New car sales for 2014 are on track to produce a banner year
Mid-way through the year, new car sales in the United States are tracking well to have a banner year for nearly all manufacturers and most models. While there is still a full six months of sales left to enjoy (and report) a few trends may be developing when it comes to tracking the best-selling cars in 2014.
Market overview, mid-year report
New car sales figures are an excellent barometer of where the nation’s expectations for continued economic growth are. As many other parts of the economy show signs of moderate growth and recovery, the auto industry came into the mid-part of the year with high expectations. Most analysts expected that sales through May 2014 would be solid. In fact, those expectations have been exceeded in most cases.
U.S. new auto sales in May 2014 saw some of the highest transaction prices, the highest monthly payments, and some of the longest car loan terms in the history of auto selling in the United States.
The U.S. Commerce Department and the collective prognoses of the major automakers expected month-over-month new car sales to increase by about seven percent from April to May of 2014. When the dust settled, actual new car sales jumped 11 percent month-over-month with a total of 1.6 million units. Year-to-date, U.S. auto sales for 2014 are up five percent over 2013.
Early industry leaders
For some carmakers, it may be too early to draw conclusions, but here are a few important statistics for some of the leaders:
- Ford – reported increases in sales for cars and SUVs. May 2014 saw a dip in sales of the F-Series pickups (a four percent drop in volume) selling 3,084 fewer units month-over-month. The company was, however, able to report the first notable sales in its Lincoln MKC line (677 units), a higher-end crossover vehicle Ford hopes will be a big hit and a real moneymaker.
- General Motors – despite scads of bad news on recalls and corporate malfeasance, GM reported a 13 percent year-over-year increase across all four of its brands. Each brand saw nice increases, with Chevrolet posting an impressive growth spurt that put it over the 200,000 units mark for the year, spurred in no small part thanks to an eight percent jump in Sliverado sales.
- Chrysler Group – they reported their best May since 2007. Jeep posted another record sales month in May (making that three consecutive record-high sales months) and keeping the brand the lead horse in Chrysler’s stable. According to the company’s own numbers, combined Chrysler/Dodge/Fiat car sales are down 23 percent for the year. The carmaker is quick to point out that the new, updated Chrysler 200 is only just beginning to arrive in showrooms, a product they have high hopes pinned to.
- Toyota – says positive results from the sales of Camry and Corolla resulted in the best overall month for U.S. car sales in six years. While Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. ended the month 10,110 units behind the Ford Motor Company in sales, Toyota did manage to sell 49,584 Camrys.
- Honda – the company had a very strong May, thanks to great numbers from its top three selling models. The company sold: nearly 40,000 Accords; more than 36,000 Civics; and more than 32,000 CR-Vs. That number allowed the CR-V to maintain its place as America's top-selling SUV/crossover.
- Nissan – posted impressive numbers, thanks in part to strength in its “luxury division” (Infiniti.) Overall the company enjoyed a record May with sales topping 125,000 units (36,063 from Altima sales alone.)
- Hyundai – was able to report its best ever month of U.S. auto sales, noting especially strong sales during the month for its Santa Fe, Genesis, and Tucson models.
- Kia – matched its Korean partner in setting all-time U.S. sales records for the month, taking special note of improved numbers for its Optima, Sorento, and Soul brands.
How the brands fared
Little changed when it came to ranking among the top-ten selling brands for auto sales in the U.S. through the end of May 2014. There were a few interesting development that may bode for a change in the lineup by year’s end:
- Toyota suffered from a slow start in 2014. The Camry (the #1 selling car in America) was actually trailing the Nissan Altima in sales at the end of February. Then Toyota released news that there will be a significant update to the Camry for 2015, and Camry sales took off.
- The Chevrolet Cruze has seen the biggest year-to-date sales gains of any of the cars ranked in the top ten.
- Nissan’s Sentra and Altima were the only other models in the top ten to see year-over-year sales increases so far in 2014.
If you take a look out to the top twenty, you‘ll find that:
- Toyota landed three models in the top 20 (Camry, Corolla and Prius)
- Chevrolet also had three models in the top twenty( Cruze, Malibu, Impala)
- Ford, Hyundai and Honda each had two models land in the top twenty.
Here are the top-ten best selling car ins the U.D. as of the end of May, 2014 (year-to-date:
Year-to-date, the three cars with the largest increase in year-over-year sales percentages are: the Toyota Prius Plug-In (113 percent increase); the Nissan Sentra (36.6 percent increase); and the Kia Soul (21.1 percent increase).
As the year winds down, many dealers and manufacturers will be ready to bargain, making deals to move these leading sellers off the lot to eventually make room for the 2015 parade of new makes and models. Reply! can help you find the best deals on these and other new cars near you by putting you in touch with dealers in your area eager to see you drive off in a winner (or at least one of this year’s best sellers.)