SANTA MONICA, Calif. — TrueCar predicted Tuesday that new light-vehicle sales in March will increase 13.7 percent from the year-ago period to 1.417 million units. Not including fleet vehicles, the vehicle-marketing site expects sales to increase 14.3 percent from a year ago.
Jesse Toprak, vice president of market intelligence, said he expects several vehicle makers to realize record gains this month, with Hyundai, Nissan and Volkswagen expected to lead the way. “We also forecast that Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda and Toyota will have an extremely strong month, with some of the highest unit sales in years,” Toprak said. “Due to a stronger-than-expected recovery, we’ve increased our sales forecast another 3.6 percent, from 14 million unit sales to 14.5 million unit sales in 2012.”
General Motors is expected to record the highest gain in unit sales for the month, Toprak added, with sales expected to increase 20.9 percent to 249,887 units. He added that Volkswagen should record the highest percentage change, about a 33.1 percent change since March 2011.
Fleet and rental sales are expected to account for 19.5 percent of total industry sales for the month, Toprak added.
Kristen Andersson, senior analyst at TrueCar, noted that manufactures are one of the reasons for the sales pickup, introducing attractive offers to pull skittish consumers off the sidelines. “Automakers have hit the sweet spot this month with lowered incentives and double digit sales increases, which signifies the underlying strength in consumer demand,” she said.