Year End Offers Mixed Bag for Domestic Automakers

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – American automakers ended 2016 on a mixed note, as only one finished 2016 with sales up for both December and the entire year

General Motors Co. closed out 2016 with 319,108 vehicles sold in December, a 10% gain from 2015. Retail sales – those to noncommercial customers – were also up, gaining 3.4% from last year and totaling 249,983.

For the entire year, GM sold 3,042,775 cars, trucks and SUVs, a 1.3% drop from 2015, although retail sales gained nearly 1.8%, reaching 2,446,582.

Chevrolet, the company’s top brand, tallied 212,959 vehicles sold last month, a 12.8% gain. The Silverado pickup truck remained Chevy’s top seller with 54,272 sold last month.

Meanwhile, the Lordstown-built Cruze reported a sales increase in December with 17,324 sold, 2.8% more than the same month in 2015. Annual sales for the Cruze were down 16.6%, however, totaling 188,876.

For GM’s other brands, December sales also rose, although not to the levels seen by Chevy. GMC posted a 5.8% gain with 63,415 trucks and SUVs sold, led by the Sierra pickup with 23,290. Luxury brand Cadillac reported 21,446 vehicles sold last month, a 3.2% climb from last year. Buick, with 21,288 sold, posted a 2.8% gain.

For full-year sales, Buick – with 229,631 sold for a 2.9% increase – was the only brand to post an increase in sales from last year’s record volume. Cadillac sales for 2016 were down 3% to 170,006, GMC down 2.2% to 546,628 and Chevrolet down 1.4% to 2,096,510.

Ford Motor Co. posted a modest 0.3% gain for December as 239,854 vehicles were sold nationwide. For the Ford brand, sales were down 0.6% to 227,063. The F-series pickup truck lines led sales with 87,512 sold, a 2.7% gain. Lincoln sales were up 17.8% in December with 12,791 sold, led by the MKX with 3,527.

In 2016, sales for Ford Motor Co. were up a tenth of a percent from 2015. Between its two brands, 2,614,697 vehicles were sold. Ford’s annual sales totaled 2,502,973 – down 0.4% from 2015 – while Lincoln’s sales were up 10.4% to 111,724.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles posted a 10% drop in sales to 192,519 as only one of its brands, Ram trucks, posted a year-to-year increase in December. That brand’s sales totaled 53,597.

Jeep sales dropped 6% to 83,519, while the other two American brands within the company both posted double-digit losses. Dodge sales, topped by the Journey with 9,768 sold, dropped 21% to 36,329, while Chrysler sales fell 32% to 16,776. Leading Chrysler sales was the Pacifica minivan with 10,283 delivered last month.

Over the course of 2016, Fiat Chrysler sold 2,244,315 vehicles in the U.S., just 8,000 fewer than a year ago. Jeep, with 926,376 sold in 2016, posted a 6% increase from 2015. Chrysler’s sales dropped 27% to 231,972. Dodge dropped 4% to 506,858 and Ram trucks gained 11% with 545,851 sold.

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