Despite Crossover Sales Gain, Big Three Report Overall Sales Decreases for April

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With one fewer sales day in April compared to the same month in 2016, and slowing demand for passenger and small vehicles, the Big Three automakers reported lower sales last month as compared to a year ago.

Despite records set for its SUV brand, Dearborn automaker Ford Motor Co. reported 214,695 total vehicles were sold last month, a 7.2 percent decrease in overall sales compared to April 2016. Retail sales totaled 140,762 vehicles sold, a 10.5 percent decline, while fleet sales remained flat with 73,933 vehicles sold.

The Ford F-Series surpassed the 70,000-vehicle mark, with 70,657 pickups sold. This is a .2 percent decline versus April 2016, with an overall increase of $3,700 average transaction pricing. Ford Escape sales totaled 25,637 vehicles last month, a 7 percent increase, while Ford Expedition sales rose 7 percent, Ford Edge saw a 6 percent increase, and Lincoln retail sales were up 3 percent.

“Strong demand for high-series Super Duty trucks and diesel powertrains drove a $1,900 increase in Ford’s transaction pricing versus an industry increase of just $210,” says Mark LaNeve, Ford vice president for U.S. marketing, sales, and service. “F-150 customers equipped nearly 70 percent of their trucks with EcoBoost engines last month, with dealers seeing strong demand for our new Raptor.”

Following reports of a 33.5 percent increase in net income during Q1 2017, General Motors Co. announced April sales of 244,406 crossovers, trucks, and cars, driven by strong sales in the Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac brands. The company’s overall sales were down 6 percent.

Retail sales for the month totaled 191,911 units, a four percent decrease, and fleet sales were also down 11 percent to 52,495 units.

Chevrolet crossovers increased 27 percent on a retail basis in April, while Buick’s were up 48 percent, GMC saw increases of 20 percent, and Cadillac’s were up 46 percent. Compared to April 2016, Chevrolet crossovers were up 24 percent on a retail basis; Buick’s were up 34 percent; GMC’s were up 15 percent; and Cadillac’s were up 23 percent.

“We see crossovers becoming an even bigger part of the industry and GM sales over the next five years,” says Kurt McNeil, U.S. vice president of sales operations. “Just five years ago, about one in four GM sales were crossovers. Today, they account for almost one-third of our deliveries and we see more growth ahead.”

During April, Chevrolet dealers delivered 4,500 all-new 2018 Equinox 1.5L compact crossovers, with a 2.0L model arriving this summer, followed by a diesel model. The all-new 2018 Traverse midsize crossover will also arrive this summer.

Auburn Hills-based FCA US reported an increase in pickup truck sales, with Ram Truck brand sales increasing 5 percent, and overall pickup sales rising 8 percent compared to April 2016. The Jeep Grand Cherokee also saw sales increase 6 percent, and the Dodge Journey crossover sales increased 72 percent.

FCA US reported total sales of 177,441 units, a 7 percent decrease compared to 190,071 in April 2016, and fleet sales also decreased 21 percent year-over-year as the company continues its strategy of reducing sales to the daily retail segment.

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