It was a very poor May for sales of passenger cars in United States as deliveries declined by whopping 16 percent.
With gas prices so low, it’s no wonder Americans are buying more and more crossovers, SUVs, and trucks at the expense of the once traditional sedans and hatchbacks. That’s why General Motors has decided to give up on the Buick Verano which will be phased out in October when production at the Lake Orion factory in Detroit will come to an end.
TrueCar analyst Eric Lyman believes that “once people get used to the greater functionality of [light trucks], the difference in fuel cost compared to a car is a rounding error.” While sales of passenger cars took a 16-percent dive in May, demand for light trucks rose by 2.4 percent. Overall, sales last month were 6.1 percent down compared to May 2015, but even so the total sales volume from January through May this year is up by 1.1 percent if we compare it to the same period of last year.
Lyman believes one possible cause of the slump in passenger car sales has to do with the fact that manufacturers are not offering enough incentives to shift low-margin models. Car sales at Ford took a 26-percent hit last month, while Toyota did not do so well either, with deliveries decreasing by 19 percent. On the flip side, the Blue Oval company sold 8.9 percent more trucks last month than it did in May 2015 and Toyota also delivered an extra 4.2 percent of SUVs.
Automotive News’ Jesse Snyder believes total U.S. auto sales in 2016 can still beat last year’s numbers, even though passenger car sales are going down. In other words, demand for light trucks is so strong that it can offset the weaker car sales, and then some.