Wednesday, April 24, 2013

April Vehicle Sales forecast to be above 15 million SAAR for Sixth Consecutive Month

by Bill McBride on 4/24/2013 01:16:00 PM

Note: The automakers will report April vehicle sales on Wednesday, May 1st. Here are a couple of forecasts:

From J.D. Power: J.D. Power and LMC Automotive Report: Solid New-Vehicle Selling Rate in April Driven by Replacement Demand

Total light-vehicle sales in April 2013 are projected to reach 1,312,100 units, a 7 percent increase from April 2012. The selling rate is expected to remain above 15 million units for the sixth consecutive month [forecast is 15.2 million Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate, SAAR].
According to J.D. Power and Associates PIN data, strong sales are being complemented by increasing prices. When comparing year-to-date data for 2013 with the same period last year, consumer-facing transaction prices are up 3.1 percent, which equates to an extra $13.2 billion spent on new vehicles through the first 4 months of the year ($113 billion in total).
And from Kelley Blue Book: New-Car Sales Pace Above 15 Million Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate for Sixth Consecutive Month
Through the first three weeks of April 2013, new-car sales are on pace to remain above a 15 million unit annual selling pace for the sixth consecutive month, according to Kelley Blue Book ... Kelley Blue Book projects light vehicle sales to surpass 1.3 million units by month end, which is an 11.4 percent annual gain.
Note: In 2012, there were 1.18 million light vehicle sales in April or a 14.1 million SAAR.  This year sales will probably be above 1.3 million, however there is one extra selling day in this year.

Two key points: 1) sales growth will slow in 2013, and 2) it appears auto sales are still solid in April (no signs of a consumer slowdown).

Most forecasts were for auto sales growth to slow in 2013 to around 4% growth or 15.0 million units. Based on the first several months of 2013, it appears sales will be somewhat stronger than expected this year, but not double digit growth like the last few years.  This suggests auto sales will contribute less to GDP growth this year than in the previous three years.

Light Vehicle Sales
Sales (millions)Annual Change
1Current sales rate