Idle March auto sales plateau in weakest first quarter in a decade

The spring sales season traditionally intensifies in March. This year, the month has 27 sales days, one more than last year and three more than last month. The extra days are a major reason why March sales volume will post a gain of more than 15% over February. Sales volume has averaged just over 1.06 million each month since last August.

“Make no mistake, this market is stuck in low gear,” Cox Automotive’s senior economist said. Charlie Chesbrough. “March sales volume will increase compared to February, but this is not due to a substantial change in the market. Low unemployment, relatively low interest rates – the conditions are in place for higher sales. With three more selling days, March volume will increase month after month. However, seasonal adjustments tell the real story: Sales remain weak and will essentially remain stuck at the current level until supply increases.”

Cox Automotive’s annual sales forecast adjusted to reflect market volatility

The continued shortage of chips showing little improvement, coupled with recent news of Ukraine and ongoing inflation concerns, led Cox Automotive to lower its full-year US new-vehicle sales forecast. To reach this level by the end of the year, the supply situation must start to show significant gains in the next quarter and a steady improvement throughout the year, otherwise another adjustment to the forecast could be necessary.

March 2022 New Vehicle Sales Forecast Highlights

  • New vehicle sales are expected to fall 24% from last March, but are expected to increase more than 15% from February 2022 with three additional days of sale.
  • The SAAR in March 2022 is estimated at 13.1 million, below last year’s level of 17.6 million, and down from February’s pace of 14.1 million.
  • All segments will see double-digit sales increases month-on-month, with mid-size cars seeing the biggest increase at 19.8%.

March 2022 Sales forecasts


Sales forecasts1

Market share

Segment

March 22

March 21st

February 22

YEAR %

MOM%

March 22

February 22

MOM

Midsize SUV/Crossover

220,000

272,852

193 152

-19.4%

13.9%

18.0%

18.3%

-0.2%

Compact/Crossover SUV

185,000

263,091

162,892

-29.7%

13.6%

15.2%

15.4%

-0.2%

Full-size pickup truck

175,000

227 328

152,886

-23.0%

14.5%

14.3%

14.5%

-0.1%

compact car

82,000

122 163

70,803

-32.9%

15.8%

6.7%

6.7%

0.0%

Intermediate car

73,000

100,941

60,935

-27.7%

19.8%

6.0%

5.8%

0.2%

Total2

1,220,000

1,608,763

1,057,523

-24.2%

15.4%






1

Cox Automotive Industry Insights Data

2

Total includes segments not shown

First Quarter 2022 New Vehicle Sales Forecast Highlights

  • New vehicle sales volumes are expected to drop 16% compared to the first quarter of 2021; The first quarter of 2022 is expected to show the lowest sales volumes in a decade.
  • After finishing atop the sales chart in 2021, Toyota Motor Company – combined sales of Toyota and Lexus – is expected to be No. 1 by volume in the first quarter of 2022.
  • Hyundai and Tesla continue to gain market share; General Motors forecasts a notable decline in the first quarter.

First quarter 2022 sales forecast


Sales forecasts1

Market share

Build

Q1 2020

Q1 2021

Q1 2022

2022 against
2020

2022 against
2021

To share
Q1 2020

To share
Q1 2021

To share
Q1 2022

Toyota Motor Corporation

495,747

603,066

510 348

2.9%

-15.4%

14.1%

15.4%

15.6%

General Engines

616,432

639 406

485,330

-21.3%

-24.1%

17.6%

16.3%

14.8%

Ford Motor Company

514 614

517 711

431 123

-16.2%

-16.7%

14.7%

13.2%

13.2%

Stellantide

446,768

469,651

411 174

-8.0%

-12.5%

12.7%

12.0%

12.5%

Hyundai Motor Company

272,775

334 902

317 100

16.2%

-5.3%

7.8%

8.5%

9.7%

Honda Motor Company

298,784

347,091

252 205

-15.6%

-27.3%

8.5%

8.8%

7.7%

Nissan-Mitsubishi

293 169

313,784

216 199

-26.3%

-31.1%

8.4%

8.0%

6.6%

Subaru Corporation

130,591

160,426

141,795

8.6%

-11.6%

3.7%

4.1%

4.3%

You’re here

56,200

69,300

132,052

135.0%

90.6%

1.6%

1.8%

4.0%

Volkswagen Group

128,436

163,069

116,319

-9.4%

-28.7%

3.7%

4.2%

3.5%


Sales forecasts1

Market share

Build

Q1 2020

Q1 2021

Q1 2022

2022
vs. 2020

2022
vs. 2021

To share
Q1 2020

To share
Q1 2021

To share
Q1 2022

BMW AG

64,692

77,718

79,685

23.2%

2.5%

1.8%

2.0%

2.4%

Mazda Motor Corporation

67,670

83,258

78,436

15.9%

-5.8%

1.9%

2.1%

2.4%

Daimler S.A.

75,266

89,915

63 133

-16.1%

-29.8%

2.1%

2.3%

1.9%

Geely Holding Group

19,485

27,357

23,298

19.6%

-14.8%

0.6%

0.7%

0.7%

Tata Group

25,429

27,950

18,699

-26.5%

-33.1%

0.7%

0.7%

0.6%

Rivian Automotive

0

0

720

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

Lucid Engines

0

0

494

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

Total2

3,506,058

3,924,604

3,278,110

-6.5%

-16.5%

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%



1

Cox Automotive Industry Insights Data

2

Total includes segments not shown

All percentages are based on gross volume, not daily sell rate.

About Cox Automotive

Cox Automotive Inc. makes it easier for everyone to buy, sell, own and use vehicles. The 27,000+ team members and global company family of brands, including Autotrader®Dealer.com®Dealer®, Kelley’s Blue Book®Mannheim®NextGear Capital®WineSolutions®vAuto® and Xtime®, are passionate about helping millions of car buyers, 40,000 car dealership customers across five continents, and many others in the automotive industry thrive for generations to come. Cox Automotive is a subsidiary of Cox Enterprises Inc., a privately held, Atlantabased in New York with annual revenues of nearly $20 billion. www.coxautoinc.com

SOURCE Cox Automotive

About Nicole Harmon

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