Company News

Cruze Sales Drop Again, Automakers Start Year Down

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – After ending last year on a down note, sales for American automakers remained off pace as two of the three – Ford Motor Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles – reported a drop in sales during January.

And while General Motors Co. last month posted an overall increase in sales, rising 1.3% to 198,548,  the company’s retail sales – that is, sales for noncommercial uses – fell 2.4% to 151,244.

Both Buick and Chevrolet posted gains for the first month of the year, Buick gaining 4% to reach 13,648 deliveries and Chevrolet rising 5% to 141,947.

Buick’s top model was the Encore with 4,645 leaving showrooms, while Chevrolet’s bestseller was the Silverado with 40,716 delivered, a 14.5% increase from a year ago.

For the Lordstown-built Cruze, sales totaled 10,858,  a 45.6% decline. The drop marks the fourth consecutive month the Cruze has had a year-over-year decrease in sales, as well seven of the last eight months.

Cadillac sales in January were down 3.9% to 9,895 as the XT5 remained the brand’s No. 1 model with 3,989 were sold. And GMC saw sales slip 11.4% to 33,058.

“All of our brands are building momentum in the industry’s hottest and most profitable segments,” said Kurt McNeil, U.S. vice president of sales operations, in GM’s sales release. “Chevrolet led the growth of the small crossover segment with the Trax as well as the mid-pickup segment with the Colorado. Now, we have the all-new Equinox and Traverse delivering higher sales, share and transaction prices.”

Ford Motor Co.’s total sales fell 6.6% to 161,143 in January. Retail sales totaled 115,187, a 4.3% decrease from a year ago.

The Ford F-series remained the brand’s top-seller as the truck line posted its best January sales since 2004 with 58,937 delivered to customers, a 1.6% increase from last year. Behind the F-series, the company’s No. 2 vehicles was the Escape, of which 18,947 were sold, an 8% fall.

Sales were down 27% for the luxury Lincoln brand, as 6,410 cars and SUVs hit the streets. The brand’s best-selling model was the MKX with 1,811 delivered, a 38.1% decline.

For the company as a whole, truck sales saw a 2.2% increase in sales from a year ago, rising to 74,200, while both SUVs and cars saw a drop in sales, falling 5.9% to 55,282 and 23.3% to 31,661, respectively.

“U.S. economic factors are very healthy and we’re seeing the effect in the auto industry – not just in strong demand for SUVs and pickups, but in demand for high trim versions of vehicles,” said Ford vice president of U.S. marketing, sales and service Mark LeNeve in the company’s monthly sales release. “Our all-new Expedition and Navigator are off to a hot start across the country; Platinum Expedition and high series Reserve and Black Label versions of Navigator are in high demand.”

Fiat Chrysler reported a 13% drop in sales with 132,803 sold nationwide last month. Only one of its American brands, Jeep, posted an increase in sales, climbing 2% to 59,703. The brand’s No. 1 model was the Grand Cherokee with 14,621 sold, a 5% drop.

Meanwhile, the Chrysler brand saw its sale fall 21% to 10,584 as three of its four models posted losses in the first month of the year. The only model to see an increase in sales was the Pacifica, which saw sales climb 20% to 8,011. Dodge’s sales fell 31% to 27,600, with the Caravan – 10,409 sold – leading the charge. The Ram truck line was also down, posting a 16% fall as 32,039 were sold.

Among FCA’s foreign brands, Fiat was down 43% to 1,229 and Alfa Romero delivered 1,648 last month, up from the 108 in January 2017.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.