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Mayank Marwah
Mayank Marwah
Articles (960) 

What You Need to Know About US Car Sales

Automakers post quarterly and yearly sales declines

Several major U.S. automakers have released their fourth-quarter and full-year U.S. auto sales results for fiscal 2019, showing all-around declines in U.S. automobile sales for the measured periods.

General Motors

General Motors (NYSE:GM) sold a total of 735,909 vehicles in the fourth quarter, down 6.3% year over year. Retail sales accounted for 80.3% of total sales for the quarter, while fleet sales made up the rest. The average transaction price rose to a record $37,558 compared to prior quarters.

All of the company’s major brands registered sales decline. Sales were down 2.2% for Cadillac (40,551 units sold), 6.1% for Chevrolet (499,404 units sold), 8.5% for GMC (146,880 units sold) and 4.3% for Buick (49,047 units sold). Additionally, the company’s sales for the quarter were hurt by the 40-day U.S. worker strike that ended on Oct. 25.

For the full year, GM's sales plunged 2.3% to 2,887,046 units.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles 

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (NYSE:FCAU) registered sales declines of 2% in the fourth quarter to 542,519 units. Edmunds had estimated a decline of 3.2%.

Fleet sales were 22.7% of total sales in the fourth quarter. Ram registered record deliveries with 190,655 units. In addition to this, the brand saw record sales of the Jeep Wrangler SUV and the Dodge Charger passenger car.

For full fiscal 2019, the company posted a 1% decline in sales to 2,203,663 vehicles.

Ford Motor Co.

Ford Motor Co. (NYSE:F) is expected to report its sales figures after market close on Jan. 6. Edmunds analysts estimate that Ford’s fourth-quarter sales will drop 0.6% year over year to 605,944 units.

Performance of international automakers

Toyota’s (NYSE:TM) sales came in at 207,373 units in December, which reflected a decline of 6% compared to the previous year. Lexus cars recorded 3.4% sales gain and hybrid cars saw sales increase by 51% in December. However, total car sales dipped 10% and total truck sales plummeted 4%. For the full year, the company experienced a 1.8% sales decline to 2,383,349 units.

Nissan Motor Co.’s (NSANY) December sales tumbled 29.5% year over year to 104,781 units. The company further broke down the numbers into a 23.4% decline car sales and a 32.9% for truck sales, or a 28.4% decline in the Nissan division and a 37.8% decline in the luxury Infiniti division. Nissan’s 2019 sales totalled 1,345,681 units, down 9.9% from the previous year.

Honda Motor Co.’s (NYSE:HMC) sales were down 12% in December to 136,566 units, citing a sales decline of 11.3% for cars and 2.3% for trucks, or 12.9% for the Honda division and 3.8% for the luxury Acura division. For the full year, sales rose 0.2% to 1,608,170 units.

2019 in review

The number of vehicles sold in the U.S. has come down in 2019 when compared with the prior year. However, customers spent more money on average to purchase the new cars and trucks. The demand for SUVs and pickup trucks remained robust for the year, which helped to offset the sharp declines in sedans and compacts. As per the market-research firm Edmunds, sales have exceeded 17 million vehicles in 2019. This marked the fifth consecutive years of sales surpassing the firm's estimated figures.

Disclosure: I do not hold any positions in the stocks mentioned.

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About the author:

Mayank Marwah
A seasoned writer with keen interest in the automotive, technology, telecommunication, retail and aerospace sectors.

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