Carmakers saw higher sales in the first quarter as General Motors and Toyota Motor, among others, gained more demand for new cars and trucks than they did a year ago when the COVID-19 indoor showrooms opened.
Analysts estimate that US car sales rose more than 8% in the quarter. Profits reflect purchases, as vaccine levels rise, more people return to their pre-epidemic regimes. Increasing confidence in the economy անհ Concerns about low supply of cars due to a shortage of computer chips also helped boost deliveries.
The big automakers either met or easily overcame the consensus forecast of analysts, most of whom were forecasting quarterly benefits due to the catastrophic results of the first quarter of last year.
“Everyone is on their feet because last March was a train wreck,” said Sales Audit Wheeler, Nissan’s vice president of US sales. “For the industry as a whole, we expect it to be a very good year.”
GM sales rose 3.9 percent in the quarter, driven by demand for utility vehicles such as the mid-size Chevrolet Traverse and the Cadillac Escalade. The delivery power of these models offset lower sales of vehicles such as the Chevy Equinox և GMC Terrain compact crossover SUV that suffered from temporary plant shutdowns in Ontario իկայի Mexico.
Despite the shortage of semiconductors, which contributes to the closure of factories, GM expects a strong year of growth. It expects the industry to have annual sales of 16.7 million vehicles, which is above the average estimate of 16.7 million analysts.
“Consumer confidence and spending will continue to grow, driven by rising vaccine levels and a leading reopening of the economy,” said Elaine Buckberg, GM, chief economist. “Demand for cars must remain strong throughout the year.”
Stellantis NV, formerly known as Fiat Chrysler, posted a 5% gain for the quarter, while Ford Motor saw a slight 0.6% increase. Both automakers benefited from the huge demand for their pickup trucks. Stellantis’ Ram 1500 is ahead of GM’s rival Silverado to boast the best-selling truck behind Ford’s industry-leading F-150.
Ram sold Chevrolet Silverado for more than 22,000 units after Chevy won the No. 2 truck in 2020. in its additional inventory of Ram Classic, an older, more affordable version of its Ram 1500.
All three Detroit automakers have struggled to get enough chips for their most lucrative models. Last week, Stellantis announced it would close half of its North American plants, and Ford said on Wednesday it would have to shut down its F-150 pair.
The global shortage of semiconductors is driving many cars և trucks out of the dealer company, forcing buyers to pay more to secure a new set of wheels. Inventories of the new model in US dealerships fell 36% in March, and average transaction prices rose 5% to $ 40,563, according to automotive research expert Edmunds.
“Stronger sales results face continuing production problems, creating an environment of volatile demand over the next few months,” said Chris Hopson, North America Light Vehicles Forecast Manager.
Sales of Toyota’s full-fledged Tundra pickup in March were small compared to the previous year, reflecting the long shutdown of its assembly line at a plant in San Antonio, Texas. The Tundra, the most popular car ever made by the automaker, has suffered the most from a shortage of semiconductors.
Overall, Toyota recorded a healthy jump of 22% in quarterly sales, including a sharp increase of 87% in March to 603,066 vehicles. Buyers flocked to his best-selling RAV4 crossover SUV, the famous Tacoma mid-size truck. The Japanese luxury brand Lexus has reported its second-highest volume for the first quarter, when it’s best for March, driven by sales of the RX sports utility vehicle.
The auto industry has a lot to thank retailers for, as multicultural corporate customers largely disappeared at the height of the epidemic, leaving many players behind in recent months. Analysts estimate that fleet purchases, often at a discounted rate, fell by about 30% in the first quarter.
This reflected low demand from other fleet buyers for rental vehicles, as well as declining vehicle inventories as automakers prioritized higher-margin retail sales. But there are signs that the fleet business deficit may be approaching the bottom.
“I can say that the economy is starting to revive because our hired partners are really aggressively asking for more cars than us,” said Randy Parker, CEO of Hyundai Motor Sales in the United States. “So what he’s telling me is that the business leasing side is really starting to grow.”
Hyundai shipments rose 28% in the first quarter to 167,130 vehicles, led by the Tucson compact SUV. But less than 10,000 of them went to fleet buyers.
Nissan Motor is optimistic that buyers of the multi-car will have a greater presence in the sales picture.
“The fleet is definitely coming back. We will try our best to provide them with some inventory, but we will focus on retail, ”said Nissan’s Wheeler.
For the first time in nine quarters, the Nine-based automaker made a profit of 10.8% to 285,553 vehicles. Its Rogue crossover SUV jumped 45% to almost a third of total deliveries as the brand tried to rebuild. Unlike its top competitors, Cadillac և Lexus, Nissan Infiniti brand did not grow. Sales fell by 25% to less than 20,000 vehicles.
Rival Honda Motor recorded a 16% increase in deliveries in the first quarter, reaching 347,091 vehicles, setting a new sales record. Demand for its best-selling CR-V crossover more than doubled in March, with buyers gaining a glimpse of the fashionable Ridgeline pickup, with sales more than tripling in the previous month.
Electric car market leader Tesla has not given any indication of when it will release its first quarter sales.
Prospective automakers have promised to break Tesla’s block on EV sales, and investors have recently warmed up over their ambitious plans. At the first sign of progress, Ford reported a 74% increase in EV sales due to demand for its battery-powered Mustang Mach-E և new electric hybrid F-150 pickup.