The automotive market is looking up this year, but what should we take home from the news?
Kelley Blue Book has compiled the industry’s Q1 sales figures, and in stark contrast to the previous year, the news is largely good. With increasing numbers of people vaccinated, the damage wrought by the pandemic is slowly but surely being repaired. 400,000 more new vehicles were sold in comparison to this time last year, and indicators are up. The details of the numbers tell a more interesting story.
1. Fleet sales are down
Fleet buyers purchased a lot fewer vehicles this quarter than the same time last year. It didn’t matter, because individual buyers made up the difference and then some. This is likely the result of fleets making do with vehicles purchased last year but not driven very much, as well as a pandemic-related dip in income for them. Meanwhile, personal buyers are coming on strong.
2. Electric vehicle sales were huge and are only going to get bigger
EVs (including hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and pure EVs) were the big winners this quarter, with a 60% increase over last year. Tesla still leads overall EV sales, but their dominance is falling as more brands get into this rapidly-growing market. In addition, luxury brands were outsold by luxury EVs. Toyota still rules hybrids, but the preferred model has changed from the Prius to the RAV4 hybrid.
3. Midsize crossovers are doing well
Speaking of the RAV4, the Midsize Crossover market was the strongest of all vehicle types overall. The Ford Explorer is the top seller in that class, but controls a mere 10% of the market. In other words, the Midsize Crossover market is not only strong but wide open.
4. The F150 is still the boss
No surprises here. The Chevy Silverado and the Dodge Ram continue to duke it out over the second spot, with the Silverado winning this quarter.
5. The big boys stay big
Almost half of all sales volume came from just 10% of available models. In other words, the best selling models utterly dominate the market, with the vast majority of models accounting for a tiny amount of sales.
If you have a prediction for next quarter or a novel way of reacting to this news, let us know in the comments below.