Market Overview

January Auto Sales Freeze Amid Poor Weather, Federal Shutdown

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January Auto Sales Freeze Amid Poor Weather, Federal Shutdown

January was a rough month for American automakers, with waning consumer confidence chipping at the sector’s foundation.

“Record cold weather during the last week of January likely had a negative impact on sales,” Cox Automotive senior economist Charlie Chesbrough said in a report. “However, it was not just the weather. We also believe the government shutdown had an impact, from delayed purchases by furloughed workers to a more general feeling of uncertainty in the market.”

Of the manufacturers who still report monthly sales figures, Toyota Motor Corp (NYSE: TM) led with 156,021 unit sales, followed by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (NYSE: FCAU) (132,803) and Honda Motor Co Ltd (NYSE: HMC) (106,139).

The Big 3

Neither Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) nor General Motors Company (NYSE: GM) releases monthly recaps anymore, but Bloomberg sources revealed a 7-percent increase in Ford and 7-percent decline in GM.

Fiat Chrysler reported a 2-percent increase in sales, falling far short of Cox’s estimate of 9.2 percent.

Ram contributed a 24-percent rise, while all other brands suffered declines. Fiat fell 39 percent, Alfa Romeo 30 percent, Chrysler 14 percent, and Dodge and Jeep each 2 percent.

"In spite of some frigid January weather, we remain bullish on 2019 given the continued underlying strength of the US economy," U.S. Head of Sales Reid Bigland said in a press release. "We expect a good cadence of new product throughout the year led by our Ram heavy-duty pickup trucks and Jeep Gladiator midsize truck in the first half of this year.”

Toyota

Toyota reported a 6.6-percent decline, with the Toyota division falling 7.1 percent and Lexus dropping 2.8 percent. Cars dipped 5.5 percent and trucks 7.3 percent. Cox had forecasted a 4.2-percent drop overall.

Honda

American Honda posted a 1.5-percent increase in sales as Acura popped 9.6 percent and Honda just 0.8 percent. Trucks (4.3 percent) set a new January record to offset a 1.7-percent drop in cars.

Management marketed the numbers as a positive indication for passenger vehicles — a market analysts and other automakers claim to be waning.

"While solid sales of our light-truck offerings continue, our balanced results across other segments of our business further showcase real consumer demand beyond trucks and SUVs,” Henio Arcangeli Jr., senior vice president of the American Honda Automobile Division, said in the press release.

Related Links:

Strong GM Guidance Boosts Auto Sector

Ford's Stock Has Best Day In 7 Years After Delivering Results Where It 'Matters Most'

Posted-In: auto sales Charlie Chesbrough Cox Automotive government shutdown Reid BiglandNews Retail Sales Best of Benzinga

 

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