With nearly 1.6M units sold in December — a SAAR pace of 17.8M units — the US Automotive Market finished the year at 17.13M units according to Wards Automotive. The final tally for 2017 was down 1.9% from 2016’s record sales of 17.46M vehicles.
The big stories for 2017?
1. Light-truck sales continue to dominate the market, accounting for almost two-thirds (64.5%) of all light vehicle sales for the year. In December, light trucks comprised 69% of total units sold.
2. Of the Big Six Automakers (GM, Ford, FCA, Toyota, Honda, Nissan), only Honda and Nissan — the 5th and 6th largest factories in volume — saw gains year-over-year. And those gains were small, with Nissan +1.9% and Honda essentially even at +0.2%.
3. Inventory levels were much leaner at year-end 2017 than 2016 for most brands, which is good news for dealers … but production volume of vehicles is slowing as the market turns the corner into 2018.
The biggest “share-grabbers” in the US market for 2017 were Audi, Subaru, and VW. Korean automakers Hyundai and Kia finished with the largest percentage declines, at -11.5% and -8.9%, respectively.
Your ESA Car Keys recap follows.
2017 AUTO MARKET HIGHLIGHTS
Wards Auto and NADA MarketBeat
- December SAAR: 17.8 units
- 2017 Units: 17.13M vehicles sold
- 2017 Change: -1.9% vs 2016
- 2017 Gainers (by Volume): Audi +7.8%, Subaru +5.3%, VW +5.2%, Nissan +1.9%, Honda +0.2%.
- 2017 Laggards (by Volume): Hyundai -11.5%, Kia -8.9%, FCA -8.4%, BMW -3.4%, GM -1.4%, Ford -1.2%, Toyota -0.6%.
*DSR: Daily Sales Rate. A more reliable indicator of the pace of auto sales which accounts for actual car-selling days per month.
*SAAR: Seasonally-Adjusted Annual Sales Rate.
SOURCES: Wards Automotive InfoBank, NADA MarketBeat, Automotive News.
Dave Eckstein is a Partner in the firm ESA & Company. He specializes in highly profitable market share growth for local businesses and gets a kick out of demonstrating a declining cost of customer acquisition. He plays baseball, but isn't that Dave Eckstein.