November U.S. Auto Sales Bolstered by Extra Days and More Spiffs
Two extra selling days in November 2016, plus robust Black Friday incentives and continuing demand for trucks, kept U.S. new-vehicle sales on a positive course to end the month with a likely 3%-4% gain in total actual sales (a 3.4% dip when selling-day adjusted) vs. last year. The results are in line with a mid-month sales forecast update from J.D. Power and auto forecasting partner LMC Automotive that predicted sales to be near 1.38 million units.
Two Detroit-based automakers—General Motors (+10.2%) and Ford Motor Co. (+8%)—reported gains, while Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (-14%) sales fell significantly after an adjustment was made in sales totals last year.
The three major Japanese automakers posted year-over-year increases last month. Toyota (+4.3%), Nissan (+7.5%), and Honda (+6.5%) Groups reported strong demand for trucks and SUVs. Toyota even sold about 130 more units than Ford in November. Positive results and November records were also reported by Hyundai Group (+9%).
European automakers posted mixed results in November. BMW Group (-15.8%) continued to lose luster, with BMW brand (-18.5%) sales falling again due to a sharp (-26.9%) drop in passenger-car deliveries. Daimler Group (0.0%) sales improved by 15 units, with Mercedes-Benz (+1.1%) posting a gain that earned the brand the luxury sales crown again in November.
With VW surfacing after its diesel emissions cheating settlement, the VW Group (+15%) posted a healthy increase. VW brand (+24.2%) sales soared, while Audi (+1%) and Porsche (+23.9%) posted records. Volvo (+11.9%) sales increased and Jaguar Land Rover (+18.9%) deliveries improved.
The three independent auto brands were led by Subaru (+11.4%), with Mitsubishi (+1.8%) up slightly and Mazda (-3%) reporting a dip.
Highlights: November 2016 Auto Sales
Following are November 2016 new-vehicle sales highlights (based on actual totals) for each major automaker:
American Honda—Sales at American Honda (+6.5%) set a new November record of 122,924 units. Honda brand (+7.9%) delivered 111,308 new vehicles, with strength from truck sales (+9.9%), while Acura (-5.9%) delivered 11,616 units last month. Honda truck sales rose 10.3% and car deliveries increased 5.6%. Strong sellers in the month were the HR-V, new Ridgeline pickup, and CR-V compact crossover utility vehicle, plus the Accord. For Acura, the redone MDX excelled and so did the RDX and RLX. The halo NSX sports car also celebrated 200 unit sales.
BMW Group—BMW Group (-15.8%) delivered only 30,696 units in November, despite the luxury of two extra selling days. BMW brand (-18.2%) sales totaled 26,189 units with better performances for the 7 Series, X1, and X3. Mini (+1.4%) sold 4,507 units.
Daimler AG—Total Daimler Group (-2.1%) sales were 31,801 units in November, outpacing rival BMW. Mercedes-Benz (+1.1%) delivered 30,363 units, with strength from volume-leaders C-Class, GLE-Class, and E-Class. Van (-7.4%) sales fell to 2,564 units and Smart (-15%) sold 563 units.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles—FCA (-14%) posted one of the steeper declines among the major automakers and sold 160,827 units last month. Ram trucks (+12%) were in demand, though former star Jeep (-12%) only saw strength from the newer Renegade SUV. Chrysler’s (-47%) new Pacifica was the brand’s best seller in November, with 8,753 unit sales. Dodge (-21%) had two achievers: Charger and niche-market Viper. Fiat (-15%) and Alfa Romeo (-32%) sales slipped, despite an increase for the Fiat 500 and incremental gains for the new Spider.
Ford Motor Company—Sales at Ford (+5%) were up to 197,574 units in November, with retail gains and fleet declines. The best-selling F-Series pickup celebrated a 10.9% gain, with 72,089 deliveries—its best total since November 2001, according to the company. The Ford brand (+4.6%) delivered 188,145 new vehicles last month. SUV deliveries climbed 18.9%, with the Escape, Explorer, Edge, and Expedition all posting double-digit gains. Lincoln (+19.1%) was on a roll with 9,249 deliveries led by the MKX and MKZ, plus incremental sales from the new Continental.
General Motors—All four GM brands posted increases in November, and total sales for the Detroit automaker (+10.2%) rose to 252,644 units. Among GM brands, Buick (+16.1%) posted the best year-over-year increase, with strength from the Enclave, Encore, Regal, and a boost from the new Envision SUV. Cadillac (+14.5%) followed with best performances from the Escalade, XT5, XTS, and all GMC (+14.1%) models flourished last month except for the Terrain. Chevrolet (+8.1%) delivered 169,675 units, with best double-digit gains for the Colorado, Malibu, Volt, Trax, and Suburban.
Hyundai Group—Total sales (+9%) at the Korean automaker rose to 115,011 units, and both Hyundai and Kia brands set November records. Kia (+15.3%) was the star last month with 52,504 unit sales and monthly record sales for the Forte and Sportage, while Hyundai brand (+4.2%) deliveries also improved, with a boost from the Accent and Veloster, plus the Santa Fe and Tucson SUVs. Hyundai’s new premium Genesis brand ramped up its model distribution and sales were up 9% from October, the company said.
Jaguar Land Rover—Sales at Jaguar Land Rover (+18.9%) rose, with twice the sales for Jaguar, bolstered by its new F-Pace crossover.
Mazda—November sales at Mazda (-3%) totaled 22,041 units, despite improvements from its lineup of crossovers—CX-9, CX-3, and CX-5.
Mitsubishi—Sales at Mitsubishi (+1.8) rose to 6,986 units, led by the Outlander Sport SUV.
Nissan Group—Nissan Group (+7.5%) sold 115,136 units in November, with a 24% increase in truck sales. Nissan brand (+8%) sold 103,024 units, with double-digit gains for the Rogue, Murano, and Pathfinder. Armada large SUV sales doubled, while deliveries of the redone Titan large pickup tripled. Nissan’s Leaf EV (+38.2%) sales also surged. Premium Infiniti brand (+3.6%) sales also rose, with major gains from the Q60, QX50, and QX60, plus the new QX30 compact crossover.
Subaru—Subaru (+11.4%) has posted year-over-year sales gains for 60 consecutive months and recorded 51,309 sales in November. The Outback posted its best month ever, according to the automaker.
Toyota Group—Toyota Group (+4.3%) sales rose to 197,645 units—down 4.1% when selling-day adjusted. Toyota brand (+5.3%) deliveries totaled 168,595 units. SUVs were hot sellers, especially the Highlander, Sequoia, and 4Runner. Tacoma and Tundra pickups also improved, as did the subcompact Yaris, compact Corolla, and the fuel-cell niche model Mirai. Lexus brand (-1%) sales slipped to 29,050 units, despite strength from its NX and LX SUVs.
Volkswagen Group—Extra selling days this year helped VW Group (+15.3%) sales rise to 48,876 units. VW brand (+24.2%) sold 29,672 units, with major gains for the Passat, Tiguan, and Golf SportWagen. Audi (+2.5%) delivered 17,118 units, led by the all-new A4 plus the Q3 and Q7 SUVs. Porsche (+23.9%) celebrated an all-time monthly record with 5,513 unit sales, led by the Macan.
Volvo—November sales at Swedish luxury automaker Volvo (+11.9%) increased to 7,723 units.