The Once-Big Three January Sales

Although we don’t have much of a chance to quote Aristotle here, we’re seizing the opportunity: “One swallow does not a summer make.” It is still winter in Detroit and will be for some time.

Although we don’t have much of a chance to quote Aristotle here, we’re seizing the opportunity: “One swallow does not a summer make.”

It is still winter in Detroit and will be for some time. But given the January sales figure, at least there is a hint of spring for the Once-Big Three.

The first thing that should be noted is that the accounting people at Ford seem to be able to store their supply of red ink, because right across the board, each of the divisions showed growth compared to January 2009. Ford sales were up 25.9%, Lincoln 15.5%, and Mercury 5.8%. All good.

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Over at GM things were similarly improved. Chevy is up 36.4%, Buick a remarkable 44.4%, GMC up 11.4%, but Cadillac down 0.7%. However, it should be noted that for most of 2009, there was no such thing as a decrease to the right of the decimal point, so things aren’t all that bad, considering.

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Chrysler. Well, they’re still struggling. Chrysler brand is off by 2%. Jeep was down 7%. What may be a little surprising is that Jeep outsells Chrysler 15,715 to 10,443. Finally, Dodge—including the Ram brand that they are working to extract from Dodge—was down 11%.

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While Ford certainly has all arrows pointing up, it should be noted that the total sales of all three of the brands in January is 112,406 units, which is just 7,112 more than Chevrolet’s 105,294.

One interesting aspect of what’s happening at GM is that it just may be that the Buick and GMC strategies are working so well that they’re taking it out of Cadillac sales. And with products like the Buick Regal coming, things are only going to get worse for the flagship brand.