New Vehicle Sales Roll Though Q1 of 2023
Have we mentioned it’s a weird time in the automotive industry? New car supply seems to ricochet between firehose and non-existent, interest rates are higher than Willie Nelson, and let’s not mention that coffee in the dealership waiting area. Still, it is our job to try and suss through this noise – even if auto companies are getting increasingly lax with their number reporting, a task they once undertook every ten days. Now we’re lucky to get a glimpse four times a year.
See? Told ya it was weird.
Certainly, we recommend not reading too much into any breathless headlines touting growth numbers which are scarcely believable. For example, Buick was up ninety-nine percent last quarter compared to the same timeframe one year ago – not because they suddenly had a huge product hit on their hands or decided to build the Wildcat concept car but because their comparative quarter in 2022 was woeful thanks to supply chain headaches and world geopolitical events. Overall, GM sold 603,208 new vehicles in Q1 2023 which is up 17.6 percent compared to one year ago.
Putting an exclamation point on not reading too much into sound bites, Toyota saw a decline in their deliveries thanks to – surprise! – inventory problems. Dealing with some of the industry’s smallest inventories (the dealer in your author’s town has been bereft of product for what seems like eons) saw the company’s sales dip with Toyota off about 10 points but Lexus up by roughly 6 percent. This left them over 100,000 units adrift of General Motors in Q1.
Other brands such as Mazda and Honda bounced back from dire straits this time last year, up 9.5 and 5.4 percent, respectively. Hyundai was up 21% while Kia was up 23.5 points. The former sold 184,449 units, not far ahead of the corporate cousin nipping at its heels with 184,153 new deliveries. Genesis also set records in this country with a volume of 13,704 vehicles
Talking heads are projecting this annum’s sales to come in somewhere around 14 million, a number which is trending downward compared to estimates in the last two months. Incentives are also beginning to crop up again, at least in some dealers which actually have inventory.
So, yes. We are sure to be bombarded with ads shouting things such as “Buick is the fastest-growing mainstream brand in the industry”, a phrase which is technically true given Q1 numbers. Just remember to take any news about sales numbers with a grain of salt these days since the industry is still very much in the throes of clawing its way out of the pandemic.
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Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.
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