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First-Half U.S. 2018 Auto Sales Are Down Slightly from Last Year

GM, Toyota, Fiat Chrysler gain; Ford Motor, Honda, and Nissan sales slide

How to handle General Motors’ move to quarterly U.S. auto sales reports? It’s the number-one automaker in the country, and will likely lead others to do the same over the next year.

But most of GM’s rivals list monthly numbers, and year-to-date numbers, and I could never get this web column out in time if I had to add up the last three months’ numbers for every other automaker and its individual models. So from now on, this column will compare cumulative sales for the year. This column compares numbers for the first half of the year, for everyone, and the percentage change, up/down, is compared with sales for the first half of 2017.

Next report will be in October, comparing sales for the first three quarters of the year, and after that comes the annual sales report, which will be in January 2019.

I’ve covered car sales for more than a decade, first at motortrend.com, because I think good knowledge of what cars and trucks people are buying can give you a good hint at what automakers will be building within the next five years. It’s also a reminder that sports cars, and the proverbial diesel stick-shift station wagon, are for enthusiasts and not for the mass markets. We have to hope that automakers that still build sports cars are selling sufficient amounts of compact sport/utilities to fund enthusiasts’ favorites.

Toyota says the Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate is running in the high 16-million range, down from the low 17s of a year ago.

And so, to the numbers …

1. General Motors: 1,474,170, up 4.2 percent.

  • Chevrolet division was up 5.2 percent, to 1,019,019, with Silverado accounting for 291,074, up 10.7 percent, and Suburban at 29,861, up 19.9 percent. Tahoe sales for the first half were 50,523, up 12.3 percent.
  • Equinox is Chevy’s second-bestseller, and was up 17.2 percent, to 156,365. Among Chevy sedans, Cruze, at 77,691, off 26.1 percent, narrowly outsold Malibu, off 8.9 percent, to 76,417.
  • Among Green Chevys, Bolt, at 7,858, up 3.5 percent, edged out Volt, off 28.5 percent, to 7,814. Corvette plunged 25.3 percent, to 10,242.
    GMC was up 2.4 percent, to 269,507, with Sierra up 1.7 percent, to 100,874, and Yukon/XL up 1.1 percent, to 34,522. Acadia was off 10.7 percent, to 50,008.
  • Buick sales for the half dropped 0.6 percent, to 109,659. Encore was its bestseller, up 14.9 percent, to 48,635. Encore was next, up 15.3 percent, to 48,635. Envision was off 25.7 percent, to 16,814 and the new Regal, including the TourX, spiked by 26.7 percent, to 8,215.
  • Cadillac sales moved up 5.4 percent, to 75,949, led by bestseller XT5, up 7 percent, to 31,890. XTS was the biggest gainer, up 16.2 percent, to 8,563. Escalade was up 4 percent, to 17,766, and brand icon CT6 was off 9.3 percent, to 4,894.

2. Ford Motor Company: 1,277,691, off 1.8 percent.

  • Divisional split was 1,227,422 for Ford, off 1.4 percent, and 50,269 for Lincoln, down 10.8 percent.
  • Ford’s F-Series pickup was up 4.9 percent for the half, to 451,138, a 59,190-unit lead over the Chevy Silverado/GMC Sierra combo.
  • Ford Mustang leads #PonyCarWars, at 42,428, off 4.9 percent, and with Dodge Challenger, at 37,367, up 4 percent. Chevy Camaro dropped 30.6 percent for the half, to 25,380.
  • Ford Expedition was down 10.2 percent, to 27,934, while Lincoln Navigator spiked up 82.4 percent, to 9,115.
  • Escape is Ford’s next-bestseller, though off 7.9 percent, to 144,627. Explorer was off 6.5 percent, to 110,805, Edge slid 4.5 percent, to 68,048 and Ford sold 23,610 of its new EcoSport b-segment CUVs.
  • Ford Fusion was down 18.9 percent, to 86,978, and Focus fell 9.2 percent, to 75,1010.
  • MKX was Lincoln’s bestseller for the half, at 13,470, off 13.1 percent, and edging out MKC, off 8.7 percent, to 12,289.
  • Lincoln MKZ dropped 32.5 percent, to 9,675 and Continental plunged 28.3 percent, to 4,478.

3. Toyota Motor Sales: 1,189,312, up 3 percent.

  • Toyota Division sales for the half rose 3.2 percent, to 1,054,312 as Lexus edged up 0.9 percent, to 135,000.
  • Toyota says its Camry remains the bestselling car in the U.S., up 1.1 percent, to 178,795. RAV4 sales were stronger, though, up 7.4 percent, to 198,392.
  • Corolla was off 8.5 percent, to 161,462 and Prius was off 16.2 percent, to 46,171.
  • Tundra sales for the half was up 4 percent, to 55,792, and Tacoma was up 22.9 percent, to 116,266.
  • Lexus remains the RX brand, as first-half sales for that SUV rose 7.1 percent, to 50,051, including the new three-row RX L. NX was up 10.2 percent, to 28,672.
  • Lexus ES was off 8.7 percent, to 19,901, in the midst of a model changeover.
  • Lexus LS sales surged 135.5 percent with the new model, to 4,369.

4. Fiat Chrysler: 1,115,476, up 5 percent.

  • Jeep, Jeep, it’s all-Jeep. Sales of the brand jumped 22 percent, to 495,022. Even Ram was off 7 percent for the half, to 260,341.
  • Dodge fell 4 percent, to 250,933, Chrysler dropped 13 percent, to 88,630, and Fiat plunged 44 percent, to 8,285. Alfa Romeo was up 230 percent, but that was to just 12,265.
  • Jeep sold 35-percent more Wranglers in the first half of ’18, versus the first half of ’17, to 133,492. Cherokee was up 40 percent, to 113,719 and Grand Cherokee dipped 6 percent, to 109.313.
  • Jeep Compass was up 240 percent, to 87,510, while Renegade fell 5 percent, to 50,439.
  • Ram pickup fell 7 percent, to 233,539, in the midst of a model changeover.
  • Chrysler Pacifica sales rose 6 percent, to 63,024, as 300 was off 13 percent, to 24,707.
  • Dodge Charger was off 4 percent (see #PonyCarWars under Ford sales for Challenger), to 41,406 and Journey was down 8 percent, to 52,309.
  • Dodge sold 14 Vipers, down 97 percent.
  • Fiat 500X was down 19 percent, to 3,225, as 500 fell 70 percent, to 2,262, and 124 Spider dropped 24 percent, to 1,894.
  • Alfa’s Giulia, up 83 percent, to 6,362, outsold the new Stelvio, which posted 5,769 sales for the first half.

5. American Honda, 787,824, off 0.5 percent.

  • Honda was off 0.4 percent, to 715,171 and Acura was off 1.6 percent, to 72,653.
  • Honda CR-V led Accord and Civic, off 4.1 percent, to 179,580.
  • The expanded Civic lineup was up 0.3 percent, to 176,242.
  • Accord was down 13.6 percent, to 138,290.
  • RDX led Acura sales, up 8.1 percent, to 27,322. MDX was off 7 percent, to 21,900. TLX was off 11.4 percent, to 16,890.

6. Nissan Group: 780,695, off 4.8 percent.

  • Nissan division was off 4.3 percent, to 708,525 and Infiniti was off 8.8 percent, to 72,170.
  • Rogue was up 10 percent, to 215,202.
  • Nissan Altima was off 15.4 percent, to 123,792, and Sentra was up 2.8 percent, to 115,676.
  • Nissan Leaf sales fell 8.1 percent, to 6,659.
  • QX60 led Infiniti sales, up 21.3 percent, to 22,176, while Q50 was next, off 2.3 percent, to 19,157.

7. Hyundai: 335,048, off 3.3 percent.

  • Hyundai brand was off 2.6 percent, to 327,786 and Genesis was down 26.7 percent, to 7,262.
  • The Elantra compact sedan remains Hyundai’s bestseller, by far, though off 0.5 percent, to 99,728.
  • Tucson was up 35.3 percent, to 69,949. Santa Fe slipped 1.4 percent, to 59,185.
  • The electrified Ionics had a good half, up 76.2 percent, to 8,599. Hyundai has sold 15,193 Konas, year-to-date.
  • Genesis G80 was down 26.2 percent, to 5,646, and G90 was off 28.3 percent, to 1,616.

8. Subaru: 322,860, up 5.9 percent.

  • Outback is bestseller, up 5.5 percent to 90,978.
  • Forester was off 9.9 percent, to 79,277, while Crosstrek was up 71.1 percent, to 74,475.
  • WRX/STI was off 7.1 percent, to 15,038. BRZ was down 14.4 percent, to 1,966.

9. Kia: 293,563, off 0.7 percent.

  • Forte led sales, off 7.4 percent to 54,400, with Sorento up 5 percent, to 52,760.
  • Soul was off 5.8 percent, to 50,032.
  • Niro was up 12 percent, to 14,203, and outsold Hyundai Ionics by 5,604.
  • K900 was down 30.3 percent, to 175, but Kia sold 8,638 of its new Stingers.

10. Mercedes-Benz USA: 176,408, off 1.9 percent.

    • Slipping sales this year place Mercedes plus vans and smart just 386 units ahead of BMW at the halfway point. The Mercedes brand, excluding vans, was off 1.9 percent, to 158,848.
    • GLC-Class leads, up 78.2 percent, to 35,145. C-Class sales fell 30.3 percent, to 29,659.
    • GLE was off 15.2 percent, to 22,741, and GLA was up 17.4 percent, to 12,162, while E-Class/CLS dropped 5.3 percent, to 23,440.
    • CLA-Class was up 37.9 percent, to 11,716.
    • S-Class was up 11.1 percent, to 8,425.
    • Vans were up 7 percent, to 16,910 and Smart brand plummeted 67.2 percent, to just 650 cars in the first half of the year.

11. BMW Group: 176,022, up 2.8 percent.

  • BMW brand was up 2.9 percent, to 153,386. Mini was up 1.9 percent, to 22,636.
  • Three models all were in the 24k range. X3 was up 1.6 percent, to 24,750, X5 was off 0.9 percent, to 24,376 and 3 Series was off 12.7 percent, to 24,180.
  • The 4 Series, which has outsold 3 Series in certain months, was down 22.6 percent, to 15,758.
  • Countryman led Mini sales, up 48.6 percent to 9,459. The Cooper/S Hardtop 2 Door was off 10.8 percent, to 4,861.

12. Volkswagen: 172,898, up 7.2 percent.

  • VW’s second-half of ’18 success is all thanks to the new Tiguan and Atlas SUVs.
  • VW sold 28,158 Atlases, up from 4,023 as production began early in ’17.
  • It sold 46,102 of its new Tiguans and 9,293 Tiguan Limiteds, up 226 percent versus the old Tiguans last year.
  • All major car lines were down. Jetta was off 40.5 percent, to 33,023, Passat fell 36.4 percent, to 22,356, Golf was down 36.6 percent, to 24,257 and Beetle was off 9.7 percent, to 7967.

13. Mazda: 163,924, up 15.7 percent.

  • The CX-5 compact SUV is a runaway hit, up 40.1 percent for the half, to 81,012. It outsold the VW Atlas and ’18 Tiguan, combined, by 6,752.
  • MX-5 Miata was off 32.7 percent, to 4,691.
  • CX-9 was up 21.5 percent, to 14,716, and CX-3 was up 26.5 percent, to 9,627.
  • Mazda3 was off 10.1 percent, to 35,796.

14. Audi: 107,942, up 4.8 percent.

    • Q5 was up 27 percent, to 49,694.
    • Q7 was up 2 percent to 27,270, and Q3 was down -0.2 percent, to 14,630.
    • A4 was up 4 percent to 28,783, while A5 was up 52 percent to 21,244. A3 slipped 17 percent, to 15,579.

15. Mitsubishi: 67,327, up 23.4 percent.

  • On track to eclipse the 100k mark this year, Mitsubishi is led by Outlander, up 30.6 percent, to 23,506. Outlander Sport was up 48.8 percent, to 22,415.
  • Mitsubishi sold 2,966 Eclipse Crosses in the first half of the year.
  • Mirage was off 3.7 percent, to 13,185.

16. Jaguar/Land Rover: 59,566, up 5 percent.

  • Jaguar is off 28 percent for the year so far, to 14,787, while Land Rover is up 25 percent, to 44,779.
  • The Land Rover Range Rover is of 2 percent, to 9,438, but 8,812 new Velars were sold in the first half.
    F-Pace is off 24 percent, to 7,252, while the new E-Pace claimed 1,426 sales.
  • XE was off 48 percent, to 2,663 and F-Type was off 47 percent, to 1,219.

17. Volvo: 47,622, up 39.6 percent.

  • The XC90 still leads the marque’s sales, at 15,974, up 32.8 percent.
  • The XC60 was next, up 66 percent to 14,790, of which 14,551 were the new model.
  • Volvo sold 5,098 XC40s in the first half.
  • V90 sales were 182, up 1,200 percent, but the CC version was up 26.9 percent, to 1,131.

18. Porsche: 29,421, up 6.7 percent.

  • Macan led at 11,650, up 9.5 percent.
  • Cayenne was of 25.3 percent, to 5,275, while 911 was up 10.8 percent, to 4,871.

Luxury/Premium Marques, YTD:

1.) Mercedes-Benz 158,848
2.) BMW 153,386
3.) Lexus 135,000
4.) Audi 107,942
5.) Cadillac 75,949

Mazda MX-5/Fiat 124 Spider: 6,585 (-30.5%)
Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ: 4,254 (-29.5%)

Midsize cars, YTD:

1.) Toyota Camry 178,795
2.) Honda Accord 138,290
2.) Nissan Altima 123,792
4.) Ford Fusion 86,978
5.) Chevrolet Malibu 76,417

Compact CUVs, YTD:

1.) Nissan Rogue 215,202
2.) Toyota RAV4 198,392
3.) Honda CR-V 179,580
4.) Chevrolet Equinox 156,365
5.) Ford Escape 144,627

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