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2015 Auto Sales: An All-Time Record of 17.4 Million

Published on www.automobilemag.com

January 5, 2016
2016 Jeep Cherokee Limited Front Three Quarter In Motion

Car and light truck sales in the United States reached an all-time high of 17.4 million in 2015, slightly exceeding the previous record set in calendar year 2000, according to the numbers crunched by the Automotive News Data Center. This is good for the auto business, of course, coming just six years after General Motors and Chrysler filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganizations and some five years after Ford Motor Company sold off all its high-profit-margin Premier Automotive Group brands except for Lincoln.
The sales numbers have all the pundits and Wall Street analysts talking about an even bigger 2016. Last June, Merrill Lynch even went so far to predict, in its Car Wars prospectus for the automotive market, that sales would total 20 million by 2018.
Does no one see a bubble? Or am I the only person still trying to absorb all the lessons from the movie “The Big Short”? Even new-car sales are being made with the help of subprime auto loans.
The last time we had six straight years of sales gains was during the 1920s, notes Automotive News sales analyst Jesse Snyder. We all know how that decade turned out. Much of the last half-decade’s growth has been attributed to the fact that our national fleet has become so old. Middle-class and richer consumers had to replace aging clunkers. How much longer will this go on?
This calendar year will be another big one, but it will level off, with an average year settling between high and low numbers of roughly 18 million and 11 million. Even GM knows enough to prepare for the future by hooking up with Lyft.
A note about the sales numbers listed below: Daily news editor Joey Capparella and I compiled most of these figures, using the numbers each manufacturer released on Jan. 5. According to the Automotive News Data Center, 17,470,659 new cars and trucks were sold in the U.S. last year, topping the calendar year 2000 record by 68,173.
I’ve cribbed just a few of the numbers from the Data Center: Tesla sold an estimated 22,800 cars in 2015, up 26.7 percent. Rolls-Royce, part of BMW Group but not included in BMW’s sales release, sold 1,140 cars, up 2.6 percent. Bentley sold 2,686 cars, up 10.6 percent, and Lamborghini sold 756 cars, up 2.7 percent. But VW dragged down the entire Volkswagen Group, which sold 555,084 cars and trucks, up just 0.4 percent for the year.
Fuji Heavy Industries’ Subaru, in fact, outsold all of the VW Group, including the hot Audi brand, in the U.S., by 27,591 units. While we’re having fun with crazy yet meaningful comparisons, consider these: The BMW 3 and 4 Series outsold all of Lincoln by 39,382 units; the Jeep Grand Cherokee outsold all of Cadillac by 20,691 units, and the Jeep brand outsold Hyundai by Mitsubishi’s total sales, plus 7,976 units. Whew. The message here is: Be Jeep.
And so, to the numbers …
2016 Chevrolet Silverado LTZ Z71 4x4 Front Three Quarter In Motion 02

1. General Motors: 3,082,366, up 5 percent.

Up 5.7 percent for December

*Chevrolet Silverado, +13.4 percent to 600,544, plus GMC Sierra, +5.8 percent to 224,139, equals 824,683, which outsold Ford F-Series by 44,329.

*Chevy Colorado, +955 percent to 84,430, plus GMC Canyon, +879.7 percent to 30,077, equals 114,407, which is 65,155 short of the Toyota Tacoma.

*Chevrolet division was +4.5 percent, to 2,125,347 for the year, with GMC +11.3 percent to 588,697, Buick -2.6 percent to 223,055, and Cadillac +2.6 percent to 175,267.

*Chevy Cruze remains GM’s best-selling car, -17 percent to 226,602, while Equinox handily outsold it, at 277,589, +14.6 percent. Chevy Malibu was +3.4 percent to 194,854.

*Chevy Impala took a 16.7 percent plunge to 116,825, while Sonic was -30.7 percent to 64,775.

*Corvette was -4.3 percent to 33,329, Caprice was -50.5 percent to 1,845, and Suburban was -7.5 percent, to 50,866.

*Chevy Volt was -18.1 percent to 15,393. Cadillac ELR was -21.8 percent to 1,024.

*GMC Acadia was +14.8 percent to 96,393 and Terrain was +6.7 percent to 112,030.

*Encore was Buick’s best-seller, +38.2 percent to 67,549. (Chevy sold 63,030 Traxxes.) Enclave was -0.4 percent to 62,081.

*Buick LaCrosse was -18.3 percent to 42,035, and Verano was -27.1 percent to 31,866.

*Cadillac’s best-seller, SRX, was +28.5 percent, to 68,850. CTS was -37.4 percent to 19,485, and ATS was -10.1 percent to 26,873. XTS was -5.0 percent, to 23,112.

2017 Ford F 150 Raptor Left Front Angle

2. Ford Motor Company: 2,613,162, up 5.3 percent.

Up 8.4 percent for December

*The all-new IRS Ford Mustang dominated the Pony Car Wars, +48.1 percent to 122,349 for the year, versus 77,502 (-10.2 percent) for Chevy Camaro and 66,365 (+29 percent) for Dodge Challenger.

*F-Series was up just 3.5 percent, thanks to factory changeover to the new aluminum F-150, for 780,354 of both the old and new model sold.

*Most Ford cars were down; Fusion -2.2 percent to 300,170; Focus -7.8 percent to 202,478; Taurus -25.5 percent to 39,051; but Fiesta was +2 percent to 64,458.

*Escape was +0.1 percent to 306,492. Edge was +14 percent to 124,120. Explorer was +18.5 percent to 224,309.

*What’s that in the rearview mirror? An Explorer-based Police Interceptor Utility, +20.8 percent to 24,942; not a Taurus-based Interceptor, -4.6 percent to 9,765.

*Ford claims best-selling individual brand, +5.3 percent to 2,511,935. Lincoln, with its new CUVs, was +7.1 percent to 101,227.

*MKC was +88 percent to 24,590, and MKX was -7.5 percent to 22,199, but the MKZ sedan remains the best-seller, at -9.1 percent to 30,901.

2015 Toyota Corolla S Front Three Quarter In Motion 01

3. Toyota Motor Sales: 2,499,313, up 5.3 percent.

Up 10.8 percent for December

*Toyota Camry was +0.2 percent to 429,355; Corolla was +7 percent to 363,332; and RAV4 was +17.8 percent to 315,412.

*Highlander was +8.8 percent to 158,915, and Sienna was +10.4 percent to 137,497.

*Tacoma was +15.8 percent to 179,562, while Tundra was +0.3 percent to 118,880.

*Prius was -10.9 percent to 184,794. Toyota sold 72 Mirai fuel-cell models.

*Scion sold 7,605 iAs and 5,097 iMs. FR-S was -25.3 percent to 10,507.

*The tC was again Scion’s best-seller, -8.3 percent to 16,459, while the xB was -8.2 percent to 15,223.

*Toyota division sold 2,449,313 cars and trucks, +5.3 percent, while Lexus sold 344,601, +10.7 percent. The Scion subbrand was -3.2 percent, to 56,157.

*RX remains Lexus’ best-seller but was -6.4 percent to 100,610. NX, in its first full year of sales, accounted for another 43,764 units.

*Lexus ES sales dropped 10.4 percent to 64,969, while GS was +4.1 percent, to 23,117.

*Lexus IS was -9.6 percent to 46,430 and RC was +669.2 percent to 14,784. LS sales fell 16.3 percent to 7,165.

2016 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara Front Three Quarter Static

4. Chrysler LLC: 2,243,907, up 7 percent.

Up 13 percent for December

*Jeep has been the big story all year, selling 865,028 units, up 25 percent for 2015.

*Cherokee was +23 percent to 220,260. Wrangler was +16 percent to 202,702. Grand Cherokee was +7 percent to 195,958.

*The new Renegade accounted for 60,946.

*Ram sold 451,116 pickups, +3 percent. The Ram brand was +5 percent to 493,807.

*The Chrysler 200 was +52 percent to 177,889; the 300 was -1 percent to 53,109.

*Chrysler Town & Country was -32 percent to 93,848, and the lame-duck Dodge Caravan was -28 percent to 97,141.

*Dodge Dart was +4 percent to 87,392; Charger was +1 percent to 94,725; and Journey was +13 percent, to 105,400.

*Alfa Romeo sold 663 of the 4C. Fiat sales totaled 42,410, off 8 percent despite the new 500X (9,463 sold). The Fiat 500 was -26 percent to 25,084, and the 500L was -37 percent, to 7,863.

2016 Honda Odyssey Side Profile

5. American Honda, 1,586,551, up 3 percent.

Up 9.9 percent for December

*Accord was -8.4 percent to 355,557. Pilot was +25.1 percent to 136,212.

*For the second consecutive year, CR-V, +3.2 percent to 345,647, outsold Civic, +2.9 percent to 335,384.

*Odyssey was +4.1 percent to 127,736, while Fit was -11.1 percent to 52,724 and the new HR-V recorded 41,969 sales.

*Remember these? Crosstour was -22.9 percent to 9,104, and CR-Z was -13.7 percent to 3,073.

*Acura sales were +5.6 percent to 177,165.

*MDX was -11.3 percent to 58,208, RDX was +13.7 percent to 51,026, and TLX was +146.1 percent to 47,080.

6. Nissan Group: 1,484,918, up 7.1 percent.
Up 18.7 percent for December
*Altima was -0.7 percent to 333,398, while Rogue (including a fleet version of the old model) was +44.2 percent to 287,190.
*Sentra was +11 percent to 203,509 to edge out Ford Focus in the Top Five compacts race. Versa was +3.4 percent to 144,528.
*Leaf was -42.8 percent to 17,269, and Juke was -29 percent to 27,121.
*Pathfinder was +3.7 percent to 82,041. Quest was +12.1 percent to 11,018.
*Infiniti was +13.8 percent to 133,498, with the Q50 accounting for nearly a third, at 43,874, +18.9 percent.
*QX60 was next, +33.9 percent to 41,770.
7. Hyundai: 761,710, up 5 percent.
Off 1.7 percent in December
*Elantra compact was +8.9 percent to 241,706.
*Sonata midsizer was -1.7 percent to 213,303.
*New Tucson crossover was +34 percent to 63,591.
*Santa Fe crossovers were up 9.5 percent to 118,134.
8. Kia: 625,818, up 7.9 percent.
Up 19 percent in December
*Optima midsize sedan was the brand’s best-seller, +0.2 percent to 159,414.
*Soul continued to gain, +1.3 percent to 147,133.
*Sales of the new Sedona minivan more than doubled; +152 percent to 36,755.
9. Subaru: 582,675, up 13.4 percent.
Up 12.7 percent in December
*Forester is the best-seller at 175,192, +9.5 percent.
*Outback is a close second; +9.7 percent to 152,294.
*Crosstrek was +25.3 percent to 88,927.
*BRZ was -29.4 percent to 5,296. WRX/STI was +32.3 percent to 33,734.
10. BMW Group: 404,537, up 2.2 percent.
Off 17.7 percent in December
*Cars were down 3 percent; SUVs were up 16.1 percent.
*The 3 Series was -6.2 percent to 94,527, and the 4 Series was +11.2 percent to 46,082, for 140,609 combined.
*The 5 Series was off 16.2 percent, to 44,162.
*The X5 was +16.9 percent to 54,997. BMW sold 6,429 X4s and 7,906 X6s.
*The i3 EV sold 11,0124 units, with 2,265 i8 hybrid sports cars sold.
*Mini was +4.3 percent to 58,514.
11. Mercedes-Benz USA, 380,461, up 3.8 percent.
Up 1.7 percent in December
*C-Class was the best-seller, +14.7 percent to 86,080.
*E-Class fell 25.1 percent to 49,736.
*Entry-level CLA, at 29,643, + 8.3 percent, outsold GLA crossover sibling, at 25,593.
*Smart sales totaled 7,484, off 28.4 percent.
12. Volkswagen: 349,440, off 4.8 percent.
Off 9.1 percent for December
*Jetta was -18.5 percent to 131,109.
*Passat was -19.1 percent to 78,207.
*The new Golf was a bright spot amplified by a slow sell-down in 2014 for the old model. It was +93.9 percent to 65,308.
*Tiguan also was up +42.7 percent to 35,843.
*Beetle was -22.3 percent to 22,667.
13. Mazda: 319,184, up 4.4 percent.
Up 18.1 percent for December
*With the ND MX-5 replacing the NC by midyear, Miata sales were +81.1 percent to 8,591.
*CX-5 passed 3 to become the brand’s bestseller, +12.4 percent to 111,450. Mazda sold 6,406 CX-3s.
*Mazda3 was +2.8 percent to 107,885.
*Mazda6 was +8.8 percent to 57,897.
14. Audi: 202,202, up 11.1 percent.
Up 6 percent for December
*Its palindromic number marks the first time the brand sold more than 200,000 units in the U.S.
*Q5 accounts for one-quarter of its sales, at 52,006, +22.6 percent.
*A3 is Audi’s best-selling car, at 35,984, +61.7 percent.
*A4 was -14.7 percent to 29,013.
*Q3 was +262 percent to 13,229.
*TT was +0.8 percent to 1,167.
15. Mitsubishi: 95,342 up 22.8 percent.
Up 20.5 percent for December
*Outlander Sport was +19 percent to 36,966. Outlander was +45.8 percent to 19,055.
*Mirage was +28.8 percent to 21,515, while i-Miev was -41.3 percent to 115.
16. Jaguar/Land Rover: 85,048, up 26.5 percent.
Up 30 percent, to 9,638 for December
*Land Rover was +37 percent to 70,582.
*Jaguar was –8 percent to 14,466.
17. Volvo: 70,047, up 24.3 percent.
Up 89.9 percent for December
*XC60 edged the S60 to become the brand’s best-seller, at 26,134, +35.6 percent. S60 was -18.3 percent to 16,706.
*The new XC90 is the star, however, with 12,665 sold in ’15, compared with 3,952 of the old model sold in ’14. (Volvo sold 112 old XC90s in CY15.)
18. Porsche: 51,756, up 10.1 percent.
Up 20.2 percent in December
*The 911/918 were off 428 units, to 10,101.
*Boxster/Cayman fell 8.6 percent to 6,663.
*Cayenne was +1.7 percent to 16,473, but Macan made up most of Porsche’s gain, +86.6 percent to 13,533.
Compact car sales in 2015:
1.) Toyota Corolla 363,332
2.) Honda Civic 335,384
3.) Hyundai Elantra 241,706
4.) Chevrolet Cruze 226,602
5.) Nissan Sentra 203,509
Midsize car sales in 2015:
1.) Toyota Camry 429,355
2.) Honda Accord 355,557
3.) Nissan Altima 333,398
4.) Ford Fusion 300,170
5.) Hyundai Sonata 213,303
Compact CUVs in 2015:
1.) Honda CR-V 345,647
2.) Toyota RAV4 315,412
3.) Ford Escape 306,492
4.) Nissan Rogue 287,190
5.) Chevrolet Equinox 277,589
Luxury/premium brands in 2015:
1.) BMW 346,023
2.) Lexus 344,601
3.) Mercedes-Benz 343,088
4.) Audi 202,202
5.) Acura 177,165
Best-selling models in 2015:
1.) Ford F-Series 780,354
2.) Chevrolet Silverado 600,544
3.) Ram Pickup 451,116
4.) Toyota Camry 429,355
5.) Toyota Corolla 363,322