Detroit automakers report strong October sales – Detroit Free Press
General Motors said sales of its new cars and trucks rose 16% in October while Chrysler Automobiles was close behind at 15% and Ford was up 13% as the U.S. automotive industry continues to enjoy a robust sales environment driven by low interest rates, a strong lending environment and low fuel prices.
Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac brands sold 262,993 vehicles in the United States in October 2015, with Chevrolet posting its best October sales since 2004.
Sales of the Auburn Hills automaker’s Jeep brand helped to propel the company to its 67th consecutive month of year-over-year gains with sales of the brand soaring 33%. Meanwhile, sales rose 12% for Dodge, 3% for Ram, 1% for Chrysler and 1% for Fiat.
“Last month’s sales strength continued to be broad based for the company with eight FCA vehicles setting October sales records across three of our brands,” said Reid Bigland, head of U.S. sales for the automaker.
At Ford, sales totaled 213,938 vehicles last month for the company’s best October sales performance since 2004. Sales of the closely watched F-150 were strong. Trucks overall were up 14%; F-Series sales hit 65,000 and the F-150 accounts for about 65% of the truck deliveries. SUVs were up 12%. Even cars were up by almost 16%. But sales of the Lincoln brand fell by almost 5%.
“Strong demand for our vehicles provided another double-digit sales increase in October, and Ford vehicles posted all-time record average transaction pricing of $34,600 per vehicle,” said Mark LaNeve, Ford vice president, U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service. “Gains in our truck
business were especially strong, with F-Series delivering its fourth straight month of sales gains and its best October retail levels since 2004.”
Analysts estimate U.S. consumers bought 1.4 million new cars and trucks in October — the most for the month since 2001 — or at a pace of 17.7 million vehicles on an annualized basis.
“Coming off the strongest sales month in a decade in September, sales continue to roll along this month, with double-digit growth expected for the industry in October 2015,” Alec Gutierrez, senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book said in a recent report.
Gutierrez said U.S. auto sales are expected to remain strong because jobless claims are at a historic low, the national unemployment rate has declined to about 5%, fuel prices are at six-year lows and interest rates also remain low.
Sales also were boosted by a quirk in the calendar. Automakers benefited from five weekends in October compared with four weekends in October 2014.
While sales for the month were strong, they were not evenly distributed between cars and trucks. Truck sales in October were up about 15% year over year, while car sales have slipped about 2.6%, according to J.D. Power. Pickups and SUVs combined account for 58% of retail sales for the month.
“Given the continued pressure on car segments, manufacturers are responding with greater incentive spending on cars,” said Humphrey. “While incentive spending on cars has risen 16% year over year, truck incentive spending is up just 2% compared with October 2014.”
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