Thursday, February 26, 2015

Vehicle Sales Forecasts: Best February since 2002

by Bill McBride on 2/26/2015 02:58:00 PM

The automakers will report February vehicle sales on Tuesday, March 3rd. Sales in January were at 16.6 million on a seasonally adjusted annual rate basis (SAAR), and it appears sales in February will be about the same, and will probably be the best February since 2002.

Note:  There were 24 selling days in February, the same as last year.  Here are a couple of forecasts:

From J.D. Power: New-Vehicle Retail Sales in February Expected to Cross the Million Mark

New-vehicle retail sales in February 2015 are projected to reach 1,033,100 units, which is a 9 percent increase compared with February 2014 and the highest retail sales volume for the month as well as the first time that February retail sales are expected to exceed 1 million units since February 2002, when sales hit 1.1 million. ...

Total new light-vehicle sales in February 2015 are expected to reach 1.3 million units, a 9 percent increase, compared with February 2014, and match the recent high for the month set in February 2002. [16.7 million SAAR] Fleet volume in February is projected to hit 264,000 units, accounting for 20 percent of total sales.

New-vehicle sales in early 2015 are continuing the robust pattern from the fourth quarter of 2014. As a result, LMC Automotive is increasing its 2015 forecast for both retail and total light vehicles by approximately 40,000 units, each still rounding to 14.0 million and 17.0 million, respectively.

"Strength at the start of 2015 is a key factor in keeping the industry on target to surpass annual vehicle sales of 17 million units for the first time since 2001," said Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting at LMC Automotive.
And from TrueCar: TrueCar forecasts sustained U.S. auto sales expansion in February with 8.5% volume increase
TrueCar, Inc. ... projects the pace of February auto sales expanded to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) of 16.7 million new units on continued strong consumer demand.

New light vehicle sales, including fleet, should reach 1,295,600 units for the month, up 8.5 percent over a year ago. This same increase is expected on a daily selling rate (DSR) basis with 24 selling days this February versus a year ago.

"Strong February auto sales signal a very healthy U.S. economy," said Eric Lyman, vice president of industry insights for TrueCar. "Given this month's robust demand, the industry remains on track to hit TrueCar's 17 million-unit projection for the 2015."
Another strong month for auto sales.