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High Fleet Sales Keep Factories Humming

High Fleet Sales Keep Factories Humming

By Jeff Youngs, May 25, 2012
According to J.D. Power and Associates and LMC Automotive, new-vehicle retail sales are expected to be 20% higher in May of 2012 than they were in May of 2011, with an estimated 1,087,000 units sold.

This increase over last year is adjusted to account for two additional selling days in the month this year and, according to John Humphrey, senior vice president of global automotive operations at J.D. Power and Associates, "points to the underlying strength of the industry going forward."

The total light-vehicle sales figure, which includes retail and fleet volume, is up 21% year-over-year, thanks to high fleet sales. In May, fleet sales are expected to increase by 23,455 units over April of 2012, for a total of 297,000 vehicles, or 22% of total vehicle sales.

On the strength of May's sales, LMC Automotive is raising its light-vehicle sales forecast for 2012 from 14.3 million to 14.5 million units, 11.6 million of which are expected to be retail sales (up from 11.5 million).

"Another healthy retail selling pace in May, combined with a fleet mix of more than 20 percent, is driving the further improvement in the 2012 outlook for U.S. light-vehicle sales," said Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting at LMC Automotive.

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