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Big Summer Expected for New-Vehicle Sales, J.D. Power and LMC Predict

June 25, 2013

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.— New-vehicle retail sales are continuing their positive trend in June, with no signs of letting up as the industry heads in the key summer selling season, according to J.D. Power and LMC Automotive.

New-vehicle retail sales in June are projected to total 1.119 million units, representing a seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) of 13.2 million units — a healthy increase of 500,000 from May’s SAAR.

 

U.S. Retail SAAR—June 2012 to June 2013

(in millions of units)

While sales overall are strong, not all segments are selling at the same pace. Sales of premium vehicles account for just 11.7 percent of new-vehicle retail sales thus far in June, down from 12.9 percent in June 2012.

The underperformance of premium light-vehicle sales is largely due to the age of the models in these segments. J.D. Power calculates that the average age — the number of months the vehicle has been in the market since it was introduced or redesigned — of premium models sold in the second quarter 2013 was 43 months. In comparison, the average age of non-premium models— excluding pickup trucks — is only 34.5 months.

J.D. Power expects that by the second quarter of 2014, the average age of premium products will fall to just 33 months, as new and redesigned products enter the marketplace.

The strong selling pace continues to be matched by strong transaction prices. Thus far in June, the average transaction price of new vehicles is $28,900 — the highest ever for the month of June.

“Although the premium segment growth has lagged non-premium, there is some good news for the industry in that the average price of premium vehicles in June is $47,000, up almost 4 percent from June 2012,” said John Humphrey, senior vice president of the global automotive practice. “New premium vehicles entering the market late this year will also help bolster sales through the second quarter of 2014.”

Total light-vehicle sales in June 2013 are expected to grow by 12 percent from June 2012 to 1.381 million units. Fleet sales in June are just 19 percent of total sales. Fleet volume for the month is projected at 262,000 units.

 

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

 

June 20131

May 2013

June 2012

New-Vehicle Retail Sales

1,118,800 units

(14% higher than June 2012)2

1,177,391 units

1,021,635 units

Total Vehicle Sales

1,380,800 units

(12% higher than June 2012)

1,442,061 units

1,283,590 units

Retail SAAR

13.2 million units

12.7 million units

12.0 million units

Total SAAR

15.7 million units

15.2 million units

14.4 million units

1Figures cited for June 2013 are forecasted based on the first 13 selling days of the month.

2The percentage change is adjusted based on the number of selling days in the month (26 days in June 2013 vs. 27 days in June 2012).

LMC Automotive continues to hold its 2013 outlook for total light-vehicle sales at 15.4 million units, but it has increased its forecast for retail light-vehicle sales to 12.6 million units from 12.5 million units, as retail sales growth expands.

“There is little question that the automotive market has strong momentum as we close out the first half of 2013,” said Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting at LMC Automotive. “Looking forward, all the key fundamentals are in alignment to continue the current growth trend, with production capacity limitations being the only major visible risk.”

North American light-vehicle production through June is up nearly 5 percent compared with the same period in 2012. Ford’s 16 percent increase in production thus far in 2013 is leading all manufacturers, with a significant portion of its increase driven by sales boosts for the new Escape and Fusion, as well as its F-Series pickups.

Vehicle inventory levels in early June are holding at 3.2 million units — a 57-day supply, which is down from 64 days last month.

LMC Automotive’s forecast for 2013 North American production remains at 16 million units, with capacity utilization now at a lean 90 percent.

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