OUCH: Ford, Chrysler Sales Disappoint as Cars Plunge Despite Discounts.
Ford Motor Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV reported the biggest declines and automakers’ U.S. sales trailed analysts’ estimates, as heavy incentive spending failed to keep struggling sedan and compact models from plunging.
Deliveries slumped 7.2 percent at Ford and 4.6 percent at Fiat Chrysler last month. General Motors Co. sales climbed 1.6 percent, a smaller gain than analysts projected, while Honda Motor Co. reported a surprise drop.
The early results cast doubt on estimates that industrywide U.S. auto sales would rise in March compared with 2016’s weakest month, when results were depressed by the early Easter holiday. Automakers are using heavy discounts to try to trim inventory that’s swelled to the highest level in more than a decade.
Detroit has been indulging itself (again) in channel-stuffing and subprime auto loans, but those can keep the good times going for only so long.