United States auto sales fall as makers cut rental sales

03 August, 2017, 00:10 | Author: Elaine Woods
  • July sales: GM down 15%, FCA down 10%, Ford down 7.5%

Automakers have used low-margin sales to rental fleets to avoid factory shutdowns.

General Motors and Fiat Chrysler posted steeper USA light vehicle sales declines than analysts estimated in July as industrywide demand continues to slide from last year's record results.

After seven years of USA auto sales growth, this year's persistent slump - and anxiety over upheavals from electrification, autonomy and mobility services - has investors shunning automakers as benchmark stock indexes graze record highs.

"Driven by our enormous success with our crossover portfolio, it is like we have sold an extra months' worth of retail sales so far this year", John Roth, vice president of sales, service and marketing at GM Canada said in a statement.

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In a more troubling sign for Detroit, combined sales of large pickups fell 4 percent, and sales of large sport utility vehicles declined by 20 percent. General Motors Co fell about 3.5 percent and Ford Motor Co slid about 2.5 percent. New vehicle sales hit a record 17.55 million a year ago.

Sales of mid-size cars are expected to fall 14.5 percent in July, compared to a year ago, and compact sedans to fall 10.6 percent, USA Today reported, citing Kelley Blue Book. The Explorer accounts for most of the production volume at the plant at Torrence Avenue and 126th Street, and sales have risen 6.4 percent to 137,224 through the first six months of the year. Ford shares were down three percent, and Fiat Chrysler was down 0.025 percent. Sales of the Ford Fusion midsize sedan dropped 42 percent, while sales of the Chevrolet Spark subcompact fell a whopping 82 percent.

Vehicle sales are plummeting, hurt by low gas prices and changing tastes, though automakers continue to see healthy profits thanks to consumers' preference for SUVs. Auto shopping site Edmunds said the average price paid for a new vehicle in July was $34,558, 2 percent higher than the same month a year ago.

Automakers began offering in July, and will continue to do so for the rest of the summer as they make way for 2018 models.

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