Some Sales Numbers to Consider

All things considered, the auto market in the U.S. is doing remarkably well

By Gary S. Vasilash

According to LMC Automotive, a forecasting and market intelligence firm, in the month of May there were some 1.59-million light vehicles sold in the U.S.

Which in and of itself is somewhat meaningless unless you keep track of things like that.

What may be helpful to know is that that number is a 43% increase compared to May 2020.

Of course, May 2020 was a period when we were in the thick of COVID, with not a whole lot of people going to kick tires unless those tires were on one’s vehicle in one’s garage.

Another thing that those who look at the numbers do is calculate the annualized rate of sales.

In April the annualized rate was 18.8 million vehicles, which essentially means that if things continued for the rest of the year like April there would be a total of 18.8 million vehicles sold.

In May the annualized rate fell to 17.2 million.

Given that part of LMC’s business is forecasting, that is a good thing, as it has, and continues to predict, that the 2021 light vehicle sales will be 17 million vehicles.

And the good thing for the industry about that is that if it does finish at 17 million, that is an 18% increase over 2020.

Arguably the would be more vehicles sold were it not for the semiconductor shortage.

Last year COVID.

This year the semiconductor problem (and some COVID).

Next year?

Locusts?

Something Surprising About SUVs

Yes, they are selling in the U.S. and Canada in great numbers, but the Mexican market still likes cars, LMC finds

By Gary S. Vasilash

Although SUVs (yes, including crossovers under that omnibus name) continue to proliferate in the U.S. and Canadian markets, turns out that things aren’t quite the same in the other USMCA country, Mexico.

According to LMC Automotive, while SUV sales surpassed those of cars in Canada in 2015 and in the U.S. in 2016, in 2020 cars outsold SUVs in Mexico. And not just by a little.

Nissan still sells cars in Mexico. (Image: Nissan)

The LMC data show that cars outsold SUVs by more than 2:1.

That said, there is growth in SUV sales in Mexico notes LMC Americas Vehicle Sales Forecasts analyst David Oakley, but there is an issue: “The overarching obstacle is cost, with SUVs still carrying a larger price tag than many high volume cars.”

Complicating matters for Mexican consumers is the fact that Ford and Chevrolet have pretty much given up on cars, about which Oakley says, “these brands seem to have jumped the gun with regard to Mexico’s readiness for such a shift.”

Although it is estimated that cars and SUVs will reach parity in sales by 2030 in Mexico, there are still several years of sales between now and then, sales that will probably go to brands like Hyundai and Nissan.

Mitsubishi and Amazon: An Intro Platform, Not a Sales Channel

If there is any company that really needs its next launch to go off well it is Mitsubishi Motors North America. The vehicle in question is the 2022 Outlander, an SUV.

For 2020 its sales were down in the U.S. by 28%–a big hit to any company—but what makes matters worse, the total number is just 87,387, or about the number of Lincoln SUVs sold in 2020 (87,893)—and let’s face it, Lincoln SUVs have better margins than the Mitsubishi models so the Mitsubishi number is less good than it might be. (Or to be more apples-to-apples, Ford sold 178,496 Escapes in 2020.)

The Outlander has a lot riding on it.

As there seems to be a growing interest in vehicles with off-road cred, Mitsubishi is in good shape given its experience in rally racing, including the Dakar. Kentaro Honda, segment chief vehicle engineer, said of the new Outlander, “We took everything we know about on- and off-road driving from the rally experiences to apply the latest Super All-Wheel Control technology in our newly developed platform. We also specifically developed a new drive mode selector to provide confident driving at all times and in all weather conditions. We hope that many customers will have great experiences with the enhanced driving performance of the all-new Outlander.”

Presumably, this means the vehicle will be off-road worthy—and yet make it simple enough for the likely intended buyer (think someone living in the snowbelt—but in the suburbs, not some mountain top) to be able to dial-in what’s needed without having had a training course at Moab.

2022 Mitsubishi Outlander to be revealed on Amazon Live February 16. But no, they won’t deliver one to your house with Prime. (Image: Mitsubishi Motors North America)

To address that demographic, the global reveal will occur on Amazon Live, Tuesday, February 16 at 6 p.m. EST.

Despite the venue, you cannot get a 2022 Outlander through Amazon Prime.

(Although I’m betting that in the not-too-distant future, Amazon will someone work its way around dealer franchise laws and. . .)