Vehicle sales in the United States in January 2014 dropped to 3-percent year-on-year to 1,011,187 light vehicles, no thanks to frigid weather and weak fleet sales in the month. The seasonally adjusted annual selling rate for January was 15.2 million. In the first month since federal depreciation allowances on business trucks expired at end of 2013, fleet sales dropped 14 percent at Ford, 18 percent at General Motors and 45 percent at Toyota.
While Ford sales chief John Felice did not cite Section 179 depreciation as a reason for the drop, he noted that site closures caused by bad weather have kept the carmaker from meeting fleet orders in January. According to Toyota Division General Manager Bill Fay, the carmaker is on "expected" pace with fleet sales in 2014, and a year ago was completing makeup fleet shipments.
January light vehicle sales at Nissan North America were up 12 percent with Chrysler Group and the Jeep brand surged soared 8 percent and 38 percent, respectively. South Korean carmakers Hyundai and Kia soared 1 percent in January while American Honda dropped 2 percent. January light vehicle sales at Ford and GM dove 8 percent and 12 percent respectively. All GM brands except Buick posted double-digit declines. January 2014 sales at Toyota, Ford and GM were expected to pale in comparison to year ago figures as they posted huge surges of between 16 percent and 27 percent.
Volkswagen Group of America also logged a 13-percent drop in January, no thanks to slumping sales (-19 percent) at its Volkswagen Division. Among the smaller players, Subaru surged 19 percent, followed by Jaguar Land Rover that leaped 15 percent (+11 percent for Land Rover and +31 for Jaguar).
Mitsubishi climbed 5 percent in January while BMW Group jumped 3 percent, with the BMW brand growing 11 percent and Mini shrinking 31 percent. Daimler AG gained 2 percent in January 2014, with its Smart and Mercedes-Benz units logging surges of 8 percent and 1 percent, respectively. Volvo and Mazda logged sales drops in the US last month at 22 percent and 12 percent, respectively.