US auto sales fell below expectations during December, according to new data from leading automotive manufacturers such as Ford and Chrysler. GM shares decreased in value by 2.4% on the news that sales had dropped 6.3% over the twelve months from December 2012 until December of 2013.
Automotive industry analysts have pointed to several possible reasons for the drop in auto sales. Poor weather throughout much of the United States is believed to have kept customers from visiting car dealerships, reducing sales during one of the year’s busiest and most profitable months.
Edmunds.com analyst Michelle Krebs believes that the weather is to blame for slow sales, noting that there were several major storms at the beginning of December that affected consumers’ priorities. As a result of the stormy weather and poor sales, the December sales carried out by many dealerships have been extended into January.
Other reasons for the slow sales include the four-day Thanksgiving weekend, which many analysts believe was used as an opportunity for families to purchase vehicles prior to the beginning of December. The holiday weekend may have pushed forward sales from the end of the year, increasing November’s relative sales figures.
Certain brands have continued to perform well throughout the United States. Jeep, a brand owned by Chrysler, saw its sales rise by 34% last month. As a whole, Chrysler saw its sales rise 9% over the course of the year, making it one of the country’s top-performing automotive manufacturers.
Trucks sold particularly well in the United States last year, with new models from Chrysler brands Dodge and Jeep especially strong. The company believes that the strong truck sales can be linked to the housing market recovery, noting that truck sales increase as families move into new properties.