By now, automakers have published their sales figures for the first half of 2020. As you'd expect what with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and associated economic uncertainty, it made for grim reading. Car usage plummeted; financial insecurity made it a sub-optimal time to buy, even if you could find a place to do so — which wasn't easy, as many physical dealerships were closed in much of the second quarter.
It's taken a toll. Despite car companies offering unprecedented incentives to entice prospective customers, a "good" year for companies like Mazda, Kia and Volvo has effectively meant keeping year-over-year sales declines below 20 percent.
Still, there were a few cars that have actually seen sales improve year over year in 2020 — and as it turns out, they include some of our favorites. For the seven cars below, the combination of a great product and great deals seems to have been too tempting to pass up for many buyers, COVID-19 be damned.
The Ranger got off to a slow sales start in 2019, but it’s safe to say the Ranger has found its stride in 2020. Ranger sales were up 51.8 percent over the first half of 2020.
GMC Sierra HD
Last year was an outgoing model year for GMC’s heavy-duty trucks. But the new model, which our reviewer described as “the classiest tow truck in existence,” has been a strong seller: sales were up 21.5 percent from 2019, year over year.
The Mazda CX-9 is one of our favorite SUVs out there. It looks like the word is getting out about how good it is: CX-9 sales were up 48.9 percent in June, year over year. Offering sweeteners like $299-per-month lease deals and 0 percent APR financing for 60 months with 90-day payment deferral seems to be helping move crossovers off the lot.
Mazda MX-5 Miata
The CX-9 is not Mazda’s only success story. MX-5 Miata sales jumped 27.3 percent for June, year over year, and are up 10.4 percent overall for 2020. Mazda offers the same sweeteners for the Miata as the CX-9 — and the lease deal is on the stick shift version.
The Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class may be the best family road trip vehicle out there. Buyers seem to love the all-new 2020 model: sales increased 35.8% year over year for June and 17.7% for 2020.
Winter is not the optimal time to buy a new Porsche sports car, but the new 992-generation has been selling well with the improved driving weather that came in spring and summer. Porsche moved 2,245 of them in America in the second quarter, for a 30.1 percent year-over-year jump from 2019.
Volvo sales were up 4.5 percent in June, year over year. A significant part of that was selling 2,315 XC40 crossovers that month — a 61.1 percent increase over June 2019. So far in 2020 overall, the XC40 is up 11.3 percent, year over year.