New-Vehicle Sales Fall 2.8% Through August

September 7, 2017
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Courtesy of Subaru. 
Courtesy of Subaru.

Through the first eight months of this year, a total of 11,308,631 new-vehicles have been sold, a 2.8% decline compared to the same time last year, according to Kelley Blue Book’s Monthly Light Vehicle Sales Report for August.

The month of August posted a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 16 million, compared to 16.9 million in August 2016. Along with being a year-over-year decline, this past month's SAAR was also a four-year low for the month of August. 

In a year where demand appears to be slowing and manufacturers are struggling to keep pace with the sales of years past, larger vehicles have been a bright spot for the industry. Of the 22 vehicle segments that Kelley Blue Book tracks in its monthly report only 10 segments posted higher sales numbers compared to the first eight months of 2016, and larger vehicles commanded eight of those spots.  

Also noteworthy is the fact that nearly every single car segment posted year-over-year declines in sales through the first eight months of the year. The hybrid/alternative energy car and electric vehicle segments include smaller cars, however, not exclusively so. 

VEHICLE TYPE YTD SALES YEAR-OVER-YEAR GAINS
SUBCOMPACT SUV/CROSSOVER 290,377 10.9%
MIDSIZE SUV/CROSSOVER 1,437,989 7.7%
LUXURY FULLSIZE SUV/CROSSOVER 77,773 6.3%
LUXURY COMPACT SUV/CROSSOVER 340,835 20.7%
FULLSIZE SUV/CROSSOVER 207,951 4.8%
COMPACT SUV/CROSSOVER 1,976,590 1.5%
MIDSIZE PICKUP TRUCK 295,361 1.1%
FULLSIZE PICKUP TRUCK 1,510,111 4.0%
HYBRID/ALTERNATIVE ENERGY CAR 118,315 2.5%
ELECTRIC VEHICLE 40,130 35.9%

As the chart shows, retail demand for crossovers has continued to grow this year. The SUV/crossover segment accounted for six of the 10 segments to see year-over-year increases in unit sold. The segment also posted some of the biggest year-over-year growths with subcompact SUV/crossover sales rising by 10.9% and luxury compact SUV/crossover sales rising by 20.7%. 

The only two truck segments tracked by Kelley Blue Book — midsize and fullsize pickup trucks — also posted  year-over-year gains, as demand for trucks continues to grow. 

Retail demand for more fuel-efficient alternative-fuel vehicles has also been on the upswing this year. Electric vehicles posted the highest percentage growth in sales among all vehicle segments tracked, however, the total number of vehicles in this class that have been sold so far this year is still a relatively small drop in the overall new-vehicle-sales bucket. 

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