Skip to main content

Sometimes you just need some good old-fashioned stats. When it comes to the automotive industry, we wanted to peel back the onion and dig up some of the most interesting numbers from 2019. How many vehicles sold last year here in the U.S.? It may be difficult to predict what the 2020 car sales landscape will look like, especially now.

We can, however, at least take a closer look at how 2019 wrapped up, to provide a benchmark as we navigate forward.

The car sales stats from 2019

In total, automakers sold more than 17 million vehicles in the United States last year. This total encompasses all varieties and models. Around 12.2 million over the last ten years were light trucks and 529,500 were considered heavy-duty pickups. General Motors tops the automaker lists of most total units sold last year, across a variety of vehicle classes.

How 2019 compares to buying trends in previous years

For the fifth consecutive year, vehicle enthusiast-Americans bought at or above the 17 million mark, indicating car sales may be pretty steady year over year. That total might at first glance seem consistent, but digging deeper, there are other factors at play.

Some experts suggest the sales are actually pivoting to a slower trajectory with original prediction models showing 2020 to be 16.2-17.1 million sold. Of course, with today’s uncertainty in the market and temporary closures in place, it’s hard to say how the numbers will shake out when it comes time to tally the year-end totals.

Why 2019 was a good year

There are some experts who suggest that while the overall sales numbers may drop slightly, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it’s a sign that vehicles are lasting longer than before. The economy last year was also robust as unemployment rates were low, credit was available, and most consumers found themselves financially healthy. Those who needed new cars could buy them. Many others were able to squeeze one more year out of their vehicles before having to replace them.

It was a great year for a few automakers too. Some of the most popular cars sold last year include the Ford Fusion, the Hyundai Elantra, and the Nissan Sentra. At the top of the most sold crossovers are fan favorites like the Ford Explorer, the Subaru Outback, and the Jeep Cherokee. The pickup trucks were hot, and some of the most significant numbers sold include the GMC Sierra, the Toyota Tacoma, and the Chevrolet Silverado.

Other fun car stats worth mentioning

Year-end analysis always presents an opportunity to gain perspective and learn something new. By the end of this year, for example, there may be close to 276 million cars on the road in the U.S.

Between January and July of 2019, Tesla sold 81,100 Model 3 cars. The used car market represents over $177 billion in the U.S. The Honda Accord is the most popular car in ten states. The full-size SUV segment that includes the Chevy Tahoe, the Toyota Land Cruiser and the Nissan Armada represents 5% of the total sold last year.

While the last five years of car sales have remained steady, it’s hard to say how the rest of this year pans out. Most dealers will tell you the spring usually brings an influx of consumers looking to trade. This spring looks to be shaping out differently.

One thing is for certain; people will continue to need their cars and reliable transportation. Any fluctuation in buying trends won’t deter Americans from wanting their sports cars, family SUVs, and off-roading pickups. The world may be on hold for the moment, but it will be buying and driving season again soon.