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New vehicle sales increases for Q1 reported by 9 automakers

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Market Trends
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Several OEMs have released Q1 vehicle sales reports, almost all with notable increases.

In Cox Automotive’s Auto Market Report published April 2, Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke said, “It looks like we have already seen the peak in retail vehicle sales this spring. Interest rates are still near 24-year highs, and consumers just don’t have urgency to buy with the expectation that rates will be lower later this year.”

As Smoke noted during the Q1 Industry Insights and Sales Forecast Call held earlier this month, while the Baltimore bridge collapse is certainly tragic, it should not materially impact the U.S. auto market, Cox Automotive said Friday.

“There are alternatives, and the impact on the overall supply and resulting price trends is likely to be negligible,” Smoke said.

General Motors saw an increase in retail sales of 6% year-over-year (YoY) and delivered 594,233 vehicles in the U.S. during Q1, down 1.5% YoY due to lower fleet deliveries, a press release from the company says. GM said scaling of its Ultium Platform electric vehicle (EV) production is on track.

“Our brands are all performing well,” said Marissa West, GM North America senior vice president/president, in the release. “GM gained retail market share year-over-year with strong mix and pricing, our inventories are in good shape heading into the spring, and production and deliveries of Ultium Platform EVs are rising, led by the Cadillac LYRIQ. We’re on plan.”

GM will release its Q1 financial results April 23 at 6:30 a.m. ET and hold its earnings call at 8:30 a.m.

Ford says customer reception to its gas, hybrid, and EV options drove company sales and share gains in Q1.

Ford and Lincoln U.S. sales increased 7% and followed customer growth in Pickup & Delivery, Mobile Service and BlueCruise.

Ford says there’s an increasing preference for hybrid trucks and SUVs, which helped achieve the company’s best-ever quarterly hybrid sales. Ford Maverick was America’s No. 1 selling hybrid truck in Q1. Maverick Hybrid sales were up 77% compared to a year ago at nearly 20,000 sold.

Overall hybrid sales in Q1 were up 42% with 38,421 vehicles sold. Hybrid growth is expected to continue as more versions of the new F-150 hybrid ship to dealers, Ford said. Total Ford hybrid Q1 vehicle sales were the company’s best-ever in its more than two decades of selling hybrids.

“With the new F-150 and all-new Ranger sales beginning in March along with the strong performance of our all-new Lincoln Nautilus and Nautilus Hybrid, we’re in a strong position to capitalize and grow as we move through 2024,” said Andrew Frick, Ford Blue president, in a news release. “And that’s before customers experience services like Pickup & Delivery and Mobile Service — now totaling 250,000 U.S. experiences a month — and technologies like BlueCruise.”

With Ford’s first sales of the new F-150 in March, F-Series begins the year as America’s best-selling truck with 152,943 sold. Super Duty sales were up 23% YoY. Total Maverick sales were 39,061, up 82% YoY.

Ford SUVs posted an all-time best quarter with total sales of 216,997, up 15% YoY led by Explorer.

At Lincoln, sales increased 31% YoY to 24,894.

Across Ford electric vehicles, sales started the year strong, up 86% with 20,223 sold during Q1, making Ford America the second best-selling EV brand behind Tesla for the quarter, according to the release. Nearly 9,600 Mustang Mach-Es were sold, which is 77% more than last year.

Nearly 7,800 F-150 Lightning EV trucks were sold, an increase YoY of 80%.

BMW sales were up nearly 2.5% YoY during Q1 with 82,475 vehicles sold.

“We’re off to a good start in 2024 and confident that the quality of our vehicles and diversity of our product lineup will continue to drive our success,” said Sebastian Mackensen, BMW of North America president and CEO, in a news release. “Not only do we offer BMW customers the ability to choose the vehicle and drivetrain that best suits their needs, but through our nationwide dealer network, we also ensure a premium customer experience.”

With the addition of the BMW i5 at the end of last year, BMW now offers four fully electric models in the U.S. — the BMW i4, BMW i5, BMW i7 Sedans, and the BMW iX Sports Activity Vehicle. During Q1, the company sold 10,713 EVs, accounting for 12.7% of total U.S. sales.

The BMW electrified lineup also includes four plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) models — the BMW X5 xDrive50e, BMW 330e, BMW 750e, and BMW XM. The PHEV BMW 550e will arrive in showrooms near the end of this year, BMW said.

MINI sales in the U.S. totaled nearly 6,400, a decrease of 12.6% YoY. BMW attributes the change in sales volume for the brand during the quarter to a planned model changeover as MINI readies for the launch of an entirely new product portfolio later this year.

Hyundai sold nearly 185,000 vehicles in Q1 for a sales increase of 0.2% YoY and setting a new Q1 record, the company said in a news release. Hyundai set total and retail sales marks in Q1 for IONIQ 5, Tucson PHEV, Tucson HEV, Kona EV, and Palisade. Q1 EV sales increased 62% YoY.

“Hyundai keeps producing products that win awards and demand for our vehicles, especially EVs, remains high,” said Randy Parker, Hyundai Motor America CEO, in the release. “We saw the best Q1 total sales results influenced by Palisade, Kona, and IONIQ.”

Kia America saw its second-highest Q1 sales in company history, capped by March sales of 69,472 units. Sales of electrified models in March grew 9% YoY. EVs saw an increase of 151% compared to Q1 2023.

Forte, Sportage, and Telluride drove overall sales, each delivering more than 10,000 units in March.

“Our growth in SUVs and early impact of the all-new, all-electric three-row EV9 helped deliver Kia’s second-best first quarter sales result,” said Eric Watson, Kia America sales operations vice president, in a news release.

American Honda saw sales increase 20% in Q1 with 303,451 vehicles sold.

Nissan saw the following model sales growth during Q1 YoY:

    • Sentra sedans up 78%;
    • Ariya electric crossovers up 44.8%;
    • Z sports cars up 44%; and
    • Rogue crossovers up 18.7%.

Subaru of America reported year-to-date sales of nearly 153,000 vehicles, up 6.7% compared to Q1 2023. March marked the 20th consecutive month of month-over-month sales increases for the automaker, according to a news release.

Toyota Motor North America (TMNA) reported 565,098 vehicles sold, up 20.3% on a volume basis and 17.2% daily compared to March 2023. Sales of EVs during Q1 totaled 206,850, representing 36.6% of total sales volume and an increase of 74.1% YoY.

For the quarter, Toyota reported sales of 486,627 vehicles, up 21.3%. Lexus reported sales of 78,471 vehicles, up 15%, its best-ever first quarter. TMNA trucks and SUVs saw a combined 16% increase in sales during the quarter.

“Thanks to our diverse portfolio of 27 electrified vehicle options between the Toyota and Lexus brands, customer demand for our products continued to grow in March and in the first quarter,” said Jack Hollis, TMNA sales executive vice president, in the release.


Featured image credit: Brothers91/iStock

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