The U.S, car industry as a whole is expected to have a unit sales decline in April compared to the same month last year. No large car manufacturer is expected to post results as poor as Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F). The numbers indicate why Ford is expected to exit the car market altogether in favor of trucks and sport utility vehicles.
According to Cox Automotive, overall sales are expected to drop 3.6% to 1,370,000. Ford’s are forecast to fall 7.2% for the same period to 198,000. That means Ford will barely hang on to the number two spot behind leader General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM), the sales of which are expected to rise 0.2% for the same period to 245,000. Moving up on Ford, Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM) sales are expected to be 194,000, down 3.9% month compared to the same month last year.
Commenting on Ford’s decision, Michelle Krebs, an executive analyst at Autotrader, said:
Ford’s announcement yesterday that it plans to wind down sales of its core cars lines – Fiesta, Focus, Fusion and Taurus – is a bold and risky move. It’s an indication tough decisions are being made.
It is, nevertheless, a bold move by a desperate company.
Other top manufacturers are also expected to have a rough month. However, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (NYSE: FCAU) is not among them. Its sales are expected to fall only 0.7% to 175,000. Kelley Blue Book Executive Analyst Rebecca Lindland said:
I expect another strong month from the Jeep brand. The new products are driving strong sales and, considering FCA’s recent Q1 results, powering the bottom line as well. Of late, Jeep seems to be holding up the entire FCA tent.
Honda Motor Co. Ltd. (NYSE: HMC) sales are expected to drop 6.1% to 130,000. Nissan’s are expected to be down 6.6% to 114,000.
If there is any broad lesson from the April forecast, it is that the U.S. auto market has reached a top and is sliding back down.