August was an anomaly month for auto sales. After a broad downturn that rang throughout the industry — excepting, of course, crossover SUVs — analysts and industry observers are undoubtedly back at their desks revising their 2016 figures. The downturn didn’t just fudge some numbers, however; America’s best-selling non-truck found itself shoved from its usual No. 4 spot back to No. 7.
Overall sales for the top seven automakers fell 4.4%, making August the third monthly decline so far this year. “After several years of strong gains, growth is stabilizing,” Cars.com quoted IHS Markit senior analyst Stephanie Brinley as saying. “What is important to read out of the August results is that the industry is largely disciplined on incentives and production. Though incentives will play a more significant role for some specific models and segments as is typically true, average transaction prices are also reported to be coming up, reducing the net impact of incentives increases.”
Softness in the pickup market — which saw declines of 5.6% — came as midsize pickups, especially the new Honda Ridgeline and (weirdly) the not-at-all-new Nissan Frontier saw significant gains. The segment overall picked up nearly 40% versus the same period last year. Whether continued cannibalization of the full-size market becomes a trend remains to be seen, but if gas continues to creep north (prices saw a small spike at the end of August), then it could serve as a catalyst for buyers to bring home smaller trucks.
10. Honda Accord
The success of the crossover has come to the detriment of the sedan, as evidenced by Honda’s venerable Accord, which saw a staggering 26.4% slide from August 2015 to 30,115 units sold. This leaves Honda’s leading sedan up a marginal 0.1% for the year, having sold 231,415 models through August 31.
9. Toyota Corolla
Toyota’s Corolla is also feeling the pinch from compact crossovers and SUVs. Sales slumped 3.1% in August versus the same month a year prior, selling 30,741 cars during the month to land at 244,651 for the year to date — down 3% off the same period last year.
8. Honda Civic
The Honda Civic’s momentum overrode the general market downturn in August, as sales stayed 2.4% above August 2015’s levels. Honda sold 32,807 Civics last month, to bring its yearly total to 255,599 — up 15.4% versus the first eight months of January.
7. Toyota Camry
The Toyota Camry — often America’s favorite non-truck — was in for a sobering realization in August as sales slid 12.6% to land at 32,864 for the month. This puts the Camry not only at No. 7 for the month’s best-sellers, but sets it back 8.6% for the year to date with sales of 266,746.
6. Nissan Rogue
With sales topping August 2015 to the tune of 19.2%, the Nissan Rogue was a surprise star of the show last month as it moved 32,979 vehicles. This puts the year-to-date tally at 215,160, up 14.4% versus the comparable year-ago period.
5. Toyota RAV4
A rising tide lifts all ships, and the surge in crossover sales didn’t leave out the Toyota RAV4. Bolstered by new models like the Hybrid, the popular crossover sold 33,171 units in August for an 8.6% gain over August ’15. This puts it at 230,942 for the year — up 15% against the first eight months of last year.
4. Honda CR-V
Taking the throne of America’s favorite non-truck for the month of August was the Honda CR-V, which sold 36,517 units for a 5% gain over the year-ago August. Year-to-date, Honda has sold 231,609 CR-Vs, good for a small 0.9% increase over 2015.
3. Ram Pickup
The upsets in the sedan and crossover market haven’t been large enough to touch the pickups that routinely lead the top 10. As such, the Ram Pickup retained its customary position as the third-best selling vehicle in the U.S. in August, though sales slid a marginal 0.3% to 40,202 units. Year-to-date, the Ram remains up 4.6%, to 308,970.
2. Chevrolet Silverado
Trucking into second place (see what we did there?), the Chevrolet Silverado had itself a challenging August to land at 52,408 sales for the period, down 4.7% against year-ago figures. To date, Silverado sales have slumped 1.8%, at 380,176 sales since January.
1. Ford F-Series
Buyers continue to flock to the Ford F-Series in droves, though not in the numbers they used to. F-Series sales slumped 6.1% for the month, at 66,946 models moved, to land at 527,847 sales in total for 2016 so far — up 6.7%. The August weakness could in part be attributed to anticipation for the new Super Duty models, which will be rolling out to dealers over the next few months.