In Demand: The Cars With the Highest Sales Gains in September

Auto sales have fallen slightly throughout 2018, and that trend continued in September. Overall, the industry dipped just over 5% last month, which still counts as a solid mark after the record numbers it posted in 2017.

Meanwhile, the other trends in the industry — namely, the surge of SUVs and pickup trucks — also continued though the month. More people are passing over small and midsize cars in favor of larger platforms every month.

However, SUVs aren’t the only vehicles making waves on the U.S. market. In September, several electric cars also made enormous gains over their performances in 2017. Here are the 10 vehicles that showed the biggest gains, year over year, among models with more than 2,000 sales.

10. Infiniti GX80

2018 Infiniti QX80 | Infiniti
  • Increase: 71%

The bulky Infiniti QX80 got a refresh for 2018, and U.S. consumers are definitely taking to the latest model (now the 2019) that starts at $65,100. Sales reached 2,086 units in September, which represented a 77% jump over the prior year. Large sedans may be going the way of the dinosaur, but large SUVs are not.

9. Chevrolet Sonic

Chevrolet Sonic | Micah Wright/Autos Cheat Sheet
  • Increase: 77%

While sales of the subcompact Chevrolet Sonic cratered in the first half of 2018, the nameplate made a comeback in the third quarter. Over the three months, Sonic average 2,400 sales a month, which equaled a 77% improvement over September 2017. This car may not have a bright future ahead, but it’s selling enough to make it to 2019.

8. Volkswagen Tiguan

2018 Volkswagen Tiguan
2018 Volkswagen Tiguan | Volkswagen
  • Increase: 84%

The Volkswagen Tiguan, redesigned for 2018, has been a major hit since it started landing in dealerships this year. In August, it posted the biggest gains of any high-volume vehicle on the U.S. market. While Tiguan didn’t sustain that torrid pace, its 7,918 sales still represented an 84% improvement.

7. Jeep Cherokee

2019 Jeep Cherokee | Fiat Chrysler
  • Increase: 87%

The revamped Jeep Cherokee is delivering exactly the boost an automaker hopes will happen after improvements for the new model year. In September, it logged close to 24,000 sales, which was good for 11th overall on the U.S. market. That figure represented nearly double its sales a year earlier

6. GMC Yukon

2018 Yukon XL
2018 GMC Yukon XL | General Motors
  • Increase: 91%

Over the last few months, consumers bought an unusually high amount of extra-large SUVS, with everything from Ford Expedition to Lincoln Navigator and Cadillac Escalade posting big gains. None improved more, year over year, than GMC Yukon XL, which jumped 91% with 6,874 sales.

5. Tesla Model X

Tesla Model X | Tesla
  • Increase: 99%

It’s been a year of high drama for Tesla and CEO Elon Musk, but the electric car maker can celebrate multiple sales milestones in 2018. Its Model 3 sport sedan shattered the EV sales record in July (five months early) while the other models in its lineup have kept record paces of their own.

As for the Model X performance SUV, buyers shrugged off its poor reliability ratings and bought 3,975 models in September. That represented double its sales total from the previous year.

 4. BMW X3

2018 BMW X3 | BMW
  • Increase: 193%

BMW hit a home run with the X3 redesign. The compact SUV nearly tripled its sales from the previous year in September, posting a total of 6,446 units. BMW may have invested heavily in the new 3 Series sedan and i3 electric car, but it will be a tall order for either to perform on the level the X3 has these past few months.

3. Dodge Grand Caravan

2019 Dodge Grand Caravan | Dodge
  • Increase: 344%

If you look at the minivan reliability ratings, there’s isn’t much for the Dodge Grand Caravan to boast about. Its sales figures, on the other hand, are a different story. Whether heavy incentives or some other factor enticed buyers in September, Grand Caravan’s 13,829 sales were more than four times its total the previous year.

2. Honda Clarity

2018 Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid | Eric Schaal/The Cheat Sheet
  • Increase: 3,233%

Sales of the Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid, EV, and fuel-cell vehicle were just getting going in fall 2017. A year later, the alternative-fuel line had its best month to date with 2,200 sales, and almost all of them (2,028) belong to the plug-in hybrid.

If you get a chance to get behind the wheel of the plug-in hybrid, you’ll see why this car would be in demand. Because of its large EV battery (enough for 47 miles of all-electric driving), buyers can claim both the federal EV tax credit and many state incentives with the Clarity PHEV.

1. Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3 | Tesla
  • Increase: 18,917%

If we told you Tesla Model 3 gained 18,917% year over year, would you believe it? Well, exactly one year ago (September 2017), Tesla delivered only a few dozen Model 3s per week (117 total) as a sort of test-run for its new EV.

In September 2018, at the peak of the automaker’s production capacity, Tesla delivered 22,250 to U.S. buyers. That outpaced most of the auto industry, including the Toyota Corolla and Jeep Grand Cherokee. (Model 3 checked in at No. 13 overall on the U.S. market.)

So, yes, the increase was a shade under 19,000%. For the year, Model 3 sales (78,667 units) are up over 67,000%.

Sales stats sourced at