March 2017 Auto Sales: Shift to Crossovers Continues

Nissan’s Rogue continues to carry non-truck sales crown

Despite some analyst projections, the automotive market is not seeing signs of a sharp slowdown — at least not yet. What is being seen, however, is a continuation of the shift from sedans to crossovers, with the Nissan Rogue once again taking firm hold of the non-truck sales crown and growing its annual lead over the once-unstoppable Toyota Camry to 17,962 units.

Elsewhere, Ford's car sales cratered, the Korean brands struggled, and Volvo continued to suffer from a supply shortage.

And so, to the numbers …

  1. General Motors: 256,224, up 1.6 percent.

  • Chevrolet was down 2.2 percent to 172,458.
    • Trucks declined sharply, with Silverado dropping by 11.6 percent to 42,410, and Colorado declining by 13.3 percent to 8,426.
    • Cruze spiked 88.3 percent to 18,607, becoming GM's best-selling car as Malibu fell by 35.5 percent to 14,222.
    • Chevy moved 978 Bolts and 2,132 Volts (up 14.3 percent).
    • Equinox rose by 5.5 percent to 22,671 ahead of the 2018 model's launch.
    • SS sedan sales jumped 325.5 percent to 1,217.
  • GMC was up 12.0 percent to 49,948.
    • Sierra and Canyon declined alongside their Bowtie twins; the former fell by 14.3 percent to 18,460 while the latter declined by 13.1 percent to 2,490.
    • Truck slide was offset by strong growth for the Acadia (up 84 percent to 11,432), Savana (up 196 percent to 3,689), Terrain (up 13.6 percent to 7,831), and Yukon XL (up 17.4 percent to 2,849).
  • Buick grew by 15 percent to 20,957.
    • Increase driven by strong demand for the Encore (up 29.1 percent to 8,293) and Envision (3,584), offsetting a 26.3 percent drop for the Envision to 3,772 and a 50.2 percent drop for the discontinued Verano to 1,146.
  • Cadillac edged down 1.5 percent to 12,861.
    • At 5,280 units, XT5 accounted for 41 percent of the brand's sales.
    • ATS declined by 26 percent to 1,367, CTS by 41.2 percent to 882, and Escalade by 16.5 percent to 1,648.
    • 968 CT6 were sold in the model's first full March on the market.

  1. Ford Motor Company: 236,250, off 7.2 percent.

  • F-Series sales rose 10.1 percent to 81,330, increasing the Blue Oval's lead over GM, which moved 60,870 Silverados and Sierras.
  • Mustang sales slid 27.4 percent to 9,120, but that was still enough to retain its crown over the Camaro (up 2.5 percent to 7,052) and Challenger (up 17 percent to 6,225).
  • Total Ford car sales fell by 25.6 percent, led by Mustang as well as Fusion (down 36.8 percent to 18,759) and Focus (down 22.5 percent to 14,473).
  • The Fiesta (up 20.6 percent to 5,488) and Expedition (up 42.7 percent to 5,472) were the only Ford-branded consumer models to post an increase (the police-only Police Interceptor Utility was up 13.7 percent).
  • Lincoln posted a slight decline of 1.4 percent to 9,554. A 16.8 percent increase in MKC sales to 2,284 was offset by declines in the rest of the MKX (down 3 percent), MKT (down 43.3 percent), and Navigator (down 31.6 percent).

  1. Toyota Motor Sales: 215,224, down 2.1 percent.

  • Toyota brand declined by 1.2 percent to 187,289.
    • Prius sales continue to decline, dropping 19.2 percent to 9,761, while Corolla and Camry also declined (down 4.4 percent to 32,707 and down 3.6 percent to 35,648, respectively), resulting in a 7.3 percent drop in overall car sales.
    • Double-digit growth for RAV4 (up 10.3 percent to 32,027), Highlander (up 20.8 percent to 18,058), and 4Runner (up 25.5 percent to 12,045) contributed to a 15.1 percent increase in SUV sales despite an 18.6 percent drop to 9,770 for the outgoing Sienna minivan, which the automaker includes in its SUV section.
    • Truck sales declined by 5.8 percent, with Tacoma dropping by 5.4 percent to 16,728 and Tundra by 6.4 percent to 9,358.
    • 86 Coupe increased by 5.5 percent to 705.
  • Lexus sales declined by 7.5 percent to 27,935.
    • Lexus car sales fell by 28.2 percent, with all models posting sharp declines ranging from a 51.6 percent drop for the GS to 737 to a 13.5 percent slide for the CT to 841.
    • Lexus SUV sales increased by 9.5 percent, lead by the NX (up 25 percent to 5,619) and GX (up 31 percent to 2,569) while perennial leader RX dropped by 2.1 percent to 9,445.

  1. FiatChrysler: 190,254 off 5 percent.

  • With sales of the set-for-replacement Compass and Patriot collapsing (down 66 percent to 2,651 for the former, down 36 percent to 5,968), the Jeep brand fell by 11 percent to 67,983 despite a 22 percent increase for the Grand Cherokee to 20,374; Wrangler fell by 7 percent (16,336), Cherokee by 11 percent (14,589), and Renegade by 9 percent (8,065).
  • Chrysler brand fell by 33 percent to 16,969. The discontinued 200 fell by 48 percent while the 300 dropped by 19 percent to 4,969 and the new Pacifica (9,340) failed to keep pace with the discontinued Town & Country (14,200 in March 2016).
  • Dodge sales increased by 10 percent to 50,076, lead by the Journey (up 100 percent to 11,858), carry-over Caravan (up 19 percent to 15,602), and Challenger. Notable declines include the Durango (down 10 percent to 6,506) and Charger (down 6 percent to 8,236).
  • Ram brand grew by 10 percent to 51,749. Ram truck sales rose by 6 percent to 46,384 while ProMaster van sales jumped by 25 percent to 4,048.
  • Fiat declined by 5 percent to 2,922. Sales of the subcompact 500 rose by 12 percent to 1,671 while those of the 500X crossover fell by 31 percent to 726 and the 500L by 80 percent to 106 (and no, it's not discontinued). Additionally, 419 124 Spider roadsters left dealer lots.
  • Alfa Romeo moved 484 Giulias in the model's second month of sales alongside 71 4Cs.
  • Maserati sales, which FCA does not include in its total, increased by 32 percent to 1,312.

  1. Nissan Group: 168,832, up 3.2 percent.

  • Nissan brand sales were practically flat, rising by just 0.5 percent to 150,566.
    • Rogue lead a 25.6 percent increase in Nissan truck and SUV sales, jumping by 42.6 percent to 39,512.
    • Titan sales more than quadrupled, rising by 334.8 percent to 5,539 while the overdue-for-replacement Frontier dropped by 14.9 percent to 6,973.
    • Nissan car sales dropped by 17 percent, with sharp drops posted by core products Versa (down 24.1 percent to 12,336), Sentra (down 16.2 percent to 21,960, and Altima (down 18.2 percent to 28,511).
  • Infiniti sales increased by 32.6 percent to 18,266.
    • Q50 sales fell by 32 percent to 3,800 but were offset by a full sales month of the Q60 (1,829), which was just launching last year. Q70 sales also jumped, rising by 85.8 percent to 1,072.
    • The new QX30 added 2,960 units to Infiniti's SUV total, which also saw strong growth for the QX50 (up 14.0 percent to 1,724), QX70 (up 62.9 percent to 1,077), and QX80 (up 41.3 percent to 1,983).

  1. American Honda, 137,227 off 0.7 percent.

  • Honda brand sales were up 1.8 percent to 125,531. Strong performance of the CR-V (up 23 percent to 32,872) and HR-V (up 19.6 percent to 7,653) crossovers offset slowdowns for the Accord (down 12.1 percent to 26,824), Civic (down 4.1 percent to 31,520), Pilot (down 6.1 percent to 9,945), and Odyssey (down 31.2 percent to 7,727).
  • Acura sales fell by 21.2 percent to 11,696. MDX grew slightly, lifting by 1.3 percent to 4,141 while the rest of the lineup declined. ILX dropped 47 percent to 824, TLX dropped 25.3 percent to 2,815, and RLX dropped 15.4 percent to 110.
  • A total of 37 NSX supercars found new garages.

  1. Hyundai: 67,510, down 8.0 percent.

  • Hyundai brand was down 10.4 percent due to a sharp decrease in car sales.
    • Elantra and Sonata practically traded places; the former grew by 43.2 percent to 25,063 while the latter fell by 46.6 percent to 15,357. Similar drops were posted by the Accent (down 44.8 percent to 4,349) and Veloster (down 40.8 percent to 1,386).
    • In keeping with macro trends, Santa Fe (up 74.9 percent to 11,446) and Tucson crossovers (up 14.8 percent 8,85) both posted strong results.
  • Genesis brand sold 1,755 vehicles — 1,347 G80s and 408 G90s.

  1. Subaru: 54,871 up 11.3 percent.

  • Crossover-heavy Subaru had another strong month, with Forester (up 10.6 percent to 15,803) and Outback (up 12.7 percent to 15,909) both posting double-digit gains while the soon-to-be-replaced Crosstrek rose by 2.1 percent to 7,120.
  • The new Impreza is looking popular, with sales jumping 47.4 percent to 7,653 while Legacy declined by 11.8 percent to 4,897.
  • 439 BRZs went home for a total of 1,114 Toyobarus sold.

  1. Kia: 49,429 off 15.2 percent.

  • March was a rough month for Kia, which saw every model save the all-new Niro decline — and all but the Forte (up 1.1 percent to 10,289) dropping by double digits.
  • Among volume leaders, Optima dropped by 13 percent to 10,204, Sportage by 18.3 percent to 5,560, Sorento by 21.7 percent to 7,751, and Soul by 30 percent to 8,426.

  1. BMW Group: 36,002, up 3.5 percent.

  • BMW brand was up 3.3 percent to 31,015, driven by 30.8 percent growth in demand for its SUVs.
    • X3 jumped by 42.9 percent to 6,395 while X5 rose by 35.4 percent to 4,896.
    • 3 percent drop in passenger car demand was led by a 29.4 percent decline in 4 Series sales (down to 3,324). The 2 Series (down 38.2 percent to 993) and X1 (7.9 percent to 2,896) were the other volume offerings to decline sharply.
  • Mini sales increased by 4.7 percent to 4,987 following the strong sales of the new convertible (741 units, up from 4 in 2016).

  1. Mercedes-Benz USA: 32,352, up 2.0 percent.

  • Mercedes-Benz car and SUV sales were 29,092, up 3.3 percent.
    • Growth driven by C-Class (up 20.5 percent to 8,021), E-Class (up 14.5 percent to 4,690), and GLS-Class (up 242.4 percent to 2,938).
    • The smallest Benzes all fell in popularity, with the CLA dropping by 51.9 percent to 1,079, the GLA by 22.3 percent to 1,714, and GLC by 35.8 percent to 3,126.
  • Van sales totaled 2,871, a 6.5 percent drop.
  • 389 smart cars went home, 18.8 percent fewer than last year.

  1. Volkswagen: 27,635 up 2.7 percent.

  • Dieselgate? What dieselgate? The Golf lineup grew by 41.7 percent to 6,369 thanks to the popularity of the Golf Sportwagen (up 154.2 percent to 2,461) and e-Golf (up 297.7 percent to 342). Jetta sales dropped by 7.4 percent to 9,700, however.
  • Tiguan (down 7.1 percent to 3,270) and Touareg (down 19.5% to 317) both declined, continuing to highlight the brand's challenges in the fast-growing segment. The Atlas can't come soon enough for VW's U.S. management.

  1. Mazda: 24,549, up 4.9 percent.

  • Declines throughout the lineup were offset by the addition of the CX-9, which sold 2,550 units versus just 117 last year.
  • Volume leaders CX-5 and Mazda3 decreased by 5.5 percent to 8,470 and 2.3 percent to 7,137, respectively.
  • Mazda sold 1,345 Miatas (up 23.4 percent); combined with the Fiat 124, that makes a total of 1,764 small roadsters sold.

  1. Audi: 18,705, up 2.0 percent.

  • Growth driven by a 20.1 percent increase in A4 sales to 3,876, 17.5 percent increase for Q5 (4,382), and 20.8 percent increase for Q3 (1,818).
  • A5 declined by 14 percent to 675 while A3 declined by 31.2 percent to 1,954.

  1. Jaguar/Land Rover: 12,918 up 19 percent.

  • Jaguar brand sales totaled 4,953, up 132 percent, lead by the F-Pace, which accounted for 2,187 units, while the XE accounted for 1,336 vehicles.
  • Land Rover sales dropped by 9 percent to 7,965. Range Rover sales were up 11 percent to 1,991 while Range Rover Evoque posted a 111 percent increase with 1,818 units moved.

  1. Mitsubishi: 11,766, up 6.2 percent.

  • Outlander sales nearly doubled, growing 96.4 percent to 4,235.
  • Mirage and Lancer dropped by 19 and 21 percent, respectively, while Outlander Sport declined by 6.9 percent.

  1. Volvo: 5,356, down 21.9 percent.

  • XC90 supply shortage continues to drag down Volvo's performance.
  • Excluding XC90, sales are up 4.5 percent.

  1. Porsche: 4,479, up 3,6 percent.

  • Cayenne (down 12.4 percent to 1,34) and Macan (up 60.5 percent to 1,802) accounted for two-thirds of sales as Porsche continues to transform into an SUV brand that sells sports cars instead of the other way around.
  • 718 dropped by 47 percent to 337 and 911 dropped by 30.5 percent to 652.
Top Five Excluding Trucks, YTD
1.     Nissan Rogue 101,421
2.     Honda CR-V 94,057
3.     Toyota Camry 83,459
4.     Honda Civic 81,654
5.     Toyota Corolla 81,434
Top 5 Crossovers, YTD
1.     Nissan Rogue 101,421
2.     Honda CR-V 94,057
3.     Toyota RAV4 80,533
4.     Ford Escape 76,338
5.     Chevrolet Equinox 62,709
Top 5 Luxury/Premium Brands, YTD
1.     Mercedes-Benz 79,141
2.     BMW 71,682
3.     Lexus 61,845
4.     Audi 45,647
5.     Infiniti 43,561
Top 5 Luxury Midsizers, YTD
1.     BMW 3 Series + 4 Series 22,717
2.     Mercedes-Benz C-Class 20,619
3.     Infiniti Q50 + Q60 13,821
4.     Audi A4 + A5 9,301
5.     Acura TLX 7,124
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