Monday, 27 March, 2017

US Auto Sales Slow in February despite Continued Truck Demand

Continental helping lead gains at Lincoln Continental helping lead gains at Lincoln
Cecilia Poole | 04 March, 2017, 00:53

DETROIT, March 1 February U.S. auto sales, an early-month indicator of consumer spending, fell slightly but remained strong as pickup trucks and SUVs continued a robust showing based on the first three automakers that reported on Wednesday.

Nissan sales also increased by 4 percent.

"The holiday weekend is likely a contributing factor to strong sales in February, but we're also seeing signs that automakers are starting to be a bit more aggressive to move cars off the lot", Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds executive director for industry analysis, said in the statement containing the forecasts.

Data source: Ford Motor Company.

There are a couple of interesting takeaways from Ford's overall sales mix.

Two of GM's most important products, the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra, recorded an impressive February with sales gains of 17.1% and 15.9%, respectively. Nissan said sales of its Rogue SUV jumped 54 percent. Ford brand sales dropped 4.5 percent while Lincoln sales were up 9 percent.

According to the company, compared with a year ago, sales were down 4% in February, which was more than the previous estimates of 1.2% decline.

Another month and another impressive sales result for America's best-selling truck. Not to be outdone, Ford's bread-and-butter product, the F-Series full-size truck, posted a sales increase of 9% to almost 66,000 units. He added that he is satisfied with the performance of F-Series.

- Ford Motor Co.'s sales fell 4 percent to 208,440.

The top automakers in the US auto market reported mixed results in their latest monthly sales totals released this week. Kelley Blue Book said the price people paid for a vehicle last month was up 2 percent from last February to an average of $34,352. Meanwhile, Ford's premium subsidiary, Lincoln, posted an 8.8 percent increase thanks nearly entirely to its all-new Continental, which racked up more than a thousand deliveries. In fact, Ford's gross stock, which includes in-transit vehicles, declined sequentially from 95 days' supply during January down to 79 days' supply at the end of February; the supply was also down from last February's supply of 84 days.

USA consumers continue to make it clear they have very little interest in cars but continue to have a voracious desire to buy SUVs and pickups, a trend that is increasingly creating winners and losers among automotive manufacturers.

General Motors said that it was "optimistic that the company, and Chevrolet in particular", would continue to pick up retail market share this year.

Ford wasn't the only automaker to have a hard February.

Fiat Chrysler's February U.S. sales slid 10% to 168,326 automobiles, missing Edmunds forecasts for 169,514. For the months ahead, investors should focus on two things: incentive levels and fleet sales.

Toyota Motor Corp, No. 3 in USA sales volume, suffered a 7.2 percent drop as sales of the company's best-selling model, the Camry sedan, dropped 15 percent.

Daniel Miller owns shares of Ford and General Motors. The Motley Fool recommends General Motors.

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