GM, Nissan, Ford, FCA gain sales with pickups

Willie Grace | 2/4/2015, 5:11 p.m. | Updated on 2/4/2015, 5:11 p.m.
General Motors and FCA US today projected the seasonally adjusted pace of light-vehicle sales will come in slightly above forecasts ...


Strong truck demand, fueled by lower prices at the pump, helped GM, Ford, Nissan and Fiat Chrysler post double-digit U.S. sales increases in January.

General Motors and FCA US today projected the seasonally adjusted pace of light-vehicle sales will come in slightly above forecasts of 16.5 million – another signal that the market started the year in the same way 2014 ended: with steady momentum.

Deliveries rose 18 percent at GM, slightly below projections, on a 42 percent gain in pickup volume and 36 percent rise in crossover and SUV shipments. Sales advanced 29 percent at GMC, 20 percent at Chevrolet and 2.6 percent at Cadillac. Volume slipped 5.5 percent at Buick.

GM said its retail sales increased 14 percent and fleet shipments advanced 32 percent.

“Consumers feel very good because more people are working, the U.S. economy is expanding and fuel prices are low,” said Kurt McNeil, U.S. vice president of sales operations for GM.

At Ford Motor Co., volume rose 16 percent on a 16 percent gain at the Ford division and 11 percent increase at Lincoln.

Nissan Motor Corp. reported January U.S. sales of 104,107, a gain of 15 percent, with deliveries rising 16 percent at the Nissan brand and 7.3 percent at Infiniti. The company's light-truck deliveries rose 16 percent.

And Toyota Motor Corp. said sales rose 16 percent, with light trucks and Lexus setting January records.

Fiat Chrysler rolls on

Fiat Chrysler posted a 14 percent increase in U.S. sales in January, matching forecasts, on another month of robust deliveries for the Jeep and Ram brands.

Volume rose 23 percent at Jeep, 21 percent at Ram, 11 percent at the Chrysler brand and 1.3 percent at Dodge and 1 percent at Fiat. Jeep deliveries set a January record of 51,523 units, FCA US said.

The automaker’s first sales report of 2015 marks its 58th consecutive month of increases. The growth parallels a U.S. market that shows no signs of slowing and is projected to rise for a sixth straight year.

“In spite of some tough 2015 comparisons, we remain confident in our ability to post year-over-year sales increases on the back of strong retail demand for our products,” Reid Bigland, head of U.S. sales for Fiat Chrysler, said in a statement.

Overall, Fiat Chrysler’s light-truck sales climbed 13 percent while car sales rose 17 percent.

Big 6, big gains

Other automakers will report January results later today. Deliveries at the six largest automakers are estimated to increase by more than 10 percent from a year earlier. That’s when the coldest January in two decades across the contiguous U.S. states kept U.S. consumers largely out of showrooms.

The annualized selling rate, adjusted for seasonal factors, is projected to rise to 16.5 million cars and light trucks -- the fastest January pace in nine years -- from a 15.3 million pace a year earlier.

FCA US today estimated the SAAR will come in at 17 million, including roughly 300,000 medium and heavy duty trucks. GM, in a statement, pegged the January light-vehicle SAAR at 16.6 million.