It seems like America is still fond of sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and large trucks.
After a rather slow start at the beginning of 2016, U.S. automobile sales rallied this April. According to Bloomberg, analysts had predicted auto sales to rise by 5 percent the previous month to reach 17.40 million units. In March, however, the pace had declined to 16.46 million units.
Nonetheless, auto sales in April refute analysts’ concerns that the U.S.’s economy and automobile market are inching downwards. This was forecasted by Morgan Stanley analysts at the beginning of the year.
A massive SUV demand, together with lower oil prices and cheap credit, convinced consumers to visit showrooms.
Honda Motor’s sales climbed by 14.4 percent the previous month, and Nissan surged by 12.8 percent. Another Japanese automaker, Toyota, had sales jump by 3.8 percent, beating the Street’s estimates of 3.6 percent.
Detroit automakers Ford Motor Company and Fiat Chrsyler Automobiles NV released sales growth of 4 percent and 6 percent respectively in April. Both companies had pickup trucks and SUVs that remained popular brands for buyers.
Ford Vice President and head of U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service Mark LaNeve said that they have seen strong consumer demand in April, particularly for pick-up trucks. “F-Series has moved past the quarter million sales mark year to date – the strongest start for F-Series in a decade, while Ford brand SUVs are having their best year ever.”
Similarly, Fiat Chrysler Senior Vice President for North America Reid Bigland said, “Both our Jeep and Ram Truck brands recorded strong year-over-year sales gains last month.” He then added, “Consumer preference for SUVs and pickup trucks continued unabated in April and helped to propel us to our strongest April sales in 11 years.”
However, BMW reported a sales decline of 8.3 percent. General Motors and German automaker Volkswagen announced sales drop of 3.5 percent and 10 percent respectively as both companies, attempt new policies.
GM plans to reduce low-profit sales to rental vehicles companies, while Volkswagen is still struggling to go beyond its diesel emissions scam, which has since then tainted its reputation and hurt its market share.
Vice president of sales and operations for GM US Kurt McNeil said, “GM’s retail growth over the last 12 months has outpaced the industry by a wide margin because our redesigned large pickups and SUVs are hits, we made smart investments in new segments like small crossovers and mid-size pickups, and our momentum in the car business is accelerating with each new model introduction.”
GM also estimated light vehicle seasonally adjusted annual selling rate for April to be at 17.6 million units.
Ford, GM and Fiat Chrysler shares continue to trade in the red zone as broader markets get affected after weak demand data from China and decline in oil prices. First Trust NASDAQ Global Auto Index Fund plunged by an estimated 1.67 percent as auto stocks remained low even if April presented positive US sales results.