Volume dips on weaker car demand, declines at GM, Toyota


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Automaker Aug. 2018 Aug. 2017 Pct. chng. 8 mos. 2018 8 mos. 2017 Pct. chng.
    BMW 23,789 23,553 1.0% 199,157 194,604 2.3%
    Mini 3,800 4,448 -14.6% 30,732 31,051 -1.0%
    Rolls-Royce* 90 86 4.7% 720 685 5.1%
  BMW of N.A. 27,679 28,087 -1.5% 230,609 226,340 1.9%
    Alfa Romeo 2,240 1,140 96.5% 16,521 6,084 171.5%
    Chrysler 12,219 12,652 -3.4% 112,473 128,050 -12.2%
    Dodge 35,575 43,608 -18.4% 317,627 335,852 -5.4%
    Fiat 1,374 2,120 -35.2% 10,899 19,046 -42.8%
    Jeep 87,502 73,191 19.6% 662,430 548,833 20.7%
    Ram 54,808 43,322 26.5% 360,214 367,007 -1.9%
  FCA US 193,718 176,033 10.0% 1,480,164 1,404,872 5.4%
    Maserati* 950 1,089 -12.8% 7,463 8,872 -15.9%
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles 194,668 177,122 9.9% 1,487,627 1,413,744 5.2%
    Ford 208,755 200,321 4.2% 1,615,045 1,628,824 -0.8%
    Lincoln 8,945 8,708 2.7% 67,112 73,920 -9.2%
  Ford Motor Co. 217,700 209,029 4.1% 1,682,157 1,702,744 -1.2%
  General Motors* 240,236 275,552 -12.8% 1,933,655 1,916,101 0.9%
    Acura 15,072 13,132 14.8% 100,972 101,180 -0.2%
    Honda 132,831 132,883 0.0% 973,357 987,701 -1.5%
  Honda Motor Co. 147,903 146,015 1.3% 1,074,329 1,088,881 -1.3%
    Genesis 613 1,803 -66.0% 8,490 13,348 -36.4%
    Hyundai 56,929 52,507 8.4% 435,851 441,385 -1.3%
    Hyundai Motor America 57,542 54,310 6.0% 444,341 454,733 -2.3%
    Kia Motors America 53,864 53,323 1.0% 400,539 405,462 -1.2%
  Hyundai-Kia 111,406 107,633 3.5% 844,880 860,195 -1.8%
    Jaguar 2,469 3,101 -20.4% 19,136 26,932 -28.9%
    Land Rover 7,179 6,320 13.6% 58,167 48,074 21.0%
  Jaguar Land Rover N.A. 9,648 9,421 2.4% 77,303 75,006 3.1%
  Mazda N.A. 25,816 25,846 -0.1% 213,865 194,559 9.9%
  McLaren Automotive 125 89 40.4% 911 555 64.1%
    Mercedes-Benz 24,084 28,954 -16.8% 222,790 235,381 -5.3%
    Smart USA 108 229 -52.8% 861 2,394 -64.0%
  Mercedes-Benz USA 24,192 29,183 -17.1% 223,651 237,775 -5.9%
  Mitsubishi Motors N.A. 8,416 8,164 3.1% 85,693 70,765 21.1%
    Infiniti 10,796 10,986 -1.7% 92,713 100,969 -8.2%
    Nissan 101,580 97,340 4.4% 909,150 955,340 -4.8%
  Nissan North America 112,376 108,326 3.7% 1,001,863 1,056,309 -5.2%
  Nissan/Mitsubishi** 120,792 116,490 3.7% 1,087,556 1,127,074 -3.5%
  Subaru of America 64,088 63,215 1.4% 446,374 423,728 5.3%
  Tesla Motors* 7,900 3,900 102.6% 63,200 31,200 102.6%
    Lexus 28,622 30,801 -7.1% 189,025 193,463 -2.3%
    Scion 8 -100.0% 2 189 -98.9%
    Toyota 194,433 196,816 -1.2% 1,432,110 1,411,197 1.5%
    Toyota/Scion 194,433 196,824 -1.2% 1,432,112 1,411,386 1.5%
  Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. 223,055 227,625 -2.0% 1,621,137 1,604,849 1.0%
  Volvo Car USA 8,970 7,994 12.2% 65,214 49,066 32.9%
    Audi 20,907 19,811 5.5% 148,070 141,606 4.6%
    Bentley 165 213 -22.5% 1,312 1,516 -13.5%
    Lamborghini* 94 91 3.3% 752 728 3.3%
    Porsche 4,083 4,709 -13.3% 37,524 36,178 3.7%
    VW 32,255 32,015 0.8% 235,673 220,344 7.0%
  VW Group of America 57,504 56,839 1.2% 423,331 400,372 5.7%
Other*** 291 286 1.7% 2,324 2,284 1.8%
Total 1,481,973 1,484,326 -0.2% 11,478,123 11,354,473 1.1%

Numbers in this table are calculated by Automotive News based on actual monthly sales reported by the manufacturers and may differ from numbers reported elsewhere.
Source: Automotive News Data Center
Note:
*Estimate
**Renault-Nissan acquired controlling interest in Mitsubishi Motors on Oct. 20, 2016.
***Reflects Aston Martin, Ferrari and Lotus sales.

The Honda brand’s U.S. light-truck sales jumped 17 percent in August. Photo credit: DAVID PHILLIPS

UPDATED: 9/5/18 10:02 am ET

U.S. auto sales fell in August as truck-fueled advances by many automakers couldn’t make up for plunging demand for passenger cars and an estimated double-digit drop at General Motors.

The seasonally adjusted, annualized rate of sales for August came in at 16.69 million, the lowest in a year, signaling an expected second-half slowdown in the market is underway. The SAAR was 16.58 million in August 2017 and 16.73 million in July.

Until July, the SAAR had topped 17 million every month dating back to August 2017, when Hurricane Harvey disrupted demand in Texas and neighboring states.

FCA US, Ford Motor Co., American Honda and Nissan Motor posted higher U.S. sales behind strong light-truck deliveries. GM’s August sales slumped 13 percent after the automaker trimmed discounts, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter. GM now reports U.S. sales results on a quarterly basis.

At Fiat Chrysler, August volume rose 10 percent behind gains of 20 percent at Jeep and 27 percent at Ram. Volume fell 3.4 percent at Chrysler, 18 percent at Dodge and 35 percent at Fiat.

August increases at Ford, Honda, Nissan and Jaguar Land Rover reversed declines for each automaker in July, one of the year’s weakest months. Toyota Motor Corp. was unable to limit its skid, with U.S. sales falling 2 percent in August after a 6 percent drop the month before.

Volume rose 0.8 percent at the Volkswagen brand, its eighth straight monthly gain year over year,  behind another strong month for new and redesigned crossovers. 

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High incentives and a healthy U.S. economy continue to support light-vehicle demand, which has risen 1.1 percent through the first eight months of the year. Most analysts expect sales to taper off in coming months and drag the industry to its second-straight annual decline by year end.

Company by company

Deliveries rose 4.1 percent at Ford Motor behind strong light-truck demand, a 15 percent increase in fleet shipments and a 1.1 percent gain in retail volume. Sales rose 4.2 percent at the Ford division and 2.7 percent at Lincoln.

Sales slipped 2 percent at Toyota Motor on weaker car demand, with deliveries down 1.2 percent at the Toyota division and 7.1 percent at Lexus.

American Honda was carried to a 1.3 percent gain by a 15 percent surge at Acura. Volume at the Honda brand dipped 0.1 percent. The company’s light-truck sales soared, with Acura up 31 percent and the Honda brand up 17 percent. Combined car sales for the brands plunged 15 percent.

At Nissan, volume rose 3.7 percent behind a 4.4 percent gain at the Nissan division. Volume dipped 1.7 percent at Infiniti.

Among other brands, August sales rose 8.4 percent at Hyundai, 1.4 percent at Subaru, 1 percent at Kia and 3.1 percent at Mitsubishi.

JLR volume rose 2 percent to 9,648, behind a 14 percent gain at Land Rover, the company said Monday. Jaguar deliveries fell 20 percent to 2,469. At other luxury brands, August U.S. deliveries increased 1 percent at BMW, 5.5 percent at Audi and 12 percent at Volvo, but volume skidded 66 percent at Genesis, 17 percent at Mercedes and 13 percent at Porsche.

Pickups, crossovers and SUVs

Light trucks — led by pickups, crossovers and SUVs — continue to drive the U.S. market, while car deliveries remain on track to fall for the fifth straight year. Car sales skidded 19 percent in August, representing just 28.9 percent of the market, while light-truck volume rose 10 percent. August marked the first time U.S. car sales, as a share of the overall light-vehicle market, dropped below 30 percent. 

Light trucks accounted for 68 percent of industry sales in the first several weeks of August — a record level for the month — and the 26th straight month truck volume has topped 60 percent of the overall market, J.D. Power says.

August incentive outlays for U.S.

Manufacturer August 2018 forcast August 2017 July 2018 Percentage change vs August 2017 Percentage change vs July 2018
BMW (BMW, Mini) $5,679 $4,793 $5,812 18.5% -2.3%
Daimler (Mercedes-Benz, Smart) $4,915 $4,591 $5,267 7.1% -6.7%
FCA (Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, Fiat) $4,425 $4,447 $4,462 -0.5% -0.8%
Ford (Ford, Lincoln) $4,649 $4,298 $4,629 8.2% 0.4%
GM (Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC) $4,820 $4,948 $4,943 -2.6% -2.5%
Honda (Acura, Honda) $2,064 $1,972 $1,935 4.7% 6.7%
Hyundai $2,945 $2,787 $2,946 5.7% 0.0%
Kia $4,347 $3,768 $4,313 15.4% 0.8%
Nissan (Nissan, Infiniti) $3,967 $4,442 $4,068 -10.7% -2.5%
Subaru $1,600 $1,026 $1,621 55.9% -1.3%
Toyota (Lexus, Scion, Toyota) $2,600 $2,865 $2,633 -9.3% -1.3%
Volkswagen (Audi, Porsche, Volkswagen) $3,750 $3,745 $3,862 0.2% -2.9%
Industry $3,757 $3,731 $3,779 0.7% -0.6%
Source: ALG

Macro factors

U.S. employment growth is steady and consumer confidence remains high, but rising interest rates and growing supplies of off-lease vehicles are expected to dampen consumer demand in coming months, analysts say.

Incentives

Average incentives per vehicle in the first several weeks of August were tracking at $3,744, down $141 from August 2017, J.D. Power says, reflecting lower spiffs on cars. ALG estimates average incentive spending per unit grew by $26 to $3,757 for the month, with the Detroit 3 the biggest spenders among major automakers.

Odds, ends

• There were 27 selling days last month, the same as in August 2017.

• The average transaction price for a new light vehicle was $33,179 in August, up 1.7 percent from a year earlier. The ratio of incentive spending to average transaction price is expected to be 11.3 percent, down from 11.4 percent a year ago. ALG estimates.

• Days to turn, the average time a new vehicle sits on a dealer lot before it is sold, stood at 66 in early August, down four days from August 2017, J.D. Power says

• August U.S. fleet shipments are forecast to rise 0.8 percent to 216,200, or 14 percent of the overall market, J.D. Power says.

Quotable

“For the first time in U.S. automotive history, monthly car share is on pace to dip below 30 percent. This is a dramatic shift — car share was near 50 percent just 5 years ago. With the drop, it’s tough to forecast where share will finally level out, as consumers have decidedly killed the car. Our initial idea of the floor being somewhere in the low-30-percent neighborhood appears to be too high in a market that loves its trucks and SUVs.”

Zo Rahim, research manager for Cox Automotive

“The auto industry still faces a prolonged and elevated level of trade risk, but overall sales are holding steady. We no longer expect fleet sales to be ratcheted back in the second half, but we do see stronger competitive pressure on the volume brands fighting for share. The result is a total light-vehicle market that we expect to eke out a very slight increase — 0.1% — over 2017.”

Jeff Schuster, head of forecasting at LMC Automotive

“Automakers have done a decent job this year at aligning inventory with demand, so there’s no need for dealers to have a fire sale. Manufacturers seem to be more comfortable with a longer selldown period that leverages targeted incentives, instead of an aggressive ‘everything must go now’ mentality.”

Jeremy Acevedo, manager of industry analysis at Edmunds


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