Fiat Chrysler, GM lead sales gains for strong end to 2014

The Pak Banker - - COMPANIES/BOSS -

Gen­eral Mo­tors Co. (GM), Ford Mo­tor Co. (F) and other ma­jor au­tomak­ers re­ported ris­ing ve­hi­cles sales in the U.S. in De­cem­ber, cap­ping the best year since 2006 thanks to cheap fuel and low in­ter­est rates.

While all of the big­gest au­tomak­ers re­ported gains in the month, only GM and Nis­san Mo­tor Co. did bet­ter than an­a­lysts had pre­dicted. The mar­ket's shift to light trucks, which out­sold cars in ev­ery month of the year for the first time since 2004, played to the strengths of GM and Fiat Chrysler Au­to­mo­biles NV (FCAU), such as their sport-util­ity ve­hi­cles and large pick­ups. Shop­pers last year were un­de­terred by record re­calls, mostly of older mod­els.

"It's a very good sales month," said Maryann Keller, an in­de­pen­dent au­to­mo­tive con­sul­tant in Stam­ford, Con­necti­cut. "The big­gest chal­lenge for this year will be sus­tain­ing the sales pace. We will see more in­cen­tives this year and they will be much more vis­i­ble to con­sumers."

Au­tomak­ers and an­a­lysts project that sales will rise again in 2015 for an un­prece­dented sixth straight year as the strength­en­ing job mar­ket, avail­able credit and the low­est gaso­line prices in more than half a decade bol­stered con­sumer con­fi­dence. Light-ve­hi­cle sales may to­tal 16.7 mil­lion, Toy­ota Mo­tor Corp. said on a con­fer­ence call, adding that there's "room for up­side" to that fore­cast.

The an­nu­al­ized sell­ing rate, ad­justed for sea­sonal trends, was 16.9 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to re­searcher Au­to­data Corp. The tally is down slightly from Novem­ber's 17.2 mil­lion, but still the third-fastest pace of the year. A year ear­lier, the pace was 15.5 mil­lion.

Deal­ers last month sold 1.51 mil­lion cars and light trucks, ac­cord­ing to the Wood­cliff Lake, New Jersey-based re­searcher. That topped the 1.5 mil­lion pre­dicted by the av­er­age of seven an­a­lysts' es­ti­mates. The full-year to­tal was 16.5 mil­lion, 58 per­cent more than in 2009, when Gen­eral Mo­tors Corp. and Chrysler LLC re­struc­tured in bank­ruptcy. Light-ve­hi­cle sales in the U.S. av­er­aged 16.8 mil­lion from 2000 to 2007. The record, set in 2000, was 17.4 mil­lion. GM's 274,483 sales pro­duced a 19 per­cent gain, com­pared with an­a­lysts' fore­cast of 13 per­cent. Detroit-based GM was helped by light trucks, with its GMC brand post­ing a 23 per­cent gain in­clud­ing a 31 per­cent rise in Yukon large SUV sales and a 38 per­cent jump for the mid-size Ter­rain SUV. Chevro­let had strong sales for its Sil­ver­ado pickup and Ta­hoe large SUV. Buick led the way with a 32 per­cent in­crease, which was pushed by 20 per­cent cash-back dis­counts on its cars. Cadil­lac was its only brand that didn't grow, slid­ing 11 per­cent for the month.

Ford's light-ve­hi­cle sales rose 1.3 per­cent, less than the 2.8 per­cent in­crease pro­jected by an­a­lysts. Its gains were held back by slower sales of its three top mod­els. F-Se­ries pickup sales fell slightly amid re­duced pro­duc­tion dur­ing the fac­tory con­ver­sion to mak­ing an F-150 truck with an all-alu­minum body. Sales of ev­ery Ford brand car ex­cept for the Mus­tang fell last month.

Ford fell 3.9 per­cent to close at $14.76. GM slid 1.5 per­cent to $34.33, while Fiat Chrysler dropped 3.8 per­cent to $11.25 amid a broad sell-off of eq­ui­ties. FCA US sold 193,261 cars and trucks last month, up 20 per­cent for De­cem­ber and giv­ing full-year sales a 16 per­cent boost on its way to gain­ing the most mar­ket share. An­a­lysts had es­ti­mated a jump of 23 per­cent last month. Chrysler brand sales rose 53 per­cent, led by the new 200 fam­ily sedan, which nearly tripled de­liv­er­ies, to 16,229. It was the brand's best De­cem­ber in seven years. Jeep sales jumped 19 per­cent to 63,274, pow­ered by the Chero­kee, Grand Chero­kee and the Wran­gler. Ram pick­ups soared 32 per­cent to 44,222. For the year, Ram pickup sales jumped 24 per­cent to 439,789.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Pakistan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.