Canadian Manufacturing

Car sales keep sliding as love affair with trucks, SUVs continues

Ford's U.S. car sales fell a staggering 24 per cent in March, while other automakers also reported steep declines



Despite trouble with cars, sales of Ford trucks were up 2.5 per cent in March, with F-150 sales up 10 per cent. PHOTO: Ford

DETROIT—America’s love affair with SUVs and trucks continued in March as Ford, Honda and Nissan all reported big increases for both. But that’s being offset by falling car sales, pushing overall sales for Honda and Ford down compared with last year.

Ford experienced the biggest drop, falling 7.5 per cent from March of 2015. Honda’s sales also were off, by 2 per cent. Nissan reported a gain of just over 3 per cent.

Most major automakers report sales through the day April 3. Despite falling sales for both Honda and Ford, industry analysts expect a 2 per cent to 3 per cent increase for the industry overall in March, the first monthly sales jump this year, and possibly the best March in 17 years.

At Ford, car sales fell a staggering 24 per cent, due in part to big fleet sales reported in March of last year. SUV sales fell 3 per cent, but truck sales rose 2.5 per cent, led by a 10 per cent increase sales of the F-Series pickup, the top-selling vehicle in America.

Honda said its March sales fell just under 1 per cent, dragged down by sagging demand for its Acura luxury brand. Car sales were off 8.7 per cent, while truck and SUV sales rose 8.4 per cent. Honda brand sales were up 2 per cent, and Acura sales down more than 21 per cent. The company sold nearly 33,000 CR-V small SUVs, a 23 per cent gain.

Nissan’s overall sales rose 3.2 per cent with trucks and SUVs rising 29 per cent for the Nissan and Infiniti brands combined. Nissan was once again led by the Rogue small SUV, which set a March sales record of nearly 40,000 vehicles for a 20 per cent increase. Car sales fell 15 per cent.

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