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Weekend Edition – 2012 Sales Charts; Some Unusual Surprises (Direct from the Manufacturers)

Jim Brennan January 5, 2013 Weekend Edition

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Welcome to another Hooniverse Weekend Edition… I’m back after a couple of weeks off, so let’s get on with it. 2012 was an interesting year as far as car sales, and many car lines broke their own sales records this year. So, I thought it would be fun to see what models sold during the year we all thought were dead and buried, as well as uncover a couple of surprises. All the charts pictured came from the manufacturers media sites, but I couldn’t get model breakdowns from Suzuki, Mitsubishi, Jaguar/Land Rover, or some of the exotics, so they are not represented here. See the charts and my commentary after the break…

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There was really nothing remarkable from Audi or BMW, so I’ll start with Chrysler/Fiat. Yes, Chrysler has an amazing year chart wise, with the ancient Dodge Avenger and Chrysler 200 selling almost 225,000 units combined (!), but there were a couple of surprises. Chrysler managed to sell 31 Calibers for December alone, with 10,000 going over the curb for the year. They also managed to sell off 490 Dakotas (last one built in August of 2011), and over 3,200 Nitros that were last built in December of 2011.

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Moving on to Ford, and the one thing that was remarkable was the sales tally for the Crown Victoria… There were 546 sold for the month of December, and there were 4,429 sold for the entire year of 2012. Not bad for model that was last produced in September of 2011. Meanwhile, the Ford dealers managed to move 118 Rangers in December, and pushed off the lots a total of 19,336 for the entire year. Remember, these were last produced in December of 2011.

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Over at the Lincoln division, dealers managed to sell 52 of the old Lincoln Town Car, with a full year sales total of 1,001. This was a car that was discontinued in August of 2011, without any fanfare from Ford whatsoever. Looking at the Lincoln sales charts, you have to wonder if they will still be with us next year.

 

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Buick’s best selling car isn’t a car at all, but is in fact the Crossover Enclave. However, the buick dealers managed to sell ONE leftover Buick Lucerne in the month of December, and managed to offload 971 for the entire year. The Lucerne was discontinued in June of 2011.

Over at Cadillac, their dealer body managed to move FOUR Cadillac STS sedans during December, and moved 164 of these large RWD or AWD sedans for the year. The STS was discontinued in May of 2011. Along with the STS, the dealerships also managed to move 465 of the DTS during 2012, and that was discontinued that same time the STS was, May of 2011.

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Chevrolet seems to have a few leftover models still sitting on dealer lots, because the Bow Tie division and their dealers moved THREE Chevrolet Aveos during the month of December, and finally got rid of 67 of these dreadful cars for the year 2012. The North American built Sonic replaced the Aveo in 2011. However, Chevrolet did have more “skeletons” in the closet, as they managed to off 11 Cobalts during the year, and 21 HHR Wagons. The Cobalt was replaced by the Cruz, and was last produced in June of 2010 (!). The HHR was last produced (for fleets only) in May of 2011.

 

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Over in Europeland, and the one big surprise is from Mercedes-Benz. There was an actual Mercedes B-Class sold here for the month of December, with 29 sold during the year of 2012. I was not aware of any Mercedes B-Class vehicles available in the US, though they may have been sold in Canada, Mexico, or the Caribbean. Other surprises from Mercedes include the fact that ONE CLK-Class was sold during 2012, and that Maybach managed to unload 50 cars for the year.

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Volkswagen managed to move 560 Routans during December, which was more that the Eos (372), The New Beetle Convertible (516), or the Golf R (292), and still managed to move almost 10,500 of these non German minivans for the year (or about the same sales pace as the Touareg)

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The only surprise from Volvo is that their retailers managed to sell 51 S40 sedans during 2012. These were last imported into the states for the 2011 model year. The soon to be discontinued C30 managed to sell more units that both the S80, or the C70 during the month of December.

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From the Korean contingent, Hyundai managed to move 58 Veracruz CUVs off the lots for December, with over 8,200 being sold for the year. The Veracruz was discontinued on November 15, 2011.

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Meanwhile, Kia’s minivan on life support, the Sedona, sold 711 units for the month of December, with over 17,500 moving off the lots for the year. This is by far the slowest selling Kia, by a wide margin.

 

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The Japanese are not immune to phantom selling either. American Honda managed to move FIVE FCX-Clarity models for the year, as well as THREE leftover Elements. On the “green” side of the showroom, Honda managed to sell 19 Fit-EV models for December, 512 Civic Hybrids, 310 Insights, and 243 CR-Z Models. Together, they didn’t manage to match the 1,500 Ridgelines that moved off the dealer lots during the same time.

Acura is another story. The upscale dealers managed to move only 18 RL Models for December, and only 50 ZDX models. Yearly sales of the RL only managed to notch up to 379, while the Coups SUV ZDX managed 775. Our favorite Acura, the TSX Sport Wagon, only managed to sell 414 units for the month, and over 4,200 for the year.

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Over at Mazda, there was a curious correction on their chart. Not only did they not sell a CX-7, or the long discontinued Tribute SUV, they managed to buy one of each back… I wonder what the story behind that was. Anyway, they did manage to sell 502 Tributes for the year (discontinued at the end of 2011), as well as 80 RX-8 sports cars for 2012.

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Subaru managed to move 189 of the soon to be discontinued Tribeca SUV, and 497 BRZ models for December. I brought up the BRZ because it is the most talked about model in the Subaru lineup, but there was a new model that outpaced the BRZ, the XV Crosstrek, which moved over 3,400 units for December alone.

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It seems that Toyota is selling quite nicely, thank you very much. It is just the other divisions that have a few surprises. Take Scion for example. The best seller is the Scion FR-S, companion to the BRZ. Scion managed to move 1,495 of these sports coupes for December, which is better than any of the other Scion models. Lexus managed to move TWO HS Hybrid Sedans for December, and the dealer body also managed to move TWO SC Coupe/Convertibles for the year.

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Nissan has been very successful as well. The only surprise is the fact that the Cube is still being sold here, though down by almost 50% year to year. I am surprised that the Xterra, and the Armada are selling as well as they are, and that the Infiniti G Coupe seems to be selling better that the Nissan 370-Z sibling.

So what do you think of these sales numbers?

Currently there are "55 comments" on this Article:

  1. Jay says:

    Whoa, is that a W168 A-klasse with Brabus wheels?

    • Vavon says:

      I'm guessing that picture was taken in Japan, as the Subaru Forester in that picture a front wing mirror.

      • Jay says:

        Also, trying to come up with a plausible scenario under which B-classes were sold in the US. A Canadian-market B-class taken in as a trade by a US MB dealer and then sold to a Canadian MB dealer? I guess I could see that happening in FL, if that's indeed how that works.

  2. joedunlap says:

    Obviously the economy has been improving based on the overall numbers. Should be intersesting to compare this with what happens by the middle of this year and the whole fiscal cliff thing.

  3. Sjalabais says:

    Isn't the US going to get the V40 and V60 from Volvo? Norway's streets are crowded with these super successful models.

    • mr. mzs zsm msz esq says:

      Not the V40, not even the CC version, at least. I'm unsure about the V60 but C30 production ceased last month. The saddest part is that the C30 was the last Volvo sold in USA with a manual. I don't have the latest numbers, but through Nov Volvo sold just 2,173 C30s in US. It's the end of an era, time to pour one out for Volvo here in the states :( <img src="https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc7/577355_10151098974853577_1661747429_n.jpg&quot; width="650">

      • Sjalabais says:

        That's a good one. They think about everything, even the kitchen paper… ;)

        I haven't really understood why the V-models have been discontinued, and I don't get why one would alienate an entire clientel by only offering automatic transmissions. After all, the hardware exists, how hard can it be to import it? I guess we're going back to "all colours, as long as it's black" – farewell, age of choice!

        There have been some strategic glitches at Volvo over time, and, personally, I disagree on the strategy of a Swedish BMW emulation. But sales numbers prove me wrong.

        Norwegian numbers (free only makewise): http://ofvas.no/bilsalget/bilsalget_2012/bilsalge

        The Norwegian "state" I live in has the V70 as the third most popular car model overall. The 50+ mpg diesel is dirt cheap (high mileage = low tax), has almost negative depreciation and will be a better "everyday-car" than most other offers.

        • danleym says:

          That percentage of people that buy a stick is something like 3% here in the states. And it was half that before the new Camaro and Challenger came out, so I'd guess the bulk of manuals bought in the US are in sports cars and Jeep Wranglers (though with the 4 door version becoming just another soccer mom grocery getter, I'd bet the percentage of those sold with a stick has dropped a lot). Sadly, I don't think they're alienating all that many people- there's not many people in the US with the finances to buy a new car that want to buy a stick. It's more our fault for being lazy bastards and not having enough demand there to warrant the offering than it is Volvo giving the finger to legions of manual transmission demanding buyers.

          • Sjalabais says:

            …or it's your ability to build good roads. =8^) I was on a month long vacation in North America five years ago. In British Columbia I came across a road with a warning sign the size of a nuclear impact site alerting drivers of a "dangerous winding road". It was still wider, better maintained and overall easier to drive on than 95% of the roads I use in Western Norway. If you enjoy throwing a car around corners it helps a lot to have the transmission with you in the game. That said, the lazy transmission is becoming more and more popular across Europe, too.

            • danleym says:

              I spent a month in France a few years back on business travel and had a rental car (a turbo diesel Alfa station wagon, which was a blast). My company was doing all the travel arrangements, but I was told they were only going to rent a manual because it was way more expensive for an automatic. Wasn't a problem for me (actually, I was quite happy about it), but two of the people in our group of four weren't able to drive then, because they didn't know how. Funny- over here you have to pay more to get a manual in a rental, because you can only get them in the sports cars (and not always then).

    • duurtlang_ says:

      The Dutch roads as well. The V70 is popular here too. The best selling Volvo vehicles in the Netherlands for 2012 (January-November) in chronological order!:
      V70, V40, V50, V60, C30, XC60, S60, XC90, S80, S40, C70. The XC70 is lumped in with the V70, but I can assure you the XC70 is quite rare compared to the V70.

      I'm told all the V Volvos are all discontinued in the US. They only seem to like SUVs and sedans there. Which is quite different from what I see on the road here.

      • mr. mzs zsm msz esq says:

        I think it's a price thing, new cars cost comparatively less here in US. With the AWD and near luxury models, they can make more per car, enough to justify this strategy sadly. There was a report in Swedish press that Volvo was going to squeeze European suppliers to lower prices by 20% by 2014 with a 'no comment' offered by Volvo. The rumor is more Chinese sourced components.

        • Sjalabais says:

          That was bound to happen, even though they knew to say all the right things when Geely bought the shop.

          On prices: The only XC90 available in Norway now is the D5 200hp Diesel R-Design, with a base price of a lofty 866800NOK (155000$). I get a real shock everytime I see American car prices. My post will get marked as spam with more links, but it should be easy to find the other price lists. The cheapest S80 T4 Kinetic with 180hp starts at 77000$. :(

  4. FunWithBuns says:

    How the heck did the "Smart" brand have a 92% increase over 2011? What am I missing here?

    • Devin says:

      They don't move a lot of product to begin with, so it's easier for them to double their numbers. Still sold under 10k. There are also some asterisks by the Smart card, but I don't have a login for Mercedes USA's site.

  5. facelvega says:

    So Volvo, with the S60 and XC60 the only cars they can actually sell here, are not going to bring us either the V40 or the new wagon version of the S60? Surely there are still a few Volvoistas around among the hordes that drove the 240 and 740 platform for so long? Surely the good reviews of the S60 could also fuel a wagon version? Surely Volvo has noticed that BMW, Benz, and Audi are all banking on hatches as the growth sectors in the US? Apparently not. With crossovers and semi-luxury small/mid sedans as the mainstays, it seems they are aiming for Buick? Wait, what?

    • Bernard says:

      The old Volvoistas are now Subaristas. I think that the mid 90's 850 was the last Volvo in the US that catered to the traditional crowd. Volvo didn't notice their absence at the time because XC90 and 70s were leasing like hotcakes.

      • facelvega says:

        As someone who has had two 240s and a 164 and who is thinkiing of supplementing his current beater outback wagon with an 850, I am sympathetic to your argument. However, if I needed a newish car, I'd happily buy a V50 over any Subaru. Subaru has left my bearded professor demographic behind just as badly as Volvo has. In the early 2000s it seemed to me that my cohort were all buying Passat wagons, but VW is back off their radar too.

    • Jay says:

      Yeah, that's totally crazy, I don't see how they expect to survive with a model range so small. Costs of crash-testing and other certification and all, but c'mon. Those should be a no brainer.

  6. muthalovin says:

    I feel terrible for Mitsubishi. Sure, they have really awful products, but I almost bought a Lancer once. This one:

    <img src="http://image.motortrend.com/f/oftheyear/8478348+w799+h499+cr1+ar0/112_0401_coty_24z%2B2004_mitsubishi_lancer_wagon%2Brear_right.jpg&quot; width=550>

    • Sjalabais says:

      This one made it into the final round for my current dd because of V70-style lights and visibility. But since close-to-no-one but this new, I couldn't buy it used.

      • duurtlang_ says:

        I actually drove one of those Lancer wagons this afternoon. On a test track, learning how to control aquaplaning and evasive maneuvers and that sort of thing. The car didn't leave me impressed at all, to be honest. I do like the exterior behind the front wheels though, it's one of the few 21st century cars that looks slender rather than fat. I like that in a car.

        • Sjalabais says:

          Couldn't agree more on your design comment! I have actually never driven one. What was lacking?

          Volvo invited me to a driving training session once. Going there in a '77 242 I was mighty impressed by all cars, but had little control over them…

          • duurtlang_ says:

            What I didn't like about the Lancer wagon was the interior mostly. Excluding the cargo area it didn't feel more roomy than my old 80s mk2 Golf, which I expected to be considerably smaller. Everything inside felt and looked cheap and flimsy. The car was the commuter car of the track instructor, and was used as the backup vehicle. Because of this I imagine it was rather trashed, so judging its driving qualities wouldn't be fair to properly driven Lancers. It was easy to see that the Colts the others used had endured a very hard life.
            [youtube Mg5X60Y6_L4 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mg5X60Y6_L4 youtube]
            (video of the actual track where I was yesterday)

            Let's just say it made me appreciate my (many years older) Peugeot 406 coupe a lot more.

            • Sjalabais says:

              Ok, I'd tend to say that this is a problem of the "lower Japanese" cars of that era. The Primera I ended up buying has a lustless, drab and uninspired interior with huge ergonomic faults that surprised me a bit. Like a cheap postorder stereo that grandma might have bought in the 90s. But the price I got it for was unbeatable…

  7. Vavon says:

    It's funny to see how completely different American and European car sales are.
    I just compared the top 20 of both sides and only 1 (ONE) car is in both: the Ford Focus.
    And that's actually only in name, because I doubt the most sold version is the wagon or the hatch…

    <img src="http://files.conceptcarz.com/img/Ford/2012-Ford-Focus-Wagon-Image-005.jpg&quot; width="600/">

  8. Maxichamp says:

    The Equus was a better seller than the Phaeton?!

    • facelvega says:

      Yeah, that seems odd. According to these stats more Equii were sold than GT-Rs, G-wagens, and ZDXes combined, yet I've seen all three of those in my neighborhood and never an Equus. There are probably three G-wagens parked within ten blocks of here. Who is buying these Hyundais if not those people?

      • Kogashiwa says:

        That's because you can drive right past an Equus and never notice it.

        • facelvega says:

          Maybe rich Americans are finally becoming less vulgarly ostentatious. Oh, wait, no they're not. So who the hell is buying those?

          • Maxichamp says:

            Hyundai North America executives, their wives, and Hyundai North America middle managers, and their wives.

            • failboat says:

              I was in Florida in December, I saw several Eqqui driving around. More than I have ever seen in my life.

              But I guess that isn't saying much, actually the first ones I have seen outside the dealership now that I think about it.

    • Jay says:

      I love the Phaeton and everything, but I had trouble imagining how they even managed to sell all the examples that they sold in the US, with how VW has been positioning themselves here. They had a nice ad campaign for the Phaeton, but that wasn't going to change the fact that people wanted the badge to go along with the luxobarge price. At the time my friends and I were trying to come up with a fitting name for a Skoda-badged Phaeton.

      But then again, remember how well the first-gen A8 sold?

      I actually quite like the facelift that the Phaeton received over in Asia, with the LEDs and everything.

  9. fodder650 says:

    How did Ford sell 4,000 C-Max's when they don't go for sale in the US until next year?

  10. Kris_01 says:

    Some of those leftover sales aren't surprising. There's a Ford dealer an hour's drive from where I live that still has three 2011 Rangers on the lot – one with a September 2010 build date on the door jamb. All are V6, extended cab, 4×4 models. Good deal to be had if you're looking at used Rangers I bet – likely that dealer would sell at used prices just to get those turkeys off his lot.

    But it makes one wonder what other "past the ol' best before date" iron there is cluttering up a poorly-run dealer's tarmac.

    • Sjalabais says:

      Sounds Soviet to buy a new car that demands a good round of maintenance to get off the lot…for different reasons though.

  11. ptschett says:

    200 & Avenger (since the 2011 refresh) can't be that bad. They're the best-selling actual passenger cars in the Chrysler & Dodge lineups, & Avenger even outsold the Charger this year, despite the launch of the new generation Charger.

    • Lotte says:

      I keep thinking of the 200 as a nice car for a manager whose company is forking out cash for his new ride, as it won't invoke the drama of "omigosh, the boss just got a frickin' BMW with all our monies!!", but still classy and understated enough to not look (too) out of place next to actual BMWs and Mercedes. Okay, maybe not, but at least it looks a cut above the CamCord when painted in black.

      I also wonder how many people went in to see the Dart but came out with a V6 Avenger.

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