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Five Fun Facts About May Car Sales Totals

When followed on a daily basis, there’s so much going on at any one time in the automotive sector that it’s sometimes easy to lose sight of the forest for the trees. Here we take a look at automotive sales for the month of May as reported by Kelley Blue Book, and pull out five fun facts that say a lot, a little or nothing at all about the current state of affairs in the industry. Note that figures cited refer to the U.S. market.

1 – 291 models

In the month of May, a total of 291 different new-vehicle models attracted at least one buyer in the United States. Although, that doesn’t mean there are actually 291 new 2019 or 2020 models available to consumers. How is that? Because the Toyota FJ Cruiser and Dodge Avenger each registered one sale; the two models have been discontinued for several years.

Other fun fact: the 30 most popular models in the month of May make up 51% of total vehicle sales.

Photo: D.Boshouwers

2 – New 2014 Volkswagen Jettas and Passats

It is still possible to find on the U.S. market new 2014 Volkswagen Jetta and Passat models that never sold. Not surprisingly, these are diesel-powered cars that had not yet sold when the diesel-emissions scandal hit in September 2015.

Volkswagen U.S. is offering a $5,000 incentive to finally get rid of these old new models. It may take more than that to get buyers to bite…

2014 Volkswagen Jetta
Photo: Volkswagen
2014 Volkswagen Jetta
2014 Volkswagen Passat
Photo: Volkswagen
2014 Volkswagen Passat

3 – 306 days

Fiat sure doesn’t have it easy these days in North America, and one other damning statistic that came out KBB’s report on May 2019 sales involves the number of days vehicle models stay on dealers’ lost before they sell.

Generally, the average vehicle is expected to spend 30 to 60 days on a car lot before being sold. In the case of the Fiat 500, that figure is averaging 201 days. It’s even worse for the 124 Spider, twin to the Mazda MX-5, which languishes an average of 306 days on FCA dealers’ lots before finding a taker.

Fiat 500
Photo: Fiat
Fiat 500
Fiat 124 Spider
Photo: Fiat
Fiat 124 Spider

4 – Volvo and Mitsubishi

Volvo and Mitsubishi operate at nearly opposite ends of the automotive universe, figuratively and literally. And yet, the manufacturers racked up virtually sales totals in May in the foreign market that is the U.S. Volvo sold 9,761 units, while Mitsubishi moved 9,750 vehicles – only 11 fewer.

2019 Volvo S60 Momentum
Photo: D.Boshouwers
2019 Volvo S60 Momentum
2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
Photo: D.Boshouwers
2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

5 – $56,403

This is the average selling price of the new Jeep Gladiator, and it’s a stunning amount frankly. FCA has gambled big on this vehicle, and it hasn’t been afraid to slap a high price point on it, without worrying about what competitors are doing. For now, at least, the gamble seems to be paying off with robust sales, but we’ll have to see if that early momentum can be maintained.

As a point of comparison, the average selling price of the also-new Ford Ranger is around $37,000. Taking a look at sales, we see, perhaps not surprisingly, that while the Gladiator experienced a healthy month of May sales-wise with 2,548 units, Ford’s revived Ranger vastly outpaced it with 7,750 units sold.

2019 Jeep Gladiator
Photo: B.Charette
2019 Jeep Gladiator
2019 Ford Ranger
Photo: D.Heyman
2019 Ford Ranger