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Data Point

10 Takeaways from U.S. Auto Sales: Q2 2022

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New-vehicle sales in Q2 were off by more than 20%, as tight inventory continues to hold back the market. High prices are certainly impacting some buyers, but the Industry Insights team at Cox Automotive continues to believe new-vehicle demand is relatively healthy and, with sufficient supply, sales volumes could be higher.  

At the end of Q2, Cox Automotive lowered its full-year forecast to 14.4 million new-vehicles sales, down from an end-of-Q1 forecast of 15.3 million. With days’ supply holding steady near 38, as reported in June, the new-vehicle market continues to be a seller’s market, where vehicles are now routinely selling for more than the manufacturers’ suggested retail price (MSRP). As Cox Automotive Senior Economist Charlie Chesbrough recently noted, “Production and inventory are stuck in low gear, far below historical levels, with no end in sight.” Until the inventory situation changes notably, prices are expected to remain elevated and sales volumes are expected to remain depressed.

A summary of new-vehicle sales for Q2 and through the first half of 2022 from our Kelley Blue Book team is posted below. Here are 10 quick takeaways from the data.

  1. The U.S. market continues to be an SUV market. Sales of SUVs through June accounted for 52% of all sales. Pickup trucks gained share in the first half of 2022 and now account for nearly 20% of U.S. sales. Car share, on the other hand, continues to fall and is now at 24%. Vans account for approximately 4% of the market. 
  2. General Motors regained the title of “best-selling automaker” in the U.S., beating out Toyota in the second quarter. Toyota outsold General Motors in CY2021 and in Q1 2022, but indicated the crown would be short-lived, as tight inventory continues to hold both Toyota and Lexus back. 
  3. Sales of EVs roared in Q2, growing more than 66% year over year. Excellent new entries and continued consumer interest are driving the growth. Nearly 200,000 EVs were sold in Q2 2022, a record. 
  4. Luxury brands continue to grab more market share in the U.S. In the first half of last year, combined sales of luxury brands accounted for 15.8% of the market. In the first half of 2022, luxury-brand sales jumped to 17.3% of the market. In Q2, luxury share was 17.8%.
  5. The midsize SUV segment continues to be the biggest segment in the U.S. market, stacked with players such as the Ford Explorer and Bronco, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Wrangler, and the Toyota Highlander and 4Runner. In Q2, Ford Explorer was on top with more than 60,000 sales, but year-to-date Jeep Grand Cherokee holds the lead. 
  6. In Q2, Tesla was both the best-selling EV brand and the best-selling luxury brand. In the U.S., Tesla sold 130,047 vehicles, up significantly from Q2 2021. Mercedes-Benz and BMW follow Tesla as No. 2 and No. 3 in luxury, but neither brand cracked the 100,000 barrier in Q2. Tesla nearly outsold Subaru last quarter.
  7. The Fiat brand continues to fade from the scene in the U.S. In Q2, Fiat sold less than 250 vehicles.  
  8. In the super competitive, super profitable full-size pickup segment, the Ford F-Series was again the best-seller in Q2, with 158,644 out the door. Thanks partly to improvements in inventory and a lot of buzz generated by the launch of the new Lightning model, Ford was, in fact, the only full-size truck maker to post a year-over-year increase in sales in Q2. Safe prediction: When the year ends, Ford F-Series will once again retain its long-held “best-selling vehicle in America” title. 
  9. The sports car segment is now a shadow of its former self. In Q2, the Dodge Challenger was again the best-seller, ahead of Ford’s Mustang. Chevy Camaro sales improved year over year, but Camaro is no longer in the race. In fact, the Subaru WRX outsold Camaro in Q2. 
  10. For a clear picture of what’s going on in the U.S. new-vehicle market, consider two products from GM. The Chevy Spark is among the most affordable vehicles in the U.S., with average transaction prices well below $20,000. In Q2, Chevy sold 3,860 Sparks. On the other side of the ledger is the Cadillac Escalade, GM’s most expensive product, with transaction prices routinely above $110,000. Sales in Q2: 9,221.  

To see Q2 sales highlights on electrified vehicles, read EV Sales Hit New Record in Q2 2022.

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