nissan sales leader Rogue fell 18.6 percent, to 175,267.
  • Altima dropped 12.1 percent, to 108,777, and Sentra, though off 5 percent, overtook it among Nissan cars, at 109,899.
  • Leaf was off 9.8 percent, to 6,008 and 370Z was down 35.8 percent, to 1,252.
  • QX60 led Infiniti, up 3 percent to 22,830. Q50 was down 25.2 percent, to 14,337.

 

  1.  Subaru: 339,525, up 5.2 percent.

  • Outback is the brand's bestseller again, up 3.0-percent in the first half, to 93,711, ahead of an all-new model coming late this year. Typical of most outgoing models from every other manufacturer, dealer incentives have helped push this.
  • Forester was up 8.8 percent, to 86,219.
  • Subaru sold 40,108 Ascents in its first full half-year, up from 1,897 units as sales began in the first half of '18.
  • BRZ was down 21.7 percent, to 1,540.

 

  1. Hyundai: 333,328, up 16.9 percent.

  • Genesis has split off its sales reporting from Hyundai (which would be like Lexus reporting its numbers separately. For now, we'll go with Genesis' separate listing, though Hyundai should note that this puts the mainstream brand that much farther behind Subaru in sales.
  • Santa Fe had much to do with Hyundai's half-year sales increase. The SUV model was up 14.2 percent, to 67,571.
  • Sales leader Elantra was down, however, by 14.8 percent, to 84,971. Sonata was off 13.1 percent, to 47.132.
  • Tucson sales slipped 5.6 percent, to 65,934.

  1. Kia: 304,844, up 3.8 percent.

  • Soul was up 11.1 percent, to 55,583, and Optima was up 7.7 percent, to 50,469.
  • Forte sales dropped by 11 percent, to 48,413.

 

  1. Volkswagen: 184,608, up 6.8 percent.

  • Tiguan is now VW's sales leader in the U.S., with 57,331 sold in the first half, up 3 percent. Jetta was up 48 percent, to 48,973.
  • Atlas sales rose 34 percent, to 37,726, while Passat plummeted 49 percent, to 11,456.
  • In the first half of its last calendar year, Beetle was up 18 percent, to 9,398.

 

  1. BMW Group: 174,023, off 1.1 percent.

  • BMW brand was up 2 percent on the strength of its SUVs, to 156,440, as Mini sunk 22.3 percent, to 17,583.
  • X3 was BMW's bestseller, up 29.8 percent, to 32,127. The X5 was down by six units, to 24,370.
  • The 5 Series was BMW's bestselling car, up 7.3 percent, to 22,703.
  • The 3 Series was off 12.5 percent, to 21,158, and the 4 Series dropped by 25.8 percent, to 11,694.
  • BMW sold 1,313 of its new Z4s in the U.S., in the first half of the year, compared with two old Z4s in the first half of last year.
  • Countryman was Mini's bestseller, down 32.5 percent to 6,385. The 4DR HT was Mini's only gainer, up 3.7 percent, to 3,082.

  1. Mercedes-Benz USA: 163,917, off 7.1 percent.

  • The Mercedes-Benz marque sold 163,917, off 7.1 percent.
  • Merc Vans were off 5.2 percent, to 16,025. Get 'em while you can - Smart was off 23.7 percent, to 496.
  • The GLC SUV was off 3.5 percent, to 33,906, while C-Class was down 7.8 percent, to 27,337.
  • G-Class was off 3.5 percent, to 33,906 and S-Class was down 26.9 percent, to 6,155.
  • Mercedes sold 6,210 new A-Classes in the U.S., for the first half of the year.

 

  1. Mazda: 138,555, off 15.5 percent.

  • Sales leader CX-5 was off 8.2 percent, to 74,387.
  • Mazda3 was down 20.3 percent, to 28,523.
  • MX-5 Miata was off 16.6 percent, to 3,914.

 

  1. Audi: 101,440, off 6 percent. 

    • Bestseller Q5 was up 11 percent, to 32,046.
    • Q7 was off 10 percent, to 16,033.
    • A4 sales dropped 34 percent, to 12,154 and A5 was off 15 percent, to 11,574, for a combined 23,728.

 

15. Mitsubishi: 71,097, up 8.9 percent.

  • Outlander Sport remains bestseller, though off 16.3 percent to 18,768
  • Eclipse Cross was up 424 percent to 12,591.

  1. 16. Jaguar/Land Rover: 62,405, up 5 percent.

  • Land Rover sold 46,123 SUVs, up 3 percent.
  • Jaguar sold 16,282 cars and SUVs, up 10 percent.
  • Range Rover Sport was up 2 percent, to 12,132.
  • Discovery Sport was up 11 percent, to 6,367.
  • Evoque was up 16 percent, to 4,928.
  • Jaguar F-Pace sales rose 1 percent, to 7,309.
  • XE was off 10 percent, to 2,408.
  • Jaguar sold 1,309 of its new i-Pace EVs for the first half of the year.
  • F-Type was up 3 percent, to 1,255.

 

  1. Volvo: 50,120, up 5.2 percent.

  • The XC90 is still Volvo's bestseller in the U.S., up 0.4 percent to 15,974.
  • The XC60 is about to catch it, up 0.1 percent, to 14,805.
  • XC40 was up 67.8 percent, to 5,098, and S60 was up 126.7 percent, to 3,719.

 

  1. Porsche: 30,257, up 2.8 percent.

  • Cayenne and Macan switched places as bestseller, with Cayenne up 90.2 percent, to 10,031 for the first half, and Macan off 16.6 percent, to 9,711.
  • The 911 line was off 5.2 percent, to 4,620.

 

  1. Genesis: 7,262, up 37.8 percent.

  • New as a separate entry, Hyundai's luxury brand has its own BMW 3 Series. Genesis sold 5,715 of its new G70s in the first half, topping the larger G80, which was off 40.6 percent, to 5,646. The G90 flagship was down 41.9 percent, to 1,616.

Luxury/Premium Brands, YTD:

  • Mercedes-Benz             163,917           -7.1%
  • BMW                               156,440           +2.0%
  • Lexus                               135,735           +0.5%
  • Audi                                 101,940           -6.0%
  • Cadillac                            75,734             -0.3%

Sports Cars YTD:

  • Chevrolet Corvette             9,731              -5.0%
  • Porsche 911                          4,620              -5.2%
  • Mazda MX-5                         3,914              -16.6%
  • Porsche 718                          2,155              -29.4%
  • Toyota 86                              1,661              -27.4%

*Platform-mates Mazda MX-5/Fiat 124 Spider sold a combined 5,442 and Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ a combined 3,201.