U.S. October gross sales of vans, SUVs soar, automotive droop continues

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DETROIT (Reuters) – Main automakers posted blended U.S. new automobile gross sales in October on Wednesday, although America’s love affair with high-margin pickup vans and SUVs remained in full bloom as bigger, pricier autos fared higher than passenger automobiles.

Common Motors Co (GM.N) reported an general gross sales drop of two.2 p.c for the month, with client gross sales down 6.6 p.c. Excessive-margin pickup truck, SUV and crossover gross sales have been all up.

GM decreased its stock of unsold autos by 7,000 autos to 813,000. The automaker has labored arduous to cut back its massive quantity of unsold autos, a supply of concern for the market, together with by important manufacturing shutdowns within the third quarter. GM had suggested its stock would rise in October.

“We’re heading into the fourth quarter with good momentum, because of a robust U.S. economic system and really robust pickup and crossover gross sales,” Kurt McNeil, GM vice chairman for U.S. gross sales operations, mentioned in an announcement.

GM barely decreased client reductions as a share of the common transaction value, to 13.5 p.c from 13.7 p.c within the third quarter.

Business specialists imagine client reductions over 10 p.c of the common transaction value are unhealthy as they erode resale values and are unsustainable in the long run.

Business consultants J.D. Energy and LMC mentioned final week that based mostly on preliminary October gross sales numbers, reductions have exceeded 10 p.c in 15 of the final 16 months.

The U.S. auto business has had a robust run that culminated in document gross sales of 17.55 million items in 2016. New gross sales acquired a robust enhance in September as shoppers changed autos broken in southeast Texas by Hurricane Harvey the earlier month.

Full-year 2017 gross sales are anticipated to be barely decrease than 2016.

Ford Motor Co (F.N) mentioned automobile gross sales rose 6.2 p.c in October, pushed largely by a 15.9 p.c leap for its standard, high-priced F-Collection pickup vans. Robust demand pushed the common price ticket for an F-Collection truck up $four,000 from the earlier October to $47,300.

FILE PHOTO: The GM brand is seen on the Common Motors Warren Transmission Operations Plant in Warren, Michigan October 26, 2015. Picture taken October 26. REUTERS/Rebecca Prepare dinner

Excessive-margin pickup vans have been a dominant issue within the better-than-expected outcomes Ford posted final week.

On a convention name, Mark LaNeve, Ford’s U.S. gross sales chief, mentioned the upgraded F-Collection line “actually has been a spectacular success” including that the market would stay “aggressive” by the tip of 2017 and into 2018.

Ford’s low-margin fleet gross sales rose 14.6 p.c in October.

Toyota Motor Corp’s (7203.T) gross sales rose 5.2 p.c in October as robust pickup truck and SUV gross sales offset a 12.7 p.c drop in Toyota sedans and a 27.9 p.c slide in luxurious Lexus sedans.

Fiat Chrysler Vehicles NV (FCA) (FCHA.MI)(FCAU.N) reported a 13 p.c gross sales decline. Shopper gross sales have been down four p.c, whereas fleet gross sales tumbled 43 p.c, according to the corporate’s technique to cut back low-margin gross sales to automotive rental companies.

FCA has pushed to promote extra worthwhile SUVs and pickup vans, which helped raise its North American revenue margin to eight.three p.c within the third quarter.

Nissan Motor Co Ltd’s (7201.T) gross sales elevated eight.four p.c for the month, pushed by a 12.9 p.c leap in pickups, SUV and crossover gross sales. Gross sales of its standard Rogue crossover mannequin soared 43 p.c in October.

However gross sales at Nissan’s luxurious Infiniti model fell eight.1 p.c, pushed largely by a 16.2 p.c drop in luxurious sedan gross sales.

Honda Motor Co Ltd (7267.T) bucked the pattern as a 6.three p.c improve in passenger automobiles offset a three.9 p.c decline in SUV gross sales for an general improve of practically 1 p.c.

GM shares have been down zero.7 p.c at $42.67 whereas Ford rose zero.eight p.c to $12.37 and Fiat Chrysler elevated 1.three p.c to $17.58 in U.S. buying and selling.

Reporting by Nick Carey; Enhancing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Frances Kerry

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