November US Auto Sales Strong. Another Record Year? on Volkswagen

The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas, a seven-passenger sport utility vehicle, might add some sales oomph for VW – if it has the ad money – with ruinous civil and criminal settlements pending for its diesel emissions fraud – to break into a crowded segment that it has never been in before.

Once again demand for light trucks with a boost from Black Friday deals made US November auto sales strong, setting up a potential all-time record for 2016 after the one set in 2015. Light trucks in November increased sales by 8.5% to 850,00 from a year ago, offsetting the ongoing decline in passenger car sales at 531,000 or -3.1%. All tallied, US sales of light vehicles at 1.38 million increased a total of 3.7%.

Of note, is the ongoing struggle of the Volkswagen brand mired in the Dieselgate scandal. The Golf was down 11,894 ytd – off -34%. All VW nameplates were down -10% in what remains a booming market.

AutoData says the seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) in November was 17.87 million units compared to 18.25 million units a year ago. Year-to-date, automakers have sold 15,859,922 vehicles, 20,139 more than November in 2015. If year-end sales beat last year’s numbers, 2016 will mark the first time in nearly a century that auto sales rose for seven consecutive years – all under the Obama Administration.

Industry-wide, 1,380,558 light vehicles were sold in November, compared to 1,392,786 in October. Un-adjusted for business days, sales for all brands were up 3.7% from November 2015 and 0.1% year-to-date. Offshore brands were up 5.7% from 2015 and 0.66% for the year.

Offshore brands increased their share of the November U.S. auto market to 55.7%, up from 53.7% last month and an increase over November 2015 when they held 54.6% of the U.S. auto market. Overall sales for international brands totaled 768,754 units, an improvement over October sales of 747,879 vehicles and November 2015 when they sold 727,000 vehicles.

  • Asian brands increased share of the U.S. market to 45.7%, up from 44.6% last month and 44.6% in November 2015 by selling 630,961 vehicles, up from 661,540 last month and 593,175 in November 2015. Overall sales were up 6.4% compared to the same month last year.
  • European brands improved their share of the U.S. market, finishing the month with 10%. They held a 9.1% share last month and a 10.1% share in November 2015. Sales of 137,793 units were up 3% versus November 2015 when they sold 133,825 units.
  • The Detroit Three – if that’s accurate anymore – finished November with a 44.3% share of the U.S. auto market and sales of 611,804 units. Sales for the brands were up 1.3% over November 2015 when they occupied a 45.1% share by selling 604,056 vehicles.

Top Ten Sellers

There were no surprises on the all-important Top Ten Seller list that takes up 25% of all U.S. vehicle sales. Once again Ford F-Series, Chevrolet Silverado and FCA’s Ram pickup trucks occupied the first three place. However, that was it for the Detroit Three, the balance of the Top Ten were all offshore brands.

Starting with number 4, the Toyota Camry was the most popular car for the month. The Camry was joined by the RAV4 in fifth place and Corolla (seventh place).

“All-time best-ever Highlander sales combined with November best-ever RAV4 volume extends the Toyota Division’s 2016 streak of consecutive light truck sales records to 11 months.” said Bill Fay, group vice president and general manager of the Toyota Division. Lexus utility vehicle sales were up 10%, the best-ever November sales for Toyota’s luxury brand. However, Prius hybrid sales dived -19% at 7,284 as cheap gas continues to hurt newer technology vehicles. Even the RAV4 hybrid – a compact SUV in the hottest segment of the market, only managed 3,757 sales in November or 40,000 ytd.

Three Honda nameplates also were top sellers for the month. The Honda Accord had a sixth-place finish, while the CR-V SUV fell to ninth place from fourth place in October at 26,000. The Civic finished out the month in tenth place. In eighth place, the Nissan Rogue finished the month with sales up 18% from November 2015. Continuing against the industry trend, Honda car sales helped the brand to a new November record. Fit and Accord led the way for Honda cars, with strong support from Civic. Honda truck sales maintained strong momentum with a new November record as HR-V jumped in triple digits and both CR-V and the new Ridgeline had strong sales performances

“December is historically a great month for auto sales,” said American International Automobile Dealers Association President Cody Lusk. “Thanks to a stabilized industry and promising economic conditions, international brand dealers are coming off a tremendous November and looking to close out 2016 on a high note.”

About Kenneth Zino

Ken Zino is an auto industry veteran with global experience in print, broadcast and electronic media. He has auto testing, marketing, public relations and communications expertise garnered while working in Asia, Europe and the U.S.
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1 Response to November US Auto Sales Strong. Another Record Year?

  1. Autocrat says:

    At 198.3 inches long, 77.9 inches wide, and 69.6 inches high, Volkswagen Atlas is larger than any other Volkswagen on sale in the US. Atlas will have two engine options: four-cylinder TSI turbo (238 horsepower) or an optional VR6 (280 horsepower), both with eight-speed automatic transmissions and front wheel drive. All wheel drive is optional. No diesel engine has been announced.

    The Atlas has optimal driver assistance systems including: Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC); Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking (Front Assist); Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Traffic Alert; Lane Departure Warning (Lane Assist), which actively helps the driver steer the car back into its lane; and Parking Steering Assistant (Park Assist).

    The Atlas is built alongside the Passat at the Volkswagen Chattanooga assembly plant, the result of an additional $900 million investment by Volkswagen in the facility.

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