Auto manufacturers sold almost 4.1 million light vehicles in the first three months of the year, marking a 3.4 percent increase from 2015.
Like 2015, which was a record year, the increase was driven by sales of light trucks while passenger car sales were down. Truck sales were up 10.4 percent to 2.3 million. Car sales were off 4.8 percent with 1.7 million sold, according to data from Autodata Corp.
[caption id="attachment_137195" align="alignright" width="504"] First quarter new vehicle registrations.[/caption]
Wisconsin’s new vehicle registrations, however, were down 10.2 percent for all vehicle types statewide in the first quarter, according to data from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Truck registrations were down 4.3 percent to 40,085 while auto registrations were down 19.7 percent to 16,760.
Jim Tolkan, Automobile Dealers Association of Mega Milwaukee Inc. president, said dealer members remain generally upbeat. He noted that 2015 got off to an extremely fast start while the start of 2016 was plagued by volatility in the stock market and uncertainty brought about by an election year.
Southeastern Wisconsin performed better than the state as a whole with registrations off 7.9 percent for Milwaukee, Washington, Ozaukee and Waukesha counties. With Kenosha, Racine, Walworth and Sheboygan counties added, registrations were off 7.6 percent.
Fitting with the national trend, trucks performed better than passenger vehicles. Truck registrations were down 2.4 percent in the four-county region and down 1.4 percent in the eight-county region. Car registrations were off 14.9 and 17.3 percent respectively.
Tolkan said many dealers in the area have had issues getting vehicles because of production issues. He said this was particularly prevalent in full-size pickup trucks and in crossover SUVs. He expected the production issues to be worked out by the end of the second quarter.
National projections call for 17.8 million vehicles to be sold in 2016, Tolkan said, which would be another record. He said he expects Wisconsin and southeastern Wisconsin sales to end the year up 2.5 to 5 percent.