The Hottest-Selling Vehicles From the Auto Industry’s Stagnant August

As predicted, 2018 auto sales have not been as strong as they were last year. Even as dealerships offer enticing incentives on new and outgoing models, consumers are just not on the hunt for vehicles the way they were in 2017.

However, that doesn’t mean all automakers are seeing their sales decline. If your product lineup is heavy on SUVs and four-wheel-drive vehicles, chances are you have a winning formula in this market.

In fact, some models are making massive gains compared to their numbers from a year ago. Here are 10 high-volume vehicles that showed the biggest jump in August 2018 sales.

10. Acura MDX

2019 Acura MDX A-Spec | Acura
  • 38% increase

There’s a new MDX model in Acura dealerships, and consumers are jumping all over it in its first weeks of availability. For 2019, MDX got a revamped transmission, standard idle-stop, and more. That led to 6,252 sales in August, which was 38% better than the year before.

9. Audi Q5

2018 Audi Q5 | Audi
  • 43% increase

You might not be able to tell by looking, but the Audi Q5 is completely redesigned and blowing past its sales figures from the year before. Through the first eight months of this year, Q5 has gained 22% over its 2017 numbers. In August, the SUV jumped 43% over the year prior.

8. Kia Optima

2018 Kia Optima | Kia
  • 57% increase

While sales of sedans are slipping every year, models like the Kia Optima are not going quietly. The highly regarded midsize car posted over 11,000 sales in August. While that wasn’t enough to push the 2018 totals even with the prior year, it represented a 57% surge for the month.

7. Honda Pilot

Honda Pilot Elite | Honda
  • 60% increase

While the Honda Pilot is several years removed from its most recent redesign, it did get some updates for 2019. The list includes the brand’s advanced safety tech coming to all models and better standard features for upper trims. These changes have played well with consumers, who pushed Pilot to post 60% gains in August. (It’s also up 41% for the year.)

6. Jeep Compass

2018 Jeep Compass | Fiat-Chrysler
  • 76% increase

It’s a good time to be an SUV brand, and Jeep is one of the few double-digit gainers among automakers in 2018. One of its top-performing models is Compass, which racked up better than 16,000 sales last month. Overall, that represented a 76% gain over the stats from 2017.

5. Jeep Cherokee

2019 Jeep Cherokee | Fiat Chrysler
  • 85% increase

The refreshed Jeep Cherokee is posting huge numbers in 2018. Overall, it has gained close to 50% over the previous year’s sales numbers. In August, Jeep sold nearly 22,000 Cherokees across the country, which represented an 85% surge from last year around this time.

4. Ford Expedition

Front view of 2018 Ford Expedition Platinum with ferris wheel in background
2018 Ford Expedition Platinum | Eric Schaal/The Cheat Sheet
  • 95% increase

While there is a lot to like about the Ford Expedition that got redesigned for 2018, that hasn’t necessarily translated into sales for Blue Oval dealers this year. Through August, Expedition was about even with the numbers from the past year. However, in August, the large SUV posted huge gains with nearly 5,500 sales. That represented a 95% increase.

3. Nissan Murano

Nissan Murano | Nissan
  • 97% increase

As Nissan cues up a slightly refreshed Murano for the 2019 model year, deals on the 2018 model have had this crossover flying off lots. Sales nearly doubled in August (+97%) compared to a year before, with over 9,600 Muranos finding new homes in that period.

2. BMW X3

2018 BMW X3 | BMW
  • 117% increase

With luxury vehicle sales increasing as much as small SUV numbers, it’s only a mild surprise how well the redesigned BMW X3 is doing on the U.S. market. Compared to August 2017 (2,918 sales), BMW dealers just blew those numbers out of the water, breaking 6,000 for the past month (+117%). All the excellent work the automaker did on the new model seems to have paid off.

1. Volkswagen Tiguan

2018 Volkswagen Tiguan
2018 Volkswagen Tiguan | Volkswagen
  • 143% increase

It didn’t take long for U.S. auto consumers to forget Dieselgate and start buying Volkswagens in bulk again. In fact, all it took was a few new quality SUVs from the German automaker. Count the Tiguan, which grew in size and added many standard features for 2018, among the big winners for the brand.

In August, following a performance of 3,521 sales a year ago, Volkswagen dealers just posted 8,557 sales. That was good for a 143% increase and was easily the biggest gain of any volume seller on the U.S. market.