Sales in the United States carry a bit of worry in the details, even if the bottom line is okay—especially given the frigid weather in much of the country during the end of January.
It‘s hard to tell how General Motors is doing, because they’re only reporting sales quarterly now (Ford is moving to join them, probably to reduce the frequency of “hey, don’t they sell anything but pickups?” stories). Automotive News, though, estimated that their sales dropped by 7%, compared against January 2018, which was also estimated. That’s still 185,000 or so sales, which keeps GM comfortably in first place in the USA (a position they’d been predicted to lose, before Toyota sales fell off a cliff).
Over at Ford, which is, yes, still producing monthly sales reports, the picture was brighter, with crossovers and trucks pushing volume up by 7%—yes, Ford gained roughly what GM lost, coming in at #2 with around 172,000 sales. The new Ranger pickup looks like a major hit, though the reasons aren’t apparent (aside from gas mileage, where it easily bests the Chevy Colorado and will almost certainly beat the off-road-focused Jeep Gladiator).
Toyota is still #3 in the USA, and they matched GM’s fall, dropping by 7%, to 156,021 sale. Scion is completely gone, with none of the “three or four sales per month” we get from other companies when they drop a model or brand; but that’s just because they attribute sales of old Scions to Toyota now. Lexus stayed roughly steady, with a 3% drop to 17,420 sales, but the Toyota brand took a 7% fall. While Toyota has two of the most popular crossovers in America, they’ve long relied on sales of the Corolla and Camry; while both are far better cars now than they were for many years, Americans have turned to crossovers with increasing frequency.
Fiat Chrysler is an interesting story, with Rams flying off the lots—a full 24% gain, with both pickups and vans doing well—but every other brand falling, roughly in order of volume. Jeep fell by 2% and Dodge by 1%, but then the smaller players hurt worse—Chrysler falling by 15%, Alfa Romeo by 30%, and Fiat by a stunning 39%, despite free turbo engines on all the 500s. Fiat has no less than five models for sale, but only managed to sell 751 cars across the entire United States last month. That’s pretty sad. As for Ram, it’s hard to tell whether they had a real gain or a fleet gain; fleet sales at FCA went up to around 24% of the total last month, versus 16% of the total in January 2018. That’s still far better than the fleet-percentage when Fiat first took over the company, ten years back.