So far, this year hasn’t been especially great for auto sales; while numbers are by no means in the toilet, they also haven’t shown very much growth. That could be changing, though—and soon. Though March sales figures are still being tabulated, many experts believe that they could show a jump when compared with last March’s numbers. This would hopefully provide some optimism and momentum to auto dealerships who have otherwise found 2017 to be a bit slow.
“Buoyed by continued strong SUV and truck sales in the U.S. as buyers continue to turn away from small cars and sedans, analysts also expect first quarter sales will be close to the 4.1 million units reported sold in the first quarter last year,” reports The Detroit News. “Analysts differ on whether first quarter sales will come in higher or lower than last year.”
A Strong First Quarter for Auto Sales?
Though we are still a few days away from March sales figures being reported, Kelley Blue Book is estimating that the March sales totals will come out to around 1.63 million units—enough to make this the strongest first-quarter showing since 2000.
It might even be enough to help the auto industry overtake the brisk sales pace it established last year, itself a record-breaking sales year. The only caveat? Incentive numbers may also turn out to be unusually high for March, which could mitigate the sales figures somewhat.
Looking at Individual Automakers: Ups and Downs
None of this is meant to suggest that all car companies are having equally good years. In fact, just looking at American auto companies suggests that there is much variance.
“General Motors Co. is expected to report higher March 2017 sales than the same month a year ago,” The Detroit News confirms. “Analysts at Kelley Blue Book predict that company’s sales will grow by more than 9 percent.”
Meanwhile: “Multiple analysts also expect Ford’s sales to dip by around 5 percent, due to a drop in the volume of fleet sales, according to Kelley Blue Book.” However, “Analysts also expect Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV sales to grow by around 2 percent.”
Charting a Strong Course for 2017
These strong March numbers are certainly encouraging after 2017 got off to a rocky start. As the analysis in The Detroit News makes plain, both January and February of this year showed declining sales numbers when compared to 2016. It’s worth noting that a few individual auto companies actually had solid Februaries, thanks in large part to those surging truck and SUV sales.
Until the final numbers are reported, we won’t know for sure—but all signs point to a surprisingly vigorous start to the year for the auto industry, albeit a somewhat delayed one. As we learn more about the year’s vehicle sales trends, we will make sure to report it. Stay tuned to the Get My Auto blog for more updates on what’s going on in the auto industry.