El Paso County's new car and truck sales market last month rose slightly from March 2017, the second increase in the past three months, according to a report from the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder's Office.
The 2,274 new cars and trucks registered with the office in March was up 3.7 percent from March 2017. Registration numbers fell 13.3 percent in February but were up 14.6 percent in January. The total for the first three months of the year is up 1.7 percent from the same period a year ago to 6,767.
Phill Emmert, executive director of the Colorado Springs Automobile Dealers Association, said Friday in an email that the increase "is certainly reflective of the continued good health of our local economy. And the growth over last year by the Colorado Springs auto dealers is a very positive indicator as compared to the national auto sales figures which have been in decline. Overall, (it is) a great start for 2018 with the busier sales activity months still ahead."
Seven of the top 10 selling makes had higher registrations in March from a year earlier, led by a more than doubling of Mercedes Benz registrations to 67 and double-digit increases by both Chevrolet and Subaru. However, the gains were somewhat offset by a 44.9 percent drop in registrations of Ram trucks and a 12.7 percent drop in Nissan registrations.
The county's numbers were somewhat weaker than the 6.3 percent increase in nationwide sales totals in March to 1.65 million, which resulted from a 16.3 percent jump in new light truck sales - more than offsetting a 9.2 percent drop in car sales, according to a report from Autodata Corp. Nationwide sales in the first three months of the year are up 1.9 percent from the same period a year ago to 4.11 million with a 9.8 percent increase in new light truck sales barely offsetting a 10.8 percent drop in car sales.
March registration numbers for new cars and trucks are not yet available statewide, but the February total was down 3.3 percent from February 2017 to 16,165, according to data compiled by Experian Automotive for the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association. Registrations for the first two months of the year were down 1.3 percent from a year ago to 36,211 with new cars down 6.8 percent and light trucks up 0.7 percent. Registration of late-model used vehicles (manufactured in the past seven years) in February were up 4.7 percent to 17,016 and in the first two months of the year rose 3.4 percent to 36,337.
Registration numbers don't exactly reflect sales by local dealers, as buyers have up to 60 days to register a new vehicle in the county where they live, not where they bought it. The numbers don't include heavy trucks, motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, recreational vehicles or trailers.
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