Ford and General Motors want and need to grow sales in California: territory long dominated by their Japanese rivals. Recent sales of each maker’s more popular models suggest they may have found the secret to success in the Golden State.
Erich Merkle, Ford’s North American sales analyst, noted that sales of the Mustang nationally more than doubled last month to 8,694 vehicles: a 124% increase that marks Mustang’s best January sales since 2007.
While the national results were impressive, Mustang sales grew by 131% in California and by 146% in the Southern California region around Los Angeles where many trends in automotive fashion begin and take root. More often than not, the seeds planted don’t involve domestic automakers.
The good news extends to GM, which has seen more 2015 Chevrolet Colorado midsize trucks sold in Los Angeles than any other city to date. Additionally, the 2015 Motor Trend Truck of the Year has overtaken the Nissan Frontier to become No. 2 in marketshare nationally.
“L.A. was a big target for the Colorado, where people can use the utility of a pickup, but don’t necessarily have the space for a full-sized truck,” said Tony Johnson, marketing manager for the Colorado. “The in-roads we’ve made there are proof that it is the right fit for that market.”
More than 40% of Colorado buyers are trading in non-General Motors’ products, and Colorado customers are also younger, with more than 17% of Colorado buyers occupying the 16- to 35-year-old age bracket, Johnson said.
Colorado owners also are buying into the active lifestyle the truck allows, with more than four in 10 Colorado pickups being ordered with factory-installed accessories, he added.
The news basically supported the sales plans at Ford and GM, which have long sought to make a comeback in California, particularly Southern California, and invented all sorts of schemes to win over buyers.
(Subaru XV Crosstrek tops list of quickest January sellers. For more, Click Here.)
However, Japanese carmakers haven’t been sitting still.
New vehicles such as the new Lexus NX, Nissan Murano and Acura TLX also did well in January. All three vehicles were also heavily advertised during the holidays and during January to give their launch a boost.
(Click Here for details about GM’s earnings for 2015.)
Those new entries are going to be augmented with the new Toyota Tacoma, which was unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show last month, as well as the Honda Ridgeline set to be introduced later this Year.
“While the entire industry is gaining, those manufacturers with a full line of products will outpace the others as demand for both compact vehicles and larger full-size vehicles increases,” noted IHS Automotive sales analyst Tom Libby.
(To see more about Toyota exceeding analysts’ expectations for profitability, Click Here.)
“In particular, those manufacturers with full-size pickups and SUVs, including GM, Ford, FCA and Toyota, will enjoy sales gains over and above their rivals in today’s environment.”