The US auto industry
In March 2018, US light vehicle sales rose ~6.3% YoY (year-over-year) after falling ~2.4% YoY in February. Despite weakness in passenger car sales, stronger demand for pickup trucks and SUVs (sports utility vehicles) continued to support US automakers. According to Autodata., US truck sales rose 16.3%, while passenger car sales fell 9.2% YoY in March. In 1Q18, US light vehicle sales stayed in positive territory, rising 1.9% YoY.
Auto stocks in April 2018
As of April 11, the broader market was trading on a mixed note, with no notable MTD (month-to-date) change in the S&P 500. Meanwhile, mainstream General Motors (GM), Ford (F), and Fiat Chrysler (FCAU) have outperformed the broader market, rising 7.3%, 3.2%, and 11.4% MTD, respectively. Similarly, popular US electric carmaker Tesla (TSLA) has risen 13.1%. In contrast, automakers (XLY) Ferrari (RACE) and Toyota (TM) have fallen 0.1% and 2.0% MTD, respectively. Investors’ optimism due to positive 1Q18 US auto sales growth could why most auto stocks are trading on a positive note in April.
In this series, we’ll look at analysts’ recommendations for auto stocks before the 1Q18 earnings season and review key industry updates.