US Car Sales Have Fallen for Five Straight Months

Jason Siu
by Jason Siu

U.S. car sales are falling – a somewhat surprising trend in light of the record-setting sales the automotive industry posted in 2016.

According to Autodata Corp, which tracks industry sales, the annualized pace of U.S. car and light truck sales in July fell to 16.73-million units, down from 17.8-million vehicles a year earlier. It’s the fifth straight month the overall pace of U.S. car and light truck sales have fallen.

Automakers are attributing the drop in volume to cutting low-margin sales to daily fleet rentals. Reuters reports GM, Ford, FCA, Nissan, and Hyundai sharply reduced rental car sales last month, a decision made to put profit ahead of sales volume.

SEE ALSO: US Car Sales Had Another Record-Setting Year in 2016

For the most part, automakers have used low-margin sales to rental fleets so it could avoid factory shutdowns. But now there’s more flexible labor agreements, allowing the Detroit automakers to change production.

After a record-setting year last year, combined sales of large pickups fell four percent, and sales of large SUVs have dropped 20 percent. Only the Ford F-Series has seen an increase, up six percent compared to last year. Ford announced sales dropped 7.5 percent in July, while FCA experienced a 10-percent drop.

Japanese automakers aren’t doing much better, with Toyota the only company reporting a year-to-year gain with sales up four percent. Honda says its sales dropped one percent in July, while Nissan saw a three-percent drop.

[Source: Reuters]

Jason Siu
Jason Siu

Jason Siu began his career in automotive journalism in 2003 with Modified Magazine, a property previously held by VerticalScope. As the West Coast Editor, he played a pivotal role while also extending his expertise to Modified Luxury & Exotics and Modified Mustangs. Beyond his editorial work, Jason authored two notable Cartech books. His tenure at saw him immersed in the daily news cycle, yet his passion for hands-on evaluation led him to focus on testing and product reviews, offering well-rounded recommendations to AutoGuide readers. Currently, as the Content Director for VerticalScope, Jason spearheads the content strategy for an array of online publications, a role that has him at the helm of ensuring quality and consistency across the board.

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2 of 3 comments
  • James Klapper James Klapper on Aug 04, 2017

    Typical after a big discount oriented sales year.

  • Jack Woodburn Jack Woodburn on Aug 04, 2017

    Virtually flat or declining wages since 2008-2009 are starting to catch up with the sales of big ticket items across the board. Last year the auto industry gleaned sales from the top 20% of the income market aided by low margin discounts to move inventories. The masses of credit and cash strapped Middle America is buying used cars...and that's not going to change for a while.