USA auto sales fall 1.6% in March as industry cools

USA auto sales fall 1.6% in March as industry cools

On Monday, major automakers in the United States posted sales figures for March, showing that numbers for the month were notably lower than expectations.

General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) (TSE:GMM.U)'s stock had its "in-line" rating reiterated by equities researchers at Evercore ISI in a research report issued on Thursday.

Analyst polled by Reuters expected a SAAR of 17.3 million vehicles for March.

Last week, Moody's warned that flattening US auto sales pose a significant credit risk for auto lenders.

Honda said its March sales fell just under 1 per cent, dragged down by sagging demand for its Acura luxury brand. Silverado sales declined 11.6%.

At GMC, sales of the Acadia, which was redesigned in 2016, increased 84% in March, driving the brand's big increase for the month.

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Ford of Canada saw its overall sales in March increase by 0.2% year-over-year, climbing from 26,447 units last year to 26,487 units this year. "But there are several areas of concern this year lurking just below the surface". "This year, we're focused on building on our strengths, transforming underperforming parts of our business and investing in the emerging opportunities that will provide even more profitable growth in the future".

No. 1 USA automaker General Motors Co (GM.N) reported a 2 percent increase in sales to just over 256,000 vehicles, with sales of its Tahoe and Suburban SUV models seeing their best sales month since 2008.

The FCA assembles the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Jeep Wrangler at its local factories, while it imports other models, such as the Jeep Renegade, as well as all Alfa Romeo and Fiat models. Sales of sport-utility vehicles, crossovers and pickup trucks increased 5.5% to 117,521, reflecting a record March.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 added 0.4% and the Kospi in South Korea rose 0.3%.

General Motors said March U.S. sales rose 1.6%, well below estimates for a 9.6% gain.

In other news, EVP Karl-Thomas Neumann sold 1,379 shares of General Motors Company stock in a transaction on Monday, February 13th.

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Overall Canadian sales were driven by an 11.1 percent increase in consumer demand for pickups and sport utility vehicles during the month, which more than offset a 0.3 percent dip in passenger auto sales. Total fleet sales were down 3 percent. General Motors sales climbed 1.6 percent, a smaller gain than analysts projected, while Honda reported a surprise drop. The stock was sold at an average price of $12.68, for a total value of $1,173,255.04.

Deliveries of GM's Chevrolet Malibu and Ford's Fusion family cars each plunged by more than 35 percent last month.

"Mid-size cars, they continue to bear the brunt of strong sales growth in small SUVs", said Erich Merkle, Ford's US sales analyst, said on the call.

But Honda said Monday that vehicle sales struggled. But sales of its most profitable products in the USA were good, despite the choppy market: F-Series sales were up 10.3% for the quarter, Ford-brand SUV sales rose 2.4%, and Lincoln sales gained 8.7%. The third largest holder is State Street Corp, which now holds $2.06 billion worth of this stock and that ownership represents almost 4% of its market capitalization. Lincoln retail sales up 5 percent; retail auto sales up 11 percent, while SUVs gain 2 percent. In addition to Ford, it's already passed Nissan and Fiat Chrysler.

In morning trading, GM shares were down 3.8 percent at $34.03 and Ford was off 2.5 percent at $11.34. Tesla also isn't far behind another Big Three company: General Motors has a market cap of $51.11 billion.

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