U.S. auto sales declined more than 4% in August compared to the same month last year, but not every company suffered. Several smaller automakers had higher sales, indicating strong demand for certain vehicle brands.
General Motors, Ford Motor, and Toyota Motor—the top three sellers in the U.S.—reported that sales declined at least 5% last month, signaling that the record-breaking days of 2015 are unlikely to return this year. Meanwhile, some smaller and luxury automakers such as Audi, Subaru, and Volvo all reported increased sales, extending a larger growth trend for them.
Audi of America reported that its August U.S. sales rose 2.5% to 19,264 vehicles, beating its previous record for the month of 18,794 last year. It August sales were second only to December 2015 for any month.
Volvo Car Group reported U.S. sales of 7,682 vehicles last month, a 30.9% increase compared with August 2015. Year-to-date sales are up 29.5%, the Chinese-owned Swedish manufacturer said. Volvo’s sales were driven by its XC90 luxury SUV and the XC60.
We just drove Volvo’s new sedan:
Subaru of America reported 60,418 vehicle sales for August 2016, a 14.7% increase over the same month last year. The company also reported year-to-date sales of 391,969 vehicles, a 4.4% gain over the same period in 2015.
“It’s fair to say the market, as a whole, has plateaued,” said Kelley Blue Book Karl Brauer. “But individual brands are still capable of growing sales if they have one or more hot products.”
For example, demand for Jeep and Ram brands were enough to pull sales numbers up for its parent company Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, despite lagging sales at Chrysler and Fiat, Bauer added.
Other niche players like Bentley, JaguarLandRover, Porsche, Tesla, and Volvo have sparked interest—and sales—by expanding their portfolios and introducing new models.
“This confirms there’s still plenty of money in new car sales, though it may not be as widespread as it was over the past six years,” Bauer said.