Detroit Strong: Trucks, Small Cars Drove August Sales
Chrysler posted its best August sales since 2007, and the 41st consecutive month of year over-year sales gains. The automaker reported U.S. sales of 165,552 units, a 12% increase compared with sales last year.
Karl Brauer, senior analyst at Kelley Blue Book, says the bigger success at the Auburn Hills, Mich. automaker is consistency across brands. “With Fiat hitting a new monthly sales record, Ram sales up 29% and Dodge and Jeep seeing their best numbers in 10-plus years, there is plenty of success to go around.”
Alec Gutierrez, senior analyst at the sales and research company, notes that despite having to hang fire on the replacement of the Liberty compact SUV with the new Cherokee, “Jeep was another bright spot in Chrysler’s portfolio with an annual increase of 8%.”
Ford posted a 20% lift in retail sales last month, with low fleet sales (which is good news) dropping the sales total to 12%. It was the best monthly retail performance for Ford since 2006 with the Dearborn, Mich., reporting car sales up 15%, crossovers and SUVs up 16% and trucks up 30%.
Ken Czubay, Ford VP marketing, said the company is doing well on the coasts with small cars and hybrids. “Small car sales [are] growing at more than three times the rate of the U.S. small car industry." The company said the Fusion sedan had a best-ever August -- sales up 63% -- driven by the western markets.
General Motors saw sales increase in August by 15% versus a year ago, with retail sales up 22% -- with double-digit increases across all brands -- while fleet sales were down 8%. Cadillac and Buick drove some of the percentages: Cadillac was up 38%, Buick was up 37%. GMC was up 14% and Chevrolet 10%.
Profitability is also up for the automakers, with transaction prices hitting records, per auto pricing, information and analysis company TrueCar. The firm says Chrysler, Ford, Honda, Nissan and Volkswagen all got transaction high-points last month. KBB’s Gutierrez said Ford's increase in transaction price by 1.5% "is well positioned to continue to increase market share in the US while maintaining profitability along the way.”
Jesse Toprak, senior analyst at TrueCar, said low interest rates and attractive leases plus high resale values helped consumers buy more expensive vehicles. "It's good day at the office for the manufacturers when the sales continue to grow double digits while transaction prices reach record highs."
Finance firm Stern Agee says confidence are at below historical levels "Keeping demand totals within the range of suggested trend, but the recent gains are bullish for demand over the next six to nine months."