The Detroit Three automakers each posted sales well north of a half million units during the third quarter of 2019, with General Motors Co. leading the way with 738,638 vehicles delivered despite the United Auto Workers strike, which is in its 18th day.
GM’s third-quarter total is a 6.3 percent increase compared to the same period a year ago. Fleet sales comprised 19.5 percent of the total, down 0.3 percent. Inventory at the end of September was 759,633 units.
Of Ford Motor Co’s 580,251 total in the third quarter, truck and SUVs made up 87 percent, which was 5 percent more than the year-ago mix. The Dearborn-based automaker’s average transaction price in the quarter was $37,900, up $2,200 from 2018.
Ford van sales were up 21 percent with sales of 65,288 units setting a new third-quarter record. Pickup sales had their best third quarter in 14 years with 240,387 deliveries. Lincoln reported its best third-quarter SUV sales since 2003, led by the new Nautilus, which jumped 24 percent in the third quarter.
“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,” says Mark LaNeve, vice president of U.S. Marketing, Sales, and Service for Ford. “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.”
Among its 565,034 in third-quarter sales, FCA announced three sales records as a new generation of shoppers snapped up muscle cars and a strategy of premium technology and interior upgrades attracted new heavy-duty truck buyers.
The Dodge Challenger reported a record third quarter with 18,031 sales while the Charger notched its highest level of third-quarter sales in 13 years. Over the past decade, Challenger and Charger sales have increased more than 60 percent.
The Ram brand with refinements to its 2500 and 3500 heavy-duty pick-ups, sold a record 179,200 vehicles.
The Jeep Wrangler notched a record quarter with 59,035 sales on the back of new limited-edition models.
“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,” says Reid Bigland, head of U.S. Sales at FCA. “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.”