While the overall results for new vehicle sales last month weren’t particularly surprising or impressive, there was a noteworthy result: Ford Motor Co. sold more vehicles in May than General Motors.
Not Ford outsold Chevy, but all of GM.
Ford said May sales rose 2.2% from a year ago to 241,126 units while GM sales dropped 1.3% to 237,364. Mark LaNeve, Ford sales chief, noted the shift earlier today, adding when Ford tops GM, which is not often, The reason is very simple: fleet sales.
“It feels good for about 10 seconds and then we move on,” he said on a conference call.
(U.S. auto sales remain flat in May. Click Here for the story.)
Ford also reported its average transaction pricing increased $2,100 last month, outpacing an industry increase of roughly $500.
“The decline in total sales is primarily due to the industry’s pull back from daily rental sales,” said Mustafa Mohatarem, GM chief economist, in a statement. “Although total sales are running below our expectations, we anticipate retail vehicle sales will remain strong.”
GM has been looking to pare down its sales to rental fleets for some time now, and managed to do that again in May. The company’s U.S. commercial sales in May were up 14% and government sales jumped 21%.
(Click Here to see more about sliding new vehicle sales last month.)
But daily rental sales were down 36%, as planned. GM is on track to deliver its third consecutive year-over-year decline in daily rental volume. This is where Ford moved past the its Detroit-based competitor. Ford’s fleet sales were up 8.4% in May.
Fleet sales accounted for 36% of the company’s overall sales, whereas they accounted for just 19% of GM’s sales. The industry average is about 20%. The other Detroit-area automaker? FCA reported fleet sales dropped 7%, accounting for 21% of total sales.
The occurrence is likely temporary. It’s the first time in more than a year that it’s happened – March 2016 – and it was five years before that in March 2011. However, GM can hang its hat on a another sales number.
(To see how crossovers/utes could account for half the U.S. new vehicle market, Click Here.)
“They have not outsold us on a retail basis since August 2005, which was the month after GM ended its “Employee Discount for Everyone” program,” GM spokesman Jim Cain told the Detroit Free Press.