Though for most manufacturers year-to-date (YTD) auto sales are still in the red, Q3 results showed signs of a rebound to pre-pandemic levels in the near future.
According to the research data analyzed and published by Finaria, auto sales in the US declined by 9.2% year-over-year (YoY). Overall sales went from 4.3 million vehicles in Q3 2019 to 3.9 million in Q3 2020. However, there was an increase of 33.3% quarter-over-quarter (QoQ).
Passenger car sales in the country also dropped by 21.7% to 904,864 units from 1.16 million in Q3 2019. However, the decline was less steep for trucks, SUVs and minivans whose sales fell from 3.15 million in Q3 2019 to 3 million, a 4.7% YoY drop.
Looking at the quarterly performance from the start of 2018, Q2 2020 is the worst on record. It is closely followed by Q1 2020 and Q3 2020 comes third.
In Q3 2020, only three out of the top 12 automakers ranked by US sales registered gains. These included Tesla Inc, which posted a 154.7% increase YoY, Mazda with 6.9% and Kia with 3.9%.
Nissan Motor Corp which was the sixth best-seller in the US saw the highest drop of 32.4%, followed by Toyota at 11% and Fiat Chrysler at 10.2%.
GMC Leads US Brands with $4 Billion Profit Despite 9.9% Sales Decline
General Motors Co. (GMC) saw a 9.9% drop in sales, reaching 665,192 during the quarter. Its Cadillac brand posted the highest YoY decline on record. It shed a massive 17.5% with total unit sales reaching 32,965.
However, in terms of revenue and profit, the Detroit-based company was not too badly off. Revenue totaled $35.5 billion, with a $4 billion profit. In comparison to Q3 2019, profit jumped by 74% on equal revenue.
It took the lead in the US market in terms of total auto sales for the period. The manufacturer also maintained a lead in the large SUV and full-size pickup truck segments. Robust customer demand in these two segments drove overall performance.
Among its top performers were the Chevrolet Blazer and Cadillac XT6. Chevy Blazer unit sales in the US alone totaled 29,486, up 45% from 20,312 in Q3 2019 according to GM Authority. In the first nine months of 2020, the model sold 71,356 units, an increase of 103% YoY.
Similarly, Cadillac XT6 sales jumped 45%, going from 4,316 units in Q3 2019 to 6,249 units in Q3 2020. Between Q1 and Q3 2020, total unit sales for the model increased by 252% to 15,454.
The Chevrolet Silverado was the third best-selling brand in the US during the quarter, in spite of a 5.1% drop to 147,484 units.
Fords’ Profit in Q3 2020 Increases By $2 Billion
Sales at Ford Motor Co. dropped by 4.9% YoY to 551,796 vehicles in Q3 2020. One of its worst performing brands was Fiesta, which sold only 135 units in the entire duration. It marked a 99.1% YoY decline.
On the bright side though, its profit for the period was $2.5 billion, an increase of $2 billion YoY. Revenue rose from $37 billion in Q3 2019 to $38 billion in Q3 2020.
Furthermore, the Michigan-based automaker announced that this was its best quarter of pickup truck sales since 2005.
Overall pickup sales, consisting of Ford Ranger and F-Series, rose by 4% to 249,997 units. Ford F-Series was the top-selling brand, posting a 3.5% YoY increase in sales with 221,647 units.
Its commercial van sales shot up by 93.7% QoQ to 59,092 units. Ford Explorer posted an increase of 87.22% to 59,060 units. It was the best-selling mid-size SUV in the US for the first nine months of 2020, with 160,209 unit sales.
On the other hand, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles posted a 10.2% drop in sales to 507,351. All of its brands registered sales drops with two exceptions, Alfa Romeo and Chrysler. However, in comparison to Q2 2020, there was a 38% sales increase in Q3 2020.
Thanks to its sales of high-margin vehicles during the quarter, profits surged by 26% to $3.0 billion. Jeep led the way with a total of 222,212 unit sales, down by 9% YoY.
Despite being the oldest on the lineup, the Grand Cherokee was the brand’s top seller with 56,447 units sold. Wrangler came in second with 54,071 while Cherokee was third with 40,981.
For the Chrysler brand, there was an increase of 8% in sales, totaling 31,870 while the Alfa Romeo grew by 17% to 5,056 units.
The Ram pickup brand was the second best-selling brand in the US during the quarter, despite a 3.4% YoY drop to 156,157 unit sales.