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July Auto Sales Deflate; Toyota Achieves Notable Gain

July Auto Sales Deflate; Toyota Achieves Notable Gain

By Philly Murtha, August 02, 2017
The U.S. new-vehicle market remained lackluster in July even with a continued infusion of incentives. Demand for trucks—especially SUVs—primed July auto sales totals, but new-car deliveries plummeted. On an actual sales basis, all three Detroit-based automakers reported declines, with General Motors (GM) down the most—off 15.4% from July 2016.

One bright note among multi-brand automakers: Toyota Motor (Toyota) delivered more new vehicles than in July 2016 and ended the month just 4,000 units behind GM. Toyota brand was the top-selling nameplate in July and Lexus led premium brand sales for the month.

As projected by J.D. Power and auto forecasting partner LMC Automotive, deliveries of new cars and light trucks declined for a seventh straight month in July. On an actual basis, sales fell nearly 7% from 1.52 million units a year ago to about 1.42 million units—down 3 points when adjusted for one less selling day this year (25 selling days vs. 26 days in July 2016).

At the corporate level, GM (-15.4%), Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) (-10%), and Ford Motor Co. (Ford) (-7.4%) posted declines, while Toyota was a top performer in July with a 3.6% improvement. Nissan North America (Nissan) (-3%) and American Honda (Honda) (-1.2%) saw small sales dips. Hyundai Motor (Hyundai) posted another double-digit sales decline in July with sales slipping 18.2%.

All the Europeans posted lower deliveries in July. Volkswagen Group (VW) (-2.6%) sales slipped, despite strength from the Audi and Porsche brands. Mercedes-Benz (-15.7%) and BMW (-14.8%) brands’ deliveries also slumped from last July. Among independents, Subaru (+6.9%) outpaced the other independents. Jaguar Land Rover and Volvo also posted lower sales vs. July 2016.

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

American Honda Motor Co.—July total sales at Honda (-1.2%) dipped to 150,980 units despite strength from SUVs and its Acura premium products. Honda brand (-1.7%) sales totaled 136,803 units with the Civic (+11.3%) setting a July record (36,683 units) and the HR-V (+32.3%) achieving its top monthly total (9,779 units). Acura (+3.7%) sales rose to 14,177 units, bolstered by the best-selling RDX SUV (+28.2%) and ILX (+10.1%).

BMW of North America—Total group sales at BMW of North America (-13.7%) declined to 26,363 units. BMW brand (-14.8%) delivered 21,965 units, while Mini (-7.9%) tallied 4,398 unit sales. Notable achievers for the month were BMW’s new 5 Series, 4 Series, and the X5.

Daimler AG—Group deliveries at Daimler (-1.8%) declined to 28,849 units. Mercedes-Benz brand (-9.2%) sales fell to 25,909. Volume leaders in July were the best-selling C-Class, GLC, and GLE-Class models. Van sales were 2,758 units and Smart sold 182 units.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles—Total deliveries for FCA (-10%) fell to 161,477 units even with best month performances for the Chrysler Pacifica (+5%) and a 30% uptick for the Chrysler 300. The Jeep Grand Cherokee (+14%) also set a decade-high note. Ram brand’s sales remained stable—up 33 units—while other brands slumped: Jeep and Dodge (-12%), Fiat (-18%), and Chrysler (-30%). Stronger performers included the Dodge Charger, Journey and Durango, and the Ram ProMaster City. Alfa Romeo added 1,225 unit deliveries in July.

Ford Motor Co.—Ford (-7.4%) total sales slipped to 200,212 units, with a 26.4% drop in rental and fleet sales. Ford brand (-7.7%) deliveries declined to 191,337 units. A 2.2% gain in SUV sales could not offset a 19.4% plunge in car deliveries. Ford F-Series (+5.8%) sales rose to 69,467 units, while Ford Explorer, Escape, and Edge SUV sales climbed and the Focus (+18.1%) posted a surprise gain. Luxury Lincoln brand (-2.5%) sales dipped to 8,875 units, even with momentum from the new Continental.

General Motors—Total sales at GM (-15.4%) sank to 226,107 units with double-digit declines for three of four brands: GMC (-7.3%) was the least impacted, while Chevrolet (-15.3%), Cadillac (-21.7%), and Buick (-30.5%) experienced steeper declines. Overall, SUVs and trucks accounted for 80% of GM’s July sales. Strongest performers in July were the Chevrolet Equinox and new Bolt EV, GMC Acadia, Buick Envision, and the Cadillac XT5. Other winners were the Chevrolet Colorado (+22%) midsize pickup, GMC Sierra and Yukon, and the Cadillac CT6.

Hyundai Motor—Total deliveries at Hyundai (-18.2%) declined to 110,466 units. Hyundai and Genesis brand (-27.9%) sales tumbled to 54,063 units. The Hyundai Tucson (+45.7%) was the top performer and the new Ioniq added 1,252 sales. Kia (-5.9%) deliveries fell to 56,403 units in July despite best monthly totals for the Forte and 2,763 Niro sales.

Jaguar Land Rover—Jaguar Land Rover (-4.1%) delivered 9,081 units in July. Jaguar (-6.8%) sales dipped to 3,166 units and Land Rover (-2.6%) sold 5,915 units.

Mazda—Mazda (-3%) sold 27,089 units in July, with a boost from the MX-5 Miata (+13.2%) and increases for the CX-5 and CX-9 SUVs.

Mitsubishi—A rise in deliveries at Mitsubishi (+1.7%) to 8,025 units was highlighted by the Outlander SUV’s strong performance.

Nissan North America—Deliveries at Nissan (-3.2%) skidded to 128,295 units, with Nissan brand (-4.1%) deliveries declining to 117,455 units. Infiniti (+9%) still set a strong pace with sales of 10,840 units. Nissan’s SUVs and trucks improved 5% from last July, with triple-digit gains for the Titan and Armada. Additionally, the Nissan Leaf EV continued to electrify sales (+21%). Nissan’s Murano and NV200 also posted increases. Infiniti’s momentum in July came from Q60 and QX70 gains.

Subaru—Subaru (+6.9%) delivered 55,703 units last month with best July totals for the Outback and Impreza.

Toyota Motor Sales—Toyota (+3.6%) reached 222,057 unit sales in July, which translates to a 7.8% gain when selling-day adjusted. Toyota brand (+3.6%) sold 193,155 units to be the best-selling brand in July while Lexus (+3.6%) achieved top premium-brand status in July with 28,902 deliveries. SUVs and crossovers produced momentum for all divisions at Toyota. Top performers were the Toyota RAV4 (+31.4%), with 41,800 deliveries, and the Highlander (+25%). Lexus sales were bolstered by NX, LX, and RX premium SUV gains.

Volkswagen Group—Total group sales at Volkswagen (-2.6%) slipped to 50,189 units. VW brand (-5.8%) sold 27,091 units with a better performance from the Golf lineup. The new Tiguan and Atlas SUVs also added momentum. Audi (+2.5%) delivered 18,824 units with the new A5 Sportback and Q7 leading gains. Porsche deliveries rose 0.6% to 3,901 units, bolstered by the Macan and Panamera.

Volvo—Swedish car brand Volvo (-18.8%) reported selling 6,967 units in July.

Additional Research:

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