When gas is cheap (not to mention credit).
Despite all of the attention EV carmaker Tesla has been receiving as of late, a majority of Americans don’t appear to be anywhere near ready to make the switch to EVs, let alone hybrids or plug-in hybrids. One reason? Gas is cheap once again. According to the latest sales numbers first reported by Automotive News, "truck sales accounted for 59.3 percent of light vehicles sold in April." For the record, that’s "the biggest trucks vs. cars spread this year and the highest level of truck sales ever for the month (of April)."
In fact, cars sales were down by 6.1 percent last month. Which segments, specifically? All of them. Compacts, midsize, hybrids, etc. – all lost market share. By contrast, every truck segment (including crossovers, pickups, vans and SUVs) gained a combined 11 percent market share. For example, the Ford F-150 outsold both the Honda Civic and Toyota Camry – combined. Aside from the ongoing and seemingly never ending love affair with trucks, namely the F-150, what’s the reason behind trucks totally kicking sales ass? Aside from the aforementioned lower gas prices, another reason is automaker incentives.
A TrueCar analyst claims these incentives are now being focused on models with the highest profit margins, "specifically luxury vehicles as well as pickups, crossovers, and SUVs, as opposed to low-margin small and midsize cars." The average transaction price last month was $33,054 and, as we previously reported, the average American salary is around $45,000. So how can all of these people afford expensive new cars? Aside from those incentives, cheap credit has returned and there’s been positive job growth. Aside from the F-150, Ford also has another huge seller on its hands: the Transit van. It’s currently outselling the Mustang, 14,381 vs. 12,726 in April, respectively.
Even the large Expedition is doing quite well, with a total of 4,521 units sold. The Fiesta, by comparison, sold 4,462 in the same period. For its part, FCA’s Jeep is dominating these days. Last month it had its second-best month ever, with 84,298 vehicles sold. Ram truck sales are also up while Fiat is down. Given the current combined circumstances, analysts don’t see these sales trends changing much in the near future.