November US Sales Strengthen; 2011 Forecast Raised

Retail car and light-truck sales in the first half of November* were stronger than anticipated, translating to a projected retail sales pace of 11.3 million units—the highest monthly selling rate in more than three years, according to a monthly sales update based on analysis from J.D. Power’s Power Information Network® (PIN) retail transaction data and LMC Automotive. The retail sales pace outdistances last year’s retail pace by some 1.6 million units.

Projected retail sales in November (791,900 units) provides good news as calendar 2011 proceeds to a close. In fact, the improving performance of the past 3 months suggests that the current momentum, primarily driven by replacement demand and improvements in vehicle availability, is not an aberration, suggests John Humphrey, senior vice president of global automotive operations at J.D. Power.

A few key highlights from the November sales update:

• Retail sales in November are projected to increase 11% from the same month’s totals in 2010 (equal to a 9.7 million-unit SAAR).

• Fleet sales are expected to decline nearly 6% from November 2010 and will account for 19% of total light-vehicle sales.

• Total sales (retail and fleet) are expected to reach 975,600 units—almost 8% higher than November 2010.

• Total sales in November likely will equal a 13.4 million-unit SAAR, more than 1 million units stronger than last year’s 12.3 million-unit SAAR.

2011 Calendar-Year Sales Outlook for US Adjusted Slightly

John Humphrey

The sales forecast for 2011 was raised to 12.7 million units from 12.6 million units by strategic alliance partner LMC Automotive, due to solid October deliveries and encouraging numbers for the first half of November. The lift in the pace of retail deliveries was responsible for the upward sales revision.

It appears that the current recovery pace appears sustainable into 2012, according to Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting at LMC Automotive. He suggests that as long as there are no external shocks or economic setbacks, the sales pace could reach the 14-million-unit level during the second half of 2012.—Contributors: John Humphrey, senior vice president of global automotive operations at J.D. Power and Associates and Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting at LMC Automotive

*Sales projections are based on transaction data for the first 11 selling days of the month. The changes in percentages are selling-day adjusted. There are 25 selling days in November 2011, but only 24 in November 2010.

Note: J.D. Power and Associates and LMC Automotive have a strategic alliance to share data and produce monthly new-vehicle retail sales forecasts based on J.D. Power’s real-time transaction data collected by PIN with analysis and intelligence from LMC Automotive.

For more details, please click on the press release.

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