US auto sales beat all estimates in March with a 6.3% increase
Beating up all expectations, U.S. auto dealers sold more than 1.65 million new vehicles in March, a 6.3% jump compared with a year earlier, according to Autodata Corp. That easily outpaced analysts’ forecasts, like the 3% increase from Edmunds.com and a 2.6% rise from Cox Automotive.
The seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) ended up at 17.49 million. This is the seventh straight month the figure surpasses 17 million units.
The increasing demand of light trucks felt stronger last month with sales of trucks and SUVs hiking 16.3% while car sales plunged 9.2%, Autodata figures show. Nearly two-thirds of all vehicles sold were trucks or SUVs.
Such trend boosted sales of the Big Detroit 3 automakers far more than expected with General Motors (GM) leading the pack after it posted a surprising 15.7% gain to 296,138 vehicles. The automaker announced today that after March, it would stop reporting monthly sales in favor of quarterly numbers.
Following GM also with a two-digit jump was Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) and its 13.6% rise to 216,063 vehicles, lifted by a skyrocketing 44.7% increase in sales by the Jeep brand. Ford Motor was up 3.5% to 243,021 units.
Among the Japanese automakers, Subaru continued its hot sales streak with a 5.9% increase to 58,097 cars and SUVs, Honda rose 3.8% to 142,392 units led by the Acura luxury brand, which saw a 15.7% increase, Toyota was up 3.5% to 222,782 vehicles, while Nissan declined 3.7% to 162,535.
Korean brands Hyundai and Kia saw a mixed result with the first posting a 11% decrease to 61,540 units due to a lack of crossovers in its catalog, while the latter saw a 2.5% increase to 50,645 vehicles, boosted by a 41% hike in sales of the Sportage CUV.
Volkswagen sales were up 13.5% to 52,992 units.
The U.S. market is the main destination of Mexico’s auto exports representing more than 70% of total. According to Wards Auto, Mexico-made vehicles currently account for around of 15% total U.S. auto sales.