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What to Expect for US Auto Sales in March 2018

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Apr. 2 2018, Published 12:46 p.m. ET

Auto stocks in March 2018

In March 2018, most mainstream US auto (IYK) stocks traded on a negative note. As of March 27, General Motors (GM), Fiat Chrysler (FCAU), Toyota (TM), and Honda (HMC) had fallen 11.4%, 3.9%, 4.9%, and 6.5%, respectively. Meanwhile, Ford (F) had risen 2.1%, and the S&P 500 benchmark had fallen 3.7%. Investors’ low expectations for March US auto sales and broader market weakness could be two main reasons for this negativity.

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March US auto sales estimates

According to Autodata, US auto sales stood at 1.30 million vehicle units in February 2018, a decrease of ~2.4% from the 1.33 million units sold in February 2017. In 2017, US auto sales fell 1.8% year-over-year.

According to Edmunds, March 2018 US auto sales could rise 3.0% to 1.60 million units from the 1.34 million units sold in March 2017. Edmunds expects US sales to rise ~23.2% between February and March 2018. In 2016, US auto sales volumes were at their highest, with about 17.6 million vehicles units sold.

Series preview

In this series, we’ll look at recent macroeconomic data that could give auto investors an idea of future auto sales. We’ll also look at consumer sentiment and jobs data, and explore some factors that may affect US automakers’ profitability and truck sales in the coming months.

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