Prior to today’s report, the experts forecasted a lackluster sales picture for the month of May, and as far as the Detroit three were concerned, they were right.
Ford said there was brisk demand for its F-150 pickup and for its vans, but total U.S. sales fell 6 percent versus a year ago. This despite a 9 percent increase in F-150 sales while Transit sales rose 16 percent. The overall setback was blamed on two fewer selling days this year than last and that was also cited by GM.
The General said year-over-over sales fell 18 percent last month, also due in part to the company’s decision to trim low profit fleet sales. Production also slowed at some plants caused by a parts shortage tied to the Japanese earthquakes.
“The demand has been so strong for our new launch products, there’s no question we could’ve sold more, however, production was impacted at Fairfax, Lordstown and Spring Hill by the Japanese earthquakes,” said Kurt McNeil, GM vice president of Sales Operations. “Current dealer inventories for launch products are about half of what we’d like for launch products, but availability is improving, which sets us up well for the second-half of the year.”
It said demand is exceed supply for the Chevy Malibu and Cruze, Cadillac XT5 and CT6.
Buick sales dropped 22 percent, Cadillac was off the same and Chevy sales dropped 18 percent.
Fiat Chrysler said sales rose, but just a scant 1.1 percent in May driven by a 14 percent gain in Jeeps going out the door.
“Notwithstanding a challenging calendar, we managed to muscle our way to our strongest May sales in over 10 years,” said Reid Bigland, Senior Vice President – Sales, FCA – North America. “Initial sales of our all-new Chrysler Pacifica minivan are brisk and we expect further sales growth from this vehicle over the next few months as dealer inventory continues to build.”
Prior to today’s reports, Edmunds.com had projected an overall 5.8 percent sales drop on a year-over-year basis.
“It’s easy to look at May’s sales and conclude that the retail car market is losing steam, but it’s too soon to say for sure that auto sales are leveling off,” said Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds.com director of industry analysis. “As in previous years, the summer months will flush out more incentives from automakers and the urgency that shoppers show in responding to these incentives will give the industry a much better sense of how the market is trending.”
Mazda said May sales were off 4.3 percent due to the shorter calendar, but actually rose 3.7 percent on a daily selling rate basis. It sold 600 of the new CX-9 crossovers while the MX-5 Miata enjoyed its best May since 2008.
VW sales fell 17.2 percent year over year with demand slowing for most of the Golf lineup except the R model. Sales also rose for the Tiguan but slowed for the Beetle.
Want to own a Fiat 500L that was used by Pope Francis during his September 2015 trip to New York City? Auctions America will offer it at an event in Santa Monica, California on June 25-26. Proceeds will benefit the Archdiocese of New York and in turn, various Catholic charities. Bids are estimated at $75,000 to $100,000.
Owners of older Porsches can now get a navi system. The Porsche Classic Radio Navigation system combines a style reminiscent of the original equipment radios with modern digital technology. It fits perfectly into the DIN-1 slot used for decades in Porsches and is operated by two knobs, six discreetly integrated buttons and a touch sensitive 3.5 inch display. An option is satellite radio. Porsche said it is suitable for generations between the first 911 from the 1960s to the last air-cooled 911 (993 series, MY1998), as well as the 912, 914, 924, 928, 944, and 968 models.
Hyundai announced it will offer, in 2018, an electric vehicle with a range of about 200 miles per charge. That is more than the roughly 119 miles claimed by Hyundai’s IONIQ sedan that will arrived in showrooms later this year.
Strong sales of trucks, SUV’s and Crossovers are helping to drive the nations’ economy. The Bureau of Economic Analysis said they were the main reason consumer spending rose a strong 1.0% last month, the biggest gain since August of 2009. The bureau said cheap gas, low interest rates and the start of the summer driving season were the main reasons sales were so robust.
An interesting take on Volkswagen’s first quarter results. The New York Times said Audi and Porsche contributed nearly two-thirds of the company’s profit, not the namesake VW brand. Those two brands were not as closely tied to the emission’s scandal that has rocked the house at Wolfsburg. Overall, VW posted a profit in the first three months of the year. It is continuing diesel settlement talks with U.S. officials and is facing a judge imposed deadline of June 21.
Toyota’s plant in Princeton, Indiana is celebrating 20 years of building vehicles, starting out with just the Tundra truck. It now produces the Sienna minivan, Sequoia SUV, and the Highlander. Over two decades the plant has turned out 4.45 million vehicles.