The big news this week in the auto business? Sales numbers.
The first few business days of every month are filled with sales reports from all of the major automakers, both in the U.S. and in markets around the world.
The good news for many is that sales are up in the world’s two biggest auto markets — that would be China and the U.S. — and that means second-quarter profits are likely to be good ones.
But what else went on in autos this week? Let’s take a closer look.
There are two good stories for Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) here, starting with a big one: pickup trucks. Pickup sales are booming, thanks to increased consumer confidence and upticks in the construction and energy sectors. That is especially good news for Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F), because Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F)’s F-Series is the segment leader. Sales of the F-Series line were up 24%, the lineup’s best June result since 2006.
The second good story? Fuel-efficient cars. Traditionally a weak point for the Detroit automakers, the revamped Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) lineup includes strong entries in nearly all segments. Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F)’s small Fiesta had a huge month, as did the compact Escape SUV and Ford’s hybrids, and Ford literally can’t make enough of its hot Fusion sedans to meet demand. That problem will be addressed when a second assembly line for the Fusion starts up this fall, something that should lead to another jump in sales for the striking midsized entry.
Ford also posted strong results in China, where sales are up a whopping 47% so far this year, and in India, where a new small SUV called the EcoSport has generated a big burst of consumer interest.
Get ready to hear a whole lot about pickup trucks
Speaking of pickup trucks, General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) this week kicked off its most important new-product launch campaign in years, with a 60-second TV ad that made its debut in Texas on the 4th of July. (How’s that for patriotic?) This is just the beginning of what looks to be a massive marketing push for General Motors Company (NYSE:GM)’s all-new full-sized pickups, its first new big pickups since before the company’s 2009 bankruptcy.