Car and truck sales in the United States were quite good last month, with new models and heavy discounting bringing an industry-wide 5.2% gain in volume — bringing the year’s gains, over six months, to 2%.
One of the big winners was Fiat Chrysler, with an 8% overall gain and the best retail sales since — believe it or not — 2004. The driver at FCA was Jeep, with 86,989 sales, nearly 14,000 more than in June 2017 (a 19% gain). Put Ram, Chrysler, Alfa Romeo, and Fiat together, and you get fewer sales than Jeep alone. Overall, FCA is up 4.5% for the first half of the year — even though Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, and Ram all fell. It’s all on Jeep’s 22% gain, which led to 495,022 sales over six months — easily beating Ram (260,341) and Dodge (250,933). Even Alfa Romeo, incidentally, beat Fiat, 12,265 to 8,285.
Things looked good at the mighty General Motors, too; Mary Barra has continued and accelerated GM’s turnaround, with a 6% estimated gain over June, and a definite 4% gain in the first half. Ford gained 1% for the month, but is still 2% behind for the first half of the year, largely due to dropping sedan sales; Lincoln is down by 11% for the year.
World behemoth Toyota’s new TGNA platform is yielding results, with a 3.6% gain for the month and a 3% gain for the year; their 1.2 million sales were bested only by GM (1.4 million) and Ford (1.3 million), neatly beating FCA’s 1.1 million. Lexus was down around 3% for the month, but is up 1% for the year; with 135,000 sales so far this year, Lexus easily beats Lincoln and Genesis combined.
If you’re into luxury cars, so far this year Mercedes is #1, with 175,758 US sales for January-June. BMW has stopped its disastrous “do anything to beat Mercedes” campaign and stands at 153,386. Audi, with the 50 Shades books in the rear-view mirror, sold around 108,000 cars, and Porsche, from the same company, sold 29,421. As for the new kids on the block, Tesla’s 36,000 cars are a 36% gain over the first half of last year; Maserati fell 17% to 5,563, and Alfa Romeo rose 230% to 12,265.
The losers for the first half of 2018 were plentiful — Nissan (down 5%), Mercedes (down 2%, with “Smart” sales down 67%), VW’s Bentley (down 15%), Hyundai-Kia (down 2%, with the profitable Genesis plunging 27%), Honda/Acura (down 0.5%), Ford (down 2%, with Lincoln down 11%), and FCA’s Fiat, Dodge, Chrysler, and Ram — with Fiat down 44% from already tiny numbers. The 7% Ram shortfall must hurt almost as much as Chrysler’s 13%.