WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.: 20 February 2015 — New-vehicle retail and total sales in February 2015 are expected to reach their highest levels for the month since 2002, according to a monthly sales forecast developed jointly by J.D. Power and LMC Automotive.

Retail Light-Vehicle Sales

New-vehicle retail sales in February 2015 are projected to reach 1,033,100 units, which is a 9 percent increase compared with February 2014 and the highest retail sales volume for the month as well as the first time that February retail sales are expected to exceed 1 million units since February 2002, when sales hit 1.1 million. The retail seasonally adjusted annualized selling rate (SAAR) in February is expected to be 13.5 million units, 1.1 million units stronger than February 2014 and the highest retail SAAR for the  month since February 2004 (13.6 million). Retail transactions are the most accurate measure of consumer demand for new vehicles.

U.S. Retail SAAR—February 2014 to February 2015
(in millions of units)

Source: Power Information Network® (PIN) from J.D. Power

“The industry had a great start to 2015 in January, and that sales momentum continues in February with exceptional growth in retail sales,” said John Humphrey, senior vice president of the global automotive practice at J.D. Power.

Humphrey noted that automakers continue to take advantage of strong residual values to provide attractive lease deals for consumers. Lease penetration through the first 11 selling days in February is 27.4 percent of retail, its highest level ever.

The compact SUV segment is leading the industry in retail sales for a fifth consecutive month, accounting for 15.2 percent of retail sales thus far in February, while the midsize car segment continues to struggle, slipping to fourth in sales volume behind the compact SUV, compact car and midsize SUV segments.   

Total Light-Vehicle Sales

Total new light-vehicle sales in February 2015 are expected to reach 1.3 million units, a 9 percent increase, compared with February 2014, and match the recent high for the month set in February 2002. Fleet volume in February is projected to hit 264,000 units, accounting for 20 percent of total sales.

J.D. Power and LMC Automotive U.S. Sales and SAAR Comparisons

 

February 20151

January 2015

February 2014

New-Vehicle Retail Sales

1,033,100 units

(9% higher than February 2014)

922,055 units

947,603 units

Total Vehicle Sales

1,296,800 units

(9% higher than February 2014)

1,149,261 units

1,191,564 units

Retail SAAR

13.5 million units

13.8 million units

12.4 million units

Total SAAR

16.7 million units

16.6 million units

15.4 million units

1Figures cited for February 2015 are forecasted based on the first 11 selling days of the month.

Sales Outlook

New-vehicle sales in early 2015 are continuing the robust pattern from the fourth quarter of 2014. As a result, LMC Automotive is increasing its 2015 forecast for both retail and total light vehicles by approximately 40,000 units, each still rounding to 14.0 million and 17.0 million, respectively.

“Strength at the start of 2015 is a key factor in keeping the industry on target to surpass annual vehicle sales of 17 million units for the first time since 2001,” said Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting at LMC Automotive. “Given all the positive factors, including the economy, gas prices and fresh new products in showrooms, rain clouds are expected to stay out of the auto sales forecast for the duration of 2015.”

North American Production

Light-vehicle production in January increased 3 percent to 1.3 million units, compared with January 2014. While most automakers worked around the West Coast port strike by using air freight and reducing overtime, there are some cutbacks in production. February 2015 production is expected to drop to 1.3 million units, a 3 percent decline from February 2014. LMC Automotive forecasts that 2015 production will finish at 17.5 million, a 3 percent gain from 2014.

Ahead of the spring selling season, inventory levels increased to a 82-day supply at the beginning of February 2015, up from 61 days at the beginning of January and still below the 88-day supply at the start of February 2014.

About J.D. Power

J.D. Power is a global marketing information services company providing performance improvement, social media and customer satisfaction insights and solutions. The company’s quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually. Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power has offices in North/South America, Europe and Asia Pacific. For more information on car reviews and ratings, car insurance, health insurance, cell phone ratings, and more, please visit www.JDPower.com. J.D. Power is a business unit of McGraw Hill Financial.

About McGraw Hill Financial 

McGraw Hill Financial  (NYSE: MHFI) is a leading financial intelligence company providing the global capital and commodity markets with independent benchmarks, credit ratings, portfolio and enterprise risk solutions, and analytics. The Company's iconic brands include: Standard & Poor's Ratings Services, S&P Capital IQ, S&P Dow Jones Indices, Platts, CRISIL and J.D. Power. The Company has approximately 17,000 employees in 30 countries. Additional information is available at www.mhfi.com.

About LMC Automotive

LMC Automotive is the premier supplier of automotive forecasts and intelligence to an extensive client base of automotive manufacturer, component supplier, logistics and distribution companies, as well as financial and government institutions around the world. LMC’s global forecasting services encompass automotive sales, production and powertrain expertise, as well as advisory capability. LMC Automotive has locations in the United States, the UK, France, Germany, China Japan and Thailand and is part of the Oxford, UK-based LMC group, the global leader in economic and business consultancy for the agribusiness sector.  For more information please visit www.lmc-auto.com.

Media Relations Contacts

John Tews; J.D. Power; Troy, Mich.; 248-680-6218; [email protected]

Emmie Littlejohn; LMC Automotive; Troy, Mich.; 248-817-2100; [email protected]

No advertising or other promotional use can be made of the information in this release without the express prior written consent of J.D. Power or LMC Automotive. www.jdpower.com/corporate  www.lmc-auto.com

Media Contacts:

John Tews

Troy, Michigan

(248) 680-6218