The auto industry headed into the key spring selling season on a down note, with U.S. sales falling 3.1% in March. But, according to an Automotive News report, there was bright spot in the month as the seasonally adjusted, annualized rate of sales came in at 17.42 million, well above the forecast of 16.8 million, and up sharply from February’s 16.61 million rate and even the 17.33 million pace set in March 2018.
Among major automakers, only American Honda, Hyundai-Kia, Volkswagen Group and Subaru managed an increase last month, helped largely by continuing strong demand for light trucks.
It was the third decline for the industry in as many months this year. Automakers are struggling to maintain a record pace that has seen annual sales totals top 17 million in every year since 2014.
U.S. sales have now dropped 3.2% through March.
“The industry had a tough first quarter but with spring finally starting to show its face and continued strong economic indicators, such as a boost in housing sales, lower lending rates and a strong labor market, we are confident that new vehicle sales demand will strengthen going forward,” said Reid Bigland, head of U.S. sales for FCA US.
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