The winter affected badly last month big parts of the continental United States, which prompted some carmakers to say it was to blame for their slowing sales. Still, others seemed to benefit from the cold weather and basked in strong sales.
Toyota, GM and Ford posted a 7.2 %, 11.9 % and 7.5 % sales decline – which are substantial numbers since last year they were all on the green.
“January was off to a solid start, but the weather conditions slowed industry sales in key markets late in the month,” said Bill Fay, Toyota division group vice president and general manager
Healthy gains were on the other hand posted by Chrysler, Nissan or Subaru – they saw increases of 7.6 %, 11.8 % and 19.3 % respectively. For the latter the gains were understandable – the specialized Japanese brand made a name selling AWD vehicles, which are perfect for winter conditions.
On the other hand, and that should see the crisis cells at the losing automakers assemble, Chrysler benefited from spending more money on incentives (for clients and dealers alike), while GM lost around 10,000 units from the usual rental fleets it sells.
Also, for the success of Nissan or Hyundai, the biggest role was played by the fleet sales, as both Asian automakers jumped around 25 % in that segment.
Now, with lots of new models to come out this year and as incentives couldn’t go much further down without seriously hurting profit, it looks like competition on what was once the biggest global market, is set to really intensify.