Big Three Kick Off 2015 with Double-Digit Sales Gains in January

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Based on the monthly sales reports released today, 2015 is off to a good start for the Big Three automakers. General Motors Co. reported its best January in seven years, with an 18 percent increase in sales, while Ford Motor Co. and FCA US saw year-over-year gains of 15 percent and 14 percent, respectively.

“Consumers feel very good because more people are working, the U.S. economy is expanding, and fuel prices are low,” said Kurt McNeil, U.S. vice president of sales operations at General Motors, which delivered 202,786 vehicles last month.

Consumer and commercial demand for trucks and crossovers has been driving business at the Detroit-based automaker, says McNeil, adding that the company’s recent move into the small crossover segment (Chevrolet Trax and Buick Encore) mid-size pickups (Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon) was well-timed.

For Ford, customer demand has been especially strong for the automaker’s newest vehicles, says Erich Merkle, U.S. sales analyst. “Momentum is especially strong for our F-Series pickup, with the all-new (aluminum body) F-150 the hottest product on our dealer lots in January.”

In fact, of the 178,351 Ford vehicles sold last month, more than 30 percent were F-Series trucks, with the brand’s new F-150 averaging just 12 days on dealer lots, Merkle says.

In Auburn Hills, FCA US, formerly Chrysler Group, reported U.S. sales of 145,007 units, extending the automaker’s year-over-year sales gain streak to 58 consecutive months, says Reid Bigland, head of U.S. sales.

“In spite of some tough 2015 comparisons, we remain confident in our ability to post year-over-year sales increases on the back of strong retail demand for our products,” Bigland says.

Ten of the automaker’s vehicles set records last month, including four of the five Jeep brand vehicles. The Jeep Cherokee, Wrangler, Patriot, and Compass each recorded their best sales month ever in January. Likewise, the Chrysler 200, Dodge Dart, Dodge Challenger, Ram ProMaster, Ram Cargo Van. and Fiat 500L each logged their best ever January sales.

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