Industry Reports

GM, Fiat Chrysler Report Sales Drop to Start Year

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The year has started on a down note for the two of the three American automakers, as both General Motors Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles reported a dip in first-quarter sales.

General Motors started 2019 with a 7% drop in sales compared to the first quarter of last year. Across its four brands, overall sales were down to 665,640, with none posting a year-over-year gain.

Chevrolet, the automaker’s largest best-selling brand, saw sales drop 7.8% to 452,401. Leading sales was the Silverado, of which 114,313 were sold, a 15.7% decline from the first quarter of 2018. In second was the Equinox with 88,500 sold, a 7.4% gain, followed by the Traverse in third with 34,223 sold, a 10.4% dip.

Sales of the Lordstown-built Cruze, which ended production at the beginning of March, total 23,311 in the first quarter, down 41.5% from 2018.

GMC reported 125,577 vehicles delivered, a 4.4% decline, as the Sierra pickup topped the sales chart with 40,546 sold, a 2.2% fall. Buick sales totaled 51,867 – down 8.7% – with the Encore leading sales at 24,606. And the Cadillac brand posted smallest drop of GM’s four nameplates, coming in 2% below the first quarter of last year’s numbers as 35,995 were delivered to customers to start 2019.

“Our production launch was very smooth and crew cab sales are brisk, especially those with premium trims,” said Kurt McNeil, U.S. vice president of sales operations, in GM’s quarterly sales report. “We are bullish on pickups and expect to gain sales momentum throughout the year. We are installing capacity in Flint to build more HD pickups in total, more crew cab models, more dualies and diesel models, too, all in response to dealer and customer demand.”

Meanwhile, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles reported a first-quarter sales drop of 3.2% as gains by its Ram truck and van line offset losses by Jeep, Chrysler and Dodge. Ram sales totaled 137,013, a 20.5% increase over the first quarter of 2018.

Jeep sales were down 6.7% as 212,804 were delivered to customers, while Dodge saw a 5.5% dip to 110,517. Posting the largest drop for the automaker was the Chrysler nameplate, which saw sales fall 31.7% to 31,591.

Ford Motor Co., which stopped reporting sales monthly at the end of 2018, will release its first-quarter sales figures Thursday.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.