S&P Chief Economist, J.D. Power Executive Offer Cautious but Positive Outlooks

Two experts from Standard & Poor’s and J.D. Power offered cautiously positive outlooks for the U.S. economy and for the U.S. auto industry to some 300 auto dealers and industry participants during the recent Western Automotive Conference, sponsored by J.D. Power and the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA).

Beth Ann Bovino, U.S. chief economist for Standard & Poor’s, said that the U.S. is in its fourth year of recovery with an average growth rate of 2%. On a global level, she cited challenges to be faced including a slowdown in China, the remaining effects of the debt crisis in the Eurozone, and spikes in global oil prices.

In addressing current conditions in the U.S., Bovino said the Fed is focusing on creating jobs and is offering incentives for businesses to invest and hire, which will lead to higher growth. She said there has been robust demand and hiring in the private sector in spite of shocks. Continue reading ›

February U.S. Auto Sales Remain Strong with Robust 13.1 Million-Unit Pace

2012 WAC Humphrey-27-MNew-vehicle sales are expected to remain resilient through the rest of February even though the retail selling rate is weaker than it was in January of this year, according to the monthly sales forecast update from our Power Information Network® (PIN) and LMC Automotive. The forecast is based on analysis of transaction data during the first 14 selling days of the month.

Retail light-vehicle sales this month are projected to reach 931,100 units, which would be 9% higher than in February 2012 and would translate to a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 12.1 million units, up from last February’s 11.7 million unit pace, but weaker than the 13.1 million-unit retail pace in January 2013.

Total light-vehicle sales (retail and fleet) this month are estimated to reach 1.176 million units—up 7% from deliveries in February 2012 on a selling-day-adjusted basis.* Fleet deliveries are expected to remain at the same level as in January—accounting for 21% of the sales mix. The total light-vehicle SAAR is projected to reach 15.2 million units, which is the fourth straight month at or above 15.2 million units. Continue reading ›

Easier Credit Primes July U.S. Double-Digit Retail Sales Rise

John Humphrey

Retail sales in the U.S. auto market got off to a fast start in July. While they’ve slowed as the month has progressed, retail sales in the first 16 selling days are still up 15.1% from a year ago, and July could post the second-strongest retail sales growth rate for the year, according to a monthly sales update developed by J.D. Power’s Power Information Network® (PIN) and LMC Automotive.* Fleet sales are expected to be slightly lower than in other months of the year.

Total light-vehicle sales (retail and fleet) remain stable, with volume in July expected to reach 1.168 million units, which is 20% higher than a year ago on a selling-day-adjusted basis.** That translates to a 14.1 million-unit seasonally adjusted selling rate (SAAR), which matches last month’s SAAR and is significantly stronger than the 12.2 million unit pace in July 2011. Typically, July is a slower month for fleet deliveries, which so far account for 17% of the mix, but is still stronger than the historical July average fleet percentage of 15%. Continue reading ›