US Auto Sales Tumble To 18 Month Low As SUV Demand Hits A Brick Wall

Saturday, March 2, 2019
By Paul Martin

by Tyler Durden
Sat, 03/02/2019

SUVs were, until this month, one of the sole remaining bright spots in the rapidly slowing U.S. auto market. Despite the fact that they were crippling traditional sedan sales, Americans’ transition to SUVs was seen as a silver lining, prompting many automakers to make infrastructure changes to account for the change in demand.

Those days, however, seem to be over, according to the latest, February U.S. auto sales data. Fiat Chrysler posted its first monthly sales decline in a year, according to Bloomberg. The kicker? Jeep, the company’s driving force for the past several years, showed a rare back-to-back drop in deliveries. Charlie Chesbrough, senior economist of Cox Automotive said: “The results today suggest a much bigger story: The sales pace has finally shifted into a lower gear.”

The fact that Jeep sales have slowed is a warning indicator that the SUV “boom” in the U.S. could be coming to an end. Mired by higher interest rates and continued tightening of credit, buyers are forcing once record high SUV sales and prices back down again. As a result, Fiat’s Jeep Wrangler sales fell 5.9% in the month, as inventory continued to pile up at dealerships. Fiat joined companies like Toyota, Honda and Nissan, as virtually every OEM both missed analyst estimates for the month and posted an annual sales decline.

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