Santa Monica, Calif. — An early look at March auto sales indicates that sales are currently pacing at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 13.2 million, according to Edmunds.com.
"The industry has been recharged by incentives offers from Toyota and other automakers," observed Edmunds.com Senior Analyst Jessica Caldwell. "There is a lot of money in the marketplace right now, and people are responding."
"Toyota's incentives announcement immediately generated nearly a 40 percent spike in that brand's purchase intent by visitors to Edmunds.com," noted Edmunds.com Senior Analyst Ray Zhou. "But Toyota's market share has dropped from its high point earlier this month because other automakers' incentives programs have been effective as well."
Edmunds.com anticipates that car sales for the latter portion of the month will weaken.
"We shouldn't view this as a sign that the economy recovering; this sales bounce is driven by incentives. Take away the incentives and the sales will slow dramatically," stated Edmunds.com CEO Jeremy Anwyl.
"Purchase intent" measures actual buyer interest reflected by pricing research, vehicle configuration and other focused steps. Purchase intent has a strong correlation to sales. Automaker purchase intent reflects share of total Edmunds.com traffic engaged in purchase intent activity, while model-level data reflects share of Edmunds.com traffic engaged in purchase intent activity within the indicated model's segment.