In 2016, the U.S. auto industry set another record, marking the seventh straight year that auto sales improved year-over-year. Unlike previous years, however, setting that record came down to the wire and required heavy incentive spending from the automakers. Several automakers also experienced minor decreases in their sales despite the overall industry seeing a sales increase.
The story has been a little different for 2017. Sales were down overall, with only a few automakers posting gains. We also saw sedan sales plummet as buyers showed much more interest in crossovers and SUVs. But how did the individual automakers fare? Let’s take a look.
Ford (-1.1 percent, 2,586,715 vehicles)
For a lot of automakers, seeing car sales drop by 14.2 percent would have resulted in a huge overall sales slide. But thanks to the strength of Ford’s SUV and truck sales, it only ended the year down slightly more than one percent. The Fusion and the Mustang were the worst offenders, posting 21.1 percent and 22.7 percent declines, but those losses were offset by modest gains in F-Series, Edge, and Explorer sales.
Over at Lincoln, the aging MKT bucked the trend and saw sales decrease by 25.4 percent. The Continental also reversed trends, posting a 128.3 percent sales increase for the year. That wasn’t enough to offset other canceled models, though, leaving Lincoln itself down 0.5 percent for the year.
GM (-1.3 percent, 3,002,241 vehicles)
Like Ford, GM’s sales for 2017 were down only slightly. But if you look more closely at the numbers, only GMC saw a sales increase for the year. The Acadia was largely responsible for that, posting a 25.8 percent increase. Buick, Cadillac, and Chevrolet all posted losses for the year. And while Buick was only down 4.5 percent, it would have been a lot worse without the Envision’s 189.2 percent jump in sales.
It looks worse at Cadillac, where sales were down 8.0 percent. The CT6 saw a 15.0 percent increase, which looks impressive until you realize XT5 sales were up a massive 73.0 percent. The rest of the lineup saw some pretty serious sales slides, especially the ATS and CTS at 39.1 and 35.0 percent respectively. Chevrolet, meanwhile, came out close to even, with sales only decreasing 1.5 percent versus last year. The Impala, Malibu, Spark, and Sonic all had a rough year, but at least Chevy SS sales were up 34.6 percent. And in its first year on sale, 23,297 people bought the Bolt.
FCA (-8 percent, 2,059,376 vehicles)
While Ford and GM’s total sales were only down slightly in 2017, it was a much worse year for FCA. Sales fell by 8.0 percent, and only a few cars in the entire lineup posted sales increases. Jeep Grand Cherokee increased by 13 percent, Ram pickup was up 2.0 percent, Fiat 124 Spider was up 81 percent, and the Pacifica was up 90 percent. Technically, Giulia sales increased 24,631 percent, but only 36 were sold last year, so that doesn’t really count.
Part of the reason that FCA’s sales were down is that several models were canceled. But among models that weren’t, there were still some pretty drastic decreases. The Fiat 500L, for example, was down 47 percent, while the Fiat 500X was down 35 percent. The Jeep Cherokee, meanwhile, fell 15 percent, and the Dodge Journey was down 16 percent.
Toyota (-0.6 percent, 2,434,515 vehicles)
Compared to FCA, Toyota’s decrease of less than one percentage point looks impressive. But like many other automakers this year, when you look closer, you see decreasing car sales propped up by strong SUV and truck sales. Toyota brand’s car sales were down 9.9 percent for the year, while Lexus’ car sales were down 23.3 percent. SUVs, on the other hand, were up 17.9 percent for Toyota and 2.9 percent for Lexus. Truck sales were up another 2.4 percent.
Interestingly, one of the only cars that improved for the year was the Mazda-based Toyota Yaris iA, which posted a 27.7 percent jump in sales. And while barely more than 1,000 sold, the Mirai gets credit for posting a 77.8 percent increase. As for Lexus, while SUV sales improved modestly across the lineup, every single car was down for the year. Most notably, the GS saw sales decrease by a whopping 47.8 percent.
Honda (+0.2 percent, 1,641,429 vehicles)
While almost every other major automaker posted a sales decrease for 2017, Honda somehow managed a sales increase. It’s a tiny increase, but it’s still impressive. Of course, as the story has gone for most of 2017, SUVs compensated for falling car sales. Even a full redesign couldn’t keep the Accord from posting a 6.5 percent decrease for the year. Civic sales, on the other hand, went up 2.8 percent. The real winners for Honda this year were the HR-V, CR-V, Pilot, and Ridgeline, with the Ridgeline posting the most impressive increase of 46.8 percent.
Over at Acura, things weren’t as great. ILX, TLX, and RLX sales were down like you might expect, but fewer MDX and RDX vehicles were sold, as well. Only the controversial NSX managed a sales increase for the Acura brand, improving 116 percent. For the year, Acura sales were down 4.2 percent.
Nissan (+1.9 percent, 1,593,464 vehicles)
Not to let Honda get all the attention for doing well in a rough year, Nissan went and posted an even larger sales increase for 2017. The Nissan brand itself may have only improved by 1.0 percent, but Infiniti sales jumped a full 10.9 percent. Interestingly, while Nissan brand car sales were down 10.9 percent, Infiniti’s car sales improved 6.2 percent. Trucks and SUVs, however, were the real winners for both brands. Nissan saw a 14.9 percent improvement in truck and SUV sales, while Infiniti’s SUV sales improved by 13.9 percent.
The Nissan Sentra saw a minor improvement, but Maxima sales jumped 7.9 percent. Considering Altima sales dropped by 17 percent, that’s impressive. The Rogue absolutely killed it, selling more than 400,000 units for the year, a 22.3 percent improvement. The Titan and Armada couldn’t hold a candle to the Rogue in terms of volume, but their sales increases of 141.9 percent and 154.1 percent respectively were huge. As for Infiniti, most year-over-year sales increases were modest, but Q60 sales jumped 170.8 percent, and Mercedes-based QX30 sales shot up a massive 523.9 percent.
Volkswagen sold 339,676 vehicles in the U.S., a 5.2 percent improvement. Mazda’s sales were down 2.8 percent for the year, totaling 289,470 vehicles. Subaru improved 5.4 percent in 2017, selling 647,956 vehicles. Finally, Kia’s sales decreased 0.9 percent to 589,668, and Hyundai sales decreased 12 percent to 685,555.
Source: The Automakers
The post SUVs and Crossovers Saved 2017 for Automakers in the U.S. appeared first on Motor Trend.
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