Area auto sales dip in the 1st quarter reflecting harsh winter

Area auto sales dip in the 1st quarter reflecting harsh winter

After weathering the sales downturn during the Great Recession better than the rest of the country, Washington area auto sales dropped 7.6 percent in the first quarter of this year. Figures are from WANADAês Area Report, based on R.L. Polk new-vehicle registration data. Nationwide, new-vehicle sales inched up 1.3 percent in the first quarter. U.S. figures are from NADA/Wardês Automotive.

First quarter sales for DC and 11 other localities from the Maryland suburbs and Northern Virginia totaled 64,030. Not surprisingly, sales were much more robust as spring returned in March (25,185) after the harsh winter of January (19,909) and February (18,465). February sales plunged 18.6 percent from a year earlier.

As has been the case for many years, imports had a much stronger showing in the Washington area than nationally. Non-Detroit 3 sales made up nearly 80 percent of car sales in the first quarter, up from 78.4 percent in 2013. Imports captured 62.3 percent of truck sales, the same level as last year. Nationally, imports sold better than Detroit three vehicles, 54.5 percent versus 45.5 percent.

As always, cars sold better than trucks in the Washington market in the first quarter, but not by much. Cars made up 52 percent of first quarter sales versus 48 percent for trucks. The gap was wider a year ago, with 54 percent of sales going to cars and 46 percent to trucks. Nationally, the picture is reversed, with cars making up 48 percent of first-quarter sales and trucks 52 percent.

For the complete report on third quarter Washington area sales, WANADA members can click here and log in with their email and password.

Download Bulletin PDF