After a sluggish start to the year due to the federal government shutdown and several weather-related events, the seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of sales in March was at a strong 17.48 million units—bringing the SAAR for the first quarter up to 16.94 million.
Through February, new light-vehicle sales were down 2.5% compared to this time last year. The monthly SAAR of 16.53 million units represented the lowest monthly SAAR since February 2015.
U.S. light-vehicle sales fell by 3.0% compared to this time last year. Many segments posted declines or were flat, although the popular pickup and crossover segments gained market share relative to January 2018.
Despite rising interest rates and a volatile stock market, U.S. light-vehicle sales closed out 2018 strong. The SAAR of 17.51 million in December 2018 was the second highest of the year, as sales for the month were up 1.5% compared to December 2017.
Through November, U.S. light-vehicle sales were up 0.2%. Compared to this time last year, car segments continued to lose market share, down 4.8 percentage points, while their light-truck counterparts were up 3.8 percentage points.