Counting Cars

March Sales Thread: U.S. LV Sales Continue at 15-Million-plus Pace

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Nissan has best sales month ever, Detroit 3 mark collective 5-year high, with projected March SAAR  on par with January and February pace.

March 2013 Light Vehicle Sales Volume:

WardsAuto forecast: 1.454 million units
Actual March  sales: 1.448 million units
Differential between WardsAuto Forecast and Actual U.S. LV Sales: 0.4%

March 2013 Light Vehicle SAAR:
WardsAuto forecast: 15.27 million
Actual March SAAR: 15.22 million

WardsAuto tracks sales throughout the day. Year-over-year change represents the change in daily sales rate (DSR). March  had 27 selling days this year and 28 last year.

3:20: Summary -  U.S. LV deliveries totaled 1,447,674 units, up 7.2% over year-ago, giving the industry its best sales month (by volume and daily rate) since August 2007. However, the 15.2 million monthly SAAR dipped slightly below the 15.3 million SAAR for the prior 3-month period. Good news, but not fantastic - and could argue against lifting full-year 2013 projections too high too soon. 

The March sales tally lifts Q1 deliveries to 3.675 million units, 6.3% higher than same-period 2012.

3:00 P.M.: Honda reports 11.1% jump in daily sales on 136,038 unit sales in March, directly in line with WardsAuto forecasts.

2:30 Only Honda still to report. Hyundai has a good March, with second highest volume sales ever, coming in 1.6% above year-ago March on a daily basis (though year-ago remains the company's best single month for volume sales). DSR was Hyundai's fourth best ever. Possible that Hyundai's improving inventory availability may be coming at the expense of sister-South Korean operation Kia?

BMW/Mini was up 15.3% in March, while Daimler brands improved 10.2% over year-ago. European brands collectively rose 10.2%, leading all regions in March/March comparisons.

 

for the company - 1:00: Crunching #s: Ford's 8,560 daily LV sales was its best DSR since May 2007. Chrysler 6,316 DSR was its highest since March 2008, but General Motor's 9,109 daily sales was only its third-best rate in the past four months. It was, though, GM's best March since 2008.

12:45 Kia's reported 49,125 deliveries equates to an 11.4% decrease in daily sales versus year-ago, and marks the fourth consecutive month of year-over-year declines in DSR for the South Korean auto maker. Kia's 1,819 daily sales was, nonetheless, its highest daily rate since October.  Hyundai and Kia are starting to feel the full competitive force of their Japanese competitors, as Toyota and Honda are in a better position product-wise and inventory-wise than they have been in several years. 

12:30 P.M.: Audi hit our forecast mark, with 13,253 March sales, lifting its DSR an industry leading (so far) 18.6% over year ago.

Noon: Jaguar Land Rover posts 5,722 deliveries, up 7.5%, but like VW, the only other reporting European company so far, slightly below expectations, which may be a clue as to how the Euros will do as a group this month.

Toyota's results gave the company its best sales month on a volume basis since Cash-for-Clunkers spike in August 2009. As mentioned below, however, it was only their best daily sales rate since May last year.

11:25 Volkswagen first European to report, with 37,704 deliveries, lifting its DSR 6.9%. Subaru weighs in with 36,701 sales - a 17.5% improvement over year-ago daily sales. Forester DSR  up 52%.

Crunching #s: Detroit 3  best collective sales month since March 2008. 

10:30: Ford reports LV sales of 231,127 - just below forecast levels - with DSR rising 9.1%. This brings the Detroit 3 tally to 647,600 units, for a 9.5% year-over-year increase in daily sales. 

10:00 A.M.: Nissan reported its highest volume sales month ever, selling 137,726 LVs, compared to the previous record set last March of 136,317. That represented a 4.8% rise in daily sales versus year-ago, setting a new DSR record as well for the company, of 5,101 - 232 units better than the previous record.

Toyota had its best daily sales since May, up 4.8% over year-ago with volume sales of 205,342 units.

General Motors undershot expectations with sales of 245,950 cars and light trucks - a 10.5% jump in DSR, but well below the 260,000  forecast. by WardsAuto and others. However, Chrysler continued to outshine expectations on a monthly basis, besting their year-ago DSR by 9% with 170,523 LV deliveries.

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on Apr 2, 2013

Nice article, thanks for the information.

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What's Counting Cars?

Blogs and commentary about automotive data, industry trends, and the future of the auto industry.

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John Sousanis

John Sousanis oversees WardsAuto data operations as Director of Information Content, and is Ward’sAuto sales analyst. Follow John on Twitter @CountingCars.  

Haig Stoddard

Haig Stoddard is a veteran automotive industry analyst. His current focus is North America production and longterm sales forecasting.
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