US: March auto sales have the Asian manufacturers as champions image

The deliveries of new cars and light trucks in March managed to post a positive result after estimates for a decline, buoyed by the surprising growth reported by certain Asian automakers.

Sales of vehicles last month in the US surged 0.6 percent to almost 1.55 million units, even as this March had one fewer selling day and weekend than in 2014. The SAAR, or annualized rate, adjusted for seasonal trends, also rose to 17.2 million, seriously up from February’s 16.2 million. Among the six top global automakers fighting for supremacy on the US auto market, only Toyota – the world’s largest carmaker – managed to both post a yearly increase and surge past analyst estimates – thanks to a 4.9 percent rise to a total of 225,959 units (analysts previewed 223,280). “New products are lifting the industry: The customer has never had more choice,” commented Bob Carter, a senior vice president at Toyota.

Meanwhile, the Japanese competition only managed to show their weakness, with Nissan sliding 2.7 percent (less than a 5.2 percent drop seen by analysts), to a total of 145,085 autos. Honda managed to both “beat” analyst forecasts and post a sales reduction: it fell 5.3 percent to 126,293 vehicles, totally missing projections for a 1.5 percent surge.

On the other hand, the South Korean duo – Hyundai and Kia posted a combined sales increase of 9.9 percent, with the Seoul-based affiliates killing the analyst forecasts for a combined 4.5 percent fall. Three-month sales across the US auto market have risen by 5.6 percent to 3.95 million and the figure was bested by Kia, with deliveries surging 6.1 percent so far in 2015. According to Michael Sprague, executive vice president for sales and marketing for Kia Motors America, it’s the best quarter for the company in the US on record.

Via Reuters, Bloomberg