Down To The Wire: Automakers Push To Set Records

automaker sales

As I have been telling you, the auto industry as a whole is pushing to exceed 2015 total sales in U.S., which was the biggest year for new car sales in history.  Since the November sales came out, I’ve predicted 2016 would be better than last year, but it will be a squeaker for sure.

At individual car companies, not a single one wants to sell fewer cars than last year, and equally as important, they don’t want their share of the overall business to drop.  This is why the incentives are so good through January 3rd, 2017, which is the deadline to report sales.


Besides total sales and market share, there are a number of other interesting battles to watch:

  • Toyota looks like a lock to sell the most passenger cars. Camry is on top, with Corolla about 9000 vehicles behind, but Honda Civic is trying to make a run to take that second place spot.
  • It is always a battle for the top luxury brand, and in many years past, it came down to the wire. This year, Mercedes holds a pretty commanding lead over #2 Lexus. Through 11 months, Mercedes has an 18,000-unit lead over Lexus, and a 28,000 unit lead over BMW. To bring up 4th and 5th place, Cadillac and Acura are locked in a battle with only 4000 units between them.
  • With the crossover craze going on, this is a huge race. At the end of November Honda holds about a 4500 vehicle lead but that has dwindled the past few months with RAV4 making a run be #1. Nissan Rogue is a distant third almost 25,000 behind RAV4, and Ford Escape brings up 4th place, 8000 vehicles behind the Rogue.
  • It has been a long time since there was a race for the #1 selling vehicle overall. Ford trucks have held the title for decades and 2016 will not be any different. Chevy Silverado is poised to be #2 once again, and Ram trucks will finish #3 again, unless GMC makes a strong surge for December. Right now, GMC trails Ram by 9000 trucks.
  • For the overall brand in American, Ford cannot be beaten at this late date, but there is a knock-down drag out for second place: Toyota has a slim lead over Chevrolet, but the bowtie brand has a glut of inventory right now and super aggressive incentives.


To put things in perspective, assuming the auto industry sells 17.5 million vehicles in 2016, which would mean Americans purchased roughly:

  • 1,458,000 new vehicles per month
  • Almost 48,000 new vehicles every day, 7 days per week.
  • 2000 vehicles per hour, 24 hours a day.
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