High prices, interest rates push 1Q US auto sales down 2%
DETROIT (AP) — Automobile sales in the U.S. fell 2% in the first quarter, another sign the nation’s economy is starting to slow.
Automakers sold just over 4 million vehicles from January through March. Industry analysts blame the drop on rising vehicle prices, competition from late-model used vehicles, and relatively high interest rates. Weak sales of cars, harsh winter weather and the partial government shutdown also had an impact.
Edmunds.com analyst Jeremy Acevedo says new vehicle sales are past their peak. He says that with prices on the rise, interest rates at post-recession peaks and leases growing in cost, the U.S. auto market is under pressure.
Most analysts are predicting sales of around 16.9 million this year, still strong but down from last year’s 17.27 million. Sales peaked in 2016 at 17.55 million.