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USA 1st Quarter 2015: Trucks lift market up 6%

Chevrolet Colorado USA March 2015. Picture courtesy of motortrend.comThe reintroduction of the mid-sized Colorado is helping keep the US market in gear.

* See the Top 274 All-models, Top 40 brands and Top 15 groups by clicking on the title *

It’s time for our Quarterly update of the US new light vehicle market. A lot of actors in the industry were bracing for a soft landing of the market in 2015, in fact so far it has turned out better than expected, thanks mainly to very strong truck sales – in the US trucks include SUVs and pickups. US sales are up 5.7% year-on-year to 3.956.760 registrations which is actually a much better yoy gain than at the same time last year when Q1 2014 was up just 1.4% on 2013. Moreover, April is expected to be the best in a decade, so there is still a lot of momentum and growth potential left in the American market, seemingly engaged in a virtuous circle: the economy is strong, financing rates are low, consumer confidence is high, and the neighbour just bought a new car…

Jeep is now the #6 brand in the USA, and the Renegade has just arrived.

The proof of this strength is in the automotive groups ranking: all bar two have seen their sales increase year-on-year and the ones that lose ground lose very little ground: the Volkswagen Group is down 2% and Mazda is down 0.02%. If the Top 7 remains unchanged, GM (+5%) is increasing the gap with #2 Ford Motor Co (+2) while Toyota Motor Co (+10%) is catching up thanks to strong Lexus sales (+19%). Subaru (+17%) edges out Volkswagen for two units, while the BMW Group (+12%) takes a clear advantage over Daimler AG (+7%). Mitsubishi and Jaguar Land Rover, at the tail end of the ranking, both gain 20%.

The Toyota Corolla is up 17% to 5th place overall.

In the brands ranking, Ford remains leader but underperforms (+2%) while Toyota (+10%) snaps the 2nd spot away from Chevrolet (+5%). Jeep continues to post indecent growth rates (+23%), overtaking Hyundai to #6 overall and gearing up for another string of record months with the arrival in March of the Renegade (943 sales). Kia (#8) and Subaru (#9) both pass Dodge (-15%), now threatened of being toppled out of the Top 10 by GMC (+15%) and Ram (+9%).

BMW is the #1 luxury brand in the US so far in 2015, but just.

The race for #1 luxury brand is getting very heated indeed: BMW is the new leader so far this year with 78,492 sales above Mercedes (ex-Sprinter) at 78.156 and Lexus catching up very fast at 77.180 deliveries (+19%). Mini (+48%), Land Rover (+30%), Mitsubishi (+20%), Audi (+14%) and Chrysler (+13%) also shine.

The Chevy Silverado takes advantage of the Ford F-150 changeover: +18%.

Despite supply restrictions due to the F-150 model changeover, the Ford F-Series remains by far the most popular nameplate in the country with 177,312 deliveries over 3 months (+2%), however the Chevrolet Silverado is in a world of its own with sales up a splendid 18% year-on-year to 126,694. The Ram Pickup manages to salvage its third position above the Toyota Camry at 101,511 units vs. 100.505 while the Toyota Corolla is up 17% to crack the Top 5, dislodging the Nissan Altima (-3%).

The new model puts the Chrysler 200 on the map: +61% to #20.

The Honda CR-V remains the best-selling SUV in the States, improving 4 spots on a year ago to #7 and becoming the brand’s best-seller above the Accord (-10%) and Civic (-6%) which both outsold it in Q1 2014. The CR-V is under attack in its segment from the Toyota RAV4 (+26%), Chevrolet Equinox (+17%), Nissan Rogue (+28%) and Ford Explorer (+27%), all posting very solid results.

Ford Mustang sales are up 52% on 2014.

In fact, 13 of the 20 biggest gainers in the Top 50 are trucks, with the Honda Pilot (+67%), Jeep Patriot (+45%) and Chevrolet Traverse (+38%) lodging the largest increases. On the passenger car side, the Chrysler 200 (+61%), Dodge Dart (finally unlocked somewhat at +56%) and Ford Mustang (+52%) are the best performers.

GMC sales are up 15% year-on-year, partly thanks to the Canyon.

We count just two all-new nameplates in the Top 100 (vs. 19 in China): the Ford Transit replacing the E-Series lands at #54 with 22,881 sales and the new generation Chevrolet Colorado ranks #66 just 24 units above another mid-siez pickup, the Nissan Frontier. New entrants are more frequent further down the sales chart: the Acura TLX is #103, the Chevrolet Trax #104, the Lexus NX #108, new GMC Canyon #123, Mercedes GLA #141 and the Lincoln MKC at #151.

Previous post: USA March 2015: Hyundai Elantra, Nissan Rogue, Chrysler 200 and Jeep Cherokee hit all-time record volumes

One year ago: USA 1st Quarter 2014: Nissan Rogue and Subaru Forester hit record

Full Q1 2015 Top 274 All-models, Top 40 All-brands and Top 15 groups vs. full Q1 2014 figures below.

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