FORD MOTOR COMPANY +5% (Ford and Lincoln only)
Factor in the loss of Mercury and Volvo, and Ford Motor Company totals were down a bit in May. Lincoln continues to struggle but thanks to the popular new Focus, Fiesta, and Explorer, Ford division was able to overcome a slowdown in the truck market.
Slowing F-series sales (-15%) dealt Ford a blow but the new Explorer (+135%) was undaunted by higher fuel prices. Those same fuel prices probably gave a boost to the Focus, which is looking very strong. The addition of the Fiesta, which outsold the faltering Mustang and the Taurus in May, also helped keep Ford in positive territory.
The bad news continues for the MKS (-42%) and the MKT (-44%), but the smaller MKZ (+24%) again did well.
CHRYSLER GROUP +10%
Nothing says more about the through-the-looking-glass quality of May’s results than the fact that Chrysler outsold Toyota and Honda. It was as if the company had turned back the clock a couple decades, as it stood in third place behind GM and Ford. Chrysler’s total figures grew by 10% but retail sales rose even faster, and incentive spending declined dramatically (although it’s still higher than the industry average).
Those who doubt the power of the Imported from Detroit ad campaign should take a gander at the results for the Chrysler 200, which in May was the brand’s bestselling car, more than doubling the previous year’s sales of the Sebring. The 300 declined (-28%), although the company claimed supplies were tight due to the model changeover. The Town & Country’s drop-off (-51%) looks more worrisome. Quick! Get Eminem into a minivan!
Without the addition of the Durango, Dodge’s overall total decline would have been greater than 5%, as most Dodge models were off in May. The two exceptions were the Nitro (+7%) and the Grand Caravan, which was flat.
Jeep was really the engine of growth for Chrysler in May, with the Grand Cherokee leading the way, nearly tripling year-ago sales. The Wrangler, however, managed to beat it in total volume. All Jeep models bested their year-ago totals. After the Grand Cherokee, the revamped Compass (+92%) was the biggest gainer.
The big Ram pickup (+16%) defied the downturn in the truck market.
Fiat doubled sales of the 500 compared to last month.