Steel Markets

March Auto Sales Mark Third Month of Decline

Written by Sandy Williams

U.S. light-vehicle sales fell for the third consecutive month in March as consumers choose trucks and SUVs over cars. Sedans weren’t the only vehicles to see softening this month, however. Small pickup trucks declined for the first time since August, according to data from Wards Auto. Larger pickups and SUV sales continued to grow as gas prices remained affordable.

Wards Auto puts March sales at 1.548 units, a 1.6 percent decline from March of 2016. The seasonally adjusted annual rate for the month declined to 16.6 million down 1.4 percent from a year ago.

U.S. sales are still exceeding historical levels but are moderating from last year’s record year. Last month sales missed projections of +2.1 percent by and +3.3 percent by Kelley Blue Book despite soaring incentives by manufacturers.

Sales declined for Ford and FCA compared to March 2016 but GM squeaked out a 1.6 percent increase. Subaru had a surprising March, setting record sales for the month and an 11.3 percent increase from March 2016.

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