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Strong June US Auto Sales Promising Best Sales Year

US auto sales continued its march towards its one of the best years ever.  Sales for last month increased 3.9% over an already strong June 2014.  In fact, June capped off one of the best first half in over a decade and many manufacturers are confident that the year will end even stronger.  Much of the sales strength is driven by the surge in truck sales.

The seasonally adjusted sales rate (SAAR) for US new car sales finished slightly below forecasts at 17.2 million, down from May’s 17.8 Million but up over last June’s 16.9 million.

The key driver to sales increases, once again, was the light truck segment, including crossovers, pickups, midsized SUVs and also premium SUVs.  Sales for the segment rose 11% last month and 10% year-to-date, fuelled by gas prices of almost a Dollar lower than last year, stronger national employment and credit conditions.  Car sales, by contrast, were down 3.6% last month.

Consumers continued to buy more expensive vehicles, with the average vehicle price rising 2.5% over last year.  Longer finance and loan terms, lower auto loan interest rates and general consumer confidence were key factors in driving both pricing and unit sales volume.

Key manufacturer results are shown below.

General Motors (GM)

GM sales decreased 3% for June 2015.  The key driver for the decline was a 45% reduction in its rental-fleet sales.  GM decided to cease production of its fleet-only models, such as the Captiva, because these are generally less profitable than retail models.  Retail sales, however, were up 7%.

Ford

Ford’s sales for the month increased 1.5% over June 2014.  Light truck sales were up 4.7% despite lowered sales of its F-series (F150, F250, F350) pickup trucks.  The net increase was because of strong SUV sales, which also count towards light trucks and include models such as the Ford Explorer and Escape.  Ford’s car sales declined by 4%, driven by weakness in its popular Taurus and Focus models.  Sales of the Ford Mustang were more positive, rising 54% over last June.

On a brighter note, Lincoln brand sales were up 20% over last year.  Lincoln Navigator sales were up 39%, with Lincoln MKC units moving along at a brisk pace.  The all-new Lincoln MKX continued to gather momentum with sales being up 11% over May 2015.

Fiat Chrysler (FCA)

FCA’s June sales were 8%, recording the firm’s 63rd consecutive monthly sales increase.  Total car sales increased 14.6% and light trucks were up 6.1%.

The Jeep brand recorded a 25% year over year gain, along with the 21st consecutive month of year-over-year sales gains.  The Jeep Wrangler, Cherokee and Patriot models each set sales records in June and the all-new Jeep Renegade posted strong sales momentum over May 2015.

For the Chrysler brand, sales were up 28%, recording the 12th consecutive month of sales gains.  Sales of the Chrysler 200 were up 153% in June with sales of its larger brother, the Chrysler 300 being up 11%.

Sales for the Ram truck brand were not quite as strong as for Jeep and Chrysler, increasing only 2% over the prior year.  Sales of the Ram ProMaster van increased 97%, while the Ram Pickup truck stayed almost flat (+1%).

Dodge sales fell 14% mostly on account of a 40% decline in Dodge Caravan sales and the end of the Dodge Avenger.  On a brighter note, sales of the Challenger increased 56% while the Dodge Journey was up 32%.

Fiat brand sales declined 30%, because of weakness in both the Fiat 500 (-31%) and 500L (-54%) models.  The 500X did debut, but its ability to lift Fiat sales remains to be seen.

Nissan

Nissan’s total group sales for June 2015 increased 13.3% over last year.  Light trucks performed particularly well across the group, increasing 30.5% over last year.  Cars were up only 3.5%.

For the Nissan brand, sales were up 13%, driven by strong light truck sales (+30.3%) and slight car gains (+3.2%).  Nissan’s Altima, Maxima and limited-edition GT-R models performed well, with the Versa, Cube and Leaf posting tangible declines.  Notable performers on the truck side included the Murano (+73.8%) and Rogue (+54.3%).  Otherwise, the Quest, NV and Armada all posted double-digit growth between 20 and 31%, while the Xterra and Pathfinder were up only modestly.

Hyundai

Sales ticked up just under 1%, making it Hyundai’s best ever June sales month. 0.5. Stronger performers included the compact car, Elantra (+55%), Santa Fe SUV (+17%) and the Sonata Hybrid.  The Hyundai Veloster, Genesis and Equus modesl all posted declines for the month.

Subaru

Subaru’s sales volume was up a 7.2% over June 2014.  Subaru continued its winning streak, with sales increasing for 42 months in a row and unit volume being greater than 40,000 for the 16th consecutive month.  Subaru’s Legacy model proved to be the star performer, with sales up 44.6% over last year.  The XV Crosstrek was up 29.9%.  The Impreza, Outback and BRZ all declined.

Mazda

Mazda reported its best June since 2002, with sales volume up 3.9% over last year.  The Mazda 3, Mazda6 and CX-5 all posted strong gains collectively up 8.7% over June 2014.

Mitsubishi

Mitsubishi announced a 32.3% gain over last year, its 16th consecutive monthly gain.  The Mirage, Lancer, Outlander and Outlander Sport models all posted strong gains over last year.

Audi

Audi posted an 8.3% gain in June and its 54th consecutive monthly increase.  June 2015 was also the firm’s third best June sales performance ever.  The A3 continued its breakneck pace, posting a 42% increase over last year and the A6 and A8 also posted solid gains.  Audi SUVs also performed well, with the Audi Q3, Q5 and Q7 collectively up 24.1% over last year.  Sales of Audi Certified-Preowned (CPO) vehicles were up 14.1%.

Volkswagen

VW sales were up 5.6% over 2014.   The VW Golf family performed particularly strongly, with sales up a stellar 143% over last year.  Sales for the refreshed VW Jetta, outfitted with several driver assistance packages, were up 8.3% over June 2014.  VW Passat and Passat-based CC sales were down, with the latter down 48%.  Touareg sales were also down just a hair, despite a facelift and according to VW, 58.5% of these were TDI clean diesel models.

Porsche

Porsche reported its strongest June ever, with sales up 2.9% over last year.  The Macan model line was the strongest performer, with sales up almost 40%.  Boxster and and 911/ 918 sales also posted modest gains, with Cayenne sales staying flat over last year.  The Porsche Panamera model saw falling sales 35% in contrast.

Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz reported record June sales for its Mercedes branded vehicles, up 5.8% over 2014.  Sales for its Mercedes Sprinter vehicles climbed 10.9%.  Mercedes-Benz brand sales were primarily driven by C-Class, E-Class and ML-Class (soon to be replaced by the GLE) sales, with the C-Class up 48% over last June.  A key driver is the all-new platform replicating the luxurious S-Class models.  Mercedes-AMG models also posted a healthy 24.5% gain over last year. Finally, Mercedes-Benz Certified Preowned (CPO) sales were up 9.5%.

BMW

BMW also posted a record June, with sales of the BMW brand up 6.5% over 2014.  BMW’s passenger car sales actually declined 12.9%, but sales of light trucks skyrocketed 75.3%.  Among BMW’s passenger car portfolio, the 3-Series models fell almost 10%, while the stalwart 5-Series fell 62.7%.  The 6 Series and 7 Series didn’t fare much better, falling 26 and 46% respectively.  The only bright point was the 4-Series, for which sales were up 69.4%.  On the truck side, the BMW X3, X5 and X6 all recorded gains, with the X6 doubling sales over last year.  The X5 recorded 89% growth.

On the Mini side, BMW saw an increase of 14.8% with the new Mini Cooper 4-door being the key driver.

Toyota

Toyota group sales increased 4.1% in June.  Toyota brand sales were also up, by 3.1% compared to last year, led by strength in the Tacoma, RAV4 and Highlander models.  As with other automakers, light trucks boosted sales considerably, up 16.5% compared to last year.  On the Lexus side, the brand reported a sales increase of 11.1% over June 2014.  The all-new Lexus NX proved to be a winner and overall SUV sales were up 24.6% over June 2014.

Jaguar/ Land-Rover

Jaguar Land Rover’s group sales increased 11% over last year making 2015 it’s best ever June performance.

Separately, the Land Rover division was up 15%, making it the best June sales month ever.  The Range Rover and Range Rover Sport models were key factors.  For Jaguar, sales were down 4%, despite the F-Type having its best ever June sales month and the XF having a 43% increase over last year.

Total US auto sales data is provided here.

 

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    By Farra Majid, July 7, 2015

 

 

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Posted by: Farra Majid on Monday, July 6th, 2015 at 8:12 pm in INDUSTRY