US: Detroit three navigate the August sales to positive results image

While GM had a slight drop in sales, the tally was not as bad as previously expected, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles US managed to continue its record streak of monthly gains while Ford easily outpaced both for the best August in almost a decade.

The US auto industry powered on last month even as the typical Labor Day holiday sales bonanza will be counted this year into September, with sales jumping over initial forecasts as customers continued to show their love for crossovers, SUVs and trucks. “All of the economic fundamentals that we look at, including job growth, disposable income and fuel prices, are in good shape and that should keep sales strong,” commented Kurt McNeil, GM’s US sales chief. The largest US automaker and the third biggest in the world said its domestic sales slid 0.7 percent but painted a positive note on the drop: they dropped many of the sales towards the low-margin rental fleets and even decided the overall outlook for the entire US market needed a boost – of around 300,000 units.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV – which was expected to end its incredible streak of posting monthly gains for more than five years – managed to surprise everybody and delivered a 2 percent increase, thanks to increased demand for its sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks. FCA US also believes the auto industry will continue to post stronger than expected results throughout the year and forecasts the annualized selling rate to exceed forecasts made by industry analysts. The workhorse for the automaker was the Jeep SUV brand, with an 18 percent gain on year-ago levels. The Ram pickup truck brand delivered a 4 percent surge and Chrysler’s 200 sedan jumped 30 percent – enough to offset the 15 percent decline of the Dodge brand.

Meanwhile Ford posted the best result in almost a decade for the month of August – 5,6 percent increase led by the company’s range of SUVs and pickup trucks. More to the point, car sales recessed 7 percent but sport utility gains were of 12 percent and the F-150 pickup truck is finally posting a positive trend – up 4.7 percent.

Via Reuters, Bloomberg