American Vehicle Sales, Q1 2023 – With Numberz!

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

Don’t say we don’t read yer comments. Last week’s report on the state of American car sales during the first quarter of this year was absent the usual Excel chart o’ numbers thanks to a phalanx of manufacturers choosing to release figures at their leisure. 


Here’s the chart, nerds – complete with snazzy up and down arrows.


Longtime readers may recall Tim Cain, a sales analyst who fussed over (as he liked to call it) the ‘free and frequent’ availability of data spewing forth from carmakers in this country. Flashforward to 2023 and we find the data is still free but a lot less frequent. And time marches on.

With all hands now reporting their performance for Q1, talking heads are continuing to revise their estimates for the seasonally adjusted annualized rate of vehicles in 2023. For us normal people, that’s roughly the number of cars expected to sell this calendar year. Estimates are trending downward, from 16.2 million in January to something in the neighborhood of 14.8 million at this juncture. That’s still about a million vehicles ahead of estimates one year ago, a number which proved to actually be in the ballpark once all was said and done.


It is worth noting that Q1 of 2022 was plagued by the double whammy of Omicron hang-wringing and troublesome parts shortages, so we’ll refrain from mindlessly bleating that double-digit percentage hikes in sales volumes at certain brands mark anything of a turning point. Rather, we can read into these digits as some semblance of normalcy returning to new car sales – at least for some dealerships which can manage to snag a bit of inventory.


Oddities? Fiat outsold Karma Automotive by a mere 8 units, bringing to mind questions about brand futures and the like. Hyundai and Kia are on an even keel, separated by just 313 units which will surely further the sibling rivalry. And contained in those GM numbers? Almost 1,000 Lyriq all-electric SUVs. 


[Image: Cadillac]


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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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  • ToolGuy First picture: I realize that opinions vary on the height of modern trucks, but that entry door on the building is 80 inches tall and hits just below the headlights. Does anyone really believe this is reasonable?Second picture: I do not believe that is a good parking spot to be able to access the bed storage. More specifically, how do you plan to unload topsoil with the truck parked like that? Maybe you kids are taller than me.
  • ToolGuy The other day I attempted to check the engine oil in one of my old embarrassing vehicles and I guess the red shop towel I used wasn't genuine Snap-on (lots of counterfeits floating around) plus my driveway isn't completely level and long story short, the engine seized 3 minutes later.No more used cars for me, and nothing but dealer service from here on in (the journalists were right).
  • Doughboy Wow, Merc knocks it out of the park with their naming convention… again. /s
  • Doughboy I’ve seen car bras before, but never car beards. ZZ Top would be proud.
  • Bkojote Allright, actual person who knows trucks here, the article gets it a bit wrong.First off, the Maverick is not at all comparable to a Tacoma just because they're both Hybrids. Or lemme be blunt, the butch-est non-hybrid Maverick Tremor is suitable for 2/10 difficulty trails, a Trailhunter is for about 5/10 or maybe 6/10, just about the upper end of any stock vehicle you're buying from the factory. Aside from a Sasquatch Bronco or Rubicon Jeep Wrangler you're looking at something you're towing back if you want more capability (or perhaps something you /wish/ you were towing back.)Now, where the real world difference should play out is on the trail, where a lot of low speed crawling usually saps efficiency, especially when loaded to the gills. Real world MPG from a 4Runner is about 12-13mpg, So if this loaded-with-overlander-catalog Trailhunter is still pulling in the 20's - or even 18-19, that's a massive improvement.
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