August 2014 Auto Sales: Chrysler and Nissan Lead Impressive Sales Results
By: Jeff Youngs, 9/3/2014
Fueled by Labor Day deals that kicked off well before the long holiday weekend, combined with factors such as continued low interest rates and improving household finances, last month's new-vehicle sales produced "the best August in over a decade," according to Bill Fay, Toyota division group vice president and general manager. Fay made the statement in an interview with Automotive News.
Light trucks and crossover SUVs continue as the most popular vehicle choices, while automakers are forced to heavily discount compact and midsize cars. According to GasBuddy.com, the average price for a gallon of unleaded gasoline in the United States is $3.43, a 16-cent drop from the same time last year. Stable, or even declining, fuel prices contribute to the migration to larger, less-efficient vehicles.
In an interview with Automotive News, John Krafcik, president of TrueCar, said that automakers with a competitive lineup of trucks and SUVs "are dancing on the table."
Underscoring this assertion, General Motors reported an 18% increase in sales of its full-size Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups, while Jeep sales rose 49% compared with last year.
The increase in Jeep sales contributed significantly to a 20% increase in Chrysler Group's overall August sales, marking the 53rd consecutive month that the company has improved its year-over-year sales performance.
"This is an impressive streak for a company that was all but left for dead five years ago," said Edmunds.com senior analyst Jessica Caldwell in an interview with Automotive News. Caldwell said that Chrysler has been more aggressive than other automakers in terms of leasing and subprime financing, and Edmunds estimates that Chrysler's average incentives are also among the highest in the industry--$780 higher per vehicle than the industry average.
Analysts also continue to warn the industry that sales gains are unlikely to continue, "leading to increased jostling for share," according to Brian Johnson, an analyst with Barclays.
Highlights: August 2014 Car Sales
Additional detail about August 2014 car sales is provided in the sections that follow:
American Honda--Combined, Acura and Honda sold 606 more units this August than in the year prior, leading the automaker to report its third best sales month for the Honda division in history. Honda brand sales rose 2%, while Acura sales declined by 9%.
BMW Group--Overall, BMW Group sales rose 6% on the strength of BMW and Rolls-Royce brand increases (up 11% and 6%, respectively). Mini sales dropped 17%, compared with August 2013.
Chrysler Group--Chrysler's sales were up 20%, on the strength of Jeep (up 49%), Ram (up 39%), and Chrysler (up 4%). Dodge fell 6% and Fiat slipped 20%.
Daimler AG--Sales improved by 12% compared with August 2013, with Mercedes-Benz brand sales rising 9%, Smart brand sales improving by 34%, and Sprinter van sales increasing by 35%. The E-Class was the company's best-selling model in August.
Ford Motor Company--Sales rose by 969 units compared with August 2013, an essentially flat performance. Notably, truck sales declined 5% as Ford prepares to launch the redesigned 2015 F-150.
General Motors--Sales declined 3,424 units compared with August 2013, down 1%. Sales for all General Motors brands except for GMC fell: Buick (down 10%), Cadillac (down 18 %), and Chevrolet (down 1%) declined, while GMC improved (up 10%).
Hyundai Group--Hyundai brand sales topped 70,000 units in August 2014, a 6% increase over last year and only the second time it has eclipsed that number of sales in a given month. Kia sales rose 5%, setting an August record for the brand. Together, Hyundai Group sales posted a 6% increase.
Jaguar Land Rover--Sales declined 15% at Jaguar Land Rover. Jaguar sales fell 31%, while Land Rover sales skidded 9%.
Maserati--Sales for Maserati increased 278% compared with August 2013, continuing a streak that began when the new, lower-priced Ghibli sedan was added to the automaker's lineup.
Mazda--Mazda sales rose 11% in August, the automaker citing increasing popularity of the Mazda 6 midsize sedan and the continued success of the CX-5 crossover SUV as key reasons for its best August in more than a decade. Mazda sold nearly as many CX-5 vehicles as Mazda 3 vehicles.
Mitsubishi--Mitsubishi reported a 29% increase in year-over-year August sales, fueled by its popular Outlander Sport crossover and new Mirage subcompact car. The performance-oriented Lancer Evolution also saw its best August sales since 2008 as enthusiasts buy them before the model's discontinuation.
Nissan Group--Nissan sales rose 12% overall, but Infiniti's 23% decline offset the Nissan brand's 15% gain. Core Nissan models including the Altima, Rogue, Sentra, and Versa contributed to the automaker's 22nd consecutive month of sales gains.
Subaru--Thanks to a 22% increase in year-over-year sales, August 2014 proved to be Subaru's best sales month in its history, the automaker moving more than 50,000 vehicles during the month. August was the first full month of sales for the redesigned 2015 Legacy and 2015 Outback models. Subaru has enjoyed 33 consecutive months of sales gains, according to the company.
Tesla--Tesla sales fell 22% in August, though the automaker closed its factory for two weeks in order to prepare for production of a new Model X crossover SUV.
Toyota Group--Toyota Group sales rose 6% overall, and the automaker claims it was the top retail manufacturer in August 2014. Toyota cited a "record-shattering month" for its RAV4 small crossover SUV, which achieved its best sales month in history, and 4Runner SUV sales increased 67% over last year.
Volkswagen Group--The Volkswagen brand's sales continued to languish, declining 13% in August and contributing to an overall 4% drop for VW Group. Audi sales climbed 22%, producing the best sales month ever for the luxury brand. Bentley sales rose by 1%, Lamborghini sales improved by 2%, and Porsche sales rose 36.5%.
Volvo--Compared with August 2013, sales of Volvo models declined 10% last month, the automaker selling fewer than 5,000 vehicles.