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March New-Car Sales To Rise 3 Percent Year-Over-Year, Closing Second Highest First Quarter On Record, According To Kelley Blue Book

IRVINE, Calif., March 24, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- New-vehicle sales are expected to increase 3 percent year-over-year to a total of 1.63 million units in March 2017, resulting in an estimated 17.4 million seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR), according to Kelley Blue Book www.kbb.com, the vehicle valuation and information source trusted and relied upon by both consumers and the automotive industry.  At 1.63 million units this month, the first quarter total comes in at 4.1 million units, up 0.3 percent year-over-year.  This would be the second highest first quarter on record, surpassed only by Q1 of 2000.  This also would be the highest March sales total since 2000, when sales hit 1.66 million total units.

"Kelley Blue Book expects manufacturers to report mostly positive sales numbers this month, capping a steady first quarter with an average SAAR of 17.4 million," said Tim Fleming, analyst for Kelley Blue Book.  "Despite considerably higher discounts and incentives, first quarter sales totals will likely only finish flat versus last year, a signal of weakening consumer demand for new vehicles.  As sales cool after years of robust growth, adjusting production accordingly and managing supply, especially in car segments, should be top priorities for automakers."

After a record year of sales in 2016 and seven consecutive year-over-year sales increases, Kelley Blue Book's forecast for 2017 calls for sales in the range of 16.8 million to 17.3 million units, this represents a 1 to 4 percent decrease from last year.

Key Highlights for Estimated March 2017 Sales Forecast:

  • In March, new light-vehicle sales, including fleet, are expected to hit 1,630,000 units, up 3 percent compared to March 2016 and up 23 percent from February 2017.
  • The seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) for March 2017 is estimated to be 17.4 million, up from 16.6 million in March 2016 and down from 17.5 million in February 2017.
  • Retail sales are expected to account for 77.9 percent of volume in March 2017, up from 76.8 percent in March 2016.

General Motors Expected to Gain Most Market Share; Ford to Post Greatest Declines in March 2017

General Motors is expected to gain the most market share in March 2017, up nearly a full percentage point.  In particular, the automaker's SUV lineup could grow sales by 25 percent, with increases led by three all-new models introduced last year, including the Chevrolet Equinox, Buick Envision and GMC Acadia.  GM trucks, especially the Silverado, could have a strong month as well, growing 10 percent with heavier incentives likely playing a role.

Ford Motor Company could post the greatest sales declines of all major manufacturers; although, a large drop in fleet volume is responsible, while retail sales should be flat or slightly up.  As a result, Fusion and Focus could report declines of more than 20 percent in March 2017.  Similarly, Transit and other Ford vans, which are popular in commercial fleets, could fall 20 percent.


Sales Volume 1

Market Share 2

Manufacturer

Mar-17

Mar-16

YOY %

Mar-17

Mar-16

YOY %

General Motors (Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC)

275,000

252,128

9.1%

16.9%

16.0%

0.9%

Ford Motor Company (Ford, Lincoln)

234,000

253,064

-7.5%

14.4%

16.0%

-1.7%

Toyota Motor Company (Lexus, Scion, Toyota)

218,000

219,842

-0.8%

13.4%

13.9%

-0.6%

Fiat Chrysler (Chrysler, Dodge, FIAT, Jeep, RAM)

205,000

199,467

2.8%

12.6%

12.6%

-0.1%

American Honda (Acura, Honda)

146,000

138,221

5.6%

9.0%

8.8%

0.2%

Nissan North America (Infiniti, Nissan)

171,000

163,559

4.5%

10.5%

10.4%

0.1%

Hyundai-Kia

130,000

133,589

-2.7%

8.0%

8.5%

-0.5%

Volkswagen Group (Audi, Volkswagen, Porsche)

55,500

49,629

11.8%

3.4%

3.1%

0.3%

Subaru of America

54,000

49,285

9.6%

3.3%

3.1%

0.2%

Total 3

1,630,000

1,577,491

3.3%

-

-

-

1 Historical data from OEM sales announcements







2 Kelley Blue Book Automotive Insights







3 Includes brands not shown







 

Significant Shift from Cars to SUVs Shows No Sign of Slowing; Mid-Size Cars in Rapid Decline

The significant shift from cars into SUVs shows no sign of slowing, with double-digit growth projected for the popular compact and mid-size SUV/crossover segments.  This month, analysts expect an overall light truck mix of 63 percent, up from 58 percent last March.

"Mid-size cars continue to suffer as a result of shifting consumer preference toward utility vehicles, and Kelley Blue Book anticipates the segment will lose nearly 3 percentage points of market share," said Fleming.  "This segment, which was the top-selling category in the industry as recently as 2013, is in a rapid decline, which does not bode well for the upcoming redesigns for the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, due later this year."


Sales Volume 1

Market Share

Segment

Mar-17

Mar-16

YOY %

Mar-17

Mar-16

YOY %

Mid-Size Car

180,000

215,688

-16.5%

11.0%

13.7%

-2.6%

Compact Car

192,000

204,040

-5.9%

11.8%

12.9%

-1.2%

Compact SUV/Crossover

279,000

242,604

15.0%

17.1%

15.4%

1.7%

Full-Size Pickup Truck

216,000

198,321

8.9%

13.3%

12.6%

0.7%

Mid-Size SUV/Crossover

203,000

173,569

17.0%

12.5%

11.0%

1.5%

Total 2

1,630,000

1,577,491

3.3%

-

-

-

1 Kelley Blue Book Automotive Insights







2 Includes segments not shown







 

There are 27 sales days in both March 2017 and March 2016.  All percentages are based on raw volume, not daily selling rate.  

To discuss this topic, or any other automotive-related information, with a Kelley Blue Book analyst on-camera via the company's on-site studio, please contact a member of the Public Relations team to schedule an interview.

For more information and news from Kelley Blue Book's KBB.com, visit www.kbb.com/media/, follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/kelleybluebook (or @kelleybluebook), like our page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/kbb, and get updates on Google+ at https://plus.google.com/+kbb.

About Kelley Blue Book (https://www.kbb.com/)
Founded in 1926, Kelley Blue Book, The Trusted Resource®, is the vehicle valuation and information source trusted and relied upon by both consumers and the automotive industry.  Each week the company provides the most market-reflective values in the industry on its top-rated website KBB.com, including its famous Blue Book® Trade-In Values and Fair Purchase Price, which reports what others are paying for new and used cars this week.  The company also provides vehicle pricing and values through various products and services available to car dealers, auto manufacturers, finance and insurance companies, and governmental agencies.  Kelley Blue Book's KBB.com ranked highest in its category for brand equity by the 2016 Harris Poll EquiTrend® study and has been named Online Auto Shopping Brand of the Year for five consecutive years.  Kelley Blue Book Co., Inc. is a Cox Automotive brand.

About Cox Automotive
Cox Automotive Inc. is transforming the way the world buys, sells and owns cars with industry-leading digital marketing, software, financial, wholesale and e-commerce solutions for consumers, dealers, manufacturers and the overall automotive ecosystem worldwide. Committed to open choice and dedicated to strong partnerships, the Cox Automotive family includes Autotrader®, Dealer.com®, Dealertrack®, Kelley Blue Book®, Manheim®, NextGear Capital®, vAuto®, Xtime® and a host of other brands. The global company has 33,000 team members in more than 200 locations and is partner to more than 40,000 auto dealers, as well as most major automobile manufacturers, while engaging U.S. consumer car buyers with the most recognized media brands in the industry. Cox Automotive is a subsidiary of Cox Enterprises Inc., an Atlanta-based company with revenues of $18 billion and approximately 60,000 employees. Cox Enterprises' other major operating subsidiaries include Cox Communications and Cox Media Group. For more information about Cox Automotive, visit www.coxautoinc.com.

 

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