General Motors Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV reported hefty sales declines for the big trucks they’re overhauling this year, a troubling sign for a lucrative segment that’s held up well as the broader U.S. auto market shrinks.
Transport Topics reported that deliveries of Fiat Chrysler’s Ram pickup and GM’s Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra each fell by at least 15% in February. A surge in demand for Jeep sport utility vehicles carried Fiat Chrysler to better-than-expected total sales, while GM missed estimates.
Most major carmakers are expected to report a drop-off in demand in February. The annualized pace of sales, adjusted for seasonal trends, probably slowed to 16.9 million cars and light trucks from 17.5 million a year earlier, in line with expectations of a second-straight annual decline.
That would be the most sluggish pace since August, when Hurricane Harvey disrupted deliveries across the Texas Gulf Coast.
“This year is going to be a bitter but necessary pill for the auto industry to swallow,” said Jessica Caldwell, executive director of industry analysis at Edmunds. “The industry is still in a fairly healthy place, but it may not feel like it since the last few years have been in record territory.”
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