Some Takeaways on 2016, the Best Year Ever for U.S. Auto Sales

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017 - autos, Featured, mobile

Some Takeaways on 2016, the Best Year Ever for U.S. Auto Sales


Volt-Gety Images Scott Olson

For the second year in a row, automakers set an all-time record for brand-new vehicles within the United States, selling 17.5 million cars in addition to also light-duty trucks. Depending on the source (we refer to WardsAuto in addition to also Automotive News), the final tally was between 17.47 million in addition to also 17.54 million, or between 0.3 in addition to also 0.4 percent better than 2015. Let’s take a look at the factors at play in another record year, including 2016’s winners in addition to also losers.

The XC90’s Excellence treatment takes This particular already plush crossover into extremely luxurious territory, with special Inner surface trim in addition to also a four-seat format (instead of the standard car’s several- or seven-seat options). Included are two thronelike rear seats with tray tables, massage functions, individual entertainment screens, in addition to also even a refrigerator which can hold a champagne bottle in addition to also two glasses.

Sales of the Volvo XC90 more than doubled.

Trucks in addition to also Cars

Trucks, SUVs, in addition to also crossovers continued their dominance over cars, taking 61 percent of the market, higher still than last year’s 57 percent. Overall car sales dipped 9 percent via 2015, in addition to also the full-size-sedan segment truly stunk. Even the Toyota Camry, the best-selling passenger car within the country, was down 10 percent.

Compact crossovers in addition to also mid-size pickups Once more were the fastest-growing segments (each up 26 percent), although they cooled off via their 2015 levels due to fewer brand-new entries (the biggest being the redesigned 2017 Kia Sportage). Non-luxury mid-size crossovers rose 3 percent, while mainstream-brand large crossovers sank 13 percent. Among luxury brands, the action was within the mid-size in addition to also larger segments. Compact luxury crossovers dipped by 1 percent despite a redesigned BMW X1 in addition to also the arrival of the Infiniti QX30. The mid-size in addition to also large segments, in contrast, each jumped 19 percent. brand-new or redesigned entries such as the Audi Q7, Jaguar F-Pace, Buick Envision, in addition to also Cadillac XT5 spurred the action, although favorites including the Lexus RX, Audi Q5, in addition to also Mercedes-Benz GLC enjoyed year-over-year increases. The Volvo XC90 more than doubled sales to 32,526, while the Tesla style X (an estimated 15,549 actual deliveries) reached parity with the Porsche Cayenne.

All-Time Records

10 individual brands posted all-time annual U.S. sales in 2016:

  • Rolls-Royce (1330, estimated, up 10 percent)
  • Subaru (615,132, up 6 percent)
  • Honda (1,476,582, up 5 percent)
  • Nissan (1,426,130, up 5 percent)
  • Land Rover (73,861, up 5 percent)
  • Porsche (54,280, up 5 percent)
  • Audi (210,213, up 4 percent)
  • Infiniti (138,293, up 4 percent)
  • Kia (647,598, up 3 percent)
  • Mercedes-Benz (380,752 including vans in addition to also Smart, up 0.1 percent)

For all of these individual brands except Infiniti in addition to also Rolls-Royce, 2016 was in fact a second consecutive year of record sales. Jaguar Land Rover as a whole had its best ever sales (105,104) even though only Land Rover in addition to also not Jaguar had a record-breaking year. Still, Jaguar sales more than doubled, to 31,243, thanks to the arrival of the XE in addition to also the F-Pace. Crossovers led the charge at Nissan, with the Rogue selling 329,904 units, while at Subaru the Outback (182,898) outsold the Forester (178,593). A stretched wheelbase helped the aging Infiniti QX50 compact crossover more than triple sales, helping Infiniti push past Lincoln. Although Mercedes-Benz sneaked onto This particular list (just barely), its only designs with year-over-year increases were the G-wagen, the GL/GLS-class, the GLK/GLC, in addition to also its vans; every additional passenger vehicle declined.

The all-brand-new, second-generation Chevy Volt improves on its groundbreaking predecessor in nearly every way, via its less bizarre styling to its higher-quality, ergonomically sound Inner surface which currently seats several, one more than the original. Its drivetrain can operate in pure-EV mode for an EPA-estimated 53 miles, the most of any car on This particular list save for the BMW i3, in addition to also once the battery is usually depleted, the item can travel another 400 miles or so down the highway. READ MORE >>

The Chevrolet Volt saw sales increase 61 percent.

Twenty-three designs reached all-time annual U.S. sales:

  • Chevrolet Volt (24,739, up 61 percent)
  • Kia Sportage (81,066, up 51 percent)
  • Nissan Murano (86,953, up 38 percent)
  • Kia Forte (103,292, up 31 percent)
  • Lexus NX (54,884, up 25 percent)
  • Volkswagen Tiguan (43,638, up 22 percent)
  • Subaru Outback (182,898, up 20 percent)
  • Toyota Highlander (191,379, up 20 percent)
  • Nissan Rogue (329,904, up 15 percent)
  • Toyota RAV4 (352,154, up 12 percent)
  • Honda Civic (366,927, up 9 percent)
  • Lexus RX (109,435, up 9 percent)
  • Subaru Crosstrek (95,677, up 8 percent)
  • Subaru Legacy (65,306, up 8 percent)
  • Nissan NV200 (18,523, up 7 percent)
  • Infiniti QX80 (16,772, up 7 percent over the previously named QX56)
  • Nissan NV (17,873, up 5 percent)
  • Honda CR-V (357,335, up 3 percent)
  • Acura RDX (52,361, up 3 percent)
  • Subaru Forester (178,593, up 2 percent)
  • Infiniti QX60 (42,0, up 1 percent over the previously named JX)
  • Volkswagen Golf GTI (23,934, up 1 percent)
  • Range Rover Sport (21,612, up 1 percent)

What Fueled the Market

We’ll state the obvious: Gasoline prices were low. Although OPEC’s September announcement to restrict oil production hiked pump prices during the final quarter, the nationwide average cost for regular has yet to top $2.40 per gallon. Back in February 2016, retail prices fell as low as $1.72. Low interest rates continued to keep financing in addition to also leasing attractive.

Through the third quarter of 2016, 86 percent of all brand-new-car buyers financed in some capacity, at average rates of 2.6 percent in addition to also 3.6 percent for the two top credit tiers, in addition to also the national average was 4.7 percent (according to the latest data available via the credit bureau Experian). brand-new-car loans averaged just over $30,000,  financed over 68 months, both on par with 2015.

Leasing represented nearly 30 percent of all retail sales (up via 27 percent in 2015) as average monthly payments dropped $0 compared with the third quarter of 2015. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, through November 2016, car buyers paid 11 percent less for leased cars than a decade earlier. In September, incentives averaged a record $3923, up via $3753 at the end of 2008, according to J.D. Power. Dealer inventories swelled, averaging about 73 days’ supply as of December 1, compared with 65 days in 2015. (By the end of December, dealers had cleared inventory down to about 62 days.) This particular might appear to portend even greater incentives in addition to also better deals in 2017. Unless, of course, you’re hunting for hot designs like the BMW M2.

Chevrolet Cruze

Most of the Chevrolet Cruzes sold here are built in Ohio, although some are imported via Mexico.

Countries of Origin

With president-elect Donald Trump criticizing Ford, General Motors, in addition to also even Toyota for exporting cars built in Mexico to the United States, let’s look at 2016 sales by countries of origin. Unfortunately, sales data lump all cars sourced via the U.S., Canada, or Mexico under the North American label, so we have to look at production figures instead. Excluding designs not sold within the United States (such as the Nissan Micra), automakers built nearly 16 million cars in North America during 2016. About 2.7 million cars came via Mexico in addition to also 2.3 million via Canada. Although many U.S.-spec vehicles (such as the Ford Fusion, the Mazda 3, in addition to also most Nissan in addition to also Volkswagen compacts) are built exclusively in Mexico, many automakers continue to divide production of the same style between plants in Mexico in addition to also the United States. The Chevrolet Cruze hatchback hails via Mexico (as do limited quantities of the sedan), while almost all sedans are built in Ohio. Most crew-cab versions of the Silverado pickup currently come via Mexico, while the additional versions are built within the U.S. At Fiat Chrysler, the item’s the reverse, with regular-cab versions of the Ram 1500 built in Mexico in addition to also crew cabs assembled within the United States. During 2016, Honda built a smaller number of CR-V designs in Mexico in comparison with its plants in Ohio in addition to also Canada, although for 2017, the CR-V will move out of the Mexico plant so HR-V production can expand.

Japan-built vehicles made up 9 percent of all U.S. sales, followed by South Korea (6 percent), Germany (4 percent), in addition to also the United Kingdom (1 percent). additional, less common countries of origin included Italy, Belgium, Spain, in addition to also Sweden. Only three designs were built in China, totaling just over 17,000 sales: the Volvo S60 Inscription, the Cadillac CT6 plug-in hybrid, in addition to also the Buick Envision. via Slovakia, the lone immigrant was the Audi Q7 (30,563 units). Our Thai representative was the Mitsubishi Mirage, at 22,226 sales. The Fiat 500L (3118 sales) was the only car imported via Serbia. A few thousand Chevrolet Caprice in addition to also SS sedans made their way via Australia.

The Losers

The Kia K900 did so poorly which the item was outsold by many discontinued designs; despite a slight refresh, the luxury sedan could only muster 834 units (down 67 percent). The Chrysler 0 in addition to also the Dodge Dart—which by January had effectively been pronounced dead by Sergio Marchionne, even if production hadn’t yet ended—each saw their sales drop by more than half. Also at FCA, the Alfa Romeo 4C sold just 480 units in its second full year, down via 659 in 2015. The Nissan GT-R didn’t fare too well, either, at 698 cars (down 37 percent); perhaps pricing the item like a McLaren 570S wasn’t the best idea.

The Toyota Prius V in addition to also C variants were both down by 47 percent; the regular Prius slipped 14 percent, although its 103,814 sales nearly tripled the total of the lesser Prii. What do the BMW 6-series in addition to also the Fiat 500L have in common? Neither topped 4000 sales, in addition to also both were down by half. Some 35 unlucky people bought the Porsche Cayenne diesel in addition to also the Volkswagen Touareg TDI within the moments before the federal government’s forced stop-sale over the company’s diesel emissions scandal. Those might well be the last Volkswagen diesels ever sold in This particular country.

Some Takeaways on 2016, the Best Year Ever for U.S. Auto Sales

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