Detailer Lise Pivaral shining a 2018 Buick Regal TourX today in preparation for the New York International Auto Show in New York, New York – a town so good they named it twice. Unveiled last week, the Regal TourX is a crossover with – allegedly, but quite probably likely – the driving dynamics of a car and the versatility of an SUV, a segment that Buick despised for so long.
The former Detroit Three can’t give away a car, but are basking in the strong sales sunshine of pickup trucks (no Buick thus far? Grin), SUVs and crossovers. The much Diminished Detroit Big Three – held 43.8% of the U.S. March vehicle market, down from 46% last month – despite an ongoing boom in light truck and crossover sales, slipping from 44.5% last March.
Overall, the Diminished Detroit Three sold 681,729 units, up from 614,134 vehicles in February. Nevertheless, this was still off from 704,306 vehicles in March 2016. This resulted in a sales decrease of -3.2% from last March. Trucks – Detroit’s bread and butter – are no longer unchallenged by offshore brands.
Trucks and SUVs – no surprise given gasoline prices and American tastes – are favored by shoppers. Six of the Top Ten selling vehicles for March – more than 25% of the market or where the real money is – were held by vehicles in this segment. The Ford F-Series – no surprise led, this has been going on for decades, followed by Ram, and Chevrolet Silverado pickups took the top three spots.
However, the highly-styled Nissan Rogue was in fourth place, upholding its status as the top selling crossover for the month. Sales of the Rogue are up 42.6% compared to last March. The recently-redesigned Honda CR-V took sixth place with sales up 23% compared to March 2016. The Toyota RAV4 finished the month in seventh place with sales up 10.3%.
Nonetheless cars – but not Diminished Detroit Three cars – remain strong competitors with three models making the month’s list of best-sellers. The Toyota Camry finished in fifth place as the top selling car in the U.S., although sales were down -3.6% (a rounding error, frankly given the volume) from last March. Honda Civic finished in eighth place with sales decline of -4.1%, and the Toyota Corolla—finished in ninth place with sales down -6.1%. The Nissan Altima took tenth place for the month with sales down -18.2 %.
The New York International Auto Show media preview days begin tomorrow. The show opens to the public on Friday.