DETROIT — Auto sales slid 3 percent in January as bouts of snow, ice and frigid temperatures in much of the country kept buyers snug in their homes instead of venturing out to car dealers.
People bought just over 1 million vehicles last month in the United States, about 32,000 fewer than a year ago. It was the first year-over-year monthly sales drop since August of 2010, according to Ward’s Automotive – but one that analysts said should be short-lived.
General Motors, Toyota and Ford – the top-selling companies in the United States – all reported falling sales due in large part to the weather, as did Volkswagen. But Chrysler, Honda, Nissan, Subaru and Hyundai dealers were happy. Sales ran counter to the thermometer and were up for all five brands.
The industry saw double-digit gains in the West, where the weather was good. But there were big declines in other regions hit by storms.
With wave after wave of storms hitting the country, consumers weren’t in the mood to go car shopping, said Jeff Schuster of LMC Automotive, a consulting firm.