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Monday, May 27, 2013

May Vehicle Sales forecast to be at or above 15 million SAAR

by Calculated Risk on 5/27/2013 06:23:00 PM

Note: The automakers will report May vehicle sales on Monday, June 3rd (next Monday). Here are a few forecasts:

From J.D. Power: J.D. Power and LMC Automotive Report: May New-Vehicle Retail Selling Rate Expected to be 1 Million Units Stronger than a Year Ago

Total light-vehicle sales in May 2013 are expected to increase to 1,439,400, up 8 percent from May 2012 [forecast is 15.2 million Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate, SAAR]. Fleet sales have generally been weaker than expected in 2013, but continue to average nearly 21 percent of total sales. Fleet sales in May 2013 are projected to reach 281,000 units, representing less than 20 percent of total sales.
Strong demand for full-size pickups is also helping to keep industry average transaction prices at record levels. The average transaction price for all new vehicles thus far in May is $28,921, the highest ever for the month of May and 3 percent higher than May 2012.
From TrueCar: May 2013 New Car Sales Expected to Be Up Almost Nine Percent According to TrueCar; May 2013 SAAR at 15.2M, Highest May SAAR
For May 2013, new light vehicle sales in the U.S. (including fleet) is expected to be 1,435,495 units, up 8.5 percent from May 2012 and up 12.1 percent from April 2013 (on an unadjusted basis).

The May 2013 forecast translates into a Seasonally Adjusted Annualized Rate ("SAAR") of 15.2 million new car sales, up from 14.9 April 2013 and up from 13.9 million in May 2012.
From Kelley Blue Book: New-car Sales To Improve 6 Percent In May With Help From Memorial Day Weekend Sale Events
New-car sales will hit 15.0 million seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) in May, which is an expected 6 percent year-over-year improvement, according to Kelley Blue Book ...

"Growth in the truck segment has been driven by a jump in new-home construction, relatively affordable gas prices and high inventory levels," said [Alec Gutierrez, senior market analyst of automotive insights for Kelley Blue Book.]
Note: There were 1.33 million light vehicle sales in May 2012 or a 13.9 million SAAR.  This year sales will probably be around 1.44 million with the same number of selling days - up about 8% from May 2012.

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

Based on the first four months of 2013, it appears auto sales will increase again 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
1Sales rate for first four months of 2013.