U.S. auto sales set for weakest quarter in a decade

by mcardinal


U.S. new vehicle sales could fall in March and mark the weakest first-quarter volume in the past decade as chip shortages and the Ukraine crisis squeeze inventories, research firm Cox Automotive said.

Volumes are expected to fall over 24% to about 1.22 million units in March and decline more than 16% in the first quarter.

“Make no mistake, this market is stuck in low gear,” said Charlie Chesbrough, senior economist at Cox Automotive, adding that sales will remain at current levels until supply improves.

Fresh lockdowns in China as well as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have reignited supply bottlenecks that were on the mend over recent months.

Despite strong demand, Cox Automotive expects the seasonally adjusted annual rate of sales this month to be about 13.1 million, significantly lower than last March’s 17.6 million.

U.S. light-vehicle sales could reach 15.3 million this year, down 700,000 units from the original forecast in January, it said.

Copyright 2022 Thomson/Reuters