August 2019 U.S. auto sales came in slightly higher than forecast, marking another solid month for the industry. The seasonally adjusted annual selling rate (SAAR) was 17.0 million units. Volume was helped by a good Labor Day weekend, strong fleet sales and also a healthy dose of incentives.
We’ve shared top-level takeaways from August sales. Here’s ten additional points you may have missed.
1) By volume, August 2019 was a month to remember. With total sales at 1,648,312, it was the highest-volume August this decade. In fact, August 2019 was the third-best sales month since the Great Recession. The only better months: December 2016 and March 2018.
2) August was truck month, a great month for pickup trucks. According to an analysis by our Kelley Blue Book data team, the pickup truck segment was up 19% versus August 2018. Full-size pickups were up 14% and the popular mid-size trucks, thanks in part to new entries, were up 44%.
3) Speaking of mid-size trucks, our team is estimating that August was the best month yet for the all-new Ford Ranger. With close to 10,000 sales in August, it was among the best-selling mid-size pickups. But it was still a country-mile behind segment leader Toyota Tacoma. In August, more than 27,000 Tacomas were sold in the U.S.
4) After six months in market, the Kia Telluride continues to be a hot property. August was its best month yet, with sales of 6,374. A typical Telluride is only in dealer inventory about 10 days and the average transaction prices is still north of $40,000. And while there are some APR/lease incentives available, the average discount is less than 1 percent of MSRP.
5) Also hot: Ram. Through August, sales are up 25%, putting the Ram brand neck-and-neck with Subaru and Hyundai. Not bad for what is essentially a one-trick pony. Indeed, the full-size pickup accounts for roughly 90% of Ram’s sales.
6) In August, leasing remains at near-record levels. Approximately 32 percent of retail sales last month were leases.
7) The most affordable vehicles in the U.S. are found in the subcompact segment. Average transaction price: $17,832. And the best-selling subcompact car according to our analysis: Ford Fiesta, a vehicle the company will soon discontinue in the U.S. market.
8) The gap between cars and SUVs continues to widen. Market share for cars in August was back down below 30%. According to an analysis by KBB, cars now account for only about 10% of GM sales, down from near 20% a year ago.
9) Mercedes-Benz was luxury-car king last month, outselling Lexus by 213 vehicles. Mercedes posted higher average transaction prices as well, at $57,490, ahead of Lexus at $49,057.
10) There were 269 different models with at least one sale in August. The median number of sales last month was 1,996, meaning half the vehicles in the U.S. market sold more, half sold less. By that measure, the most average vehicles in market right now: Mazda CX-3 and the Mini Cooper.