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Sales Fall in May for Domestic Automakers

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – May proved to be a tough month for the three American auto manufacturers as both General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co. reported losses while Fiat Chrysler Automobiles posted a slight gain.

Although the month ended on a long Memorial Day weekend, which typically boosts sales, there was one less weekend than in May 2015, decreasing the number of buying days ifor dealerships.

Retail sales for General Motors dropped 13.4% to 190,613 as all four brands reported double-digit losses. In total, GM reported 240,450 vehicles sold last month, an 18% decline.

“There’s no question we could have sold more, however, production was impacted at Fairfax, Lordstown and Spring Hill by the Japanese earthquakes,” said Kurt McNeil, GM’s vice president of sales operations. “Current dealer inventories for launch products are about half of what we’d like … but availability is improving, which sets us up well for the second half of the year.”

Production at the three plants was stopped for two weeks due to supply chain issues caused by the quakes.

Chevrolet’s total sales were down 18.6% to 169,331. Sales of the Lordstown-built Cruze were down nearly 30% as 21,252 cars were sold last month. Topping sales for Chevy was the Silverado with 45,035 delivered, a 12.7% drop.

Sales for Buick fell to 15,625, a 22.1% decline from May 2015 while Cadillac reported a 16% decline with 12,099 cars and SUVs leaving showrooms. The brands were led, respectively, by the Encore with 6,522 sold and the XT5 – a new SUV released earlier this year – with 2,719. GMC sales fell to 43,395, a 14.3% fall, as the Sierra pickup held the top spot for the brand with 17,642 sold.

Fiat Chrysler pushed its streak of year-over-year sales gains to 74 consecutive months as 204,452 vehicles were delivered nationwide in May, a 1.1% increase from the same month last year. Of the company’s four American brands, only Jeep posted an increase in sales last month with 90,545 vehicles leaving showrooms, a 14% jump. The Wrangler led sales for Jeep with 19,551 sold.

While sales for the Ram truck line were almost even – 43,613 trucks were sold in May, just 15 more than last year ­– Dodge sales dropped 5.4% to 42,837 and the Chrysler brand fell 18.5% to 24,276. For Dodge, the Caravan topped sales with 11,135 delivered while the Town & Country minivan led sales for Chrysler with 8,583 leaving showrooms.

Ford Motor Co. reported a 5.9% drop in sales as 235,997 cars, trucks and SUVs were sold in May. For the Ford brand, sales dropped to 226,190, a 6.4% decline while Lincoln sales were up 6.9% to 9,807.

Leading sales for Ford last month was the F-series pickup truck with 67,412 hitting the streets, a 9% gain. On top for Lincoln was MKZ with 3,250 sold, a 1.4% drop from last year.

Despite the drops, Ford Motor Co. still reported average sale prices for their vehicles climbed almost $1,500 per vehicle, according to Mark LaNeve, vice president of U.S. marketing, sales and service, beating the industry average by 50%.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.