The past month or so has been the best time in eight years to buy a pickup — and, as predicted, it looks as if the time is getting even better. General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) is currently offering a total incentive package of up to $11,115 on its 2016 Chevy Silverado 1500 Crew Cab LT All Star.
That’s almost double the company’s September average incentive of $5,647 on a pickup. GM was not the only automaker offering big incentive packages on pickups. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (NYSE: FCAU) offered an average incentive of $7,082 on Ram pickups last month. Ford Motor Co.’s (NYSE: F) offer on the F-150 was the lowest of the three at $5,173.
As far as FCA is concerned, the September incentives did their job. The company’s Ram pickups outsold the Silverado by 2,412 units, the first time since 2011 that Ram has beaten Silverado in monthly sales.
Ram is offering savings of up to 20% on some 2016 models and the company says that works out to $11,134 in incentives. Ford’s top offer appears to be around $7,500 on some 2016 models.
Ford took a slightly different tack from its competitors last week, announcing a one-week manufacturing suspension at its Kansas City assembly plant. That may be due to declining sales to commercial fleets, down 20.2% year over year in September. Ford’s fleet pickups are built in Kansas City.
Popular 0% financing deals typically decline in the final three months of the year, and this year appears to be no different. Those deals are generally strategic for automakers, and at this time of the year they are thinking more tactically about how to clear inventory to make way for new models.
New vehicle sales essentially have reached a plateau after several years of solid growth. Jeff Schuster, senior vice-president of forecasting an industry research firm LMC Automotive, said this to TruckingInfo.com:
Topline sales forecast is basically flat from 2015 to 2018, so growth is in the rearview mirror for now. Risk is mounting as interest rates are expected to rise, credit could tighten and a large number of off-lease vehicles creates more used car substitutes for new car sales.
Sales of full-size pickups are expected to account for about 12.6% of all new vehicle sales in 2016 and 2017, falling to 12.4% in 2018.