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New Car Sales Continue Year-over-Year Growth

New Car Sales Continue Year-over-Year Growth

By Jeff Youngs, June 26, 2014

Taken together, light-vehicle retail sales for May and June indicate that the automotive industry in the United States continues to run ahead of last year's figures. The seasonally adjusted annualized selling rate (SAAR) for new light-vehicle retail sales in June will result in the fifth consecutive month of year-over-year growth, according to a monthly sales forecast developed jointly by J.D. Power and LMC Automotive. The retail SAAR in June is expected to be 13.3 million units, up slightly from 13.2 million in June 2013. This is the second-highest monthly SAAR of 2014, behind May's figure of 14.1 million. Retail light-vehicle sales are projected to reach 1.1 million units in June: a gain of 6% over June 2013 on a selling-day-adjusted basis.

"It's important to recognize that June sales are being heavily influenced by a quirk of the industry sales calendar," said John Humphrey, senior vice president of the global automotive practice at J.D. Power. The June 2014 sales month includes just 24 selling days, compared with 26 selling days in June 2013. Thus, it makes sense to evaluate May and June sales in combination.

"When combined, May and June retail sales are expected to be up 7.2%, compared with May and June 2013, which underscores the continued positive trajectory in growth and overall health of the industry," said Humphrey.

Due to these strong numbers, LMC Automotive is raising its 2014 light-vehicle retail sales forecast to 13.4 million units from 13.3 million and its total light-vehicle forecast to 16.2 million units from 16.1 million. LMC Automotive maintains its 2014 North American production forecast at 16.6 million units, an increase of 3% over 2013.

"The U.S. auto market is arguably in the best position and health it has been in since well before the great recession," said Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting at LMC Automotive. "Sales are robust and stabilizing above a 16-million-unit pace and are back in balance with production levels, keeping inventory in check. While GDP growth remains below ideal levels, the auto market continues to be instrumental in helping drive the economy."

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