US: March sales show mixed results for Detroit Three image

While overall light vehicle sales beat analyst expectations, with overall March deliveries rising slightly by 0.6 percent, only one of the three US automakers managed to post a positive result.

Industry consultant Autodata Corp has tallied a total March market in the US of 1,545,802 vehicles, with automakers counting on one less selling day and one less weekend as opposed to the year-ago period. While the sales were driven by increased consumer demand for luxury vehicles – particularly from German and Japanese brands – and for trucks and SUVs from the Detroit three, General Motors and Ford still posted year-over-year declines.

General Motors, the largest US automaker, missed analyst’ forecasts for a 0.1 percent increase and instead was down 2.4 percent to 249,875 autos. The company posted a 14 percent jump in trucks and SUVs but that was not enough to outpace a 21 percent slide in cars. Both Chevrolet and Ford lifted their truck incentive war, with discounts of up to $9,000 on 2015 models and $12,000 or more on remaining 2014 models – the latter’s best-selling F-Series pickup slid 5 percent last month and Chevy’s Silverado meanwhile was up 7 percent.

Ford Motor managed to surge past analyst predictions, but still clocked in a negative performance, dropping 3.4 percent, to 235,929 units. Meanwhile, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles US unit continued to post monthly increases, with sales up 1.7 percent, in line with analyst expectations. FCA US sold 197,261 cars and light trucks last month, with Jeep sales again leading the pack with a 23 percent jump for the best March since 2007, according to the Auburn Hills, Michigan-based company.

Via Reuters, Bloomberg