New Vehicle Sales Slip in March to Close Out a Down First Quarter, Edmunds Forecasts
Although March marks the first month that the SAAR is expected to move above 17 million in 2019, analysts say sales continue to slow down year over year

SANTA MONICA, CA — March 27, 2019 — Edmunds forecasts that 1,588,185 new cars and trucks will be sold in the U.S. in March for an estimated seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 17.2 million. This reflects a 25.3 percent increase in sales from February 2019, but a 4 percent decrease from March 2018. Sales in the first quarter of 2019 are expected to be 122,000 units lower than in 2018, a 3 percent decrease.

"We can now confidently say new vehicle sales are past their peak; the question now is what the new normal will be," said Jeremy Acevedo, Edmunds' manager of industry analysis. "With new vehicle prices continuing to rise, interest rates sustaining post-recession highs and leasing growing increasingly expensive, pressure on the market is mounting."

Edmunds analysts say that if auto sales continue to decline for the rest of 2019 at the same rate they did in the first quarter, the industry could see a significant reduction compared to 2018.

"It's still early in the year, so there could be some surprises," Acevedo noted. "If inventory gets out of hand, it's possible that automakers will react by pumping up incentives, which could give sales a bit of a boost. But with the possibility of an economic downturn and potential tariffs looming, it seems certain new vehicle sales are settling into a slower pace."

Edmunds estimates that retail SAAR will come in at 13.7 million vehicles in March 2019, with fleet transactions accounting for 20.4 percent of total sales. An estimated 3.7 million used vehicles will be sold in March 2019, for a SAAR of 39.2 million (compared to 3.5 million — or a SAAR of 39.3 million — in February).

SALES VOLUME FORECAST, BY MANUFACTURER
Sales
Volume
March 2019
Forecast
March
2018
February
2019
Change from
March 2018
Change from
February 2019
GM* 271,388 296,341 208,000 -8.4% 30.5%
Ford* 229,221 243,021 185,000 -5.7% 23.9%
Toyota 217,012 222,782 172,748 -2.6% 25.6%
Fiat Chrysler 199,748 216,063 162,036 -7.6% 23.3%
Honda 142,191 142,392 115,139 -0.1% 23.5%
Nissan 140,169 162,535 114,342 -13.8% 22.6%
Hyundai/Kia 113,876 112,185 90,546 1.5% 25.8%
VW/Audi 51,574 52,638 39,266 -2.0% 31.3%
Tesla 22,062  -  -  -  -
Industry 1,588,185 1,654,398 1,268,008 -4.0% 25.3%

*GM & Ford sales totals for February 2019 are estimated

**NOTE: March 2019 had 27 selling days, March 2018 had 28 and February 2019 had 24.

MARKET SHARE FORECAST, BY MANUFACTURER
Market
Share
March 2019
Forecast
March
2018
February
2019
Change from
March 2018
Change from
February 2019
GM* 17.1% 17.9% 16.4% -0.8% 0.7%
Ford* 14.4% 14.7% 14.6% -0.3% -0.2%
Toyota 13.7% 13.5% 13.6% 0.2% 0.0%
Fiat Chrysler 12.6% 13.1% 12.8% -0.5% -0.2%
Honda 9.0% 8.6% 9.1% 0.3% -0.1%
Nissan 8.8% 9.8% 9.0% -1.0% -0.2%
Hyundai/Kia 7.2% 6.8% 7.1% 0.4% 0.0%
VW/Audi 3.2% 3.2% 3.1% 0.1% 0.2%
Tesla 1.4%  -  -  -  -

More insight into recent auto industry trends can be found in the Edmunds Industry Center at https://www.edmunds.com/industry/insights.html.

About Edmunds
Edmunds guides car shoppers online from research to purchase. With in-depth reviews of every new vehicle, shopping tips from an in-house team of experts, plus a wealth of consumer and automotive market insights, Edmunds helps millions of shoppers each month select, price and buy a car with confidence. Regarded as one of America's best workplaces by Fortune and Great Place to Work, Edmunds is based in Santa Monica, California, and has a satellite office in Detroit, Michigan. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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