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What’s driving up auto sales nationwide? Hint: It’s big and burly

By in Press Enterprise on November 1, 2017

By Bloomberg

U.S. automakers saw booming demand for their big-ticket pickup models last month, led by Ford Motor Co.’s F-Series truck line, as General Motors Co. predicted a surprise uptick in total industry sales.

Ford F-Series deliveries surged 16 percent for their best October since 2004, and the automaker’s total U.S. sales beat analysts’ estimates. Demand also jumped for GM’s Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV’s Ram pickup models.

The strong showing for trucks is a positive indicator both for carmaker profits and the U.S. economy. Companies added more workers than forecast to U.S. payrolls last month as employment in the construction industry — a sector closely tied to pickup sales — climbed to the highest in more than a decade. Automakers also are benefiting from consumers in Texas, the nation’s top truck market, continuing to replace vehicles damaged by Hurricane Harvey.

‘We did see continued hurricane replacement at the beginning of the month,’ Michelle Krebs, an analyst at car-shopping website Autotrader, said by phone. ‘The economic factors are also in trucks’ favor. People are back to work and construction activity is up, which is good for truck sales.’

Mazda, without a pickup truck in its lineup, reported its sale slumped 8.4 percent in October. The domestic division for the Japanese automaker is based in Irvine. Year-over-year sales for the brand were down 2.4 percent. Mazda’s sales highlight continues to be its crossover SUV, the CX-5, which posted its best-ever October with 10,306 vehicles sold.

Hyundia and Kia, with the U.S. division in Fountain Valley, was due to post results later Wednesday.

Fiat Chrysler shares rose 1.5 percent to $17.61 as of 10:21 a.m. in New York trading. Ford’s stock advanced 1.2 percent and GM’s was up 0.2 percent.

GM predicted the industry sold vehicles at an annualized rate of 18 million last month, better […]    

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