Industry Report

GM Sales Rise in 3Q as Ford, Fiat Chrysler Fall

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – General Motors Co. was the only Detroit automaker to see sales rise in the third quarter as auto sales lag behind last year’s near-record pace. 

General Motors posted a 6.3% year-over-year increase in sales, finishing the third quarter at 738,638 deliveries. Bolstering the sales chart were an 11.4% increase in sales for the GMC brand, reaching 140,789 deliveries, and a 10.2% rise for Buick, bringing quarterly sales to 50,615.

Chevrolet posted a 4.6% gain, totaling 507,273, while Cadillac was up 7.2% to 39,961. 

Trucks and SUVs once again dominated sales for the automaker, as the Chevy Silverado Light Duty led sales for the manufacturer at 119,641, an 18% gain from a year ago. Likewise, the GMC Sierra Light Duty was the leader for that brand, rising 38.2% to 47,743.

Ford Motor Co. reported a nearly 5% decrease in sales in the third quarter with a tally of 580,251. The drop was due to major year-over-year losses in the SUV and car segments, which saw declines of 10.5% to 193,100 and 29.5% to 77,231, respectively. Truck sales were up 8.8% to 309,920.

For the Ford brand, sales were down 3.9%, coming in at 552,317 and following the same trends as the company as a whole: car sales dropped 25.2%, SUV sales 6.5% and truck sales were up 6.9%, led by the 214,176 F-series trucks delivered. 

The Lincoln luxury brand posted a 4.7% increase in sales, totaling 27,934. SUV sales rose 11.9% to 21,354, while car sales dropped 13.5% to 6,580.

“As planned, this year is a transitional one for Ford as we move from our sedan lineup to an all-new winning portfolio of trucks and SUVs,” said Mark LaNeve, Ford Motor Co.’s vice president of U.S. marketing, sales and service, in the quarterly sales report. “Ranger sales continue to accelerate and the all-new Explorer and Escape are hitting dealer showrooms now. Our truck, van and commercial business continued to be strong in the third quarter, with record van sales and continued F-Series sales leadership.”

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ third-quarter sales were essentially even with last year’s total, 565,034 this year versus 564,507. The 527-unit increase, however, was due almost entirely to the Ram truck line, which saw sales climb 15% to 179,200. It was the only FCA brand to post an increase in sales year-over-year.

Of the company’s American brands, Chrysler posted the largest loss, down 23% to 29,544. Also down were Dodge – falling 4% to 104,146 – and Jeep, which was down 2% to 245,474. FCA’s two other brands, Fiat and Alfa Romeo, also fell year-over-year 38% to 2,360 and 27% to 4,310, respectively.

“Lower interest rates, a stable economy and consumer enthusiasm bolster our belief that new vehicle sales in the U.S. are heading for a strong finish,” said FCA’s head of U.S. sales, Reid Bigland. “For us, vehicles like the new Gladiator, our Ram pickups and Dodge muscle cars are pulling customers into showrooms. Our customers are also choosing to purchase higher trim levels or extra features, which are increasing our transaction prices.”

For all three automakers, year-to-date sales are lagging behind last year’s figures entering the final quarter of the year. General Motors is down 0.8, Ford Motor Co. 3.5% and Fiat Chrysler 1%.

Copyright 2019 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.