Automakers sold 8.4 million cars in the U.S. during the first half of 2019, a 2.4% decrease from 2018. Cars continued their rapid decline while trucks, crossovers, and sport utility vehicles (SUVs) performed better.
The bulk of the decline came from two vehicles – the Ford Focus, which ended production last year, and the Chevy Cruze, which ended production in April. Those two vehicles represented more than half of the annual decline in industry sales. Without them, 2019’s first half would have been down only 1.3%. The year-over-year declines could accelerate in the second half of the year as General Motors and Ford plan to cancel the Chevy Impala, Ford Fusion, and other cars, but some of those closures are not expected until 2020.
Even without two medium-volume vehicles (the Cruze was once the best-selling compact in the country before settling in at No. 3, and the Focus was typically No. 5 in the market) the compact market fell with the class-leading Honda Civic down 4% and No. 2 Toyota Corolla down more than 5%. Overall, the compact market fell nearly 19% in the year’s first half.
Offsetting those declines were big gains for trucks. Ford sold more than 30,000 Ranger compact pickups in the year’s first half without significantly lowering F-150 sales (down less than 1%). When Ford cancelled its popular small truck a decade ago, executives feared that the less-expensive vehicle was taking sales away from the larger truck. Additionally, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ (FCA’s) Ram truck division was up 28%. GM’s Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra lines fell during the half, but the company is in the midst of launching new versions of those vehicles, so plants have not yet hit full production capacity. https://www.ford.com; https://www.gm.com; https://www.fcagroup.com; https://www.honda.com