Area sales edge up slightly in first quarter; trucks outsell cars

Area sales edge up slightly in first quarter; trucks outsell cars

Washington area new vehicle sales rose by just 0.7 percent in the first quarter of this year, and for the first time in several years, passenger trucks had a slightly larger share of the market than cars. Washington market figures are from WANADAês Area Report, based on R.L. Polk new-vehicle registration data, U.S. figures from Wardês Automotive.

In the current heat wave, the brutal cold in the first part of the year is a distant, bad memory. But the severe winter weather did affect auto sales, as many would-be buyers chose to put off replacing their vehicles until a warmer time. April and May sales, and WANADAês next quarterly report, will no doubt reflect that.

Washington area sales for DC and the regionês 11 urban localities in the Maryland suburbs and Northern Virginia were just short of 70,000 for first quarter, 2015. Sales did start to pick up with the warmer weather of March (25,656), after the comparatively modest sales in January (21,760) and February (21,370).

Area dealers sold marginally more light trucks, at 50.7 percent of the market, versus 49.3 percent for cars. Buyers here are purchasing more trucks, SUVs and particularly CUVs, following the national trend while gas prices are low. A year ago, passenger trucks made up just 48 percent of the area market, to 52 percent for cars. As usual, trucks did better in national sales, where they were 55 percent of the market, versus cars at 45 percent in first quarter 2015.

Sales of new imports in the Washington area made up 69.8 percent of sales, a bit more than last yearês 69 percent. Imports made up 77.7 percent of first-quarter car sales and 62.1 percent of light trucks. Nationally, imports eclipsed the Detroit Three with a much smaller share of 55 percent. U.S. figures are from Automotive News.

For the complete WANADA Area Report on first quarter Washington market new vehicle sales, WANADA members can click here and log in with an email and password.

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