Car and truck sales up for third quarter, still lagging year-to-date

  • Car and truck sales are up in the third quarter, but as the industry continues to face parts shortages, overall sales are still lagging 2021 year-to-date.
  • However, the numbers can vary significantly as sales of certain models, especially electric vehicles, like the Chevrolet Bolt EV and Ford Mustang Mach-E, continue to rise.
  • In most cases, electric vehicle sales represent only a small percentage of overall sales.

    Here’s what new auto sales look like post-pandemic: A slow recovery, with some models seeing sales gains, but a shortage of chips and other parts likely to extend beyond 2022. Consumer and government attention on electric vehicle models results in inordinate media attention, but electric cars and trucks still constitute a small niche segment.

    Ford Mustang Mach-E sales were up 49% in the first three months of 2022 compared to the first three months of 2021. As a first full year, the numbers for 2021 weren’t very big. In the third quarter of 2022 alone, Mach-E sales increased by 47.3%.

    Still, the gas-powered Mustang continues to outsell the Mach-E. Third-quarter sales for the trad-‘Stang rose 26.6% to 3,454 units from 2,324 Mach-Es. Year-to-date, Ford has sold 36,598 internal combustion Mustangs, down 10.9% from 28,089 Mach-Es. While Mach-E sales rose steadily throughout the year, sales of internal combustion models rose in the third quarter after steep declines in the first half.

    Production of the F-150 Lightning and E-Transit is also in its early stages. Ford has sold 8,760 Lightnings out of 467,307 across all F-series year-to-date. The F-Series looks likely to retain its US bestseller crown, even though sales are down 12.6% year-to-date.

    As for the 68,333 Ford Transit vans sold, down 13.3% from the first three quarters of 2021, E-Transits accounted for 4,387.


    At General Motors, Chevrolet Bolt EV and Bolt EUV sales were up for the quarter, up 225.8% to 14,709, but down 11.3% for the year so far, to 22 012 sold. GM has sold 782 GMC Hummer EVs and 36 Cadillac Lyriqs to date.

    Year-to-date U.S. sales are estimated at 10,242,511 new cars and trucks, down 12.9% in the first three quarters of 2021, according to Cox Automotive Industry Insights Data, which estimates that Tesla sold 386,634 electric vehicles in the US, up 63% (the EV automaker does not separate US sales from its global numbers). This equates to an estimated year-over-year sales increase of 38.3% in the third quarter.

    Retail demand looks very strong, with the exception of Buick and Fiat, said Michelle Krebs, executive analyst at Cox Automotive. Volvo’s inventory is also up, with sales falling, she adds.

    GM and Stellantis (Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram, Fiat and Alfa Romeo) boosted sales with big increases in fleet deliveries, Krebs says. Fleet sales, including lease deliveries, fell for both in the first half as they prioritized retail order fulfillment after the chip shortage. Cox Automotive expects demand to slow as interest rates rise, she says, although monthly sales will remain flat at around 1.1 million, but with wild swings.

    Focus on the top 10:

    1) GM: 1,650,827, down 7.1%

    • Chevrolet was down 3.9% year-to-date, GMC down 2.0% and Cadillac down 0.3%, but Buick sales fell 49.3%, to just 76,598 for the first three quarters. Chevy Bolt EV/EUV sales of 22,012 (-11.3%) passed Camaro (19,177, up 27.1%) but Corvette topped EV sales, at 25,380, up 2.6%.

      2) Toyota/Lexus: 1,571,714, down 15.4%

      • The Toyota division was down 15.2%, with Lexus down 16.8%. The best-selling RAV4 was down 3.2% to 303,341.

        3) Ford Motor Co: 1,380,494, down 1.2%

        • Lincoln sales fell 4.6% to 62,290, while the Ford brand fell just 1.0% to 1,317,574. Ford has delivered 51,802 Mavericks year-to-date, overtaking Ranger at 46,293, down 36.3%.

          4) Stellantis/FCA US: 1,199,407, down 12%

          • Chrysler remains the only brand with an increase, to 87,661, up 18%, including 75,902 Pacifica minivans. Jeep sales fell 10% to 541,297 and Ram fell 16% to 415,321. Alfa Romeo sales fell 31% to 9,814, and Fiat 62% to 797.

            5) Honda/Acura: 728,257, down 38.3%

            • The Honda division was down 37.9% to 653,605, while Acura was down 41.2% to 74,652. The Accord regains the lead as Honda’s best-selling car, down 30, 1% to 110,463, with the all-new Civic down 55.5% to 96,286.

              6) Nissan/Infiniti: 538,338, down 31.2%

              • The Nissan Group continues to be hit very hard by shortages, even though Altima sales rose 102.6% in the third quarter. Year-to-date, the Altima is up 40.5% to 106,122, but the Sentra is down 43.2% to 62,940 and the Rogue is down 44.5% to 130,135 .

                7) Hyundai: 528,298, down 10%

                • Fun fact: If Hyundai combined sales with Genesis like Nissan and Infiniti, Hyundai-Genesis would have exceeded Nissan-Infiniti sales by 4869 units. Hyundai sold 18,492 Ioniq 5s and 26,803 Santa Cruz pickups, the latter just over half the number of Ford Mavericks.

                  8) Subaru 401,115, down 13.3%

                  • Crosstrek is the brand’s bestseller at 115,344, up 14.1%. In the past, Subaru’s number one was either the Outback, down 14.3% to 105,404, or the Forester, down 40% to 79,504.

                    9) Tesla*: 386,634, up 63%

                    • *Cox Automotive estimate. Given this success of a high-end manufacturer, it might be useful for Elon Musk to post these numbers himself on Twitter.

                      10) BMW/Mini: 249,835, down 6.0%

                      • The X5 overtook the X3 to become the best seller in the US, selling 56,603 units, up 35.5%. NOTE: Cox Automotive estimates that Mercedes-Benz, including light trucks and vans, grew 2.4% to 259,679 year-to-date, but official numbers were not available at time of release. the publication.

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