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Heavy December incentives took their toll on January volumes.

Heavy incentives may have carried the day in December, making 2016 one for the record books, but it appears that the auto industry paid the price for it in January as numbers are largely down from where they were a year ago.

The news was generally better for niche brands than it was for volume automakers, though Honda and Nissan both managed to outpace their 2016 numbers. Subaru, Mazda, Audi, Infiniti, Lincoln and Volkswagen all made relatively impressive improvements, though Volkswagen's is overshadowed slightly by just how poorly it showed a year ago.

Some stand-out disappointments were Volvo (down more than 18 percent), Buick (down more than 28 percent) and Lexus (down just over 25%). GM, Toyota and FCA all slipped compared to January of '16. Ford was also down slightly, though not nearly as much as Toyota and FCA, whose eleven-plus-percent drops stand out even in an overall down month.

It is worth noting that most of Buick's decrease comes from the discontinuation of the Verano and slowing sedan sales. Encore continues to sell strongly, as does Trax on the Chevrolet side.

BMW finished the month up just a hair (flat, effectively, at just over 18,000 units) and Lexus... well, it wasn't pretty. Then there's Mercedes-Benz... It's safe to say the three-pointed star is off to quite a start.

That's a wrap on January, everybody.

January year-over-year and 2017 YTD:

- Acura down 10.2%, 9,202
- Alfa up 59%, 108
- Audi up 11.4%, 13,201
- Bentley up 83%, 148
- BMW flat, 18,109
- Buick down 28.2%, 13,117
- Cadillac down 4.1%, 10,298
- Chevrolet down 1.9%, 135,170
- Chrysler down 39%, 13,377
- Dodge down 17%, 40,109
- Fiat down 9%, 2,164
- Ford down 1.8%, 162,401
- Genesis new, 1,818
- GMC up 1.1%, 37,324
- Honda up 7.7%, 97,178
- Hyundai down 0.8%, 44,689
- Infiniti up 35.8%, 11,558
- Jaguar up 117.4%, 2,939
- Jeep down 7%, 58,415
- Kia down 7%, 35,626
- *Lamborghini up 2.3%, 88
- Land Rover up 9%, 6,163
- Lexus down 25.6%, 15,572
- Lincoln up 22.4%, 8,785
- Maserati up 69.#%, 889
- Mazda up 10.1%, 21,698
- **Mercedes-Benz up 3.5%, 25,527
- MINI down 4%, 3,110
- Mitsubishi up 3.1%, 6,457
- Nissan up 3.6%, 100,761
- Porsche up 5.7%, 4,602
- Ram up 5%, 38,045
- smart down 18.8%, 324
- Subaru up 6.8%, 43,879
- *Tesla up 34.9%, 2,800
- Toyota down 9.2%, 127,476
- Volkswagen up 17.1%, 23,510
- Volvo down 18.2%, 3,472

*Based on estimates from Automotive News.
** NOT including Sprinter

Note that last month's highlights and lowlights listed below are merely a selection of some of the month's bigger movers.

Highlights (sales up > 40%)
Mazda CX-9, up 210.7% to 1,591
Nissan Armada, up 146.5% to 1,903
Volkswagen Passat, up 64.2% to 5,887
Infiniti QX80, up 50.3% to 1,749
Jeep Renegade, up 52% to 9,365


Lowlights (sales down > 30%)
Buick Lacrosse, down 67.8% to 1,307
Chevrolet Malibu, down 43.2% to 8,377

Fiat 500X, down 42% to 600