April Showers – U.S. Auto Sales Drop Yet Again

U.S. auto sales during April 2017 continued a four-month slump as AutoData says the seasonally adjusted annual rate, aka SAAR, was 16.88 million units compared to 17.40 million units a year ago. Overall, industry deliveries to auto dealers were down 8.3% from March 2017.

“We are certainly seeing a plateauing of the market,” said AIADA President Cody Lusk. “However, the industry is still operating very close to last year’s record-breaking pace. Dealers recognize that the auto market has a cyclical nature, and they are prepared to ride out its ups and downs.

Asian brands had a 46.5% share of the market in April with sales of 663,625 vehicles. Sales dropped from the 731,163 vehicles sold in March with a 47% market share and the 688,786 vehicles sold in April of last year with a 46% share of the U.S. auto market. Sales from April 2016 were down 3.7 percent for these brands. Of note is President Trump’s belligerent attitude toward North Korea and his disdain for trade agreements, which puts South Korean based Hyundai and Kia – clearly in the sights of two military powers. (Korean Trade Deficit Soars under Obama Administration Deal)This means that there is an unknown risk continuing their  incursion into the U.S. Market, as well as the safety of their production facilities. Which supports global activities.

European brands  held a 9% share of the market with 128,055 units in April. Share was down from the 9.2% of the market and the sales of 142,967 they had in March. German makers are also in President Trumps gun sights, or at least his Tweeter range.

The Detroit Three in April had a 44.5% market share with sales of 634,446 vehicles. Sales were down from 681,729 vehicles in March. Market share and sales skidded by 6.4% from April 2016 when they held 45.3% of the U.S. market and sold 678,044 vehicles.

April’s Top Ten list yet again validated consumer demand for trucks and SUVs. Six of ten top-selling vehicles were in the segments, with the Ford F-Series, Ram, and Chevrolet Silverado pickups leading the way. The Honda CR-V finished the month in fourth place, which makes it the most popular crossover engineered from a car platform. CRV sales were up 13%. The Toyota RAV4 in fifth place with sales up 5.3% – another car based crossover. Nissan Rogue – crossover – was in ninth place with sales up 18.2%..

Although cars were spurned by U.S.  buyers, some offshore brands were in the Top Ten sellers list in April – important because it’s 25% or more of total industry volume. Toyota Camry was in sixth place, although sales were down 7.7%. The Honda Civic in seventh place saw an 11.7% decline. Toyota Corolla in eighth place posted a 9.3% drop, and the Honda Accord in tenth place declined 14.6%.

About Ken Zino

Ken Zino is an auto industry veteran with global experience in print and electronic media. He has auto testing, marketing, public relations and communications expertise garnered while working in Asia, Europe and the U.S.
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