Sales Growth Driven by Leases and Long-Term Loans of 72 Months and Longer

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.: 24 November 2015 — Total and retail new light-vehicle sales in November are expected to increase 7% on a selling-day-adjusted basis, according to a monthly sales forecast developed jointly by J.D. Power and LMC Automotive.

Despite a couple of calendar curveballs—November has only four selling weekends for the first time since 2012 and has the fewest selling days (23) of any month since September 2013—the industry continues to show strength, with retail light-vehicle sales approaching 1.1 million units and total light-vehicle sales nearing 1.3 million units this month.

Retail Light-Vehicle Sales

Retail light-vehicle sales in November 2015 are projected to hit 1,078,200 units, down from 1,094,858 in November 2014. The seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) for retail sales in November 2015 is expected to reach 14.2 million units, up from a selling rate of 13.7 million units a year ago and the highest for the month since November 2003 (14.2 million units). SAAR is a rate adjustment that attempts to remove the seasonal variations in the data. Most data will be affected by the time of the year. Adjusting for the seasonality in data means more accurate relative comparisons can be drawn from month to month all year. Retail transactions are the most accurate measure of true underlying consumer demand for new vehicles.

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

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

“The strength of the industry continues to be observed through strong sales volume and high transaction prices,” said John Humphrey, senior vice president of the global automotive practice at J.D. Power. “So far in the month, the average transaction price of $31,498 is the highest level ever for any November and the second highest for any month.” The record high of $31,519 was set in December 2014.

To manage these higher transaction prices, customers are increasingly opting for leases and long-term loans with term lengths of 72 months and longer. The industry is on track to set new records for both types of sales for the full year 2015. On a calendar year-to-date basis through the first two weeks of November, lease penetration has reached 27.7%, which is an increase of 2 percentage points from the full year 2014. Long-term loan penetration has increased 2.2 percentage points to 34.4% over the same time period.

“The good news for the auto industry is that sales growth, both in terms of total units and price-per-vehicle, is continuing to show strength as we turn the corner to 2016, but there are some warning signs in this data,”  said  Humphrey. “Lease and long-term loan penetration are at all-time highs and could increase even more as a way to offset higher interest rates in the months to come.”

Total Light-Vehicle Sales

Total light-vehicle sales are expected to reach 1,279,500 in November 2015, a 7% increase on a selling-day adjusted basis compared with November 2014. The SAAR for total sales in November is projected at 17.7 million units, a 600,000-unit increase from a year ago.

Fleet volume is projected at 201,200 units, a 6.9% increase on a selling-day adjusted basis from November 2014. Fleet sales are expected to account for 15.7% of total sales in November 2015, the same level as November 2014, and are expected to end the year at 18.1% of total sales.

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

 

November 20151

October 2015

November 2014

New-Vehicle Retail Sales

1,078,200 units2

(7.0 % higher than November 2014)

1,193,760 units

1,094,858 units

Total Vehicle Sales

1,279,500 units

(7.0% higher than November 2014)

1,453,674 units

1,299,474 units

Retail SAAR

14.2 million units

14.9 million units

13.7 million units

Total SAAR

17.7 million units

18.2 million units

17.1 million units

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

2The percentage change is adjusted based on the number of selling days in the month (23 days in November 2015 vs. 25 days in November 2014).

Sales Outlook

With the strength in auto sales continuing in November, LMC Automotive is increasing its 2015 forecast for total light-vehicle sales to 17.5 million units from 17.3 million units and its retail light-vehicle forecast to 14.3 million units from 14.2 million units.

“U.S. auto sales are now clearly on the path to set a record in 2015, with volume we haven’t seen in 15 years,” said Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting at LMC Automotive. “Even with the strong possibility for the Fed to increase interest rates, growth should continue into 2016, with sales expected to reach 17.8 million units.”

North American Production

North American production in October 2015 was 1.64 million units, a 1.1% increase compared with October 2015. Inventory levels increased to a 69-day supply from a 60-day supply at the end of September, but down from 76 days at the same point last year. With production expected to follow pace with demand in the region for the remainder of year, LMC Automotive is increasing its production forecast for 2015 to 17.6 million units and for 2016 to 18.1 million units.

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. Power Information Network (PIN) from J.D. Power has revolutionized the automotive industry by collecting and analyzing real-time transaction-level data for new and used vehicles. PIN’s data and analytics help automakers and dealers manage risk, monitor metric performance and improve business results. 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 and SNL, S&P Dow Jones Indices, Platts, CRISIL and J.D. Power. The Company has approximately 20,000 employees in 31 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; media.relations@jdpa.com
Emmie Littlejohn; LMC Automotive; Troy, Mich.; 248-817-2100; elittlejohn@lmc-auto.com

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

 

J.D. Power Ratings

For additional J.D. Power ratings data, please visit www.jdpower.com/cars and www.jdpower.com/ratings.

Media Contacts:

John Tews

Troy, Michigan

(248) 680-6218

media.relations@jdpa.com