News Column

Chrysler Tops Detroit Motor Vehicle Sales in January

February 3, 2014

Jayson Derrick, Benzinga Lightning Feed

jeep
2014 Jeep Wrangler (Chrysler Group)

Major manufacturers January U.S. sales data were released on Monday.

General Motors: Consensus miss

General Motors (NYSE: GM) reported that its U.S. sales fell 12 percent to 171,000 vehicles in January. The consensus estimate was looking for a 2.5 percent falloff. Retail sales fell 10 percent for the month and fleet sales declined by 18 percent for the month. Sales of Chevrolet and Cadillac brands declined the most at 13.3 percent and 13.2 percent, respectively.

"We are building long-term value for our customers and it starts with award-winning new products," said Kurt McNeil, U.S. vice president of Sales Operations. "We have major launches underway and we are going to accelerate brand-building and other growth initiatives, which include executing our winning strategy to sell more pickup trucks with larger cabs, more features and advanced technology."

One of the lone positive notes from General Motors' sales data was the announcement that half of its light-duty pickup sales were closed at above the $40,000 mark. The company "expects light vehicle sales for the year to be in a range of 16 million to 16.5 million units, which would be the industry's best year since 2007, when 16.2 million vehicles were sold."

General Motors blamed its poor sales on "extreme winter weather in the South, Midwest and Northeast."

Ford: Winter to blame on poor sales

Ford (NYSE: F) reported that its U.S. sales fell 7.1 percent to 154,000 vehicles in January. The consensus estimate was looking for a 2.3 percent falloff. Retail sales fell seven percent for the month and fleet sales declined by 14 percent for the month. Sales of the Ford brand fell 8.4 percent, while Lincoln saw a 42.5 percent rise in sales.

"Given the difficult weather in our largest sales regions, we are fortunate to have held in at retail as well as we did," said John Felice, Ford vice president, U.S. marketing, sales and service. "In areas where the weather was good, such as in the West, sales were up. The poor weather also had an impact on the timing of some of our fleet deliveries. A bright spot is Lincoln, which had its strongest sales in four years."

Sales of Ford's F-Series fell 0.7 percent to 46,536. F-Series trucks represents one of the company's most important vehicles as it is sold at high margins. The completely redesigned F-Series lineup combines "authentic Texas heritage with modern luxury" and is expected to hit the showrooms soon.

Like General Motors, Ford also blamed its poor sales "as winter weather hampered the ability to fill a portion of fleet orders."

Chrysler: Lone winner out of the big three

Chrysler reported that its U.S. sales rose 8 percent to 127,183 vehicles in January. The consensus estimate was looking for a 5.4 percent gain. Sales of the Jeep brand rose 38 percent, the largest sales gain of any Chrysler Group brand during the month. Sales of Ram Trucks rose 22 percent, while Chrysler brand sales rose two percent.

"The bad weather only seemed to affect our competitors' stores as we had a great January with sales up 8 percent and achieved our 46th-consecutive month of year-over-year sales increases," said Reid Bigland, Head of U.S. Sales. "In addition to a strong sales start to the year, last month we also reported 2013 full-year profits and unveiled the all-new Chrysler 200, our strongest entry yet in the mid-size sedan segment."

Four Chrysler Group vehicles set sales records in January with the Jeep Compass, Jeep Patriot, Jeep Wrangler and Chrysler 200 each posted its best January sales ever. The Dodge Grand Caravan recorded the largest percentage increase of any Chrysler Group vehicle for the month with sales rising 47 percent.

Toyota (NYSE: TM) reported that its U.S. sales fell 7.2 percent to 146,365 units in January.

Nissan reported that its U.S. sales rose 11.8 percent to 90,470 units in January.

Hyundai reported that its U.S. sales rose 0.7 percent to 44,005 units in January.

(c) 2014 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.


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Source: (c) 2014 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.