U.S. auto sales dropped 2.3% in April, with the Detroit 3 and Toyota posting lower volume while Nissan, Honda and Hyundai managed increases as the industry failed to record its first gain of the year, even with the help of an extra selling day, amid the key spring selling season.
Automotive News reported that the seasonally adjusted, annualized pace of sales for April tumbled to 16.41 million — far below the 16.8 million forecast based on a survey of 10 analysts by Bloomberg. The April sales rate — the lowest since 15.54 million in Feb. 2014 — was also down sharply from 17.42 million in March and April 2018’s 17.25 million rate.
“Forecasters have been expecting the market to slow as higher vehicle prices and higher borrowing costs squeeze many potential buyers,” said Charlie Chesbrough, senior economist for Cox Automotive. “And indeed, the sales lion that surprised many in March became a much weaker lamb in April, as revealed in today’s numbers. Robust employment conditions and a strong stock market didn’t seem to be enough to lift sales last month.”
Cars continued to struggle with demand falling 7.9% in April, while truck deliveries rose 0.3%.
Ford’s sales dropped 4.7%, with the Ford division down 4.7% and Lincoln off 6.2%. Ford’s total car deliveries skidded 21% last month, while utility vehicle sales fell 9.1% and pickup volume jumped 7.3%, helped by healthy demand for the F series and the revived Ranger.
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