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.

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New sports car

2022 Subaru BRZ pricing announced

The BRZ is all-new for 2022.

Subaru

Earlier this year, Subaru announced the all-new BRZ sports car, which is coming this fall to replace the previous generation of the car that was discontinued in 2020. It, along with its Toyota cousin, the 86, get more power, updated interiors, and better technology than their predecessors.

The BRZ Premium is the base trim of the car. It starts at $28,955 after destination. Adding an automatic transmission drives the price up by $1,600 to $30,555. The BRZ Limited starts at $31,455 after destination, which shifts to $33,255 with an automatic transmission.


2022 Subaru BRZ The BRZ's compact size and manual transmission make it enthusiast friendly.


The 2022 BRZ gets a new 2.4-liter four-cylinder Boxer engine that produces 228 horsepower. Part of the appeal of small, sporty cars like BRZ is that they are infinitely more fun to drive than larger, more computerized vehicles. To that end, the car comes standard with a six-speed close-ratio manual transmission. Buyers can opt to swap in a six-speed automatic transmission, but that almost defeats the point of the car. A Torsen limited-slip differential, vehicle stability control with track mode, and 17-inch wheels round out the car's standard performance features.

Inside, the BRZ comes with an 8-inch touchscreen that runs Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth, SiriusXM radio, and dual-zone automatic climate controls. A new gauge cluster display can show amps, coolant temperatures, or the car's lateral g-forces, and when track mode is engaged, the tachometer shifts from a circular to a color linear graph.


2022 Subaru BRZ An updated interior and tech are highlights of the new BRZ,

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Updated vehicle lineup

Toyota is going more places in 2022 and beyond

Toyota is giving its spunky 86 sports car a makeover for 2022.

Toyota

"Let's Go Places", Toyota's tagline adopted nearly a decade ago, speaks to the automaker's goal of "evolution and commitment to leading through innovation, enriching lives and connecting with customers in new ways they define". Today, Toyota has sold more than 15 million vehicles and is continuing to innovate with connected technologies and alternative powertrains and is global leader of hybrid electric vehicles.

Toyota plans to offer approximately 70 electrified models globally by 2025, in a lineup that will feature 15 dedicated battery-electric vehicles (BEVs), including seven in the new the "bZ" (Beyond Zero) brand and also plans to bring electrification to its truck lineup.

The Japanese manufacturer recently invited a cadre of journalists to its U.S. headquarters in Plano, Texas, to learn more about the company's latest developments and goals, as well as to hear about new and concept vehicles from both Toyota and luxury stablemate Lexus, during a three-day event that was akin to a Toyota-centric auto show. There were ride and drive opportunities in Plano and at the nearby Eagle Canyon Raceway, with a high-speed track and off-road course and even a "secret reveal" of the all-new Tundra. The breadth of new offerings includes models from every segment of the auto market, ranging from BEV to truck and high-performance.


Toyota bZ4X Concept The bZ4X shows Toyota's vision for its bZ (Beyond Zero) electric sub-brand.Toyota


Of the nearly two dozen vehicles on the roster, we selected the following models to highlight:

**The Toyota bZ4X Concept is Toyota's vision for the first of a global series of battery-electric vehicles sold under the "Toyota bZ" (Beyond Zero) brand. Jointly developed with Subaru, the sleek SUV is close in size to the RAV4 and will have a 300-mile range; the AWD model has stunning and chiseled looks, 20-inch wheels and showcases the new e-TNGA BEV-dedicated platform. Notable is the long wheelbase with short overhangs and open-concept interior, with a "bridge" style center console, a large infotainment screen and a unique digital gauge for instrumentation.

Heralded as the vehicle that revived Toyota's sportscar lineage, the all-new 2022 GR 86 hit the track with pro drivers before meriting its Gazoo Racing badge. The lightweight 2+2 rear-drive sports coupe has been engineered with more rigidity, and a horsepower bump from 205 to 228. Added torque moves the needle from 156 to 184 lb.-ft. from its naturally-aspirated 2.4-liter flat-four boxer engine, when set up with a manual transmission; peak torque is lower in the rpm range to bring a more linear driving feel. Zero to 60 times have dropped from 7 to 6.1 seconds for the manual and moved from 8 to 6.6 seconds for the automatic.

The Gazoo team put their mark on front and rear frame reinforcements; weight-shaving components, such as aluminum roof panels and fenders; new aerodynamic body elements, a functional MATRIX "G" Mesh grille and exterior air vents. The refashioned interior gets race-inspired touches and Alcantara-trimmed front buckets. Onboard are a host of updated technologies and audio/communications features; it comes in two grades, GR 86 and GR 86 Premium.


2022 Toyota Supra A91-CF Toyota will offer just 600 Carbon Fiber Edition Supras when it goes on sale in fall 2021.Toyota


The GR Supra A91-CF (Carbon Fiber) Edition goes on sale in the fall; only 600 will be available in North America. Exterior design features include numerous carbon fiber elements; a functional aero kit; duckbill rear spoiler; special edition forged 19-inch matte-black wheels with red calipers and a Toyota Supra logo; and new colors. Inside the red-and-black themed cabin with Alcantara-and-leather and carbon-fiber trim are heated sport seats and a collection of top standard features. A turbocharged three-liter inline-six with an eight-speed transmission has paddle shifters and brings zero-to-60 in 3.9 seconds. Performance parts include adaptive Variable Sport suspension, an active rear sport differential, and front Brembo brakes with red calipers.

Both cars offer complimentary one-year memberships to the National Auto Sport Association (NASA) comes with instruction from experts and the opportunity to participate in a High-Performance Driving Event.

Two new Tacomas add choices, capability and other new features to Toyota's mid-sized truck lineup.

The 2022 Tacoma TRD Pro bumps up off-road performance with a 1.5-inch front/.05 rear lift; TRD-tuned 2.5-inch Fox internal bypass shocks, and new suspension components, using machine-forged aluminum construction on the pickup's control arms. Toyota Racing Development's upgrades bring improvements that aid in obstacle clearance with a 36.4-degree approach, 24.7-degree departure, and 26.6-degree breakover angles. New black TRD wheels make a wider track width than stock versions, while new Goodyear Territory all-terrain tires have an aggressive sidewall design. A new exclusive Electric Lime Metallic color is added to the mix. New hood graphics are available that complement the blacked-out hood scoop. A color-keyed rear bumper, door handles and power outside mirrors with turn signal indicators will trim the dual-color styling theme, along with black overfenders and new badging. An aluminum front skid plate with red TRD lettering provides additional trail protection. Unique LED headlights with sequential turn signals feature TRD Pro inserts, while Rigid Industries LED fog lights help illuminate the road and trails ahead.


2022 Toyota Tacoma The Tacoma gets even more off-road goodies for the 2022 model year.Toyota


Based on the Tacoma TRD Off-Road 4×4 Double Cab short-bed model, the TRD Pro is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 and is available with a 6-speed manual or 6-speed auto. Nifty features include a Multi Terrain Monitor that displays front-, rear- and side-camera views on the 8-inch multimedia touchscreen; the instrument panel's 4.2-inch color Multi-Information Display has an inclinometer and tilt gauge. Inside are TRD-themed black leather-trimmed heated front seats, TRD shift knob, and TRD Pro all-weather floor mats., plus a standard moonroof and Toyota's Safety Star System, along with a broad array of technologies.

The 2022 Tacoma Trail Edition, built on the Tacoma 4×4 Double Cab, upgrades off-road performance. It is1.1 inches higher in front and boasts an approach angle of 34 degrees; the rear is lifted 0.5 inches for a departure angle of 23.6 degrees; breakover angle is improved at 26.4 degrees. Unique styling comes with four exterior color choices, black badging accents and a new Trail Edition badge on the rear tailgate. Rear bumpers are now color-keyed to match the exterior grille with new unique bronze-colored lettering and new bronze-finished wheels that offer a 0.5-inch wider track width both front and rear and are fitted with new Goodyear all-terrain tires with an aggressive sidewall tread pattern. New is lockable bed storage while the driver's side storage includes insulation and can double as a cooler. It's also equipped with a 120V power outlet in the bed. Standard is a 3.5-liter V6 engine (278 horsepower and 265 lb.-ft. of torque) and locking rear differential, as well as the Tacoma Tow Package, with a maximum towing capacity of 6,400 pounds.

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