US car sales in March did not meet the industry’s expectations, although consumers are upbeat about high incentives, which car sellers are likely to keep that way for a while.
TrueCar, which is controlled by same owner as ALG, estimated that US car sales increased by only 1.8% to hit just under 1.5 million in March 2014. However, the figure represents a 24% increase from February, as per TruCar’s estimates.
The seasonally adjusted annual rate for car sales advanced about 3% from a year ago to hit 15.7 million on estimate. The annualized figure gives a picture of possible full year sales based on March sales, according to Forbes.
The good news for consumers is that March witnessed the highest incentives since 2010, standing at an average of $2,773, the estimates from Santa Monica-based TrueCar showed.
According to the estimates, General Motors gave incentives of $3,719 on average for models Cadillac, Chevrolet, Buick and GMC. For models Chrysler, Fiat, Dodge, Jeep and Ram truck, Chrysler gave an average of $3,349. Ford Motor Co. gave incentives of $3,260 to encourage the purchase of models Ford and Lincoln.
Big volume Asian brands gave lower incentives on average. Nissan gave the highest incentives, which stood at $2,889. Automakers Toyota, Kia and Honda gave incentives which were lower than the industry average.
Industry experts attributed the disappointing car sale figures in January and February to bad winter weather. While weather conditions improved in March, auto sales did not rise to the occasion.
“When customers put off a purchase – say, because of the weather – they don’t necessarily go out the next sunny weekend and buy a car,” said Eric Lyman of ALG.
But executives from Toyota and Ford were reported by Reuters as having being upbeat that the solid car sale figures in the second half of March were indicative of significant improvements in April.
To contact the reporter of this story; Jonathan Millet at email@example.com