September 2019 Sales Report Update: Toyota, Nissan and Honda Tumble While Most Luxury Brands Surge

Lincoln grew by double digits, while some major automakers dropped significantly

  • Toyota, Nissan and Honda sales fell at least 14 percent in September.
  • Infiniti fared worst of all, with September sales falling 44 percent from this point last year.
  • Luxury brands like Lincoln, Cadillac and Volvo gained ground in September 2019.

Several automakers were in a slump last month.

Analysts expected sales to drop in September 2019, and as the reports start to roll out, that’s exactly what happened. Toyota, Hyundai and Nissan posted their figures this morning, and all three were down significantly from this point last year. There are a few factors to consider with these numbers. Dealers had fewer “selling days” because of the Labor Day holiday — although that weekend did bolster August sales numbers. There were 23 selling days in September 2019 versus September 2018. With the lack of holiday volume, sales were also lower throughout the rest of September.

Despite some mainstream brands experiencing painful drops, most luxury brands actually fared better last month than in September 2018. Brands like Lincoln grew their sales by double digits.

As it happens, the whole industry is bracing for poor sales results. We’ll update this post consistently throughout the day as more numbers role in. Below, we’ll cover an overview of each individual brand’s sales versus this point last year, and their best-selling models.

September 2019 Sales Report
The Toyota RAV4 will likely remain the month’s best-selling car.

Scorecard: September 2019 sales by brand

UPDATE 10/2/19: Ford, General Motors and FCA posted their quarterly sales figures.

BrandSept 2019Sept 2018MoM %Best model
Lincoln9,312*8,337*+11.7%Nautilus/MKX (2,654*)
GMC46,930*42,139*+11.4%*Terrain (7,686*)
Buick16,871*15,304*+10.2%*Encore (8,336*)
Land Rover7,4886,966+7.5%
Cadillac13,321*12,431*+7.2%*XT5 (4,105*)
Volvo9,3238,715+7.0%XC90 (2,935)
BMW27,46725,908+6.0%X3 (5,943)
Chevrolet169,091*161,673*+4.6%*Equinox (25,566*)
Mercedes-Benz32,00230,715+4.2%GLC (6,840)
Porsche5,2135,102+2.2%Macan (2,142)
Mini3,5053,461+1.3%Countryman (1,698)
Mitsubishi7,7227,705+0.2%Outlander Sport (2,301)
Jeep81,825*83,724*-2.3%*Grand Cherokee (20,590*)
Dodge34,716*36,265*-4.3%Grand Caravan (9,152*)
Ford184,106*194,975*-5.6%Escape (20,234*)
Hyundai51,95156,939-8.8%Elantra (14,614)
Subaru51,65957,044-9.4%Forester (13,421)
Mazda18,83821,257-11.4%CX-5 (10,332)
Volkswagen30,55526,947-11.9%Jetta (8,090)
Honda113,925132,668-14.1%CR-V (25,904)
Nissan94,213110,283-14.6%Rogue (29,449)
Toyota150,796178,501-15.5%RAV4 (34,886)
Audi16,13019,350-16.6%Q5 (4,374)
Acura11,09813,511-17.9%RDX (4,384)
Chrysler9,848*12,842*-23.3%Pacifica (7,323*)
Lexus18,86024,599-23.3%RX (7,162)
Alfa Romeo1,437*1,965*-26.9%Stelvio (748*)
Fiat787*1,267*-37.9%500 (292*)
Infiniti7,03112,536-43.9%QX60 (2,431)

*Ford, GM and FCA report sales quarterly. This is a monthly average based on Q3 2019 sales figures.

What about Tesla?

Tesla has yet to formally report its third-quarter delivery figures. In the second quarter covering April through June 2019, Tesla delivered around 95,200 cars globally. Now, the company aims to break the 100,000 unit barrier this quarter. That would put them about 5 percent up over the quarter, with deliveries averaging around 33,000 each month. That puts them well ahead of many luxury brands, mainly thanks to the Model 3 sedan.

2018 Fiat 500X Lounge
Fiat sales tumbled once again in the third quarter, leaving the brand hanging on by a thread.

Weaker demand across the industry

While automakers went from strength to strength these past few years, demand clearly slowed last month. Mazda, Nissan and Toyota were all down by double digits. What’s more, these automakers were down across their entire brands. By sales volume, Toyota did not have a single model that experienced an increase last month.

In stark contrast to previous months and years, sedan sales actually offered a boon for both Nissan and Hyundai. The new Altima picked up by 47.9 percent last month, while the Maxima increased by 53.0 percent. The Hyundai Elantra was the brand’s best-selling model, although it did lose ground last month. The Kona increased its sales, as did the efficient Ioniq.

The Subaru Forester actually outsold the Outback last month, holding steady at 13,421 units. That change mainly precipitated on the Outback’s 12.5 percent sales drop, moving just 11,281 this year. For the year, Subaru’s still up 4.4 percent, but that may change if the progress is eroded through the rest of the year.

Volkswagen sales fell by 12 percent in September 2019. However, sedans once again took the lead as the Jetta outsold the Tiguan by 99 units, with 8,090 sold. Despite that lead, the Jetta still fell 24 percent last month, while the Tiguan increased its sales by 11 percent. Sales of the three-row Atlas SUV were also up by 41 percent.

While the Big Three — Ford, GM and Fiat Chrysler — took an extra day to report their figures, all three faired decently against the Japanese marques. Ford sales over the quarter fell 5.3 percent, while Lincoln sales actually rose the most of any brand, by 11.7 percent. GM was up 6 percent across the board. Buick, GMC, Cadillac and Chevrolet sales all went up from 7 to 11 percent. Fiat Chrysler is a bit more of a mixed bag. While they held steady from September 2018, their sales were carried almost exclusively by their Ram truck brand (more on that over on All FCA’s car brands were down, with Fiat suffering worst of all, falling nearly 38 percent.

Luxury brands like Land Rover (up 7.5 percent), Volvo (up 7 percent), BMW (up 6 percent) and Mercedes (up 4.2 percent) all fared well in September. Genesis is a bit of an outlier. Their sales increased nearly three-fold, as the company has been restructuring its sales efforts to further distinguish the brand from Hyundai. Now that those efforts are progressing, sales are starting to stabilize after falling off dramatically through the end of 2018 and into 2019.

Correction 10/2/2019: Infiniti’s total sales numbers were incorrectly stated. The brand actually sold 7,031 cars in September 2019, down 43.9 percent from 12,536 cars.