Automobile industry wrap-up: Fields day at Ford, trucks pace U.S. sales gains

Automobile sales in the U.S. showed solid gains in April as Nissan (NSANY), Toyota (TM), and Chrysler (FIATY) all posted double-digit sales growth. General Motors (GM) bested estimates with a 6.9% gain, while Ford (F) had a strong pace of truck sales although car sales came in light.

Pricing and incentives: The industry averaged $2,751 in incentives per vehicle in April, up 8.9% Y/Y and 1% M/M. Japanese automakers (HYMLF, HMC, NSANY) led the promotional charge. The average transaction price was estimated to be 1.2% higher at $32,141. Detroit automakers saw solid pricing trends in most segments.

Trucks: Sales gains at most major automakers were paced by strong demand for pickup trucks. Gains at Ford (8%), Nissan (10.5%), and Chrysler (34%) stood out.

2014 forecast: Demand in April was strong enough to keep a sales forecast for +16M units  for the year in place. New models continue to sell well, but inventory levels will be closely watched as investments continue to pour into North American factories.

CEO transition: Ford handed the reigns to Mark Fields a bit sooner than anticipated today. Wall Street analysts see a smooth transition with Fields strongly aligned with the course already laid out by Alan Mulally. "It's a story of continuity," Fields told reporters today.

Tesla watching: Tesla Motors (TSLA) could show a year-over-year decline in deliveries in North America this year, forecasts Morgan Stanley. The investment firm isn't panicked over the potential deceleration in Model S sales growth, noting the long-term story of Tesla disrupting the industry still plays.

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Comments (5)
  • David at Imperial Beach
    , contributor
    Comments (4381) | Send Message
    Morgan Stanley is wrong about Tesla. Tesla will have additional capacity coming online in the second half of the year that will allow them to pick up the pace considerably over last year. This quarter and next quarter are likely to beat guidance by 10% since management usually provides that much contingency, but it has been executing extremely well so that the contingency is not usually needed. The guidance was for deliveries to be down slightly from last quarter because of vehicles in the shipment pipeline.
    1 May 2014, 04:17 PM Reply Like
  • Frank Greenhalgh
    , contributor
    Comments (4564) | Send Message
    I think the problem might be caused by lack of sales.
    1 May 2014, 08:18 PM Reply Like
  • Tdot
    , contributor
    Comments (9186) | Send Message
    "Japanese automakers (HYMLF, HMC, NSANY) led the promotional charge". Hyundai is Japanese now? Wow.
    2 May 2014, 05:40 AM Reply Like
  • ytram1932
    , contributor
    Comments (8) | Send Message
    Yeah, when did Hyundai become a Japanese company. Does the guy know that Tesla is an electric powered car?
    2 May 2014, 08:59 AM Reply Like
  • MoneyGrowsOnTrees
    , contributor
    Comments (119) | Send Message
    Decline in year over year deliveries in just North America, sure... but they're still pumping put more cars than ever!
    3 May 2014, 06:01 AM Reply Like
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