Q1 Auto Sales Up Overall, Challenges Remain


q1 auto sales up overall challenges remain

It’s become a fool’s errand to blithely quote gain/loss percentages in terms of car sales in America, given the wild supply chain swings and other market forces over the last few years. Yelling that the Corolla was up 65 percent in March helps no one in a vacuum, though if any of our readers are in a vacuum at the present moment we encourage them to seek assistance from the Bridge or Main Engineering.

It also doesn’t help that carmakers now tend to release sales numbers when they bloody well feel like it, a far cry from the monthly reports we used to get pre-Covid. If one were to look far enough into history, they’d find reports every 10 days. Now, some companies even play fast and loose with quarterly reporting, meaning the headline of ‘up overall’ excludes numbers from at least one big player.

But for those who do deem us worthy of attention, there is much to parse. Overall sales across The General’s quartet of brands were off by 1.5 percent to 590,055 last quarter compared to the same time frame last year. Buick carried the weight, adding an extra 6,000 units to the tally compared to the previous annum; without the Tri-Shield brand, GM would have been down about 3 percent. GM attributes the drop to fewer fleet sales and claims retail deliveries were up slightly.

The combined might of Honda and Acura counted for 333,824 sales while Lexus and Toyota claimed 565,098 new customers. Those numbers are double digit jumps from last year but again, we caution reading too much into year-over-year results since supply was very constricted in the recent past. The percentage gap in sales between the two Japanese powerhouses are roughly the same this year and last, which is telling.

Recognizing some major brands – ahem, Ford – have yet to rise off their duffs and report numbers as of this writing, the American car industry was up about 8 percent through the first quarter of 2024, notching 2.6 million sales. If the picture drastically changes once Dearborn finally saves their Excel file to a Windows 3.1-compatible floppy disk, we’ll update this post.

[Image: Chevrolet]

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