August Vehicle Sales: GM Gains 7.5 Percent, Ford and FCA Fall

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Detroit automaker General Motors Co. today announced U.S. deliveries totaled 275,552 vehicles during August, a 7.5 percent increase from 2016. Retail deliveries also increased 4 percent, and the company estimates a gain of more than one half point retail market share. During the same time, Ford and FCA sales fell.

With overall high inventory levels, buyers should look for added deals over the Labor Day weekend and in the coming weeks as the automakers seek to trim the supply of 2017 vehicles to make way for new models.

“We had a very strong month, and grew our retail and commercial fleet business on the strength of robust crossover sales at all four of our brands,” says Kurt McNeil, U.S. vice president of sales operations. “But our focus is on the unfolding crisis in Texas and what we can do to help our customers, employees, dealers and everyone else impacted by the flooding.”

GM’s chief economist Mustafa Mohatarem explains that Hurricane Harvey had “an adverse effect on deliveries” for all automakers during the last week of August but that “the key U.S. economic fundamentals remain supportive of strong vehicle sales.”

U.S. commercial fleet deliveries also increased 19 percent, and GM has gained domestic commercial market share for 13 consecutive months. Total fleet deliveries also increased 24 percent. The sales jump came as the automaker boosted incentives on sport-utility vehicles, which helped GM dealers lower inventory to an 88-day supply, down from 104 days in July.

Chevrolet experienced its best August since 2004 and best August crossover month ever, including an 83 percent increase in Traverse sales, 67 percent Equinox sales increases, 11 percent sales increases for the Trax, and 2,052 sales for the Chevrolet Bolt EV. 

The Buick Encore saw a 31 percent in sales, while sales for the Enviosion increased 78 percent, its best August ever.

The Cadillac XT5 crossover experienced a 28 percent sales increase, its second-best month since the launch, bringing the combined SRX/XT5 year to date sales up 10 percent. August ATP also increased $1,400 to $53,300. 

Additionally, U.S. inventory levels have increased 85,000 vehicles from the end of June to about 893,000 vehicles. GM is on track to meet its inventory target, which is to end the year with stocks at or below last year’s level of 850,000 vehicles, with fewer cars and more trucks, crossovers, and utilities in the mix.

Auburn Hills-based FCA US today reported overall sales of 176,033 units, an 11 percent decrease compared with Aug. 2016 sales of 196,805 units. Retail sales last month totaled 140,379 units, a 7 percent year-over-year decrease, and represented 80 percent of total sales. 

In line with FCA US’ strategy to reduce sales to the daily rental segment, fleet sales of 35,654 units were down, as expected, to 23 percent year-over-year. The largest planned volume reduction in August fleet sales came from the Jeep brand, which reduced its fleet sales number by 66 percent since Aug. 2016. Fleet sales represented 20 percent of total Aug. sales.

Six FCA US vehicles reported their best August sales ever, including the Dodge Challenger, Chrysler Pacifica, Jeep Compass, Jeep Renegade, Ram ProMaster, and Ram ProMaster City. The Jeep Grand Cherokee and Jeep Wrangler reported double-digit percentage increases in August, compared with Aug. 2016. The Dodge Caravan also posted a 62 percent year-over-year sales increase for its best August sales since 2004.

Ford Motor Co.’s U.S. sales totaled 209,897 vehicles for August, a 2.1 decrease. Fleet sales were also down 0.2 percent on sales of 45,830 vehicles, and August retail sales totaled 164,067 vehicles, a 2.7 decrease compared to Aug. 2016. 

“We continue to see customers choosing high trim-level F-Series trucks for Super Duty and with new 2018 F- 150 orders,” says Mark LaNeve, Ford’s vice president for U.S. marketing, sales, and service. “We are seeing high demand overall for our F-Series lineup this year, outpacing full-size truck segment growth 2 to 1 with a 15 percent increase for August.”

Specifically, Ford F-Series sales totaled 77,007 trucks for August, a 15 percent gain. Demand remains strong for high trim-level Super Duty trucks, with Lariat, King Ranch, and Platinum accounting for 53 percent of the month’s retail sales. Combined with the demand for the Raptor, this translated to $3,400 gain in F-Series average pricing versus 2016, to $45,600 per vehicle.

August also marked the start of sales for the new 2018 Ford F-150, which demonstrated strong initial sales for high series trucks.

Ford Expedition and Explorer sales also increased a combined 6.3 percent at retail. Explorer retail sales increased to 6.1 percent while Expedition saw a gain of 7.6 percent. Approximately 35 percent of Explorer retail sales were comprised of high series Limited, Sport, and Platinum models in August.

Lincoln Navigator retail sales also increased 4.4 percent, though overall Navigator sales declined due to fleet order timing of the vehicle.

A full version of Ford’s August sales report can be read here

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