The red-hot U.S. auto market is cooling. Total car sales in the United States fell 2.4% in the first half of 2019 and are projected to fall below 17 million for the entire year for the first time in half a decade. Experts predict continued year-over-year declines in the years ahead, with total sales falling as low as 15.1 million in 2021 — down from a record high of 17.5 million set in 2015.
According to auto-industry news and data firm, Edmunds, there are several explanations for the waning sales volume. For one, interest rates recently hit their highest level in a decade, making it more expensive for motorists to finance a new car. Additionally, automakers have been relying heavily on fleet sales in recent years, which is an unsustainable practice. Some companies have been loyal customers of American carmakers in particular — these are the companies that are buying up thousands of American cars.
The fall in sales is not hitting all carmakers equally, however, and a handful of companies are bearing the brunt of the decline. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed changes in total sales from the first half of 2018 to the first half of 2019 to identify the car brands with plummeting sales.
While falling car sales are partially the result of broader economic conditions, for many brands on this list, the decline may be attributable in part to low customer satisfaction. The car brands with declining sales on this list are more likely to have a lower customer satisfaction score than the industry average of 79 out of 100 — according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index — than the brands with climbing year-over-year sales.
Customer loyalty also appears to play a role. The car brands reporting the biggest declines in sales are also among the ones least likely to retain their customers. These are the car brands with the most and least loyal customers.