Posted by Dale Buss on August 1, 2012 04:14 PM
General Motors and Ford have lost some combined momentum these days, as the most impressive relative sales results in the middling automotive recovery now are being turned in by their Japanese rivals and by Chrysler. So once again as in the past, Ford and GM are hoping that their biggest-profit vehicles, full-size pickup trucks, can rally to the companies' aid.
There certainly are some good harbingers for that hope. For one thing, there finally are signs of a recovery in U.S. new-home construction, which is the single biggest factor in encouraging the purchase of new pick-ups.
For July, GM reported 6-percent lower overall sales than a year earlier, thanks in part to fewer cars sales to fleets but also reflecting a 13-percent decline for the month in sales of its dominant pickup-truck line, Chevy Silverado, and a 12-percent drop in sales for its GMC Sierra line. The results set off some alarm in GM observers in part because GM has continued to boost dealer inventories of pickup trucks in advance of a big design change next year, which will idle pickup-truck production for a while.
Meanwhile, Ford's sales overall were off by 4 percent for July. And sales of its F-Series pickups — America's best-selling vehicle line for decades — were flat in July, though they're up by about 12 percent for the year.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on April 3, 2012 05:55 PM
Spring has sprung for U.S. auto sales, and it continues to create a fresh-smelling outlook: Sales in March were up by about 13 percent compared with a year ago, and most prognosticators now are looking for a strong second quarter as well.
Concerns loom about the second half, including how rising gas prices eventually might wear down a strengthening U.S. economy, and the wild card that election season always brings. But for now, auto-brand executives and analysts are crediting a brightening economy, easing credit, and even warmer-than-expected spring weather for a buying mood among American consumers.
The biggest driver: higher gasoline prices — for now, at least — are spurring purchases of more fuel-efficient compact cars. "Everyone, regardless of segment, places fuel economy top of mind, today," said Ken Czubay, Ford's vice president of U.S. sales, on a conference call today.Continue reading...