Dealership Experience

10 takeaways from the last 10 years of U.S. auto sales

Ford trucks reigned supreme over the last decade.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

For decades, Kelley Blue Book has been studying auto sales trends and reporting on those findings. To mark the close of the decade, 2010-2020, KBB looked back at the numbers for the last 10 years and found some surprising things.

The single best sales month was December 2016.

Nico Rosberg 2016 F1 Champtionship

Photo by Getty Images

There was a lot going on in 2016, not the least exciting of which was Nico Rosberg wining the F1 Championship. Automakers sold more vehicles in 2016 than they did at any other point during the decade. The December 2016 sales capped off a record year. Here's the top five months over the decade by volume:

  • December 2016: 1,683,408
  • March 2018: 1,648,222
  • May 2015: 1,634,833
  • December 2015: 1,634,329
  • August 2019: 1,632,287

Subaru might have had the best decade of everyone.

2020 Subaru Outback

Photo courtesy of Subaru of America, Inc.

Sure, Ford sold a lot of trucks and Nissan saw tremendous early-decade growth in its SUV lineup, but Subaru is the real winner. In 2010, Subaru sold 263,000 vehicles in the U.S. By the end of the decade, in 2019, they sold 700,000. They probably would have sold more but they scaled back production to launch two new vehicles at the end of the decade.

Most forecasts were wrong about December 2019, but that doesn't mean it was a great month.

2020 Ram 1500

Photo courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

Analysts forecasted weak sales for the last month of 2019 but the market surprised them delivering a strong result. However, December 2019 was only the 26th best-selling month of the decade according to KBB, which measured 1,506,401 units sold. See the best-selling trucks of 2019 here.

Volvo's best month was the last month of the decade.

2019 Volvo XC60

Photo courtesy of Volvo Car Corporation

Volvo left the decade with the best month it has had in 10 years. The company sold 12,360 units. However, Volvo had higher sales in the months prior to the Great Recession.

Ford delivered the highest monthly sales total of all automakers in the last 10 years.

2019 Ford Focus

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

While some may bemoan the Blue Oval's current state of automotive affairs, they had a really great month five and a half years ago. In May 2014, Ford sold 244,501 vehicles, roughly 15.5% of the entire industry's sales for the month. In that single month, Ford sold more vehicles than Smart did in the entire decade. See the best-selling new cars of 2019 here.

Buyers are spending more on their cars than ever before.

2020 Toyota Highlander

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

According to KBB, "At the end of 2011, the average transaction price (ATP) for a new vehicle in the U.S. was near $30,000. In February 2015, ATP for the month was above $33,000 for the first time ($33,056). It broke through $35,000 in June of 2017, and passed $37,000 later that year, in December when transaction prices commonly peak due to the high volume of luxury vehicle sales. Transaction prices were above $38,000 through the final three months of 2019. The Kelley Blue Book ATP in December 2019 was $38,767 – the highest point in the past decade."

See the best-selling new SUVs of 2019 here.

Tesla came to play.

2019 Tesla Model3

Photo courtesy of Tesla

In 2010 and 2011, Tesla wasn't really on anyone's radar and now it's a household name. KBB estimates that Tesla sold 12 vehicles in June 2012. They reached 10,000 in sales per month in March 2018 and hit peak monthly sales in December 2018 when 32,600 vehicles were sold.

High-performance cars were costliest in January 2019.

2020 Ferrari Roma

Photo courtesy of Ferrari N.V.

Everyone seems to drive a Toyota RAV4 or a Honda Civic. For the select few wealthy enough to enjoy the fruits of the Acura NSX, Ford GT, and anything with a horse logo on it, this decade was kind for options but expensive. KBB says that in January 2019, the ATP for the segment peaked for the decade at $121,739.

With the Trump Tax Cuts came more fleet sales.

2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter

Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

According to KBB, "Six of the Top 10 best months for fleet sales in the past decade occurred after the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. In May 2019, an estimated 425,000 vehicles were sold to fleet buyers, a record 27 percent of total U.S. sales. Fleet, it's worth noting, generally accounts for 20% of sales in a given month."

There was never a time in the last 10 years that the Ford F-Series was not the best-selling vehicle in the U.S.

2020 Ford Super Duty

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Ten straight years of month-to-month dominance. Muhammed Ali wasn't even that good. Ford has sold 7,578,608 F-Series pickups in the last decade - one every 41 seconds. The best month for the F-Series was December 2017 where, in a single month, the company sold 89,385 F-Series trucks.

Some of the usual suspects make up the top-tier of the Consumer Reports rankings.

Photo courtesy of Genesis Motors

Want to buy a new refrigerator? They have a ranking for that. Consumer Reports also takes a close look at automotive brands rating them based on a combination of feedback from testing and member surveys. Each year they release a list ranking all the brands sold in the U.S.

Here's how Consumer Reports determines their rankings, straight from the horse's mouth:

Brand report cards are built on an average of the Overall Score for each model tested. A brand must have at least two models tested to be included. The Overall Score is based on four key factors: road test, reliability, owner satisfaction, and safety.

• The road-test scores are for vehicles purchased by CR and run through more than 50 tests.
• Reliability predictions are based on problems reported by CR members in 17 trouble areas.
• Owner satisfaction from surveyed CR members reflects whether drivers would purchase the same car if they had it to do again.
• Safety includes crash-test results and extra points awarded for proven advanced safety features that come standard for the model.

From worst to first, check out how the brands scored below.

No. 33 - Fiat

Fiat 500X Trekking

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

Fiat is the lowest ranked brand in the annual Consumer Reports ratings. They earned a 43/100 score and had no vehicles recommended by Consumer Reports.

No. 32 - Mitsubishi

Mitsubishi Mirage

Photo courtesy of Mitsubishi Motors

Mitsubishi sank two spots to the next-to-last position with a score of 46/100. None of their vehicles are recommended by Consumer Reports.

No. 31 - Jeep

Jeep Gladiator

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

Jeep earned a 49/100 score and sank two places from their 2019 position. The company has only one product Consumer Reports would recommend out of the six they tested.

No. 30 - Land Rover

2020 Land Rover Defender

Photo courtesy of Land Rover

Land Rover earned a 50/100 in the ratings but none of its products are recommended by Consumer Reports.

No. 29 - Cadillac

2020 Cadillac CT6

Photo courtesy of Cadillac

Cadillac's brand score of 57/100 helped it fall three places in the 2020 rankings. Consumer Reports does not recommend any of Cadillac's products.

No. 28 - Jaguar

2021 Jaguar F-Type

Photo courtesy of Jaguar

Jaguar climes four places in 2020 with a score to 57/100.

No. 27 - Alfa Romeo

Alfa Romeo 4C

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

Alfa Romeo scored a 59/100, the same as the No. 26 company. That's up one place from 2019's standing.

No. 26 - GMC

GMC Acadia AT4

Photo courtesy of GMC

GMC is the highest rated brand that scored a "zero" in the question of which products Consumer Reports would recommend. They tested six. Overall, the company earned a 59/100.

No. 25 - Chevrolet

Chevrolet Camaro

Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

Chevy is down one place in 2020, scoring 61/100.

No. 24 - Acura

Acura ILX

Photo courtesy of Honda of American Mfg., Inc.

Acura has the same score as the No. 23 place brand (66/100) but had higher road test scores.

No. 23 - Ford

Ford Expedition

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Ford has fallen three places in 2020 with a 66/100 score, the same as what Acura got.

No. 22 - Volvo

Volvo XC60

​​Photo courtesy of Volvo Car Corporation

Volvo pops up one spot in Consumer Reports' rankings with its 67/100 score.

No. 21 - Dodge

Dodge Charger

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

Dodge is up four places in 2020 earning a 68/100 score.

No. 20 - Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz GLA

Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

With its 68/100 score, Mercedes-Benz finds itself three spots lower on the list than where it ended up last year.

No. 19 - Buick

Buick Envision

Photo courtesy of Buick

Buick slid down one spot with its 69/100 score, but still played better than most of the luxury brands on the list.

No. 18 - Chrysler

Chrysler 300

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

Chrysler is up four places with a score of 69/100 for 2020. Its vehicles earned a very good 85/100 in road testing.

No. 17 - Nissan

Nissan Sentra

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Nissan jumped four places to No. 17 earning 70/100.

No. 16 - Volkswagen

Volkswagen Atlas

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

No. 16 and 17 achieved the same 70/100 score. Volkswagen had better road-test scores, however.

No. 15 - Honda

Honda Passport

Photo courtesy of Honda of America Mfg, Inc.

Honda fell two places and earned a 72/100 score in this year's rankings.

No. 14 - Infiniti

Infiniti QX50

Photo courtesy of Infiniti Motors

Infiniti maintained its spot from 2019 getting a 73/100.

No. 13 - Lincoln

Lincoln Corsair

Photo courtesy of Lincoln Motor Company

Lincoln fell five spots in this year's rankings getting a 73/100 score despite earning a respectable 81/100 in road testing.

No. 12 - Toyota

Toyota Camry TRD

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

Toyota fell three places in this year's rankings, scoring the same as the Nos, 14, 13, and 11 place brands with a 73/100.

No. 11 - Tesla

Tesla Model X Photo courtesy of Tesla Motors

Tesla was the biggest mover in this year's rankings, gong up eight places to end up at No. 11. The company scored 73/100.

No. 10 - MINI

Mini Cooper Electric

Photo courtesy of MINI

Mini is up five places in the 2020 rankings compared to 2019 earning a 74/100 score.

No. 9 - Kia

Kia Sportage

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Kia hopped up three spots in the rankings earning a 74/100, the same as the tenth place finisher.

No. 8 - BMW

BMW X7

Photo courtesy of BMW

BMW slipped one spot from their 2019 ranking, but earned the same score as the seventh place brand. The company earned high road test scores (88/100).

No. 7 - Hyundai

Hyundai Palisade

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

Hyundai jumped three spots in the 2020 rankings, earning a 75/100 score.

No. 6 - Audi

Audi Q7

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

While Audi scored the same as the brand in the fifth position (77/100), the automaker had higher owner satisfaction scores than the No. 5 place company.

No. 5 - Lexus

Lexus LX

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

Lexus bested its mass market counterpart with its 77/100 score. The luxury automaker is in the same position this year as they were in 2019.

No. 4 - Mazda

Mazda CX-5

Photo courtesy of Mazda North American Operations

Mazda moved up two spots from where they placed in 2019 thanks to a 79/100 score.

No. 3 - Subaru

Subaru Crosstrek

Photo courtesy of Subaru of America Inc.

Subaru moved down two places from their 2019 ranking coming in third with a score of 81/100.

No. 2 - Genesis

Genesis G70

Photo courtesy of Genesis Motors

Genesis placed second with an 84/100 score, keeping their placement unchanged since 2019.

No. 1 - Porsche

Porsche Carrera

Photo courtesy of Porsche AG

Porsche scored 86/100, moving them up two places from 2019 and securing the German automaker the top spot in Consumer Reports' rankings.

A new program by Ford and Lincoln allows app users to shop for Nationwide insurance via app.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Shopping for new insurance? Ford and Lincoln have partnered with Nationwide to help owners of the companies' vehicles obtain the right type of insurance for their needs. All the "paperwork" can be done electronically via the FordPass or Lincoln Way app.

Ford Insure and Lincoln Motor Company Insure, powered by Nationwide, offer an all-digital way to secure usage-based insurance coverage through Ford Motor Credit Company's licensed insurance agency. As part of the usage-based insurance plan, Ford Insure and Lincoln Motor Company Insure policyholders consent to be enrolled in Nationwide's SmartRide usage-based insurance program and will share their vehicle connectivity information with Nationwide for the initial six-month policy.

2020 Lincoln Corsair A number of Ford and Lincoln models are eligible for the insurance.Photo courtesy of Lincoln Motor Company

To get a quote, users simply have to log on to their FordPass or Lincoln Way app, click on the insurance tile, fill in some information, and submit the information. To assist with the process, the app automatically fills in key vehicle information on the form.

According to a release, "customers in 39 states with qualifying 2020 Ford or Lincoln vehicles can purchase a policy in minutes and become eligible to save up to 40 percent."

"This is the latest way we're improving the customer experience," said Elena Ford, chief customer experience officer at Ford Motor Company. "Insure makes getting insurance easier for connected-vehicle customers to cover one of their biggest investments – their vehicle – while saving money."

Once customers purchase a policy, the connected vehicle will track and share distance driven, hard braking and accelerating, idle time and night driving to establish a policy rate for renewal. The data are shared with Nationwide through the vehicle's embedded modem, eliminating the need for a special app or vehicle plug-in device. Any discount will be applied when the policy is renewed.

2020 Lincoln Aviator Users in 39 states are eligible for the insurance.Photo courtesy of Lincoln Motor Company

As part of the plan, customers will have access to Nationwide's standard Accident Forgiveness option, as well as crash repairs using genuine Ford parts.

"Customers want to be able to purchase auto insurance as quickly and easily as possible," said Brad Lemons, Nationwide's senior vice president of Personal Lines Product and Underwriting. "Ford and Nationwide are bringing together the best of our businesses to help make this happen in a way that is sure to delight our customers."

States where Ford Insure and Lincoln Motor Company Insure are available include: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Washington, D.C. Launches in other states are planned over time.

The insurance offer starts with these models: 2020 Ford Explorer, Fusion, Mustang, Transit Connect, Escape, Edge, EcoSport, Expedition, F-Series Super Duty, Transit, Ranger and the upcoming all-new 2021 F-150; and 2020 Lincoln Aviator, MKZ, Corsair, Nautilus and Navigator.