2018 Q2 Sales Overview



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Sunday July 15, 2018 2018 Q2 Sales Overview For the past few years I have been reporting on monthly sales figures even though some companies like Tesla and Fiat/Chrysler America didn't give out monthly sales numbers.  Well starting at the end of May several more companies including GM and BMW switched to reporting sales quarterly so I have decided to switch to a quarterly report just giving the highlights.

The second quarter of 2018 saw US sales of 69,420 cars not including the sales of some smaller brands like Workhorse and Karma that sell in such small quantities that they don't appear on the radar.  Sales during the quarter were dominated by the Tesla Model 3 which was the top selling car in all three months.


Actually given that Tesla had ramped up production to 5,000 per week by the end of June sales of the model 3, while above expectations, were still lower than the production rate indicated due to a bunch of production being diverted to meet orders from Canada.  Tesla were not able to hold back sales enough to stop hitting 200,000 plug-in sales in July so the Federal tax credit will drop to $3,700 starting in October of this year.

All three months in the quarter showed month over month gains against 2017 but June sales were a little disappointing with sales falling short of the 26,000 level making it the third highest selling month of all not the highest selling month as people expected.  It will be interesting to see how many Tesla model 3 sales impact July sales assuming that Tesla can consistently build 5,000 cars per week going foward. 


The Prius prime also continued to impress outselling every other plug-in except the Model 3.  It has quickly stamped its mark as the best selling plug-in hybrid even out-performing the Chevy Volt and the Honda Clarity PHEV both of which have superior range.  Over the last three months it has also outsold both the Tesla Model S and Model X with a total of 7,787 cars.


The Nissan Leaf appears to have dropped into a sales range of 1,100 to 1,500 cars per month and I don't really expect them to break out until the long rang version starts to show up on dealer lots later this year.  The Honda Clarity PHEV also seems to be stuck in around the same range with sales from 1,050 to 1,650 units over the last few months.  Most of the other manufacturers seem to be in a similar rut this quarter with sales staying pretty consistent and also being pretty consistent when compared to the first quarter.  The bit jump in sales has been with the Porsche Panamera S e-Hybrid where sales jumped significantly with sales of 779 cars after selling just 52 cars in the first quarter.  This shows that inventory of the new model year is now starting to arrive in the US in significant numbers.


Some models started to phase out in quarter 2.  Sales of the Mercedes-Benz B250e dropped to just 10 cars in the second quarter with no cars being sold in June.  Ford has halted production on the C-Max Energi and sales finally started to taper of during the second quarter with a total of just 81 cars.  In June only 6 cars were sold as inventory is being significantly depleted.  With sales of the Focus Electric sitting in the 50 to 100 range for most of this year and the Fusion Energy selling only 2,086 cars in Q2 Ford desperately needs to upgrade its aging plug-in lineup to remain competitive.  Word on the street is that they are readying a plug-in hybrid version of the Escape compact sized SUV but so far I haven't heard when that might make an appearance in dealerships.


Fuel Cell vehicle sales were quite bad for the quarter, especially in June where only Toyota posted reasonable numbers.  Overall the three companies, Toyota, Honda and Hyundai managed to  sell just 505 FCEVs during the second quarter with  over half of those being the Toyota Mirai. 


I must say that June sales surprised me.  I was expecting much lower sales from Tesla as they could have throttled back sales to postpone hitting the 200,000 vehicle mark until early June which would have pushed back the draw down of the federal tax credit into 2019.  I suspect that Tesla needed to show better sales figures to ward off the short sellers.  The question is can they continue to build 5,000 model 3 per month or will they need to switch resources to production of the more profitable Model S and Model X.  Chevy Bolt numbers have also been below expectations recently but GM have increased production so the question is will we see a corresponding increase in sales.  We will see in October once the Q3 numbers are out.

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