• Ford’s Explorer and Buick’s Envision (pictured above) had solid first-quarter results, with 58,061 and 14,077 deliveries, respectively.
  • Toyota execs warned of persistent supply-chain shortages for the entire industry in a roundtable press conference last month, though the shortages appear to have affected their company more than most competitors.
  • On the EV front, Volkswagen Group passed Ford, having sold 14,196 VW and Audi electric vehicles in the first quarter.

    US auto sales showed more signs of post-pandemic recovery in the first quarter for Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Honda, Nissan, Hyundai and Kia. Not so much, for Toyota Motor North America, which posted an 8.8% drop over the first quarter of 2022, and Stellantis, which was off 9%.

    The Ford brand sold 456,972 cars and trucks in the first three months of the year, up 10.7% and enough to reclaim first place among brands from Toyota division’s 401,306 vehicles sold, a drop of 10.9%.

    Toyota execs warned of persistent supply-chain shortages for the entire industry in a roundtable press conference last month, though the shortages appear to have affected their company more than most competitors.

    Both Hyundai and Kia claimed best-ever Q1 and March sales, while Honda had its best single month in “almost two years” thanks to “stronger inventory.”

    Robust March sales supported an estimated 15.3-million seasonally adjusted annual rate for the first quarter, representing the best SAAR quarter since Q2 of 2021, says the US Bureau of Economic Analysis. March sales were up 8.6% for the industry, with a 28% increase in fleet sales, indicating it might not be so hard this year to rent a car for your summer vacation.

    2021 vw id 4

    VW’s battery-electric standard bearer in the US.


    Ford Motor reclaimed second place (behind GM) in overall sales from Toyota and Lexus, and GM also outpaced Ford in EV sales to take second place among all-electrics after Tesla.

    GM sold 19,700 Chevrolet Bolt EVs and EUVs in the first quarter, up 5402.8% from a year earlier, plus 968 Cadillac Lyriqs and two GMC Hummers for a total of 20,670 BEVs.

    Volkswagen Group also passed Ford, having sold 14,196 VW and Audi electric vehicles in the first quarter. The VW ID.4 accounted for much of the group’s gain, with 9758 delivered, up 254.2%. Audi e-tron was off 48% to 1053, e-tron GT was up 27% to 726, and e-tron Sportback was off 26% to 482. Audi sold 1674 first-year Q4 e-trons and 503 Q4 Sportback e-trons.

    Toyota division sold 401,306 vehicles, down 10.9%, though Lexus clawed a bit of that back.

    Ford sold 10,866 EVs in the first quarter, consisting of 5407 Mustang Mach-Es, 4291 F-150 Lightnings, and 1168 e-Transits.

    Hyundai, which challenged Ford for second-place in EV sales last year, delivered 7686 EVs this first quarter, consisting of 5736 Ioniq5s, 222 Ioniq6s, and 1728 Kona EVs.

    More details on the top 10 best-selling automakers …

    General Motors — 603,208 Units, Up 17.6%

        After a dismal 2022, Buick sales nearly doubled, up 99.2% in the first quarter over Q1 last year, to 38,138. For perspective, in Q1 of 2022 Lincoln outsold Buick by two vehicles. This year, Buick outsold Lincoln more than two to one.

        Leading Buick’s sales revival was the Chinese-built Envision crossover, up 241.8% to 14,077. The South Korean-sourced Encore GX was up 128.1% to 12,279.

        Cadillac sold 36,321 vehicles, up 28.7%. The XT4 crossover was its biggest gainer, up 83% to 6773 units, though flagship Escalade sales fell 12.2% to 9228.

        2021 chevy trailblazer

        Chevrolet division was up 15.7% to 398,141, with TrailBlazer up 224.8% to 27,951. Equinox was down 5.6% to 52,902 and Corvette sales fell 10.3% to 7904. (See Ford entry for pickup truck comparisons.)

        •GMC was up 7.6%, to 130,608, but the Sierra line, up 18.7% to 67,198 and Acadia, up 70.8% to 15,945, were the division’s only gainers.

        Ford Motor Company — 475,906 Units, Up 10.1%

            F-Series remained the bestselling vehicle in the US, at 170,377 sold in the first quarter, up 21.1%. That was enough to top the Chevy Silverado (126,992, up 4.9%) and GMC Sierra (67,198, up 18.7%) but not the two combined, for 194,190. Ram sold 105,350 pickups, off 17% from Q1 ’22. Toyota sold 27,651 Tundras, up 22.1% and Nissan sold 4038 Titans, down 37.1%.

            Maverick sales rose 11.6% to 21,478, and Ranger was down 34.8% to 11,500.

            Explorer is a sales leader among non-pickup Fords, up 35.9% to 58,061.

            •The two-door Mustang was up 5.2% to 14,711, and enough to outsell Dodge Challenger (11,371, up 2%) and Chevy Camaro (7780, up 15.9%).

            Lincoln division sales slid 1.1%, to 18,934.

            Toyota Motor North America — 469,558 Units, Down 8.8%

                Toyota division sold 401,306 vehicles, down 10.9%, though Lexus clawed a bit of that back, at 68,252, up 6%. TMNA says it sold 100,790 electrified Toyotas and Lexuses, including hybrids, plug-in hybrids, battery-electrics and hydrogen fuel-cell electrics.

                Best-seller RAV4 sales plunged 16.3% to 84,704, of which 19,633 were RAV4 Hybrids, down 49.6%, and 5416 were RAV4 Primes, up 3.5%.

                2023 lexus rx 500h

                Camry was up 7.4% to 66,037, while Corolla was off 9.5% to 42,975.

                On Toyota’s sports car front, GR86 sales fell 37.4% to 2038, and Supra fell 21.3% to 871.

                Lexus best-seller RX was off 3.2% to 25,947 and bestselling car ES was off 13.7% to 8,679.

                Stellantis/FCA US — 368,327 Units, Down 9%

                    Big brand on campus Jeep’s sales slid 20% to 154,203 vehicles, though Dodge was up 24% to 50,975. Ram trucks, Stellantis’ other US moneymaker, lost 7% to 128,722 and Chrysler was up 10% to 31,899. Alfa Romeo slid 27% to 2390 and Fiat sold just 138 vehicles in the first quarter, down 69%. For the record, 135 of them were 500X CUVs and three were 500Ls.

                    Jeep’s icon, the Wrangler, still outsold Ford’s challenger, though the Bronco is catching up. Jeep Wrangler sales fell 17% for the quarter, to 37,971 while Ford delivered 32,430 Broncos, up 37.6%.

                    Grand Cherokee was Jeep’s bestseller, off 27% to 54,502. Wagoneer was down 59% to 5560 and Grand Wagoneer was also down 59%, to 2044.

                    jeep grand cherokee 4xe

                    Jeep Grand Cherokee.


                    Charger was Dodge’s bestseller (it doesn’t break out number of police cars delivered) at 22,128, up 43%. Durango was up 22% to 17,467. (See Ford Mustang entry for Challenger sales.)

                    Pacifica props up Chrysler, with 28,910 sold, up 10%. The lame-duck 300 was up 9%, to 2969.

                    Alfa Romeo’s Stelvio, at 1424 deliveries, off 34%, and Giulia, down 16% to 966, are barely blips on the premium-sport radar.

                    American Honda — 284,507 Units, Up 6.8%

                        The Honda brand sold 251,042 vehicles, up 5.4%, while Acura sold 33,465, up 18.5%.

                        Long its best-seller, CR-V sales were up 14.8% to 67,241. Civic, at 45,548, up 18.3%, pipped Accord, up just 1.6% to 42,806.

                        The new, compact-size HR-V CUV took a hit, down 37.1% to 28,504.

                        Acura’s bestseller is MDX, up 12.3% to 15,223. The new Integra was its second-best-seller though, at 7706 delivered.

                        Nissan Group — 235,818 Units, Up 17.3%

                            Nissan brand sold 220,061 of those, up 15.9%, while Infiniti was up 40.1% to 15,757.

                            the 2021 nissan rogue seen in detail, inside and out

                            Rogue rules the Nissan roost, with 76,499 sold in the first quarter, up 69.1% year-over-year.

                            Altima was Nissan’s best-selling car, off 14.3% to 32,832. Sentra was off 17% to 22,517.

                            A 181.5% increase pushed the QX60 to the top of Infiniti sales, at 7139 deliveries.

                            Hyundai Motor America — 184,449 Units, Up 16%

                                March sales were up 27% over March 2022, helping push first-quarter sales to a record. It was just enough to keep sales ahead of Kia, however (see below).

                                Best-selling model is the Tucson crossover, up 16% for the quarter to 46,170 units.

                                Need evidence that styling sells cars? The Elantra was Hyundai’s second-best-seller last quarter, up 47% to 32,473.

                                Santa Fe was up 12%, to 28,526, and Palisade sales fell 7% to 19,602.

                                Kia America — 184,136 Units, Up 21.8%

                                    Kia is in Hyundai’s rearview mirror, and objects are not smaller than they seem, with just 313 units separating the two.

                                    Like compact crossovers at so many other brands, Sportage is Kia’s most popular model, with 31,684 sold, up 92.5%.

                                    2023 kia sportage phev

                                    Kia’s compact Forte sedan was not far behind, at 30,526 sold, up 29.9%

                                    Telluride was up 23.2% to 27,190.

                                    EV6 sales fell 35.8%, to 3392.

                                    Subaru — 143,376 Units, Up 8.3%

                                    The brand’s March sales rose 22.8% year-over-year, for an eighth consecutive month-over-month increase.

                                    Even as Subaru unveiled an all-new ’24 Crosstrek at the Chicago Auto Show in February, the outgoing version is the brand’s best-seller, up 10.9% to 37,403. Must be the dog commercials.

                                    •Outback was second at 32,767, off 0.6% and just ahead of Forester, off 3% to 30,406.

                                    Inventory alert: WRX sales jumped 1221% to a healthy 7609 sold in Q1.

                                    Volkswagen Group — 122,481 Units, Up 19.8%

                                    Volkswagen brand sales totaled 67,853, up 4.4%, and Audi enjoyed a 49% increase in sales, to 52,763. The remaining 1865 were Bentleys (1075) and Lamborghinis (790), according to Automotive News.

                                    The long-wheelbase Tiguan was VW’s bestseller, up 8.3% to 19,747, with Taos next at 13,443, off 1.7%

                                    Once VW’s best-seller in the US, the Jetta could manage just 4574 deliveries, off 58%.

                                    Audi’s number-one, the Q5, was up 65% to 17,085. A5 is its best-selling car, up 46% to 5598.

                                    Automotive News estimates Tesla sold 170,000 vehicles in the US last quarter, which would make it the ninth best-seller, ahead of Subaru, if it would only break out US sales numbers.

                                    2024 subaru crosstrek

                                    BMW Group sold 89,750 vehicles in the first quarter, up 11.4%. The BMW brand accounted for 82,446 vehicles, up 11.9%, and Mini Cooper was up 5.9% to 7284.

                                    Mazda sold 88,364 vehicles, up 7.4%. Of those vehicles, 2590 were sports cars; the MX-5 Miata was up 61.4%.

                                    Mitsubishi reported sales of 20,938 units for the first quarter, down 20.7%.

                                    Were you shopping for a car in the first quarter? Care to share you story in the comments below?

                                    Contributing Editor
                                    As a kid growing up in Metro Milwaukee, Todd Lassa impressed childhood friends with his ability to identify cars on the street by year, make, and model.


                  By admin