New Vehicle Sales Fall for First Time in Seven Years

January 4, 2018
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Photo by Eric Gandarilla.
Photo by Eric Gandarilla.

The auto industry sold 17.2 million new vehicles in 2017, 1.8% less than in 2016, breaking a seven-year streak of year-over-year sales growth, according to data from Motor Intelligence.

Of the 17.2 million vehicles sold, roughly 10.9 million were trucks while 6.3 million were cars. As has been the case for the last several years, the market share of trucks versus cars continued to lean in trucks’ favor.

In 2017, trucks accounted for 63.4% of new vehicle sales while cars accounted for 36.6%; in 2016 the split was 59.4% trucks and 40.6% cars.

Although vehicle sales were boosted in the months surrounding Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, much of 2017 lagged in terms of sales versus the same period in 2016. Sales in the last month of 2017 were particularly weak. Out of all of the manufacturers that sell in the U.S. only six — Subaru, Daimler AG, BMW, Hyundai, Mitsubishi, and Ford — saw year-over-year sales growth in December.

Looking at full-year 2017, the only domestic brand to see higher full-year sales last year compared to 2016 was Tesla Motors. All other brands to see higher year-over-year sales were imports — Honda, Nissan, Volkswagen, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Jaguar Land Rover, Porsche, Ferrari, and Maserati.

The volume sold by these companies, however, was significantly less than the volume sold by the companies that saw a fall in sales in 2017, resulting in the 1.8% year-over-year drop for full-year sales.

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