Strong sales by Volvo and Jaguar are giving the luxury market in the U.S. a new look and challenging for the first time in a decade the dominance of BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Lexus.
Mercedes-Benz is the top luxury brand in the U.S. and it increased its sales by 7% during July as the industry seasonally adjusted annual rate of sales topped 17.88 million units, the best number so far this year. But both BMW and Lexus saw their sales decline. BMW sales dropped 4% and Lexus sales dropped 6.5%
Volvo and Jaguar sales jumped dramatically in July and both brands are winning converts this year and moving up on other brands that appeal to affluent luxury buyers, such as Infiniti and Acura. During July, JLR sold only about 500 fewer vehicles than Infiniti, according to the latest sales reports.
“We are very pleased to have both Jaguar and Land Rover being among the fastest growing brands in the U.S. automotive industry,” said Joe Eberhardt, president and CEO, Jaguar Land Rover, North America, LLC.
“We now have the expanded Jaguar line-up in showrooms, and the XE and F-Pace are continuing to bring new customers to the brand. The Land Rover brand established a new record for July sales in the U.S. supported by the continued growth of its newest model, Discovery Sport,” he said.
(U.S. new vehicle sales sputter a bit in July. For more, Click Here.)
Eberhardt noted in an interview earlier this year that he did not expect to challenge either BMW or Mercedes-Benz, both of which have broad line-ups. But JLR was certainly in a position to grow its sales with the introduction of new vehicles, particularly the Jaguar F-Pace.
Jaguar sales were 3,398 units, a 174% increase from 1,242 units in July 2015; Land Rover sales reached 6,075 units, up 21% from record sales of 5,011 units in July 2015; Jaguar Land Rover July U.S. sales for both brands hit 9,473 units, a 51% increase from 6,253 units in July 2015 and the best July sales month ever.
Year-to-date, Jaguar Land Rover U.S. sales reached 57,112, up 23% from 46,401 units in 2015. For the calendar year, Jaguar sales reached 14,389, up 59% form 9,078 units in 2015; making it the leading brand in the industry based on year-on-year performance. Land Rover is fourth in year-to-date sales growth in the U.S. automotive industry, reaching 42,723 units, up 14% from 37,323 units in 2015.
(Despite solid July sales, Ford CFO sees U.S. auto recovery at an end. To find out why, Click Here.)
Volvo Car USA, LLC, reported U.S. sales of 8,584 vehicles, a 52.8% increase versus July 2015 and marking the 13th consecutive month the company posted double digit sales growth. Year-to-date sales are up 29.3% year-over-year, the company said.
“July proved to be another exciting month for Volvo in the US,” said Lex Kerssemakers, president and CEO, Volvo Car USA. “Not only did we see strong sales on XC90, but we also saw that momentum carry through to our other carlines, signaling great success for the brand.”
Tom Libby, an analyst with IHS Automotive, said new products have become critical for manufacturers looking to grow sales in an increasingly competitive market.
(Some analysts think that U.S. auto sales have hit their peak. Click Here for the reasons.)
“Despite the long-anticipated slowdown that has arrived, some of the underlying trends of the past several years are still apparent in the July sales results; these include the relative strength of brands with fresh and broad crossover offerings,” he noted.