GM and Chrysler Report Sales Drops, Cruze Up

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Sales numbers for two of the three major American automakers were down last month, as General Motors Corp. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles today both posted a decrease in total sales.

Ford Motor Co. announced that it would not release its monthly sales numbers until later this week because of a fire at its headquarters Monday afternoon.

Despite GM’s drop in total sales — sales were down 1.7% to 258,626 — the automaker reported a 2.5% increase in retail sales last month as 208,290 vehicles were sold across the United States. Throughout the year, the automaker has been moving away from fleet sales to focus instead on retail sales to noncommercial customers, resulting in lower total sales numbers but increased retail figures.

Chevrolet remained the automaker’s top brand with 141,641 cars sold to noncommercial customers, a 5.8% increase from October 2015. The top three models for the brand held steady from last month, led by the Silverado pickup line with 49,768 delivered, followed by the Equinox with 19,664 and the Lordstown-built Cruze with 17,126, a 9% increase from a year ago.

Buick was the only other GM brand to post a year-over-year sales gain as retail sales totaled 17,366, a 6.6% increase. Both Cadillac and GMC posted losses of 7.9% and 6.6% with 12,244 and 37,039 vehicles sold, respectively.

Fiat Chrysler’s sales, meanwhile, fell 10% to 176,609. Of the company’s four American brands, only the Ram pickup line posted an increase as 49,443 were delivered last month, a 12% gain from a year ago.

Chrysler’s sales fell 45% to 14,181 vehicles sold. The drop was largely in part to the discontinuation of the Town & Country minivan — only 529 were sold in October compared to more than 12,000 the same month a year ago. The model was replaced by the Pacifica, of which 7,758 were delivered in October, not enough to make up the difference in sales.

The Jeep brand was down 7% to 68,826, with the Grand Cherokee remaining the line’s top model with 17,867 sold, a 9% increase. Dodge sales were down 16% to 41,514, topped by the Journey with 11,912 sold.

Overall, numbers were stymied by a lower number of selling days than October 2015 and no sales holidays like Labor Day over the course of the month. Industry analysts predicted U.S. new-car sales would fall 7% in October.

“On the surface, it might look like a slow month for sales, but in fact the industry’s performance was much stronger than the raw numbers suggest,” said analyst Jessica Caldwell in a release. “Auto makers and dealers can feel encouraged by this month’s performance as they head into what they hope will be a busy holiday season.”

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