The numbers are in and tell a tale of slower auto sales in January. They’re considered flat, down about 1.8 percent last month with 1,142,000 new vehicles sold. Flat sales aren’t a shocker because January is typically the weakest week of the year. Especially when you consider the huge incentives automakers were throwing consumers in December to hit record sales last year. So here’s a look at the numbers. Overall, Nissan and Honda posted gains with continuing incentives. But volume fell at the Detroit 3, Toyota and Hyundai-Kia.
Nissan is seeing record demand for crossover, trucks and SUVS. It’s volume rose 6.2 percent at Nissan,with deliveries up 3.6 percent at the Nissan division and 36 percent over at Infiniti.
The Honda Ridgeline had a record month. Honda says it saw record Ridgeline deliveries, with pickup sales up 5.9 percent. Honda saw a 7.7 percent increase at the Honda division overall, but Acura fell 10 percent.
General Motors didn’t have a great start to the year. It’s sales dropped 3.8 percent after two consecutive months of 10 percent gains. Volume fell 1.9 percent at Chevrolet, while there was a huge 28 percent drop at Buick. Cadillac dipped 4.1 percent, but the silver lining was GMC. It was up 1.1 percent thanks to the Sierra.
Ford saw a slight dip in January, but not as much as GM. Sales fell 0.7 percent last month. But Lincoln had a great story. Deliveries surged 22 percent at Lincoln with the new Continental leading the way.
Toyota is trying to stage a comeback after dipping sales and losing the worldwide sales crown to the VW brand. In January, volume dropped 11 percent, with deliveries off 9.2 percent at the Toyota division and slumping 26 percent at Lexus. As I noted on the air last Saturday, Lexus pulled back on incentives in January and it hurt sales, but they brought back the big bucks for February.
Fiat Chrysler is feeling the heat from its fifth straight monthly decline. Volume skidded 11 percent at Fiat Chrysler last month, with fleet sales dropping a huge 32 percent because the company axed the Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200. Deliveries at Jeep weren’t so hot either. Only two FCA brands posted gains. Ram pickups were up 5 percent, and Alfa Romeo, up 59 percent.
At Hyundai-Kia, volume declined 1.4 percent.
Audi enjoyed a sales gain in January for its 73rd straight record month. Sales were up 11 percent thanks to strong SUV and sedan volume. Sales rose 17 percent at its parent VW brand. Sales were up 6.8 percent at Subaru and 10 percent at Mazda. Volvo’s deliveries skidded 17 percent.
As I explained on the Car Pro Show last weekend, sales volumes rose and fell depended on “the deal”. The car companies who stay aggressive got a good start to 2017, those that pulled back paid the price.