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Annual Car Sales Forecast Rises on Strength of October Sales

Annual Car Sales Forecast Rises on Strength of October Sales

By Jeff Youngs, October 25, 2012
Based on strong retail vehicle sales data compiled by J.D. Power and Associates and LMC Automotive, which is the most accurate measurement of true underlying consumer demand for new vehicles, the two companies are raising their 2012 new-vehicle sales forecast from 14.3 million to 14.4 million units for the year. Compared to October of 2011, new-vehicle retail sales in October of 2012 are trending 13% higher, with an expected 943,200 new vehicle sales this month.

"The October retail sales pace is solidifying an accelerating recovery in the automotive market," said Deirdre Borrego, vice president and general manager of U.S. Automotive Operations at J.D. Power and Associates. "Each month, we're seeing stronger signs of a healthy market, not only in terms of sales volumes, but also in dealer inventories, transaction prices and incentive levels."

Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting at LMC Automotive, said, "It is becoming clear that the U.S. automotive market is finally approaching a stage of a more natural level of demand, which has been accelerated by increasing consumer confidence and a need to replace aging vehicles."

Through September of 2012, 1.9 million more vehicles have been produced in North America, compared with the same period in 2011, representing a 20% increase year over year and what J.D. Power and LMC Automotive call "one of the economy's bright spots." As a result, production forecasts have risen from 15.0 million to 15.3 million units for 2012.

"Production levels in North America have crossed over the psychological barrier of 15 million units, and now there's no looking back," said Schuster. "Strong demand fundamentals in the short term, combined with resourcing of imported vehicles and growth in exports, will serve as the growth engine for increased volume, providing that the automotive supply base moves forward with needed investment in both capital and the workforce."

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