US auto sales were down by 3% for the month of January 2017 as consumers slowed down in car purchases for the month after a typical surplus of sales from December. In addition to that, January is usually considered to be a cool-off month post holiday season and in preparation for a summer upsurge. In December, the auto industry sales climbed to 17.55 million vehicles.

Big auto companies General Motors and Ford Motor Co. posted dismal auto sales for the month after experiencing strong sales from December.


General Motors

GM published a news release of its January sales data, showing a 3.8% decline from the previous month, while its retail sales were down by 4.9%, total of 155,010 units sold. The auto company, known as the #1 US automaker, only sold a total of 195,909 vehicles.

GM’s primary brand Chevrolet lost 1.9%, while Buick saw most declines, tumbling by 28.2%. Cadillac was down by 4.1%. GM’s GMC brand was the only one that experienced an increase of 1.1% in total sales.

According to the company, January sales were down partly due to its decision to reduce inventories of its older models as well as in cutting back on its incentives as a percentage of ATP. Some of the inventories of its products were from the 30 – 50 day supply range from the start of the month.

Its rental deliveries also declined by 1%, while total fleet sales climbed 1% from the 12% increase in government deliveries, as well as the 1% rise from commercial sales.

Ford Motors

The overall US sales of Ford Motors were also down for the month by 0.6% to 171,186 units. The decline in sales was still better than the estimated 2% decline for the month. Its retail sales, on the contrary rose 6%, while retail fleet sales of 52,212 declined by 13%.

Ford’s SUVs performed better than the company’s cars with increased sales by 6%, while Ford cars declined 17.5%. Lincoln sales reached a total of 8,785 units for the month. The latest Lincoln Continental performed well with 1,167 vehicles sold, contributing to the brand’s overall sales climb of 22%.

Meanwhile, its F-series pickup truck performed well with an increase of 12.5% to 57,995 units. “The new year brought strong consumer demand for F-series, Lincoln and record SUV sales, especially high-end models,” said Mark LaNeve, Ford vice president of US marketing and sales.

In general, even though Ford’s total sales declined in January, looking at specific numbers, the company is still performing well as an auto company.

Auto Industry Performance

Following the release of the January sales, General Motors (GM)shares were down by 1.28% at $36.14. Its market cap was at 54.65 billion. Investors are still testing the stock’s movement and waiting for GM’s Q4 2016 earnings release on February 7.

Ford’s stock (F) plunged 0.32% at $12.32 after the release of its January sales report. Its market cap was at 48.96 billion.

GM’s stock climbed as much as 5.1% in January, performing better than the S&P 500 Index and its close rival Ford Motors, which only rose 1.9% for the month. Ford’s weak performance for this month can be derived from its dismal fourth quarter fiscal 2016 report.


Meanwhile, Nissan and Honda saw a surge in their January sales. Nissan Motor Co. (NSANY) total sales climbed 6.2%; Honda Motor (HMC) increased 5.9%. On the contrary, Toyota (TM) sales fell 11%, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCAU) sales were down 11%.

In 2016, SUVs and light trucks dominated the automobile market comprising almost 60% of the auto sales. Most auto companies reported stronger sales SUVs over smaller car models. Companies such as Toyota, Ford, GM, and Nissan mentioned previously that they are planning to increase production on bigger car models.

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