May U.S. Auto Sales Finish the Month on a Higher Note than Anticipated

buyer looking at carNew car and light-truck sales in May finished the month higher than projected, according to analysis from J.D. Power’s Power Information Network® (PIN) and strategic partner LMC Automotive. The better-than-expected performance was propelled by a strong retail market especially during the last four days of the month—which included the Memorial Day weekend—and accounted for 25% of May’s retail totals.

Automakers in the U.S. market sold 8.2% more new vehicles than in the same month of 2012. Both months in both years had the same number of selling days. The seasonally adjusted annual selling rate (SAAR) averaged more than 15.2 million units for total sales (retail and fleet).

Fleet sales were not as strong as retail deliveries. May retail sales were up 10% and totaled 1.177 million units, which translated to a 12.7 million-unit SAAR—more than 1 million units stronger than the retail pace a year ago. May’s retail SAAR was the strongest in five years.

PIN and LMC Automotive also reported that nearly all manufacturers posted year-over-year retail sales increases. Through the first 5 months of 2013, total sales were up 7.3% from the total in the same time period of 2012. Continue reading ›

US July Retail Sales Strengthen, but Remain Below Earlier Pace

Jeff Schuster

The best way to characterize retail light-vehicle sales performance in the US market for July is “good but not great.” While July’s selling rate is slated to finish higher than June’s pace, consumers continue to face obstacles in their willingness and ability to purchase a new vehicle. The ongoing debate regarding the debt ceiling and a sluggish economy are creating added pressure on top of a generally weaker vehicle sales environment.

Month-to-date retail deliveries in July are more robust than in the past 2 months, but remain below the 10.7 million-unit pace that we expect for the second half of the year, based on analysis of our Power Information Network® (PIN) retail transaction data collected in the first 13 days of July.

Retail light-vehicle sales in July are set to reach 913,900 units, which represents a seasonally adjusted annual selling pace (SAAR) of 9.8 million unit sales. That’s an improvement from June’s 9.3 million-unit SAAR and also better than a 9.2 million-unit rate a year ago, in July 2010. Continue reading ›