US auto sales weaken in March

GMT 16:45 2015 Wednesday ,01 April

Arab Today, arab today US auto sales weaken in March

General Motors, the largest automaker
New York - AFP

The top two US automakers reported weaker US sales in March Wednesday, as consumers stayed cautious through the end of a harsh winter.  
General Motors, the largest automaker, said its US sales fell about two percent from a year ago to 249,875 cars and trucks, with strength in sales to commercial fleets outweighed by sagging retail purchases.
Ford sales slumped 3.4 percent to 235,929 vehicles.
But FCA US said its sales rose 1.7 percent to 197,261 units.
"March was a tough month, yet we were able to extend our year-over-year sales streak to an even 60 consecutive months," said Reid Bigland, head of US sales for FCA.
For the industry generally, pickup trucks and sport-utility vehicles and crossovers remained growth areas for GM and Ford, though FCA recorded a fall in sales of its Ram pickups.
"As the economy gained steam throughout 2014, we knew 2015 would be a strong year for trucks," said Kurt McNeil, GM's vice president for US sales.
"Higher demand dovetailed perfectly with the launches of our new full-size pickups and large SUVs."
GM said its retail sales were down about five percent, while fleet sales gained five percent.
At Ford, the trend was the opposite: the number-two automaker said it had its best March retail sales in nine years, while fleet sales sagged.
"Ford continues prioritizing retail sales to meet strong consumer demand, resulting in lower fleet and overall sales for the month," the company said.
GM and Ford both said they were expanding production of pickup trucks and SUVs to meet the demand, with Ford saying it could not meet demand for its new aluminum-bodied F-150 pickup.
The industry's performance last month reflects the overall weaker growth in consumer spending, despite a surge in job creation and lower gasoline prices that economists said should add to households' disposable incomes.


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