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GM, Toyota, VW Sales Rise in August despite Hurricane Harvey

GM, Toyota, VW Sales Rise in August despite Hurricane Harvey

By Philly Murtha, September 01, 2017
U.S. new-vehicle sales in August were curtailed in the last week of the month when Hurricane Harvey swept through southeastern Texas and Louisiana. In spite of heavy rain, flooded roads and homes, and closed dealerships, three major automakers—General Motors (GM) (+7.5%), Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. (Toyota) (+6.8%), and VW Group of America (VW) (+5%)—reported better deliveries than a year ago.

However, GM’s Detroit rivals—Ford Motor Co. (Ford) (-2.1%) and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) (-10.6%)—didn’t fare as well, selling fewer new vehicles. Ford said it lost 5,000 unit sales in Texas after early damage reports. Some dealerships in the region remain closed.

Asian majors American Honda Motor Co. (Honda) (-2.4%) and Nissan North America (Nissan) (-13.1%) also suffered overall declines and Hyundai Motor America (Hyundai) (-14.7%) reported another monthly falloff.

Some European automakers posted upturns in August. VW sales improved, while Jaguar Land Rover N.A. and Volvo Cars N.A. (Volvo) also posted increases. Mercedes-Benz USA (Mercedes) and BMW of North America (BMW) reported weaker totals (down about 8%) with model changeover.

On another positive note, independent Subaru of America set an all-time monthly record and Mitsubishi Motors N.A. (Mitsubishi) was up, while Mazda North America (Mazda) slipped slightly.

Before hurricane landfall, J.D. Power and auto forecasting partner LMC Automotive expected August sales to dip 2.9% (adjusted for one more selling day this year) to about 1.52 million units. A preliminary sales total is 1.48 million units.

Highlights: August 2017 Auto Sales
Following are August 2017 new-vehicle sales highlights (based on actual totals) for each major automaker:

American Honda Motor Co.—Total sales at Honda (-2.4%) slipped to 146,015 units. Honda brand (-1.8%) sales were 132,833 units with cars up (+4.2%) and SUVs off (-8%) due to limited stocks. The Civic (+11.2%) sold more than 36,000 units and the HR-V set another monthly record (9,603 units). Acura (-7.8%) sales fell to 13,132 units, despite gains from the RDX (+7.1%) and ILX (+17.7%).

BMW of North America—Group sales at BMW (-8.8%) declined to 28,001 units in August. BMW brand (-7.7%) deliveries tumbled to 23,533 units with the new 5 Series and 4 Series outpacing SUVs, although the X1 achieved double-digit gains. Mini (-10.5%) delivered 4,448 units.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles—Total sales at FCA (-11%) fell to 140,379 units despite record August tallies for three Jeep brand models—Grand Cherokee, Compass, and Renegade—and a best August for the Dodge Challenger. Fleet sales were 23% lower, in line with FCA’s strategy to trim daily rental sales. All brands except for Alfa Romeo reported declines. Dodge and Ram were down the least (-2%). Chrysler brand (-33%) posted the steepest decline even with a 2% rise in Pacifica sales. Jeep (-15%) and Fiat (-23%) sales declined, while Alfa Romeo was up.

Ford Motor Co.—Total Ford (-2.1%) deliveries in August were 209,897 units. Ford brand (-2%) deliveries dipped to 201,189 units, although it remained August’s U.S. sales volume leader. Lincoln (-5.8%) sold 8,708 units in August. A 9.3% gain on the truck side could not offset SUV and car delivery drops. America’s best-selling Ford F-Series (+15%) sales climbed to 77,007 units with the 2018 model reaching dealerships. Ford posted gains for the Focus, C-Max, and Flex. Lincoln’s only momentum was from the new Continental.

General Motors—Total deliveries at GM (+7.5%) climbed to 275,552 units with the company estimating a half-point retail share gain. Chevrolet (+11.4%) posted 196,007 deliveries—its best August since 2004. GMC (+12.4%) also posted a rise, while Cadillac (-8.1%) and Buick (-22.5%) deliveries declined. SUVs and trucks were top performers, with double-digit gains for the Buick Encore and Envision plus the Cadillac XT5. Chevrolet double-digit winners included the Equinox, Traverse, and Trax, plus Impala and Malibu with momentum for the new Bolt EV. GMC stars were the Acadia and Terrain.

Hyundai Motor America—Total deliveries at Hyundai (-14.7%) declined to 107,633 units. Hyundai and Genesis brand (-25%) sales plummeted to 54,310 units, with a substantial reduction in fleet deliveries. The Tucson (+28%) was the only sales winner, reporting its best August. Kia (-1.7%) sales slipped to 53,323 units, even with the Forte’s best August tally and the Soul’s double-digit rise.

Jaguar Land Rover N.A.—Jaguar Land Rover (+1%) delivered 9,421 units in August. Jaguar (-6%) sales dipped to 3,101 units even with F-Pace (+38%) demand. Land Rover (+5%) sold 5,915 units with strength from the Range Rover and the new Velar.

Mazda North America—Mazda (-1%) delivered 25,846 units, with momentum from the MX-5 Miata (+9.5%) and the CX-5 (+5.5%).

Mercedes-Benz USA—Deliveries at Daimler AG’s Mercedes group (-8.5%) slid to 29,183 units. Mercedes-Benz brand (-9.2%) sales fell to 25,373. Best sellers were the C-Class, GLC-Class, and GLE-Class models. Van sales set an August record at 3,581units, and Smart delivered 229 units.

Mitsubishi Motors N.A.—Deliveries at Mitsubishi (+11.3%) surged to 8,154 units, with the Outlander posting its best performance since 2003.

Nissan North America—Total sales at Nissan (-13.1%) declined to 108,326 units. Nissan brand (-14.8%) deliveries were 97,340 units, while Infiniti (+5.2%) set a positive pace with sales of 10,986 units. Strength came from triple-digit gains for the full-size Titan and Armada. The Nissan Leaf EV (+8.3%), Sentra (+7.2%), and NV200 (+11.2%) also posted gains. Infiniti’s energy came from the Q60 and double-digit increases for the QX60, QX70, and QX80 luxury SUVs.

Subaru of America—Setting a monthly high mark, Subaru (+4.6%) delivered 63,215 units with an all-time record for the Crosstrek and best-ever August for the Outback and Impreza.

Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A.—Toyota (+6.8%) sales climbed to 227,625 units, which translates to a 2.8% rise when selling-day adjusted. Toyota brand (+8%) delivered 196,824 units, while Lexus (-0.4%) slipped slightly to deliver 30,801 units, although it still was the month’s luxury brand sales leader. The Toyota RAV4 (+30%) set another record with 43,000 unit sales and the Highlander (+26%) also recorded a best August total. The Yaris and Camry also posted increases. Top performers for Lexus were the ES, and the RX, GX, and LX premium SUVs.

VW Group of America—Total sales at VW (5%) rose to 56,535 units. VW brand (+9%) sales increased to 32,015 units with double-digit gains for the Golf lineup and an infusion from the redesigned Tiguan and new Atlas. Audi (+2.8%) sales added 19,811 deliveries in August, relying on gains from premium SUVs (+8.9%) and the new A5 Sportback. Porsche (-9.1%) sales dropped to 4,709 units, partly due to delays in delivery of 2018 models. Gains were on the car side, including the 911.

Volvo Cars N.A.—The XC90 propelled Volvo (+4.1%) to sell 7,994 units, just as the new XC60 arrives.

Additional Research:

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