US Auto Sales Dropped In 2017, But Remain Strong

  • US Auto Sales Dropped In 2017, But Remain Strong

US Auto Sales Dropped In 2017, But Remain Strong

Vehicle sales for the month declined 5.5% year-over-year to 48,380 units from 51,205 units, truck sales also decreased 1.0% to 110,788 units, while SUVs sales rose 8.0% to 82,881 units as compared to a year earlier.

But the automaker stated it anticipates the industry to sell lower than 17 million new vehicles in this year.

General Motors, Toyota and Ford report a 1% decline in 2017 sales compared to the previous year.

The largest US automaker said its dealer inventories at the end of 2017 were about 752,554 units, down 90,000 from a year ago, or about 63 days' supply.

Investors were happy that General Motors had cut its stock of unsold vehicles - an issue for the market earlier in 2017 - at the end of December to 63 days supply unsold vehicles, beating its target of around 70 days supply. That's down 1.8 percent. Consumers like the extra storage space, higher seating position and improved fuel economy of car-based SUVs, also called crossovers. New auto sales in March are expected to top 1.4 million in the USA, on pace for 14.6 million within the year.

"In 2017, we had solid GDP growth and good news on employment, wages and consumer sentiment, which helped deliver very strong retail sales for the auto industry", G.M. chief economist Mustafa Mohatarem said.

"We're likely to see most of the decline in the marketplace occur within the auto side of the business, as opposed to the light truck segment", he said.

The all-electric Chevrolet Bolt also had its best month ever in December, GM said, but Cadillac sales dropped by 29% as its rivals in the luxury segment unloaded some heavy marketing firepower.

Despite the usual year-end push to get vehicles out the door, most automakers endured tough sledding in December.

Its GMC brand saw December sales jump 47.4 per cent when compared to last year, and reported its best year ever, with a 15.1 per cent sales increase from 2016.

Analysts think sales will fall a bit further this year.

Industry sales in 2018 will probably drop again thanks in part to higher interest rates and greater availability of used sport utility vehicles.

A promising note for FCA in December was that Alfa Romeo sold 2,034 units were up significantly compared with the same month a year ago and recorded its strongest monthly sales of 2017 and actually outsold the Fiat brand.

Meanwhile, as the Canadian government continues to look at ways to increase electric-vehicle adoption, GM's electric vehicles account for a small portion of its overall sales.