Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) released its October U.S. sales data Wednesday morning, one day late due to an electrical fire at the company’s Detroit headquarters. Overall, the company’s volume sales fell 12% year over year, but sales of nearly 189,000 units helped boost total U.S. sales in October up 10% year over year.
Ford maintained its customary lead in pickup truck sales, with October sales of 65,542 units, up 0.1% from 65,500 in October of 2015. In September, Ford sold 67,809 F-Series trucks, following an August sales total of 66,9467. For the first 10 months of 2016, F-Series pickup sales are up 5% year over year.
As we reported Tuesday, General Motors Co.’s (NYSE: GM) Chevy Silverado sales experienced a sales dip of 3.6% year over year to 49,768 units, while GMC Sierra sales dropped 18.7% to 15,050 units. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.’s (NYSE: FCAU) Ram pickup sales increased 7% year over year in October to 43,891 units, but that was not enough to remain ahead of the Silverado. In September, Ram sold 47,792 units compared with 45,380 Silverado pickups.
Month over month, Silverado sales rose from 45,380 units in September to 49,768 units in October. Ram sales slipped from 47,792 in September to 43,891 in October.
October buyer incentives remained high, but were a bit lower than September incentives: down 1% at FCA and 4.6% at GM. TrueCar estimated that Ford increased its October incentives by 30% year over year, although that was 1.1% below the September incentives. Ford reported Wednesday morning that overall average incentives rose by $180 per vehicle year over year in October and dropped $570 per vehicle compared with September.
Higher incentives in September could have caused whatever pent-up demand there was for pickups to exhaust itself by the time October rolled around. It will be interesting to see how the Detroit Three apply incentives in November, not a traditionally high sales month. If dealer lots have moved most of the 2016 models, incentives should drop. If not, more price reductions could surface.
Brad Korner, general manager for AIS Rebates, noted:
In general, significant incentives spending continued in October with much of the focus again being on pickup trucks. Beefy incentives prompted the Ram 1500 sales to surpass Chevrolet Silverado in September; to deny a repeat performance, Chevrolet added some hefty rebates on some Silverado models in October. Meantime, Ford held generally steady in F-150 incentives.
The other full-size pickups on offer in the United States are the Tundra from Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM) and the Nissan Titan. Tundra’s sales totaled 9,533 in October (up just 0.2% year over year). The Titan sold 3,181 units in October, up a whopping 261% compared with October 2015.
Toyota’s midsize Tacoma pickup sold 15,875 units in October, holding its place as the leader in this space. Sales of GM’s midsize Colorado pickup rose 49.9% to 10,578 units, and sales of the GMC Canyon rose 15.3% to 2,785 in October. Nissan’s midsize Frontier pickup sold 6,364 units in October, up 34% year over year. Honda Motor Co. Ltd. (NYSE: HMC) sold 3,371 units of its all-new Ridgeline midsize pickup, up from none in October of 2015.
In the full-size pickup segment, October sales of 174,251 vehicles from the Detroit Three pencils out to a Ford market share of 37.6% (down 0.3 point). GM’s share came in at 28.5% for the Chevy Silverado (up 3.5 points) and 8.6% (down 1.4 points) for the GMC Sierra. Ram’s market share totaled 25.2% (down 1.5 points).