Fiat Chrysler Sales to Fall 11% in October While Volkswagen’s Rise 12%

October 26, 2017 by Douglas A. McIntyre

Source: courtesy of FCA US LLC
October car sales are not expected to change much from the same month a year ago. However, U.S. sales of two major manufacturers are expected to diverge considerably. New research forecasts struggling Volkswagen sales will rise 12%, while Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (NYSE: FCAU) are expected to dive 11%.

According to Kelly Blue Book, October sales will dip slightly from October of last year:

In October, new light-vehicle sales, including fleet, are expected to hit 1,340,000 units, down 1.9 percent compared to October 2016 and down 11.8 percent from September 2017.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) for October 2017 is estimated to be 17.9 million, up from 17.8 million in October 2016 and down from 18.5 million in September 2017.

Retail sales are expected to account for 82.7 percent of volume in October 2017, down from 83 percent in October 2016.

The industry can breathe a sigh of release. There has been an ongoing concern that U.S. car sales will begin to taper off sharply after years of record sales.

The 11.1% drop in Fiat Chrysler sales to 157,000 will be fueled by problems it has had the entire year. Its Chrysler and Dodge brands, made up mostly of sedans and coupes, have suffered a drop in sales that has plagued the entire industry. Sales of its Jeep sport utility vehicle brand have moderated, even though the entire category has done well this year. Sales of its best-selling Ram full-sized pickup have been close to flat. Sales of its Fiat brand have cratered.

At the other end of the spectrum, Volkswagen continues to rebound from its diesel engine scandal. However, its sales in the United States remain tiny. In October, sales of its three brands — VW, Audi and Porsche — are expected to rise 11.7% to 52,500. Its market share will be a minuscule 3.9%. This contrasts to VW’s position as the largest car company in the European Union based on total unit sales, and one of the largest in China, the world’s largest car market.

The most notable part of October sales is the continued struggle of Fiat Chrysler. Its model lineups are not expected to change soon enough to reverse the decline for some time.

  Sales Volume 1 Market Share 2
Manufacturer Oct-17 Oct-16 YOY % Oct-17 Oct-16 YOY %
General Motors (Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC) 260,000 258,626 0.5% 19.4% 18.9% 0.5%
Ford Motor Company (Ford, Lincoln) 195,000 187,692 3.9% 14.6% 13.7% 0.8%
Toyota Motor Company (Lexus, Scion, Toyota) 198,000 186,295 6.3% 14.8% 13.6% 1.1%
Fiat Chrysler (Chrysler, Dodge, FIAT, Jeep, RAM) 157,000 176,609 -11.1% 11.7% 12.9% -1.2%
American Honda (Acura, Honda) 125,000 126,161 -0.9% 9.3% 9.2% 0.1%
Nissan North America (Infiniti, Nissan) 108,000 113,520 -4.9% 8.1% 8.3% -0.2%
Hyundai-Kia 99,000 111,482 -11.2% 7.4% 8.2% -0.8%
Subaru of America 55,500 53,760 3.2% 4.1% 3.9% 0.2%
Volkswagen Group (Audi, Volkswagen, Porsche) 52,500 47,006 11.7% 3.9% 3.4% 0.5%
Total 3 1,340,000 1,366,362 -1.9%
Historical data from OEM sales announcements
2 Kelley Blue Book Automotive Insights
3 Includes brands not shown