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September Retail Sales Drop After CARS, Says J.D. Power

September 30, 2009

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. — September new-vehicle retail sales are expected to come in at 590,000 units, down 24 percent from the year-ago period, and represents a seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) of 7.5 million units, according to J.D. Power and Associates.

"Low inventories and reduced incentives, combined with the effects of CARS pull-ahead sales, spell tough conditions for September," said Gary Dilts, senior vice president of global automotive operations at J.D. Power and Associates. "September's retail SAAR is projected to be the lowest selling rate in 2009. However, improving consumer confidence and credit conditions in the months ahead are likely to help to rebuild the retail industry."

Fleet volume remains low, and September fleet sales are expected to decline by nearly 50 percent, compared with one year ago. As a result, September total light-vehicle sales are projected to come in at 710,000 units, down 29 percent from September 2008. The September SAAR for total light-vehicle sales is projected to decline to 9.2 million units, compared with 13.8 million units in August.

J.D. Power and Associates U.S. Sales and SAAR Comparisons – September 2009

 

 

September 2009

 

August 2009

 

September 2008

 

New-Vehicle Retail Sales

590,000 units

1,142,876 units

 

740,883 units

 

Total Vehicle Sales

710,000 units

 

1,259,708 units

 

962,097 units

Retail SAAR

 

7.5 million units

11.8 million units

8.8 million units

Total SAAR

 

9.2 units

13.8 million units

12.5 million units

 

The retail segment mix has returned to pre-CARS program levels, with the share of compact cars decreasing to 19 percent in September from 28 percent in August. Premium vehicles and large pickups have also returned to market share levels consistent with the 2009 average prior to the CARS program.

"After the anomaly created by the CARS program, September's balanced segment mix indicates a return to more natural consumer behavior," said Jeff Schuster, executive director of global forecasting at J.D. Power and Associates. "This stability is fundamental to a market recovery and a return to a healthy industry. However, consumers are hesitant and the automotive industry remains fragile, and the risk of a secondary decline remains."

J.D. Power and Associates is maintaining its forecast for 2009 at 10.3 million units for total sales, with retail sales projected to come in at 8.6 million units. The 2010 forecast remains at 11.5 million units for total sales and 9.5 million units for retail sales.

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