August U.S. New-Vehicle Sales Move Ahead with Gusto

AIS04 car shopperAugust was another month of stellar new-vehicle sales in the U.S. auto industry. In early reports, all three Detroit-based automakers celebrated double-digit gains at the end of a month that was capped off by the Labor Day sales weekend. The three major Japanese automakers posted even stronger double-digit increases than their U.S. rivals. Nearly all multi-franchise automakers reported better sales in August this year vs. 2012.

Consumers continued to replace their aging vehicles—averaging 11 years old—at a healthy pace that matches a monthly forecast update from J.D. Power’s Power Information Network® (PIN) and strategic partner LMC Automotive. Easier credit terms, including long-term loans and more reasonable lease deals, helped spur sales.

Total sales (retail and fleet) reached 1.5 million units for a selling-day adjusted increase of 12.7% from August 2012—the highest unit sales volume since May 2007. J.D. Power projected that the seasonally adjusted annual selling rate (SAAR) would surpass 16 million, which it did.
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Large Pickups, Compact Crossovers Bolster April U.S. Auto Sales

14725154-car-dealership-woman-receiving-car-key-from-salesmanU.S. light-vehicle sales in April 2013 were set to reach 1.286 million unit sales, which would be up 4% from a year ago on a selling-day adjusted basis,* according to an update from J.D. Power and Associates and its strategic partner, LMC Automotive. The sales rate in April would translate to a slightly lower 14.9 million-unit seasonally-adjusted selling pace.

Early automaker reports indicate that sales (unadjusted) will rise about 9% from a year ago, partly due to higher demand for large pickups and compact crossovers.

The Detroit Three led sales gains with double-digit increases from April 2012. They outpaced two of their top-volume Japan-based rivals—Toyota and Honda Groups. In early results, the third major Japanese automaker, Nissan Group, reported one of the best year-over-year gains—sales were up 23% on an unadjusted basis from April 2012.

Demand was particularly strong for large pickups with improvement in the housing and construction markets. The resilience of the U.S. consumer’s pent-up demand also bolstered sales, according to Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting at LMC Automotive. He said consumer spending remains remarkably stronger than the economy suggests it should be. Continue reading ›

U.S. Auto Sales Reach Post-Great Recession High Mark in March

Salesperson and Couple at DealershipSales of new cars and light trucks in the United States may hit their best mark in March since before the start of the Great Recession in December 2007, despite news about the fiscal cliff and sequester in Washington, D.C. Economic news was more positive with better employment figures in March, which is giving car buyers renewed confidence.

 New-car shoppers continued to replace aging vehicles and took advantage of easier credit including low-interest-rate loans. A proliferation of new and refreshed models—including popular crossovers and large pickups—also enticed buyers into showrooms. Discounts on large pickup models that are being replaced by new 2014 models as well as a recovery in the housing sector helped prime the market for large pickups. It should also be noted that March typically is a strong month for the auto business.

 In early reports, J.D. Power’s Power Information Network® (PIN) and its strategic partner LMC Automotive report that automakers sold 1.45 million units in the third month of 2013. If sales are adjusted for one less selling day in March this year, deliveries rose 7.4% from March 2012, which translates to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 15.2 million units. Continue reading ›

February U.S. Auto Sales: Upbeat; Higher Light-Truck Sales than Expected

Dealer Consumer handshaker03Even with one less selling day in February this year and news about the national sequester that was slated to be put into action on March 1, news about new car and light-truck sales was positive and upbeat.

Light-vehicle sales in February rose 8.1% (when selling-day adjusted) from the previous year’s same month totals. Sales reached 1.19 million units and were up 19% from January of this year, according to analysis from J.D. Power’s strategic partner, LMC Automotive. That translates to a seasonally adjusted selling pace of 15.34 million units.

In early sales reports from the manufacturers, four major automakers—General Motors, Ford Motor Co., Fiat-Chrysler and Toyota Group—reported gains from a year ago, while Honda and Hyundai Groups said sales were stable or up slightly. Nissan Group’s sales slipped in single digits from last February. Among European automakers, Volkswagen and BMW Groups also posted higher sales as did Daimler Group. The parent of Mercedes-Benz and smart brands may have led automaker gains with an increase of more than 22% (unadjusted) from a year ago. Continue reading ›

Replacement Shopping after Super Storm Sandy Lifts November U.S. Auto Sales

Nearly 150,000 more new vehicles were sold last month than in November 2011. U.S. light-vehicle sales in November rose 15%, to 1.142 million units from 992,312 in the same month a year ago, outperforming most forecasts due to a boost from consumers returning to dealer showrooms after disruptions caused by the Hurricane Sandy super storm system and a need to replace some 230,000 vehicles damaged by the storm.

November deliveries were 9% stronger compared with October 2012, on a selling-day-adjusted basis, based on analysis from our Power Information Network® (PIN) and strategic partner LMC Automotive. November’s seasonally adjusted annual sales rate (SAAR) translated to 15.4 million units—the highest annual pace in more than four years. The pace also was significantly stronger than last year’s 13.6 million-unit pace. November in both years had the same number of selling days. Continue reading ›

Honda and Toyota Group Sales Rebound; Volkswagen Makes Inroads in August

Honda and Toyota Groups led U.S. light-vehicle sales gains in August with high double-digit increases—53.6% and 40.2%, respectively—from a year ago when inventories were curtailed by production setbacks following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Volkswagen Group also sold more than one-third more vehicles in August than it did in the same month of 2011, with a hefty portion of VW Passat deliveries bolstering the brand’s gains. VW brand sales were the best for any August since 1973, according to the company. Continue reading ›

U.S. Light-Vehicle Sales Soften Only Slightly due to Lower Fleets in July

Car and light-truck sales in the U.S. reached 1.152 million units in July, which is an increase of 18% from July last year on a selling-day-adjusted basis.* That translates to a 14.1 million-unit seasonally adjusted annual selling rate (SAAR), and is slightly lower than June’s 14.3 million SAAR (recently adjusted with the revised U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) seasonal factors), but is much stronger than the 12.2 million-unit pace in July 2011, according to data collected and analyzed by J.D. Power’s Power Information Network® (PIN) with LMC Automotive.**

There were two fewer selling days in July this year (24) vs. last year (26), which means that Detroit-based Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. actually posted gains from a year ago on a selling-day-adjusted basis, as reduced fleet deliveries in the month impacted their total sales performance. Continue reading ›

Car Sales Bolster First-Half Results in U.S. Market

In the first six months of 2012, new-car and light-truck sales in the U.S. climbed 13.4%, to 7.26 million units from 6.32 million units in the same period of 2011 (on a selling-day-adjusted basis).* There were 938,400 more new light vehicles delivered in the first half of this year than in the same period of 2011, according to transaction data collected by J.D. Power’s Power Information Network® (PIN).

Retail sales during the first six months of 2012 improved—up 11.5% from a year ago, and fleet sales were up 20.4% from last year, based on analysis from LMC Automotive** and PIN. In addition, car sales outpaced truck sales this year vs. the same period in 2011.

Volkswagen, Toyota and Fiat-Chrysler Groups outperformed the overall market during the first half, with each manufacturer posting growth in excess of two times the industry average. Continue reading ›

May U.S. Retail Sales Volume was Second-Strongest This Year

May was another month of year-over-year sales growth in the U.S. auto market, even though the impact of Memorial Day weekend sales at the end of the month was weaker than anticipated, according to analysis by J.D. Power’s Power Information Network® (PIN) and LMC Automotive.*

May’s seasonally adjusted annual sales pace of 13.7 million units (SAAR) slipped below 14.0 million units, which has been a benchmark in each of the prior four months of 2012. Still, retail sales were the second-highest this year and totaled more than 1.07 million units, up 18.5% from a year ago on a selling-day-adjusted basis.** Fleet sales rose 6.9% to more than 261,200 units.

Most Multi-Franchise Automakers Post Retail Sales Gains

All multi-franchise automakers, except for the BMW Group, posted year-over-year retail and total U.S. sales gains in May. Toyota Group outperformed all other automakers with sales up 73% from a year ago, when inventories were hindered by production setbacks after the March 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami disaster. Continue reading ›

UK Vehicle Owners Shop for Service; Jaguar Ranks Highest in Ownership Satisfaction

Vehicle owners in the United Kingdom are increasingly willing to shop around for service, as exhibited by the fact that aftermarket/independent service centers have increased their share of average total vehicle service visits to 39%—up 6 points from 2011, according to the 2012 UK Vehicle Ownership Satisfaction Study (VOSS). In contrast, authorized dealer service centers are losing share of service visits—down 5 points from 2011 to 61%.

The aftermarket/independent service centers have ramped up their efforts to expand and improve services. Additionally, these independent service centers are focusing on retail maintenance advertising and are creating more services to attract customers, including offering extended weekend hours and vehicle pick-up and vehicle delivery assistance. Continue reading ›