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Pickup truck sales pique interest for some in US auto industry

First quarter sales results showed some areas of weakness, but hybrid models and affordability needs revealed some areas of opportunity.
Pickup truck sales pique interest for some in US auto industry
Posted at 9:51 PM, Apr 03, 2024

Automakers across multiple companies showed mixed results in their first quarter earnings reports with GM reporting sales down 1.5 percent during the first quarter of the year, and Ford signaling its pickup trucks and hybrids helped in a 6.8% jump in U.S. sales for the first quarter. 

Reuters reported that demand for Ford pickup trucks, SUVs and crossovers were showing signs of hope. 

But, as has been the case for the U.S. auto industry in recent years, it's a game of moving pieces as innovation tries to meet demand and affordability. 

In March around 14,00 Ford factory workers in Michigan working on the automaker's electric version of its popular F-150 truck faced moving to new jobs or accepting retirements packages amid what was called weak sales. The truck, which asks a starting price of nearly $50,000 was sitting on dealer lots as concerning inventory reports flowed in. 

SEE MORE: Hybrids vs EVs: Why hybrids are surging as EV sales slow

Just a third of about 2,100 workers at three electric vehicles plants would remain after cuts in jobs by the company, the Associated Press reported. 

Marissa West, GM's senior vice president, and president for North America said, "our inventories are in good shape heading into the spring," and said the company is "on plan."

But earnings reports were very mixed within the company as 2024 moved along with retail sales growing by 6%, the company said — but, it's entire business unit devised to house it's fleet services and products dropping by a significant 23%, GM reported. Nearly all of the company's Cadillac model sales saw decreases, as well as a significant number of it's SUV models. It's trucks in the GMC category saw a 4.8% decrease. 

The CEO for automaker Stellantis expressed concern that China's auto industry would make a negative impact with EV models. Carlos Tavares called it an "offensive" and told reporters it is "possibly the biggest risk that companies like Tesla and ourselves are facing right now."

The company reported a 13% decrease at the end of 2023 because of strikes in North America, and didn't enter into 2024 on much better footing. 

And car interest rates amid a fight by the U.S. Federal Reserve to lower inflation also contributes to consumer sales for vehicles. A Bankrate report said that high rates will have an affect on how the auto industry is able to stabilize vehicle prices.

Statista reported that projections predicted that from an international perspective, most revenue for pickup truck sales will be generated in the United States in 2024. And with variations in sales among various truck sizes — including full size, mid size and compact trucks — the addition of electric pick up trucks like the F-150 lightening should cause some major "shakeups" in the sector as Auto Blog reported

Ford is claiming America's number two spot for electric vehicle brands, with the Fort Transit as America's best-selling van, the company reported. 

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