April 02, 2014

Vehicle sales increased in March

April 3, 2014 – Total vehicle sales in March increased to 16.4 million seasonally adjusted, annualized units over February's rate of 15.3 million annualized units, according to data published by Autodata Corp. and analyzed by NAFCU Senior Economist Curt Long.

Sales levels increased 7.2 percent from a year ago. "Pent-up demand due to severe winter weather and dealer incentives helped vehicle sales rebound after three months of weak sales data," Long said in a NAFCU Macro Data Flash report.

Sales of light trucks increased from February's level of 8 million annualized units to 8.7 million annualized units in March and were up an "impressive 11.9 percent from a year ago," Long said. Car sales increased from February's level of 7.3 million annualized units to 7.8 million annualized units in March.

Five of the six largest automakers reported increases in their year-over-year sales numbers. Chrysler reported the strongest gain in sales with 13 percent, followed by Nissan (8.3 percent), Toyota (4.9 percent), General Motors (4.1 percent) and Ford (3.3 percent). Honda saw a decline of 2 percent in its year-over-year sales numbers.

"Overall, vehicle sales have been a key driver in the economic recovery, and are expected to improve and support the economy throughout the year," Long said.