Pickup trucks, SUVs and crossovers continued to take share with 910,476 sold in August sales (+2.4%) or more than 60% of the market in the U.S. The ongoing drop in car sales continued at 600,977 sold or -12.6% year-over-year for a 39.7% share. This resulted in overall August new vehicle sales declining -4.2%. The auto industry sold 1,512,556 light vehicles in August, compared to 1,522,297 in July.
AutoData says that the seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) in August was 17 million units versus 17.79 million units a year ago and 17.88 in July 2016. (See Month of Reckoning? Ford, GM, Toyota U.S. Sales Down in July.) There are real questions now if 2015’s record can be repeated in 2016. This is the 36th straight month where trucks outsold cars. (See U.S. Vehicle Sales to Remain Strong in 2016?)
“Without a doubt, the market slowed in August,” said AIADA President Cody Lusk. “Dealers going into the long Labor Day weekend are going to be motivated to move inventory and kick start fall sales.” (See Vehicle Deals over Labor Day Weekend)
Top Ten Sellers
Ford F-Series (65,657), Chevrolet Silverado (54,116), and Ram (39,827) pickup trucks once again took the first three places in the Top Ten Seller list, which in total represents 26% of the overall market this month.
However, and – also once again – offshore nameplates represented seven of the top ten selling vehicles for the month.
Honda CR-V (36,017) was the most popular international model of the month, occupying the fourth place, up 5% over last year. With SUV demand continuing to increase, Toyota RAV4 () was fifth with sales up 8.6%. Nissan Rogue finished the month in sixth place (33,298) with sales up 19.2%.
Car Sales Dropping
Some cars were sold in the Top Ten – all them from offshore brands. Toyota Camry (32,952) took the seventh spot. Sales for America’s best-selling car were hurt by the general drop in demand for cars in August. Camry sales were down 12.6%. The Honda Civic (31,946), Toyota Corolla (31,871), and Honda Accord (31,717) finished the month in eighth, ninth, and tenth place, respectively.
Asian brand market share at 707,460 vehicles or 46.8% of the market declined slightly. Last month, Asians sold 722,377 vehicles for 47.5% of the market. In August 2015, Asian brands sold 735,056 vehicles for 46.6% of the market. Sales totals for the month included 248,469 cars and 241,852 trucks sourced from North American production facilities. NAFTA, of course is a real issue in the U.S. presidential race. It is also a real issue in ongoing labor talks in Canada.
The Detroit Three held a 44.1% market share with sales of 667,327 vehicles, down from 704,569 and 44.7% market y-o-y.
European brand market share improved to 9.1% in August, with sales of 137,769 units. August sales figures flat from last August when they held 8.7% of the market and sold 137,782 vehicles. European-brand sales figures included 21,896 cars and 17,020 trucks sourced from North American production facilities.
“We’re at a critical time where dealers need to clear out 2016 inventory to make room for 2017s, and that’s good news for shoppers who will see some great deals on outgoing models in the coming weeks,” said Executive Director of Industry Analysis Jessica Caldwell of Edmunds.