This is how auto sales ended up in the NAFTA region during April

This is how auto sales ended up in the NAFTA region during April

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U.S. auto sales totaled an estimated 1.35 million units in April, down 5% from the same period a year ago, reported automotive analysis firm Edmunds. The seasonally adjusted annualized sales rate (SAAR) for April came in at 17.15 million, according to Autodata Corp., marking the eighth straight month the pace of U.S. sales has topped 17 million. 

The average price of a new car in April was US$ 35,411, up 2% from the same month last year, according to Kelley Blue Book, as consumers continue to favor more pricey crossovers, SUVs and pickups. 

Sales estimates became more complicated to calculate after General Motors announced in March that it would cease monthly sales reports in favor of quarterly reports. Edmunds estimated that GM sold 237,464 vehicles in April, down 3% from the same period a year ago. Bloomberg reported sales fell 2.5% to 3%, citing people familiar with the matter. The Automotive News Data Center split the difference in calculating a 2.7% decline for GM and 237,900 total sales.

The United States is the main destination for Mexico’s auto exports with 598,028 vehicles during the first quarter of 2018, representing 71.6% of the country’s total shipments abroad.

Sales of light vehicles in Mexico declined for the 11th month in a row in April, this time to 109,265 units, down 4.6% compared to same month of 2017, according to the latest data from the Mexican Auto Dealers Association (AMDA). Year-to-date sales are now of 446,494 vehicles, a 9.4% drop against the same four-month period of 2017, AMDA figures revealed.

Given that sales have been in line with AMDA's forecasts, the possibility of improving results during the second half of the year is increasing, but it will depend on a successful renegotiation of NAFTA and the absence of post-electoral conflicts, said Guillermo Rosales, head of the auto dealers lobby.

Canada’s auto sales fell 2.7% in April to 191,856 vehicles due to weak demand for passenger cars, according to research firm DesRosiers Automotive Consultants.

Sales of passenger cars sold fell 12.4% in the month to 58,083 vehicles. In contrast, automakers marketed 133,773 light trucks (pickups and SUVs) representing a 2.2% increase.

Year-to-date sales through April were of 621,114 units with a marginal gain of 0.4% compared to sales during the same period of 2017. Passenger car sales in the first four months of the year are down 9.6% to 179,269 units, while light trucks are 5.1% up, totaling 441,845 vehicles.

Passenger car market through April is at 28.9% versus 32% by this time of the year in 2017. Meanwhile, light truck market share in Canada has increased from 68% last year to 71.1% in 2018.

Nissan is among the brands whose sales best performed during April, with a 10.9% hike to 11,457 vehicles, followed by Mazda and its 7.4% jump to 7,278 units. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), Ford and General Motors all three posted drops in sales of 15.8%, 1.1% and 4.6% respectively.

Canada is the second most important destination for Mexico’s auto exports with 61,721 vehicles during the first quarter of 2018, accounting for 7.4% of the country’s shipments. However, those figures represent a 5.8% decline if compared to the same period of 2017. 


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