DETROIT – The six top-selling automakers in the U.S. reported sales declines last month as demand seems to be slowing after seven straight years of growth.
General Motors, Ford, Toyota, Fiat Chrysler, Nissan and Honda on Tuesday all reported weaker U.S. sales than a year ago.
Industry analysts expected April sales to be down anywhere from 2 percent to 4 percent, but still run at a healthy annual rate of around 17.1 million vehicles.
Kelley Blue Book says it looks like 2017 U.S. sales will fall short of last year’s record 17.5 million for the first annual sales drop since 2009. It expects full-year sales of 16.8 million to 17.3 million.
Ford, which reported a 7.2 percent decline due largely to car demand that tumbled 21 percent, said that it’s still getting healthy prices for its vehicles as people load on more options.
Even full-size pickup trucks, which had been selling briskly for much of the year, posted a sales decline. Ford, GM and Toyota pickup sales dropped, while Fiat Chrysler’s Ram sales were up 8 percent.
At Nissan, overall sales fell 1.5 percent as SUV demand couldn’t overcome slowing car sales. At General Motors, sales dropped 5.8 percent as strong performances from some SUVs and the Cruze compact car couldn’t offset falling pickup truck demand.
Toyota reported a 2 percent sales decline for the month as healthy sales of the RAV4 small SUV were overcome by falling demand for cars such as the Camry and Corolla. Fiat Chrysler sales fell 7 percent for the month as it continued to exit the small and midsize car business. Sales of the normally strong Jeep brand fell, by 17 percent.
Honda sales fell 7 percent as Accord midsize car sales fell 15 percent and couldn’t be balanced out by a 13 percent jump in sales of the CR-V small SUV.
Of major automakers, only Hyundai and Volkswagen reported increases, just over 1 percent for Hyundai and a 1.6 percent gain for VW. Hyundai was boosted by record sales of the Tucson small SUV, while VW gained over sales that were depressed a year ago by its diesel emissions-cheating scandal.