Auto Notes - January 2018
Mixed sales. November sales were mixed for automakers, but there were highlights for several brands. While December sales have yet to be tallied, 2017 may end up being another very good year for auto and truck manufacturers. In general, SUVs and trucks continue to sell well, with many sedans posting declining sales.
For November, Subaru had modest overall sales increases, but as of Nov. 30, has had 72 consecutive months of yearly month-over-month growth. Subaru posted its best November ever for Crosstrek, Forester, and Impreza sales, and December is traditionally a great month for sales of the brand so it will likely continue its growth. The 2019 Ascent SUV debuted at November’s Los Angeles Auto Show and will begin production at Subaru’s Lafayette, Ind., plant in May 2018. It is expected to increase 2018 sales when released mid- to late year.
The Hyundai Genesis had a 36-percent increase in November, plus it received four awards for its G80 and G90 models. FCA US was up 2 percent in November over 2016, but the Chrysler Pacifica minivan was up a whopping 51 percent, its best-ever sales month. Mazda was down overall but had a 25.3-percent increase with its CX-9 SUV (up 67.6 percent for the year), and CX-3, CX-5, and MX-5 Miata models all had double-digit boosts in sales for the month.
Toyota was down for November, but RAV4 and 4Runner models had their best-ever Novembers, as did the Camry sedan. Honda had an excellent month on sales up 8.3 percent with Honda Trucks up 15.8 percent. Acura also had a good November up 9.5 percent with the RDX marking its all-time best-ever November sales.
GM led the pack with total retail sales for November, but overall sales were equal to November 2016. Highlights for GM included the Chevrolet crossovers that were up 16 percent, the Bolt EV had its best-ever month, the all-new Buick Enclave Avenir was a hit with buyers, plus the GMC and Chevrolet trucks sold well.
One of the best selling overall brands was the Ford lineup that posted a 6.7 percent increase in November sales. The F-Series trucks had the best sales in 16 years, SUVs were up 13.4 percent, and the Ford Transit sold 10,852 units, an increase of 47.1 percent.
LA show debuts. As one of the two largest and most prestigious auto shows in North America, the early December Los Angeles Auto Show featured more than 50 U.S. and global vehicle introductions.
Among the debuts were the Saleen Automotive S1 sportster; Mercedes-AG Project One high-performance plug-in hybrid; the BMW M5 luxury sedan, BMW i8 Roadster, plus five other BMW models; Hyundai Kona all-new CUV platform sedan, the first B-segment crossover for the U.S. market; Lincoln Nautilus midsize utility with 22 seat adjustment settings; Jaguar XJR long wheelbase performance sedan, plus the Jaguar XF Sportbrake wagon; Porsche 718 Cayman GTS and 718 Boxer GTS; and the new Volvo XC40, the automaker’s third and smallest SUV.
Also debuted in LA was the 2018 Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid with an all-electric range of 26 miles, 105 MPGe, and 46 MPG combined. The new plug-in Niro pairs a 1.6-L GDI engine with an 8.9 kwh lithium-polymer battery pack and 60 HP electric motor. Kia said this is another vehicle in its global lineup of alternative fuel vehicles that will triple by 2020.
LA show awards. The Honda Clarity series won the “Green Car of the Year” award by Green Car Journal at the LA show. The series comprises the 2018 Honda Plug-in hybrid, the 2017 Clarity Electric, and the 2017 Clarity Fuel Cell.
The Green Car Journal stated it awarded the Honda series the honor because it offered an appealing design with sophisticated and highly equipped spacious interiors. The magazine also noted that it was the only model to offer a plug-in, electric, and fuel cell power, plus the highest EPA range rating of 47 miles among plug-pin hybrids.
Nissan also won four Ruedas ESPN awards at the show, including the “Manufacturer of the Year” and “Vehicle of the Year” awards. The all-new Rogue Sport was named the “Best CUV” and the Titan XD earned the “Best Diesel Pickup” honors. Ruedas ESPN is the nation’s leading automotive radio show in Spanish that broadcasts on ESPN and on SiriusXM.