908 New vehicles were sold in March, an increase of 1.68% m/m from the 893 vehicles sold in February, and a 20.3% y/y increase from the 755 sold in March 2020. For the first three months of 2021 2,494 new vehicles have been sold, of which 1,122 were passenger vehicles, 1,192 light commercial vehicles, and 180 medium and heavy commercial vehicles. By comparison, the first three months of 2020 saw 2,221 new vehicles sold. 2021 is thus off to a slightly better start compared to last year. On a twelve-month cumulative basis, a total of 7,885 new vehicles were sold as at March 2021, representing a contraction of 23.3% from the 10,277 sold over the comparable period a year ago.
A total of 357 new passenger vehicles were sold during March, decreasing by 13.1% from the 411 passenger vehicles sold in February. On a year-on-year basis, March new passenger vehicle sales were 13.7% higher than the 314 vehicles sold a year ago. Year-to-date, passenger vehicle sales rose to 1,122, 18.4% higher than during the same period in 2020. On a rolling 12-month basis, passenger vehicle sales rose to 3,384. This translates into four consecutive months of increases in this measure.
A total of 551 new commercial vehicles were sold in March, representing an increase of 14.3% m/m and 24.9% y/y. 489 Light commercial vehicles, 24 medium commercial vehicles, and 38 heavy and extra heavy commercial vehicles were sold during the month. Light commercial vehicle sales rose 25.7% y/y, medium commercial vehicle sales climbed 4.3% y/y and heavy commercial vehicle sales increased by 31.0% y/y. On a twelve-month cumulative basis, light commercial vehicle sales have declined by 22.2% y/y, medium commercial vehicles fell by 42.7% y/y, and heavy commercial vehicles dropped 25.0% y/y.
Volkswagen continues its strong lead in the passenger vehicle sales segment with 34.9% of the segment sales year-to-date, followed by Toyota with 25.1% of the market share. The two top brands maintained their large gap over the rest of the market with Kia and Mercedes following with 7.0% and 5.1% of the market, respectively, leaving the remaining 27.9% of the market to other brands.
On a year-to-date basis, Toyota remained the leader in the light commercial vehicle space with a 53.5% market share, with Nissan in second place with a 13.8% market share. Ford and Isuzu claimed 12.0% and 6.7%, respectively, of the number of light commercial vehicles sold thus far in 2021. Hino leads the medium commercial vehicle segment with 26.1% of sales year-to-date, while Scania was number one in the heavy and extra-heavy commercial vehicle segment with 27.6% of the market share year-to-date.
The Bottom Line
March wrapped up the first quarter of 2021 with 908 new vehicles sold, the highest monthly sales figure since October 2019, when 976 new vehicle sales were sold. Total sales for the quarter were 2,494, making it the strongest quarter since the fourth quarter of 2019, when 2,567 new vehicles were sold. This is a positive sign, as vehicle sales continue to recover to pre-Covid-19 levels, which could indicate somewhat increased levels of consumer confidence. The rolling 12-month number of new vehicle sales rose for a third consecutive month to 7,885. The growth is however from a very low base and overall, 12-month cumulative sales is still down 65.2% from its peak in April 2015.