Major automakers posted mixed U.S. new vehicle sales figures for January, as American consumers continued to abandon passenger cars in favor of larger, more comfortable pickup trucks, SUVs and crossover models.
U.S. auto industry sales fell 2 percent in 2017 to 17.23 million vehicles after hitting a record high in 2016 and are expected to drop further in 2018 as interest rates rise and more late-model used cars come back to dealer lots to compete with new ones.
General Motors Co (GM.N) reported a 1.3 percent increase in sales for the month, driven by a 16 percent rise in fleet sales. Sales to consumers fell 2.4 percent. The automaker posted strong gains for models such as its Silverado pickup truck and Equinox crossover model, while passenger cars such as the Impala and Cruze continued to struggle.
“All of our brands are building momentum in the industry’s hottest and most profitable segments,” GM’s U.S vice president for sales Kurt McNeil said in a statement.
Ford Motor Co (F.N) posted a 6.6 percent decline in new vehicle sales for January, with retail sales down 4.3 percent. The No. 2 U.S. automaker said its average transaction price rose $2,000, while its average discount to consumers was down $200 versus January 2016.