Unlike the alleged positive – or certainly debatable – effects of the Trump tax cuts for the rich, the 2017 calendar year saw US auto sales trickle slowly down from previous record years. AutoData Corp. says the seasonally adjusted annual rate (or SAAR) during December was 17.9 million units compared to 18.2 million units a year ago.Total industry deliveries, un-adjusted for business days including all brands, dropped -5.2 % compared to December 2016 and -1.8% from full year 2016.
This was the first year since the Great Recession of 2009-10 that auto sales did not grow. Offshore nameplate brands were down -6% from December 2016 and -0.69% compared to full year 2016.
December’s Top Ten sellers list was dominated by trucks, SUVS and crossovers – unremarkable ,as it has been for years, but important because this is more than 20% of total US sales volume – where the money and profits are. Ford F-Series, Chevrolet Silverado, and Ram pickup trucks continued to lead in the top three spots. Buyers of SUVs (or crossovers) preferred the Nissan Rogue (fifth place), Honda CR-V (sixth place), Chevrolet Equinox (seventh place), Toyota RAV4 (eighth place), and Ford Explorer (tenth place).
Toyota Camry finished December in fourth place, making it the top-selling car in the U.S. It was linked on the month’s Top Ten list by the Honda Civic in 9th.
While hardly a disaster in 2017, the question remains when will the market drops significantly? Here opinion vary – next month or two years from now?
Offshore brands captured 55% of the U.S. auto market in December and 55.7% for 2017 overall. December market share figures were down slightly from the 56.2% share import brands held in November, although overall sales were up at 882,393 units for the month.
For the 2016 year overall, international brands held 55.7% of the U.S. auto market and sold 9,590,918 vehicles. Market share increased slightly from 2016 when Asian and European brands held 55.1% of the U.S. market, but overall sales dipped from the 9,657,730 vehicles they sold in 2016.