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U.S. Minivan market collapsed In Q1 By 20%. However, Fiat Chrysler gained market share

U.S. Minivan market collapsed In Q1 By 20%. However, Fiat Chrysler gained market share

The U.S. minivan market was down 20% year over year for the first quarter of 2017 on a unit basis. The market leader by far is FCA, which was down 13% as an average for its multiple minivan models. However, all the other competitors were down more than 13%, so FCA’s market share actually grew from 49% to 53%.

Keep in mind that FCA has a much higher share of its sales going to fleet customers (rental car agencies etc.) than companies such as Honda.

The plug-in hybrid version of the Chrysler Pacifica was delayed from January 1 to late April 2017. Honda also gets an all-new Odyssey by June.

When does being down 13% year over year mean that you gained market share? When you’re Fiat Chrysler (NYSE:FCAU) and you’re looking at the U.S. minivan market, that’s when.

The U.S. minivan market is currently running around 500,000 units per year, or under 3% of the total U.S. light vehicle market. We just got the 1Q 2017 sales numbers, and it’s not a pretty picture. Overall, the U.S. minivan market was down 20% year over year during the first quarter of 2017. In an overall light vehicle market that was flat to down perhaps 1%, that’s a massive underperformance. Pickup trucks, for example, were up 5%.

One year ago, the market share leader was FCA with 49%. That’s an insanely high number to begin with. If you’re down 13%, that is normally evidence of your market share falling from such an unusually high level.

But not in this case.

Why? Because the competitors were down even more. Just look at this massacre! Toyota down 25%, Honda down 23%, Kia down 37%, and Nissan down 33%. This is nothing short of wild.

Is this a “canary in the coal mine” sign of a falling U.S. birth rate? Slowing family formation? I don’t know, but one can wonder – and should continue to monitor. This is as good a place as any other to point out that FCA has a very high share of its sales going into fleets, such as rental companies.

  • Where’s the US minivan market going?

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