New Vehicle Sales Roll Though Q1 of 2023

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

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.

Weird, indeed.

[Image: GM]

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Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

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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4 of 15 comments
  • Tassos Tassos on Apr 03, 2023

    Please post a complete MArch 2023 AND Q1 sales data like you used to from Automotive News, when they are available. This is not just any month, this is Q1, and everybody will report sales (unlike Jan and Feb)

  • FreedMike FreedMike on Apr 04, 2023

    That GMC truck is horrid looking.

  • Grg I am not sure that this would hold up in snow country. It used to be that people in snow country would not be caught dead in a white car. Now that white cars have become popular in the north, I can't tell you how many times I have seen white cars driving in the snow without lights. Almost all cars are less visible in a snow storm, or for that matter, rain storm, without lights. White ones become nearly invisible.
  • Douglas I have a 2018 BMW 740e PHEV, and love it. It has a modest electric only range compared to newer PHEV's (about 18 miles), but that gets me to the office and back each day. It has a small gas tank to make room for the battery, so only holds about 11 gallons. I easily go 600 or more miles per tank. I love it, and being able to take long road trips without having to plug in (it just operates like a regular Hybrid if you never plug it in). It charges in 75 minutes in my garage from a Level 2 charger I bought on Amazon for $350. Had an electrician add a dryer outlet beside the breaker box. It's the best of both worlds and I would definitely want a PHEV for my next car. 104,000 miles and ZERO problems with the powertrain components (so far).
  • Panther Platform I had a 98 Lincoln Mark VIII so I have a soft spot for this. The Mark VIII styling was not appreciated by all.
  • Grant P Farrell Oh no the dealership kept the car for hours on two occasions before giving me a loaner for two months while they supposedly replaced the ECU. I hate cords so I've only connected it wirelessly. Next I'm gonna try using the usb-c in the center console and leaving the phone plugged in in there, not as convenient but it might lower my blood pressure.
  • Jeff Tiny electrical parts are ruining today's cars! What can they ...