Motor vehicle sales in the United States fell in the month of March and turned out to be lower than had been estimated. Some of the vehicle manufacturers who reported the largest sales declines included Ford and Kia. Demand was especially low for compact and sedan models.
The decline in demand for Kia vehicles was approximately 11% while that of Ford was 7.2%. Other motor vehicle manufacturers such as Toyota, Fiat Chrysler and General Motors also recorded declines in sales but by smaller percentage.
The decline occurred despite the fact that March was expected to be the period when vehicle sales would rise in the United States following declines in February and January. This decline occurred despite the fact that auto makers were offering ample discounts. According to data from analysts, the average incentive per motor vehicle increased by 13.4% to reach $3511.
One trend that has been noticed with the sales decline, especially with the compact and sedan models, is that crossovers are becoming the preferred family vehicle. A case in point is the fact that the demand for crossovers surpassed that of sedans such as the Ford Fusion and Chevrolet Malibu whose demand fell by over 35% in March. In the figures from last month, only 39% of the total sector sales were for the compact and sedan models.
Big is better
In the case of Toyota while sales of cars fell by 9.9% that of pickup trucks and sports utility vehicles rose by 5.5%. With regards to units sold, the number of compact and sedan models sold was 97,703 units while that of pickup trucks and SUVs was 117,521.
The same happened with Honda where sales of cars decline by 8.7% while that of pickup trucks, crossovers and SUVs rose by 8.4%. In terms of units, the figure for cars was 67,342 units while that of pickup trucks, SUVs and crossovers was 69,885. In the case of Nissan car sales fell by 15.4% while the sales of trucks, crossovers and sports utility vehicles surged by 28.8%.
The rise in demand for SUVs and trucks was, however, not enough to compensate for the decline in compacts and sedans.
“Trucks and SUVs, although they did well, it’s still hard to make up the lack of car sales,” said an industry analyst, Jessica Caldwell.
Data from researchers show that there was also a decline in the annualized sales figures. The figure this year was 16.6 million compared to 16.7 million which was recorded last year. Analysts had expected figures of roughly 17.2 million cars.