John Gress | Reuters
Boosted by 0% financing for up to 84 months, J.D. Power reports that sales of pickup trucks in the United States exceed all passenger cars. Truck sales starting this month were just 1% below pre-pandemic forecasts, the firm said.
“It continues to do it and does it quite dramatically,” said Tyson Jominy, vice president of data and analysis at J.D. Power, on Wednesday. “For all intents and purposes, vans work almost exactly where we expected them to be in volume. “
During the coronavirus pandemic, retail sales of pickup trucks far exceeded the industry. Pickup truck sales fell only 9.4% in March and April compared with the same period last year, while car sales fell 51.2%, according to J.D. Power. Overall retail sales in the industry fell 41% in March and April compared to the same months last year, said J.D. Power.
Retail sales are expected to slow this year before the pandemic, but the epidemic has further depressed demand. Retail sales do not include sales to fleet customers such as government or business.
Continued demand for large pickups could soon become an issue, particularly for General Motors, Ford Motor and Fiat Chrysler, which dominate the segment. J.D. Power says inventory levels are close to half of what they would normally be due to the coronavirus, which has forced the closure of US factories since March.
“We continue to see the strength of the trucks and, therefore, lower inventory levels,” GM chief financial officer Dhivya Suryadevara told analysts during a first quarter earnings call last week.
GM, she said, is closely monitoring dealer inventory, particularly in markets that are not as affected by the coronavirus. It said production of pickup trucks and SUVs will be top priority when production is expected to resume on May 18.
Mike Manley, CEO of Fiat Chrysler, shared similar ideas with investors on Tuesday: “I’m sure you are going to see another relatively strong month with the trucks, as there are certainly configurations we will miss. “
Manley said he “does not remember when” the company had such a low stock.
Fiat Chrysler and Ford also plan to restart production in their factories on May 18.
Pickup trucks are particularly important to Ford’s profitability. Its F-series, including the F-150, was the best-selling vehicle in the United States for 38 consecutive years and the best-selling truck in the country for 43 years.
Ford, according to executives, is continuing its plans for a redesigned version of its F-150 pickup later this year.