GM sales jump 6.4% in July, FCA rise 6%, Ford up 5% – Detroit Free Press
New vehicle sales rose 6.4% in July for General Motors, 6% for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and 5% for Ford as low interest rates, falling gas prices and an improving job market kept showroom traffic brisk.
With gas prices falling again, sales of pickup trucks, SUVs and crossovers continued at a torrid pace while passenger cars are proving to be harder to move off dealer lots.
Two of the Japanese automakers did even better than their domestic competitors. Nissan sales rose 7.8% from a year earlier and Honda’s were up 7.7%, led by its CR-V compact crossover (up 11%) and the Odyssey minivan (up 18%).
“Strong demand for crossovers such as Rogue and Murano drove Nissan’s overall light truck sales up 22% and set a July record for the company,” Fred Diaz, Nissan’s senior vice president of U.S. sales and marketing.
But Toyota’s sales for the month edged up just 0.6%. Its mainstream Toyota division posted a 0.6% decrease, while the Lexus luxury brand’s sales rose 9.1%
Hyundai said its U.S. sales rose 6% to 71,013 in July while Volkswagen sales rose 2.4%, led by its new Golf small car, which totaled 6,717, more than doubling the year-earlier volume of 2,446.
For FCA US sales of Jeep rose 23%, followed by a 10% gain for Chrysler and a 1% gain for Ram. Sales for the automaker’s Dodge brand fell 13% and Fiat sales fell 15%.
Within those brands, sales rose 22% for Jeep Patriot, 18% for Jeep Wrangler, 13% for Jeep Cherokee and 85% for the Chrysler 200.
At Ford, Mustang sales jumped 29%, and the upscale LIncoln brand posted a 21% increase, led by a 60% surge in sales of the MKC crossover to 2,455.
Ford’s results were helped by a 4.8% increase in sales of its F-Series pickup truck, indicating that production from assembly plants in Dearborn and Kansas City is beginning to catch up with demand.
Mark LaNeve, vice president of Ford’s U.S. sales and marketing, said both plants are now running at full production and said F-150 inventory for the newest model is improving.
LaNeve also said average the transaction price for an F-150 was $44,000 in July, or $3,200 more than last year, even though the automaker boosted incentives last month by $1,000.
“We’ve see some very significant incentive moves from our competition,” LaNeve said. “We are $2,000 — on F-150 — below Silverado, as an example.”
GM’s Chevrolet brand sold 56,380 Silverados, a 33.9% increase compared with last July.
GM’s growth was led by Buick which posted a 17.6% increase, led by a 64% gain in sales of the Encore compact crossover. Chevrolet sales jumped 7.8%, led by a 34% increase in sales of the Silverado fullsize pickup. Chevy’s performance came despite a planned pullback in sales to rental companies and other large fleet customers.
GMC was up 1.4%, while Cadillac sales fell 7%.
Forecasters predict the industry will report a 3% increase for the month compared to the same month a year ago as Americans buy about 1.48 million new cars and trucks.
Even though the pace of sales increases is slowing, automakers remain on pace to sell more than 17 million new cars and trucks this year — the most since 2001.
While the overall industry is flourishing sales of small and midsize cars are slumping as more and more Americans are choosing crossovers.
But the boom in large vehicles sales is powered primarily by large and mid size pickups, as well as large and midsize crossovers. Fullsize SUVs don’t seem to be as much in demand. For example, sales of GM’s Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Yukon and Cadillac Escalade fell 23%, 14% and 32%, respectively, from July 2014.
At Ford, sales of the Expedition tumbled 37.5%, but Lincoln Navigator sales did jump 24%.
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