Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. reported that sales held steady during the third quarter while those of Ford Motor Co. dropped in line with analysts’ forecasts while strike-bound General Motors Co. sales rose while the company offered only a minimum of third quarter sales data.
Ford reported a 4.9% drop in sales during the third quarter. However, the company also reported its best pick-up trucks sales in 14 years and its transaction pricing improved during the quarter as a result.
Ford’s truck and SUV mix climbed to 87% in the third quarter, five points higher than last year, taking average transaction pricing to $37,900 per vehicle at the end of September. This represents a $2,200 increase, relative to a year ago.
Ford’s third-quarter total pickup sales increased 5%, posting their best third-quarter performance in 14 years on sales of 240,387 pickups. Expedition sales continue strong pace, while EcoSport produces double-digit gains; Expedition sales expanded 48% for the quarter, while the entry-level EcoSport posted sales gains of 11%. In addition, the all-new 2020 Escape began arriving on dealer lots.
“As planned, this year is a transitional one for Ford as we move from our sedan lineup to an all-new winning portfolio of trucks and SUVs,” noted Mark LaNeve, Ford’s vice president of sales service and marketing.
“Ranger sales continue to accelerate and the all-new Explorer and Escape are hitting dealer showrooms now. Our truck, van and commercial business continued to be strong in the third quarter, with record van sales and continued F-Series sale
Lincoln SUVs report best third quarter sales since 2003, led by new Nautilus. Nautilus sales jumped 24% in the third quarter, accelerating from the second-quarter gain of 15%. Navigator increased 9%, while the all-new Aviator and Corsair reported their first sales.
FCA also posted strong sales during the third quarter.
For the quarter, overall sales were 565,034 vehicles for the three-month period covering July, August and September. Retail sales accounted for 438,649 vehicles while fleet accounted for 22% of total sales. Fleet sales, on a year-to-date basis, accounted for 25% of overall sales.
“Lower interest rates, a stable economy and consumer enthusiasm bolster our belief that new vehicle sales in the U.S. are heading for a strong finish,” FCA head of U.S. Sales Reid Bigland said.
“For us, vehicles like the new Gladiator, our Ram pickups and Dodge muscle cars are pulling customers into showrooms. Our customers are also choosing to purchase higher trim levels or extra features, which are increasing our transaction prices.”
General Motors dealerships delivered 738,638 vehicles in the United States in the third quarter of 2019, an increase of 6.3% compared to the third quarter of 2018. GM’s fleet mix of total sales was 19.5%, down 3 tenths of a percent, year over year. End of September inventory was 759,633 units, the company reported.