US auto sales were not great in March


US auto sales rose at an annualized pace of 16.57 million in March, below expectations, according to Autodata.

The big three US carmakers — Ford, GM and Fiat Chrysler — missed expectations.

Analysts forecast that auto sales rose at an annualized rate of 17.3 million.

This was down from the pace of 17.54 million recorded last month. And ahead of the numbers, some analysts were debating whether the pace of auto sales has peaked, following the best-ever year recorded in 2015.

Business Insider’s Matt DeBord has a great overview of the debate here, reporting from the recent New York Auto Show.

The upshot is that some analysts think the strong pace of sales has peaked, and can only be driven higher if car companies eat into their profits to maintain market share.

The other main camp believes there’s room for growth, as the average vehicle age — 11 years — has never been this high before.

According to Bloomberg, Barclays’ Brian Johnson bet that the seasonally adjusted annual rate of sales has peaked “with an impending decline”. But this could be delayed by the availability of auto credit, and strong consumer spending.

Here are the numbers:

  • Nissan: +13% (+11% expected)
  • Ford: +7.8% (+9.4% expected)
  • GM: +0.9% (+6% expected)
  • Fiat Chrysler: +8.1% (+14% expected)
  • Toyota: -2.7% (+5.6% expected)
  • Subaru of America: +0.4%
  • Porsche: +7.1%
  • BMW: -13.3%
  • Mitsubishi: +13.5%
  • Mercedes Benz: -3.6%