Sales of Cruze continue to slide

Sedan is Chevy’s No. 4 selling car

LORDSTOWN — U.S. deliveries of the Chevrolet Cruze fell sharply in January compared to the previous year as the sedan saw another month of year-to-year double-digit loss in sales.

There were 10,858 Cruzes sold across the U.S. last month — a 45.6 percent drop from sales numbers in January 2017, when General Motors sold 19,949 Cruzes, according to sales figures released Thursday by the automaker.

Of those in January, 9,425 were by local workers at the GM Assembly Complex in Lordstown. The other 1,433 were hatchbacks made in Mexico, but sold in the U.S.

The 10,858 vehicles moved makes the sedan No. 4 on the list of top-selling Chevrolet vehicles in January. Coming in third was the Traverse, which saw 11,627 vehicles sold; Equinox, 26,405; and Chevrolet’s No. 1 selling vehicle, the Silverado, at 40,716 — a 14.5 percent jump in demand from January 2017.

The Cruze in December saw a 22.6 percent dip in deliveries to 13,406 from 17,324 in December 2017.

Overall, GM sales sales rose 1 percent to 198,548. The Buick and Chevrolet brands both posted gains, but its GMC and Cadillac brands saw lower sales.

Cox Automotive and J.D. Power expect January sales to rise around 1 percent to 1.15 million vehicles.

But Mike Jackson, CEO of AutoNation, the country’s largest dealership group, said late-model used cars coming off leases are pulling buyers from higher-priced new vehicles. Despite tax reform, low unemployment and strong consumer confidence, he sees new-car sales falling to 16.8 million from last year’s 17.1 million.

During the past few years, automakers pushed leasing to around 30 percent of sales. Now, Jackson says 4 million well-equipped used cars will be available for an average price of $25,000. “You have to say ‘who is going to buy all these things when they come back?'” Jackson said. “Of course there’s going to be a cannibalization and a substitution.”

Here are the numbers as automakers released January figures on Thursday:

l Honda Motor Co. said sales were down 1.7 percent to 104,542. Truck and SUV sales fell 2.5 percent while cars were off just under 1 percent. The CR-V small SUV, which is in the hottest part of the market, saw a 16.9 percent sales drop. But Pilot large SUV sales rose by almost 62 percent.

l Hyundai Motor Co. sales fell 11.3 percent from last year’s record January to 39,629. The car-heavy Korean automaker saw Sonata midsize sedan sales tumble 23.7 percent.

l Nissan Group said its sales rose 10 percent to 123,538, a January record for the company that sells the Nissan and Infiniti brands. Sales were led by the Rogue small SUV, which was up nearly 26 percent to more than 36,000. Nissan brand sales rose 12 percent but Infiniti luxury sales dropped 8 percent.

l Ford Motor Co. sales fell 6.6 percent to 161,143, due in part to a decline in sales to rental car fleets. But its average vehicle sales price hit a record $37,000, largely due to a 1.6 percent sales increase in higher priced F-Series pickup. Car sales were down 23.3 percent as the shift to SUVs and trucks continued. Even SUV sales dropped 5.9 percent.

l Toyota Motor Corp. posted a 16.8 percent increase to 167,056 vehicles on strong demand for the RAV4, Highlander and 4Runner SUVs, which hit January sales records. Sales of the revamped Camry midsize car rose 21.3 percent, bucking the trend toward SUV sales.

l Fiat Chrysler Automobiles sales were down 13 percent due to a large reduction in sales to fleet buyers. The company sold nearly 133,000 vehicles, led by a 2 percent increase in Jeep sales. But the Chrysler brand fell 21 percent while Dodge was off 31 percent and Fiat dropped 43 percent. Even the Ram truck brand posted a 16 percent decline.

l Volkswagen sales were up 5.2 percent to 24,744. The German automaker is recovering from sales losses because of its diesel emissions cheating scandal by introducing new SUVs. Combined sales of the new Atlas large SUV and Tiguan small SUV hit 10,640, accounting for 43 percent of VW’s monthly sales.

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