New U.S. light-vehicle sales are projected to fall for the third straight month in March as the industry's winter chill seeps into spring.
Estimates from four forecasters call for declines between 1.5 percent and almost 7 percent from March 2018. Automakers are scheduled to report March results on Tuesday.
The seasonally adjusted, annualized selling rate is projected to range from 16.8 million to 17.2 million, based on estimates from Cox Automotive and Edmunds. Those would be in line with analysts' expectations for the year, which is forecast to come in below 17 million for the first time since 2014.
TrueCar's ALG expects a 1.5 percent sales decline from March 2018, which had one fewer selling day, while Edmunds anticipates a 4 percent dip, J.D. Power/LMC estimates a 5.6 percent decline and Cox predicts a 6.7 percent drop.
"The declines we're seeing at the start of 2019 are not unexpected," Oliver Strauss, ALG's chief economist, said in a statement. "Tariffs and the rising interest rate environment have made consumers a bit cautious; however, both the economy and the auto industry remain strong despite uncertainty about the future."