GM, Ford, Fiat Chrysler post April sales declines as cars suffer – USA TODAY
U.S. auto sales were expected to fall in April, with projections ranging from Edmunds.com’s 4% decline to Kelley Blue Book’s 3.1% decrease, with all figures compared to a year earlier.
Here’s how the three automakers known as the Detroit Three fared.
Edmunds projection: -3.7%
Kelley Blue Book projection: -0.6%
Actual results: -5.8%
General Motors, the world’s third largest automaker, sold 244,406 vehicles in the U.S. in April. Retail sales fell 4%, but the company said it expected to gain market share in that crucial category.
GM’s flagship Chevrolet brand endured a 10.4% sales decline in April, as consumers ditched cars in droves amid low gasoline prices that are making bigger vehicles more enticing.
For example, the Chevrolet Sonic subcompact plummeted 67.8% to 1,645 units. But the brand’s crossovers faired better, including the small Trax crossover, which posted a 44.3% increase to 6,509 units.
GM’s Buick brand bucked the trend for the month with a 17% increase, fueled almost entirely by the small Encore crossover, which rose 27% to 8,365 vehicles.
Edmunds projection: -5.8%
Kelley Blue Book projection: -5.5%
Actual results: -7.2%
The Dearborn, Mich.-based automaker sold 214,695 vehicles in April. Retail sales plunged 10.5%, while sales to fleet customers were flat.
As customers shift from passenger cars to crossovers and sport-utility vehicles, Ford’s cars are suffering. The company’s car sales fell 21.2% for the month, including sharp drops for the Fusion, Fiesta, Focus and Mustang.
But sales of the F-series pickup truck, the most popular vehicle in the U.S., remained strong, falling only 0.2% to 70,657.
One bright spot in April was Ford’s Lincoln luxury brand, which continued its recent solid performance, falling only 0.9%. The company’s namesake Ford brand dipped 7.5%.
While sales dipped, the company’s vehicle inventory rose from 66 days supply in March to 72 days in April. Rising inventories can be a sign of production outpacing demand.
Edmunds projection: -4.5%
Kelley Blue Book projection: -5.8%
Actual results: -6.6%
The company sold 177,441 units in April, including sales of the luxury Maserati brand, which Fiat Chrysler included in its results for the first time.
Retail sales fell 3%, while fleet sales tumbled 21%.
Fiat Chrysler has aggressively chopped its reliance on sales to fleet customers, such as rental car companies, in recent months. Those customers are not as profitable as retail buyers.
Despite Americans’ transition to crossovers and SUVs, the company’s Jeep brand took a step back in April. Jeep sales, which represent one of Fiat Chrysler’s profit engines, declined 16.5%.
Sales of the Chrysler brand fell 3.3% as excellent sales of the all-new Pacifica minivan offset sharp declines of the Chrysler 200 and 300 cars.
The Dodge brand was down 2.6%, and the Fiat brand fell 18%. The Ram truck and van brand enjoyed a 5.3% increase.
Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.