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18th of July 2018

Automotive



Vehicle sales highlights from a hardy first half

New light-vehicle sales rose 1.9 percent to 8,617,655 in the first half — a pleasant surprise given those not-so-great expectations we began the year with.

Still, most analysts project U.S. sales will end 2018 below 17 million for the first time since 2014, given rising interest rates. It seems the 5.2 percent jump in June didn't change those analytical minds.

Whatever, a few records are still likely to fall in 2018 — see Jeep, Ford F series, Audi, Subaru and overall crossover sales. Here are a few highlights from a darn respectable first half.

 

CROSSOVERS CATAPULT PAST CARS

They call it a truck boom, but it's really about the crossovers, of course. SUVs, pickups and vans combined rose 5.8 percent in the first half, while crossovers soared 14 percent to 3,249,455 — 38 percent of the market and almost 500,000 units more than car sales. In the first half of 2017, cars outsold crossovers 3,123,262 to 2,862,335.

2018 Jeep Wrangler

 

CAN JEEP CLIMB TO A MILLION?

That's a big mountain, but sales topped 495,000 in the first half, or 25,000 more than the brand has sold in the first or second half of any year. So, a million Jeep sales in a single year seems doable sooner (as in 2018) rather than later.

 

NOT ALL CARS ARE CLUNKERS

There's one car segment that eked out a year-on-year gain in the first half — large luxury vehicles, up 1.5 percent. Big drivers in this contrarian category? Cadillac XTS (+16%), Mercedes-Benz S class (+11%), Volvo 90 (+37%) and Lexus LS (+136%)

2018 Lexus LS 500h

 

WE HAVE THE LUXURY OF A LUXURY RACE AGAIN

In the premium wars, Mercedes-Benz has been in command for the past couple of years. But that fine old duel with BMW is heating up again. Bimmer outsold its German rival in June, 29,407 to 26,191, pulling within 6,000 units for the year. This time in 2017, Mercedes had nearly a 13,000-unit lead.

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