Ford sales rose in December on strength of pickups; Fiat Chrysler and GM fall


By Greg Gardner - Detroit Free Press



2017 Ford F-150 Limited. (Ford)


DETROIT — Ford’s U.S. sales rose 0.9 percent in December, fueled by 89,385 F-Series pickup trucks. Fiat Chrysler sales fell 11 percent while General Motors dropped 3.3 percent.

For perspective, Ford sold more than twice as many large pickups as the total of all Ford passenger cars sold in the month, 44,871.

At Fiat Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge posted declines of 12 percent and 23 percent, respectively. Fiat brand sales fell 33 percent, while Ram slipped 3 percent, but still sold 44,907 pickup trucks.

Some of the decline can be attributed to Fiat Chrysler’s decision to sell fewer vehicles to daily rental fleets. Across its five brands, fleet sales in December were down 42 percent from a year earlier, the company said.

At GM, Cadillac declined 28.6 percent and Chevrolet was down 2.9 percent. Buick sales rose 4.7 percent and GMC was up 1.2 percent on the strength of its Sierra pickup (up 13.5 percent) and Yukon full-size SUV (up 36 percent for the standard wheelbase.

The largest U.S. automaker said its dealer inventories at the end of 2017 were about 752,554 units, down 90,000 from a year ago, or about 63 days’ supply.

Toyota’s December sales fell 8.3 percent, as a 29.7 percent jump in sales of the new Camry sedan failed to offset declines across nearly all other passenger car models. Even though Camry’s sales for all of 2017 dropped 0.4 percent, it was the best-selling car in the U.S. for the 16th consecutive year.

Sales at Toyota’s Lexus brand fell 13.9 percent.

On the truck side, Toyota’s full-size Tundra has not gained significant traction in a segment the Detroit Three automakers continue to dominate.

The migration of consumers to larger, more expensive vehicles, especially luxury pickup trucks and crossovers, has come as easier credit and longer auto loans have enabled people to buy or lease vehicles they might have once considered unaffordable.

The average transaction price _ what dealer and customer agree on _ rose to $36,113 in December, according to Kelley Blue Book, a 1.6 percent increase from December 2016.

2017 Ford F-150 Limited. (Ford)
http://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2018/01/web1_BIZ_BC-AUTO-SALES_DE.jpg2017 Ford F-150 Limited. (Ford)

By Greg Gardner

Detroit Free Press