Every once in awhile the battle between Detroit rivals General Motors and Ford Motor Company does a 180 turn. In May, it happened with the two respective companies U.S. sales numbers, with the Blue Oval outselling GM, but the numbers tell a deeper story.
Last month Ford moved 241,126 vehicles, while GM moved only 237,364 vehicles. The 3,762 difference between the two is minor at best, but the statistics behind each macro figure is where the news lies. Ford’s fleet sales were up 8.4 percent during the month, with daily rental sales being up 2.7 percent, with commercial and government sales down versus last year.
Oddly enough, GM is nearly an opposite story. Their daily rental fleet sales were down 36 percent over May 2016, which is part of what GM says is a planned draw down of typically unprofitable rental sales. Subsequently, the company’s government and commercial businesses were both up at GM.
Retail sales at GM were up 0.3 percent for the month, while Ford’s retail sales were down 0.8 percent. So basically, both companies retail sales were flat for the month, which means Ford’s edge over GM has to do with their increase in fleet sales for the month.
Now, Ford may have increased fleet sales strategically. Ford’s inventory at month’s end is being reported as a 76 day supply, a fairly typical figure for the company. Likewise, GM’s inventory is resting at a 101 day supply, reflecting the company still has a fairly bloated inventory, despite their insistence it is planned.