Five Highlights from November 2015 U.S. Auto Sales


Five Highlights from November 2015 U.S. Auto Sales

Jan 8, 2016

Automakers are close to setting an all-time record for annual auto sales in the United States. While Thanksgiving and the ensuing cold traditionally make November a slower month—total light-duty vehicle sales reached 1.31 million, versus May’s peak of 1.63 million—there are enough weeks left in December to potentially end the year above the 17.35-million mark set in 2000. Most automakers saw only modest gains versus a year earlier, with the exception of Mazda (up 7 percent), Hyundai (12 percent), Jaguar Land Rover (55 percent), and Volvo (91 percent). We imagine Ford may be having second thoughts about selling the Premier Automotive Group.

Volvo Hits Eight-Year Record

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Volvo’s turbochargers (and superchargers) are starting to whip up some boost. The company’s 6902 sales equaled the best November in eight years. The XC90 was Volvo’s biggest seller at 2236 units, while the XC60 at 2077 was up 26 percent. The S80 nearly tripled to 449 cars, but with numbers like those, Volvo still has a long way to climb. The S80’s replacement, the 2017 S90, just made its debut but won’t reach dealerships until early summer.

Volkswagen in the Dumps

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We can’t not mention Volkswagen, can we? Despite a late September stop-sale that blocked all 2.0-liter diesel models, Volkswagen finished October flat. But November, which forced dealers to block additional cars, revealed the true wounds. Total sales dropped 25 percent to 23,882 cars. If we add back Volkswagen’s usual 25-percent TDI share, it should have at least matched last November’s 31,726 cars. Every model suffered severe double-digit declines, except four that shot up: Eos (8 percent), GTI (14 percent), Tiguan (88 percent), and e-Golf (300 percent). The Golf and Passat were the worst, down 64 and 60 percent. Elsewhere in the VW Group, Audi reported its 59th consecutive monthly record, but sales weren’t as high as they should have been given that 8 percent of last November’s sales went to TDI models. Porsche, with only the Cayenne Diesel, can’t really blame the diesel crisis for its 5-percent loss.

Honda Didn’t Score Well, Either

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Really, it’s Acura’s fault. The luxury division, despite a 7-percent year-to-date gain, bombed in November with a 10-percent decline to 12,244 cars, mitigated only by a 7-percent bump for the new RDX compact SUV. The TLX sedan was down 30 percent and the flagship RLX sold only 120 copies (down 47 percent). Even the bestselling MDX was off by 22 percent to 4092 cars. Things went better at Honda, with Accord (up 1 percent), Civic (9 percent), and the new Pilot (19 percent) holding up the fort. But the CR-V (down 20 percent) and Fit (down 53 percent) had a disappointing month. The absence of a Ridgeline pickup, the slow death of the Insight and Civic hybrids, plus a sabbatical for the Accord hybrid, has hurt sales. Yet Honda’s hybrid recluse, the CR-Z, jumped up 26 percent. Go figure that one out.

Hyundai Put Up its Best November

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Over at the other H, there was a 12-percent rise marking Hyundai’s best-ever November, with 60,007 cars sold. The weirdo three-door Veloster soared 70 percent (don’t buyers know the B-pillars are misaligned?) to 2204 cars, while the handsomer Tucson jumped 55 percent (6906 cars). Among the more bread-and-butter models were the Elantra (up 26 percent) and Accent (up 44 percent). The rarely seen Azera was up all of 1 percent.

Fiat-Chrysler Best in 15 Years

Fiat-Chrysler’s 175,974 sales and 3-percent year-over-year increase doesn’t seem like much, except it was the automaker’s (well, Chrysler’s, anyway) best November since the industry’s record-breaker from 2000. If you ignore Fiat, which continues to drag down total sales, and get past the weak month for Dodge (down 11 percent), it’s Jeep, Jeep, and more Jeep. The Renegade‘s 7345 sales are fiery hot, and every Jeep was up in November. The bestselling Cherokee, at 17,426, was up by only 3 percent, while the aging Compass (up 19 percent) and Patriot (11 percent) continue to shock us given that there are newer deals in town. Jeep’s momentum is likely to continue, but Fiat-Chrysler really needs to work on the Fiat side of the business.



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