DETROIT (AP) – U.S. auto portals grew more than 11 percent in the first quarter as strong March sales surpassed last year when the coronavirus epidemic began.
Automakers sold more than 3.9 million vehicles in the first three months of the year, with several major companies reporting March sales, which almost doubled from the same month last year, according to Edmunds.com.
In March, sales of Honda increased by 93%, while sales of Toyota increased by 87%. Hyundai-Kia recorded a profit of 78%, while Nissan grew by 65%. General Motors grew by 46%, while Fiat Chrysler (now Stellantis) grew by 45% and Ford by 26%.
Kevin Roberts, director of industry insights at Cargurus.com, says small buyers are stronger than individual buyers, but overall sales remain below pre-epidemic levels due to reduced fleet purchases.
When the epidemic started, he said, buyers withdrew, and retail sales fell for about a month.
“I would say that from that moment on, cars outperform the larger economy,” he said.
He said the $ 1.9 trillion government incentive program was a combination of people seeking transportation to isolate themselves from the virus.
But the lack of computer chips is forcing automakers to cut production, which could affect end-of-year sales. In addition, dealerships are tight, and a lack of choice can make people procrastinate, Roberts said. Many, though, may want to buy a car right away rather than interacting with others while traveling, he said.
Industry analysts and executives say the chip deficit is likely to continue for at least the third quarter of the year.