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2019 Car Sales: The Story So Far

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The third quarter numbers are in and this is what you need to know.

There have been some unusual September sales reports this year. Almost every automaker had a slow month, including Subaru who had a rare stumble in monthly sales. The Dodge Challenger outsold the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro, while Tesla posted a back-to-back quarter sales record.

Looking at the overall figures for the year so far, and it appears we're currently in a slump. Among the top six brands in the industry, only Honda posted overall sales gains on the year-to-date with 1,206,209 units sold at an increase of 0.4 percent. Conversely, Nissan suffered the most with 1,044,390 sales, a 7.1 percent decrease from 2018.

2015-2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Front Side in Motion via FCA
via Chevrolet

The Winners

Toyota sold 1,779,302 vehicles overall at a drop of 2.5 percent, however, the RAV4 sold 324,622 units, up 1.7 percent over last year making it the best-selling vehicle in America that isn't a truck. Honda is helping keep the sedan and hatchback alive with the Civic going up in sales by 0.6 percent with 255,484 units sold so far in 2019. The CR-V is still Honda's biggest seller though, going up 1.6 percent with 280,739 units sold.

Speaking of trucks, the F-Series retains its top slot but sales dropped 2.4 percent so far this year with 662,574 units sold to date. Overall, Ford sold 1,820,836 vehicles to date, dropping 3.5 percent over last year.

GMC has had a good year, selling 163,601 units of the GMC Sierra, a 7.5 percent increase while the Chevy Silverado drops 2.9 percent. Ram's pickup outsold the Silverado for the first time with 461,115 pickups sold versus 412,259. Clearly, trucks remain the big winners in the American market.

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The Mixed Bag

FCA kept its overall sales deficit down to just 1 percent with help from Jeep. The Grand Cherokee enjoyed an 11 percent sales, while there were 23,384 sales of the new Jeep Gladiator. General Motors has sold 2,151,137 units in total so far this year and is faring the best of the Big Three by showing just a 0.8 percent drop over last year.

Mitsubishi is the also-ran of the car industry, but is clawing its way back. Sales are up by 2.3 percent this year, and it seems the freshening up of dealerships and pushing harder is starting to pay off. Mazda is a darling of the automotive media with a solid and loyal customer base, but sales have been off this year by 11.5 percent and it's strongest selling vehicle, the CX-5, dropped in sales by 2.6 percent.

Meanwhile, Hyundai has grown sales by 2.8 percent with the help of new SUV models this year, however, Genesis isn't doing well at all. Only 8,506 G70s have been sold this year despite it being an excellent alternative to a BMW 3 Series, while, expectedly, only 242 G90 models were sold.

2020 BMW X5 M Front View Driving via BMW
2020 Mercedes-Benz EQC Front View Driving via Mercedes-Benz
2019-2020 Porsche Cayenne Front View Driving via Porsche

The Europeans

The German brands delivered mixed results. BMW is up 3.3 percent in sales, while Mercedes-Benz is down just 0.1 percent so far. Audi is down 5.3 percent while Volkswagen is up by 4.5 percent. Porsche sold 45,062 units, which is up 5.7 percent on the year so far. Curiously, the Macan's sales fell by 10.6 percent while the Cayenne's rose by 109.5 percent.

Land Rover sales rose a much needed 2 percent with 66,639 sales while Jaguar is up 6 percent, to 22,432 sales. Even better for Jaguar, the I-Pace is a big deal for Jaguar's figures, but the F-Pace has sold 10,361 units so far this year, which is up by 3 percent over last year to date.

Volvo is up this year by 4.7 percent, mainly due to strong sales of the XC90 and XC40, however, the S60 sedan is doing surprisingly well in an SUV sodden market. It's up in sales by 110.9 percent with 12,329 sales this year.

Front Angle View CarBuzz
Front View Driving via Volvo
Side View via Jaguar Land Rover
via Jaguar Land Rover

The Rise Of The Electric Vehicle

EVs represent a small slice of the overall automotive pie, but an important one. Tesla doesn't report individual model numbers, but has reported a new brand record of 93,000 overall sales this quarter. Chevrolet has sold 13,111 units of the Bolt so far this year, while the Nissan Leaf clocks in with 9,111 sales. Audi has 3,540 e-tron sales under its belt, and Jaguar has sold just 1,842 units of the I-Pace. We, and much of the industry, expected the I-Pace to perform much better as it's one of the best implementations of an all-electric vehicle so far, but it seems to be having trouble gaining real traction in the US.

via Chevrolet
via Nissan
2019-2020 Jaguar I-Pace Front View Driving via Jaguar Land Rover

The Biggest Loser

Nissan didn't fare at all well in the September numbers game, but its Infiniti luxury brand is a genuine cause for concern. The still relatively new QX50 dropped by 51.1 percent. The QX60 still leads sales, but is down 0.5 percent with only 31,621 models sold to date this year. The Q50 sedan, which could be a great car, is down 24.5 percent with just 19,755. With Nissan pulling Infiniti out of other markets, it leaves us wondering just how long the brand can actually last outside of Japan without Nissan taking drastic action.

2018-2019 Infiniti Q50 Front View Driving via Infiniti
2019 Infiniti QX50 Front View Driving via Infiniti
Side View via Infiniti


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2015-2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Front Side in Motion