GM Sales Off in Q4 and 2019, Though Crossover Sales Advance; Fiat Chrysler Sees Ram Strength

Both automakers saw overall declines in sales for the quarter and year. Chevy Trax crossover jumped 30% in 2019. Fiat Chrysler sees `plenty of demand in the market.'

General Motors  (GM) - Get Report reported that vehicle sales declined 6.3% in the fourth quarter and 2.3% for all of 2019. And Fiat Chrysler reported that vehicle sales fell 2.3% in the quarter and 1.4% for the year.

In the quarter, GM delivered nearly 736,000 vehicles against 785,000 in the year-earlier quarter.

GM emphasized its full-year success in selling crossovers and full-size pickups and SUVs. It sold more than a million of each in 2019.

Crossover sales in all of 2019 rose 12.7% from 2018, reflecting particularly a 30% jump in sales of the Chevrolet Trax.

"We've focused our resources on what our customers want -- crossovers and trucks -- and that has paid off," Kurt McNeil, GM's vice president of US sales operations, said in a statement.

The sharpest decline among its nameplates in the quarter was at GMC, which fell 8.5%. The biggest seller within the GMC group, the Sierra LD pickup, saw sales slip 0.5% to 50,500.

The biggest selling nameplate in the quarter, Chevrolet, posted a 6.1% drop overall. The biggest seller in the Chevy group, the Silverado LD pickup truck, saw sales fall 1.8% to just under 125,000.

Fourth-quarter wholesale deliveries declined 25% from a year earlier, reflecting the 40-day United Auto Workers strike.

For the year, overall sales dropped 3.8% at Chevrolet. They rose 1.5% at GMC and 1% at Cadillac. And they were flat at Buick.

Total GM sales in all of 2019 were 2.89 million against 2.95 million in 2018.

FCA US, the Fiat Chrysler parent, in a statement focused particular attention on the Ram brand, up 5.5% for the quarter to nearly 191,000 vehicles and up 18% for the year, to 703000.

The company's biggest nameplate, Jeep, saw sales drop 2.4% for the quarter and 5.1% for the year.

In the quarter the biggest seller in the Jeep group, the Grand Cherokee, dropped 0.6% to 58,000. The strongest seller was the Wrangler, up 6% to 52,000.

Total Fiat Chrysler sales for the quarter were 542,500, compared with 555,000 in the year-earlier quarter. The 2.3% drop in the quarter was stronger than analysts' consensus estimate of a 2.6% drop, Bloomberg reported.

For the year, the Grand Cherokee was both the biggest and strongest seller in the Jeep group, up 8% to nearly 243,000.

Total FCA US sales for the year were 2.2 million, against 2.24 million in 2018.

“We have read the expectations that sales may slow a bit in 2020," said Reid Bigland, head of U.S. sales for FCA US. 

"However, we believe there is still plenty of demand in the market and we are ready for a new year.”