New car sales for August: Winners and losers


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Ford Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co. posted their biggest U.S. sales declines of the year in August in what is expected to be a rare down month for the industry.

Ford was dragged down by a 9.4 percent drop at its namesake division, while Nissan recorded its sharpest monthly decline in more than three years. Sales at General Motors and Toyota Motor Corp. dropped for the sixth time in 2016, while Fiat Chrysler chalked up another gain aided mainly by the strength of Jeep.

The results released so far point to the difficulties the industry will have stretching its streak of consecutive sales gains to a century high of seven years.

Overall U.S. light-vehicle sales are projected to fall 3.5 percent for the month when other automakers report August results later today, according to a survey of analysts by Bloomberg. It would mark the third month this year that volume has declined and the most monthly dips in any year since recession-wracked 2009, when volume slumped in eight individual months.

August had the same number of selling days as in 2015 — 26 — but featured one fewer weekend this year, contributing to the decline in volume most analysts are expecting.



Photo: 2016 GMC Canyon SLT Diesel

GM said August sales dropped 5.2 percent to 256,429 cars and light trucks.


The seasonally adjusted annualized sales rate for August is forecast to fall to a healthy 17.2 million, from 17.79 million in August 2015 and 17.86 million in July, according to the Bloomberg survey of analysts.

GM today estimated the August SAAR at 17.2 million.

Ford’s sales fell 8.8 percent to 213,411 with retail volume off 8 percent and fleet shipments dropping 10 percent. A 7 percent rise at Lincoln offset some of the decline at the bigger Ford division.

GM said August sales dropped 5.2 percent to 256,429 cars and light trucks. Deliveries slipped 3.9 percent at Chevrolet, 14 percent at GMC and 2.7 percent at Buick. Sales rose 3.9 percent at Cadillac.

At Toyota Motor Corp., volume dropped 5 percent to 213,125 cars and light trucks last month. Honda Motor Co. deliveries dipped 3.8 percent.

Sales slumped 13 percent at Mazda and 9.1 percent at the VW brand, where U.S. volume has slid every month beginning with November as the company struggles to move past violations of U.S. diesel emissions rules.  


2016 Nissan Murano

New car sales for July: Winners and losers

General Motors and Ford Motor Co. posted lower U.S. sales in July while volume at Nissan Motor Co., behind record crossover and truck demand, rose 1.2 percent.At GM, deliveries slipped 1.9 percent …



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Nissan posted a 6.5 percent decline in August U.S. sales, with demand falling 6.9 percent at the Nissan division and 1.8 percent at Infiniti.

It was only the second time this year that deliveries at the Nissan group, one of the hottest automakers in the U.S. this year, with sales up 7.3 percent through July, have dropped.

Nissan last recorded a tumble as steep as August’s in February 2013.

FCA US, helped by more generous incentives, posted a 3.1 percent August gain. Sales rose 12 percent at Jeep, 5.1 percent at Dodge and 1.6 percent at the Ram brand, but deliveries dropped 22 percent at the Chrysler brand, 21 percent at Fiat and 62 percent at low-volume Alfa Romeo.

“Looking forward [to the next few years], we continue to see industry sales as strong but at a lower level than this year,” said Mark LaNeve, head of U.S marketing, sales and service for Ford.

U.S. sales have climbed 1.1 percent this year through July, leaving analysts divided over whether demand can top 2015’s record of 17.48 million cars and light trucks. For the remainder of the year, automakers face a tough comparison to the second half of 2015, when the SAAR topped 18 million in September, October and November.

Some analysts — citing low gasoline prices, widely available credit and low financing costs and employment gains — believe sales still have room to grow.



Photo: 2016 Honda CR-V


“Despite sales beginning to cool off, the industry is still on pace for a record year,” said Eric Lyman, TrueCar’s chief industry sales analyst. “2015 delivered a 10-year high in August sales, so automakers faced a high hurdle to show year over year gains in August 2016.”

Among major automakers, only FCA, Honda and Hyundai-Kia were forecast to post higher August sales, according to the poll of analysts by Bloomberg. Sales were projected to drop 4.9 percent at GM, 8.2 percent at Ford and 0.6 percent at Nissan.

Volume is expected to drop 0.4 percent at Toyota and 6.6 percent at Volkswagen/Audi.

Industry sales continue to be driven by light trucks, notably compact crossovers and large utility vehicles.

TrueCar says incentive spending averaged an estimated $3,331 per vehicle in August, an increase of 7.7 percent from a year earlier. That figure was down 2.2 percent from July 2016, as automakers launched sales to clear out 2016 models.


FCA sales found to be inflated



As the market shows signs of reaching a sales plateau, automakers aren’t chasing U.S. sales at any cost, a practice that helped force GM and Chrysler to restructure in bankruptcy in 2009.

While discounts have, at least on paper, crept back up to pre-recession levels, there’s more cushion than ever: Average transaction prices are at a record high as buyers opt for bigger vehicles with plusher interiors, more electronics and driver-assist features. With profits largely protected, automakers don’t mind if the industry snaps a streak of six straight annual sales increases.

“It may or may not be a record but, look, any time you’re above 15 million is good,” said John Mendel, Honda’s head of U.S. sales. “I’m bullish on the rest of the year.”

Nick Bunkley and Bloomberg contributed to this report

The article GM, Ford, Toyota, Nissan sales slip; FCA gains 3.1%” first appeared on Automotive News.













By David Phillips, Automotive News




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