US market: 2014 sales rise by 5.9% to 16.52 million units

FCA, Nissan and Subaru gain market share; Ford, VW and Honda lose market share

2015/02/05

Summary

US Light Vehicle sales
2014 sales recover to the pre-recession level despite storm of recalls

 The U.S. market was hit by a storm of recalls in 2014. However, the automobile sales increased steadily due to the recovery of U.S. economy, improvement of labor market, and rising consumer sentiments. As a result, sales rose 5.9% year-over-year to 16.52 million vehicles. Sales growth is expected to slow down in 2015, but total industry volume is forecasted to reach around 17 million vehicles.

Significant changes in unit sales and market share by automaker

 General Motors (GM) leads sales in 2014 at 2.94 million units (up 5.3% y/y), followed by Ford at 2.47 million units (down 0.6%) and trailed closely by Toyota at 2.37 million units (up 6.2%).

 Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), Nissan and Subaru marked significant increases in their market share. In contrast, Ford, Volkswagen (VW) Group and Honda lost their market shares.

A rush of new model launches by leading automakers continue in 2015

 The market growth is likely to slow down in 2015. However, major automakers are planning to launch many all-new models especially in the light duty truck markets.



Related reports: North America Market

North American commercial vehicle market: Trends and OEM strategies  (Dec. 2014)

GM: 2014 strategiic plan announced in midst of managing recalls (Nov. 2014)

New U.S. models increase adoption of features like rear view camera (Aug. 2014)

Ford:Continued growth due to North American market recovery (Jul. 2014)

Fiat Chrysler's new five-year plan: Sales target of 7 million units by 2018 (Jun. 2014)



2014 sales recover to pre-recession level despite storm of recalls

 A recall issue of faulty ignition switches was announced by GM in February 2014. Since then, the automakers have confronted much severer stances by the Congress and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) about how they deal with recalls. GM announced a total of 84 recalls in 2014 and the affected vehicles amounted to 26.95 million units in the U.S., and 30.43 million units in the world. Another big recall issue is associated with the abnormal rupturing of airbags manufactured by Takata. NHTSA ordered recalling a large number of vehicles fitted with Takata's airbags. Honda is the chief user of Takata airbags and the company recalled approximately 5.4 million vehicles after June 2014. The number of recalled vehicles in the U.S. in 2014, regardless of automakers, nearly doubled from the past record of 30.8 million vehicles in 2004 to approximately 60.5 million vehicles.

 The unit sales in the U.S. market in 2014 rose 5.9% y/y to 16.52 million vehicles. The steady growth is attributable to the improvement of labor markets, the availability of 66- to 72-month long-term auto loans and leases, the falling oil prices, and the improvement of consumer sentiments. While the favorable economic indexes will remain unchanged through 2015, a continued growth is not expected since the market has regained the high sales level before the recession. Consequently, the market will see only a slow growth and many auto analysts are predicting unit sales of 16.8 to 17 million vehicles in 2015.

 

 



Unit sales and market share in 2014 by automaker

2012 2013 2014
Sales Share Sales Share Sales Share YoY
GM 2,595,717 17.9 2,786,078 17.9 2,935,008 17.8 5.3%
Ford 2,243,009 15.5 2,485,236 15.9 2,471,315 15.0 -0.6%
Toyota 2,082,504 14.4 2,236,042 14.4 2,373,771 14.4 6.2%
FCA 1,651,787 11.4 1,800,368 11.6 2,090,639 12.7 16.1%
Honda 1,422,785 9.8 1,525,312 9.8 1,540,872 9.3 1.0%
Nissan 1,141,656 7.9 1,248,420 8.0 1,386,895 8.4 11.1%
Hyundai Kia 1,260,606 8.7 1,255,962 8.1 1,305,952 7.9 4.0%
VW Group 580,279 4.2 569,419 3.9 552,720 3.3 -2.9%
Subaru 336,441 2.3 424,683 2.7 513,693 3.1 21.0%
BMW Group 347,877 2.4 376,252 2.4 396,655 2.4 5.4%
Daimler 305,072 2.1 343,614 2.2 366,588 2.2 6.7%
Mazda 277,048 1.9 283,946 1.8 305,801 1.9 7.7%
Mitsubishi 57,790 0.4 62,227 0.4 77,643 0.5 24.8%
Tata/JLR 55,675 0.4 66,962 0.4 67,238 0.4 0.4%
Others 133,627 0.7 135,678 0.5 137,210 0.8 1.1%
Grand Total 14,491,873 100.0 15,600,199 100.0 16,522,000 100.0 5.9%

(Source:Autodata)


 As for the results in 2014 by automaker, GM marked a 5.3% increase y/y in unit sales to 2.94 million vehicles and lost 0.1 point in the market share to 17.8%. GM had an aggressive sales plan for 2014 with a relatively fresh model line-up with many all-new models. However, the company was shackled by the recall issues.

 Ford launched a total of 16 all-new or facelifted models in North America in 2014. The most important of all is the fullsize pickup, F-150. Its production at Dearborn plant started, but production at the Kansas City plant has not started due to the equipment renewal that will start in January 2015. An extra time is needed to install new equipments for making aluminum bodies and to train employees.

 Hence, full scale sales of the F-150 will not start until after the spring. The largest increase in market share in 2014 was accomplished by FCA. Its sales increased by 16.1% to 2.09 million vehicles with a new market share of 12.7%, up 1.1 point y/y. Demand for light trucks is expanding in the U.S. market. FCA succeeded in achieving significant sales expansion with the Ram pickup and the Jeep while GM suffered from recall issues. Ford could not increase production sales of the F-150, due to slow progress of plant renovation.

 Toyota's unit sales increased by 6.2% to 2.37 million vehicles while its market share remained unchanged at 14.4% with only 100,000 vehicles behind Ford. Honda's vehicle sales only increased 1.0% y/y to 1.54 million vehicles due to the inadequate lineup for the light truck market. As a result, Honda lost its share by 0.5 points. Nissan achieved an 11.1% increase y/y in unit sales to 1.39 million vehicles thanks to the robust sales of its compact SUV, the Rogue. Nissan's market share increased by 0.4 points. South Korea-based Hyundai Group marked a 4.0% increase y/y to 1.31 million vehicles while losing its market share by 0.2 points.

OEM Market Share Development

 

 



Changes in 2014 market shares by automaker

Market share change


 According to the market share changes in 2014 by the automaker, a significant increase was achieved by FCA, Nissan and Subaru. In contrast, Ford, VW Group and Honda lost their shares significantly. The SUVs and pickup trucks are gaining popularity in the U.S. market and FCA's model lineup shows an exact match with the market trend. The sales of the Jeep achieved a 41.2% increase y/y led by strong sales of the Jeep Cherokee that is selling well since its launch at the end of 2013. The Ram pickup is also selling well with a 27.5% increase y/y. Nissan's compact SUV, the Rogue, is selling well with a 22.4% increase y/y in unit sales. In addition, the compact sedan, the Sentra, and an entry car, the Versa, sold significantly well with y/y increase of 41.9% and 19.1% respectively while the passenger car market in general marked only a 1.8% increase in 2014. The first quarter of 2014 saw a slow start in North America due to snow storms. Subaru (Fuji Heavy Industries) was one of the few automakers that maintained steady sales successfully appealing all-wheel drive vehicles. Subaru's unit sales in 2014 increased by 21.0% y/y to 514,000 vehicles, surpassing the 500,000 units mark in the U.S. for the first time ever. As a result, Subaru's market share increased by 0.4 points.


 Ford was to launch 16 all-new or facelifted models in North America in 2014. The company had scheduled a long shutdown period of its plants to prepare for new vehicles. The lower production plan led to sales results just as the company had anticipated. The VW Group and Honda also lost their market shares due to inadequate lineup of the SUVs and pickup trucks.

 

 



OEMs to accelerate new model launches in 2015; slow market growth predicted

 A slow market growth is predicted for 2015. Despite the low-tone forecast, major automakers are planning to launch a large number of all-new models especially in the light truck market for 2015. Ford renewed its best-selling fullsize pickup truck, the F-150, at the end of 2014. GM launched all-new midsize pickup trucks, the Chevrolet Colorado and the GMC Canyon, in October 2014. Toyota will launch the fully redesigned Tacoma, a midsize pickup truck, while Nissan will launch the fully redesigned 2016 Titan, a fullsize pickup truck, in the second half of 2015.

 Launches are also scheduled in the SUV segment that is growing very rapidly. Launches scheduled for the first half of 2015 include the Chevrolet Trax subcompact SUV by GM, the Edge midsize SUV and the Lincoln MKK by Ford, and the Jeep Renegade subcompact SUV by FCA. Toyota launched the Lexus NX compact SUV at the end of 2014, and will aggressively promote the model in 2015. This will be followed by the launch of the Lexus RX midsize SUV in the second half of 2015. Honda will introduce the HR-V subcompact SUV below the CR-V compact SUV. The Hyundai Group plans to launch the Hyundai Tucson compact SUV and the Kia Sportage and Kia Sorento midsize SUV.

GM's new model launches

OEM Year Outlines of all-new model launches
GM 2014 * Cadillac ELR: The premium plug-in hybrid coupe was released for sale in January 2014. It is produced at GM's Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant in Michigan.
* Chevrolet Tahoe, Chevrolet Suburban, GMC Yukon, GMC Yukon XL, GMC Yukon Denali, and Cadillac Escalade: The fullsize SUV siblings, based on the fullsize pickup trucks, were released for sale starting in the spring of 2014. All the models have the standard and long wheelbase variants.
* Cadillac ATS Coupe: The compact luxury coupe was developed to win young customers for the Cadillac brand. It was released for sale in the summer of 2014.
* Chevrolet City Express: The compact Chevrolet van is supplied by Nissan based on an agreement. It is produced at Nissan's Cuernavaca plant in Mexico. It is modified at GM's Ramos Arizpe plant in Mexico prior to shipment. The van was launched in the fall of 2014.
* Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon: The all-new midsize pickups are produced at the Wentzville plant in Missouri. They were released for sale in the fall of 2014 as the 2015 model.
2015 * Chevrolet Trax: The small SUV based on a subcompact vehicle is a sibling to the Buick Encore that has been sold since 2013. It will be released for sale in early 2015 and is produced at the Bupyeong plant in South Korea and the San Luis Potosi plant in Mexico.
* Chevrolet Cruze: The all-new global model, the Cruze compact sedan, is slated for release toward the end of 2015 as a 2016 model. It will be built at the Lordstown plant in Ohio.
* Chevrolet Volt: The compact plug-in hybrid vehicle is produced at the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant in Michigan. It will be launched in the fall of 2015 as a 2016 model.
* Chevrolet Spark: The four-seater subcompact entry-level model, to be imported from the Changwon plant in South Korea, will be released for sale toward the end of 2015 as a 2016 model.
* Chevrolet Camaro: The two-door midsize sports coupe competes with Ford's Mustang. It is slated for launch toward the end of 2015 and will be produced at the Lansing Grand River plant in Michigan.
* Cadillac CT6: GM is introducing a new highest-end model under the Cadillac brand to strengthen its lineup. The all-new model will be produced at the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant in Michigan starting in the fourth quarter of 2015.
Chevrolet Volt
Chevrolet Volt (at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show)

Ford's new model launches

OEM Year Outline of all-new model launches
Ford 2014 * Lincoln MKC: The all-new premium compact SUV was released for sale in May 2014. It is produced at the Louisville plant in Kentucky.
* Transit Connect: The all-new compact commercial vehicle for North American markets, the Transit Connect Wagon, was released for sale in 2014 (announced on May 2, 2014). It is produced at the Valencia plant in Spain and exported to North American destinations. To bypass the 25% tariff, it is imported as the wagon and modified into the van.
* Transit: Production of the new fullsize van that replaces the E Series started at the Kansas City plant in April 2014. The Ford Transit was released for sale in June of the same year. It has four body styles (van, wagon, chassis cab, cutaway chassis), three kinds of body lengths, three kinds of roof heights, two wheelbases and two trims (XL andXLT).
* Mustang: The all-new sports car, the Mustang 2015 model, was unveiled on December 5, 2013, at five different places in the world. It is produced at the Flat Rock plant in Michigan starting in August 2014 and was released for sale in the fall of the same year. The new model is available in both left- and right-hand drive versions and is sold in more than 120 countries across the world.
* F Series Super Duty: The 2015 model F Series Super Duty was released for sale at the end of 2014. The all-new F-250, F-350 and F-450 are fitted with an all-new diesel engine.
* F-150: Ford's best-selling model. The new model has an aluminum body to achieve weight reduction. Its production at the Dearborn plant in Michigan started in the fourth quarter of 2014. Production at the Kansas City plant in Missouri is to start in 2015. The equipment renewal and startup seem to require extra time. The all-new F-150 was launched at the end of 2014, but full-scale sales are likely to start after the spring of 2015.
2015 * Edge: The second-generation all-new midsize SUV is designed as a global model. The Edge will be released for sale in North America in the first quarter of 2015 and in other markets at later dates. It is produced at the Oakville plant in Canada that was converted as a new global production site at the cost of USD 700 million.
* Lincoln MKX: The all-new premium midsize SUV is a sibling to the Ford Edge. It will be produced at the Oakville plant in Canada and released for sale in 2015 as a 2016 model.
* Explorer: Slated for sales starting in the summer of 2015, the Explorer is produced at the Chicago plant for North American markets. It is also produced in Venezuela and Russia and sold in more than 100 countries across the world.
* F-650 and F-750: Ford announced the all-new medium duty trucks, the F-650 and the F-750. Their production site was moved from the Blue Diamond Truck LLC in Mexico to the Avon Lake plant in Ohio. Production will start in the spring of 2015 for release as 2016 models.
Ford F-150
Ford F-150 (at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show)

FCA's new model launches

OEM Year Outline of all-new model launches
FCA 2014 * Chrysler 200: The sibling model of the Chrysler 200, the Dodge Avenger, ended production in 2014 due to company's decision to clarify the brand identity. Therefore, the new Chrysler 200 literally succeeds to the previous Chrysler 200 and the Dodge Avenger. It is the only midsize sedan with a standard 9-speed automatic transmission. The Chrysler 200 is produced at the Sterling Heights plant in Michigan and was released for sale in June 2014.
* Alfa Romeo 4C: FCA announced the re-entry of the Alfa Romeo brand in North America starting with the all-new compact sports car, the Alfa Romeo 4C. It is produced at the Modena plant in Italy and was released for sale in the U.S. in the summer of 2014. Its sales are limited due to a limited production of the carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) cockpit and other components.
2015 * Jeep Renegade: FCA announced the all-new subcompact SUV, the 2015 Jeep Renegade. Designed as an entry model under the Jeep brand targeting the young and adventurous people, it will be introduced in global markets. It is produced at the Melfi plant in Italy and is slated for sales in North America starting in April 2015.
* Fiat 500X: The Fiat-branded all-new subcompact SUV is a sibling to the Jeep Renegade. It is produced at the Melfi plant in Italy and is slated for sales in North America starting in April 2015.
* Ram ProMaster City: The new compact commercial van under the Ram brand is based on the Fiat Doblo. It is produced at the Bursa plant operated by TOFAS, FCA's joint venture in Turkey. It will be imported as a wagon in the U.S. to dodge the high tariff application. It will be modified into a van at the Chrysler Group Transformation Center located in Baltimore in Maryland. The Ram ProMaster City is slated for market launch in early 2015.
Jeep Renegade
Jeep Renegade (at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show)

Toyota's new model launches

OEM Year Outline of all-new models launches
Toyota 2014 * Highlander: The third-generation 2014 model of the Toyota Highlander is produced at the Princeton plant in Indiana and was released for sale in January 2014. The earlier models used to be produced at the Miyata plant in Kyushu, Japan. The all-new seven- or eight-seater midsize Highlander SUV is 3 inches longer and 1.5 inches wider.
* Lexus RC F: Toyota announced the high-performance coupe, the Lexus RC F, which was developed as the central model of the Lexus "F" sports model family. The Lexus RC F is fitted with a 5.0-liter direct-injection V8 engine with over 450PS. It is produced at the Tahara plant in Japan and was released for sale in November 2014.
* Lexus NX: The compact Lexus NX SUV is a new addition to the Lexus lineup. It was released for sale as a 2015 model at the end of 2014. It is produced at the Miyata plant in Japan and is available with a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine or a 2.5-liter hybrid system.
2015 * Mirai: The four-seater fuel cell vehicle (FCV) is produced at the Motomachi plant. It is slated for sales in California starting in the summer of 2015.
* Prius: The Prius is Toyota's flagship compact hybrid sedan. The all-new Prius is the first model developed by Toyota's new vehicle development approach dubbed Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA). An all-wheel drive model will be available starting with the new model. The new Prius will be released for sale in the second half of 2015.
* Tacoma: The midsize pickup is designed exclusively for North American markets. It is produced at the San Antonio plant in Texas and the Baja California plant in Mexico. The Tacoma is slated for release as a 2016 model in the second half of 2015.
* Scion iM concept: The compact five-door hatchback was introduced as the iM concept at the Los Angeles Motor Show in November 2014. Its production model will be unveiled at the New York International Auto Show in April 2015.
* Yaris: The all-new subcompact Yaris to be released as a 2015 model is a 3- or 5-door hatchback based on the all-new Mazda Demio and the Mazda2. The Yaris will be produced at Mazda's Salamanca plant in Mexico.
* Lexus RX: The fourth-generation midsize luxury crossover SUV is produced at the Cambridge plant in Canada. The all-new model will be launched in the fall of 2015.
Toyota Tacoma
Toyota Tacoma (at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show)

Honda's new model launches

OEM Year Description of all-new model launches
Honda 2014 * Fit: The third-generation subcompact, the all-new Fit for North American markets, has been produced at the Celaya plant in Mexico since the spring of 2014. It was released for sale in the summer of 2014.
* Acura TLX: The premium midsize sedan, the all-new Acura TLX, is produced at the Marysville plant in Ohio. It was released for sale in August 2014. The two-wheel drive version is fitted with the next-generation Precision All-Wheel Steer (P-AWS) system. The 3.5-liter all-wheel drive version is equipped with the next-generation Super Handling All Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system. The 2.4-liter model is mated with a 8-speed DCT while the 3.5-liter model is mated with a 9-speed automatic transmission.
2015 * HR-V: The subcompact SUV is a new addition to Honda's lineup. It is a rebadged model of "Vezel" in Japan. The all-new HR-V shares the platform with the Fit and both are produced at the Celaya plant in Mexico. Production is to start in January 2015.
* Crosstour: The Crosstour is Honda's highest-end model in the Accord series that combines the crossover utility with the functionality of a high-grade passenger car. It is produced at the East Liberty plant in Ohio and will be released for sale in the spring of 2015.
* Pilot: The midsize crossover SUV designed by North American teams is a three-row eight-seater model which is a sibling to the Acura MDX. The Pilot is produced at the Lincoln plant in Alabama and will be unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show in February 2015. It will be released for sale as a 2016 model in the summer of 2015.
* Acura NSX: The all-new high-end premium sports car is produced at the Performance Manufacturing Center located near the Marysville plant in Ohio. It will be released for sale as a 2016 model in the fall of 2015.
Acura NSX
Acura NSX (at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show)

Nissan's new model launches

OEM Year Outline of all-new model launches
Nissan 2014 * Murano: The Murano is a global model of the five-seater midsize crossover SUV designed in North America. It is produced at the Canton plant in Mississippi and was released for sale at the end of 2014.
2015 * Titan: The all-new fullsize pickup will be released for sale as a 2016 model at the end of 2015. In addition to the V8 gasoline engine, the new Titan will be fitted with a Cummins V8 turbocharged diesel engine. The Titan is produced at the Canton plant in Mississippi.
* Armada: The fullsize SUV based on the fullsize pickup Titan will be released for sale at the same time as the Titan. The Armada is produced at the Canton plant in Mississippi.
* Frontier: The Frontier is a North American midsize pickup produced at the Canton plant in Mississippi. Its sibling, the all-new Navara, was unveiled in Thailand in June 2014.
* Infiniti Q60: The concept model of the midsize coupe was unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show in January 2015. Its production model is likely to be released for sale in 2015.
Nissan Titan
Nissan Titan (at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show)

Hyundai and Kia's new model launches

OEM Year Outline of all-new model launches
Hyundai/Kia 2014 * Hyundai Genesis: The luxurious sedan carrying the Hyundai brand was released for sale in the spring of 2014. The rear-wheel drive fullsize sedan is fitted with a 3.8-liter V6 or a 5.0-liter V8 engine. The Hyundai Genesis is produced at the Ulsan plant in South Korea.
* Hyundai Tucson FCV: The Tucson FCV based on the compact Tucson SUV was released for lease in the spring of 2014. The FCV is produced at the Ulsan plant in South Korea.
* Hyundai Sonata: The Sonata is a front-wheel drive midsize sedan marketed globally by Hyundai. It was released for sale in North American market at the end of May 2014. The Sonata is produced at the Montgomery plant in Alabama and is Hyundai's main model that has sold more than 200,000 units for four years in a row since 2011.
* Kia K900: The flagship sedan carrying the Kia brand shares the platform with the Hyundai Equus. It was released for sale in the United States in March 2014. It is produced at the Sohari plant in South Korea.
* Kia Sedona: The all-new three-row minivan was released for sale in the fall of 2014. It is sold in South Korea as the Carnival and produced at the Sohari plant.
2015 * Hyundai Tucson: The compact SUV carrying the Hyundai brand will be produced at the Ulsan plant in South Korea and released for sale in 2015.
* Hyundai Elantra: The compact sedan is Hyundai's best-selling model in the United States along with the midsize sedan, the Sonata. It is produced at the Montgomery plant in Alabama and will be released for sale in 2015.
* Kia Sportage: The compact SUV is a sibling to the Hyundai Tucson. It is produced at the Gwangju plant in South Korea and the all-new Sportage will be released for sale in 2015.
* Kia Sorento: The midsize SUV carrying the Kia brand is a sibling to Hyundai's Santa Fe. It is produced at the West Point plant in Georgia, the U.S. The all-new Sorento will be released for sale in the first quarter of 2015.
* Kia Optima: The midsize sedan carrying the Kia brand is a sibling to the Hyundai Sonata. It is produced at the West Point plant in Georgia, the U.S. The all-new Optima will be launchedin 2015.
Kia Sorento
Kia Sorento (from Kia's Press Release)

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