Maybe fleet sales aren't so bad after all.
U.S. light-vehicle deliveries rose 8.5 percent in the first quarter of 2023, according to the Automotive News Research & Data Center, as an easing of the global microchip shortage improved inventories for most brands.
General Motors and Hyundai Motor Group each posted double-digit gains, even as transaction prices remained at record levels. Cox Automotive said the industry's annualized selling rate jumped to 15.3 million, from 14.1 million a year ago.
"Anyone looking for signs of a recession won't find it in the new-vehicle market," Cox Senior Economist Charlie Chesbrough said.
Much of the increase was driven by fleet sales, as higher production levels allowed automakers to fill orders more easily instead of diverting their limited supplies to retail buyers.