Although the February auto market continued to cool from the record sales clip it hit in late 2016, sales remained strong due to high demand for trucks and SUVs. International brands were well positioned to take advantage of U.S consumer demand, logging a strong month overall.
International automakers continued to perform well with U.S. vehicle shoppers in January—a month traditionally recognized as the slowest of the year. Honda’s sales rose 7.7 percent from last January; Nissan’s sales were up 3.6 percent; and Volkswagen saw an improvement of 17.1 percent. Toyota, coming off a record December, saw sales slip 9.2 percent while its luxury division Lexus had a 25.6 percent dip. Subaru, meanwhile, enjoyed its best January ever on the strength of its crossovers with 43,879 units sold, a 6.8 percent improvement from a year ago.
In 2016 automakers sold a record high of 17,550,351 vehicles to beat analysts’ expectations and mark the seventh consecutive year of gains.
November’s sales climbed on the strength of light truck demand, up 8.5 percent from a year ago, and generous holiday deals. Honda’s sales rose 7.9 percent from November 2015, Hyundai’s sales were up two percent, Toyota saw an improvement of 5.3 percent, and Volkswagen’s sales rose 24.3 percent, ending a 12-month streak of declines. Subaru continued its 60-month run of sales improvements with 51,308 units sold – a November record.
Sales in October slowed from the pace they enjoyed earlier in the year. However, October’s relatively minor decline in sales suggests that the market may have plateaued at a healthy pace. Honda, down 2.0 percent, Nissan, down 2.5 percent, and Toyota, down 2.1 percent, all saw sales dip despite a strong truck and SUV market. Pickups and crossovers accounted for 61.2 percent of all sales, up 1.6 percent from October 2015. Car sales were down 12.6 percent to 38.8 percent of all vehicles sold. Hyundai bucked the negative trend with a rise in sales of 2.2 percent, while its new Genesis luxury division moved 1,201 units.
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