The annual pace for the auto industry jumped the gun last month, posting a 14% increase over the same month last year, fueled by cheap credit, low gas prices and a resurgent economy.
When it comes to the three Detroit-based automakers, all of them managed to surge past analyst’ estimates, led by General Motors – fueled by the recent consumer drive towards SUVs and pickup trucks. In fact, according to a Reuters analysis, trucks and SUVs made up 69% of the sales mix at GM, Ford and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles – up from 66% during the same period a year ago. “As the price of gasoline goes down, people want to buy bigger vehicles that go faster,” said Mike Jackson, chief executive officer of AutoNation Inc, the largest US auto retailer. “That’s just human nature.”
General Motors managed to jump deliveries in January by 18 percent to 202,786 vehicles (retail sales up 14 percent and fleet deliveries up 32 percent). The No. 1 US automaker had a 42 percent growth pickup volume and 36 percent rise in crossover and SUV shipments. Additionally, deliveries jumped 29 percent at the GMC truck brand and advanced 20 percent for the Chevrolet core unit.
Ford, the second largest US automaker, saw sales climbing 15% to a total of 178,351 units. There was a 16 percent jump at the namesake brand and an 11 % surge at the premium Lincoln brand. Ford sold a record 54,370 F-series pickups in January and added the completely new 2015 F-150 was still ramping up the supply – especially falling below demand when it came to high-end versions including the King Ranch and Platinum editions. Additionally, the 17% surge of the F-Series meant the pickup range had the best January since 2004 – and the situation was mirrored when it came to Canada sales.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles US reported its 58th consecutive monthly gain, surging 14 percent on the back of the Jeep’s brand jump of 23 percent and Ram’s surge of 21 percent. Total volume rose to 145,007 autos.
VIa Reuters, Bloomberg, Automotive News