Washington area sales down in 3rd quarter, but up YTD
For the first time in a long time, Washington area sales fell in the third quarter, by 5.4 percent. But sales were still up 3.3 percent year to date through September. As has been said about national sales, they could not keep climbing forever. The 255,284 total through September remains impressive. WANADAês Area Report for the third quarter is based on R.L. Polk new-vehicle registration data for the 12 major localities that make up the metro Washington market.
September was right about the time when national sales stopped growing. They followed a somewhat similar pattern to regional sales, with sales down 0.7 percent for the month but up 0.3 percent year-to-date through September. U.S. sales are from Automotive News.
Area sales for the third quarter totaled 85,619 in metro Washington, with the most sales in August (28,785), followed by July (28,556), then September (27,984). The year-to-date total of 255,284 again positioned the metro area to surpass 300,000 new vehicle sales for the year.
Truck sales in the region fell by 1.2 percent in the third quarter, but car sales fell much more, by 10.3 percent. The Washington area has traditionally been a bastion of car sales as the rest of the nation has gravitated more toward light trucks. But in recent months, area drivers could not resist the lure of cheap gas, and light trucks and utility vehicles made up 56.2 percent of area sales through September. Nationally, sales of light trucks, SUVs and crossovers drove the market in the third quarter, as they do today.
Imports (non-Detroit Three) continue to make up a majority of regional sales, at 67 percent year to date, down from 69 percent in 2015 but still a higher proportion than nationally.
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