Sales of the compact Focus in May, up 53.2 percent, helped Ford gain ground in the shifting U.S. vehicle market.
America is now officially a car market, writes Sarah A. Webster in the Detroit Free Press. Even though industrywide sales of new vehicles was down 10.7 percent in May, passenger car sales were up 2.4 percent. Sales of pickups, SUVs, minivans and crossovers meanwhile tanked 23.6 percent, according to May sales figures released by automakers.
Truck-dependent Detroit automakers took the worst hit, with truck sales down 36.9 percent at General Motors, 25.6 percent at Ford and 24.3% at Chrysler. The bulk of U.S. new car sales in May—60 percent—were passenger cars, with the smallest, most affordable ones performing best, according to the Freep. Crucially, the Ford F-series pickup line, the best-selling model in America for 26 years, was beat by the Honda Civic, which posted a record month with more than 53,000 sales.
Ford did however make headway in the passenger car segment, posting a 3.8 percent gain while its rivals posted losses. GM car sales were down 13.7 percent, while Chrysler posted a 28.1 percent decline. The U.S.-built compact Focus, with sales up 53.2 percent, helped carry Ford's month. Ford's Group Vice-President of Marketing and Communications Jim Farley told the Freep that retail sales of the Focus even outpaced those of the F-Series, making the Focus the eighth best-selling car in America.
Still, Webster writes that the biggest winner in May was Honda, with sales up 53 percent for its Fit subcompact, 31.7 percent for the Civic, and 38.9 percent for its mid-size Accord. The company's Honda and Acura brands combined for a 31.9 percent gain. Toyota, by contrast, posted only a 0.4 percent increase, while Honda's other Japanese rival, Nissan, posted a 18.7 percent gain.
For additional insight into OEM sales patterns and how they impact the specialty-equipment industry, please visit www.sema.org/research.