2019’s sales figures have rolled in, and as we close out the decade and look forward to the first months of 2020, it’s time to reflect on some interesting sales trends. The 2010s is a decade where crossovers and SUVs reigned supreme. To that end, they ultimately played a role in the demise of what were iconic nameplates in traditional passenger cars.
We also saw some dramatic shuffling from some automakers in the decade, thanks to large-scale scandals and major rebranding strategies. Now, coming off a few years of record sales in the later half of the decade, let’s take one last look at the scoreboard for 2019 and see the winners and losers of the year — and who looks strong heading into the next decade.
This monthly sales report covers the best and worst-selling brands of the month by volume, as well as the changes over December 2018 and, since we’re at the end of 2019, the year-to-date sales by volume over 2018.
2019 Year-to-date sales by brand (all vehicles)
|Rank||Brand||2019 Sales||2018 Sales||YoY %|
|12*||Tesla||367,500 (*global sales)||245,240||+33.3%|
In the year-long fight for sales dominance, there weren’t too many huge changes from previous years. Toyota is still number one (surprise, surprise) while FCA brands Fiat and Alfa Romeo languish at the bottom of the sales charts. However, what is noteworthy are the top three Japanese brands’ slide in sales. Toyota, Honda and Nissan all lost some ground over the entire year. Other brands like Mazda, Infiniti and Acura also slid from 2018.
Subaru, on the other hand, did manage to gain some steam thanks to strong sales of the Outback, Forester and Ascent. Korean brands Hyundai and Kia sales surged in 2019, and Hyundai carries a distinction of being a brand whose best-selling model, the Elantra, isn’t a crossover. That said, the Tucson and Santa Fe were the brand’s second and third best-selling models.
Of course, we’d be remiss not to mention Tesla. Thanks to the Model 3, the all-electric automaker is becoming a mainstay in the U.S. auto market, with sales up over a third from 2018. With launches of the Model Y crossover, Cybertruck and Roadster forthcoming, the company’s momentum will likely continue to build in 2020.
December 2019 sales by brand (all vehicles)
|Rank||Brand||Oct 2019 Sales||Oct 2018 Sales||MoM %|
|1||Ford||189,502 (avg.)||193,795 (avg.)||-2.2%|
|3||Chevrolet||166,468 (avg.)||177,328 (avg.)||-6.1%|
|6||Jeep||73,845 (avg.)||75,677 (avg.)||-2%|
|10||GMC||48,960 (avg.)||53,508 (avg.)||-8.5%|
|11||Tesla||37,333 (avg.)||30,233 (avg.)||+19.1%|
|15||Dodge||30,213 (avg.)||33,199 (avg.)||-9%|
|19||Buick||16,358 (avg.)||17,086 (avg.)||-4.3%|
|20||Cadillac||13,517 (avg.)||17,086 (avg.)||-2.2%|
|24||Lincoln||11,118 (avg.)||9,436 (avg.)||+17.8%|
|25||Chrysler||11,001 (avg.)||12,936 (avg.)||-23%|
|30||Alfa Romeo||1,648 (avg.)||1,880 (avg.)||-12%|
|31||Fiat||579 (avg.)||1,145 (avg.)||-49%|
Dialing it back down to a monthly view, the picture doesn’t look all that different. However, since FCA, Ford, GM and Tesla are reporting their quarterly sales figures, it’s worth seeing how they stack up against the others over the past few months. Taking a monthly average over the three-month quarter into account, Toyota comes out as America’s second best-selling brand behind Ford. Thanks to the F-Series, Ford’s sales are much higher than its rivals here in the U.S. For brands like Chevrolet, GMC, Toyota and Nissan, total sales figures includes all vehicle sales. For third-place Chevrolet’s part, while the Equinox continues to sell well, it’s still well behind the Toyota RAV4 in overall figures. Overall sales for the brand were down 6.1 percent from 2018, however.
Again, Tesla sales continue to build on greater momentum for the Model 3. Audi also performed well in December, as did Genesis. However, Nissan and Infiniti both fell hard, losing 28.4 percent and 37.8 percent respectively from December 2018.
Best and worst-selling models of 2019
|Brand||Best-selling model||Worst-selling model|
|Acura||RDX (62,876)||NSX (238)|
|Alfa Romeo||Stelvio (9,444)||4C (144)|
|Audi||Q5 (67,516)||R8 (574)|
|BMW||X3 (70,110)||i8 (1,102)|
|Buick||Encore (102,402)||Cascada (2,535)|
|Cadillac||XT5 (49,879)||CT5 (43 (New))|
|Chevrolet||Equinox* (346,048)||Volt* (4,910)|
|Chrysler||Pacifica (97,705)||300 (29,213)|
|Dodge||Grand Caravan (122,648)||Durango (65,947)|
|Fiat||500 (3,267)||500L (771)|
|Ford||Escape (241,388)||GT (229)|
|Genesis||G70 (11,901)||G90 (2,240)|
|GMC||Terrain* (101,470)||Acadia* (99,429)|
|Honda||CR-V (384,168)||Clarity (11,654)|
|Hyundai||Elantra (175,094)||Venue (1,077 (New))|
|Infiniti||QX60 (43,162)||Q70 (2,552)|
|Jeep||Grand Cherokee (242,969)||Renegade (97,062)|
|Kia||Soul (98,033)||K900 (390)|
|Lexus||RX (111,036)||LC (1,219)|
|Mazda||CX-5 (154,545)||CX-30 (899 (New))|
|Mercedes-Benz||GLC (73,650)||GLB (1,173 (New))|
|Mini||Countryman (13,969)||Clubman (3,565)|
|Mitsubishi||Outlander (37,965)||Outlander PHEV (2,810)|
|Nissan||Rogue (350,447)||GT-R (331)|
|Porsche||Macan (22,667)||Taycan (130 (New))|
|Subaru||Outback (181,178)||BRZ (2,334)|
|Tesla||Model 3 (300,684 approx.)||Model S/X (66,672)|
|Toyota||RAV4 (448,071)||Mirai (1,502)|
|Volkswagen||Tiguan (109,572)||Arteon (2,449)|
|Volvo||XC90 (35,760)||V60 (861)|
*Chevrolet and GMC figures include truck sales as well as car sales (as do Toyota, Nissan and Honda). The best and worst-selling models reflect the best and worst-selling cars, rather than SUVs (like the Yukon) or trucks. Those figures will be posted on TFLtruck.com.