Media & Insight

April 7, 2017

US Vehicle Sales fell by 1.9% in the first quarter of 2017 following declines in traditional segments

  • SUVs, Pickups increase their share of total market while cars continue to slide
  • Ford’s F-Series trucks maintain their top selling position; Toyota Camry is best-selling car
  • Volkswagen beginning to recover from effects of diesel crisis

Vehicle sales for the first quarter of 2017 fell 1.9% over the same period in 2016. Analysts had predicted a small increase for March sales but saw a decline despite reported high incentives spending. SUVs and Pickup Trucks continue to gain market share, with Honda’s 4.3% increase in share driven by sales from the CR-V and returning Ridgeline, which as re-entered the market after a two model year hiatus.

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Once again, the top three best selling vehicles in the United States are the Ford F-Series, Chevrolet Silverado, and Ram Pickup. Ford’s F-Series line of trucks continues as the best-selling vehicle overall, selling 205,281 units in the first quarter of 2017, up from 186,121 units during the same time period in 2016.

Gaining ground on the top three is the forth best-selling vehicle and the best-selling SUV, Nissan Rogue, selling 100,000 units in the quarter in sales for the first time. Toyota Camry remained the best selling car, despite declining sales (83,459 units vs. 96,244 units), followed closely by the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla (81,654 and 76,086 units respectively).

After years of declining sales, Volkswagen looks they might have turned the tide, increasing their sales by almost 7,000 units when compared to the same time period last year (76,293 vs, 69,316 units). These gains were largely driven by increased Golf family sales, which were up 48.2% for the quarter. VW has posted four consecutive monthly sales increases and will be introducing the Atlas full-sized SUV soon which should help it continue to show positive movement.

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Continuing the trend of recent years, the market share of SUVs and Trucks continue to rise within the United States. In the first qurater of 2017, SUVs, Trucks, and Vans respresented 58%, 5 percentage points more than what was seen in 2016. This increase was mostly due to the ever increasing popularity of smaller SUVs and crossovers like the Nissan Rogue, Honda CR-V, and Toyota RAV4.

The biggest decline was seen in the D-Segment. The segment decline in sales by 2.5 percentage points, from 16.9% in Q1 2016 to 14.% in Q1 2017. This decline has been seen throughout the segment, including market leaders like Toyota Camry, Ford Fusion, and Chevrolet Malibu.

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While car sales were down overall, the A- and F-Segments (small cars and large luxury cars) actually had increases year-over-year. The Chevy Spark was up almost 40% for the quarter, while the new Lincoln Continental was a major reason for the gain in the F-Segment.

Ford maintains its number one market share position despite losing significant share for the quarter. While the F-Series continued to make positive gains, Ford’s best selling cars, the Fusion and Focus, were down significantly for the quarter; 32.3% and 26.9% respectively.

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Jeep’s all new-Compass is scheduled to be released in the next couple of months; there are few left of the old model in inventory.

Download file: q1-2017-usa-sales-release-final.pdf